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Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive
by Joni Cole
University Press of New England, 2006
Paper: 978-1-58465-544-2 | eISBN: 978-1-58465-872-6 | Cloth: 978-1-58465-543-5
Library of Congress Classification PN171.P83C66 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.02019

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.

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