In this post, I have been asked to consider what I think of the “Creative Collaboration” activity presented in our last class. For those of you who maybe weren’t at that class for whatever reason, be it that you missed it or that you don’t actually attend this college, what happened is this: We were all given three copies of a short story we had each written. We distributed our extra copies to the other two members in our various groups of three, and all read the same story together. From there, we discussed the story, gave feedback, and repeated the cycle with the next one.
This was an interesting exercise because it’s not something I’ve done before. In the small groups I’ve participated in, we’ve always alternated reading different papers at different times, making pen marks on each other’s essays, and talking about each one after everyone has read all three. I had never even really considered the idea of everyone working on one work at the same time, and so this in-class activity was a bit of an experiment for me for that reason.
One thing that I think hindered a true test of this system is the comparison of what we were editing. Previously, I mostly edited drafts of essays, where grammar issues get marked and sentence structure is criticized. Better drafts come as a result. In this activity however, we were editing first draft fiction. Ultimately, there’s just less to do at this stage. Grammar and sentence structure have no bearing on the subject and most of the glaring problems are things the author already knows to fix. Despite that, I was still able to pinpoint some strengths of this style. Mostly, the unity of talking about one story all at one time provides more of a unified feel to the group than we otherwise often achieve.