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Nick from Thursday night short story sent this link to me, and I thought it was a good, provocative little ditty. It’s so true that we often field complaints about the workshop from people who don’t see the true value of it (“But when are we going to learn how to write? All we do is read each other’s stuff!”). And undoubtedly workshops aren’t for everyone, and some can be downright unhelpful, but good workshops do accelerate, I think, the learning process for writers. Here’s what Jeremiah Chamberlin has to say:
“You become a strong writer by writing critiques, not reading them, ” I say. Being forced to analyze the effectiveness of other writers’ stories and to then provide them with clear, concise, specific suggestions for improvement will do more to develop a writer’s craft than almost anything else. Through this process writers develop a stronger objectivity about their own work, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and hone their language. A writer can’t always recognize flat dialogue or abrupt scenes or uneven pacing in her own work, but she can sure as hell see it in someone else’s. And the more adept she becomes at identifying it elsewhere, the more easily that skill becomes adapted into her own writing—it becomes second nature.
Do you agree?