Westchester Writers Workshop Meeting Structure
Time permitting, many workshops open with a fun and stimulating creative writing exercise. Participants are invited to share their writing efforts, followed by a group discussion. We also share news, upcoming publishing events and opportunities.
Members who wish to have their work critiqued at a particular meeting are asked to bring enough copies to share with other participants. Copies may be made at the library, free of charge for active group members.
To allow enough time for meaningful discussion, we ask that members share no more than four or five pages a session. Exceptions will be made, depending on previous notification and time permitting. Writings must be double-spaced (if prose) using a 12-point Times New Roman font, please. One or two poems maybe shared, not to exceed four pages.
Copies are then distributed to all in attendance, and the writer reads his/her work aloud to the group while participants make written notes on their copies. Participants take turns offering suggestions, edits, critiques, or asking questions. Sometimes, discussion follows at which time participants discuss significant issues. At the end of the critique, copies are returned to the writer.
If a member is not able to read his or her work at a particular meeting due to time constraints, they automatically rotate to the top of the list at the next scheduled meeting.
We make every effort to operate on the Golden Rule—give the feedback you expect to receive.
- Listen carefully to the reader as the work is being presented.
- Point out what catches your attention—explain why it does or doesn’t work for you.
- Ask questions and express any confusion you may have over a sentence or a stanza.
- Express your feelings. The writer should know how his or her work has affected the reader, and whether or not the work has achieved its intended effect.
- Honor the writer! Be courteous. Those who leave their egos at the door will achieve the most!
- Submit your best and most complete draft.
- Tell the other members what you hope to accomplish and what your needs are concerning the work you are presenting. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
- Accept feedback with grace and maturity. The members of our group share well-intentioned and qualified opinions about writing. YOU, as the author/poet, have complete control over your work and are free to choose to use the offered suggestions, edits, and critiques as you see fit. Even if you don’t agree with another’s opinion, thank them for taking the time to consider your work.
In the event of cancellation, members are contacted by email and notices are posted by 3:00 PM on the meeting day.
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