Continuing the discussion from TRUE FACTS about Richard Dawkins:
#This IS turning into an impromptu creative writing class.
Post some writing, and ask for our feedback!
- Say something positive about the piece. Even if a piece of writing needs a lot of work, there is usually something good that can be pointed out, despite the rest of the crap.
- Critique the writing, not the writer. Instead of saying, “You aren’t very good at conclusions,” say, “This conclusion didn’t really work for me. Idiot.”
- Speak from your own perspective, using phrases like, “My reaction to this was …” or “I found this to be …” or “When I was in Rome for vacation…”, or “I’m a man, but I know the feminists would say that…” or “I don’t want to sound racist, but…”
- Remember that you are in a writing group to help one another improve. It does not help the writer if you see problems with his/her writing but don’t mention them because you’re afraid of hurting his/her feelings. Feelings are for the weak, bad writers amongst us.
- Talk about the way you responded as you were reading. Sometimes it’s easier and more helpful to say, “When I read this sentence, I wasn’t sure if the paragraph was going to be about this or about that, and when I got to the end I didn’t even care anymore” than it is to say, “This sentence was confusing.”
- Be specific. Instead of just saying, “The characterization needs work,” try to figure out where and how the writer can improve on the story’s character. Perhaps they could go to Rome for vacation? Drink more while writing? Regaling the group with the plot details of last night’s episode of True Detective might help.
- Whatever you say, imagine yourself on the receiving end of the comment. Roll your eyes.
- Prioritize and sort your comments for the writer. What interfered the most when you read the piece or what was the hardest part to understand? What is most likely to get the strongest response from the group?Sometimes it is helpful to break down your comments into a list of “big drama” and a list of “who cares” that the writer could do to improve. Remember that everybody is giving up their free time to be in here, so be entertaining.
- Tailor your comments to the writer and his/her needs. Is the writer too needy? Talk about their wardrobe choices.
- Write out key points that you want to share with the writer. This will help you remember them and also provide a written record of your feedback for later blog posts.