Workshop instructors Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith take a different approach to coaching writers:
“We do critiques at first because people want them. We time the critiques and give rules:
If you liked this and would have bought it as an editor/reader, then say that and nothing else.
If it’s not your genre or your kind of story, say that and nothing else.
If you would like it and would buy it if x, y, and z were fixed, then say that.
And say what you believe is strong about the story. No grammar nits.
You have only one minute in which to say all of this. If you go over, you get cut off. If you’re under, that’s good.
Then we teach them how to read like editors/readers. If they don’t get caught by the beginning, they don’t have to keep reading.