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  1. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    The 7 Deadly Reviews

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Ore-Sama, Jul 21, 2008.

    I'm not talking about negative reviews either. No one take offence to this please, I'm not here to demean or ridicule anyone. This is not a personal attack on the people who review like this.

    1.The P's and Q's Review

    Look, it does show some effort when you can go through an exerpt and point out all the spelling and grammar mistakes, however keep in mind not all writers will have gone through the revision stage yet to check for that, and are more likely to use an online spell check then read every grammar law they broke. Just a general coment on "check your spelling and grammar" will surfice.

    2.The Nurse Ratchet Review

    Everyone has their own style of writing. Don't tell a writer to make a change so that it sounds more like your own style of writing.

    3.The Lobyist Review

    Don't use your review as marketing for a story of yours. "For example in my story"... Even if your intentions are good, you'll come off as someone more interested in self advertisement, and will alienate yourself from the writer, who will then dismiss your advice no mater how worthwhile.

    4.The Encyclopedia Review

    References to other works can help, but when you overload on them it just overwhelms the writer, especially if they know nothing about the referenced works. I'm just using references for titles, you don't even have to know them. However in a review for a story, randomly dropping a reference like "You should try what Dean Koontz did to develop the main character in Door to December" Who's Dean Koontz? What did he do? What's "Door to December"? Why should I care what Dean Kontz did?

    5.The Nietzsche Review

    No matter how wretched you may find a work, always leave the writer with sense of hope. Don't make it out like the writer has no hope of ever achieving anything.

    6.The Mother May I Review

    More likely to be seen on other sites like FF.Net there here but it is still a review to be avoided. A story's message does not make the story itself bad. It can be as racist and/or mysogynystic as possible, but at the end of the day that really should have little bearing on hw good the story itself is.


    7.The The Beam Me Up Scotty Reiew

    Can you imagine if a film critic wrote in their review "I walked out after 30 minutes, I couldn't take it anymore"? Not reading all of a posted exerpt both hurts the credibility of the reviewer, and leaves the writer far more frustrated then any of these other six could. Many great stories have crappy starts, and many bad stories have great starts. Granted, if you only review part of an exerpt one day and the other part another day, that's fine, but don't just abandon it all together.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't agree with all of these.

    First, the P's and Q's Review. If the writer could correct the SPAG errors without help, then he or she should have done so before posting the work. All the SPAG errors make it difficult to read the piece for the more esoteric changes.

    The Nurse Ratched (sic) Review. Suggested rewording is not telling the reader that the original way was wrong. It merely suggests alternatives for the writer to consider. I feel it is a very worthwhile type of review, especially if the reviewer explains his or her reasoning in recommending the change.

    The Lobbyist (sic) Review: I agree completely/

    The Encyclopedia Review: What is wrong with using a well-knowwn author as an example of a solid approach to a similar writing situation? Of course, a brief exampole within the review is better than simply a "go look it up" comment or a link.

    The Nietzsche Review: I agree, for the most part. However, if bad writing is combined with an even worse attitude, I'm even less inclined to wrap it in cotton batting to soften the blow.

    The Mother May I Review: Agreed. Reviews here are to focus on the writing, and not to debate the author's message. If I see people going after the author's message (apart from content rulle violations), I will say something.

    The The Beam Me Up Scotty Review: I disagree. If the piece is that flawed from the beginning, then the reviewer need not be chained to the rest. The review tells the writer that, in the reviewer's opinion, there is plenty to be fixed in the opening sentences, and it is up to the writer to extrapolate any needed changes over the rest. Face it, most posted extracts contain considerably more content than is necessary to give meaningful feedback.
     
  3. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    1.Why should an author be required to have done a full revision before posting? What if they are in the process of writing still? After all, you should never do revisions before you're even done, and they may just be waiting to finish before doing a spell check.

    2.However if there's nothing wrong with the original, why suggest a rewording? At best, it's a nice, abeit not wholey productive thing. At worst, it can be destructive if the writer takes it an it kills his/her flow.

    4.I'm talking about relying on references as the core of your review and/or using too many.

    7.If a film critic ever wrote in a review they stopped watching before it was over, their credibility would be shot to pieces, same for a book or any kind of critic. What good is an opinion if it's from someone who couldn't see it through to the end? How do they know they wouldn't like what happens after? Seting up isn't always the best part, sometimes you have to see things through before you get to the good stuff. A review based on less then full knowledge is worthless.
     
  4. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    If an author doesn't want to be told about SPAG, then they need to [a]make it readable, or state that the peice is not complete, and thus needs a bit of input on reworking.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    1. The author should not be asking for a review until he has done everything he could do without assistance to make the writing the best possible. Otherwise the writer wastes everyone's time. Also, as I said, widespread SPAG errors make it next to impossible to deal with more subtle qualities of the writing, much of wjhich will probably change anyway as the writer cleans it up.

    2. Any piece of writing can be improved. The writer always has the option to disregard advice she does not find useful, and in the end it must be her judgment what to use.

    4. How many is too many? In truth, I rarely see what you are describing on this site.

    7. If you don't think a review is credible because it found enough problems in the first paragraph, you are free to disregard it. In my experience, if the beginning has a high density of problems, so does the rest. This is not a review for the reading public, as to whether they should plunk down eight bucks to read it, it is a workshop to help the writer to home in on what is needed to improve the writing. The two types of reviews really have little in common.
     
  6. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because then we can't help the author progress in his skill level. It is useless for a reviewer to point out errors that the author knows about, and knows how to fix. That is wasted cyber-breath that could have been used to point out something that they wouldn't have noticed that could improve the story ten-fold.
     
  7. Crimson Threnody
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    Crimson Threnody Senior Member

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    The bold red text is me being annoying :D

     
  8. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    1.SKill level? Authors will make technical errors no matter how good they are the first time writing through, and usually the same amount. Most mistakes don't stem from ignorance of grammar rules or spelling, it's usually just them getting caught up in writing to the point they don't se it. If you want to help the author, focus on things that they can't have a machine do quicker and more efficently.

    2.Who's to say it's an improvement though? That's why those types of reviews are useless, a review should help an author perfect their current writing style, not to take someone else's.

    7.They are quite alike. Again, I have seen many cases of bad/boring begginings turning into a grat story, hence why abandoning it and forming an opinion on such is foolish.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    1. We aren't talking about one or two typos, though, are we? We are talking about writiung where those problesm dominate the writing. If they can fix it through automation, then there is really no excuse for it getting posted in the Review Room with those errors still present.

    2. As I said previously, the writer decides. Let me repeat it again, the review comments are suggestions. The writer is expected to make all final decisions on his or her writing.

    7. Having pointed out what I believe makes the workshop reviews different from consumer-directed reviews, I feel you are arguing this for the sake of arguing - especially since you have given no rationale for why thety are NOT different. But look at it this way - if a reviewer doesn't see any reason to read past the opening, then what chance is there that a reader or a publisher will do so? In three words, slim to none! For my part, I have not seen any examples on this forum in which a piece of writing started off badly enough to turn reviewers off at first sight, but was better further in.

    In any case, you are free to disregard any review that does not meet your criteria for excellence. But in my opinion, you are trashing far too many categories of reviews that have proven more than adequate in the history of this site. You may be better served by finding ways to discover the value in these reviews than in telling other people what not to do.
     
  10. Crimson Threnody
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    Crimson Threnody Senior Member

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    Someone feeling a bit out of sorts suddenly? We have our opinions and we are entitled to them. So bashing opinions isn't good practice either, Cog ^.~
     
  11. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    So the basic point I am trying to make here is that there is a simple way to get the most out of your "seven deadly reviews". Look for the underlying issue.
    As for "mother may I", same thing with all other structural issues. If the reader doesn't like the message, and it seems to prevent a significant amount of readers from enjoying the work, maybe the writing isn't good enough to overcome such an atmosphere.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I feel strongly that it is very poor form to be dissing reviewers for completely appropriate reviewing methods. And I support my statement that these reviewing methods are appropriate by the number of very experienced reviewers who have used them effectively, as well as the specific reasons I have stated.

    I think a little more open-mindedness is called for, especially from someone who has posted all of six reviews on this site.
     
  13. zorell
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    zorell Contributing Member

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    Cogi, calm down, you're being a bit too defensive. Take a deep breathe, and stop looking at this thread...

    I said STOP looking at this thread
     
  14. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    Six reviews on THIS site. You call me close minded yet here you are assuming I'm some kind of rookie because I don't have hundreds of posts here under my belt.

    1.Any writer can do that on a spell check though, so it's pointless for a reviewer to go through the effort. The writer will give up on the review as it will not help them.

    2.It's dangerous because, especially a less established writer, may make the change to try and make him/herself better when in reality they sink themselves.

    7.It varies from publisher to publisher, agent to agent. It's not always possible to make the beggining exciting, just like the first episode of any show is rarely good. Can you imagine if "Alien" had some big action scene at the beggining just to make it more interesting? It would've destoryed it. Like "Alien", a minimalist film in which there isn't even dialouge for the first six minutes, could not work in any other way. The idea that the beggining can always be made enticing is somewhat naive.


    You talk about movie critics and critics here are different, not really. Both are held to high standards, which includes seing things through. I would never trust the opinion of someone who won't se things through, if it's not worth their time to see it through, then it's not worth the writer's time to even think about it wen they could be doing something more vlaueable, like listen to the opinion of someone who has read it through, and actually has a full idea what they're talking about.
     
  15. Crimson Threnody
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    Crimson Threnody Senior Member

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    Good for them, but keep in mind they don't work for everyone and that is what we are stating and giving our opinions the way we are. We all have had experience with reviewing and being reviewed and we know what works for us - thus we are sharing. Just because our post count isn't in the thousands here doesn't mean we don't know what we are doing or talking about.

    Perhaps you are the closed-minded one for getting so "up in your face" about our opinions. We respect yours - you should do the same.
     
  16. Steak-Ums
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    Well with the expect ion of a few, and I think yours was one of them, I tend to only crit on character development, plot development, and realistic dialog because those are my strengths, and Elmore Leonard, an alma mater of my school who I recently met said it's fine to have a book carry on those three things, as he does the same thing.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Crimson, the difference is that I'm not putting down the many reviewers on this site who work hard, have worked hard for a long time, and don't fit this ONE person's notion of how everyone should review. As for how many reviews this person has done here, this site puts more emphasis on reviewing than any other writing site I am aware of, and we don't always take the same approach as everyone else.

    I stand by my reasons why the reviewing approaches he sneers at are perfectly justifiable. He, of course, may continue to disregard those approaches if he wishes, but I won't have him insulting those reviewing methods or telling people not to take them.

    Steak-Ums: If you only review within your comfort zone, you miss out on the opportunity to stretch your analytical skills. Maybe you'll come out of it with more strengths than you went in with. When I first began reviewing here, I wouldn'ty touch poetry reviews, because I was very unsure where to begin. It will never be my primary focus, but I have definitely learned quite a few ways to approach poetry that I would not have without taking some chances.

    Ore-Sama: You persist in ignoring my points and equivocating (look it up under logical fallacioes). I see no value in continuing this, but if show this kind of disdain for others' reviewing methods, good luck getting any feedback on your own work.
     
  18. Etan Isar
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    1. I use spell check. I'm sure everyone does. But I would prefer not to make errors in the first place. In the case of typos this is next to impossible. But I have never given up on reading a review of my work because it noted an error in spag. It is also important to note that in some cases, an "error" was a stylistic choice. It is not always possible to tell if this is the case, and I see nothing wrong with the author noting that in a later post. It's fairly simple to just ignore spag if you aren't interested in that part of the review.

    2. A less established writer? Well, there is something called practice. The first story a new writer posts up will likely not make it to anything near publication. You learn from your mistakes. Eventually, they will be able to tell the difference. But writing is a tough world. Every type of critique can be dangerous. If the writer is not prepared early on to deal with dangerous critique, they may well have trouble in any number of areas later on.

    7. I should clarify. I personally don't require a story to start off "exciting". I'm quite happy to read through a few chapters of exposition. I already have the book; if I don't like it, I'm out an hour or two. Not a big deal. But you have to remember that the story must be interesting to some group, even if it's not action-packed.
     
  19. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    I have not "ignored your arguments" Cogito, I've read your arguments and counter argued. Just because I don't post every line I'm responding to dosen't mean I'm ignoring it.

    Also, I'm at a loss how to describe such an uterly underhanded tactic as you are using, accusing me of putting people down when I specificaly stated in my first post my intention was not to demean nor ridicule anyone. However you ignore that inconvienant little factoid just to try and make me out to be the bad guy. There is no reason for me to continue discussing anything with you if you need to resort to such childish tactics.
     
  20. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Ore-Sama,

    I'm really not trying to start anything up with you, especially since I seldom -- if ever-- review online. (I do, however, reveiw and crit quite a bit for the real-time crit groups I belong to.)

    You give us a laundry list of what you don't like, which seems to rule out quite a bit.

    Could you give us an example of what sort of feedback you would prefer?
     
  21. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    1.Thing is, I'm talking about a review that's nothing BUT that. What people don't seem to realize and perhaps I should make this clear now, I'm not saying these tactics are in of themselves bad, but an entire review consisting of nothing BUT them or the vast mjority is taken up by them, are not helpful.

    2.This is the only case where the tactic in of itself I discourage. A writer should indeed be prepared for dangerous critique, but that hardly excuses the reviewer who uses such.
     
  22. Lucy E.
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    Ore-Sama, it's unfair to say that these types of reviews are not helpful, because whilst they may not be helpful to you, they may be helpful to others. This thread might have gone down better had you stated that these were your opinions.
     
  23. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    I doubt it. In my experience on forums, writing "In my opinion" might help with a few more reasonable posters, but for the most part things tend to be just as hotly debated.

    Besides, unless someone puts something like "anyone who disagrees is an idiot" or "this is undeniable fact", it should be assued they are at least somewhat aware what they are stating is pure opinion, evne if they argue it like it's fact(which is rather normal in a debate)
     
  24. CDRW
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    CDRW Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my opinion it is a bad idea to suppose the poster means anything except what they say, otherwise all sorts of bad situations rise up where two people are arguing with each other, but not about the same thing. Also, someone who is writing should be striving to write exactly what they mean. Writing is a communication act, and professionalism requires you to always do your best to communicate effectively, since that is the main objective of the writing. An engineer needs to make his calculations reflect the reality of what is being built, an architect needs to draw the building the way it is meant to look, and a writer needs to write what he means. Asking anything else is an insult to the author, the reader, and the craft, in my opinion.
     
  25. Lucy E.
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    I agree, CDRW.
     
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