The Inner-Workings Of Writing Workshops

The Inner-Workings Of Writing Workshops

And why you as the fabulous writer you are should go to them.

What is a writing workshop?

Just like you'd go to a workshop to create or repair a product, writers go to literary workshops to get critiques and suggestions on their latest work.

I've taken multiple creative writing workshop courses while attending Purdue, and they've all basically worked the same way: I distribute my fiction or poetry piece to a group of beta readers (non-professional readers who search out plot, structure, or grammatical errors; in my case, other students in the class), and in a week, we meet again and they walk me through what they perceive as the successes and pitfalls of my manuscript.

Why is it important to workshop pieces?

"If beta readers are not professionals, and all they're doing is just giving their subjective opinion on your works, why does working with them matter at all?"

I'm glad you asked. When you attend workshops, you're most likely going to collaborate with other writers by gaining their feedback and giving feedback to them on the projects their working on. This is significant for two main reasons:

  1. You can learn something from other unique writing styles
  2. They represent your future readers

Expanding on Reason #1 - as writers, we develop our own writing style; this can include certain ways of styling sentence structures, punctuation, dialogue, and characterization. While it's important to cultivate and nurture your distinct way of writing, if you're not careful, it can become repetitive and predictable to the reader. By observing and practicing the styles of another (not outright copying, but practicing), you can vary the format of your writing in surprising and interesting ways.

Expanding on Reason #2 - Beta readers, essentially, represent the future readers of your work; they'll ask the questions your target readers may ask if something doesn't make sense, they'll give you a general sample of what readers may or may not like, and that can be extremely useful information to refer to during the revising and editing stages of writing. Although it's true that not all of your beta readers will agree on what's good and what's not, they can give you a general direction of where problems seem to stem from in your pieces.

All in all, workshops are a great way to learn and grow with a community of aspiring writers, gain connections, and are definitely worth looking into if you want to take your writing to the next level.

Keeping it local:

If you're a student at Purdue and are interested in taking an English course that explores workshop writing, I've added the link to all Purdue English courses here - check them out! The course descriptions should let you know if workshops will be incorporated into the curriculum. I'd personally suggest taking Introduction to Creative Writing if workshops, or even writing for an audience, is new to you.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Popular Right Now

What Where You Study Says About You, As A College Student AND A Person

Are you more of a quad studier or a hipster coffee joint kinda gal?

Coming into college, you were probably given the advice "make sure you find a good place to study early on." So what does where you study say about your personality?

1. The Library

You're either boring, traditional or you get unfocused super easily and you need dead silence to study. Do what you gotta do.

2. Starbucks

If you study at Starbucks you probably like to study in a social environment. Maybe you're in a major that has a ton of group projects or maybe you'd rather just be surrounded by your friends and sipping on a vanilla chai latte while you make note cards.

3. The Local Coffee Shop

If you study at a local coffee shop, it's because your entire lifestyle is fueled by caffeine and caffeine alone. Oh, and maybe because you like high-waters and wide-brimmed hats, you hipster.

4. The Quad

If you study on the Quad, you're probably not very easily distracted by cute dogs or cute boys. You're probably also pretty outdoorsy and you hate it to be locked up in the library with such beautiful weather.

5. Your Church Student Center

You study here for one of two reasons. 1) all of your friends from church study here and you want to talk to them while you study 2) you want to be able to easily slip off into the church to pray for your GPA when you're feeling stressed.

6. Your Room

Major kudos to people who study in their room. I don't see how you aren't distracted by your bed that isn't made, or your closet that needs to be organized, or your photo album from high school or literally anything in your room but if you can manage to study in your room without getting distracted then you keep doing you.

7. Your Sorority/Fraternity House

If you study in your sorority or fraternity house it's more than likely because you either need study hours every week and can only log them in the house, or because you're feeling homesick and studying on the couch, in your pajamas while talking to your house mom feels reminiscent of high school.

8. A Combination

If you're anything like me you've studied in all seven of these places and it really just depends on the day of the week, the class you're studying for and your mood. I can shut myself away in the library for hours and get everything done that I need to accomplish, but sometimes I would rather sunbathe on the quad, or get a shot of espresso and coffee cake at Monarch while I'm grinding away at my textbook.

Cover Image Credit: @univofalabama / Instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

13 Thoughts Broadcast Journalism Majors Have When Piecing Together Their First News Story

Quiet on the set.


So you've decided that you want to be a Broadcast Journalist?

Many different thoughts go through you're while trying to first off figure out what story you want to pursue. After that, it's just a matter of getting everything that is needed for it and then putting it together.

For all clarity and purposes, I have already turned in my first news story, however as I was completing it, some (if not all) of these thoughts (or a variation of them) came across my mind at some point during the process.

1. Ok, so what are the important parts to my story?


And how do I convey those things to my viewers?

2. What b-roll should I get?

B-roll is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.

3. Do I have all the interviews I need?


Who are the essential figures in this story?

4. What's my angle? How do I stick to it?

camera angle

Who do I need to interview for it?

5. What questions should I ask in my interview?


And more importantly, What type of questions will get me the answers I want?

6. What are the important facts?


Should they all be included?

7. Do my voice overs cover everything that my interviews don't?


What else is needed for this story?

8. Agh, my video is over the 1 minute and 30 seconds allowed time.


Do I reduce it or do I leave it as is? I guess it depends on how much its over.

9. How should I say my tageline at the end of the video?

tag line

The tagline is when the reporter says their name and their station affiliation at the end of their story.

10. Should I include a standup? Where should it be?


What do I want to say?

11. Should I include a graphic?

news graphics

Is there something that can be said in a list form that the viewers need to see? Is it symptoms of a disease? Event details?

12. How do I make my interviews connect with my voice overs?


Does what I am saying make sense?

13. What does my script need to look like?


Should I add a NAT pop here? What SOT (Sound on Tape) do I want to use?

Related Content

Facebook Comments