Writing, Community & Government

Writer’s Workshop: Feedback

Roxane Gay

Lesson time 08:39 min

In this writing workshop, Roxane speaks to Rose, a writer working to explore a pervasive societal issue in essay form.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Rose


[MUSIC PLAYING] - When it comes to receiving critique you want to keep a few things in mind. First of all, when it's done well, critique is not personal. They're critiquing the work, not you. They're not critiquing how you've lived your life or the content necessarily. They're critiquing how you communicate. And so you want to make sure to remember that as you absorb whatever the feedback might be about your writing. You never want to impose on the piece your own sort of worldview and what you think it should be because the writer generally knows what they think the piece should be. And so you have to critique it on its own terms. It's always important to make sure that you're highlighting both what works well and what doesn't. You always have to remind people that they have done something right. And there's rarely something you're going to be critiquing that has nothing redeemable about it. And so you want to lead with that. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Hey, I'm Roxanne. - Hi, I'm Rose. - Rose, it's great to meet you. Uh-- where are you from? - I'm from London originally. - Oh, OK. Excellent. Excellent. - Yeah. - I would love for everyone to be able to hear some of your essay. Would you mind reading a few paragraphs for us? - It would be my pleasure. A brilliant man is a man who uses his brilliance as a sick illusion to distract from where he is. It could be anything from blaming a lack of domestic responsibility on his brilliance all the way to someone like Harvey Weinstein whose ability to shout his brilliance over the screams of his victims is catastrophic. His brilliance is his power. And with the help of a culture that values that brilliance above all else, he is protected from ever having to answer for cruelty and destruction. - Excellent. So what was the impetus for writing this essay? - I was hearing Trump on TV a lot. And I was like, why is everyone being like, these men a great. - Mm-hmm. - Cool! Uh-- and so it started as an investigation into that - Mm-hmm. - And then as I was writing, I kind of got into the world of who is around them, making them great. - See, I always find it interesting when people explain their work to me, they oftentimes share the kinds of things they should have actually put into the work. - Mm-hmm. - And so this is a very strong essay overall. And I was particularly interested in the framing of the brilliant man because I think everyone knows this man who takes up all the oxygen in any given room, and you have to try and find a way to create oxygen for yourself. And there rarely is an opportunity to do so. And so to take your personal experience and connect it to seeing these sort of larger-than-life men who take up too much room and try to make those connections, I think a really strong impulse, and so that part works really well. - Great. - I really liked that you had this connective tissue of the brilliant man that you keep coming back...

About the Instructor

Bestselling author, professor, and New York Times columnist Roxane Gay has connected to readers around the world with her unyielding truth-telling and highly personal feminism. In her MasterClass, she teaches you how to own your identity, hone your voice, write about trauma with care and courage, and navigate the publishing industry. Learn how to document and narrate the world as you see it—and then demand change.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Roxane Gay

Bestselling author and cultural critic Roxane Gay teaches writing for social change and arms you with the skills needed to make an impact.

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