Pohick Library
Writers' Roundtable

Group Guidelines for Reading and Critiquing

  1. Keep readings and comments short enough that everyone gets a turn.

  2. Be considerate of your listenersí sensibilities. Each person has the right to leave if he or she is offended. If you want an audience, donít offend your listeners.

  3. All forms of writing and genres are welcome, but it is a writerís roundtable so what you present must be written in order for you to read it. If you have trouble reading your own handwriting, please type your piece.

  4. It may be useful to provide copies of your piece for the listeners if: visual form is important to you, you wish critique of the way it is written on the page, you feel listeners will be able to follow the piece better by seeing it, or you wish comments/edits from listeners to be noted/written as you read. Lately, bringing about 5 copies seems fine (if there are more people than there are copies, we can always share).

  5. You donít have to be critiqued. If you just wish to share the piece without critiques let us know before you read. You are welcome to warn listeners about the content of a piece before you read. You are also welcome to ask listeners beforehand to pay attention to certain elements you would like critiqued.

  6. Critique the writing, not the author or the authorís ideology. Offer constructive comments that will help the author improve his or her writing, such as: comments about use of language, structure, content, and suggestions for improvement. Be truthful and tactful. Comments about the writer, negative criticism without solutions, and nit picking are not constructive.

  7. Accept criticism with an open mind. Look for helpful ideas. You are here to see how others respond to your writing, so leave any feelings that might be hurt at the door and listen as a professional seeking to improve your writing skills. Remember you donít have to agree or change anything in your writing unless you want to.

  8. If the piece is too emotionally charged for the author to read, or if the writer has laryngitis or a similar problem, a substitute reader will be found.