Friday, July 29, 2011

From the Files

Found this yesterday while going through my grad school folders. It was created by those of us in Michelle Carter's Teaching Creative Writing class in fall of 2007 (so I'm not solely responsible for this, just contributed to it). If you've ever been in a workshop or critique group, you'll appreciate this.

Roles and Dynamics Found in Workshop Hell:

The Justifier - a) recognizes the writer's intentions and insists that the writer has accomplished them; b) reflexively defends the work as it is.

The Placater - "I just LOVE the writing!" Everything is wonderful, wants everyone to feel good.

The Alpha-Dog - "As my agent remarked over martinis last night..."

The Slash & Burner - thinks he or she is demonstrating critical acumen by crapping all over everything.

The Psychoanalyzer - "Clearly, the writer is the child of an alcoholic, probably two..."

The Digressor - "This reminds me of that time..."

The Fixer - "Start on page 10, move the scene on page 3 to page 7, and end the story on page 12, and make your main character a man."

The POV-changer - "Try changing this to first person..."

The Cosmic-Nitpicker - insists on focusing on irrelevant trivialities such as word choice in first drafts, titles, the color of a character's clothing or hair.

The Politicizer - "As a Marxist feminist, I find it offensive that..."

The Lit Crit Student/ Aesthetic Advocate - "The signifier fails to decenter the sign..."

The Formalist/Traditionalist/Classicist - "This is not a story..."

The Flame Warrior - insists on having personal battles and butting heads with everyone over everything.

The Teacher/Group Leader-Pleaser - arse-kisser

The Automatic Contrarian - habitually challenges the teacher because he or she knows more than the teacher.

The Personalizer - "I've never been to China, but I did have Chinese food for dinner last night and..."

The Perpetually Clueless - "I've got no idea what this story is about, actually."

The Cliche-Lover - praises what is trite/familiar and fears surprise and originality.

The Defender - responds to all comments with "But my writing group/husband/dog really loves this story."

The Explainer - "I know it's really slow up to page 50, but that's necessary because..."

The Validation-Hungry Genius - just wants to be told how brilliant he/she is.

The Dismisser - "I don't really care what you think about my work, it's being published next month just as it is."

The Apologizer - "You're right, I suck. I should just stop writing now."

The Excuse-Maker - "I haven't slept in a week, I'm moving, my cat died..."

The Psychotherapy Patient/ The Tender Plant - "I haven't felt this violated since my parents' divorce destroyed my life."

The Realist - "But that's how it really happened."

The Unintelligible Theorizer - "This piece is a deconstruction of Heidegger's praxis in its problemization of Paul de Man..."

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