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Reviewing Challenge - March 2013

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Old February 27th, 2013 (9:47 PM).
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Astinus Astinus is offline
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And now for something different!

I know that I said that March would be the first reviewing challenge of the new year. But on thinking things over, I believe the better place to start would be with rewriting the reviewing guide. The one we have now is old and unnoticed. A new guide would benefit the section, as it can be put into a more noticeable place and hopefully alleviate some hesitations anybody might have about reviewing here.

For instance, one change that I want to bring notice to is the Like system. It was mentioned that "Liking" a post could be an option for commenting on a fic, when a reader just doesn't have much to say.

So the "challenge" for the forum this month is to create a new Reviewing Guide. Why one should review, how to review, how not to review. Pretty much just a friendly guide to reviewing in PC's Fanfiction and Writing section.

When the month is up, I'll take what we'll come up with and wrap it up into a coherent guide that will be posted in April.

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Old March 1st, 2013 (5:06 AM).
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To review, first you must review the way of the review. XD

Well, might as well start from one of the points and go from there in fleshing out! Let's go with 'why review'... well, for starters, to share your thoughts (it's like how you may discuss your favourite books or a movie you just saw with a friend, etc), to communicate to the author what you enjoyed and also what you maybe didn't like so much. Also could be a way to give thanks; you may have quite enjoyed the entertainment provided by the author and so wish to let them know of that.

Maybe I'll say more when I'm not distracted by other discussions elsewhere though. Just to get the ball rolling!

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Old March 2nd, 2013 (4:53 AM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
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To review the way of the review, you must first review the way of reviewing the review.

Sorry, couldn't resist. Anyway, you might also review because you've seen an omission or error in that story which you know you can tell the author how to correct, with the minimum of effort on either side; this might be because you can't stand to see mistakes, or, more positively, it might be because you've enjoyed the story in question and want to see it improved further. If you like a story, help the author improve it in any way you can - or simply mention a few points here and there to encourage them, as reader responses are without a doubt the best way of encouraging any writer to produce more work.

As for how to review, well, that depends to a large extent on the sort of person you are and the things that you in particular are interested in, but there are a few general rules that I think work well for anyone. Aside from issues of courtesy that - I hope - are fairly obvious to all and sundry, it's wise to first re-read the chapter or story in question, this time noting quotations and making annotations in a blank document, in order to give yourself some kind of framework to work from, and to make sure you don't forget anything you were planning on mentioning. After that, you can group your points thematically (spelling and grammar, plot consistency, character strength and so forth), so your review doesn't just become a droning list of what you liked and what you thought was unsuccessful, and is actually interesting for the author to read. You can them compile it, and if you can fit a joke or two in there you're pretty much done. That, of course, is my technique and may not suit everyone's style, but it seems to work pretty well for me and I thought I'd share it here.

It's worth pointing out that those directions apply only to the longer, more in-depth species of review. If just leaving a short comment or two about what you liked and didn't like, then responding after a first reading should be fine, and taking notes and careful composition is probably over-preparation.


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Old March 4th, 2013 (12:31 PM).
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Let's review our review methods!

To review, one must be able to connect with the topic on a personal level. For example, let's say it was a review on your favourite sporting moment in the past month, well my BAD REVIEWING SIDE would hunt down an interesting piece of sporting news, and struggle to write a review, but NO! There's no point reviewing a certain subject if you have absolutely no interest, as your writing most probably flow, and your just trying too hard! Now, let's say the topic was about Pokemon Heartgold/SoulSilver, then I could get into it and show what I think on the subject and the same goes for all of you!

Also, if you try to write in one continuous sentence such as this one you would get ever so bored and quite reading instantly while I continue to ramble on and on. But there is a solution! Use commas, semi-colons or just the occasional simple sentence could spice up your writing, but again, not TOO many, or your writing will be too spicy to touch! Now compare these two lines:

I like shorts because they are comfortable and easy to wear.

I like shorts, they're very comfortable. Also, they're easy to wear; however, I sometimes like to where baggy trousers, but mostly when I'm at home!

Now then, the second line was longer, but was more interesting than the first! Which brings us to detail. Detail is VERY important, as long as it's relevant. So if you're talking about your local [insert national holiday here], don't ramble on about each specific thing that happened, we don't really care about how you had to leave your dog with a friend during Christmas, unless you need to later state how bad it is to organise plans for Pets/Plants during this time of year! So there's a quick-fire guide on how to do (basic) reviewing, so try it out, and watch the money emblems many agreeing reader's comments come roll in!

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