The Review Spot
by Max Griffin
Honest, in-depth critiques. Weekly prize for the most engaging submission.
Welcome to the Review Spot, a service of "Mainstream Novel Workshop " .
What can you do here?
You can request that members of the Mainstream Novel Workshop review your fiction.
What do you get?
Well, an in-depth review, of course. Also, in any week in which FOUR OR MORE authors submit review requests, we will award 1000 GPS to the submission we most enjoyed reading. Our choices can be eclectic, but we usually like stories that immerse us in your fictional world and make us care about the characters who live there.
If you've already been here, just scroll to the bottom of this page to submit your item; otherwise, read on.
What kinds of reviews do you give?
We will try to critique your work in a way that is supportive, but also helps you write more effective, publishable fiction. If your goals don't include commercial publication, then this place probably isn't for you. If you're just looking for a review that gushes about how great your story is, then you're also probably in the wrong place--although we have been known to gush over exceptional prose. If you're looking for honest reviews that point out both strengths and places for possible improvement, you're in the right place.
What you will get here is our opinion, but you should always remember that's all you're getting: one person's opinion. Well, sometimes more than one person's opinions. We might not always agree.
Who are you, anyway?
We're just a small community of authors who enjoy reading and writing. We review other authors because it makes our own writing better. We also owe a debt to all those folks who have patiently schooled us in the craft of fiction. This is one way to pay back our teachers.
What are the rules?
Of course, there always are rules. Here goes:
Fiction only, and prose only. Don't post your screenplay written in non-rhyming choriambic foots. We're sure it's terrific, but we'll just say, "Duh."
Please send us only completed items, not drafts or segments of stories. Chapters are okay, but see the length guidelines below.
Please proofread your item before you submit. We'll comment on typos or grammar if we see problems, but we are not a proofreading service. We're here to help with craft.
Keep your submissions short: less than 4,000 words, please.
This is mostly for short stories, but we'll read the first chapter to your novel if it's less than 4000 words. This is not the place to get your novel critiqued. If that's what you're after, we suggest you apply to join a novel critique group such as "Mainstream Novel Workshop " or one of the other divisions of "The Novel Workshop" , as well as "Novel Review Group" .
Please don't post more than one item in any fourteen day period; we want to be fair to everyone.
This is a place to post fiction. Don't send us your life story or your paper on non-associative Lie algebras. We might be interested in those (probably not), but this isn't the place to send them. We'll read any fictional genre, but we're probably not very good at works aimed at children or young adults.
Do not ask us to review the same thing more than once, even if you've revised it. It might help you to get a second review, but that's not the purpose of this page. We are volunteers, with families, jobs, and our own writing projects. We must apportion our effort here in ways that benefit the most visitors to this site and still permit us to meet our many other obligations. Please cooperate with this rule.
Be sure that your works are properly rated according to WDC standards--see "Content Rating System (CRS)" . We'll read anything that fits the above guidelines, and we're not the ratings police, but this is a public forum and simple courtesy will alert readers as to your content.
All reviews from this page are public and will appear on the public review pages. If you don't want a public review, don't post here.
What kinds of comments will you include in your reviews?
We'll re-state your plot. This will help you confirm that you've communicated it clearly.
We'll comment on your choice of point of view: is it consistent and appropriate?
We'll comment on referencing: if you have a character in the 1920's humming a Beatles tune, it better be a time-travel story.
We''ll comment on your setting: can we visualize your scene; can we follow the movements of your characters?
We'll comment on your characters and their relationships.
We''ll comment on grammar.
We'll give you our opinion on how well the story or chapter works: do you have hooks, is the first paragraph strong, does the pacing work?
You'll also get line-by-line comments. That's where we'll try to help you with specific suggestions about the craft of writing.
So what do your reviews look like?
If you want to see what you'll get, here are some examples of one of our member's recent reviews , and here are some from another member.
The above links are examples from some of our reviewers. Your review may come from any current member of the "Mainstream Novel Workshop " .
How about ratings?
We hate grading papers, and "ratings" are too much like grading. We give every item a rating of "four" because we've heard that's the average rating on here. We set all our own items to "review only, no rating." It's less stressful, and lets us focus on how we can improve our story rather than fussing over the grade. If you just have to have a rating, go elsewhere.
How long does it take to get a review after posting?
Usually you'll have at least one review within a couple of days, but sometimes life intervenes and it takes longer.
Should I send you gift points for your review?
While we appreciate gift points as a "thank you," they are not necessary. This is a free service. If you think you've learned something here, then use it when you review other authors on WDC. Also, we're always looking for review partners, so you might glance at our portfolios and send one or both of us a review of something we've written. Our longer fiction hides behind passkeys, but there is usually something highlighted on our bio pages.
Links to helpful stuff:
How do I request a review?
It's simple! Just post a message to the board below, with the subject, "REVIEW REQUEST" followed by the title of your story. In the body of the message, include a link to your item in "bitem" format like so:
When you post your message, we'll see a link to the item that looks like this:
If you're still not quite sure what to do, check out "Newbie Hyperlinking 101 - Bitem Format" for a step-by-step tutorial.
Please also include a brief summary of your story and any special requests you have for your review.
We'll send your review to you and post a copy here.
What are you waiting for? Send us an item to review!