October 2nd, 2013 (12:11 PM). Edited November 7th, 2013 by Nolafus.
You might have noticed that this is my second reviewing guide. The reason I decided to write another one, was because I felt like my last one didn't do a great job. It left out a lot of things that I should have touched on and lacked a little pzazz. So, I'm back with an even better guide. I combined my ideas with ideas from an older guide (found here) to create a mega-guide.
How to Write a (constructive) Review
So you’ve decided to help out your local writing section by posting some reviews of other people’s work. That’s wonderful, but there is a good way, and a bad way, to go about this. So before you go and give your thoughts to the world, be sure to read what’s accepted, and what’s not in the wonderful world of reviews. You will notice that I have used a lot of quotes in this. Believe it or not, each of these quotes were actual reviews I found online. As much as I wish I made these up (oh how I wish I made these up), every quote is a legitimate attempt at reviewing. First, before we move any further, we must answer the basic question. What is reviewing?
i love pokemon
Reviewing, an introduction
Before you roll your eyes, thank captain obvious for the tip, and skip the entire guide, hear me out. That question is quite obvious, but what’s not so obvious are the questions behind the big one. Before we get to the more complicated ones, we’ll stick with these two simple ones, for now.
Did you like the work?
These are very basic questions that should be answered somewhere in your review. Where you put it, I don’t care, as long as it is obvious what you thought of the story. Underneath these questions, we discover, yet more questions.
Why did you like it?
Etc… As you can see, these questions form a pattern of Why? And What? As a reviewer, all you need to do is continue to ask these questions until there’s nothing left to talk about. If you want to leave the best review you possibly can, take the time to answer these. It won’t help anyone if you just skim through the story and hastily write the review. Speaking of not helping people…
Short and not so sweet
What NOT to do
Now that we have a basic understanding of what reviewing actually is, it's time to look at what's not acceptable in any way. I repeat (just for clarity) DON'T DO ANYTHING ON THIS LIST!
good i liked it jessie complained a lot and james sounded like he was gay
Okay, here we have a few guys who thought they left a good review. Short, but sweet. As a writer, I would be very disappointed to receive any of these reviews. It might seem helpful when you write it, but let’s take a closer look. There’s nothing here that helps the writer improve. In other words, there’s no substance. It’s obvious that the guys liked it (well, at least the top two, I don’t even know if the third person can type), but there’s nothing here saying what they liked about it. The poor writer has no idea what they did right, and no idea what they could improve on.
In fact, this could be taken as an insult. What these reviews are actually saying is that the story was only good enough to receive a couple sentences at best. Unfortunately, a lot of writers still take this because at least they were able to hold the reader’s attention for the five seconds it took to write it out. It’s pathetic, and you look like a complete idiot if you post it.
Suggest ideas for the future
PUT A SHUCKLE IN PLZ THANK YOU SHUCKLE IS MY FAVORIT POKEMON
Advertise your fic in every review
it was great, cant wait for more, come and look at my bio and review some of my pokemon stories.
Yeah, don’t do that. It never turns out like you want it to and it only turns people off of your fic. The writer will notice that you’re only reviewing his/her work to discreetly advertise you own. They’ll roll their eyes, sigh, and move on to the next review written by someone who actually wants to help them. Others will see your attempt, and if you continue to do this, no one will take your reviews seriously. You’ll be “that one guy” that no one wants to be associated with. People won’t respect you, your story will go unread, and everyone is unhappy. You have to be a highly respected author to pull it off, and if you’re a highly respected author, you most likely aren’t going to try it.
Insult the writer
Sorry to say this but you took my love of pokemon fanfiction and threw it in the dunpster with this!
Sometimes, a person puts something up online that clearly shows that they have no idea what they’re doing. The story isn’t good, and frankly it’s a little embarrassing to read. You tear the story apart, but you don’t stop there. You sneak a sentence in there that deals with the writer directly, and not in a good way. Now, you’ve just crossed the line from being harsh, to a bully. Never attack the writer directly, whether it is intentional or not, keep all negative comments to the story itself. For some writers, it took a great deal of courage to share their story. If you attack them, you’ve just realized all of their worst fears, and that’s never a good thing.
Act like the perfect, all-knowing being
It’s going to happen, you’re going to make a mistake while reviewing. Don’t be that person that absolutely refuses the possibility that they have messed up. It’s okay to explain your decision if you think the writer took it the wrong way, but don’t be hard-headed about it. You don’t want to force the writer to accept your ideas, because you then look like a total jerk. Besides, if you swallow your pride a little and admit fault, the writer will hold you to a higher respect level and you’ll look like a really nice guy. It’s a win-win.
Write a “helpful” review
um thats kinda dumb. no offense. and you spelled phineas wrong.
Grat job, I reely like the charcters. 8/10
Thankfully, this is a trend that’s dying out. Or, at least it took me a while to find that review. Ratings might seem like a good way to conclude all of your ideas into one thing, but it’s never a good idea. Just trust me on this. Even if it’s at the end of a long, detailed review, and here’s why. If you give the writer a low number, they’re going to think their writing sucks and be discouraged, ruining all the positives you might have mentioned. If you give the story a high number, the author is going to think that their writing is really good, and then they become arrogant. It’s an unnecessary addition that really should be avoided at all costs. It doesn’t add anything to the review itself and actually ruins what you said. Effectively, making a review worse.
Now that you know what not to do in your review, it’s about time we looked at what things we should include.
Use proper grammar
What to do
This one seems like a no-brainer. Yet time after time, I see people not even proofreading their own critique. I mean, would you trust someone like this to provide intelligent feedback that you should go off of?
Are you continying if not you guess what will happen ie makachop
Please, just read over your stuff again. You’ll catch some mistakes you would be pretty embarrassed of otherwise, I guarantee it. I do, in every review I write. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing your credibility and now you’re being laughed at.
Don’t include just negatives
BLAAAaaaaaaaaah! ThiS sTINKS!
This one is simple, include some things you liked about the story. If you liked a sentence, point it out. If you liked what a character said, let the writer know. It’s not all about what the writer is doing wrong, it’s also about what the writer is doing right. If you let the writer know that you liked something they did, then the confidence of the writer will increase and they’ll be happy.
Write a review chapter by chapter
Quote grammar mistakes
Do you mean black instead back
Critique what you know
That's such an adorable idea! :D But I wish you would have written it in more detail. It seemed so rushed and half thought out. I would have liked more! It sounds adorable!
This is probably the most important thing in this guide. Even if nothing good can be said about a story, it’s still possible to leave a constructive critique. Basically, it’s all about being assertive, without being mean. Here’s a couple examples so you catch my drift.
Do you really think I can read this? Next time think about formatting before you post stuff. Until then, I’m not reading anything by you.
I would suggest, first of all, to space it out. As it currently sits, it’s just too hard to read, plus the wall of text isn’t good for the eyes.
So now that you know all there is to reviewing, it’s time to go out and share your thoughts. However, if you’re concerned that your review will look like a jumbled mess, follow the simple guideline below. I use this basic format just about every time. You don’t need to follow it exactly, but be sure you cover all the bases to the best of your ability.
Tips and Tricks
A couple of things before you go off to review the world. Remember that it took a lot of courage from some of these writers to post their work. All they want is their story to be read, and appreciated. Make sure to take your time with the review, it won’t help anybody if you rush through it. This is a learning experience for both the writer, and reviewer. Don’t flame, you’ll be hated by all. Now that you know how to write a (constructive) critique, go make some writers day by giving them a review. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become friends.
Pair ✎ PC sister