English 0246, Creative Writing, Workshop
Dr. Michael Filas
The logistics of workshopping:
writers assigned to workshop bring in stapled copies (one for each class
member, one for the prof.) of the work on the due date.
member of class takes the material home and:
- marks the
pages with marginal comments.
a response on the backs of the page of the work (or a fresh sheet) and
returns the material, with comments, to the writer at the end of the
or three designated respondents:
- mark the
pages with marginal comments;
- type a
one-page, single-spaced, response to be read to the class during
class, we read out-loud from the text so the writer can hear the sounds
and rhythms of her or his work in a readerŐs voice, and then the
discussion leaders (the designated respondents) start us off with
comments, followed by open conversation about the work by everyone
else. Participation and
workshop grading comes largely from your contributions to the open
conversation when you are not the designated respondent.
the discussion, everyone turns their written
comments over to the writer.
Designated respondents provide one copy of typed comments to me,
and one to the writer. On
occasion for surveillance, I will collect all comments for
review/credit and provide them to the writer the following class.
The foci of workshopping:
is a constructive process in which you have open conversations about the
creative process and product of one individual at a time.
comments and corrections to grammar and minor layout things for the
writing encompasses many forms.
Thus, some workshop discussion of form and format conventions of
poetry and fiction may be necessary.
But normally, workshop conversations focus on content
to write about—explicit instructions:
the writer what you see as the main purpose/meaning of their character,
dialog, plot, and other aspects of the work. What
is the main conflict?
them, in your own words, a description of what the text is about, what
lies at the core. What
motivated her or him to write this piece?
feedback on originality. What texts does the writing remind you of?
makes the writing original?
it is poetry, discuss the language, rhyme, meter/rhythm; if fiction,
discuss character, plot, setting, atmosphere, narrator.
. . Adjust your comments to reflect the genre.
makes the work engaging?
is something successful about the text?
is something that does not work for you in the text?
did reading the work make you, personally, feel?
- In responding to
the above, be diligent about citing and quoting specific examples from the
The writer being workshopped:
defend your work or explain yourself or your work to the group.
argue with a workshop participant.
what is useful to you and disregard the rest.
free to ask questions and ask for clarification.
take it personally, but remember everyone is working to write as well as
to be honest, respectful, and constructive while maintaining a high
standard of careful critique in the class.
that great writing comes from the depths of someoneŐs mind and heart, and
the more courage a writer shows to access their passions, the more
powerful his or her writing will be.
We can critique in a sensitive way so as not to discourage the
opening of powerful creative channels.