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Writers Options for Feedback

Author: NYCWP



Tel: (718) 960-8758


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Fax: (718) 960-8054

Bronx, NY 10468-1589


A Writer’s Options for Feedback and Assistance in Writing Groups

Kinds of Help You Can Ask For

  1. Talk about your writing or read your process entry. What have you done so far; how will you proceed?

  1. Silence. Read aloud, but with no feedback at all. Read again.

  1. Active Listening. The listener tries to say, in her own words, what the writer is getting at. Said in an inquiring way, allowing the writer to say more, e.g., “So are you saying that..?”

  1. Pointed listening. Ask the listener, what do you hear as my main point (and supporting points) even if only implicitly?

  1. Pointing feedback. Ask the listener, what words or images stand out for you as a reader? Don’t say how or why it affected you; just point to specific places in the text.

  1. Movies of the reader’s mind. What did you feel, think and experience as a reader, and at what points in the text?

  1. Suggestions. “You could do this…because…”

  1. Criterion-based feedback. How does this piece of writing work/not work for you?

  1. Proofreading and editing. Look for places where mechanics make you feel uncomfortable and point these out to the writer even if you don’t know what’s wrong.

When You Might Want It

Early on – or when something fresh is happening. When the writing hasn’t progressed enough for you to even think about audience, or when reading your work aloud would make you unduly concerned about audience.

Any time you would like to know what the writing sounds like in the presence of others, but aren’t ready for their perceptions.

You are groping for something and need to hear what you’ve already communicated or need to talk about your topic some more.

When you feel you may have disjointed piece (or a collage) but haven’t made your central point and want to clarify your central assertion.

You want some confirmation to know that you have made a particular impression, but you are not ready for more specific feedback

You have a clear sense of your writing and you are beginning to want to know how the effect it has on a reader.

Late in the process, and only if you find it easy to say “no.”

Late, if at all, and only when you feel fully confident and solid about your piece and want to perfect it. Stop when it hurts.

Only when ready for the final draft.

Prepared by: Robert Whitney

New York City Writing Project

DMU Timestamp: April 30, 2019 18:47

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