We gathered around the table, fizzing with anticipation, three children’s writers and three critical & creative (or adult writers, as they called us). This evening we were to mix things up a bit. It was a workshop for first drafts. We each clutched multiple copies of work we each were apprehensive of. The conversation was stilted, we were relative strangers. Then came the inevitable, ‘do you want to go first?’
‘Okay, I’ll take it.’
No excuses, we were to read the work straight through with no explanation until the critique was given, then the author could explain whether it was part of larger project, if it stood alone and their intentions in writing it.
It was easy to slip into critique, we have all work-shopped before, many times and we know how it works. The calibre of writing was high, one potential picture book, one adult short story, one non-fiction article, one teenage crossover, one age 8-10 novel and one adult novel. Each so different. It was wonderful to hear the voices of people I had never heard before, to get inside their minds and witness their work. Equally wonderful was the opportunity to work with the children’s writers and get their critique on work which they themselves admitted they wouldn’t enjoy.
Overall, the discussion was flowing, the critique was excellent and the feedback was constructive. I know I felt I was taking away valuable comments on a piece of work which I didn’t think was going anywhere. A positive success.
by Rebecca Travers, MA Creative & Critical Writing