Recipe for a Creative Writing Workshop by Vicki Entreken

Recipe for a Creative Writing Workshop by Vicki Entreken

Impress classmates and your professor with this creative homemade piece!


1 short story or essay, written by you
17 parts critical feedback, divided
1-2 pp. Creative Writing Workshop Guidelines
Comments, cut into 1” margins
1 printer (or access to one)
1 workshop folder
2 pinches fresh courage
1 p. constructive feedback for each classmate, unsweetened
17 tsp imitation tenderness
1-2 reams copy paper


Prepare for workshop by reading all assigned stories. Combine stories with constructive feedback and season with comments. Print all copies (coating both sides) and arrange in a layer in your workshop folder. Let stand overnight.

Place folder on classroom table and prepare for first writer to be workshopped. Instructor will ask who wants to start. Avoid eye contact until called upon. Refer to Creative Writing Workshop Guidelines for rules and criticize accordingly.

Roast your classmates’ pieces for 15-20 minutes each, interrupting occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil just around the edges. Crumble all hopes of publication, reduce heat, and sprinkle with imitation tenderness.

Discard excess comments (because the professor has now refuted them) by crossing and scribbling until words are no longer legible.

In a separate pan, prepare to roast your story. Cover (mouth), stare at the Starbucks cup across the table, and stir in 17 parts critical feedback from classmates. Increase heat until boiling, then add a pinch of courage and simmer. Hold tongue firmly when classmates don’t understand your story, and grin when they do. Take notes, especially when the professor speaks. Turn off heat and set aside. Cool for 1-2 days.

Place roasted and cooled story on a monitor. Review 17 pp. of critical feedback. Some drippings (not mentioned while roasting) will be helpful. Rearrange parts and season with fresh courage. Submit.

Illustrations: Natalie Kassirer

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