Tuesday, 26 November 2013

First Feedback

Feedback is a big challenge for me – both in terms of giving and receiving. So far, I am terribly in awe of all the work our First Story students produce, meaning that I am pretty much incapable of seeing improvements. When it comes to creative writing (as opposed to academic writing), I am not particularly familiar with the structure and how to propose adjustments. Plus, creative writing is very personal: I would hate to step on Kate’s toes and damage the hard work she does to support the students, so this may be something for which I will need some help and training.

I am also pretty atrocious at taking constructive criticism about my own work (as my long-suffering mother well knows...). But I love being a part of First Story and really want to see some development in my own writing! This year, I have been consistently terrible at submitting work to Kate, mostly because I have been busy but partly because I have been worried about what she will say about it!

Today, we started our First Story session by looking at a piece of anonymous writing (not from any of our students, it should be said!) and critiquing it. We talked about the imagery, the themes and the story (or lack thereof), and discussed what we could do to make it better, which essentially came down to all the students agreeing they would throw it in the bin and write something completely different.

It was a real confidence boost for all the students to acknowledge that they could write something better than this published piece.

So I finally got my act together and emailed her a poem and a short story. The poem was from the session when we had looked at Simon Armitage's poem, and the short story was from the day we had look at Katherine Mansfield's writing (click here if you dare). For both pieces, I recognise that some work needed to be done, so I hope I will not be distressed by anything Kate had to say. I think this recognition came from seeing Kate working with the students and getting a better idea of how their work could be developed, and from knowing that I had not made the same mistakes as we had seen in the starter sample.

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