Melanie Stiles

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The Sprinklings 

Do You Want to be a Sprinkling?

The Inklings were a bi-weekly gathering of gifted writers who met in Lewis’s rooms or in a particular pub in Oxford, England. They discussed their own literary works, provided mutual support and offered general encouragement to one another.

We do not have a pub at Camp Allen, yet the atmosphere is cozy, casual and inviting. We wanted to take advantage of this ambiance and extend an invitation to you to join The Sprinklings as part of your Creating in Community experience at the C.S. Lewis Retreat.

What The Sprinklings Have to Offer…

  • A feedback session for writers who are serious about improving their work.
  • A fresh perspective.
  • A safe place to try out new ideas.
  • Support, encouragement and motivation to continue your writing journey.
  • Conversations with published authors regarding the craft and business of writing.
  • A chance to form many lasting relationships with others of similar gifts and passions.

 Sprinkling Meeting Procedures

  1. You will be sharing within a small group. Please bring at least five copies of your work – one for another group member to read aloud, one for the Group Facilitator and the rest for your group members.
  2. Our time slot will be divided equally among all participants. For this reason, we recommend you bring no more than 5 typed double-space pages for review and critique to each session. Please note: Due to natural conversations arising with each person, we are not guaranteeing we can completely critique any particular work

Sprinkling Guidelines for Critique Sessions

Prior to reading…..

The writer begins by requesting what type of feedback is being requested. Categories might include: general correction or direction, solving a particular challenge or identifying a specific concern.

Examples –

  • Is this project worth pursuing? Do you see relevance?
  • Is my character relevant to my story line?
  • Is my scene description clear and concise?

Next, The Work is Read by the Author

The Sprinklings and Group Facilitator will be listening attentively and taking notes if it helps with the critique.

First Feedback Round

The First Feedback Round should be centered on the best aspects of the piece. Please be as specific as possible with your comments. “I liked your story”, is certainly flattering, but not as helpful to writers as, “Your character’s energy shows in the scene where he confronted his boss.”

Second Feedback Round

The Second Feedback Round will focus on the phrase: “This piece might be better if…”

As you, The Sprinkling, comment, please be thoughtful of time allowances. Keep your statements directed toward the piece rather than the writer and their skill. Because we are all unique individuals, it is completely appropriate to disagree with another’s point of view; however, Sprinklings are polite and not confrontational in expressing a different opinion.

If you’ve taken notes during a reading, feel free to give them to the author after the critique. They would be greatly appreciated.

Final Note

The ultimate goal of The Sprinkling’s gathering is to emulate the original Inklings group by developing relationships that move past the C.S. Lewis Retreat. Be sure to find a writing buddy you can communicate with until you meet them face-to-face again next year!



Melanie-StilesMelanie Stiles is an AACC certified Christian Life Coach who loves working with experienced, new and aspiring writers. She has written freelance material for years, accumulating hundreds of bylines with her contributions of nonfiction articles, anthology works, award-winning poetry, devotionals and Christian development/leadership training materials to various publications and organizations. She has been privileged on many occasions to be invited to judge poetry in Texas statewide contests, to speak/teach at multiple writing conferences, to facilitate the WLG Writers Life Group (100+ membership) in Houston, TX and more. Her book, The Heart of a Ready Scribe, is a 2012 Indie Excellence Award Finalist and continues to be well received by the writing community.


Thank you to our sponsors!

Bethel University Seminary