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
- 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.
- 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.