We have a real mix of genres on the workshopper’s block this summer, but the general guidelines and expectations will be the same for each submission. (They are borrowed with permission from Philadelphia’s own Backyard Writers Workshop and have served me well for going on 11 years.)
First, a Mission Statement to set the tone: All WRIT Writers will commit themselves to the overall health and vibes of the group as a whole, and also to the growth and success of the individual writer. This applies for the whole retreat, but especially during workshop. Some of us are more comfortable with this kind of vulnerability than others.
Workshop Conduct: It is understood that all works submitted are considered works in progress.
1. The discussion of a member’s submission(s) will be approximately 30-45 minutes, although nobody will be setting a timer.
2. All WRIT Writers are expected to have read all submissions if not by the time they arrive to Tufo, than by the time workshops begin on the afternoon of Tuesday 8/2. We will each provide written feedback directly to the author for all works submitted. This typically consists of line-notes and general feedback/takeaways/suggestions at the bottom of the work.
3. Prior to the discussion of each individual piece, the author may briefly explain the context of the work (for what type of audience it is intended, etc.) and may request the group to focus on a particular aspect of the work. They may have done this via email. Even so, reminders are nice.
4. The author of the work(s) being discussed shall remain silent during the discussion. This is to avoid any dynamic of defensiveness or a dialogue with the author. The discussion will focus on the words on the page.
5. The discussion is intended to proceed organically.
6. Following the discussion of each individual piece, the author will have the opportunity to ask questions of the group.
7. In the interest of providing the most thorough and honest feedback, discussions should be open and honest, and criticism should be offered freely. Nonetheless, at all times, members must conduct themselves with the utmost decorum. Members should be conscious of not interrupting or talking over other members, and should always offer their comments respectfully. Name-calling will not be tolerated, unless appropriate and witty.