|Reviews for Constructive criticism|
| Camelia Sinensis 4/7/08 . chapter 1
I'm guessing you've got your share of dreadful reviews.
Sometimes I rather get a review that says 'oh, i don't like this and this, but that part was good' than 'luv it'.
Your fic was very helpful and I really hope some people out there read this and are actually use some of this 9and hopefully all of it) when they write their next review.
You had very good points, but I think you should've mentioned that not only should the author accept the criticism, but he/she should try to answer reviews. It'll actually help him/her get even more reviews.
| Sobriquets 1/2/08 . chapter 1
I have to say this was a very helpful guide. I found that it helped me with the structure of my reviews, and it also helped me realize how valuable constructive reviewers are. The only thing that bothered me though was that you seemed kind of pessimistic about writing on FictionPress, but that's just my opinion. I'll probably use this for future reference because you did a great job. -Katie
| CaveDwellers 12/26/07 . chapter 1
Hm. This probably sounds naive, but I've always thought that in essence, reviewing the way you described was common knowledge/courtesy.
The point was finely put, though. Professional, but with enough voice and personality that the reader doesn't feel as though they are being lectured or that you wrote it simply to vent pent-up frustration towards not-so-great reviewers. I personally have never written anything like this, but I'm still willing to bet that there is a fine line between the two.
Following those same lines, I liked that you didn't just give a recipe for Good Reviews. It was ambiguous enough that the potential reviewer is forced to use their brain, but there was enough structure to give a good idea as to what would be most-appreciated by authors. Basing it off of personal experience probably helps.
I also appreciate how you acknowledged that "reviews vary depending on the target" and that sometimes you can't save a piece. I think that it's very important for those facts to be addressed.
Aside from the great points, I thought that the Flames section was a bit pointless. You already went over everything you put there in other sections. While addressing the subject head-on is important, if you're being redundant the effect is not as great. And it wasn't just with the Flames section. There were others like it, but they were less obvious because there was some new stuff mixed in.
And then there was the constant reference to kitty litter. It was a lovely, humorous touch, but towards the end of the piece it stopped coming up even when there were places it could have been mentioned. Of course, there's also the risk of sounding redundant there, too, but in hindsight, the lack of that consistent comedy relief jumped out at me.
If memory serves, then I've read something very similar to this before. There were no mentions of kitty litter, but the message was essentially the same. Maybe there's something to be said for that.
| the.alaskan.musical.pig 12/24/07 . chapter 1
Great job, i love this essay/guide and I agree with many of its points (Exept for the part about needing praise, sometimes you need that to keep you going!) Unfortunatly I am a teen and i write angst(I find it rather helpful, it helps me relax)Teen angst isnt disappearing soon, neither are the 'kewl! plz r&r my stuff' comments because there are a LOT of teen on both FF and FP. Many teens (myself included) belive that jus letting the auther know you are there is enough. Ahum.. anyways this essay is easy to read and it offers alot of good tips,good job and keep it up!
| ethiXthol 10/20/07 . chapter 1
Considering that it's been a while since I've been on this site (and now scrolling through it backwards; past to the present), I have to congratulate you on daring to speak your mind abourt reviewing.
No, seriously. I so far have ever posted 46 reviews on this site and 100-something on FFnet, and on both sites I've been a member since 04-05.
On the review constructure... WhenI mainly posted onto the Fantasy section of this site I had fewer reviews, but when I DID they were at least seven words long. Just recently I switched over to the Romance section and have had more reviews, BUT they're along the lines of "i luv ur story, plz continu" et cetera.
And so, I agree whole-heatedly to this essay, which has little spelling errs as well, by the by.
| bad feeling about this 10/11/07 . chapter 1
This was very helpful. Thanks for posting this. Now, I have to go and revamp my stories...*sigh* -
| chocolatechipash 10/1/07 . chapter 1
wow, you've really helped me write better reviews to help the author. before i never really bothered much with spelling and abbreviating but i understand by doing that it is slightly disrespectful. so, thanks alot!
| Wyngz 7/9/07 . chapter 1
This essay was amazing. It was needed. I just wanted to say thank you for posting it because it brings warm fuzzies to my heart.
I can't think of anything to critique except to say that the phrase: "Kewl! Plz r&r my stuff!" was used a little too often. Other than that, I have no complaints.
I was being perfectly serious, this was an outstanding essay.
| DancingChaChaFruit 4/9/07 . chapter 1
I liked this. I can sympathize with receiving pointless reviews of praise that genuinely don't help the author to improve. I absolutely despise reviews that can't even show a proper respect for the English language, and I agree with you about throwing them to the kitty litter. All in all, this was a pretty good essay about constructive criticism and reviews and such.
However, I do have a few things I disagree with (and these will just come out in whatever random order that my brian gives me).
The first is when that praise should always come before the criticism. This is alright in some cases, but other authors prefer the criticism before the praise. Such as myself. After hearing what I've done wrong/what I could improve on, it's nice to hear what I did well. I guess you could argue that this preference is based solely on a need for ego-inflation, but you said it yourself: the author is really exposing him or her self by posting his or her works, and it is nice to know that over all, you did well, as opposed to "this is good, but you did such and such things wrong." Just when the author thinks that he/she should give up, there is hope. Besides, I hardly think that a review should end with criticism (unless you didn't mean it in that way).
And this leads me into my second comment: the objective reviewer. Humans are always going to be subjective, no matter what. If you read something in third person while you personally prefer first person, it's going to color the way you feel about the story, and there's no getting around that. I agree with you on the fact that one shouldn't review saying that he/she disliked the story BECASUE it was written in third person, but, like I said, it's still going to affect the reader.
Onto my third point. I'm going to have to disagree with you when you say that praise isn't helpful, and not just because of the obvious boosters to one's self-esteem. In a way, praise is almost necessary to ever encourage the author to write again. If one receives all criticism and no praise, one is going to think that he/she can't write to save his/her life, and he/she is going to give up completely. I think that a lack of praise in a review is what leads people to think that a perfectly constructive, nonflaming review IS a flame. Also, I think it's important that people know their strengths as well as their weaknesses, so they can maintain said strengths while working on these weaknesses.
Jumping off to another point, I just want to mention that not everyone has the ability to return reviews. Some people who receive dozens of reviews for a single chapter (or a single update, in the case of poems and one-shots) will physically be unable to return all of the reviews without driving themself crazy, as they are real people with their own lives to live away from FPcom. While I would love to return all the reviews I receive, I simply don't have time.
In addition, I think you should describe the difference between a flame and a constructive review. There are some people who take offense at any criticism at all and, when receiving a review full of constructive criticism, claim that someone flamed their work. I agree that it is pointless and stupid to flame; I don't understand why people do it.
So anyway. There's my fairly long review. On the whole, this was a nice, systematic way of pointing out the "dos" and "don'ts" of reviewing. Good work. )
| Honey Beddell 2/4/07 . chapter 1
LOL! This is funny and witty and so true. My friend and I have been talking about FP and the horrible, non-constructive reviews we get on here at times. She also got flamed on one of her stories ... she wrote back, "I'm sorry you didn't like the story, but can you tell me why?" They offered her nothing in return. :)
Anyway, really enjoyed the piece and it made me smile. Take care.
| fharfalla 1/31/07 . chapter 1
wow! I don't know what to say... When I read it, it really provoked some of my senses in giving review! I'm very lucky I stumbled in reading these.. very much! To say that people do get hurt in getting FLAMES that are not suitable for their stories/ poems.. yOu really have done a great great job on this.. I think all the authors should read this one! very brilliant! i can't say no more...
-um. could you review some of mine? - -
| Ethereally 1/21/07 . chapter 1
I really enjoyed reading your essay and the examples that you provided are SO TRUE!
Thank you for sharing this essay with the world. I really don't have much criticism for you, but I think that you would like to know that this essay has made me think about my reviews- are they good enough? Ususally, I try to critique and praise at once, but once in a while I DO drop the "I liked this. Write more, okay? This story brightened my day!" type of review if I'm busy.
Your grammar and spelling are good, and I cannot find any flaws with your sentence structure. There are a few typos, however.
Also, I know of some people who only mean well when they review but succeed in crushing other people's hearts- you pointed this out very well.
And, could you give me some criticism on my story? I understand that you may be busy, so you really don't have to.
| random person 1/13/07 . chapter 1
Okay. I thought this 'guide' was interesting, and valuable to someone interested in how to review better. I just had a few points that I wanted to point out. (I hope this isn't taken as a flamer, it isn't meant to be so.)
(intro):'This essay had been in my head...' wouldn't it sound better if you replaced 'had' with 'has'?
'Both were frustrating, for different reasons each.' I think this would flow better if it was 'Both were frustrating, each for different reasons.'
To be honest, for some people, it CAN be hard to leave a useful review; if they don't know how to express themselves, or don't have the necessary knowledge of story writing or grammar to feel comfortable doing so. It may seem safer/easier to just stick with generic comments, ie. 'This is great! Write more!'
(1): '...to know that our stories are being read by other people and thus feel better for ourselves.'You could perhaps use 'about ourselves' instead of 'for ourselves'. Other than that, this point was a good one to make, and valid. (Apart from anonymous reviewers; unless they leave an email address, they don't get anything out of it, unless the author mentions them in review replies in the next chapter.)
(2): Personal opinion of the author can vary on this, as I think one reviewer points out (they preferred the critical comments first, then the positive). However, your comments on the writer's hopes and dreams that go into a story is perfectly true, and I guess that should be respected.
(3): As a rule; humans are NOT objective. We all have our own opinions on something, and feel a desire to express it. The author is expressing their personal opinions freely; shouldn't the reviewer enjoy the same priviledge? Although, as with all things, this expression of personal opinion should be treated with a modicum of control and thought.
(4): I am as guilty as the the next person at this. I'm not a member of fictionpress/fanfiction, nor do I intend to be, and I am hesistant about putting my email address up (I've done it here, because this isn't a story, and there won't be any more chapters where the author can do a reviewer response).
I get very annoyed with bad spelling and grammar myself, so I can understand your viewpoint. It's ended up being my most frequent comment when I do review stories - 'regarding your grammar/spelling...' etc.
Talking of grammar, whoever taught you english must have had a very british notion of the language. I'm British myself, and even we Brits don't use 'one' as an impersonal pronoun as much as you've used it throughout this guide; it's become rather out-dated, and an indication of a very high-class background. You'd imagine the Queen saying 'One would like two spoonfuls of sugar in one's tea.', but not your average Joe Bloggs who works in the local Spar. It just makes you seem slightly ostentatious as you read on, and you notice (or should this be 'one notices'?) the continuous use of it throughout the guide (at least, it seemed to spring out at me, anyway). A few 'you' and 'I's thrown in could have made your writing seem more personal.
(5): Some people prefer a more personal approach to reviews, some don't. It isn't a universal law that can be applied to everyone. I try to mix social comments with constructive ones, to 'cover my bases'.
I agree with your suggestion on how to end a review, because it is sensible and less grating to the nerves. Also because the latter simply irritates me.
(6): Yes, I'd agree with this, and hopefully I don't seem like I'm attempting to appear knowledgeable or pretentious, it's just some points I'd like to highlight.
(7): An excess of praises to criticism can make you overconfident, and result in a sticky situation just like you've described. It isn't helpful, but sometimes, you just can't figure out WHAT to say - either you have no criticisms, or you can't put your thoughts into words.
(8): Nothing to say here. Valid advice.
(9): A review isn't an essay (although this one is probably starting to seem like one). It's more what you thought of it, what could be improved, what you liked/didn't like, etc. A flow of consciousness, not a 'positive, then negative, then positive,then negative'...
(10): True, it is easier if you're offered alternatives - it shows you what the reviewer's talking about. Good point.
(11): Didn't you just say earlier to be objective? Sure, teenage angst gets irriating, but everyone goes/went through that stage. And although it IS improbable, there MAY be Mary Sue's out there in the world (that is, if they haven't been corrupted yet), is is possible for them to exist. It's just doubtful. But I get what you mean.
(12): I'd agree. (Not much to say on this, either)
(14): Nice thing to say, 'always include “a thank you for your review” comment'. It makes the reviewer feel valued.
Well, that's my relatively long review on 'Constructive Criticism'. I know I have been quite critical, but I do think it's a sensible piece of writing that more need to read. I hope my comments have been slightly helpful. If not, oh well. Do with them what you wish. )
| mate.feed.kill.repeat 1/13/07 . chapter 1
omgz! kewl! plz r&r my stuff!
Lol, I couldn't help really. It was like awesome to read someone actually telling people how to write a proper review. I hate it when people leave something like "wow that was soo cool" and they just leave it there, when it's a 150-word poem full of emotion and all they can say is it was soo good. Doesn't seem right.
So thanks for telling people what should be in a review and stuff.
| notated descant 1/6/07 . chapter 1
this ought to be the handbook manual for all of FF ad FP reviewers... you've listed some concretepoints here that other authors on this site have probably felt strongly, but probably never put into words.
This is a wonderful essay- great job!