Essay for September Contest
This essay is entered in "Write An Essay About..." .
Words are powerful tools. Reviewing is an exercise of words and it can be a powerful and constructive tool, in the right hands.
I have learned a lot about things like reviewing, but it's been a very gradual, 20 year learning process.
I got a review recently that showed me three things:
1. the reader got what I was trying to convey in writing the story
2. the reader enjoyed my story and connected to the way I wrote it
3. the reader wanted to encourage me.
The review was not longer than about three sentences, (with minimal template action) but it conveyed so much. It bolstered my confidence and made me ponder writing more. I felt so good, I bought gift points. Then I commissioned some things. All good, right?
That review was not a detailed edit and that is not really what I needed. I appreciate detailed edits and critiques, don't get me wrong. I do as long as they are (in my judgment) well meant. I leave detailed edits to the professionals in most cases. I admire those who can do that and have the patience for it tremendously. But reciting rules is by its very nature a repetitive exercise. It's the individuality that carries the day with reviewing.
A long review can have all three of those things, plus added help. That's nice, too.
There are certain words as applied to reviews that tend to get a reaction from me. Labels like "honesty, fluff" or some such derogatory term in the past have tended to make my nostrils flare as HOOves and my fingers flail as tHiNg. Labeling and categorizing reviews is a very subjective exercise. Everyone seems to have an opinion about something that is definitely done in a unique way every time..
I heard so much flak about not having a template that I made myself some templates. Then I read flak about templates so it's a no win thing when you try to please the herd. They will always have something to criticize. Once again, you come back to the lesson of do your own thing.
Where I wind up is I like a variety of reviews. Some are succinct and some are detailed. When they are meant to be helpful and encouraging, it's all something that leads to a positive outcome.
I enjoy reading reviews. Sometimes it's all the reading I do here. I learn a lot about people on both sides of the equation when I read the reviews.
It's for each of us, as reviewers, to decide what works best with our enjoyment and skill sets.
If we don't enjoy reviewing, we won't do it as much. So, it's finding the way to enjoy, encourage and have fun I think. No one has exactly the same style as someone else. We are all individuals. That's what makes us unique in the pasture.
Giving diplomatic help and encouragement to writers so they get the confidence to create their unique style of writing on their own ~ that's the ticket!
Find where you fit in. I am still working on that after 20 years so if you do it sooner than me, you're doing fine.
That's where I end up on a September day in 2020. The site would not work nearly as well without all sorts of readers and reviewers.