1. AnDay
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    AnDay Member

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    Help - How should I review?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by AnDay, Apr 29, 2009.

    I've been on the site for a few days now. Getting to know a couple of you and reviewing some of the work on the site. I just ran into my first problem and didn't know where to go. Being new to the site I figured I would come here. I found a poem and noticed the thread was closed due to the fact that the author had not given at least two opinions of the works of others. I can understand this seeing how we need everyone to participate. I am very new to writing and I feel that I am no where near the level of giving my own opinions on the works of others. At the same time I would love your opinions on my own work as well so in the future I could givemy own opinions. What should I do?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you're writing, then i assume you're also reading... so, even if you can't offer any advice on the quality of the work being reviewed, you can at least say how it affects you as a reader, right?... so, go ahead and write the required number of posts, so you can then post your own work...

    welcome!

    love and hugs, maia
     
  3. Maroon
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    Maroon Active Member

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    mammamia is quite right.

    There's no one 'correct' way to write a review, and different reviewers bring different strengths to the table.

    You don't necessarily need to unpick all the grammatical technicalities of someone's work. Instead, look for stuff that really works - a great, clear description perhaps - and point it out. Critiques needn't be all about the bad.

    Keep your eyes peeled for anything you find confusing. Is there a point in the piece where you're not sure what's going on? Point that out! Are any of the sentences difficult to read? Does the dialogue sound realistic? Are the character's actions credible to you, within the context of the story? Perhaps most importantly: does it hold your attention?

    Start small and work up! Provided your critique is given with the intention of helping that writer improve, it's all good.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The purpose of the Review Rool is to learn to write Constructive Critiques. For a review to count, it does have to meet the requirements outlined in the linked post, but if you read te guidelines and make an effort, you'll do just fine.

    To understand WHY we require Constructive Critiques, please read this as well: Why Write Reviews Before Posting My Work?
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as the writer can get something out of it, anything you say is acceptible. If you like something, tell them why, if you didn't like something, say why and if you have any thoughts on how to do it better. After a while, you will develop your own style.
     
  6. Laverick
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    Laverick Member

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    The page here on Constructive Critiques is right on about how to critique. I had read review guides before, but when I started reviewing it was hard to remember what was valuable critique in comparison to what was too opinionated or vague.

    I find it much more difficult to write a good, ideal, review than it is to write a story. In reviewing you have to decide what you want to review. To me an ideal review has a focus, is quick and to the point. I don't pull off ideal reviews very often. I have a tendency to want to get a huge chunk done instead of bit by bit.

    I don't think of myself as very grammatical, but I do give what advice I can in that area. Misspellings I think a writer would normally catch the second time through. Sentence structure and if they happen to put the wrong word like, "There" instead of "Their" I would mention.

    Some writers I've seen mesh parts of sentences together without realizing they did it. It was a very funny sentence. I wish I could remember the sentence. I think it was like, "A big, angry the dog was barking."

    In content reviews, style is a very important part of writing. I think for reviewers who haven't been reviewing or reading that much they should stay away from critiquing style. It's already been mentioned that there are writers who want everyone to write like them.

    I do comment on style, because I think I have at least a vague understanding of it. I want to read something with a continuous flow, I want to read something with a plot matching tone, I want to read something that makes sense and builds in a way that makes sense. I love to read books that have a personality to tone. Styles is a lot of fun to work with.

    If I find something really confusing or it seems like the writer is having trouble I'll likely tell them to start with the basics- like setting. I fall back on books, usually those that would be considered literature, classics, etc...

    With style review I want writers to take it with a grain of salt, unless they're really struggling with something. It's hard to be objective about one's own writing and reviews, but you have to try.

    Other parts of content I look are in regards to flow and clarity. Organization, idea build up, leads, hangers, tags, etc...

    I do have some peeves: adverbs and (the Eyes/Hair/Height) list descriptions. There is a time and a place for everything. There is a way to use list descriptions well and a way to use adverbs seamlessly. Finding the balance is the challenge.
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Just find the things you thought were good and bad - obviously, but, furthermore, tell why they were like that. Why was that sentence so emotionally moving? Why was that word choice so awkward? Then the review is more useful than just "I liked the emotion portrayed in the fifth sentence", because the author now knows why it was so good, and he can use that technique in the future to improve his writing.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    hehe i dont think the OP has stuck around long enough to read these replies
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Even if he hasn't, hopefully the thread is useful to others with the same question. It's not the first time this has been asked, so I'm glad to see that it's right out here in the open.
     

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