The purpose of 1-Week Critique is to provide feedback on poetry or prose. As an alternative to BFA/MFA/PhD programs in creative writing (multiyear ventures), online writing workshops (of varying length and commitment levels), or other feedback-driven writing groups (such as online forums or in-person community-based gatherings), 1-Week Critique offers thorough feedback to submitters within one week.
Most journals offer publication or rejection without much commentary either way. Acceptances often contain praise but little in-depth reasoning. Rejections usually consist of either a stock rejection letter (sent to the majority of submitters) or a more personal rejection that notes a poem or story that was a contender but did not reach the level of acceptance. Personal rejections do sometimes include specific, though not often lengthy, explanations. This can be frustrating, baffling, to writers, particularly if they don’t have strong support (i.e., a thoughtful writing program or group to turn to).
Many literary magazines ask writers to familiarize themselves with representative samples of work they accept. This is predominantly achieved by reviewing online journals, select digital samples, a recent print issue, etc. While this advice is generally useful, completing background research for each journal takes time and yet, it can still be difficult to fully comprehend editorial decisions (whether positive or negative). Certainly, this phenomenon may be due to a number of possible factors: continual staff turnover, themed issues, opaque guidelines, private editorial staff meetings, etc.
Maybe the most difficult obstacle related to creative writing is subjectivity. As a writer it seems impossible to objectively see some of the weaknesses in your own writing, yet someone else can quickly and easily point out areas that could use improvement or pose questions for the writer concerning the direction the work appears to be interested in pursuing. This is where 1-Week Critique proposes to be valuable: a more objective option for writers interested in quick feedback.
A claim of complete objectivity is probably impossible; however, it is our goal to remain objective and provide incisive, clear and timely responses.
1-Week Critique offers extensive feedback on one poem or story at a time. A writer may submit a draft of a single poem or story. Separate options are available depending on the length of the piece (see appropriate genre guidelines). The poem is read, considered, and responded to within seven days. A response will consist of:
how the piece is operating:
the evident concerns of the piece
rhetorical strategies the piece incorporates to convey these concerns
ultimately, the connotations inherent in the work
2. areas of strength
1. consists of an analysis of why/how an area is perceived as strong
2. may include suggestions for incorporating this elsewhere throughout the piece
3. areas of weakness
1. consists of an analysis of why/how an area is perceived as weak
2. may include suggestions for possible improvement
4. writers or works that may be of interest to read/study
5. a recommendation on how to improve the piece or questions to consider in revision
Thorough feedback to submitters within one week.
For writers of any level, be they beginners or masters.
Our goal is to remain objective and provide incisive, clear and timely responses.
Pieces are read, considered, and responded to within 7 days.