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Workshop Survival Guide

October 10, 2018

It's Time to Critique



If any of you don't know - a writers workshop is a zone of creative safety and constructive criticism. I am currently in two at the University of Texas at San Antonio; an advanced fiction and a nonfiction. I've had great experiences in the past as well as the ones I am in now. There are ground rules in a workshop that make the experiences enjoyable for anyone. So, let's walk through them:


Important tip #1 - 

Do not feel attacked. Do not take others' comments personally. Learn to digest the feedback into something positive. What makes workshop great is that you get to hear what others feel from your piece. (Putting aside the fact that everyone is there because it's either an elective course or a foundation course) College class or not, you will be surrounded by people that have some interest in reading and writing. It's critical to understand that not everyone likes to read fantasy or  a psychoanalytical account of a serial killer. It's beneficial to hear the opinions of those that explore that genre just to read and give feedback on your piece. It's also humbling.


Important tip #2- 


Be humble. Walk in ready to give it your all. Acknowledge that everything you write may not be as good as your last piece or the piece before. Workshop is an opportunity for growth. Workshop provides an opportunity to point out the weakness of your writing and suggest ways to strengthen those aspects. 

I cannot stress enough the various people and interests you will be surrounded by in a workshop. Each of them carry something unique in experience and skill. You would be setting yourself up for failure and disappointment if you walk in blowing rainbows up your own ass. 


Important tip #3-


Trust your classmates, but don't always take their advice. At the end of the day, your piece is your piece. You are the judge as to which advice helps you or not. If you're writing a horror piece and some of the classmates think it needs more detail, but you're going with Lovecraft's vagueness to instill fear then continue your method. 

However, to slightly contradict myself, if a grand majority of the class identifies a weakness, it's more possible that their advice will help. 







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