... a group of authors and a moderator are assembled
to review a literary work. The author is bringing
a work for review, a WorkInProgress
, and seeks
help in refining the work.
This group will develop into
that can serve several authors.
At a conference like PLoP, there are many papers to
review. How do you best utilize this group?
* * *
An effective WritersWorkshop is built on a community
Trust is a key ingredient in a SafeSetting
One important objective of the WritersWorkshop
to guarantee a community of trust, so the author's
dignity is retained.
The author is willing to release unpolished work for
review in this setting, knowing that everyone knows
that it is unfinished work, which implies a different
review perspective than for typical, polished, conference
However, the review of a single work rarely takes
longer than an hour, which is not enough time to
cement long-term relationships.
A group of people can develop trust only through many
shared experiences. If a WritersWorkshop
is to provide
a community of trust, it must be together for a period
reviewers could participate in an
" exercise to build trust; this is how the
Hillsiders built their initial community of trust. However,
there often is no time for such exercises, and such exotic
measures are frowned upon in the mainstream corporate
cultures that patterns mean to serve.
Organize WritersWorkshops by areas of interest that
tie together the works of the authors involved.
The authors/reviewers and gallery should remain with
the same workshop for the duration of the reviews
of all authors' works.
The manuscripts reviewed in the workshop are not
published outside the workshop in which they are
reviewed, until the author refines the works and
offers them for wide publication.
* * *
At PLoP, we start to build trust by assigning a
to help the author prepare his or
her work for the workshop.
The shepherding process helps filter out the most
embarrassing misfits, so that all papers enter the
forum with the benefit of the shepherd's insights
on what makes a good pattern.