Writers’ Roundtables are designed to help writers develop writing skills and build a network of writing colleagues. They begin on time and are rarely cancelled – if in doubt, check the website before setting out.
Bring copies of your draft for written feedback from others in the group: double spaced, 12 pt. type, 1” margins. Please follow the word/page-count guidelines provided by your Roundtable Leader (usually between 2,000 and 2,500 words depending upon the number of writers in the group). If in doubt, please do a word count before printing your piece to make sure it is within the maximum. Even if you don’t have work to share, do, please, still attend. There is much to be gained from giving and listening to others’ feedback.
For the Writer:
- Provide only a sentence or two of explanation of your piece before reading. (For example, “I will be reading the first chapter of a novel.”)
- While reading, read slowly and clearly with a minimum of “drama” to your voice. (Your reader will not have this benefit when your work is published, so the words should be able to stand on their own with little inflection.)
- During verbal feedback time, LISTEN and avoid the temptation to explain your work or answer questions that may be posed as part of others’ comments. Time you spend talking about your work is time you do not get to hear the others’ reactions to it.
- Take feedback in the spirit it is offered, and later decide how/whether you will use it to revise your work.
For the Responder:
- While listening, jot notes about aspects of the writing that are effective and areas that are confusing or seem to be inconsistent. Focus on craft rather than content. Don’t forget your role is to encourage as well as to offer options for improvement.
- During verbal feedback time, LISTEN carefully to others’ comments so as not to repeat what has already been said. Try to balance positive comments with insights about what might be changed. No need to comment on things like grammar or usage. That comes later.
Roundtable leaders do their best to make sure everyone who has brought work will have time to read; however, there will be carry-overs from time to time. Following the above guidelines will help the group run efficiently and make it more likely that all who want feedback can receive it.