Laverne's Radio Writing Workshop


Lexington Community Radio 
WLXU 93.9 FM
Laverne’s Radio Writing Workshop

A process designed to encourage dialogue when critiquing writing.

Based on Liz Lerman’s book, Critical Response Process

All writing counts. Talking about writing counts. When we write, we have something to say and a desire to be heard. In 1990 I started the Working Class Kitchen for the purpose of creating an arena for writers to read their work.

Today, I explore workshopping writing on the radio. A risky thing to do. But the willingness to take risks is what makes a writer successful. Workshopping our word on the radio creates another arena to share not only what we have written but also our process.

This gives the listener the experience of our work on a deeper level. With a focus on making statements of meaning and asking questions dialogue occurs and a deeper understanding or what a writer intends to say is gained.

There are four writers gathered to talk about writing. Let’begin by introducing our selves and a brief comment on where we come from.

I’m Laverne Zabielski
I come from
the daughter of Methodist missionaries 
the son of Catholic, Polish immigrants
kiełbasa, whiskey and golumki

I come from sewing machines
fried chicken Air Force bases
cotton fields, fences, flat roads and drought

take one day a time, mother said
What do you think I’m made out of?
Money? Daddy asked

I come from seven kids
1 pair of shoes each
cub scout meetings cost 10 cents
the whole house searched for that dime

Meaning is at the heart of our writing.

Step one: Statements of meaning

What has meaning for you in this piece? What did this piece mean to you?
What spoke to you? What was significant? What was stimulating? 
What was provocative? Surprising? Evocative? Memorable? Touching? Challenging? Compelling? Delightful? different? Unique? 
Nothing is too small to notice.

The more focused the writer on their questions, 
the more intense and deep the discussion becomes.

Step two: Writer as questioner

What would you like more of?
Where should I expand?
Did it work when….?
How did you experience….?

When defensiveness starts, learning stops.

Step three: Neutral questions for responders

Informational and factual questions
Form opinions into questions. “It’s too long” can become “Why are your pieces so long?”

Maintain dynamic and challenging dialogue

Opinions can often feel like objects thrown at us.

Step four: Permissioned opinions

Name the topic. As permission.
I have an opinion about the setting. Would you like to hear it?