A Rising Stars Assignment
|The Review Tool -
I found out about this tool when I joined the Angel Army early on, and was doing quite a bit of reviewing. Thankfully, they helped me with this feature, and I've been using it ever since.
If an item was written for a contest, and it had a specific prompt/s, you should include a section on how well they adhered to those prompts. Always go check out the contest first, if you know it is a contest entry.
This was an excellent idea, and I incorporated it into several of my templates. I have five currently, and four of them needed this addition. Many times the author will add a drop note in their work about the contest, which is very helpful. If you are reviewing older work, there are times the contest they entered has changed prompts. However, you can generally get at least a word count.
Store & Edit and Preview Review -
These are two links on the review template to use whenever you are writing a review. As reviews end up lengthy, it is a good habit to get into to use the “Store & Edit” link. This feature will save what you have done so far and allow you to keep working on it.
I found this one out the hard way. Now I use it anytime I even step away from the computer for longer than a minute or two. It's so easy and simple, why risk it?
A 5 means the story could be published, it is that polished and ready; whereas a 1 is for something very difficult to read. In that scale a 5 is not that common. While some don't like the idea of giving below a 4, the truth is the numbers should be honest. With reviews it's about finding the balance.
I would have to say this is the most difficult part of the review process. I've rated 146 times, and almost all of them have been a challenge in one form or another. The 5's I've given can probably be counted on one hand, and probably less in the 3 or lower category. I'd say the balance noted here is tough to achieve!
Check out: "How Should I Rate Items on Writing.Com?" and "Comment-In-A-Box"
I read the former over a year ago, but I went back to check it out again. I'm probably guilty of giving ratings that are too high at times, and I'll be needing to work on that. The suggestion that you don't mind reviewing the piece again if they keep working on it will make it easier to be even more honest. Comment-in-a-box was an awesome read, and I'll probably keep it handy when I review. It's very detailed, and really lays out an excellent strategy for ratings.
There are a few different styles of reviews that you can use, and, for the most part, the style you pick will be up to you. We do, however, have a few requirements for your reviews that we ask you to follow in this lesson. While we do recommend some structure in the template, the amount of structure is one thing you get to decide as the reviewer.
I believe I have a decent style in my reviews, and I use paragraphs to separate different parts of the poem or story. For stories, I use headings like style, setting, and character development. For poems, it's geared more toward how it made me feel. In each, I also try and break down line by line corrections. I guess that's the old English TA in me.
Here are a few things to remember when it comes to the review template:
My images are at the end, and they are I created them myself for Angel Army. My name is also part of the review template, but not in the image. I will, at times, remove the image if I'm not reviewing for AA, such as I do with I Write. I didn't get around to making a specific image for those reviews, but if I do it again in 2020 (likely), I should probably create one.
I rarely do any linking. One that I have used before is a syllable counter site if I see someone has miscounted in a structured poem or a contest like 24 Syllables that requires the count to be correct. It's only because I'm not sure how many people know it's available. I'm not sure how I'd feel about sending someone to a punctuation site, because most everyone knows they're available, and I feel like a jerk.
Color and Emoticons
Most of my templates use color, but not like a rainbow. I'm not sure why I started doing it, but I like the look. I have one that is all blue, with the paragraph headings in bold. Just my thing, I guess. And I'll use a smile, especially if I'm delivering a difficult critique, but that's it. Well, aside from the dog next to my name. I am Mastiff, after all!
Your first task as a Rising Star Candidate is to take this lesson in mind, use the template you created and stored in your Review Tool, and review 2 short stories or even chapters by newbies (members of WDC for 6 months or less).
Reviews must be a minimum of 1,500 characters (not words) without counting WritingML. In your review, please include a section where you discuss your 'Overall Opinion' of the item, but also include 2 other sections to the template that can discuss different points (those are up to you).
Recap of the assignment:
2 stories/chapters from newbie members
Review of "Mercy"
Review of "Origin"
1 section in template on 'Overall Opinion'
2 other sections in the review that you pick