1. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico

    The New Reviewers Program

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Wreybies, May 18, 2014.

    In the past we had a program for members who were recognized for their dedication to the Writing Workshop and the critiquing of works therein. For various reasons, the idea and the execution of the program faded into obscurity.

    I want to bring it back.

    More accurately, I've been wanting to bring it back for a very long time.

    I want to bring it back with a clearer purpose, and sense of what it is meant to be. The Workshop is the heart of the forum and the destination for nearly all new members when they join, WIP in hand just dying to be posted. I want to foster and grow a core of individuals who give solid critique, who are consistent and dedicated, who can be empowered to help new members who have never engaged in the critique process and in so doing help to keep a steady focus on the reason we are all here.

    This thread is a call to those members who, upon reading the above description, thought "That's me!" so we can discuss how such a group would work, and what would be expected.

    For those who may remember this program from the past, one of the stumbling blocks it suffered from was simply not having a person positioned and empowered to keep the program fresh and continuous, accounting for the fact that people come and go, thus such a program needs to recognize when someone is no longer active and also when new members should be added.

    This has been resolved :agreed: and the program is green-lighted. [​IMG]


    So, are you a power critic? Do you head directly to the Workshop when you see something new posted? Come and lets talk. :)
     
  2. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    I tend to gravitate towards poetry (and flash fiction recently). There are two reasons for this. 1) I've been reading a lot of poems and poetry theory lately and 2) because of time restrictions, I have to stick to shorter works (at least for the foreseeable future). Also, because of school and internships, I might not be as consistent as you'd like. Other than that, I like the idea because I've been wanting to get more involved in critiquing (I've been trying to do just that over the past few weeks).
     
  3. Alesia
    Offline

    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2013
    Messages:
    998
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I like this idea as well. I'd like to be more consistent in offering up my critiques in the workshop, but with working such long hours, marriage on the way, etc... I have issues finding enough spare time to actually sit down and read and review all of the works I want to.
     
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Given that I'm trying to get this program moving and I believe that momentum builds momentum... Given all you've mentioned, were you to be one of the initial group, how many critiques do you think you could realistically commit to per month? I'm asking not to discourage, but in order to gage and set realistic goals.
     
  5. rhduke
    Offline

    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Canada
    I too wouldn't mind being part of this. I think it's time to up my critique. I can commit to around 3-4 stories a week.. that's at least 12 stories a month.. Would that be enough?
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Honestly, I think that's quite a lot. I was thinking more along the lines of 1 - 2 solid, well thought, well executed critiques a week from each participant. I don't want the members of the program to swamp out the need for other members to give critique, since I hold firmly to the idea that giving critique is the stronger avenue to improve as a writer than getting critique. What I hope for the program is to give and show a steady example of a benchmark, not just fill in space.

    The members of the program will have access to a private subforum where they can discuss and aid one another in the giving of critiques. Group effort would be not only allowed, but encouraged. The members will be visually recognized through a ribbon on their member badge, similar to the ones you see on mine for Staff Member, Supporter, Contributor.
     
  7. Thomas Kitchen
    Offline

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,258
    Likes Received:
    422
    Location:
    I'm Welsh - and proud!
    I'd be willing to commit to 1, perhaps 2 critiques per week, as my second year of university is now complete and I have some free time. However, I do have my own writing projects and other non-writing commitments, so wouldn't be able to do more than that.

    EDIT: Also, are you thinking of having a few people commited to poetry critique, others for flash fiction, etc.? Or is it more of a "critique what needs critiquing" kinda thing? :)
     
  8. rhduke
    Offline

    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Canada
    Yeah I think that's what people would expect from these special critiques, thorough, clear and helpful. Come to think of it, just 1-2 a week from each of us would still be a good number. I like the idea of the group discussion. Would there be a standard critiquing criteria? Like overall impression, plot, characters, theme, etc? It sort of unifies the group, but each reviewer is still free to add their own criteria when they feel it's needed.
     
  9. xanadu
    Offline

    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    Cave of Ice
    I like this idea and would be interesting in taking part. However, like @Thomas Kitchen said above, between my own writing (either for the contests here or my current WIPs), work, and other commitments it would be tough make promises here. The critiques I've done recently usually take me about 3 hours or so between reading, marking up, considering the issues, coming up with suggestions, and then actually writing it out. That's a significant chunk of time, but I'd feel uncomfortable putting less effort into the critique. I've had to turn down a request for further critique simply due to time constraints.

    That said, it depends on what the expectations are. If there's a predetermined rubric or format, that takes a lot of work out of the equation (especially since I like to do line-by-line or at least paragraph-by-paragraph, which can get unwieldy for 1000+ word stories). Would these critiques be expected to be highly detailed or more macroscopic? Highlighting a few of the biggest macro-level issues, analyzing them, and providing suggestions while leaving out a lot of the micro-level issues (individual sentences that are problematic) could be a huge time-saver. I'm reluctant to do this in my current critiques because it feels incomplete, but maybe I'm making it harder than it has to be.

    1-2 a week sounds reasonable based on that (though I'd still lean closer to 1). I'd say I'm tentatively throwing my hat in, but I'd definitely like to get a better feel for the expectations of the content of the critiques.
     
  10. Komposten
    Offline

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    670
    Location:
    Sweden
    Macroscopic or details? I think both of those should be addressed, considering that a macro-level problem can be just as devastating (if not more) than micro-level problems. If someone only has time for critiquing the major/comprehensive issues, then he/she could always request help from someone else to go into the details. After all, that's the point of that sub-forum Wrey mentioned. ;)
    As long as there are reviewers for all kinds of issues, it doesn't matter whether everyone does everything, or each do their separate part.
     
  11. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Given a "must chose one over the other" situation, I would prefer that the critiques focused on higher level concepts, and not so much on the "copy-edit" side of a critique. If grammar and punctation are serious issues a couple of examples pulled from the work is really enough on that end of things. Also copy-edit critiques are often where new members feel most comfortable entering into the critique process, and that's fine. We would want to show them that once the nuts and bolts are sorted, there are other considerations equally, if not more, important.

    And yes, the reason for an area to discuss and share is exactly this. ;)
     
    jannert likes this.
  12. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    Anywhere from 6 to 12 depending on the length of the piece, how much time I have, and how good the piece is (some pieces require less critique than others). Hopefully a subforum for reviewers to help each other out will make things a bit easier.
     
  13. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Well, see, that's actually a goodly chunk. Let's say we have 6 (random-ish number) participants to start, times four weeks in each month, times only 1 - 2 critique minimum per week per participant: that's between 24 and 48 critiques from the group a month.
     
  14. rhduke
    Offline

    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Canada
    So no critiquing criteria to follow then as long as it's detailed and thorough?
     
  15. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    No, no, I want to discuss that too. I think there should be some minimum reqs, but I feel these are things we can bang out as we go. I'm interested right now in feeling out interest from the group and getting a crew together to make it happen as a running project. In short, what I don't want is "committee clog" to stop what I think is a good idea from happening.

    ETA: In a previous incarnation of this discussion there were some basic items put together:

     
  16. Mckk
    Online

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    You should better assign your volunteers to particular sections of the workshop. Imagine, you don't want to end up with all the poetry critiqued but the novel section hasn't had a single critique in over a month.

    How would you safeguard that people with longer submissions get critiqued? Or would you assign work to members? Are these critiques public or private?

    Just throwing questions out there. I probably *won't* be participating as I generally dislike editing and rarely do I visit the critique section.

    Something you could draw inspiration from might be a different forum I used to be on - not a writing one, but one for students about to enter university. They have a critique section for personal statements (the letter you write to convince universities why you're suitable for their course) and I believe they've come up with quite a system, ensuring confidentiality and everything. If you wanted to have a look for ideas, I can give you the link to the forum.
     
  17. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    That would great, :) but these would be public critiques to regular postings like any others.
     
  18. stevesh
    Offline

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    Likes Received:
    646
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    I've been intending to jump in to critiquing, so I would be interested in being a part of this, too. I like the idea of a group of members working together. I have the time (easily) to offer one or two critiques a week, and maybe more.

    I assume we would be able to choose which genre of stories we critique ? I have no interest in Fan Fiction and little interest or expertise in poetry.
     
  19. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Sounds like a good idea. I wouldn't mind doing some critiques. 1-2 a week sounds fine to me.

    I would like to have some say however on what pieces I'd critique. A person could go mad critiquing a dozen stories that sound like Hunger Games or Game of Thrones rip offs.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  20. Mckk
    Online

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    So they have a reservoir of personal statements:
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/category:personal_statements_by_subject

    Seem like it just shows you how other people have written their stuff and been successful. I looked through a couple and there weren't any comments under the PSs, though there's a comment section.

    Can't say how much info you can get out of the next link - it's a private forum so you can't really view the content, but it's basically where members post their personal statement for individual review where a "PS Helper" is assigned to them. Hence why you can't see anything in it - that's how they keep it all confidential to keep people from plagiarizing - which, to be honest, might be a very very good thing to have for ourselves as a writer's forum, what with everyone concerned about being copied and first publishing rights. If we had a similar thing - section where we could post confidentially, then we could start getting out WIP critiqued rather than worrying how much is too much and have I ruined my chances at trad publishing now.

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=134

    And this is just a guide on how people add things to their "PS Library": http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Add_your_PS_to_the_library

    If you wanted more info, you might have to post things on the forum itself or message a mod over there.
     
  21. rhduke
    Offline

    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2013
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Canada
    Ok I understand.

    I'm assuming you'll change it from 4 to 1-2 critiques a week. But since some members might be busy for one week and able to critique a lot another week, it might be better to track critique number monthly instead of weekly. Just a suggestion.
     
  22. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,685
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    1-2 critiques per week would definitely be doable for me. As I am now in "edit" mode, it is something I would like to get involved with. My advising activities on the form tend to be more general, but I think this is a better focus. I see only one problem for me:

    We all have our genre preferences, and I can certainly make constructive comments outside my genre "comfort zone", but the current rage (judging by most of the "I have this idea" posts) for fantasy stories that, frankly, all sound alike to me drives me buggy. So, I'm with @peachalulu on this. If that's not a deal-breaker, I'm in.
     
  23. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,829
    Likes Received:
    2,382
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I didn't see the drop down thingy - that four critiques to start with seems a bit high - maybe though if the pieces could be juggled between short and longer pieces it might be easier. Like if someone got a longer post to critique, he gets first dibs on a shorter one that sort of thing. So nobody just critiques all incoming flashes and poetry.
     
  24. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    That's from an older conversation on the topic. I just did a copy-paste. I actually feel 1 - 2 a week as a minimum is much better.
     
    peachalulu likes this.
  25. Mckk
    Online

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Just a suggestion - what if you found critics for each Workshop section? So for example, A would do short stories, and B would do poetry, and C would do novels etc. They can all do other pieces from other sections too, but their commitment would be to critique at least one piece from the section they're responsible for, and a second piece they have the freedom to choose from whatever section they wish.

    That way the critics do have some say - and they wouldn't commit to a section they don't really write in the first place. I think feedback from critics who actually write your kind of work is more beneficial than one who doesn't. As in, someone who writes shorts is better able to comment on shorts, for example.
     

Share This Page