1. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    How to Use the Writing Workshop

    Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Cogito, Mar 31, 2010.

    How to Use the Writing Workshop (previously called the Review Room)

    The first point you must understand is that the Writing Workshop is a [true workshop, and requires full participation in order to post your own writing. The minimum participation is two constructive critiques prior to each piece of writing you post for feedback. This requirement will be strictly enforced, and decisions on whether or not a critique is constructive are final.

    Additionally, you must be registered for at least 14 days and have made 20 posts before you can create a thread in our workshops. New members, consider familiarizing yourselves with our site and the critiquing process. Please do not message the moderators on the fourteenth day asking when you will be able to post - any such messages will be silently ignored.

    The Writing Workshop is not a place to publish your work on the web, nor is it a critiquing service. The purpose is to learn to give and receive constructive critique, to make you a better writer. You must learn the critiquing mindset in order to effectively receive, evaluate, and apply recommendations. Furthermore, you will use what you learn about critiquing to find and fix the weaknesses in your own writing.

    The Writing Workshop is the most demanding and strictly monitored area of the site. It is not recommended for new joiners!

    With that in mind, these are the posting guidelines for the Writing Workshop:
    • Do not post the same piece of writing more than once in the Writing Workshop. Choose which forum to post it in, and only post it once.
    • If you post a revision or an additional excerpt from the same piece of writing, post it at the end of the thread. Please do not revise it in place if people have commented on it. Members should be able to see the progress from revision to revision, and the context for all critical comment should be preserved. If a story is posted in multiple threads, the additional threads will be merged or removed without notice.
    • Paragraph formatting is not always preserved correctly when copying from a word processing format and pasting as text. How the text appears immediately upon pasting it is how it will appear when you post it. If you see that formatting was not preserved correctly, the time to address it is before posting.
    • Recommendations to another writer to fix the paragraph formatting, although helpful, do not count toward constructive critique.
    • For best results, you should use the site's default font for writing you wish reviewed. That font is chosen for the best overall readability. You really don't get extra points for making the writing more decorative. It just makes it harder to critique.
    • Consider using [QUOTE][/QUOTE] tags to show excerpts from the author's writing that you are commenting on. However, please don't use [SPOILER][/SPOILER] tags, whether you are the author or a critiquer. All content in the Writing Workshop should be clearly visible at all times.
    • Post a reasonably-sized excerpt for critique. You want to post a large enough excerpt to reveal any bad writing habits, but not so much that potential critiquers balk at tackling it. Consider limiting the excerpt to a section with which you are having problems. There's no exact "best size", but it you can't fit it into a single post, it's probably too much.
    • Do not debate with critiquers. A defensive stance comes from a closed mind. Treat every comment as useful, especially if the critiquer "didn't get it." Assume that you failed to communicate your intent as clearly as you thought. After all, you already know what you intended. The reader doesn't have that foreknowledge, so the burden is on you to make it clear enough.
    • Resist the urge to explain what you are trying to convey. As soon as you do that, you have biased your readers. You lose the opportunity to find out how they would have read it without the Cliff Notes.
    • Don't tell people you dashed it off in fifteen minutes while drunk and it's probably full of errors. You're asking people to take the time to pick your writing apart and offer ways to improve it. The least you can do is put some effort into cleaning it up first, so you don't just get suggestions you could have fixed on your own.
    • Stay on topic. All posts should stick to the critiquing of the writing. Take personal discussions to VM or PM. If a critique raises a general writing question, take it up in the Writing Issues forums, not in the Writing Workshop thread. And particularly in non-fiction, don't debate the subject matter of the writing, only how to communicate the original writer's position more effectively.
    • Don't plan on deleting your piece of writing when you have gotten the responses you were after. You decision to put the writing up for critique is a commitment to make it available indefinitely as part of the workshop. The critiques you receive, your revisions, are there for others to learn from. The workshop is collaborative, and it's an open process for learning to critique effectively.
    • If your thread is locked for not having met the critiquing requirements, you must contact a moderator, listing the critiques you have made you believe now meet the requirements. You are still prohibited from posting new Writing Workshop threads until you have received confirmation and your thread is reopened. No Exceptions!
     

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