Reviews... Good God What Are They Good For?

Reviews... Good God What Are They Good For?

A Story by Chloe..Across the Universe

Better than War, that's for sure! Wrote this quickly while Donovan is in the bath. Opinions welcome, please and critique ...


Why and what are reviews good for and are they helpful?  These are  questions posed, I don't use that word everyday, posed .. asked, posed.. either or, these are the questions.

Everyone who writes here hopes for a review.. more than one is nice.. It is like the ending of my writing for me. To hear what others have to say or share if they have felt or been through something like it.

When I first came here almost five years ago, maybe four, we had subscriptions to writers we liked reading, the writings were on our profile which made it much easier to see new writing by the subs The reviews were always there it was a review for a review... which is only fair.

The reviews I received were so helpful. I was not such a great writer and still am not but I am better.
I was told less words were better for poetry. I was told to watch typos and grammar.. I still have trouble with that.. still I do better. These days most of my reviews are helpful. When you put your writing out for all to see, bare your soul you hope someone will read and tell you what they think. Some of the worst reviews to me are, "Cute poem", "Loved it"... this does not help.. and not many of us want to hear our poem was cute unless it is meant to be only cute.

I don't offend easily, but when I see someone review a friend's work in a harsh way I take offense. These people I call snobs.. They use million dollar words and you might have to be a psychic  to understand some of the obscure poetry.. yet, they come and review  in a harsh and ugly way.. there are nice ways to get your point across and be helpful... I have had people ask did I think some of my writing was worthy of top writing. My answer was no .. and it was not because I had read so many stories and poems so much better and rated them as such .

I am making this too long .. as I always seem to do.

Reviews are needed, wanted and useful. They help us become better writers, give us confidence and make us feel our writing was not in vain. If no one reviews why bother to copy it from word pad and add it to writing? None.

Review , be honest and say in an intelligent respectful way what you find wrong with the writing and how it can be improved. Young writers need to be read with care. Sometimes an email is best. Never discourage younger writers as the writing is good therapy and much better than other things they can be doing.

We need to be kind yet helpful too .. praising bad writing is not going to help the writer become better.. and I can say I have done this in the past. As for me, I had to learn to review .. and still do. I love reading on this site it has many talented writers that honor me here and there with a review.

Peace All

© 2011 Chloe..Across the Universe

Author's Note

Chloe..Across the Universe
I used 'Good God" in the title as i think in music so often- and thought of 'War good God what is it good for " so there ya go

My Review

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I've only been a member of this site for just over a month and from the beginning felt that as a writer the reviewing process is a vital part of writing. At the moment my balance of 101 reviews to 60 received is about right - it's a give and take community after all. If you don't look at loads of different styles and things that might inspire or act as a warning on what not to do then how do you progress?

There are some really good reviewers on here but as you say "cute poem" or the phrase "loved it" followed by a bunch of smilies to pad a 'review' enough to get 2 rather than 1 point is a waste of time.

I'll generally take about 10-20 minutes to write a review because much less than that doesn't give enough time to understand the piece and pick out good techniques, things that work and give my opinion on ways that might improve it (and I always couch these as suggestions, there's nothing more insulting than providing a critique that rubbishes a piece of art just because you don't like/get it).

I guess I've not yet had the misfortune to run into a pretentious critic because of my short term on here but I have run into a couple of people who've written a meaningless one sentence review of my work and then flooded my inbox with read requests - 27 requests in one day from 1 person is perhaps bordering on the parasitic! That's more than a week of writing reviews at the exclusion of anyone else!

You've stirred up some real emotions with this article, great job!


ps: In summary, this review can be summarised as, "itz gud, : ) xxx"

Posted 11 Years Ago

4 of 4 people found this review constructive.


You are more wise than you know. I read this last year and it is meaningful to read again. Thank you for featuring this.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Lol, just freaking yanking your chain man...well, I'd say the review is about as important as the person whose opinion it is that it expresses to the author. If I don't give a crap what you think about my poem, book, story...etc. Then it is unlikely your words of discouragement are apt to unnerve me. Good writers are always getting told their work is important "in the know" editors and then winding up on the New York Times Bestseller List. Then, invariably, some idiot tries to write a screenplay of what was a GREAT book and turns it into a box office flop. Reviews are just feedback from your peers and fellow writers...keep your cirle of friends small and intellectually stimulating...surround yourself with great writers and good friends and you will find oppurtunities to learn and improve at your craft if you don't let a swollen ego or head stand in your way to improvement. I've learned a great deal from other writers here and continue to grow and practice my craft.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Cute piece, loved it.

Posted 10 Years Ago

it was good to re-read this

Posted 10 Years Ago

I couldn't agree more with this Chloe...I am not a professional reviewer, and so I don't offer my advice very often, but when I do, most of the time I will send my recommendations in a private message, unless I feel the writer is strong and confidant in their writing abilities; then I might share a hint with them or if I catch a typo direct them to it. I always try and tell someone how, and why I liked their piece as well. I also have see a lot of peoples who write discouraging reviews to children, and it blows me away when I see this. I think in a place such as this, it is better to encourage each other, rather than using harsh language that usually has the reverse affect. I love it when people help me out, and show me how to make a piece better, or show me a misspelled word; I would rather have someone point it out to me than have it left undiscovered. However, there is surely a tactful way to do this...And I have to say, I've been lucky for the most part with the likes of the great people who have reviewed my work, so thank you everyone...

Thank for sharing this!

Posted 10 Years Ago

Well, I've been on this site since 2006, so I remember how it was on this site, or communicating on the internet in general with strangers, really reinforce why Socrates never wanted to leave any writings - namely - MISINTERPRETATION. When one is talking to someone in person, we could kinda get a feel if s/he needs a challenge, encouragement, etc but online, we can't pick up on the clues, and profiles are poor substitutes. Some "young writers" are not as fragile as you suppose, and sometimes need to be taken down a notch. As Horace uttered over a millenia ago: "There is no one more confidant than a bad poet" while some older writers need to be given encouragement...Besides, Not EVERYONE wants the same type of reviews and not everyone is overly sensitive, but "critics" don't know which is which unless they get to know the writer a bit. So, I've had work in which a reviewer claimed that it was "disappointing" or "cliche" "sentimental", and I was totally cool with that. However, I've reviewed in much the same way some works, and SOME writers get all hurt - so your "harsh way" is very subjective: are we not as HONEST reviewers supposed to point out that "I am blue" is cliche? or that "My soul doth weep" is archaic? or that "my tiny eyes cried tiny tears" is sentimental?...I try to do it with tact, but there's really no "polite" way to say "this is trite". Then comes the next question: why review them at all? Well, when I get 7 read requests a week from certain writers, I feel OBLIGED to finally give a review. Plus, if they really do want to improve as writers, then such reviews are doing them and the world a favor. But that's the rub - not everyone on this site is a "serious" writer - some treat it as a hobby, while others treat it as therapy, and some simply as a narcissistic vehicle to get attention...sorting out which is which is really the problem, so I just review by the old maxim "do unto others" and if they're overly insecure, that's THEIR problem lol what do you think will happen when the publishing world rejects them for years, which is typical of any aspiring writer? Anyhow, that's my take, but then again, I'm one of those damn literary snobs that expect excellence or at the very least competence lol

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

nice piece. (if i stopped there, you'd probably object)

as writers, we write because we have to. because it is in us to do so. but that is not the reason we post our writings and try to be published. we do that for feedback, for appreciation, for help, for any number of reasons, but all of those reasons require that we get back a reaction. nothing annoys me more here on wc than to see a piece of mine has been viewed 40 times and has maybe 2 reviews. take a look at the numbers on this piece. right now there are 161 views and i believe i'm the 21st one to actually respond. there's something wrong with those numbers. surely others had opinions that you would have been interested to hear. i don't think there's a solution to this other than to keep encouraging reviews as you did here.
very nicely said.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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AGREED! Your point of view on reviews is exactly how I see it. I only review writings that I truely like or love. If I read a piece I didn't care for I simply don't review it. To me, that's better than putting someone's writing down. I'm a horrible reviewer though. I'm always honest with the ones I really like but I feel like they are not helpful. Still learning to review I guess :) I loved the paragraph where you talk about copying and pasting our writing. That's so true! If we didn't want someone else's opinion we wouldn't waste our time. I loved this writing. You effectively explain the right way to review and I love how you point out how harsh people can be. THank you for your point of view. I'm sure a lot of opeople feel the same way you do. Great piece!

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

i know exactly where you're coming from, and it's good and real brave of you. it's what's in all our hearts yet we don't dare to say it aloud. i was so hoping for the top writer's badge here, which i still haven't obtained. i asked round, and several said that i deserved that, and i guessed the ratings after each review was low, despite words that seemed to indicate that they liked it a lot. real disheartening.

but if you do want critique, i was thinking that not every praise here should be second-guessed, especially how you mentioned the extra-short reviews. after all, if that was what they felt, and keep it short and to the point, then it's honest, isn't it? and i won't view myself as better than these snobs, as i may be worse myself, but don't know it yet. if they think it sucks, that's their opinion. it's not like the criticism came down from heaven anyway, though it might have really hurt.

overall, i think you've really done it with this one. i'm quite a noob by writerscafe standards, as i only joined last year. but enough about me, this is an awesome critique on reviews, and, like i said, you've said what no one else here, at least not who i'm aware of, didn't dare to. that's standing up and speaking out to me. brilliant!

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I absolutely agree with everything you have just said. I am an old writer returning to the site after a long absence. Because others were so hurtful in the way they spoke of my writing, in a rude and thoughtless manner, I left. There are such easier and nicer ways to get your point across. Simply say 'this doesn't work here' or 'this doesn't read well' instead of 'this is a piece of crap' or 'you should never have joined this site.' I may have, at times, given a short review. I know that I am guilty of sometimes saying simply 'nice job' or 'this is good.' Since I have come back I am trying to be better at my reviews. Thank you for this, I hope people take what you have written here to heart and try to just be nicer in their reviews.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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27 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on June 18, 2010
Last Updated on May 24, 2011


Chloe..Across the Universe
Chloe..Across the Universe

Smalltown, USA, AR

Sometimes i feel like an alien in a strange land..can you relate? I love people and friends are just that to me , friends-if you request me as a friend it would be nice if you read something I have .. more..


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