This week: Be Honest but KindEdited by: spidey
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Welcome to the Contests & Activities Newsletter. I'm spidey , and I'm your Editor this week!
Honesty is the best policy. That's what they say, and for the most part, I think that's true.
However, honesty doesn't have to be cruel. A big part of my personal reviewing style is to include honest feelings and criticisms, but to also include positive notes. When you are judging a contest entry (or if you are a participant reviewing a contest or activity itself), there may be times you disagree with something or really dislike something. You may want to say something about it. After all, being honest and giving criticism is for the writer/host's benefit, right?
Well, there are some nicer ways to offer criticism!
Bracket your criticism with praise. When I review an item, I try my best to find at least one thing I enjoyed about the item, even if that thing is the title, that it is rated properly, the genres are well-chosen, or that it doesn't have many grammatical errors. There should be something you can find that works! Start with that. Then offer criticism on what you think could be improved.
Your advice is an opinion. Admit (at least in your mind) that you could be wrong. There are times, like with misspellings, grammar errors, etc., where the writer is just plain wrong. There are other times, though, that the writer could be attempting to create their own style, or maybe you just missed something. Offer your opinion as a reader, but admit to yourself that there are all types of readers and writers. Maybe this one just isn't your cup of tea. I think it's a good idea to offer up "suggestions" rather than taking the tone that the writer is "wrong," you know?
Offer to re-consider after editing. Some members put a lot of importance into those ratings stars, and they might be upset if they don't get a perfect score. Particularly in the case of typos and errors, offer to re-read and re-rate based on edits if you're willing to take the time to do so.
Be encouraging! All writers continue to grow and hone their craft! No one is perfect, so try not to expect perfection. Understand that there is a human being behind the words and the point of this site is to grow and learn. That goes for the writers and the reviewers, in my opinion!
As always, keep on writing!
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My last newsletter, ("Contests & Activities Newsletter (July 1, 2020)" ), and it discussed adapting to changes and dealing with challenges. Here is some feedback from last week's Newsletter readers:
I love the advice to "Give it time." This is a lesson for life in general, but works very well in professional situations. Stop, pause to think and walk away for a while if needed before responding. I hope your health issues resolve in a positive manner. Thanks for giving the readers great advice.
But here is some feedback to a recent newsletter on judging systems, "Contests & Activities Newsletter (August 28, 2019)"
I've judge entries for Western Fictioneers' Peacemaker Awards for the last two years. My process is very similar to yours.
Since these are all published works, I include editing in my scoring system. I allow up to 5 points each for Hook, Story, Denouement, Grammar/Punctuation, Emotional impact, and since they're historical or westerns, historical accuracy.
I generally write up my impressions in each of these categories and submit them with my choices for winner and two runner's up.
Sounds like a great system that's working well for you! I love it!
How are you honest but kind?
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