Lesson Two: Reviewing Part OneA Lesson by The Perfectionist
Yeah, this is the one you've all been expecting.
I spend a lot of time criticizing people and their writing. I touched on the problems with the reviewers on this site in my two-part blog The Problems With WritersCafe, and I talked about it a little more in my blog Why There Are So Few Good Reviews. But I always like to try and make my ranting constructive, so instead of just yelling at you all for being horrible, I'm going to try and educate on how exactly to write a five-star review.
As I said in WTASFGR, there are nine types of reviews. Your review can be destructive, constructive, or fluff, and you can either get the point, not know the point, or miss the point. Obviously, you should try to aim for the best category, being constructive and getting the point. The problem is that this is hard. Really hard. So we'll save that lesson for part two. For now I just want to talk about some of the lower categories of reviews, and how to avoid giving one of those.
By far the most prevalent problem I've seen on this site is fluff. Take virtually any poem or story out there with 5+ reviews and you'll find at least one fluffer. These are the reviews that say "Good job" or "I loved it" or "Well done" or something else to that effect. They don't tell the reviewer anything except that you liked it, which your rating will tell them already.
I've talked to someone who fluffs a lot and I asked her why she does it. She replied that she often just can't think of anything to say about it besides that she likes it. Next to laziness, I believe this is the most common reason for people to write a fluff review. If you fall into this category, then I offer the following suggestion. Ask yourself the following questions when you read something and don't know what to say:
1) Did I like it?
2) What about it made me like or dislike it?
3) How did it make me feel?
4) What about it made me feel that way?
You don't have to write an essay, a simple set of sentences that answer those questions move you from fluff to constructive, and that's a big step in the right direction.
I'm not going to drop too much on you guys with this one, but there's one other thing I want to talk about. You destructive people. Stop it. You know who you are. You're the people that read something that is absolute s**t and you praise it anyway. Maybe you want to make the writer feel better about themselves, maybe you want to look like a nice guy (or girl). I don't care why you do it, stop it now. You're harming everyone with your bullshit.
I can understand the temptation not to rip people apart (not everyone is as heartless as me), but you don't benefit them at all by telling them they are good. Telling people that their work is of quality doesn't inspire them to get better. It encourages them to stagnate, and sooner or later they are going to run into someone like me that WILL pick them to pieces and they aren't going to understand why I hate their work so much after what you said. If someone's work is bad, TELL THEM. They will THANK YOU for it. Trust me, I have a dozen or more messages in my inbox to prove it.
Stay tuned for the next lecture.
Added on March 12, 2010
Last Updated on March 12, 2010
AboutSend me Poetry RRs at your own risk. They will be read but they will not be reviewed unless I actually have something to say. All stories, no matter how terrible or boring, will be reviewed. Review..