Critiquing Conundrum

Dear Readers:

Before the class was dismissed from Creative Writing sessions, the instructors usually  handed out assignments including evaluation of other students’ writing. Then the teachers would distribute printed instructions on the correct approach to use when criticizing. Apparently they’d had some previous negative student reactions and hoped to tone down rude remarks to preserve our fragile egos, hoping we would continue unscathed on our imaginative journeys. We were to begin with positive statements like “I love this character because…” or “This image is exquisite because…” or, even better, “I want ot keep reading because….” I framed an article and propped it by my computer, clipped from the May 2011 copy of The Writer Magazine titled “Superlatives 101″which cautioned novice critiquers to avoid shopworn words such as great, awesome, and amazing, replacing them with phrases like effervescent, beguiling, even slammin’, jammin’. Wow. This criticism seemed like a tall order. But at least I knew, because of all this decorum hovering about, there would be no slings and arrows thrown my way. Or would there? The plot thickens.

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