1. aoibhneas

    aoibhneas New Member

    May 9, 2009
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    Dublin, Ireland

    Reviewing - idle thoughts

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by aoibhneas, May 11, 2009.

    I've signed up, introduced myself and read the available guidelines on reviewing. I've looked to the reviews of others for inspiration and posted a grand total of three reviews myself. A wealth of experience, I know, so following on from that I'd like to share a few thoughts on the process.

    When I found this forum, I was struck by the fact that reviewing the work of others was not only mandatory but considered to be vital to one's own growth as a writer. I couldn't agree more.

    My background is in digital illustration - 3d stuff. I worked as an architectural illustrator. I would work up a piece for a client, make endless changes and then sit back and look at the finished piece. I found it impossible to gauge the quality of the piece myself so I looked to my colleagues for their input and advice. A fresh eye was vital.

    It follows that this should apply to any creative piece. Your work is your baby and it can be impossible to stand back from it and look at it with a critical eye. You will make one of two mistakes; you will either think it's the best thing since four-to-the-floor or that it's total cr*p.

    Read the reviews of those who have made many valuable contributions on the forum. If you feel a particular reviewer knows what they're talking about, search for and read their reviews. No, examine their reviews, take them apart like a piece of writing. You will learn a lot.

    It's easy to crit for SP&G. Let someone else do it.

    If you're not in a mad rush to get your own work up on the boards, it might be worthwhile to review a couple of pieces that you really like. In this way, you will be more inclined to read and re-read the piece. Take it to your heart. And then, once you've read it over and over again, you can write a thoughtful review. Maybe there's one little thing you would have done differently - and in your opinion, better - had you written it. Share it with the author. But, at the end of the day, it's only your opinion.

    To Finish
    Glancing through what other posters have written on the process, I see that there are varying views on the worthiness of reviewing. I'm of the opinion, with all my experience to date, it's probably one of the most valuable exercises one can complete in order to be able to step back from one's own work and look at it with a neutral eye. Also, on a forum such as this, it pulls everyone together and gets us working as a team.

    Great idea. If I had a cap I would doff it to the genius that came up with it. That's my two cents. Please feel free to add your thoughts though that's not why I posted. I just wanted to get my thoughts on the matter out there.

    Please feel free to crit the above for SP&G mistakes!!
  2. Torana

    Torana Contributor Contributor

    Mar 13, 2007
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    I couldn't agree with you more on this statement. When I first joined this site (years ago now) I couldn't review to save my own life. Now I have learnt to offer review I am my own worst enemy when it goes to reviewing and editting my own work. It helped me grow as a poet and to get my writing to publication standards. (though I could never be as harsh to other peoples poetry as I am with my own. I think I could bring people to tears if I was... :p)
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    This is where getting down to details helps. "This is crap" or "this sentence sucks" will collapse if you cannot articulate to yourself why it reeks. On the other hand, if you do put a finger on the problem, you can correct it.

    It can help you tell the inner Mr. Negativity to shut the hell up. and to only listen to the inner critic who can drill down to the heart of the matter.
  4. Atari

    Atari Active Member

    Feb 5, 2009
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    Yes, I find it AMAZING how one can know that 'something' is wrong but the vague 'something' remains undefined for a long time.
    Then, perhaps someone gives you a review, and EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE comes to light.
    Then, you can't WAIT to get your next review so that you are able to correct other, as yet uncorrected, areas.

    I remember the first review I got that truly defined its own opinions and I was. . . brought to sheer elation.

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