Tag 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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The BWW on Vermont Public Radio

Last week, VPR’s All Things Considered host Neal Charnoff stopped me as I was finishing up some work in one of VPR’s recording studios. “VPR is probably the only news organization that hasn’t covered the Burlington Writers Workshop,” he said, … Continue reading

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Naming the Disease: A Conversation with Jim Gamble

Let’s say you’re a fiction writer and your protagonist has a disease. How do you make sure your character is more than just a collection of symptoms? That’s the problem BWW writer Jim Gamble encountered as he wrote “Good Boy,” … 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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BWW in the Burlington Free Press

Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press published a feature piece about the Burlington Writers Workshop in today’s BFP. Thanks to everyone who helped Sally write this article. I appreciate your kind comments. If the response to this article is … 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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Car Accidents In Fiction: Always Cliché or Sometimes OK?

Car accidents happen and, unfortunately, lots of people die in them. In 2009, nearly 34,000 people died in car accidents in the United States (US Census Bureau Statistic). Chances are that you’re aware of someone who has died in a … Continue reading

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Digging Deeper Into The BWW

I sat down with Elsie Lynn at The Essex Reporter a few weeks ago to talk about the Burlington Writers Workshop. This conversation was longer than the one I had with Molly Smith at WCAX, and we had a chance … Continue reading

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