1. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    review terror

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by penhobby, Jun 21, 2008.

    I have been on the forum now for about a month and find that I cannot give an in depth review. I have tried on several occasions and chickened out. Why am I so terrified of this and how can I overcome it.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Some people begin by telling the writer that they feel unsure about reviewing. It takes some of the pressure off.

    Don't worry about saying something wrong, unless it's disrespectful. Personal remarks directed at the writer are disrespectful.

    Remember it's an opinion you are offering, and the writer need not follow your recomemndations. Remember above all that what you are trying to do is offer some ideas for the writer to consider trying, to see if they improve the piece.

    Rememebr that you are helping the writer.

    And if the writer doesn't take your comments well, that is on his or her head, not on yours. You will find writers who only want to hear how wonderful their writing is. When you cross paths with one, don't argue the point. Just walk away and find someone more appreciative.

    Just like writing, reviewing is a skill that requires practice to learn to do well. The more often you attempt it, the more easily you will learn to spot trouble spots. Also, you will begin to see soime of the areas your own work can be improved.

    You can step one toe at a time into the waters, getting acclimated gradually, or you can take a running leap and get that first cold shock out of the way, Either way, you'll soon feel at home in the swim of it.

    Have fun with it! And stretch your creativity.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Pen,

    I have a friend here on the site who felt the same way. I gave him cart blanche to write a review on one of my pieces of work. I knew this person was leary of really going all out, so I kinda took the person under my wing. I told him, "Go for it. Anyone tries to trash what you say, send them my way!" I'm pretty new to the process as well, so I understood how he felt completely!!

    Just ask someone. Tell them you are new and just starting out. This is a really nice bunch of people here. Lack of courtesy is not tolerated. I think any person here would feel honored to know that you were giving your first real shot at a review to their piece of work. I know I felt great helping someone out.

    Wrey
     
  4. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    Well I did it... and I screwed it up royally. *sighs* Don't worry, I'm not giving up yet.
     
  5. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I was so nervous my stomach was cramping. I'm not kidding! I'm going to bed and sleep on it. I'll try again in the morning.
     
  6. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    Don't worry I get this too. I am literally terrified everytime I post a review that either the writer will come back disagreeing with everything I say, or that someone else will read my review and post a comment saying 'what Scribe Rewan said was competley wrong, he knows nothing about English or writing.' But like Wreybies said, it feels great helping someone out, and there are times when people will point out something you've said and not agree with it, but it doesn't matter. It's scary until the person whose work you reviewed replies with something like 'Thank you so much that was really helpful!!'
     
  7. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    penhobby I began like that and i have in the past received pm's abusing me for the reviews I have made on peoples work as well. Saying I was too harsh and I have no rights to review people's work on this forum because I know nothing at all.

    But honestly, don't worry. If you ever have concerns about your reviews, simply send myself a PM or one of the other active reviewers a PM and we will be more than happy to take a look at the review for you. And if anyone ever has a go, let us know. We are all here to help and more than happy to help out. :)

    I am a reviewer here, and not everything I say is correct. To me it might be, but not to the writer of the piece. At the end of the day it is our thoughts and opinions and they ALWAYS help out. Don't be scared to offer help. Helping others on here gains you a lot of respect.
     
  8. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    I'm that newbie hes talking about! :D

    Yeps, Wrey was a great help when it came to learning how to review. We sort of tag along and "Review/Read" each others work as it progresses and it's very easy once you get into the feel of being a reviewer. Asking a friend for help is always an option :)

    Gracias Wrey!! :cool:
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    See, Pen?

    Kid from New Jersey. Dude from Puerto Rico. Nothin’ in common but a love for writing. Just chillin’ up in the forum, helping one another out! Sounds like a movie that should have Will Smith in it, right? Well, it should! :D

    If this is not your first web forum for writing, then I know from where you might have gotten your fear of reviewing. I have been in other forums where reviews from newbies were either completely ignored, as if they weren’t even there in the thread, or else they were treated to the following:

    “Newbie! Did you touch my pricelessly perfect piece of literature with your grubby newbie-fingers? I pray to God that you wore gloves! Penicillin! I need penicillin! And someone take this newbie from our presence immediately! How awful! Now, I do believe someone over here was in the middle of lavishing endless praise upon me. Please continue.”

    We’ve all seen it, and it is just uncalled-for.

    Welcome to the Good Web Forum! Reactions like that are quickly and justly given the cold shoulder by every and all. We do not tolerate that crap. And anyone who persist doesn’t last long with an active account.

    Go for it, Pen! We’re all in this together.

    Wrey
     
  10. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    HA! You did not just pull that High School Musical motto on us :rolleyes:

    Although, I want Chuck Norris in our movie :D Some random roundhouse kicks are never bad lmao
     
  11. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I think my major issue with this, is my own self-doubt, which can be devastating to my creative writing process. A review done the wrong way (harsh criticism only) has the ability shake my confidence to its core, completely shutting down my desire to write. On the other hand, a well-executed review (encouraging constructive criticism) allows me to see my mistakes all the clearer, and thus I learn from them. What terrifies me as a reviewer, is the idea that I could be the catalyst that shuts down someone’s creative yearning to write. And, that I may not be qualified enough to judge someone else’s artistic work. Reviews are very important to me personally, which is why I think it scares me.
     
  12. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Then review something you are very familiar with, lets say you like fantasy you can add your likes/dislikes of the story like cliche parts or the story advancement maybe?
     
  13. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    LOL Wrey! Okay I'll ask for help. I placed my first review last night. If someone could go look at it and give me a helpful critique I would appreciate it. It is the short story in Humor called 'first day'.
     
  14. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Thats the spirit! :)
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, just look at your own post here. You obviously understand that a good review needs to be balanced, the good with the bad, in order to be encouraging as well as constructive.

    Follow your own lead!:D
     
  16. Samswriting
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    Samswriting Senior Member

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    @PenHobby

    Allo :) So i popped onto this site a few days ago, responded in a few posts here and there, said hello, and made my way to the review wing... my first review was "hrm that first line is odd, not sure but its just not compelling" or some such.. (I'd direct you to the post by Wildflower "Character Letter" or some sort... )

    My first post was simply this one tiny piece isnt working for me, i'd never try to blow that over as a review...

    Then I found something I felt I could go into more depth about something I felt was more up my ally something I knew better, and I was able to give more and better feedback. I did so on a few post that where in a genre' of writing I felt "more" comfortable with responding to.

    Then I went back to Wildflower's post and even said "ok I've stretched my fingers, let me try to be more helpful"

    Now I dont get tied up in knots, i just dont nkow where to start or how this forum with vast resources and amazing skill as well as experience, is going to take to some new, undereducated, unpublished nobody, giving reviews. Heck our favored 12 (almost 13) year old (Lucy E) has a far better command of the intracacies of the english language than I ever will.

    I AM intimidated when I see these reviews where people are saying "English grammar rule number 7 clearly states when you use whom, after hither, before wither, thou shalt lastly capitalize E before I but only if its next to C after the letter W" OMG I didn't know that... I'm an idiot... then I think... No.. now I know something more and have become better for it.

    I must say, I'm brilliantly dumbfounded at the two PM's I got related to some of my reviews, I cant believe anyone would take my reviews and have it mean something.

    Now I know eventually someone will take odds, call me an imbecile and insult my intellect, this is a forums after all. But man it feels good to watch someones work and know I had some small part in sparking a bit of imagination that made it a bit better. I could care less if they take my suggestion, or if it sparks a moment of genius for them that makes them write the next NY Best seller. Its nice to know I was able to watch it happen.

    So get out there and review.

    If I post and you review my stuff, I'll tell you thanks, good bad or ugly, I want and need the criticism. I think we all do, if we really want to grow.
     
  17. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I would like to attempt another review, either tonight, or in the morning. I was thinking of critiquing something in Sci-Fi, because I love this genre. I would be very grateful if someone would allow me to send my corrections to them, before I post. Also, is it okay to critique writing style, if it doesn't sound right to me? Or should I just keep to the basics, grammar and punctuation?
     
  18. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    your review of that piece was fine penhobby. I took a look lastnight and it seemed just fine to me.
     
  19. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    Yes it;s ok to criticise someones style, as long as you do it nicely. Someone called my writing dry, did I mind? Nope! It just got me thinking about how to write more excitingly.

    The problem I found with reviewing is I end up apologising for the corrections I make, even if it is a genuine probelm that everyone would point out in a reveiw. I seem to write as though it's my fault that the writer has made that error, not thats it's anyone's fault at all.
     
  20. Samswriting
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    Samswriting Senior Member

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    I think as a whole humanity doesn't like to point out the errors of someone's way. So we apologize, for doing so. Make ourselves look less mean, perhaps even blunt the blow.

    The reality is, if your review is honest and sincere, with the intent of helping the writer achieve something more. Than there is no reason for apology.

    To put it in context....

    "hte quik brauwn fox jumped over teh lazy dog.... "

    Ok Sam, i'm sorry but you misspelled "The" and you needed to capitalize it, I'm sorry you also misspelled "quick" and "brown".

    That sounds nearly absurd to me.

    At the same time
    "I'm sorry this whole piece just doesn't really connect with me"
    "sounds ok"

    The intent in both examples is simply to let the writer know you feel sympathy to them, not that you actually have caused a wrong.

    Anyway run with it enjoy the reviewing and the writing. Apologize if you need :) heehe Knowing its not required.
     
  21. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    Thanks Tor, that relieves my mind so much.
     
  22. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I know I said I was going to review another story, but I spent Sat & Sun throwing up my guts. (We can thank one of the little ones for that.) I'm still not feeling like I could go out dancing, but I'm getting there. As soon as I'm able to keep down my hubby's matzo ball soup, I'll have another go at it.
     
  23. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    Also thanks for the rep points Tor! I'm not really sure what they mean, but thanks all the same. :)
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Just an official way to express admiration.
    :p
     
  25. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    cool beans
     

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