Arun Anantharaman

What was your intent in signing up for the BWW? Would you say your intent was met?
Intent was to practice and get some discipline to my writing, learn a few things in the process on the art/craft of writing. The intent was met. In addition, it’s been great to see a community develop as a part of this process! I hadn’t quite expected that when I signed on.

What were your key take-aways from the workshop? Which of the sessions/discussions/topics covered did you find most beneficial to you?
I liked most of the readings that were selected. The different themes each of the readings addressed was great. I liked the way the in-class feedback process was setup and the way it worked. It was very helpful to get critical feedback from everyone. Rheea and Bhumika, I think both of you also have a great eye for what works and what doesn’t, in a piece of writing.

Most of all, I liked it that you set it up so that people had to submit two pieces of 2000 words. That made sure I wrote something substantial and forced me to work against a deadline. 

Don’t think I can call out any specific session as being more beneficial than another. The readings/session on mythology, Sweetheart please die, and the Murakami story were ones I found particularly interesting.

Are there any other topics/methods you would like incorporated in the workshop?
Yes, I think the rigor around the in-class exercises and post-class exercises can be beefed up a bit. An earlier online course that I had taken made me work on specific types of writing (without having to write a full piece). For instance there were exercises like “write two paragraphs that bring out conflict”, “same situation from two different points of view”, “a couple of paragraphs that make use of all the eight senses”. While we had a few similar in-class exercises (such as the one on nature and the one on writing a letter to someone), I felt we could have had a few more of those and also this wasn’t taken seriously enough. One reason being it’s difficult to write something off-hand during class, and since people didn’t take it seriously, it was not followed up post class. My main suggestion would be to have a few more such exercises and enforce some rigor around it. Particularly during the 2nd half of the course when people are beginning to lose steam.

How would you rate your Facilitators? Please give specific feedback to both.
Rheea Mukherjee – Highly appreciated your feedback for the submissions, and the thoroughness with which you went through the pieces. Also liked how you were able to bring in perspectives on your own journey as a writer, and the associated ups/downs.

Bhumika Anand – Loved the way you made it a point to focus on grammar. That certainly ensured that I looked through my own submissions (and others’) more carefully. Also, you have a knack of playing a bit of a devil’s advocate which is very valuable in a workshop setting.

For both of you, 1) I liked the way you managed the time and the discussions during the workshop sessions. 2) Both of you have the knack of getting us to think about our own critiques. I felt (though I might be mistaken J) that my critiques got better in the latter sessions. 3) Liked it that you got Mahesh for one of the sessions.

Would you recommend the workshop to others? How would you rate the BWW, on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the highest?
8.5 (since that’s what you gave me for the piece I submitted). Ah, the sweet taste of revenge! ;-) No seriously, loved the workshop. Would totally recommend it. And I hope you can keep this going, and we can sustain this nascent community!

Any other feedback/suggestions for improvement/criticism…
You may want to consider a one week break after the first four classes. I think 8 consecutive Saturdays is difficult for people and it’s get a bit hectic. So a breather might help.

You could also consider substituting a few of the stories/pieces in the course book with something else. Specifically Dictee, one of the Raymond Carver pieces, and one of the African stories.

And yep, looking forward to the “advanced workshop” and maybe even a “poetry workshop”.