Ha Ha ... I got you! Guess what?
Recently I was trying to explain my reviewing style to my Rising Star Sponsor (the amazing Carol St. Ann 8 Years at WDC! ) and decided that it might make a good static piece for those who might want my review, below is my review thoughts on templates.
I do not use templates for my reviews. I think that using them is a kin to canned veggies; they taste bland and lack the color and crispness of something fresh. When I review, I want the person whose work is the subject of the review to feel that they are getting my undivided attention, that my opinions and suggestions are heartfelt and sincere. Some reviews come easy, others take me a lot of time. I usually have to read a piece five to six times before I reach a decision as to the direction my comments are going to take. And I never make that decision before I read the author’s Bio. I want to try to understand what they are looking for.
There are many who aspire to be the next bestseller, and others who use WdC as their social network, and still others who are only experimenting trying to find out if they can do this thing, we call 'creative writing.'
I have come to understand the writing process from several perspectives; there are the writing mechanics, SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar which I am weak and lazy at.) There are the story mechanics, plot, characterization, and scene development. There are the genre mechanics, meaning the consideration of element imperatives, which change depending on the class or sub-genre. Understanding the differences between fiction and non-fiction, knowing the different focus points between literary fiction and say fantasy, or any other sub-genre, is an ongoing educational experience for me. I think I have learned much, until I turn the next page of something I am reading, and then I discover a completely new twist that I must research.
I look at all the things that I am learning, and then try to see where the piece I am reviewing fits. I use my emotional reactions as commentary but try to remain objective in my responses to the authors. I do invest a great deal of thought into my reviews, but I am still trying to learn how to convey my thoughts and suggestion in a positive manner.
Then, I wait with a bit of anticipation, for the response from my peer. However, I am learning that I should not abate my breath. I am surprised at the number of folks that do not reply to my reviews, even to say “Joey you are weird and most likely full of prunes.”
These non-responsive persons cause me to doubt my effectiveness as a communicator. I know you are going to tell me that it is no big deal and not to worry about them. But Writing is now my passion, it is what I do, I have few regrets in my life, but not starting my quest in this art sooner will haunt me the remained of my days.
If you request a review from me I guarantee it will be fresh and steaming, but you will be the one who must determine if it is palatable. Here are a couple of my reviews to sample.
Review of "Six Weeks To Live"
Review of "Cat and Mouse"
Review of "WHERE THE NAME CAME FROM"
Review of "Movers (uncut version)"
Review of "Unexpected Gift"
Review of "The Reviewer's Compass"
Review of "Chances"