Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Writing Workshop at Balticon


Years ago, I gave up on one-day teaching gigs because they made me feel like a fraud. I felt like I was not so much teaching the students as talking at them.

So why, you might reasonably ask, am I running a writing seminar at Balticon this Saturday?

Simply because the seminars (and there are a lot of them; and the students have to pay to attend; so I'm guessing it'll be a small group) have a format, designed by Chuck Gannon, that's new to me, and one that sounds like I'll be able to be genuinely useful to the students. Here's roughly how it goes.

The first hour or so is a group discussion. Each student brings several concerns or questions or problems they're having with their writing, and I address them. Then there's a break for lunch with informal discussion of the issues raised. And finally, there's one-on-one discussions with the instructor. Those who want privacy can request that they go last. But since there's nothing inherently shameful about learning to write, this apparently rarely happens.

The usual writers' workshop format consists of intensive line-editing. This works well at Clarion or Clarion West, where there's enough time to get to know the students (particularly since I bully the administration into sending me copies of everything they've written previously, so I can gauge how rapidly they're learning), but not so well in less intensive settings. But this format sounds like it can be of genuine value.

I'm looking forward to finding out.


1 comment:

Beth said...

I'm glad you decided to do the workshop! It was great, and I have much to ponder!