Reviewing FAQ Q: I’m new and I have a story I want reviewed. What do I do first? A: Introduce yourself in New Member Introductions. A moderator will give you the tour and tell you what is expected. Then take some time reading others’ reviews and learning how the review room works. Don’t get in a hurry. Read the articles about reviewing found within the forum. Don’t forget to check for a sticky at the top of all threads. They are there for general, but important, information. The review room is an advanced area that you shouldn’t dive into headfirst. It’s a process that is held to strict adherence here at Writing Forums. When you feel confident you can do a review, that’s the time to jump in. Q: What is a constructive review? A: There are as many reviewing styles as there are reviewers. A constructive review is one that touches on three to five aspects of the story being reviewed. Be specific with your analysis. This means quote or refer directly to the part of the story that needs to be improved. Don’t throw up a slapdash comment such as, “This was really great, I loved it!” Or, “The beginning sucked. I didn’t read past the first paragraph.” These are neither constructive nor respectful comments. If you feel there is one aspect that is terribly flawed, feel free to focus on that aspect only before continuing on to other issues. Be sure to be specific and give examples for possible improvement. Q: But I’ve never reviewed a story before. I’m lost. What can I possibly say that will be constructive? A: If you’ve ever read a book you didn’t like, do you remember what part turned you off? If you were to put what you didn’t like into words, what would you say? Do the same with your review. If the story just didn’t get your attention at the beginning, say so. Then make a suggestion for why you think it didn’t work and a possible way to improve. Also, read the reviews of others. There are also reviewers you can contact here. Forum Leaders.. Any of them will be glad to answer your questions. Another great resource is here. <LINK to Cogs sticky> Q: What if I hated the story and have nothing good to say? A: If you still wish to review the piece, do so in a constructive manner. Remember, the author is a real person and has feelings just like you. Be truthful, but be tactful. Q: What if I really love the story and cannot find anything wrong with it? A: Then give specific examples of why you thought the story worked. If it had a good hook, tell why it worked. If you felt the dialogue was especially strong, quote an example. By thinking of why good writing works, you will soon find the same showing up in your writing. Q: I’m afraid I will offend the author if I tell the truth. A: Don’t be afraid. Be honest and respectful. If the author flames you for it, report the post and move on. It happens sometimes. Q: I don’t really care if they like what I say. My motto: rip their story to shreds! A: Being direct is fine. Being disrespectful isn’t and can result in an infraction. Q: I care about others and try to be respectful, but people are telling me I’m too harsh. What should I do? A: Are you being constructive and respectful? If you are consistently hearing the same thing, you should step back and look at your reviewing methods. Treat author feedback like a review you are receiving and continually refine your reviewing style. This doesn’t mean being overly nice to make up for it. Be concise if that is your style. Just make sure you are treating the author respectfully. Q: I did my two reviews. Do I have to report them to a moderator before I post my story? A: No. Just be sure that you have done at least two constructive reviews first. A moderator will make sure you’re keeping to the reviewing room requirements. On the other hand, if you have had a thread locked by a moderator, you must report to a moderator when you have met the requirement. Continuing to post new review threads before a moderator has approved the new reviews and unlocked your previous threads will result in an infraction. Q: What is the best way to go about getting a review? A: First: make sure you have been participating in the review room workshop. This means at least two constructive reviews that help the person to whom you’re giving the review. Second: go out and do more reviews! One of the people you do a review for may just return the favor. Q: I did my two reviews. No one is reviewing my story though. What should I do? A: Are you actively reviewing more pieces? Or just doing the required minimum? Going above and beyond will garner more respect within the workshop and you will be noticed. Also, it's possible that what you've written is too long. It's usually best to start with a short excerpt. Most initial critiques focus on the phrasing, sentence and paragraph structuring, and other general stylistic elements. Save the longer story for when other members have become more involved in your piece of writing. If you are posting constructive reviews and still aren’t receiving any, feel free to PM one of the forum leaders for guidance. Q: I posted a story for review and it is moving down the thread and about to disappear to the next page. What do I do? A: Refer to the above answer. Don’t bump your thread to get it back on top. That is against forums rules and will result in an infraction. Q: How do I keep track of my two reviews per story posted ratio? A: This is a bad way to think of the process. Reviewing benefits you as much as, or more than, the person who received your review. Do as many as time constraints allow. Consider it a part of the process to becoming a better writer. Don’t be surprised when you see an improvement in your own writing! Q: I reviewed a story, but the author never replied to it. I just wasted my time, didn’t I? A: No. Any time spent critically thinking about others work and how to improve it is time well spent. Regardless of whether or not the author benefited from it. Sometimes people post and never come back.