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|On 12/26/08 at 2:20am, Arwee wrote:
Issue #43 of the Writing.Com Reviewing Newsletter.
Your editor is: Arwee
[ Table of Contents ]
1. About this Newsletter
2. Letter from the Editor
3. Editor's Picks
4. Ask & Answer
5. Useful Links
[ About this Newsletter ]
Sometimes when we get so wrapped up in the stresses of our daily lives that the problems we experience offline transfers into our reviews and affects our reviewees. This issue is about Elisa the Running Stik ’s topic suggestion on the importance of being mentally prepared to review.
[ Letter from the Editor ]
Have you ever felt sick, angry or just plain awful but had to drag yourself out of bed to get something done anyway? I know all of us have had at least one day like that, where we feel like our own bodies are waging a war against us but there’s something we have to do. How this awful feeling translates into reviews can manifest in a number of ways. Perhaps you’re one of the few who don’t let their illness or feelings affect the tone of their review or maybe you’re just upbeat all the time, but the situation for the rest of us is that our mood heavily affects how we sound and act towards others.
Mental preparation before reviewing is a very good way to ensure that your offline mood doesn’t rub off on the words you’re sending to an author. If you’re angry at someone in your offline life, don’t translate it to someone online. It likely isn’t their fault. They don’t know what’s going on and it isn’t fair for them to bear the brunt of your frustration.
Take a step back before you start your review and take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is an actual person you’re about to review. I know that sounds so obvious, but on the internet, it becomes extremely easy to allow the multiple layers of separation get in the way.
Try to pretend that you are talking to this person, what would you say to them? How would you phrase your words so your meaning is clear? How does your tone sound? And, is that the sort of tone you would appreciate getting back if you were the reviewee?
Mentally assess your current state of being. Are you tired? Grumpy? Angry? Just too apathetic about everything? If you feel that you’re not in a suitable state to offer advice to someone then push the computer chair back and do something else for a while that will lift your spirits or make yourself feel better.
If you choose to stay on WDC and want to know the story then reading the story without reviewing it is a good idea. Who knows? Maybe the story can improve your mood. And, you can come back to the story later.
Don’t force yourself to go through a story if you are not feeling well. And do not make promises if you foresee a situation where you will be stressed out in the near future. That will only cause problems or delays and is unfair to yourself and your reviewee.
Take your time to ensure that you are feeling good, that you are fully awake and that you will not translate your anger at something unrelated to the story or someone online. Reviewees depend upon their reviewers for advice, encouragement and opinions on their stories. No one wants to open up a review where the reviewer is cranky or so sleepy that they don’t know what’s going on.
It’s true that we cannot control our moods or what happens to us sometimes, and it is so hard to deal with some of the things life throws at us. We need to take care of ourselves. If you’re upset about something, find a friend to talk to and get your frustrations out. Good friends and family will hear you out and comfort you. And when you are feeling okay again, that’s the best time to send off some advice.
P.S. It looks like another year is going to be behind us. I hope everyone has had a joyful 2008. Happy holidays to everyone!
[ Editor’s Picks ]
[ Ask and Answer ]
If you have any questions, comments, general suggestions, or suggestions for editor’s pick (even your own work! ), please send them to me. I’ll be more than happy to feature them in the next newsletter and address them to the best of my ability. It should be noted that if you send me e-mails, I will ask to use your comments in the Ask and Answer section.
J. A. Buxton Wrote re: “Fact Checking”:
One of my favorite reviewers on WDC is an Indian poet who keeps me honest on medical facts. When I began writing my forensic series, The Best and Worst of Times, he would point out plot holes or why the way I murdered characters wouldn't work. Most times I could prove him wrong since I am a stickler for facts and do quite a bit of Googling research for my stories. Other times, he would suggest a better way for "offing" those people.
Another type of reviewer I really appreciate is the one who catches my careless, sloppy typos or bad punctuation. Of course it's nice when they send the review privately so it doesn't end on the public review page where everyone can see how inadequate my writing can be.
When I review, I usually concentrate of grammar and punctuation as apposed to writing style. Everyone writes differently, and I know I don't like having my sentences reworded by someone because I write like I talk. More often then not, the revised sentence sounds awkward to me.
It’s always nice to read about reviewers helping one another and spotting mistakes and offering advice. To me, that’s what it’s all about. This helping one another towards our goals. Thank you for writing in with this great experience.
Just an Ordinary Jyo Wrote re: “Fact Checking”:
I often do fact checking to learn about something in the piece, with which I am unfamiliar. Some people write about incidents that loom large in their minds and lives and are perhaps known well to people on their side of the world. They forget that there are teeming millions who might never have heard of the 1990 Gulf War or the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or whatever.
I have been guilty of using 'Indish' In my work, Indian terms that have crept into the local English but are unknown elsewhere.
So, not just to refresh knowledge, or firm up criticism, but to learn; I often turn to Google for elucidation. The piece assumes greater poignancy and meaning after a good spot of fact-checking.
This is very true. Fact checking’s one of those things with more than just one purpose. Not only can you ensure that you got things right, you almost always get to find out something new too!
Lynn McKenzie Wrote re: “Fact Checking”:
Wonderful newsletter, Arwee! I'm glad you stressed the importance of getting several sources when using the Internet to fact-check. So many take one website as gospel truth.
Thanks for writing in! My profs in college told me all the time that if I must use the internet for research that I at least get as many credible sources as possible. And it’s good advice, that’s for sure. I’ve caught sites that haven’t had their facts completely straight more than once.
[ Useful Links ]
"Feedback Central" – Send the editors some suggestions and general feedback.
"Reviewing Newsletters" – View previous issues of the Reviewing Newsletter.