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Chapter TEN. Shepherds

A shepherd is an experienced author who is helping another author prepare for a writers' workshop. Shepherds are an important part of the software patterns community and culture, but they are not as significant a part of the creative writing workshop culture.[28] A shepherd typically reads a piece about a month before it is workshopped and provides advice on how to get it in shape. Often, the shepherd is part of an acceptance process for the workshop: The shepherd works with the author and makes a recommendation to the group responsible for inviting authors, so there is often a deadline associated with shepherding.

The shepherd is part of the overall workshop culture—the shepherd and author are exchanging gifts in the same spirit that drives the writers' workshop. He or she is perhaps one of the first outside readers for a work destined for the workshop. The relationship, though, is more clearly and narrowly defined. The shepherd is an acknowledged, experienced writer in the genre who also has significant experience in the writers' workshop, perhaps as a moderator or leader. The interaction will be brief but sharply directed. Although some publications use shepherds to help the author revise the work until it's done, the shepherd as described here is helping the author prepare the work for the workshop.


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