“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”
One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Hello there! Welcome to the first post in my new series called “Workshop Wednesday.” I know, I know I’ve already got Toaster Tuesday, but I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate some of this aspect of writing and reading into my blog, and I think this is the way to do it.
So what exactly is Workshop Wednesday? Well, it’s going to be an ongoing discussion of ways to read and critique (and hopefully improve) writing. Basically, I’m going to be drawing on my experiences in writing workshops through undergraduate and graduate studies and sharing them with you all. These posts are for everyone, whether you’re wondering how you can give good feedback to a writer friend, or whether you’re a writer yourself and want to find new ways to look at your writing. Hopefully these posts will be helpful.
My first point of discussion will be quite brief. It’s a simple tip if you’d like to critique a piece of writing: read the whole work at least twice.
The general rule is once for pleasure, and once for critique. But feel free to read a piece of writing as many times as you can if you’d like to critique the heck out of it. Why this rule of thumb? Of course you can dissect a piece of writing from one read. But doesn’t it help to know how the dance is supposed to look before you try to dissect it, step by step?
It’s important to know how a piece functions a whole, how the whole package comes together, so you know what the writer’s going for. It’s difficult to know the purpose of the opening line if you don’t know what it means in relation to the close.
Simple enough for our first week. But–at least, I think so–quite key. Read at least twice.
Now I bet you’re wondering what’s up with that quote at the top. Well, going off of what I’ve just said, I’ve decided that Workshop Wednesday needs the touch of professional writers out there. First lines are incredibly important for gaining the reader’s trust and commitment. Why not have a look at the classics? So every WW will feature an opening line, which will hopefully inspire you to read more (or again), or write your own first line.
And… There’s our first Workshop Wednesday. Hope you stick around for more!