Before the writeshop, a steering committee lists potential topics and invites resource persons to develop first drafts on each topic, using guidelines provided. These participants bring the drafts and various reference materials with them to the writeshop.
During the writeshop itself, each participant presents his or her draft paper, using overhead transparencies of each page. Copies of each draft are also given to all other participants, who critique the draft and suggest revisions.
After the presentation, an editor helps the author revise and edit the draft. An artist draws illustrations to accompany the text. The edited draft and artwork are then desktop-published to produce a second draft. Meanwhile, other participants also present papers they have prepared. Each, in turn, works with the team of editors and artists to revise and illustrate the materials.
Each participant then presents his or her revised second draft to the group a second time, also using transparencies. Again, the audience critiques it and suggests revisions. After the presentation, the editor and artist again help revise it and develop a third draft.
Towards the end of the writeshop, the third draft is made available to participants for final comments and revisions.
The final version can be completed, printed and distributed soon after the writeshop.
Adapting the process
The writeshop process is very flexible.
- Output types. It can be used to produce many different types of information materials: a bound book, a set of leaflets, posters, press releases, radio scripts, training materials or curricula, research articles, and so on.
- Topics. It can produce materials on many different topics. Writeshops so far have covered topics ranging from agroforestry to veterinary medicine.
- Length. Depending on the type of output, the writeshop can last anything from a day or so to 2 weeks.
- Writing and editing. Again depending on the circumstances, participants can bring manuscripts that are revised and edited during the writeshop, or they can write the manuscripts from scratch during the writeshop itself.