A Suggested Guideline to Reviewing Other Stories

As someone who majored in English in college and went through plenty of peer review exercises and workshops, I’d like to give you all would-be reviewers a word of advice about reviewing. Lol. Of course, reviews are essentially opinions at best and everyone is a critic. But if I could improve your reviewing eyes so that you may offer feedback that would better benefit the author, I will. (In general, most reviews I’ve received/seen here have been pretty fair.)

Grammar/Spelling/Syntax/Mechanics/Punctuation/Commas/The English Freakin’ Language:
Unless the author specifically requested to have their language checked or the story requires heavy proofreading and you’re willing to go through all that, I really wouldn’t bother with this or have this hold significant weight to your grading. Grammar is something you learn and you probably don’t have a degree in English to teach it to someone anyway. Especially with comma splices. Commas can be tricky and the sentence may be grammatically correct with or without a comma. Don’t get all nit picky with this, especially since plenty of featured and popular stories have grammatical errors that don’t impact the story at all or subtract from the quality of the story. Don’t be a grammar nazi, is what I’m saying. Not cute.

Read the freakin’ story, twice if you have to:
Sounds simple, right? But I mean it. Sometimes I see reviews and the reviewer clearly did not read the story carefully because they got something wrong about the plot/character/what actually happened. Replay the episode. Just like how people reread actual literature (because you never get everything on the first read), rereading will help you with things you missed. Or record the episode you’re reviewing, because apparently you can do that. That way you can go back and reread without wasting a pass or whatever.

Don’t sound like a total b-word:
If you’re offering reviews you clearly want to help others.
Be constructive. In the words of Kim Kardashian, and the only thing I will ever quote from Kim Kardashian…
Here’s one method to not sound like a total b word.
Start with a positive aspect then move on to a negative (as in what you’re challenging)
“I like how you did xyz, nice work. Then I saw you did abc and that didn’t make sense to me.”
Rinse and repeat. You’re here to help Episode users, you’re not grading a thesis paper.

Really all I can think of. Comment if you think of anything else. Everyone’s a critic. Opinionate away. (<<<I know that’s not a word.)


The kim gif! Love this :slight_smile:

Dear @mysoxlike2party!
Thanks for creating a really valuable topic. Everyone who had to write a review at least once in his (her) life, certainly knows that to write a good review is, maybe, not easier than to write a good story.
Everyone’s is a critic, but not so many people know how to write reviews, where to start, what is worth paying attention, and what is not.
Reviews can be different, and the goal of the review we are talking about is to inspire author to make his (her) story better (or, possibly, just to praise an author for well done work if everything was perfect and you had no comments or suggestions).
My “golden rule of reviewing” is "even if everything in the work under review was awful, a good reviewer would always find something to praise for." It’s not a joke, believe me. It’s obligatory to find at least a tiny nuance and to praise for it before starting your comments.
The only thing I’d like to argue about is “language/grammar/punctuation” question. You are right that while reviewing, the higher weight should be given to the story itself (plot/characters/dialogs/directing etc.), but the language problems shouldn’t be ignored either. I’m not a native English speaker. I try to be careful with spelling and grammar, but sometimes it’s really very hard to avoid mistakes. Those can be simple typos or something you have just missed while being immersed in writing the story plot. The separate problem is punctuation, which I agree, is very tricky and it’s not always clear if a comma is necessary or not. But there exist simple grammar and punctuation rules, and if even these the simplest rules are violated, reviewer MUST point to this. It will be helpful if comments of grammar will be not general, but adressed and reinforced by examples taken from the story under review (but certainly, it’s more editor’s work, but not the reviewer’s task). What I wanted to say is that language quality greatly affects impression made by the story. And it’s a pity if a brilliant plot and directing work suffer of bad English. Also I think that presence of mistakes in featured stories is a HUGE MINUS. The examples must be examples, so stories should be proofread before featuring. In my opinion, pointing to language mistakes is very important for improving the quality of the story. I always appreciate if someone points to my mistake for me to remember it and try to avoid in future. The other question is that you should point to the problems as softly and politely as possible.
Just keep the main goal in your mind, your honesty should inspire, but not offend.
Thanks for your attention! :slight_smile:

Hey I’m becoming a reviewer and I like to take notes while I read so I don’t have to try to remember. Do you think that’s okay over rereading the story?

I really like the your rule about finding something nice. I’ve had to give feedback on some really bad stories but I think try to find something nice to say. I just would hate for someone to think they have to quit writing when they just might have to go back and really fix up their story. Besides everyone has to start somewhere.

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Closing due to one month of inactivity :slight_smile: