1-Week Critique (1WC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit editing studio, which aims to provide literary education and pedagogical support to writers, whatever genre they are operating in, whatever their level of formal education, and regardless of the means by which they have found themselves compelled towards the literary arts.
1WC began in 2019, as a collaboration between editor and poet friends seeking to take part in and cooperatively develop honest, supportive and art-focused literary communities, open to the insights of writers from all backgrounds, experiences, and media.
As our name suggests, 1WC’s first and ongoing editorial service program allows writers of poetry and prose to submit short work, which is responded to by one of our editors within seven days.
While individualized editing remains the tried-and-true mainstay of our work, 1WC continues to experiment with, in order to establish, best practices for literary pedagogy.
We continue to adapt and expand as the studio develops new and changing relationships. Our current and forthcoming list of programs includes:
For longer works (i.e. long-form poems and complete manuscripts) please reach out to our editorial staff
An ongoing discussion of the development of individual works with their authors
Curated writing prompts in conjunction with relevant historical context and author biographies
A roundtable discussion, focusing on one piece of fiction at a time
Appreciations is a podcast highlighting the writing of young and emerging authors (those without a first book) and the amazing work literary journals do to support their growth into the literary community. The podcast highlights individual pieces by emerging writers. These pieces are selected from literary journals by the editors of peer journals, creating a daisy-chain of readership and acknowledgement and offering listeners the opportunity to connect with a variety of publications and authors-to-look-out-for.
Members teach writing once a week at the Iowa City Public Library's Teen Space.
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 prose piece 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 prose piece at a time. A writer may submit a draft of a single poem or piece of prose. Separate options are available depending on the length of the piece (see appropriate genre guidelines). The piece 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
Areas of Strength
consists of an analysis of why/how an area is perceived as strong
may include suggestions for incorporating this elsewhere throughout the piece
Areas of Weakness
consists of an analysis of why/how an area is perceived as weak
may include suggestions for possible improvement
Writers or works that may be of interest to read or study
A recommendation on how to improve the piece or questions to consider in revision
Our goal is to remain objective and provide incisive, clear and timely responses.
Pieces are read, considered, and responded to within 7 days.
Thorough feedback to submitters within one week.
For writers of any level, be they beginners or masters.