Get feedback from a writing pro on Shelter Island this weekend

Credit: Shelter Island Library, Shelter Island Reporter file photo. Inset: Jeff Baron, courtesy photo.

Credit: Shelter Island Library, Shelter Island Reporter file photo. Inset: Jeff Baron, courtesy photo.

“One of the best ways to get feedback on your writing is to hear it read for an audience.” That’s the philosophy of Jeff Baron’s Writing Workshop, which will take place at the Shelter Island Library on Saturday, March 19 from noon to 1:30 p.m. A light lunch is included.

Kids (ages 10 and up) and adults are invited to participate. The writing assignment, an entertaining one-page story about a specific situation, will be available at the library  on Saturday, March 12. Jeff will collect the stories at the beginning of the workshop, shuffle them and read some of them out loud for the group, without identifying the author.

Then Jeff will talk briefly about the story he has just read, focusing on the elements he likes and the questions he has about the characters and situation. He’ll provide specific suggestions to the author for the next draft. The feedback will not focus on grammar, spelling or style but on the idea.“In the entertainment business, we always have to think about grabbing and holding an audience from beginning to end.”

An award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced in 46 countries, Jeff is also the author of the HarperCollins “Sean Rosen” book series for kids. As a screenwriter, he has written prime-time comedies and dramas, and programs for Nickelodeon.

“I always seek out feedback on my own writing, and I always listen carefully, though I don’t always do what other people suggest,” he said. Jeff will encourage participants to take his comments as just one person’s opinion. Part of the fun of the workshop will be hearing everyone else’s stories and comparing your own reaction to Jeff’s. You do not have to submit a story in order to attend; you can come hear your fellow Islanders’ stories and guess whether they were written by kids or adults.

For more information, to sign up for this free program, and to receive the writing assignment, please call Librarian Jamie LaGasse at 749-0042, or just come to the library on March 19.