Thursday, November 16, 2006

Quick Word on Critiques and Writing Assignments

A question has come up. What sort of comments should people leave on blogs for the assignments. Here are some suggestions. First, I would suggest just leaving a few impressions. If you liked the writing, detail a little of what you liked. Character, description, beginning, middle, theme?

If you want to give critical feedback, then I suggest you be specific and pick only one or two things. At school, when I grade papers, it's important not to overwhelm or discourage someone. So, for instance, on one person's blog, I suggested that they do not change point of view in a short piece of fiction; instead they should tell the story from just one character's perspective. This, I explained, made it easier for the reader to follow and also helped set the bond between the reader and the main character.

Another thing to consider is the purpose of the assignment. If the purpose was to focus on dialogue and character, as was this last assignment, then it might be appropriate to limit comments to just those two elements of fiction.

In even the worst story you may come across there is something positive. Hell, I think it's positive that people are brave enough to post their words on-line where people can hack away at it. I also think it is great that a sense of community can develop.

I think when I have more time, that I will do a blog or two on critiquing and rewriting.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'd enjoy seeing your thoughts on rewriting, which I've always thought of as the backbone of "writerly" behavior. Thanks also for linking to my blog. Much appreciated.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I will post my thoughts on this soon. I have decided to try to rotate some of my subject matter on blog between discussion of writing, things of strange interest, personal experiences (as a school teacher/crisis worker, and when it is pertinent, my Detroit Tigers.

People wishing to read some interesting posts on the subject of writing and marketing their writing might try the links to Rick, William, and Chuck's blogs...those links are locate in the heading of my blog.