Friday, May 1, 2009

What is the writing group? And why am I in it?

Most papers which are accepted to EuroPLoP are accepted in Writers Workshops. Papers which are reviewed in these workshops will be included in the conference proceedings. (I blogged about this last year, Will my paper be included in the proceedings?)

A few papers are instead accepted into the Writing Group. Indeed some authors request their papers are put into the Writing Group instead of the Writers Workshop.

Papers are directed to the Writing Group when the reviewers feel the paper is not ready for a Writers Workshop. Perhaps the paper is not clear enough, perhaps the author is new to patterns and didn’t quite “get it’ or perhaps it just needs more work.

The authors of these papers are assigned a Shepherd at the conference and another round of shepherding occurs. Since I became chair I have arranged for this to start on Wednesday afternoon and it continues through Thursday and Friday until Friday evening.

During this time the Shepherd meets with the author to discuss the paper and potential improvements. Unlike the original shepherding this occurs face-to-face at Kloster Irsee. The author then spends time editing and reworking the patterns. They meet and discuss as often as they need to – and can find time to.

On Friday evening the author submits a revised version of the patterns and there is another short review. If the patterns have improved the paper may be accepted for a Writers Workshop on the Saturday. In some cases a section of the paper is accepted but not the whole.

For a while it was common to accept just about any patterns from the Writing Group into the Saturday workshops. We stopped that a few years ago and its a very real review now and papers do get rejected.

The papers, paper sections and patterns that are accepted in the Saturday Writers Workshop will be included in the proceedings like all the others.

The Writing Group is not “second best” its just another way to improve papers, that is what EuroPLoP is all about.

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