Six Novellas

Writing Workshop Etiquette: FYSE Six Novellas
1) Begin with positive, admiring observations and also with neutral, descriptive
observations that help the writer to see not only what they did well but how
their work is coming across. For example, “your essay has a solid structure,”
or, “your voice is academic/passionate/reflective” or “I like the way you
referred to this character, right here,” or “I thought this quote worked well to
illustrate this point.” Feel free to make “I” statements such as, “your essay
made me think about such and such,” or “feel such and such.”
2) Make critical observations as well so that the writer leaves with some sense
of direction for revision. For example, “I wasn’t quite sure what your
argument was until the first or second body paragraph,” or “I felt like the
conclusion was kind of dry,” or “your thesis didn’t prepare me for the order
of your points,” or “this quote feels kind of thrown in without a lead in or
3) Ask clarifying questions as needed: “did you mean to suggest that….?” or
“where in the text does this occur?” or “how does your point in this
paragraph relate to the main idea in the previous paragraph?”
4) Always start with macro issues before addressing micro issues. In other words,
do not start editing texts for spelling or grammar or citation errors. Start
with bigger issues of argument, interpretation and structure, both at the
larger level and the paragraph level. If the paper is extraordinarily strong
and/or you have adequately addressed macro levels and/or if the writer
seeks editing advice, then you can go to micro issues. It is okay to say, “I had
trouble understanding this sentence. Perhaps you could back to it in
revision.” You can also check the wording of the assignment to make sure a
paper is really addressing the assignment.
5) Don’t try to get through papers super quick or “fix” papers right off the bat.
Let this be a reflective experience for the whole group—time to sit back and
think about writing, reading, literature, themes, characters, language, etc.
CWW, 2013