an essay, my views on Reviewing.
|In this little essay, I'd like to explain what I consider good reviewing, as well as discuss some points on the importance of reviewing.
My reviewing structure comes from an amalgamation of things I've learned, in creative writing classes, as well as on this site. In classes, I learned the true value of constructive criticism. Criticism that encourages and truly helps is ideal, and it is what we should strive for as reviewers. In classes and at Writing.com, I have seen constructive criticism at its best, and I truly thank those who are helpful and encouraging in their reviewing.
Important Aspects of Good Reviews:
Golden rule of Reviewing - Be honest! Dishonesty helps no one and has no place in reviewing!
1. A good review points out strengths and weaknesses. Reviewing is certainly about giving suggestions to improve a piece, but it also is a way to show a writer what he/she is doing well. Let them know what you enjoyed about their writing. It also shows that you put thought into a review, by showing that you contemplated the writing and its effect on you as a reader.
2. Be a reader! It's important to review as a reader, and as a fellow writer. We all know that reviewers are also writers. We also know that reviewers are expected to discuss literary devices, grammar, etc. However, it is also important to show the writer that you are also a reader. Let the writer know what aspects of their item worked for you (or didn't work), as a reader. Were you confused in any aspects of the plot, characters, setting, etc.? Give the writer your overall impression of their item.
3. Don't be a know-it-all! It is important to realize you, as a reviewer, do not know everything there is to know! There may be areas where you have expertise, but one thing you do not have expertise in is a writer's piece of writing. The writer is the ultimate decision-maker in what stays in or is taken out of a piece of writing. A review is an opinion. Let the writer know that what you are offering is such, and not a commandment as to how they should be writing their work. Of course, grammar may be an exception to this, but realize that there are many regional grammatical rules of which you may not be aware.
4. Make suggestions! If you list something which didn't work for you in a review, make a suggestion. This also shows that you have an interest and have put some thought into a review. Even if you can't think of a suggestion, write that!
5. Be specific! Don't just write, "There were a few grammatical mistakes." That doesn't help the writer one bit! Everyone is prone to miss a few errors, even with countless editing. Be helpful in pointing out specific errors and mistakes.
6. Explain yourself! Give a brief explanation (just a few words will suffice) as to why you give the rating that you give to a piece. Every rating, from 1.0-5.0 deserves an explanation! It will help the writer understand your thinking and your review.
7. Most importantly - Be encouraging! Every writer needs some encouragement now and then, particularly in a review. Don't just point out their faults; that can be incredibly disheartening! From my own experience, it can be very discouraging to constantly be reminded of your faults and downfalls of your writing, without any encouragement. Every writer has strengths! Don't offer constant rejection!
In closing, I would like to say that this is all just my opinion as a result of my experiences in writing. I'm not suggesting that everyone should feel the way that I do about reviewing. I just felt like sharing my opinion. If you'd like to share yours with (especially if your opinion differs) feel free to email me!
If you'd like to read something on my particular reviewing format, read this: