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Chapter SIXTEEN. Clarifications

The workshop is now essentially over, and with some attention the setting has remained safe for the author sitting like a fly on the wall. The balance of “power” in the room has tilted toward the reviewers while the author has remained passive. Lots of comments may have been made, some or most of them in discussion format and generated on the fly. The author last spoke when he or she read from the piece. Now it is time for the author to return to the circle, perhaps literally but certainly figuratively.

The author at this time can ask questions, request clarifications, or, depending on the culture developed within any particular workshop, ask for comments about specific passages or aspects of the piece. Almost always, this part of the workshop is quite short—most of the time only a few minutes are reserved for it. Though the ethos of the workshop is still in force, the clarifications phase is where one of its fundamental preconditions is dropped: The author and reviewers are interacting directly. A typical request for clarification is a request to repeat a poorly heard comment or to explain what was meant by a certain suggestion; sometimes it can be in the form of a question about whether an unmentioned approach to solve a problem with the work seems like it could work.


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