All posts tagged: criticism

“I Think You Have More to Offer As An Author.”

This sentiment was said to me twice regarding my first assignment for my workshop class. I decided to make a comic deconstructing the Dirty Harry/Judge Dredd type of protagonist in Hollywood action movies and ’90s superhero comics: violent, brutal enforcers of authoritarianism and fascism masquerading as relatable anti-heroes. I was trying to critique the manipulation of sympathy in these stories by way of revealing these characters to be the kind of unsavory maniacs they would be in real life. The first time, it was said by my professor who utterly failed to understand what my story was doing. But I admit that my execution fell short in the first draft and she was trying to be encouraging, after a fashion. It was a backhanded compliment, but still a compliment, so I took it in stride. I heard this phrase again after a round of revisions, but from one of my  classmates. This time, it was less compliment and more backhand. He didn’t like reading a story with such a cynical tone and unsympathetic protagonist, saying …

Generosity in the Workshop

  Image: Ignacio B. Peña In the last few weeks I have been reminded of one of the most important lessons when approaching our fiction workshops: it is crucial never to forget to be generous to your fellow writers. When I began the creative writing course here in Edinburgh, we met in a big room where all the masters students, fiction and poetry, were given the rundown by the lecturers of the program; and at one point our course director (pretty sure it was our course director) said something along the lines that “the workshop is the centerpiece of why we are here.” And so while our course is essentially divided into thirds each week (one day for our writing workshop, one day for our lit class, one day for our fiction seminars), we are here to write, and so each day is structured with a focus to what we produce for our workshops, with an aim to better our writing. At this stage in the academic year, we’ve crossed the halfway mark in our …