Beccalicious's Workshop: Results

5 min read

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A word from Writers-Workshop

This workshop was quite successful, with 26 entries taking very different approaches, and it looked to me like most everyone was successful to some degree. Thanks to all of the people who made rounds leaving feedback, there were a fair amount of you, and I'm sure the workshoppers were grateful for the feedback.

BeccaJS's response:  

When I decided upon this workshop idea, I had originally wanted to incorporate the use of music introductions to help inspire and influence people. However I am glad I avoided this, because the way this workshop has worked has given everyone a raw own framework opening to a possible longer piece.

The beginning of a piece of writing is perhaps one of those elements that perhaps isn't realised just how important a factor it is. It doesn't matter what form you are writing in either, if it is fiction or nonfiction, writing a play or a poem. They all need to draw in the reader and engage them straight away to help get them to continue reading your piece.

Although there were only two poetry entries, I can't echo again that this does apply to all forms of writing and although people may be more encouraged to read a whole poem due to length, if the beginning isn't interesting the level at which the rest of the poem is read at may be with low expectations.

As for the prose entries, I was impressed to see so many, as well as a good range and volume of critique and responses. It reassured me who when seeing that there were 25 entries knew I would struggle to respond to every single one. There was also a great deal of effort made by those who had submitted, responding to their critique in a way which to me is a true element of workshopping work.

What interested me in this workshop is that people won't ever get it right first time, and that will be the same for most writers. I think that there are people who do think that these things can work out brilliant on the first attempt and they won't ever have to redraft. If we're looking at an initial paragraph or stanza, without some dedicated redrafting you will not get that hook for your audience. I also found it interesting that because people participating were restricted to only writing the first paragraph, a lot of information was being crammed into that first paragraph. I believe the people who had that overbearing information were the ones who had drawn out more of an idea of where this piece was going to go and perhaps the excitement of starting a new piece with such little space to write in was why they were so packed. The good thing is that upon revision these pieces can be pulled out and separated into more than one paragraph. There was also a lot of 'telling' instead of 'showing' in the pieces, again perhaps the restriction of the single paragraphs affected the writings. When you are writing you want your audience to be there too, visualising and sensing where they are and what they see, and realising that the characters being described are real. It is an element of writing that only comes with constant practice and development.

There were some good attempts, some which did provoke interest further and with some polishing there could give us what we are looking for. Nicktroptopolis for example in Gone  created a wonderful beginning, presenting us to a character and then a series of events that had led up to a rather unhappy conclusion. dr3amup with War Given Right also delivered an interesting character that people could instantly recognise and connect to. These two pieces for me were the ones which stood out and Nicktroptopolis especially gave me the intrigue of wanting to know what had happened and showed me a slice of the action.

Thank you to everyone who got involved in this workshop, from submitting to critiquing and to responding and supporting! It has been most enjoyable.


Look out for our news article and journal with our next workshop, coming soon!

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Audley's avatar
This was an interesting experience for me - I've never done one of these workshops before. Most of the comments I received were not overly critical, so I can't say it caused me to make any changes, but it was interesting, nonetheless. Thank you for hosting it (: