1. Saje Williams
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    Saje Williams New Member

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    Something my wife says about reviewing...

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Saje Williams, Apr 13, 2010.

    My wife ran a rather large review website for a number of years and developed a very strong opinion and philosophy about the whole process of reviewing. As I also wrote reviews for the site from time to time, as well as editing the reviews of others, I adopted much of her insights into the process.

    We probably should draw a clear line between the functions of reviewing and critiquing, given that the motivations for each particular activity are very different.

    Critiquing is done by the involved reader for the sake of the author, and has a bit in common with editing. One seeks plot holes, factual errors, errors in continuity, and determines general readability, all in order to help the author improve that particular piece of work.

    Reviewing, on the other hand, is about the reader--the prospective buyer of the piece. While a reviewer may look at and consider some of the same elements as someone doing a critique, any potential improvement in the author's work will most likely be retroactive... in a future piece rather than the current one. Though that's not always the case when reviewing ARCs, if the reviewer is both proactive and influential enough to get it back and be explicit enough to prompt the needed changes. What the reviewer sets out to determine is whether the piece is worthy to recommend to someone else, and how worthy.

    Suffice to say, the differences here are important. Vital, even.
     
  2. coolgurl
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    coolgurl New Member

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    hmm thank you,,, i really didnt know this before
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, Saje. Despite the name of the secttion, what we workshop in the Review Room is critiquing. Writing posted there is considered work in progress, so the focus is on how best to improve it, not how good or bad it happens to be at the moment. Sometimes, even a very poor piece of writing only needs the right "Ah hah!" moment for the writer to see what he or she has done badly to completely turn it around. On the other hand, many polished-looking pieces of writing may simply have no life to them, requiring extensive rework to make them good enough to have a chance of becoming publishable.

    Every piece of writing can be improved. Some potential improvements are harder to see than others, and sometimes the piece that is in the best shape gets the least useful feedback.
     

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