Creative Writing Workshop Two


1. Meeting in Pairs


a)       Read through:


-          Read the manuscript carefully once, without writing commentary.

-          Stay aware of what your reactions are. What are you feeling and noticing as you read along?


b)       Marginal Commentary


-          Return to the manuscript, and mark in the margins those lines, images, turns of phrase, and moments of excellent writing that struck and impressed you.

-          Use “I think…” statements that are descriptive and non-judgmental. Be positive!

-          Mark those places where you lost interest or where the picture in the writer’s eye is not clear in your own imagination.

-          The purpose of the marginal commentary is for you to engage in a running dialogue with the manuscript.


c)       Feedback paragraph


-          At the end of the manuscript, write a full paragraph of feedback to the writer.

-          Cover both the strengths and weaknesses equally.

-          What has the writer done particularly well and why?

-          What, to your mind, is the story or essay really about?

-          What was the writer’s intention? Is the writer successful in achieving his/her goal?

-          Be gentle and respectful. The purpose of giving feedback is to help the writer revise and write a better piece on the next go round.


2. Full Class Workshop Format



a)       Read-through:


-          The writer gets a chance to say a few words before reading, and then he or she reads the work out loud.

-          The group comments upon the piece after the writer has finished reading the story/essay

-          The writer remains silent during this comment period, taking notes.


b)       Commentary:


-          The group first discusses the story’s strengths.

-          They then discuss what this story/piece seems to be about.

-          They then identify particular strengths and weaknesses in the piece.

-          They propose questions for the writer.


c)       The writer gets the last word.