October 25, 2016

A Challenging Class By Vickie Stam

I have not yet had the pleasure of attending one of Inscribe's Writing  Conferences, nor have I been to a writer's conference. 

Certainly after reading some of this months posts, I have learned just what I'm missing. I too look forward to meeting other members and hope to be able to attend a conference sometime in the near future.    

For now, I am attending my first "intensive writing class." When I enrolled in the class a couple of months I had no idea how intensive it would be, even though the on-line advertisement did warn that the class was not for beginners. 

By the end of the class, my head feels full; like it couldn't possibly store another word. Today marked my second class. The drive home was quiet. No radio. No music. I simply wanted to reflect on the pieces we had just critiqued. It was a lot to take in, especially since I'm not familiar with all of the different genre's that were submitted.  

A dozen students along with the teacher sit around a large table and critique three members of the groups work, something else I've never experienced. The three designated writers are asked to submit a "long piece," up to 35oo words with no minimum. This could be part of a novel they're working on, a poem or a stand alone piece from any genre. 

The piece must be submitted via email to the teacher the week before and he then forwards them to the rest of the class. My turn will come next month. A part of me is cringing underneath. Having eleven classmates dissect my work won't be complete without a few stings, I'm sure. Maybe they'll be gentle. One can only hope.  




1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing about your course, Vickie. Critiquing can be a scary, but a valuable necessity for most of us writers. At one workshop where we shared our writings, our instructor said, "Critique is too harsh a word for some of us, especially for beginning writers." She handed half-sheets of paper for "critiquing" with section like this: "I like. . ." and, "I'd like to hear more about. . ." She had one or two more sections, which I can't remember, but I know that they also were positive.

    For us in Women Word Weavers our local satellite group, however, with seasoned writing colleagues, we are bolder in our suggestions. i.e. "Sharon, I think your third paragraph would make a good opener." Or, "You've already said the same thing here. Redundant." I can now take this squarely on the shoulder. We also advise each other, "Remember these are only suggestions. You still own the piece, but you can think about this." For grammatical errors, the advice is more flipped and fried.

    Good luck with your next month's session. May your classmates be kind but helpful, Vickie.


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