Category Archives: Workshop Issues

Dispatch from AWP: The Fine Art of Constructive Praise

There are workshops that tear you down for sport, and there are workshops that build you up with meaningless praise. Somewhere between these two extremes exists the sweet spot of the creative writing workshop, where, as four panelists from Grub … Continue reading

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Your Character’s Age Doesn’t Matter (As Much As Your Readers Think)

If your readers ask the age of your character, they’re really asking for something else: What makes this character special, unique, believable, and human? Age, as they say, ain’t nothin’ but a number. In every workshop I’ve attended—at the undergraduate … Continue reading

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Writing Workshops: Six Guidelines for Cultivating Trust

Writing workshops are a pretty amazing thing. People, often strangers, come together to share pieces that express their artistic visions and, sometimes, intimate details of their lives. It can be scary to submit your work for review, but in return … Continue reading

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Changes for the New Year

Twenty fourteen will be a year of change for the Burlington Writers Workshop. Of course, that’s nothing new. Every year we’ve changed our system in big and small ways to accommodate what we need/want to do. But our rapid growth … Continue reading

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Survey Says…

You may be wondering: “Chocolate fondue? What does that have to do with a survey about a writing workshop?” You’ll find a perfectly reasonable explanation here in the survey results. Two things really surprised me: (1) You want to launch … Continue reading

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More Guidelines for Good Workshop Discussions

A few months ago, I posted six guidelines for workshop discussions. Folks suggested more, which I think are worth mentioning here. 7.   Assume the writer meant every word. Writers are expected to make a piece as good as it can … Continue reading

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Six Ways To Improve Discussions

We thrive on good discussions. There’s nothing as stimulating as a debate about an element of the craft of writing. As workshop participants, we’re encouraged to talk about these elements of craft with passion and tact. As witness to and … Continue reading

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Richard Russo On That Last Two Percent

Novelist Richard Russo recently spoke at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In his hour-long conversation with VCFA President and novelist Thomas Greene, he spoke about the value of formal education for writers. In describing his MFA experience, Russo said, “What … Continue reading

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The BWW Book-Length Narrative Workshop

We’ve come up with a way to workshop a whole book. If you have a novel or memoir and need someone to read the whole thing, you’re going to love this. Here are the details in Q&A form. What are … Continue reading

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On the Value of Encouragement

After having my story discussed at the workshop on July 10th, I left the workshop with a stack of copies of my story, each one of them marked with helpful comments. I made it halfway up Church Street before sitting … Continue reading

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