|From Writing to Reviewing
So you want to write something...
Don’t try to over think what you are writing. Let it flow freely, and edit later.
When editing, try to think about the audience you are trying to reach, and choose your wording based on that. Try not to go over the top with words that the average person would have to drag out a dictionary to understand. I’m sure most people have done this at one time or another. I’ve done it and then wondered why they didn’t just use one of the simpler words. Save the “High dollar words” as my mom use to say, for those that can understand them. I consider myself to be the average reader, so If I have to look it up, then most people will. I read fiction for pleasure and not to be educated.
Remember to use the spell checker before you post your new item. Not only does this make it hard to review, but it’s hard to get through when you are trying to read it. Once you get used to reviewing, the little things are very distracting. It could be the best story that has ever been written but how will the reader know if their mind is constantly focusing on misspelled words.
Try to check your punctuation as best as you can. This is another distraction to the reader. I know that punctuation is not the easiest thing to get right. Commas seem especially hard to master. At least try to get the easier ones right. I avoid pointing out missing or misplaced commas unless I know where they are supposed to be.
I have found that when I write, I have more control over what I present to the world if I use a writing program. I don’t have to worry about people seeing it until I think it’s ready. I don’t like to edit my work on WDC. In my opinion, it’s too much work, especially if you have a slow computer and internet connection. I can’t sit around and wait for page after page to load while I save, review, and edit it.
If you don’t have some type of writing program, here is a link to the one I use: http://www.salsbury.f2s.com/ This is a great little program, and best of all, its free. It has a great little dictionary that you can download especially for it. It should be on the same site but I will put it here just in case: http://wordweb.info/free/ This is packed full of little goodies, and it's free too. You can't beat that with a stick.
Another writing program I'd suggest is AbiWord. You can download it from here: http://www.download-21.com/abiword-the-free-word-processor-20624 It has a built in grammar checker, but it's not very handy when it comes to writing fiction. Keep that in mind with any grammar checking software. There's a lot of difference between fiction and non-fiction writing. Even though your sentences will be correct, it doesn't mean that it will help the flow of the story, so be careful when using it for fiction writing.
I've also ran across another free dictionary that's worth a look. I still depend on WordWeb for most of my searches, but this one can be set up in various ways to make it easier to focus on just the information you're looking for. I, for example, found it very helpful when I set it up to show only the synonyms. It provides handy buttons that you can click if you just want to find the various definitions, examples, and other goodies. http://www.sequencepublishing.com/thesage.html
Now let’s get that baby posted...
If you choose to use a writing program, it’s just a simple matter of copying and pasting into the item body after you fill in the rest of your item information. I wont bore you. If you are here, you know all about how to do all of that. Just remember that this will be the first impression that other members will have about you, so make it as good as you can.
Yes...I have a review...
As exciting as this is, it can also be a terrible let down. You may be thinking that you have created the best thing since white bread, but not everyone will agree. Everyone's tastes and opinions are different. That’s okay, you don’t have to please everyone. You are writing because it is something that you enjoy doing and want to share it with other people. What good is it to write something that most people would never see? Don’t get discouraged.
Most of the reviews you will get aren’t worth the time it took to read them. Sure people are more than willing to review your writing and tell you that everything needs to be fixed, or that it’s just perfect without taking the time to tell you why. Don’t let these simple reviews discourage or encourage you. Don’t settle for a few lines of nothing.
You can also expect to get reviews that point out some things they thought needed to be worked on and then others that state the opposite. What do you do about that? Take your time going through these reviews, noting all of the suggestions. Think about what you have written, your style and voice. Ask yourself...Is this something I’m comfortable doing? Will this make my item better? Do I agree with this suggestion? Before you decide to use any suggestion you had better think about it. When I first joined WDC, I made that mistake. I foolishly thought that every scrap of advice I got was golden. I edited and edited until I looked at them one day and couldn’t find what I had written. What I was left with was what all the reviews wrote. I lost my writing voice. Those stories have strayed so far from what I wanted them to be that I can’t stand to look at them. I will admit that it hurts knowing that something I created, nurtured, and loved has become something I hate.
I can’t believe they wrote that...
Every once in a while you will get a rude or mean review. My advice...Delete it and forget it. Don’t waste your time going to their port and sending them back a nasty review to get even. They don’t care. They will just think you are being childish and they will know they upset you. I kind of look at them as reviewing bullies. If it helps, just imagine that they are jealous of the way you write.
Good reviews or bad, it is always polite to respond to reviews. If it’s a bad one, thank them for taking the time to rate and/or review your item. You could also add that you are sorry that they didn’t understand it...blah..blah...blah. Never let your hurt or anger push you into doing or saying anything mean or nasty back to them. Be respectful even if they don’t deserve it.
That’s so nice...
Here’s the part I like. Those nice supportive reviews. These reviews are special. The reviewer has taken the time to read your work and honestly wants to see you succeed. They are trying to encourage you and let you know that you and your writing are good enough. They believe in you. They give their honest opinion on what you wrote. What they liked, what might need a little work, how it made them feel, and other useful comments that might help you become a better writer. And even pointing out something that you may or may not know that you are having trouble with. Most of the time you can believe anything in these reviews.
Even though these reviews are wonderful to get, you should still take the time to think about some of the suggestions and make sure that you feel comfortable about any changes they suggest. After all, this is your baby. It’s an extension of your personality and style. Like you, it should be unique. Who wants to read the same story over and over?
I’m ready to visit...
There are so many articles out there about reviewing. The basics, just in case you haven’t gotten around to reading those, is this...Always be polite and courteous whether you liked the item or not. Try to be positive about the work: point out what you liked, even if you only liked it a little. Let them know as nicely as you can what you didn’t like about it and offer some suggestions on what you think may help without seeming pushy. Remember that this is their baby. Let them know that these are only suggestions and they don’t have to use them.
Reviewing is a tricky business. Every writer has an ego and as a reviewer you should try to avoid crushing it. I follow this rule...Review as you would like to be reviewed. I still fall short at times, but it’s a work in progress. If it does happen to be one of those few that you are scratching your head about, and have no clue how to be positive about it, walk away from it. The more experience you get at reviewing, the easier it will get. With writing and reviewing, it takes time and practice. Great writers weren’t made overnight.
I hope you have found at least some of this useful. I want to help make your experience as pleasant as possible. Happy Writing!