I got bad comments for some parts for my story, I mean really, how much dialog can you have in a letter.
If you believe the reviewer did not make an adequate review of your work, then score their review appropriately in response and (politely) tell them why you're giving them a negative score. If they didn't take in the context of your work, then tell them. If they were rude or condescending, then tell them. The system can only filter out bad reviewers if people tell it who the bad reviewers are. Reviewers CAN go back and re-review a work to earn a higher feedback score from the author (I know this because I did it recently).
Coming to the forums and ranting about it is one thing, but remember, by grading your reviewers accordingly, you're actually doing something about their crap reviews.
Don't be discouraged because somebody doesn't like your stuff. You can't and won't please everybody. Honestly, only about three people here like my writing and that's out of a TON of others out there but it's not stopping me from doing my thing. Just keep writing and don't let a few people out of the billions on this planet stop you.
Early on when I first joined review fuse, I ended up having someone review my work over and over, and they were a really terrible reviewer. This person posted all "That was really good" or "I don't see anything that I can critique." That person ended up being the nicest person I've ever worked with. I gave her bad review scores and let her know what I was looking for in a reviewer, and she turned into someone really wonderful to work with. To those of you new to reviewing, in my opinion, these are the points to remember:
1. My goal is to get published. While giving me pats on the back are good for my ego, ultimately, they don't help me edit my work.
2. If you can't find anything to critique, or being critical just isn't your thing, inline reactions are really helpful. If you're wondering something at a point in the story, say so. If you think something is funny or sad, say that. Maybe that's the reaction I wanted you to have, and that's helpful. But what if I didn't want you to be sad at that point or wonder that? Then I know exactly what effect my story is having.
3. I often post a little blurb about how I do reviews in the beginning of the person's work so that they know I tend to be blunt. That way, they know it's me, not them.
4. All that being said, I always find something positive to say about the story. Something specific and tangible.
5. If the work needs a ton of work, rather than driving yourself crazy and critiquing everything, pick one specific area and focus on that. After all, if you have too much to criticize, you'll frustrate both you and your writer.
So, that's my 2 cents on all this. I appreciate anyone who really takes time out to read what I've written and give me the best review possible. When I get a "bad" review, I don't review my reviewer right away. I purposely let every review sit at least overnight to make sure that I'm not taking it personally. After all, if my work was perfect, I wouldn't need all of your help!
Great advise from awemuse!
I would add 2 things:
1. Don't let your personal dislike of a genre or style get in the way of reviewing a work. I've had more then a few reviewers say they hate present tense or vampire stories (or both) and mark my chapters down because of it. Then they proceed to lecture me on how cliche vampires are or how no publisher will print something in first person... I'm not here for a lecture on these things - it's the genre and style I've chosen and what I want from you as a reviewer has nothing to do with that - I want to know if the chapter flows, if it makes sense, if the characters comes off as to stupid or to whiny, if their are plot holes etc etc.
It's okay to mention it that you dno't like vampires or present tense, but you're just waisting your time and the reviewers time when you fixate on something that has nothing to do with what the person actually wrote.
2. This is for chapter reviews that aren't the first chapter - you have to realize you are stepping into the middle of a story and will probably have missed many things such as descriptions of rooms or people. Story points that let you know what's going on, relationships, and many other things.
The good reviews say this seems weird and here's why, but maybe you've explained that. The bad reviews mark you down for not explaining something in granular detail, even though you had probably done so in a previous chapter.
Yes, this does make it hard to review chapters, but that's what you're doing so just make the best of it - try to be helpful with things like does a conversation flow, or does it feel like the author is info dumping to set up a plot point? Do physical actions during a chapter make sense, or are you confused and re-reading sentences trying to understand who's standing or walking or moving to where?
Wish I had taken Awemuse's advice on letting a review rating sit overnight. Anyone know how to change a rating I've already given a reviewer? Thanks,
I have just given 4 reviews to people. I am having a serious problem with reviewing people. Firstly - the number picking bit is annoying, as quite often the little phrase that goes under the numbers is nothing like I am feeling about the writing I'm reading. Secondly - find it really hard to review someone when I write rarely and occasionally myself - just for fun and therefore have no concept of how and when something is 'good/bad' writing (other than my gut reaction of I love/hate it). I keep getting bad review scores, despite trying to be honest. I have serious trouble when something I have read is awful and I try not to be harsh, but end up getting a rubbish review score anyway!
To Hotspot46: Reviewfuse helps writers to hone the craft of writing and come together as a community of writers--and hopefully lead to publication (At least that's how I see it). The motivation to submit here is specific for each individual. The system pairs you with your peers, which depends on your ability to connect with them or piss them off with your words. Being sincere and constructive helps others and yourself, while being rude and demeaning drives people away. You never know how you will be received until you get that feedback.
To Skipstone: Rerate a reviewer, I don't know. Maybe a blood sacrfice will appease the gods in the machine. There goes your best goat...
I think it's great that people are talking about this. We are all on here to help improve our writing and it doesn't help when people just blow through reviews just so they can see what people say about their work. I actually received a very rude and hurtful review for the lastest piece that I posted. I gave the reviewer a low score and told him/her that I was giving him/her a low score because she/he was rude and didn't offer any advice.
Whereas, for the same piece I had a reviewer who was hard but fair.
I think we can all appreciate what a tedious task writing can be so it's great that there are actually people who are on here who want to help!
JonCallot - I understand why people use this site and I try to apply this. I have just received an amazingly thorough review of one of my poems from someone. It was constructuve and offered lots of tips, which was brilliant. This is because they know what they are talking about though. I cannot claim to have any idea of how the mechanics of a poem come about. I just write things so that they sound fluid when I read them back and hope for the best! This means that I find it very hard to give a constructive review if I know there are definite flaws or weaknesses in the work, but have no idea how to rectify them!
hotspot46, it's not your responsibility to rectify issues with other people's works - you're not taking over their work and re-writting it. You're giving them feedback so that they know what to change.
Does the dialog seem awkwardly or inappropriate?
Is there a plot hole?
An unexplained inconsistency or incongruity?
Are you confused by any of the sentences or actions?
You don't have to make the sentences less confusing or fix the plot holes or dialog, you just need to point out what you feel is wrong with it.
The only thing is, DO NOT just say something like the dialog is awkward in the score box. That's not useful. Use the in-line feature to point out the issue by saying things like:
this person is supposed to be a hillbilly with a thick accent, but they are speaking perfect English.
The more inline comments you do that aren't grammar or spelling, the better.
Medi brings up some good questions you should ask yourself when reviewing. Have you ever wondered why you loved a particular piece of writing? What made it work? What words were used? Is the dialog dynamic and real? Do you feel like you were there next to the heroine when the villian kidnapped her from her parents?
Writers don't hope for the best in writing, we work at the craft and make it better. Is piece logical? Are the rules of writing followed? If the rules are broken, does it emphasize a point and give merit?
The top boxes are there for general criticism and praise. The inline comments are gold. If a piece has a serious flaw, like characterization or setting, you mention it in one of those boxes. For specifics, the inline comments can illuminate what works and what doesn't. You don't have to be an expert, but you should try to work on being an expert. That alone will make for better writing and reviewing.
Holy cow! Ok, so here's my getting reviewed pet peeve: I used to be on here under a different name and purposefully stopped using one of my accounts to stop getting a premium member's work. Often all three of my reviews would be on this person's work, which I couldn't enjoy. I don't remember them, I know they were committed to writing, but I didn't feel right about reviewing their work halfway and wanted a fresh start. I'm also not particularly organized and often loose my user names and passwords (hence my name).
This cite has changed a lot since then and I've learned that being direct with your reviewer is very important. Ricki, Medi, Jon, you all bring up excellent points. We aren't on here to win praise, we want to hone our craft. As writers, we also need to read experimental styles that we don't often enjoy. It's part of becoming a better artist. When I review chapters, for instance, I treat them like short stories. The ninth chapter and the fourth chapter should be totally different. I get worried when someone doesn't allow me to make presumptions; no one wants to be a reader treated like an idiot. So for plot, I only say something if the context becomes confusing. I try to look at each work with the form, structure and theme in mind, rather than whether or not I enjoy that piece. As such, I find reading other people's work much more enjoyable anyway.
When I get reviews, I rate them down for a lot of these same reasons. I know I've gone back and improved scores for people because some part of my ego smarted (eh, rick?), but honesty is the only way we get anywhere on this site. In fact, controversy here, I hate it that people don't rate down bad reviewers and give back criticism. As everyone has already pointed out, it's an entirely fixable problem.
I'll be the first to admit that I am a top-ranked bruiser of egos! It's all good though, my ego gets battered regularly on my stuff. I should honestly change my username to BlackandBlueface.
Medi-I totally agree about peoples personal taste. I recently had someone tell me they dont like the genre I write in and then gave no helpful critique only told me how stupid and worthless my writing was. Um, ok then thanks. I proceeded to give them the proper scores for their review. Was it helpful? Not at all. Did they phrase it in a constructive manner? Partially. And so on and so forth. There are helpful 'bad' reviews and then there are people who just aim to be rude and bash your work.
As for the first person narration- When people tell me that I shouldnt do first person I reply, Laurell K Hamilton is a successful author who has written over 20 books all with first person narrators. It may not be what others like but that doesnt mean publishers wont accept it. The same thing goes for genre. Just because one person doesnt like it doesnt mean another person wont.
MARIA123-If you works are public I would be more than happy to review it for you. I posted a dream I had not too long ago that I mostly just wanted feedback on whether the premise seemed plausible. I mostly got people who nitpicked every inch of it. I thanked them for their help and reviewed them accordingly. Never let other people tell you the value of your work. Its Art, not machinery, it will never be perfect to all and there is no 'right' way, only your way.
@Harl---Who the heck told you that 1st person shouldn't be done?! A lot of great works out there are done in first person! Moby Dick anybody?
@Rick-A stupid person lol. Its just peoples taste. I know plenty of stories that wouldnt have worked if they were done in first person so I can agree its not meant for every story. But a lot of mine works better because of it.
Oh and also, you may be a hardass but its valuable hardassery! If I cant take a peers review I will never be able to take an Editor or Publishers critique.
I hear you on that. I've made a personal promise not to respond to any critique until I've stewed on it for two days. Even the good ones. Emotions run too high in the immediate moments following a review and I know they cloud my better judgement.
Except for the one that said I should've introduced my characters better in Ch. 12. Umm...hello? I did that WAY back in Ch. 1. Jerk.
But you should've described their bedroom better, cause you know I need to be reminded of the exact same scene I saw last chapter in this chapter! If all books were written that way they'd be 1000 pages long and boring after the first 10. When someone makes a 'chapter' comment I barely pay it any mind because its not worth the stress. I'm up to chapter 8 and I had someone remark that they couldn't understand the character dynamics....there are no words for that kind of comment.