Please help me with this response!
In addition to posting you own draft, you will provide your group members with feedback on their drafts. Providing drafts and feedback works the same way as it did in Workshop 1: You’ll submit a draft as an attachment on the appropriate Workshop discussion forum on Canvas, and you’ll provide written feedback to your group members’ work there, as well.
Your responses to your group members’ drafts will be informal letters to the author that are 300 – 500 words long.
In each response, you’ll address the following items:
- In 1-3 brief sentences, summarize the plot situation (if responding to a story), or the specific subject that all of the poems revolve around (if responding to poetry).
- Make some observations of how the author is using craft elements. You don’t need to comment on every single craft element, just focus on the ones that seem most significant in the work. For example, you might note that the author is sticking to a traditional plot structure (or not), or using setting, or imagery, or rhyme, in a unique way.
- Note questions that the work raises for you as a reader. Questions can address the content of the work, or the craft of the work. For example, you might ask how Bob, who had two broken legs on page 2, found himself dancing at a club on page 3. Or you might ask why the author chose the first person POV, or why the author chose to use perfect end rhyme, or why the author chose to center all of the poems on the page. Be sure to explain why the work raises your questions (in other words, don’t ask questions just for the sake of asking questions). Look for areas in the work that make you curious or confused, and develop questions from that.
- Make suggestions for how the author might continue developing the work, and explain the reasoning behind your suggestions. For example, if you believe the story would be more compelling if told from the POV of another character, suggest that, and explain your reasoning. If you believe the poem would be more effective without perfect end rhyme, suggest that, and explain your reasoning. It will be up to the author to decide whether or not to take your suggestions to heart.
Some tips on writing responses
- As creators, we always want to hear that someone loves our work. It’s great to hear, “I loved your story! I can’t wait to read the final draft!” So, if you read a work that you really like, then tell the author you really liked it. But then move on—quickly. Keep in mind that stating your pleasure/displeasure with the work is not the purpose of the workshop response. The purpose is to provide constructive feedback for the author. Focus on that.
- Write the kind of thoughtful, detailed response that you hope to receive from your group members about your own work.
- Be honest, but be tactful. If there’s something about a work that you hate, turn your reaction into a question and constructive feedback.