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Toxic Feedback
Helping Writers Survive and Thrive
Joni Cole




UPNE
2006 • 168 pp. 6 x 9"
Creative Writing

$16.95 Paperback, 978-1-58465-544-2
$9.99 Ebook, 978-1-58465-872-6

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.



“Drawing on her experience as the leader of a long-running writing workshop, Cole addresses the delicate process of giving and receiving constructive criticism. She... [continued in Reviews below]”—Library Journal

How writers can make the best of even the worst criticism

All writers have stories of how some teacher, workshop participant, friend, or spouse gave them commentary that undermined their confidence and their writing. This “toxic feedback” has tainted feedback's reputation as a whole, causing too many writers to avoid or mismanage this valuable resource.

In the first book to focus on this vital but delicate dynamic, Joni B. Cole applies first-person experience, real-life teaching examples, and her own unique ability to entertain while reaffirming the many merits of feedback. Cole shows writers how to use feedback to energize and inform their writing at every stage of the process. For feedback providers, she delivers insights into constructive criticism and the difference between being heard and being obnoxious. Finally, she offers advice to workshops and critique groups on how to thrive in this collective experience.

In addition, established writers ranging from Julia Alvarez and Khaled Hosseini to Gregory Maguire and Jodi Picoult share their own feedback stories -- from useful to inspiring to deranged -- underscoring Cole's message that feedback plays a critical role in every writer's success.

Through a mixture of instruction, anecdotes, and moral support, Cole manages to detoxify the feedback process with humor and without laying blame, inspiring both sides of the interaction to make the most of this powerful resource.

You may read more about Toxic Feedback at the author's website here.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Drawing on her experience as the leader of a long-running writing workshop, Cole addresses the delicate process of giving and receiving constructive criticism. She offers helpful techniques for writers who want to respond productively to one another's work, incorporate such responses into their own writing, and perhaps even run their own workshops. Though the focus is on informal settings and exchanges among friends, Cole's suggestions are useful for students and teachers as well.”—Library Journal

“There is a time in the creative process when everything else falls away, including the need for feedback. It is a measure of Cole's own tolerance and intelligence about writing that she knows this. Everything she advises is designed to bring the writer to the point where feedback is no longer necessary. Until the point where each writer's own individual truth can become fully available, though, feedback remains an inescapable part of the whole writing process. I can't imagine a better guide to its rewards and perils than this fine book.”—American Book Review

“Despite the alarming title, young writers, about-to-be writers, maybe-writers, and dreaming-of-becoming writers will find a friend and ally in Toxic Feedback . . . the book is so helpful, likable and even kind that it deserves two thumbs (and the rest of those typing fingers) up." —Valley News

“[Cole’s] writing is very engaging, very friendly. She reminds me of some of my favorite writing authorities; Natalie Goldbery, Annie Lamott, and of course, Stephen King. And as these accomplished authors do, Cole actually imparts useful wisdom, not just on finding and understanding feedback, but on the general process of writing. ”—Blogcritics.org

“Drawing on her experience as the leader of a long-running writing workshop, Cole addresses the delicate process of giving and receiving constructive criticism. She offers helpful techniques for writers who want to respond productively to one another’s work, incorporate such responses into their own writing, and perhaps even run their own workshops. Though the focus is on informal settings and exchanges among friends, Cole’s suggestions are useful for students and teachers as well. When discussing the revision process, Cole reminds writers to sift through the various changes suggested by peers: ‘You are the boss of your own story.’ To critiquers, she preaches kindness, citing another instructor’s advice: ‘If I find myself frustrated or upset when I’m giving feedback, I stop, because if I don’t critique with love, they won’t understand what I’m trying to say.’ Though some points are repeated too often, as is the word feedback itself, Cole enlivens her compositional and pedagogic advice by interspersing interviews with writers on the order of Grace Paley, Khaled Hosseini, and Jennifer Cruise. These segments, along with many other portions of Toxic Feedback, can stand alone and would spur discussion in any writing group. Strongly recommended for academic libraries and public libraries supporting writers.”—Leora Bersohn, doctoral student, Columbia Univ., New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.



Author Photo

A professional writer and editor, JONI B. COLE is creator of the “This Day” series, including This Day: Diaries from American Women (2003) and This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America (2005) and Water Cooler Diaries: Women across America Share Their Day at Work (2008). She is a writing instructor and frequent speaker at universities and writing conferences around the country, and co-founder of the Writer's Center of White River Junction, Vermont.



Wed, 17 May 2017 12:51:20 -0500