Work in Progress (RRWG) Pages

Goal: To collect and give feedback on current writing projects within a supportive group of fellow writers.

The Basics:
  • Everyone participates in the reviews for the workday(s) which they attend. That is, all who plan to attend contribute their own work to the group for comment. The work must be uploaded by the Wednesday night before the Saturday we meet. Those planning to attend need time to read and consider the work, so a length limit has been set to make the reading load manageable.
  • Because time is limited, the focus of the review discussion will be on the piece itself. Other comments on specific writing topics are acceptable at the author’s request, time permitting.

Excerpt Selection & Preparation:
  • Each month those who wish to attend the workday will prepare a section of their work and upload it to the files section of the WIP web site.
  • All those who wish to attend a particular workday should read all files for that workday, and consider the piece from the writer’s point of view, leaving such things as word choice to the author. Of course, alternatives might be scribbled in the margins. Remember that voice is a very individual thing.
  • The maximum number of pages in an excerpt for a given participant on a given workday is 10, in the format described below. More may be included, but only the 1st 10 pages are required reading for those who have RSVPd ‘Yes’ for that workday.

Preparing Documents for Upload
  • All uploaded files should have a header with your name, the name of the piece, and page number.
  • Documents should be double spaced, using a 12 point serif font, such as Courier or Times. (Use serif fonts to prevent confusion of some letters and numbers.) Margins should be at least 1 inch on all sides so reviewers have space to make notes.
  • Keep your excerpts no longer than 10 pages, please. We hope keeping within these limits will give group members time to consider carefully what you wrote, thus giving authors better feedback. During the workday, we hope length limits will allow more time for authors to ask for clarifications and their own specific questions.
  • Documents should be uploaded in RTF format, to make cross platform & cross software use as easy as possible. A duplicate copy in DOC (or other) format may be uploaded as well if the author desires.
  • In the document description of the file upload page include the date of the workshop for which you uploaded the file.

Workday Basics:
  • Depending on the number of people coming, we may be meeting from about 11 to 2:00. Do not bring a lunch or a snack. Our hosts allow us to use the room for free, providing that we purchase coffees and food from them.
  • Our discussion will focus on the writing itself in the context of the excerpt in question. Therefore, in discussion we refer to the character by name, or to “the Narrator” if there is no specific character named. Remember that narrators and characters may have (and probably do have) different views than their authors.

Workday Process
  • We will follow a workday method common to writing classes and other workshops. It will probably feel awkward to those who haven’t been in writing workshops before now. The main points are
    1. -- The Author remains silent (or as much as possible given our styles) during the first part of the review, but will have a turn for questions later.
    2. -- Group members will say what the overall impression of the piece was on themselves; where the piece worked from the member's point of view; and one, possibly two, concerns about how the piece worked in relation to the whole excerpt. Since we are not looking at entire novels, our reference level is generally the submitted excerpts.
    3. -- The Author may request clarification of comments made, preferably after the reader has finished commenting. Then she or he may ask a specific question or two besides clarification requests. For example: ‘My goal was to indicate who was speaking without using names. It seems some of you were confused. How might I improve this?’
  • When everyone has had their work reviewed and had a chance to ask questions, the workday is officially completed, and unrestrained chatter may break out. biggrin

Please be aware that we have a limited time for group comment on each piece, and for the author’s questions and responses. The first priority is to allow everyone to hear the comments on their work, then to get clarification of comments made. Possibly some author questions may need to be delayed, moved to the message board, or dealt with via email. To meet discussion priorities, your facilitators may need to move the conversation on.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
About Work in Progress (RRWG) January 20, 2015 10:13 PM Mike L.

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