Tools for Workshopping

Tips for Giving Feedback

In sharing our work, we expose a vulnerable part of ourselves. Giving feedback is a delicate process. Using the following guidelines will help ensure that you offer feedback that is focused and constructive:

  • Remember that feedback is about the writing, not the person.
  • Don’t assume that the narrator in the story is necessarily the writer sitting next to you. Even when the piece is written in first person, address feedback to reflect this. For example, “The narrator’s experience is very moving,” rather than “Your experience…”
  • Start by explaining what “stays with you,” and what you like about the piece.
  • What questions do you have? What leaves you hanging?
  • Can you name the theme? What is your understanding of what the piece is about?
  • Where do you see the change or shift in the piece?
  • What is the movement toward wisdom? Or, using Vivian Gornick’s terminology, what is “the story”?
  • Think about how the writer structures the beginning, middle, and end; are they clear and well-defined?

Tips for Receiving Feedback

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