Thursday, January 25, 2007

workshopping

My recent issue of the 'Writer's Chronicle' had an ad for a new book titled "Against Workshopping Manuscripts," (It's a damnable thing, etc.) . I disliked workshopping when I first started a graduate program in creative writing, and it was a ragged process for the first one or two residencies on campus. However, I think people quickly came to see that the point was not only to highlight what was not working--and let's get past minor stylistic mistakes--but let the writer know in a constructive way why they thought it wasn't working, and just as important, what was working for the reader. In later residencies, it became a much valued process for author and critique responders both. Since then I've attended a couple of workshops in writers' conferences and it continues to be an interesting process. There may be nothing quite like having experienced workshoppers in one's personal writing group to enhance a writing life.

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