Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 12:12pm

@Panda, I would just say bad reviews in general, regardless of start date. 

 

@Flaminia, first base is kissing....so....he was trying to kiss her? 

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters April 3, 2012 - 12:08pm

That was the core of the matter???

Totally missed it.

I think we should just be grateful people are reviewing and being active.  If they are new, they will get the hang of it. 

Not to mention - what counts as a "bad" review? 

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human April 3, 2012 - 12:17pm

Constructive criticism over hypercritical.

Example:

"I don't think this works very well, maybe add more."

"This is boring. I don't care for it much, so I rewrote it myself. Thank me after."

Style is an influence on the review.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 12:21pm

So, practical/objective over subjective...right? I think I just rewrote what you said, you can thank me later. LOL J/K 

 

Totally agree 

EDIT: Though, I'm sure I've done shitty reviews before...I flubbed one of Dannys awhile back. I get what you're saying though and agree.

Profunda Saint-Sylvain's picture
Profunda Saint-... from Calgary, AB is reading Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series April 3, 2012 - 12:21pm

I am still Pre-New to the Workshop. When I post a review, if it's done terribly and I make no good points, please tell me, or I'll probably keep doing it. I'd imagine most people would want to be contributing positively rather than saying "your story is crap and your face looks stupid" or "wow you wrote a whole story! Good for you!"

I'm sure the first few I do won't be up to standards, my apologies in advance, but we all learn from mistakes, no? So yeah I'd say tell people who aren't being helpful when they might think they are.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters April 3, 2012 - 12:24pm

Well, I think if a review is not connected to your story, it's best not to worry about it.  Also, The person who wrote the story is perfectly capable of ignoring any advice they don't like. 

I don't think it's up to any of the members here to point out that someone - who paid their $9 like everyone else - is doing a poor job of something.  If it is a review for your story, then you have the option of giving zero points.  That's how that works.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human April 3, 2012 - 12:24pm

Very true Meat.

You don't want either of those as a review either.

It's cool I messed up a lot too.

I just looked over reviews and learned by example.

Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch April 3, 2012 - 12:27pm

I'm a little disturbed if writers who try hard to create a style and say "I'm a writer" are considered dinosaurs - what's so bad about trying to shape yourself into a writer? Writing is not American Idol. It's fine if something has mass appeal, but then we'll say Twilight is better than Faulkner? Nikki, I understand that's your take on lit, that it has to constantly keep your attention with shiny, twirly, or gross things, but there are others who look for other things and I hope they're not dinosaurs. There's room for lots of kinds of writers and readers.

Also, as for reviewing, constructive criticism should be that: constructive. If you just say "this thing bored the shit out of me" it's not going to help the writer. It may not bore someone else. I hated that on the Cult (haven't seen it much here), that there were reviewers who would just say "this sucks, couldn't get into it" and give a one star rating, and that would leave you scratching your head and wanting to throw the whole thing away, except that you'd have to think "this is one person, and the person may not be the best reader anyway" - so I hope Litreactor is a more constructive place than that.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest April 3, 2012 - 12:29pm

I think a good review is not only stating what may not be working, but also giving an example of how it could work better. Saying: ' this doesn't work' doesn't really help much. Give me an example, something to work with. But at the same time, don't totally rewrite the story. I always to to make my suggestions as something I would do using statements like: 'I would do this...' or 'if this were my story...'. I think this shows the writer that my suggestions are just that, suggestions. Also, pointing out the parts of the story that do work helps the writer to identify what does work.

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff April 3, 2012 - 12:33pm

I think people should review trying to go that little bit beyond themselves and actually listen to what the writer has to say, guessing the way he/she wants to say it. Then give your two cents and be constructive.

But also workshop authors should be smart enough and be able to pick what they can use and leave the rest. Or think over the rest a bit longer. Absorbing a critique is probably more difficult than making it.

 

@Matt. Idk, I was just dancing with myself, then this kiddo took my hand and he started to dance with me, slowly, cunningly and after a while unmistakeably pushing us towards the exit. He kissed my mouth and it was soft, so I thought What the hell let's kiss this young dude. But then he wanted to go second base and so on and a whole discussion started because, you know, a kiss is ok, it's an innocent tralala, if you go further there's a whole hormones army that get unleashed and stuff and the more bases you run, the more the hormones become big and uncontrollable. At the end of the conversation he was so confused I was able to disappear without him noticing.

But really he was cute though. Had he lived in town we wouldn't have only talked.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest April 3, 2012 - 12:33pm

Wow... I'm going to critique my own work. That last sentence I wrote above is redundant.

Layla's picture
Layla from Broomfield, CO is reading The Art of Character April 3, 2012 - 12:43pm

@Panda Made aware, and taught. I don't want to give bad/poor reviews -- and be shunned, killed, etc. I don't know about some of the others, but reviewing is new to me. 

Regarding style, I've forced myself to read a few things that I would never have considered reading before. I think it's more likely that I'd give a poor review to a piece that I actually enjoy.

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:00pm

Liana you totally misjudge me and dismiss me too! That's awesome. I mean really if that's how you feel about my writing that's it's just a bunch of bells and whistles etc ... Well I'm not writing for you and I'm not critiquing your work either. Listen I don't have time to get to everyone's writing so if someone's gonna be a jerk and dismiss my writing bec of some kind of prefabricated disposition then ... Well, you don't need to worry about me critiquing your work. I won't do it. Besides, I have to make time to critique people's writing because writers send me their work directly (outside this circle, outside this workshop) ...seriously if this is the pervasive attitude ... I've got other avenues you know. I was offering myself as a resource but hey if that's not how people feel about my presence I will go elsewhere. No hard feelings. I'll take classes from Litreactor like this ketchum one because I have to but that'll be it I think.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human April 3, 2012 - 12:59pm

@Layla

It was a joke.

It was to me as well, and I've looked at my old stuff. I don't think I ever gave a one star. If I don't like it I won't review it or force myself through it. Because I know it won't help that person.

Learn by example.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:13pm

@Nikki, I lean on you pretty heavily....just saying, you got a lot to offer....Stay.... Moon your reviews are always good, same with you Panda...

As long as someone is honest and has my best interests at heart, I got no problem accepting their review. 

@Flaminia, wow, sounds like you got him all hot and bothered......you heartbreaker you. 

@Liana, my whole question was, do people reviewing take style into account. Everyone is going to have one. I think that's what Nikki was getting at too...yes? no? maybe? 

@Everyone, why don't we just start a: "Helpful Review Pointers" thread and call it a day?

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:16pm

@matt totally. i was just throwing it out there that perhaps if other people have the same sentiment maybe i would be more useful going down another avenue. i feel no need to be liked but i don't see the need to push myself on other people. so whatever. it's all good. :-)

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:20pm

Well, some people just aren't going to click. Help the people who want it or need it and move on.

Besides, style and prose and grammar and all that is secondary. In our chosen field we're only considered "great" when we die. I think when I die, rescuing my family from a sinking battle ship (filled with ninja bigfoots) I'll sell some books and actually get a five star review! LOL

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters April 3, 2012 - 1:20pm

" "Helpful Review Pointers" thread"

Which would have been a better idea than trying to call out members in a huge lump.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:22pm

Who's calling people out on this thread? Besides you of course....

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters April 3, 2012 - 1:24pm

Um, saying all the new people are writing bad reviews is sort of calling them out.

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:24pm

yeah, that confused me too.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:25pm

I don't recall saying that. Check the thread. 

@Panda, I would just say bad reviews in general, regardless of start date."

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:26pm

avery- i missed that comment! yeah, not very helpful. definitely fosters a new school/old school dichotomy. :-(

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. April 3, 2012 - 1:28pm

Everyone has different writing styles, the key is to be respectful but constructively critical. For some people their writing is their baby so they don't like being told their baby is ugly. However if people keep their baby in an oven, you might want to make a suggestion of a crib. Just don't tell them what brand to buy. Metaphor acceptable?

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters April 3, 2012 - 1:28pm

Matt - I didn't say you said. 

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:29pm

Oh, my bad. If we're talking about the "new people" panda thing, he was mostly joking in that comment, I think it was lost in translation. 

@Danny, yes. But creepy. LOL

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human April 3, 2012 - 1:31pm

This is being blown way out of proportion. It all seems unecessary.

We had good statements on what makes a good review. Which I agree with.

I never saw any names being called out.

 

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. April 3, 2012 - 1:31pm

At least I didn't say the baby was dead. If their baby is dead, by all means tell them but prepare for psychosis.

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:35pm

i'm fine with the baby metaphor but shouldn't we encourage writers not to treat their writing precious? not to be big babies about it?

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:33pm

@Danny, by all means sir. HAHAHAHA

@Panda, yeah......

@Everyone, so thread for helpful pointers? Maybe even Kirk can anchor it at the top if we get good stuff....what would you guys say is important in reviewing....I am sure we have lurkers out there who are curious or even want to post....have at it if you have questions too...

The best one I have seen so far is, "looking for a consistent voice. "

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:36pm

great idea matt and maybe someone can make a Nut Up thread too.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:42pm

We already do that LOL, it's called, "leave your feelings at the door" as per Dave. Of course when I did rodeo in high school, it was "Cowboy up". 

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:39pm

heh heh ;-p so funny matt

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 1:43pm

Haha, I try, well it is a lesson I had to learn with my writing too.

Any other suggestions or questions or rules to put in the (helpful review pointers) thread?

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff April 3, 2012 - 1:46pm

I do the Nut Up thread!

jk

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 1:48pm

oh i know you do flaminia.:-)

 

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly April 3, 2012 - 1:56pm

In the words of Mark "Chopper" Read

 

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff April 3, 2012 - 2:01pm

whoa Dave, when I saw your name for a moment I feared the worst

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. April 3, 2012 - 2:04pm

Dave is always hard.

Jimothy Scott's picture
Jimothy Scott from Canada is reading The Anatomy of Story by John Truby April 3, 2012 - 2:09pm

@Nikki
"Im not that fickle! I mean I didn't expect you all to be sooo conservative." Unofficial presents round one is over congratulations to the victors PG 28

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 2:16pm

@dave- nice pic.

@garrett: i wasn't butthurt i just misjudged the openness of this forum to the kind of fic i like to write.

Bill Tucker's picture
Bill Tucker from Austin, Texas is reading Grimm's Fairy Tales (1st Edition) April 3, 2012 - 2:16pm

HA!  Every time I get a review, Dave's intro image flashes in mind.  Leave your feelings at the door is damn right.  As far as reviewing / critiquing goes, style has to be ignored if you want to be constructive.  For me, it's all about technique and highlighting what works and what doesn't work. I spend a good amount of time reviewing film and I have a few rules that I live by:

1)  The Golden Rule:  No matter how much you didn't like something, NEVER attack the writer.  Just because you didn't like the story, doesn't mean the writer is stupid, awful or untalented.  In my opinion, you have to respect the work that went into something before you do anything else.  From there, you can be brutally honest but it always has to be done with respect for the person who spent a ton of time working on that project.

2)  Artists Need To Be Fed:  I'm a firm believer that a helpful, "Wow, I really liked that" comment is just as crucial than everything you would change.  When we write, we open ourselves up to a world full of people who are built to tear us down.  While we don't get better without honest critique, it's also important to get those high fives every once in a while.  Again, everyone here has been great at that in the couple of shorts I've thrown up but it's something to keep in mind.

3)  If Something Stinks, Say Why:  This is more appropriate in my film reviews, but if something didn't work, be as specific as you can as to why.  With writing it's different, because if something doesn't work for you, it may go back to that style issue, but if something is wonky in the technique, be specific as to what it is. Matt Attack has been brilliant at that in the couple of reviews he's done for me.  In film reviewing, many pro critics will smash something and never explain why exactly it didn't work.  For me, that's imperative.  If it didn't work, how will the artist know what to do differently.

Going back to the point of the thread, style factors into your personal enjoyment of the piece but good technique is good technique.  Good critics should be able to put their style preferences aside and simply judge the work on it's technical merit.  Me, I'm still figuring that out in the writing world, but that's how I approach film, especially if I didn't like the movie.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 2:21pm

@Bill- wow, I am kind of flattered, thanks for the compliment and great pointers! 

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human April 3, 2012 - 2:22pm

@Nikki

Would you like to be butthurt? ;)

Nick's picture
Nick from Toronto is reading Adjustment Day April 3, 2012 - 2:25pm

.... the concept rating seems to be rather contentious in some reviews.  I read one recently that give a fairly "meh" rating for this category, stating something like "didn't really appeal to me".  Which is fine, but it's entirely subjective.  Reviews should be more about the nuts and bolts of writing than about the reviewer's personal feelings. 

Personally I rate concept based mainly on originality.  Whatever it is may not be my cup of tea, but if it's something I haven't seen a dozen times before, and that actually required imagination plus contemplation, I'm willing to consider that it may be a good concept.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. April 3, 2012 - 2:27pm

Well, I called Courtney out before because of the one star reviews but maybe I'm too nice. I read things like a creative writing teacher does, the teachers I had in the past always encouraged me and found something positive to say even in my worst writing and it got me to improve. If they had just told me everything I did wrong I would have given up. Some people may never be truly great writers but everyone can improve.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human April 3, 2012 - 2:30pm

@Alien

Agreed.

Matt Attack's picture
Matt Attack from Richmond, Va. is reading As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner April 3, 2012 - 2:42pm

Alright, so we have, explain the stars....Bill's comments which could be copy and pasted (including his glowing review of me, haha) consistent voice...and cowboy up/nut up/harden the fuck up/leave your feelings at the door...

 

Anything else? 

If you can't tell, I'm avoiding writing my thunderdome story! 

Nikki Guerlain's picture
Nikki Guerlain from Portlandia is reading Necronomicon Book Three April 3, 2012 - 3:01pm

Oh Panda you're such a flirt!

 

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly April 3, 2012 - 3:09pm

Okay, past my window of opportunity, but this clip didn't exist.  So I had to make it.