Nov 28

Critiques and Reviews

Critiques and reviews


Two sessions:

Week 1

NB: Ask readers in advance to read : Writing Reviews

  1. Ask members to write down a short list of what they think they should look for/comment on, if asked to write a critique of a short story that would be useful to the writer.

Share and discuss ideas briefly.

  1. Take a piece of work from the previous session, which needs to be one where members produced a short story eg. Finding Inspiration for your writing: Second Hand plus, if possible, one where the members do not know the author/are told the author is not present

Take the two short stories, and briefly comment eg:

Has the writer entertained us, is the piece evocative, humorous, thought provoking? Is the style appropriate, is there a ‘voice’, does the narrative flow, is dialogue used effectively….?

  1. Share the comments and also compare whether they are harsher/more critical when the author is not present! (If so the point needs to be made that we may need to toughen up as readers and as writers to help each other effectively to develop our skills.)


  1. From Writing to Inform/Express Opinions: Reviews do Task 1

Share and discuss some or all of the responses.

Homework: For next week write a short review, about 250 words, of a novel you have read recently or a favourite novel. If possible type and make a couple of copies or send to the coordinator for copying.


Week 2


  1. Share the Reviews, written for homework and discuss:

Are they helpful in informing potential readers? Do they say enough to make someone aware whether they would want to read the book or not?

Are they written in a readable, entertaining style? Are they suitable for publication, if so, where?


  1. Choose one of the reviews and write a short critique saying what you like about it/how you think it could be improved etc.


  1. Share the critiques and discuss them.


  1. Discuss the exercise (over both weeks) with regard to how it might help us to think more critically and be more detached in judging our own writing.


If time:

Choose any book which has been made into a film which you have read and seen.

Write a short article about what you think of the way it was done. Did you prefer the book or the film? Why? How closely did the film makers stick to the original …..


Share and discuss.

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