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The Writers' Workshop

lizzielilyyyylizzielilyyyy Posts: 4,146 Member
Hi :)
This is a new thread that is dedicated to those writers who desire a bit more than their regular feedback. If you're a reader who think you could offer some constructive criticism or a writer who is looking to enhance their style and develop their skills, then you can come here to do so! You're welcome to ask for feedback on any kind of Simlit, be it a Sims 3 legacy, a Sims 4 based story or anything of the sort!
@CathyTea and I will be moderating this thread so feel free to ask questions, there will be posts below offering guidelines for both readers and writers and we kindly ask that you adhere to them to make this as fun and easy as possible for everybody involved!
We hope for this to work as literary workshops do, where a group of readers will see a draft of a piece and come forward with ideas on how to improve it in a literary sense, be it layout or content. So if this sounds like the kind of thing you'd be interested in, as reader offering feedback or writer seeking it (or both!), then please join in!
Happy Simming! :mrgreen:
Post edited by lizzielilyyyy on

Comments

  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    edited August 2015
    What is a Writers' Workshop?

    A Writers' Workshop provides a structured and supportive environment in which writers can share their writing with other writers.

    Writing is a process, and receiving feedback from other readers is an important part of that process.

    For centuries, writers have been meeting with each other to share and critique each other's work with the one goal of improving their writing.

    The tradition of writing workshops goes back to undergraduate and graduate writing programs, where groups of writers meet together and provide feedback on each other's writing.

    The feedback solicited in writing workshops is different from that which we receive on our threads or on our blogs. Threads and blogs tend to promote feedback that presents the reader's feelings ("Your post really touched me.") or assessment of the work ("OMG! This is amazing!") That type of feedback is great to hear and it lets writers know that their work is reaching readers--a vital motivator for any writer. That type of feedback doesn't really help the writer write more effectively.

    In writing workshops, we focus on craft: how does this sentence work? What does this image convey? Would a different image work more effectively? Should I lead with this paragraph, or should I lead with a different scene? How's my balance of scene and summary? What about the "camera angle" I'm using here?

    We are examining technique.

    While comments on blogs and threads are often personal, the comments that we share in writing workshops tend to be less so. We do not assume that the writing reflects the writer's own experience. We keep the focus on the writing, not on the writer.

    Because we read with our hearts and our minds, we will certainly share how pieces of writing make us feel--this is an important part of the process. And then, we will likely analyze how that feeling was created.

    Writers' workshops are friendly, supportive, and not personal--instead the focus is on the work and the craft and on supporting each other to become more effective writers.
    Post edited by CathyTea on
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    Lighthouse

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    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    edited December 2015
    Schedule of Readings for Session 2
    @CathyTea - November 2
    @aroseinbloom - November 9
    @Jes2G - November 16
    @JulyVee94 - November 23-November 30
    @lovesstorms - December 14?

    Week of Nov. 23: @JulyVee 94

    July's Piece: Workshop Piece - It's password protected so not all my followers will read it, the password is "writersunite".

    On the background: The chapter is about my Amazon tribe. Manika is currently the creator and her daughter Kalaya is the heiress. Kalaya's father was Manika's love of her life but was sacrificed to the godess of nature. Kalaya turned out to be a pretty bratty and arrogant child always rebelling against her mother and being rude to slaves. Taam (as a ghost) has actually not seen his daughter since she was a baby.

    Here are my questions:

    1. Does Kalaya sound like a child? I always struggle to write from a child's point of view. Also consider that she grew up in an environment where children mature much earlier.

    2. Does Taam's reaction to meeting his daughter seem believable? If not, why?

    3. In the last paragraph, Taam is supposed to tell Kalaya about how love is not that bad but I feel like it's not believable that he is still so happy after Kalaya was rude. Do you have any other ideas on how Taam could tell her that and that she would still like him?

    4. Do you think anything is missing in the conversation? What else would Taam say to his daughter?

    5. Any other thoughts you would like to share?

    Process for Having Your Work Discussed

    Select the work which you'd like to have discussed. (Note: pieces that will be submitted to the Short Story Challenge may not be workshopped prior to submission.)

    Come up with three to seven questions that you'd like to have addressed by your readers. Questions that tend to prompt useful feedback include the following, "Is this character believable? If so, what about him seems believable? If not, where does the believability break down?"; "Are there places where you pop out of the reality of the story? If so, where?" "I'm not sure about this sentence: here are three options--which do you feel works best?"

    Describe the specific challenges that you are facing in writing this piece. What, specifically, do you want help with?

    If your piece is part of a larger work, describe the context for that piece. What happened before? Where does it fit in the overall scheme?

    You are invited to share the same piece multiple times throughout the writing process. Feel free to share it, get feedback, revise it, and share it again, as many times as you want.

    During the first two-thirds of the feedback session, the writer is a silent observer, listening to the comments and discussion. If needed, the writer can provide clarification to one of the questions he or she has posed or can provide essential plot or character details that come from a previous chapter of longer works, if the work being discussed is an excerpt.

    After the readers have shared their responses the the writers' questions and have had a chance to discuss their responses with each other, the writer can then ask follow-up questions and respond to the readers' insights. Remember that you are not here to defend your work. You can bring up considerations and your own vision for the piece in response to specific points that were raised. It can also be useful to discuss the choices you made so that you can evaluate if they work for you or if you might want to try another approach.
    Post edited by CathyTea on
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    edited August 2015
    Writers' Guidelines
    If your work will be read and discussed, then it is expected that you will also participate in at least two (and hopefully more) feedback sessions as well. This way, other writers will benefit from your feedback as you've benefited from theirs.

    Here are some guidelines to keep in mind to ensure that this process is useful for you as a writer:
    1. Writers rule. The Writers' Workshop exists for you. It doesn't exist for the reader. Its purpose is to help you, as the writer, get the type of specific, constructive feedback that you need in order to craft your story in the way that fulfills your vision most completely.
    2. As the writer, always remember that you are the one with the vision for your piece. Some of your readers may share your vision. Some may spin off of what you've created and have their own visions for your piece. It is useful to listen to and consider everyone's suggestions, for you just might find that another person's vision for your piece fits more closely with what you want to express. In fact, this is what "re-vision" means. However, at the end of the day, it is your vision that counts. Always feel free to discount anyone else's suggestions when they do not fit with your vision.
    3. Take all comments with a grain of salt, as much graciousness as you can muster, and the realization that you are under no obligation to follow any of these comments.
    4. Listen patiently, with an open mind, and without defensiveness. This is not a trial: you are not being asked to defend your work or to explain or justify your choices (see #1 above). This is an opportunity to hear what readers have to say and to consider other suggestions.
    5. Do not take any of this personally. If we are successful here, we will likely have dissension and a wide range of perspectives. When people disagree with your approach or choice in technique, this is not personal. This is about the craft. Writers will make different choices. (See #1 above.)
    6. Do not bring your work expecting praise. We won't be focusing on praising work or even evaluating it here. We will be focusing on the technique. Due to enthusiasm and our generally positive natures, you will likely receive a lot of praise, and the strengths of your writing will always be pointed out. Challenges and places that don't work will also be pointed out.
    7. This is not the copy-editing room. While you're welcome to ask about punctuation, spelling, and questions of grammar (and we can even have mini-lessons on punctuation, if there's an interest), your readers are not your editors. The readers are here to address more global issues in your piece, rather than to serve as personal editors and proofreaders.
    8. Remember that we're a community--and we're all here to support each other.
    9. If you are a participant in the Short Story Challenge here on the Forums, please be aware that you are not allowed to workshop your pieces prior to submitting them to the challenge.

    Readers' Guidelines
    1. For every piece you read, point out the main strengths. Also point out at least one area that you feel could be made stronger.
    2. Let the writers' questions guide your comments. For each piece that we discuss, the writer will be asked to provide a list of questions. Use these to help focus your attention on which parts of the writing the writer has questions about.
    3. Read with your heart and your mind. Feel free to share the way the piece made you feel, as well as your comments about technique. As you do discuss the emotional impact, try to point out what the writer did which elicited this feeling.
    4. Provide the level of feedback that you would like to receive as a writer. "OMG! This is awesome!" feels great to hear, and it doesn't tell us anything we can use to make our writing stronger.
    5. Maintain friendliness and respect, even when disagreeing.
    6. Feel free to use qualifiers. Expressions like "I believe," and "In my perspective," help to pave the way for considering other points of view.
    7. Do not expect the writer to follow your suggestions. The writer owns the piece and the vision--it is always the writer's decision whether to incorporate your suggestions or to consider them and decide to disregard them. This is not personal. This is about the writing.
    8. By participating in this Writers' Workshop, you will be exposed to spoilery. Don't share with others outside of this group what you've learned about the story or what happens in it. Also, realize that you are now becoming part of the writing process. While you won't get that readers' joy in seeing the final work with fresh eyes, you will have the artist's satisfaction of having been able to take part in the process of creation.
    9. Keep in mind that writers are bringing in drafts. These will sometimes be unfinished, and often they will not have been proofread yet. Do not spend your time and energy proofreading or editing this work. Instead, focus on the larger issues of the writing.
    Post edited by CathyTea on
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    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • aroseinbloomaroseinbloom Posts: 3,359 Member
    I'm excited about this! Thank you for setting it up, ladies.
  • lizzielilyyyylizzielilyyyy Posts: 4,146 Member
    Glad to have you on board! Not a problem, it should be up and running within the next day or so :3
  • DavidMCSessyDavidMCSessy Posts: 1,148 Member
    I think we will all learn a lot of things in this thread!

    Can't wait for the fun to start!
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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    @Lizzie1234 @aroseinbloom @DavidMcSessy @otherWritersWorkshopfolks

    Hiya, folks! :) I've just drafted a description of what is a Writers' Workshop as well as Writers' Guidelines and Readers' Guidelines.

    Please look these over and let me know if it looks clear, if anything should be added, anything reworded, and so on. I found myself putting on my professor's hat, so the wording may be a bit authoritative--we can make revisions, if you feel the tone isn't right.
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • Julyvee94Julyvee94 Posts: 6,515 Member
    @CathyTea the guidelines look good to me. You've done a good job pointing out what this thread is about and most importantly what it is NOT about. I suggest to add a section about moderation though. Because naturally many people might bring in their work at once and expect immediate feedback, maybe say something about how this will be handled from your side :)
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    Julyvee94 wrote: »
    @CathyTea the guidelines look good to me. You've done a good job pointing out what this thread is about and most importantly what it is NOT about. I suggest to add a section about moderation though. Because naturally many people might bring in their work at once and expect immediate feedback, maybe say something about how this will be handled from your side :)

    Great point, July! I was thinking we'd wait and see how many people participate. Judging from responses I've heard in a few places, I'm not expecting a lot of participants. If we only have five to ten, then we can be a bit more informal with the scheduling. If we get a lot, we'll need a more formal rotation process. So we'll see what happens, and modify from there.

    There's still a lot of room for figuring out all the details of the process as we move along. At this point, anyone who wants to participate can select which of their works they'd like to workshop, and we can begin the process sometime this weekend!

    (Oh! I just thought of two things to add!)
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 17,794 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    Julyvee94 wrote: »
    @CathyTea the guidelines look good to me. You've done a good job pointing out what this thread is about and most importantly what it is NOT about. I suggest to add a section about moderation though. Because naturally many people might bring in their work at once and expect immediate feedback, maybe say something about how this will be handled from your side :)

    Great point, July! I was thinking we'd wait and see how many people participate. Judging from responses I've heard in a few places, I'm not expecting a lot of participants. If we only have five to ten, then we can be a bit more informal with the scheduling. If we get a lot, we'll need a more formal rotation process. So we'll see what happens, and modify from there.

    There's still a lot of room for figuring out all the details of the process as we move along. At this point, anyone who wants to participate can select which of their works they'd like to workshop, and we can begin the process sometime this weekend!

    (Oh! I just thought of two things to add!)

    two things to add . your brain must work faster than your fingers. its a compliment so i hope you take it that way.
  • Jes2GJes2G Posts: 12,149 Member
    It's here :)
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  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 17,794 Member
    Jes2G wrote: »
    It's here :)

    whats here?
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    Jes2G wrote: »
    It's here :)

    whats here?

    It's always here here.
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 17,794 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    Jes2G wrote: »
    It's here :)

    whats here?

    It's always here here.

    oh you mean we started already.
  • DavidMCSessyDavidMCSessy Posts: 1,148 Member
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.
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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 17,794 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    i still need to figure out my writing style.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    i still need to figure out my writing style.

    You can start with straight narrative: just telling what happens and letting the Sims' funny actions carry the weight!
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 17,794 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    i still need to figure out my writing style.

    You can start with straight narrative: just telling what happens and letting the Sims' funny actions carry the weight!

    so like my blog but more descriptive.
  • DavidMCSessyDavidMCSessy Posts: 1,148 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    Do you really want to know? Lol

    5k381e.png

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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    i still need to figure out my writing style.

    You can start with straight narrative: just telling what happens and letting the Sims' funny actions carry the weight!

    so like my blog but more descriptive.

    Sure! And we can even do a workshop on your blog!
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    Do you really want to know? Lol

    I was joking for fun, but actually, yes. I have theories, but I'd love to hear what you were hoping to evoke with those skies.... but tomorrow, right? It's so late already where you are! LOL!
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
  • friendsfan367friendsfan367 Posts: 17,794 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    CathyTea wrote: »
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    i still need to figure out my writing style.

    You can start with straight narrative: just telling what happens and letting the Sims' funny actions carry the weight!

    so like my blog but more descriptive.

    Sure! And we can even do a workshop on your blog!

    i got to stat over i'm lost again.i might try a actual story. just to see if i can do it.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 20,570 Member
    CathyTea wrote: »
    CathyTea wrote: »
    CathyTea wrote: »
    I wanted to ask if there will be different workshop sections. For example, there is a section specifically about the writing, but there could be another where more attention is brought to the visual part of the story.

    I'd like to suggest that, at least for starters, we consider the work as a whole. For each work submitted, the writer gets to establish what type of feedback he or she would like. So if you'd like us to focus on or consider the visual aspects, then please let us know and we will. This will also bring up some really nice teachable moments, for if we're not sure about composition or color theory, it will bring up a time to discuss that and ask questions about it.

    For example, what were you hoping to evoke with those purple, purple skies in Willow Creek?

    i still need to figure out my writing style.

    You can start with straight narrative: just telling what happens and letting the Sims' funny actions carry the weight!

    so like my blog but more descriptive.

    Sure! And we can even do a workshop on your blog!

    i got to stat over i'm lost again.i might try a actual story. just to see if i can do it.

    It would be so awesome, friendsfan! We can offer a lot of suggestions and support here.

    With most of my Sim writing, I tend to let the game direct the story. I just write the story around what happened. So you could consider that style. The part about that which I find fun is in getting to know all of my Sims and in sharing who they are to me with others!
    lighthousebnr.png
    Lighthouse

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair core 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
    Web: Goofy Love and Other Stories
    Forum: Writers' Lounge | Reading Circles | Kindness Bench | Pen Pal Project
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