|Issue #19 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 ]
This edition of the reviewing newsletter is all about two different kinds of reviews that are often seen on Writing.Com. One of these is the quality review, which focuses on more specific areas of correction. The other is a quantity review which is often written for speed and convenience. I will attempt to go over the situations for which these two types of reviews will be useful.
[ Letter from the Editor ]
In order to discuss when to write a quality review and when to write quantity reviews, one must first define the difference or the features that make these two reviewing approaches distinct. Before moving into the details of these two reviews, I’d like to provide a couple of simple definitions for them:
Quantity Review: Contains a few general comments from the reviewer. Are often done
with a focus on speed or efficiency.
Quality Review: Provide more comprehensive information with many comments from the reviewer. Are written with a focus on details and highlighting strengths and weaknesses in an item.
The quantity review is rarely a single review. Quantity reviews are often written so that there are a group of them. This reviewing style gives general opinions on a piece of writing or a series of writings and is usually written with efficiency in mind. The main indicator of a quantity review is one where the reviewer’s comments are more general and few (for example, “I liked this story” or “I didn’t like this story”) and are given in a “rapid fire” style that focuses on speed as opposed to detail.
The quality review is in many ways opposite of a quantity review. Quality reviews focus on more specific areas of a piece of writing (for example, “I enjoy this character because his comments make me laugh and makes your intended message in this story very effective” or “I enjoyed what you did for the plot in this story because it made me think about how conflicts between human beings destroys the innocence of younger generations”). The quality review often zeroes in on highlighted areas in a story and describes what is effective or not effective in it. The quality review also often has many more comments from the reviewer compared to the quantity review and delves into deeper parts of the item. This type of reviewing takes more time, but many people believe it has more substance as opposed to the quantity review.
Keep in mind that a quality review does not necessarily mean a review with a large character count. A review with a large character count due to copy editing may or may not
be a quality review. If the majority of the copy editing is the content of the item being
reviewed and there are only a few sentences where the reviewer has written comments, such
an example would be a quantity review. As with everything in reviewing and writing, some
examples are left entirely up to the individual and their personal judgment.
However, there are times when one style of reviewing is more appropriate than the other.
Here are some general guidelines to determine when quantity reviews are appropriate and
when one should work to write quality reviews.
While there are many times when one would be tempted to write a quantity review, one must
remember that most of the time we write reviews in order to help our reviewee be a better
writer. So it is imperative to look at the quantity review and consider writing it less often than a quality review and for certain types of items.
I often avoid quantity reviews for bodies of writing such as short stories, novels, articles, poems and so on. Those types of items tend to require more specific explanations and the kind of detail that a reviewer should provide in a quality review. However, there are other items on Writing.Com that would be alright to review in a quantity fashion. Images are one example that would work for quantity reviews, because images are less so a part of the nature of this website (keep in mind that there is always an exception to the rule). Other examples of when quantity reviews are useful may be for activity items that you feel are well run or done well. Sometimes a short comment about how you thought a contest is well written, looks fun, or is interesting is a nice way to encourage someone and make them smile. Or perhaps a quantity review that tells someone how you thought their image looked nice can also brighten their day.
For quantity reviews I often avoid making them public because they tend to have less
content than a quality review and may not necessarily earn gift points or need to be seen
by other individuals on WDC. There are some exceptions to this advice. For example, if you
wrote a quantity review for the purposes of garnering support for the contest or activity item you reviewed.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the quality review. Often writing a quality review will take much more time than a quantity review. It could take hours to read a short story and comment on it. And it may even take weeks to read a novel! Therefore, in instances where reading the item takes a long time, it is more appropriate to put forth more effort and write a quality review rather than a quantity review. This serves to allow you, as the reviewer, the chance to tell the writer exactly what you thought of their work and elaborate on your opinions as well as offer your help and explanations on why. Such information is invaluable to a writer looking to improve their work.
When you are reviewing a lengthy item like a short story, or a complex literary item like
a poem, there should be many different things you could say about it. Here are some things
Whether you like certain points in the item or disliked them (remember to explain why).
What you thought of the characters.
What you think the symbolism means to you.
How the story or poem was written.
What it made you think about as a reader.
There are many other points that are available to you to bring up. These sorts of comments and details in a review is what sets it apart from a quantity review.
While it does seem like writing a quality review is what you should write most of the time, the quantity review does have a place on WDC. While you probably shouldn’t write quantity reviews for short stories, novels, poems and other items like that, it can be nice to write quantity reviews when one looks at an image, or a well done activity item. As for other items more directly associated with writing, a quality review is more often than not the preferred approach. This is because the quality review will offer more content in order to help the writer and most of us write reviews because we have a desire to help our fellow writers and ourselves improve.
[ Editor’s Picks ]
Thanks go out to everyone who submits items for Editor's Picks. If you know of an item you wish to highlight, please let me know and I will include it in a future newsletter!
[ Ask and Answer ]
Please send me all your comments and suggestions that relate to this newsletter and I will try my best to address them for you.
“Thanks for reminding me about music being a means of relaxing the mind. I had completely forgotten how I enjoy listening to my choice of Oriental music when I am in
need of a fresh look on life in general.”
Thanks for writing in. Oriental music is a great choice for some fresh inspiration .
[ Useful Links ]
"Feedback Central" – Send the editors some suggestions and general feedback.
"Reviewing Newsletters" – View previous issues of the Reviewing Newsletter.