Giving Feedback – Ugly Babies & Oreos!

February 10, 2015 by No Comments

Giving Feedback - Ugly Babies & Oreos!

Perhaps the most important thing we do at West Lothian Writers is give each other feedback at our meetings every fortnight. However, giving feedback is far harder than you might think. When reading a story it is very easy to say whether a story is good or bad, it is harder to give the reasons why and how the writer could improve without trying to re-write their story or poem for them.

We have been trawling the internet and have found a couple of articles to help you give feedback on someone else’s writing. Click below to find out how Ugly Babies and Oreo’s help you achieve this.

Ugly Babies

In his book Creativity, Inc. – Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Aspiration, President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation Ed Catmull described the early stage of your writing as an “ugly baby“. His reason is at the early stages your baby is far from beautiful as it still needs a lot of work and anyone giving feedback should keep this in mind.

Marcy McKay on the Positive Writer website, which is where I found the above quote in her article How To Give Constructive Writing Criticism (That Actually Helps) provides, in the same article, three ways you can provide feedback without hurting your follow writer. They are:

  1. Use Candor, Not Honesty
  2. Candor Isn’t Cruel
  3. Start with the Positive

Head over to Positive Writer to read the reasons behind each of Marcy‘s points.

The Oreo Method

Joe Bunting on The Write Practice has a similar set of advice in his article How To Stay Popular in a Writers Group however, his has a far more sweet name – The Oreo Method.

The name comes from the fact that his method has a similar structure as an Oreo – the outer areas are made of the same thing with a difference middle – and it looks like this:

  • Give Positive Praise
  • Give Constructive Feedback
  • Give More Positive Praise

Head over to The Write Practice to see the reasons behind Joe‘s method and an example of how he would deliver constructive feedback.

What is your favourite way of receiving and/or giving constructive feedback?

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