Writing Class – Class #3

Posted by barb on Nov 6, 2003 in Writing |

I decided to volunteer tonight to have my piece workshopped. Since the class is so large (14 people including the instructor), we only have time to workshop 4 people’s writing each class. I didn’t go last week, so I wanted to get in on the excitement tonight. I was a bit nervous, though. I haven’t written anything creative in several years (though Suzanne claims that my science writing does involve creativity since I still need to think about audience and how to get complex points across), so I was wondering if maybe I had lost it. Each time I read over my piece I discovered more and more that looked “bad” to me.

The way the workshop works is that the author reads his/her couple pages, and then has to shut up while everyone else discusses first five minutes on what works in the piece, and then five minutes on what needs work in the piece. Finally, the author is allowed one minute to ask questions to improve their work (at no time are they allowed to “justify” their work or to respond to people’s concerns/questions since an author can’t follow their piece to everyone who might read it).

For my piece, the first five minutes went very well — there was a lot about the piece that everyone in the class seemed to enjoy. When the timekeeper called time on the first five minutes, the instructor said, “Well, this part is going to be hard” — indicating the part where they talk about what doesn’t work. In the end, it was mostly nit-picky types of things that the class talked about — wouldn’t a poor student shop at Wal-Mart rather than Target; in the first sentence, you should get rid of this word because it’s not necessary; perhaps you should introduce the tablecloth with “something” rather than just saying its cute.

All in all, a very good night. I’m feeling excited again about writing, and I want to move this story along to see where it will go.

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