Should we read other group's boards? : LUSENET : Fiction 98 Help Desk - Site Related Questions : One Thread

1. Should we read the work of students in study groups other than our own, and comment on them? I did (perhaps slap the hand?,) and there are several which merit comment. 2. How 'blunt' should comments be? In my 'physical' writers group are people who take critism very badly. We have learned to tell each other if we are tender about the work under discussion. Would this be a good idea for the study boards (to avoid hurt feelings, and perhaps the loss to the world of another writer?) A note at the end of an assignment posting would suffice to let people know if they had to be circumspect. 3. Did I missunderstand the assignment? On re-reading it, I suddenly figured perhaps you wanted us to rewrite a paragraph from one of the assigned stories in another POV. I would hate to trample on Poe, for example. I'm afraid it might come back to haunt me??

-- Colin R. Onstad (, February 25, 1998


Hi Colin, Yes, the more you can read and comment on the better. Keep in mind that Fiction 98 is an introduction to creative writing, so some of things you've experienced in workshops won't do well here. In the advanced classes, like Fiction 450 the workshop works well, but the class is only recommended for students who have completed Fiction 401 or have had college level creative writing classes or equivalent. The reason, as you have suggested, is that writers need to ease into giving and receiving critiques ... a great amount of confidence is needed first, and that is an important part of Fiction 98. At the end of the first assignment, I did give guidelines for comments: "Once you see other assignments posted, get involved; leave a nice comment; share an idea. You'll find the more you give, the more you'll receive." I know that some writers, usually the more advanced, want others to "tell it like it is" so they can improve. This is a good tactic, but it isn't for everybody. As you say, I would not want to see a writer discouraged before becoming aware of their potential ... it could very well be a great lose to the world. Writers are sensitive people and I imagine we have lost many James Joyces or Virginia Wolfes because of a well-intended, but badly timed comment. If there are several more advanced writers in the class that would like to give critiques above and beyond what is called for in the assignments, consider taking one of the empty Study Groups and establishing your own guidelines for critiques. This was done in the last session of Fiction 98 and it seemed to work pretty well. Some of these students are in Fiction 401 now and might be willing to add a comment about the experience. If they don't see this post, you might put it up as a topic on the General Discussion Board.

For the writing assignment, it is to be your own work. I wouldn't want to stir Poe or his Muses.

Have fun with the course. It's good to have you in the class. Bob Hembree

-- Bob Hembree (, February 27, 1998.

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