1. Chad Sanderson
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    Chad Sanderson Member

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    A little concerned and annoyed...

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Chad Sanderson, Feb 8, 2009.

    I love reviewing as much as the next guy. (If, well, he likes reviewing too.) But as a writer, reader, and reviewer, sometimes I find that a good bit of the reviews on this site are utterly unhelpful.

    Now, believe me, I am not talking about myself here. (Auto-biographical posts aren't really my thing anyways) I've only published one short story so far, and I thought the feedback was on a scale of one to ten: gray.

    Here is my reasoning: I love this site because of its policy of reviewing. I think it is an utterly fantastic idea. However, I think a lot of people are going about reviewing the wrong way. I don't think my way is right by any means, but I still know enough about editing to understand what is wrong. Now to my point--

    THE WRONG

    Far too many reviews I've seen are primarily concerned with grammar issues/sentence structure/word placement and (maybe) 10-20% content. Usually not even that. Is this a bad thing? Hell yes.

    Improving grammatically on a piece of writing is a must. No one will be able to make it as a writer with bad grammar, so it's good to correct that. However, an editor does not only seek to correct one aspect of a piece of writing. They seek to correct it as a whole. They are actually more focused on making the writer improve.

    Its sort of like that old saying--"If you feed a man a fish he'll be full for a day, teach him to fish and he'll be full for a lifetime." If all you do is correct random grammar mistakes, the author will only get better for that piece of writing. Sure, he may not make the same grammar mistake again, but you could be doing so much more.

    When reviewing, it is essential to examine the writing itself. What is the piece saying, what is the author trying to say, could they be explaining it better? Those are all questions good editors ask. It is then up to you to first examine the piece yourself, for content. Does it speak to you, does it hit you on an emotional, mental, or spiritual level. If so, why? If not, why? What would you say in their shoes? Would it impact someone else moreso than you? You should also be aware that the writer's audience may find their work more appealing than you. Consider that. Consider their audience. Do you think they hit the target?

    I'm being very long winded. That happens when I'm frustrated. All I'm trying to say is that a lot of reviewers don't spend the amount of time they should on a piece of literature. An editor should first check for purpose, then content, then grammar. The latter is far less important than the rest. Anybody could tell you that "mythological" only has one c. Anyone can say that the last comma is misplaced. But does that help the writer grow? Does it contribute to the feeling and purpose of the piece? No. It's just a waste of time.

    A lot of people already do this. I was just feeling a little irritated at those that didn't. :)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This has been brought up before.

    My own feeling is that a review should focus on the two or tree squeakiest wheels. Otherwise, the writer will only pay attention to the couple of things he or she wants to address.

    Many times, the SPaG is where te squealy wheels reside. There is little point diving into the finer points of writing if the mechanical aspects are shot to hell.

    But I have my style, and you have yours. As long as the critiquer is putting the effort in to provide an adequate levcl of detail, one person's approach is not "more right" than another. You don't get to dictate others' reviewing strategies.

    I will say the reviewer will get more out of the reviewing effort if e or she takes a step or two outside his or her comfort zone. If you're accustomed to fixing punctuation, take a stab at critiquing point of view consistency or how expressive the dialogue is.

    And worry a bit less about wheter the other reviewer has the same strategy as you.
     
  3. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Chad, I get where you are coming from, but consider this.

    Reviewing is a learning process for the reviewer as well. I think you will notice that many of the poor reviews on this site come from those with very few posts (new members). Keep in mind that those who are new to this may not be very comfortable offering advice, especially when they may be the ones most in need of it.

    I had never written anything serious in my life until just a few weeks before coming here. All I really have to go on is a lot of reading experience. As I learn and grow more confident I offer more suggestions. My reviews will improve as I do. When I first came here I was extremely uncomfortable offering any feedback. Who am I to criticise? Some of my suggestions may have been completely wrong. But I'm starting to see that I have a lot to offer in some cases. Not nearly as much as some members, but more than I had thought at first.

    The thing is that everyone has strong points and weak points. Maybe SPaG is really all that some people feel comfortable commenting on. Giving no advice is probably better than giving bad advice. You can't hold everyone up to this standard since not everyone is capable or confident enough to live up to it.

    Of course, some will just be half assed, but you get that everywhere.

    Aside from that - I invite you to demonstrate the perfect review by critiquing my own piece in the novel section:p.
     
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  4. Evil Ferret of Randomness
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    Evil Ferret of Randomness Member

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    I have the perfect way to paraphrase what Kas said... "Noobs can't review, now rate my stuff."
    XP


    I, one hundred percent, agree, Chad. Though I have yet to delve into the reviewing aspect of this site, and therefore have no opinions on it, I do believe that Grammar is relatively unimportant when next to Content. In the end, if the idea isn't good in general(An Idea that has no real audience), then there would be no point in offering Grammatical advice.

    More so, explaining the rules of Grammar when reviewing is important, as you had said. At least, thats how I interpreted it.

    ANYWAYS! Good job, and good day to you all!
     
  5. Chad Sanderson
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    Chad Sanderson Member

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    Cogito: Well, I never said my review style was perfect. Actually, in the beginning I said that I didn't think my reviewing style is right at all (For everyone). It does depend on the person and how they adapt to the piece of writing. And you're right there really isn't any need to dive into reviewing something if the mechanics need a lot of work.

    But...

    Saying that "not reviewing content" is a style is kind of weak. It really doesn't make any sense. It just doesn't. It's like offering the entree` and not the full meal. I'm not trying to make people change, but it would be nice if some were more aware of how to review. Please don't say that "there's not "one way to review, everyone has different styles." Everyone has a different way of writing too, but every sentence needs nouns and verbs and periods. Style comes from people choosing how to use what they have. Would you consider a piece of writing "good" if it had no subject or structure? (No)

    --

    Also, I know that a lot of people are new to writing and reviewing. Which is why I put this. It would be nice if they used a little bit more sense when reviewing, and I would think learning a few things that actual editors do would help them (and the writer) out. If anything, it would be nice to let new people know a few other methods that you could use to examine a piece. :D
     
  6. Mcarpenter
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    Mcarpenter Contributing Member

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    What you say has some merrit. We work together like a body though, if we work properly. Some are better at critiquing one area, so that's what they do mostly. Others are better at critiquing another area and should. I like to think of myself as the encourager/commenter of underlying plot, tone and thematic clues. :D With a mild interest in digging out your SPaG problems (and only if there aren't too many to drown in).
     
  7. Evil Ferret of Randomness
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    Evil Ferret of Randomness Member

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    Perhaps I'm just not familiar with the term, but I must ask... SPaG?
     
  8. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Spelling, punctuation and grammar.
     
  9. Evil Ferret of Randomness
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    Evil Ferret of Randomness Member

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    Thanks. :-D
     
  10. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I know how you feel Chad.
    That is actually my whole entire reviewing style.
    Understand the idea.
    Ask the writer their intent.
    Tell them about how I feel as an audience.
    Ask them certain things you know if their story doesn't click in my head.
    I don't do Grammar and I don't do SPAG.
    When I'm writing a novel, I just want to write it out because there is something as killing your story with editing.
    Edit killer.
    So all my review is based on the story itself, not the way it is formated.
    And certainly these are rough drafts so we can't expect professional work, we shouldn't expect that from people.
    We should be helping with the concept and the idea.
    To me that is a review.
    Not SPAG and Grammar.
    Sadly, there a few people here who think my style of reviewing isn't helpful, isn't strong enough, and isn't the way to review.
    And I don't agree with that.
    We should accept all styles of reviewing just the same as accepting all styles of writing.
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Cogito on this one: the squeaky wheel gets the oil. If you're getting a lot of SPaG comments, it's probably because you have a lot of SPaG problems to be commented upon.

    I haven't been through the review room in a while, but the few times I've been there, I've seen pieces that are so grammatically wrecked I don't even bother to review them because I know my review would be 90% SPaG. I love to discuss characters and plot and atmospere and all that jazz, so it's a major turnoff when I have to slog through mispelled words and lousy punctuation. I feel that if a writer can't take the time to fix these things, I shouldn't take the time to review their work. The purpose of the review room is to get a second (and third and forth and fifth...) opinion on what you've written. SPaG isn't opinion, it's FACT. I won't do what even the most mediocre grade school education should have done.

    Now, I can understand people make mistakes; I don't expect someone to catch every little slip-up. But I do expect a certain degree of effort. I don't even open threads that start with "I just thought this up last night and wrote it in a few minutes; tell me what you think." If you submit a piece that is riddled with SpaG errors, you're going to be inundated with SPaG reviews. If you submit something a little closer to completion -- something you've applied a dictionary and a grammar handbook to -- your reviewers may take the time to delve into its more complex aspects.

    The last piece I submitted was a 4,000 word "short" story I did a few months ago. Despite the length, I only got two or three comments about SPaG. And guess what, I got plenty of comments about the characters, plot, and themes. The higher the quality of the work, the higher the quality of the reviews.
     
  12. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Consider this. If the 'content' is not clear because of SPaG errors, then doesn't it stand to reason that those errors should be addressed first?

    We're not editors here. We're reviewers with very different levels of skill and some can't review on the level of an editor paid for his/her work. That leads me to another thought. Why complain about free advice? Anyone that reviews your piece does it in their free time and you should be grateful. If you don't like what you see, just ignore it.

    A far bigger issue on this site is one-liner reviews to get two reviews in.

    Should our already overworked admin team also scan perfectly fine, constructive reviews for all the aspects that a good editor would encompass and reject the ones that don't 'cut the mustard'?

    I think not.

    This is a fantastic site and resource for the new writer. If you would calm down and practice a bit of humility, and work with the process, you will find that our members will give you back far more than you could ever give yourself.
     
  13. Chad Sanderson
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    Chad Sanderson Member

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    1. If the content isn't made clear because of spelling errors, then that's entirely different. Cogito already said that and I agreed with him. Don't bring it up again. I'm talking about a fully functional piece of literature.

    2. We're not editors? If you edit a piece of work, you are an editor. A reviewer, is an editor, if that review is attempting to fix or help change an unpublished piece of writing. Being paid doesn't matter. There are certain things that every reviewer should at least know how to do. And if that's a requirement to post your own work (Which I really like) then don't you think someone should know how to edit just as well as write? Even moreso, since they're doing it twice as often?

    3. Who said anything about administrators cutting out reviews? I'm confused. I haven't proposed a solution because 1.) It's not my place, and 2.) I haven't been able to think of one. Just like writing, reviewing is subjective and there is some good and some bad. I was just thinking that if more people had a better set of "general" guidelines to go by, it could make things easier for everyone.

    4. You're correct. It is a free review. Did I ever say that if you only want to fix grammar, don't do it? No. I said that it would "better help the author" if reviewers spent a little more time on the content of the piece. Sure, its fine to get free comments, but I would think the entire purpose of submitting a piece of work to a "writing based website" is to get careful critiques. If I wanted a spelling or punctuation check I could just use my friends who don't write creatively. Even they know grammar.

    4. Your last comment is a little funny, and I originally wasn't even going to reply to it, but I have tried to be very humble actually. I'm telling the situation like I see it. I said I loved the site and I loved the concept, but this is an issue. Maybe you should stop being so defensive, and realize that, just with everything, there are some things that could be better.

    Edit: @Anony Mouse (I like the name, by the way)-- I didn't see your comment until after I had posted this, but I think what you're saying is right. Spelling and grammar is usually a "squeaky" wheel that reviewers focus on and try to improve. But if you can't bring yourself to look past the grammar, then why review it? And if that's the case, you will only be reviewing things that are well written and deep. If you don't think a piece goes any more than skin deep, then there's no reason to write on it any more. But if it hits (or misses) on any level, anything at all, it can be reviewed for content. Saying that a piece doesn't have good grammar is a poor excuse for not examining content, and its seems kind of unfair. That's not a style, that is a choice, and for the author, not a good one.
     
  14. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're quite confused.

    An 'editor' determines what will be in the final content of a text. Notice I said 'determines'.

    Now, a reviewer is giving an 'opinion' about possible changes. See the distinction? They have zero control over what you do with your story. Likewise, you can't dictate what they say in their review.

    You clearly have no idea what this site is about. Spend some time reading the various threads and you will soon see why things are done the way they are here.
    I looked at your story you posted. sorites spent a good deal of time reviewing it and, imo, did a splendid job of reviewing it. It rankles me a bit that you then post this after getting a very thorough and well thought out review. Like you've been short-changed or something.

    I'm sure it seems like one to you, but I assure you, the quality of reviews here are held in strict compliance and you need not worry. You just can't dictate what the reviewer says.

    This is the crux of my issue. You don't even realize how elitist you sound.

    We're all here to learn. If you would like a more experienced review, contact one of the forum leaders.
     
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  15. Chad Sanderson
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    Chad Sanderson Member

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    Oh my goodness gracious. You completely ignored the topic of the thread and started going in your own way for no reason. (How on Earth am I elitist? I was almost quoting Anony Mouse?!)

    "The last piece I submitted was a 4,000 word "short" story I did a few months ago. Despite the length, I only got two or three comments about SPaG. And guess what, I got plenty of comments about the characters, plot, and themes. The higher the quality of the work, the higher the quality of the reviews." I just said the opposite, and get bashed. Thanks.

    *sigh*

    A. What does the distinction between editor and reviewer even matter (here). Obviously no one is forcing anyone to change their work. Geez.

    B. It isn't about writing, learning to write, edit, review, and helping others to write better? Ok. You got me. I lose.

    C. How many time have I said that this wasn't about me? I liked my reviews. I even changed some of the story. I said it was gray, because I wanted a content examination, but it isn't what I got. But I wasn't complaining about it. Stop trying to put words in my mouth.

    D. Does an issue have to be big? Its an issue. It exists. There are lots of people that don't review content. Does it hurt the site? Did I ever even say that it did? Could it hurt it if content review was done more? That's all I'm saying.

    Please stop insulting me. It's getting annoying.
     
  16. antius777
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    antius777 Member

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    Statesboro, GA? Hmmm, I know an amazing writer from there...

    I agree with most of your concepts. I'll never bother harassing someone about their spelling and/or comma usage. These are minor issues that will eventually get resolved by continual writing efforts, further editing, or, well... the grammar police. No, it is the meat of the story, the essence of the tale that needs focused on. We are story-tellers; but are we telling a worthy story?

    Interestingly enough, it's an argument I've had before with this SAME writer from where you're located. "The Art of Writing VS. The Science of Writing." I fear this this brilliant author is so concerned with SPaG, so concerned with every word and its placement, that they fail to see the 'big picture' of the tale they're trying to tell.

    Much to think about here. My thanks to everyone...
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    An editor is expected to return a fully cleaned up piece of writing. If you want that thorough a coverage, you have to pay for it. On the other hand, a decent editor would never try to fix the more abstract aspects of writing, such as the plot development or a flat character.

    A reviewer, or critiquer, will focus on what he or she feels the writer most needs to attend to.

    Another type of reviewer hives a rating to a finished piece of writing based on a variety of criteria. As everything in the Review Room is by definition a work in progress (it is a workshop), we strongly discourage tat type pof reviewing.

    Keep in mind that you began this thread dictating what was the wrong way to review. If you find it insulting that people disagree with you, then consider whether you might be insulting people by the way you stated your position.

    And perhaps highligting that you are "annoyed" by differing reviewing styles was not a stellar choice.
     
  18. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Responding to the original post...

    I used to critique people's stories until I found out just how little many online writers seem to care about grammar and spelling, things they should have learned in basic school. I would spend literally hours pointing out mistakes they should have avoided or else gotten rid of BEFORE posting their work for review, only to have all my hard work brushed off with, "Well, thanks, I already know about all that stuff, I'm going to take care of it later, please just focus on the STORY!" (They would completely ignore the GOOD comments I did offer. I never, ever offered only negative reviews, but when there are so many errors to wade through, they're of course going to get most attention.)

    That taught me my lesson. I stopped critiquing. If beginning writers are going to be so careless about the basics, why should I bother focusing on their stories? If they care so little about the rules of writing, why should I believe they care enough to write a good story for me to focus on? (Why do they even post things with such errors if they "already know" there are mistakes? Wouldn't they have not committed these errors in the first place if that's so...?)

    The plain truth is, I CAN'T focus on what might really be a fantastic story if it's buried beneath piles and piles of horrific grammatical and spelling mistakes. As I already said, if there's such shoddy effort put into the basics, I'm hardly going to even believe there might be a good STORY under all that mess. The whole point of critique and review is to get rid of as many such errors as you can BEFORE posting. Don't post for review the first thing you just dashed off, stupid errors and all--polish it up, THEN submit it for comments. That way, it leaves the reviewer free to focus on the STORY. But lots of beginning writers don't seem to understand this, and they get so huffy when hardworking reviewers like ME can't focus on the story beneath all that drek.

    I mentioned this elsewhere a long time back. Say you have a lovely garden you spent a lot of time on. You direct me to the window to take a look at it for myself, but the window is coated with grime so thick I can barely see just how wonderful the garden is. For all I know it's full of weeds. Don't you think you should clean the window off before you ask me what I think of your hard work?

    Not that anyone is missing out on my reviews. *shrug* But I did work really hard on them and tried my best to be helpful, only to have it all brushed off as "unimportant." There are two sides to this story.

    ETA:

    But if you can't bring yourself to look past the grammar, then why review it?

    If you can't bring yourself to get rid of as many simple errors as you can before posting, then why post it?

    The only reason somebody will keep getting lots of "unhelpful" comments on their grammar and spelling, not focusing much on the "story," is if they need to learn the basics first. Otherwise it wouldn't be an issue and such comments wouldn't be so pervasive. Learn the basics, then seek critique. If you don't want comments on bad grammar/spelling, then you can either 1. fix them before posting or 2. not post at all. Simple as that.
     
  19. Evil Ferret of Randomness
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    Evil Ferret of Randomness Member

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    I don't have anything to add, so, I'll just say it, plain and simple... GOOD DEBATE!

    In order to avoid a one liner, I'm adding this sentence at the bottom. In order to avoid a two liner, I'm adding this. So that I may avoid a three liner, I'll state the Chad has been, in my opinion, the most convincing, in this debate, and that I completely agree with him! But, thats just my two cents...
     
  20. Chad Sanderson
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    Chad Sanderson Member

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    It's nice to see someone that understands this was a debate and not an argument. I respect everyone's points. But Cogito, when someone says to me. and I quote--"You clearly have no idea what this site is about.", calls me an elitist for no reason, ignores the comments "about the thread" and focuses on other things about me specifically, yes, I consider that a personal insult. If I'm supposed to expect insults when posting here, then I doubt I should do it at all anymore. It has absolutely nothing to do with what other people think.

    Disagreement is fantastic if no one gets offended, or starts offending.

    @Tehuti-- "I stopped critiquing. If beginning writers are going to be so careless about the basics, why should I bother focusing on their stories? If they care so little about the rules of writing, why should I believe they care enough to write a good story for me to focus on?" Because it isn't what you want. Just like everyone has been telling me, it isn't my place to determine what other people do, it isn't yours either. I understand you, believe me. A lot of people don't like my reviews because "it gives them too much to change" (Not the case, only suggestions.) But I can understand your decision to stop. That's kind of sad though, letting a good critique go to waste.

    And be honest, is there really that much "crap" here? Everyone makes it sound like they can't review content because every piece they look at is just teeming with grammatical errors and commas splices and who knows what else. I think that is a weak point.

    But here is a summary of what I have heard so far:

    Content reviewing can usually only be done if the writing is good
    There is too much bad writing on the site to content review
    Apparently the majority of work on the site is bad writing. (Or else it would be being done more, right?)

    I'm not trying to point fingers or say what anyone is doing is bad. Yes, it annoys me when people don't review for content. The same way most people have their pet peeves. But can you honestly say that it would "hurt" if people reviewed a little more for story instead of grammar? Would that be such a bad thing? And even if its not someone's style, would it be bad if that person was to step out of their comfort zone?

    What I'm saying is that it should probably be done more. Everyone else is saying--"No. People will review how they want. SPaG is fine." I'll bring this back to the writing comparison. If I said, "People need to use verbs in their sentences" and you said--"No. People will write how they want. Just nouns is fine." Wouldn't that seem a little silly? I believe it was garmar who said "We're reviewers with very different levels of skill and some can't review on the level of an editor paid for his/her work."

    Aren't we all writers too? Do we all write on the level of a paid author? Lord knows I don't. Do I still try to do my best? (With the tools I have) Hell yes I do.
     
  21. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    What kind of reviewer would I be if I looked past a piece's most obvious problems? SPaG is the most basic thing of all. Why should I ignore the fact that a writer doesn't have a grasp on the basics?

    Also, the mods on this site give you the right to edit and repost your work in the same thread. Fix the SPaG issues that people are pointing out and repost it. Check back later and you may start to see the in-depth reviews you're looking for. That's what I meant by "high quality writing = high quality reviews." I'm not asking writers to submit perfect, polished writing, but I am expecting them to fix these errors if they know they're there. My purpose as a reviewer is to let them know they're there. If you're getting more than one reviewer talking your head off about bad SPaG, it's because you didn't heed the advice of the FIRST reviewer -- it's because you're not increasing in quality.

    To me, reviewing content on a piece that has poor SPaG is like pushing a car that won't start to the paint shop. SPaG posts are like saying "here's a wrench; fix the mechanical issues, then we'll talk." And, yes, a basic grammar handbook and dictionary could spare us the trouble. I shouldn't have to hand you that wrench. And I certainly shouldn't have to get griped at when I do. (Not aimed at you, in particular, but at all the posters who whine about their SPaG errors being pointed out. You'd be surprised how often this comes up. I'm just as annoyed as you.)

    And, yes, this is my own rendition of Tehuti88's "garden and dirty window" metaphor. Don't bite me for grabbing the Windex.

    I somewhat agree, but allow me to make some minor changes:

    Content reviewing should only be done once the mechanics are solid
    There are too many writers on this site ignoring the mechanics, even after reviewers point them out
    Apparently the majority of the work on this site is a result of people who only hear what they want to hear from reviewers and ignore anything else

    Would it hurt me to review content on a poorly written piece? It wouldn't hurt me, but it would hurt the writer. S/he should be made aware that you can't get your point across when it's trapped under layers of SPaG errors. If I read a piece with lousy SPaG and then write a long critique about how much I liked the characters, that would be sending mixed signals. After the SPaG -- which I deem to be far more fundamental -- is fixed, I'd be happy to move on to character development. In a perfect world, writers would address SPaG before posting, so we wouldn't even have to go through that annoying little step here.

    Also, I've already said I love to review for content. I, for one, wouldn't be coming out of my comfort zone at all if there were only content to be remarked upon and no SPaG issues. I pray for the day this forum becomes a place where we can talk content day in and day out without having to wade through grammatical crap. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work that way. There will always be writers too uneducated, too lazy, or just too inconsiderate to fix these things themselves.

    Of course we don't all write on the level of a paid author. That's why we're working together to get there.
    Take what you get and give back twice as much. IMO, that's what it means to try your best.
     
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  22. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I want to ask a question.
    Have you ever just wanted to sit down and write a story?
    Have you ever just wanted to finish the story and worry about the SPAG and other problems later?
    And when you do put it up for people you want them to look at the content, the idea?
    That is why I put my stuff up and all I ever get is SPAG and grammar issues up.
    I think as a reviewer we should be looking at the whole picture not just some squeaky wheel.
    What about roof, the based.
    We should be looking at the whole house, not just the leaky faucet.
    And because they have leaky faucet not check every other part of the house.
    That is silly and ridiculous.
     
  23. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    But, it really doesn't matter what color the ceiling is painted if there is a six-inch wide crack in the foundation. If grammar isn't the foundation of good writing, what on earth is?
     
  24. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I think in one of these pages I put down another issue or concern.
    There is a such thing as editing your story to death.
    It's like a plant you give it to much water and it will die, no matter how many times you have watered it.
    I think good writing comes from not just the SPAG, but the rest of the house too.
    And I think they should be included.
    I don't think that sort of reviewing should be considered not reviewing or not helpful.
    I think the it's the whole house overall and not just that leaky faucet.
    Do you know how narrow minded that sounds?
     
  25. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Sorry that we disagree and that you apparently perceive me as narrow minded. I just don't equate SPaG errors with a leaky faucet. I see them more as the crack in the foundation.

    My first drafts are usually riddled with SPaG errors, but no one -- save my husband -- ever sees the first drafts. A chapter usually has at least three passes to fix the SPaG before it goes to the group/groups. I do that so that the readers may properly focus on the characters, conflict and style.

    I'm almost certain that no short story has ever been killed by a rudimentary spelling and grammar check.
     

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