Monday, November 3, 2014

Sandwich Day! ~Suzy Leopold

May I serve you?

Today is Sandwich Day!

You may just want to grab a breakfast sandwich while you read this post. Or maybe it is lunchtime and you want to bite into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Suppertime? No problem. Sandwiches are good choices for a supper meal, too.

English history states that John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Montagu spent many hours gambling in London, England. In 1792, Montagu created a way to remain at the gambling table for long periods of time without stepping away to eat a meal. John Montagu placed meat between two pieces of bread and enjoyed his sandwich while continuing to wager his bets.  
Are you hungry?
Why am I talking about the 4th Earl of Sandwich and making you hungry for a yummy sandwich? 

Perhaps you have heard of the sandwich approach. It is a common method and an excellent way to share feedback for many purposes. The sandwich method is an approach that states a negative statement in between two positive comments.  
Homemade bread
The two slices of bread represent a strength, something noted as positive. Cheese, lettuce and a slice of tomato, the ingredients inside the sandwich, depict an area for improvement.
Soup and Sandwich
Belonging to a critique group is a very important part of the writing process. Good critiques offer support to the a writer’s manuscript by giving and taking

Giving a Critique

The sandwich method is used by writers to share a critique by offering encouragement, constructive criticism, and suggestions for improvement with a manuscript. 

Begin by stating something positive about the manuscript. Always begin a critique by noting something that you like. Point out what is working in the manuscript. Next, offer two points for areas of improvement. Make suggestions, while being polite and respectful. Be specific. Keep the critique friendly. The writer accepts or rejects any criticism. Follow with another strength and a positive comment of what you like about the manuscript. Sandwich the feedback with praise.

Thus you have a sandwich. Two pieces of yummy bread depicting what is positive in the manuscript. The sandwich fixins’ will need just a little bit more; some more work and more revisions.

Receiving a Critique

Listen without interrupting or defending your writing. Don’t just hear; listen carefully. Listening to the positive comments or the two pieces of bread is always encouraging. You may feel that your manuscript is polished and ready for submission because you have put forth so much time and effort revising it and then revising some more. However, it likely needs some improvement. Receiving criticism can be tough. You may have thought the luncheon meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes of the sandwich were already tasty. After the critique is complete, the writer can now ask questions. Perhaps a clarification is needed or even additional information.

After listening to the critique, let your manuscript sit for a day or even a week before thinking about making some changes. Time for the real work to begin. Remember the suggestions for improvement are to support your writing and to make it the best it can be. The critique is not about criticizing you as a person. Listen and learn. The more you listen, rewrite, and see improvements in your writing, the easier it is to accept criticism from critique partners. 

A critique group or partner should be someone you trust and someone who can support you in preparing a manuscript that is ready to submit. 
A Critiqued Manuscript
Soon you will have a sandwich. Your hard work will come together into a delicious sandwich. Not just any sandwich. It will be a scrumptious manuscript made with fresh bread and sandwich fixins’ of your choice. It will be the best sandwich ever and you will know it is time to submit. It will be so tasty!
A Veggie Sandwich
My sandwich of choice is two pieces of crusty sourdough bread cheese, garden lettuce and arugula, homegrown tomatoes and dill pickles. Oh, and just a squirt of mustard, please.

What is your favorite sandwich?


  1. I am grateful...for my critique group and your helpful post. I am also aware that I should have eaten breakfast before reading it--off to make a breakfast sandwich!

    1. Hi Pat: I am grateful to be a GROGer as I learn and grow with all my writerly friends. Hope your breakfast sandwich satisfied your hunger after I enticed you with delicious sandwiches. ~Suzy

  2. Excellent analogy, Suzy! And I liked that history lesson, too!

    1. Hi Tina: Teaching students analogies is an excellent highter order thinking skill that I found my students could better connections to the facts and concepts of a lesson. Since you enjoyed the history lesson, here is another great lesson from Reading Rockets. ~Suzy

  3. My fav sandwich is simple old grilled cheese with dill pickles, Suzy. Great way to structure the post today and those sandwiches look divine.

    1. Hi Kathy: I'll think of you today when I munch on a grilled cheese sandwich with homemade bread. A crockpot dill pickle that Perry put up, from our garden, will be served with the gooey goodness. Enjoy. ~Suzy

  4. Thanks for this post, Suzy. I was taught the sandwich approach to critiquing and think it's a great method to use.
    Being from Chicago, my favorite sandwich is an Italian Beef, no pep, dipped. (Chicago lingo for "with gravy but no sweet or hot peppers").

    1. My hubby says the true Chicago way to order my Italian beef is "wet, no pep." I stand corrected. But "wet" is just one of those words for me. Like "moist".

    2. Patty: Learning about the sandwich approach to critiquing is new to me. I know it is an excellent method to use in many situations. There is always room for improvement and there is always something positive to say. I find it interesting how sandwiches are regional: sub, hoagie or grinder Thank you for sharing your favorite Chi Town Italian Beef that is wet, no pep. ~Suzy