Recently, I have gotten emails or comments from past writers on the written feedback that I had given them. These thank yous are not something I get very often, so it was a big surprise to me. It’s nice to have some appreciation shown every once in a while, and these comments definitely made my day a little brighter.
I attribute these thank yous to a technique in my written feedback process that I happened to use for few of my most recent feedbacks. Before the appointment, I had simply googled the genre they were working in . This isn’t a brand new technique, but one that I think we often forget to use, as tutors. I know I only do this when I’m completely unfamiliar with a genre. But sometimes, I even ask myself what really should be included in a literary analysis, or what the actual structure of one should be. Sometimes, you just need a little refresher of how something actually is, instead of that hazy recalling of what you believe it should be.
There is a lot of information out there on how a genre should be written. You can simply google ‘how a genre should be written,’ or hop on to our own writing center site and look for the Types of Writing Guides under Resources for Writers. Other writing centers also have help sites that outline what should be included in a certain genre or even what type of audience that genre typically aims for (I found the UNC’s writing center’s literature review page quite helpful when I needed it). All help sites differ in what they include, but the general point is to help you. Helping ourselves be a little more clear, will definitely help the writer when they need it!
In my own search, I was able to identify and pin point exactly what these writers were missing in their works. It could be that this feedback helps to remind the writer that they are writing in a certain genre that has specific guidelines and can also cause some brainstorming in the topic they are writing about.
So try it out. Don’t be afraid to refresh yourself or even acquaint yourself with the genres that are out there. Google away!