What the numbers mean to me.
|I've noticed that a number of people have written similar articles about reviewing and I wondered why. What reviews are supposed to mean are listed in a number of places all over the site.
It later occurred to me that the numbers mean different things to different people. Also, that people often want to know a bit about the writing of those reviewing them, so what better idea than to explain your reviewing style in your portfolio (wish I could take credit for the idea).
While I've really only started writing in the last few months, I've been studying the craft of writing for many years. I don't have a formal education in writing, but I do have a large library of books on the subject. I also enjoy the fun of reading other authors' work for entertainment and research.
Anyway, here's my take on the numbers...
5: (Epic) This is the kind of quality you usually find in the best published work. It's what we all aspire for but unfortunately rarely attain. The Lord of the Rings is a good example of this quality of writing, a timeless classic(obviously I pick Sci-Fi/Fantasy examples). It should be very well written with very few mistakes, and a great story (while LotRs might seem like a high mark, you really have to ask yourself if it would even hold up to it's own fame if it were only recently published).
4.5: (Excellent) Very close to being a 5, and definitely very publishable work. I wouldn't call it perfect, but I would call it excellent and what people should strive for. 5's are a rare score to get from me, so if you got a 4.5, it's hard to do better.
4: (Above Average) This is very good quality, generally there are only minor writing errors, perhaps a few formatting errors, or the writing was good and the story was lacking some small element that would make it really shine.
3-3.5: (Average/Good) This is average writing. It's good, but either the story needs work or the writing does, or they are both merely okay. Most people fit in this area. An average writer though has a good chance to be great if they are open-minded and honestly work on their craft. A course on writing or a few self-help writing books can make the difference to turning this writer with potential into a great writer.
2-2.5: (Below average) If you are serious about becoming a published author, you're going to have to apply yourself to the finer points to improve. If you're just dabbling in writing, then fine, but a story with this rating needs a lot of work. If the rating was 2.5, it isn't too bad, but some schooling on writing, grammar and/or creativity might be needed to boost the writing to higher levels.
1-1.5: (Step away from the pen and put your hands in the air!) Generally no one will see this rating as I won't be able to make it through the piece I'm trying to review. It was so bad I won't even bother rating it, it's just better to not say anything. I'd have to wonder if giving such a rating would be of any help, or if it would just hurt them as much as reading their writing hurt me. Two wrongs don't make a right!
When reviewing, I try to point out what I liked about the writing as well as what I think the problem areas were. If we are going to judge someone else's work, we should specifically say what it was that made us feel as we felt about it rather than just making a vague blanket statement about the article.
I would lastly like to say that if you were disappointed with a score I gave you, or even worse, offended, I'm sorry. What I write is meant to be taken in the best possible light and to be taken constructively. The fact that I rated the article meant (from my perspective) that you have talent and just need to work on an area or two to hit the higher scores.