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A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

General, open discussion regarding writing, getting published, markets, pointers, and other related topics. All are welcome! No advertising, please!

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:51 pm

Okay, if this meets with all agreement by Rachel and Lillian, we need one more to cover all levels. I'm waiting for Rachel and Lillian to respond and then between us we may come up with another or someone may read this thread and jump in.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby lish1936 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:23 pm

Lynn, I understand your decision, even though I wish you had given it a bit more time. But you know best. Wouldn't it be ironic if your next entry wins an E.C., and you're on the road to Level 4 again? :lol:

Graham, I second your being the coordinator. :clap As far as the format for posting critiques, I'm not sure it's necessary to add another layer of guidelines. I prefer using Faithwriter's guidelines with the ones posted here; they cover every aspect. Also, I'm reluctant to stretch that yellow box to the limit, so it may not be feasible to include all aspects of either of the guidelines; unless it's done via a PM.

Question: Could the commitment be five per week, or would five in one day be an acceptable equivalent?

Keep me posted. The "Thank You" notes that I receive make it all worthwhile.

Blessings,

Lillian
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby RachelM » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:20 am

Graham, I love the sandwich approach that you laid out! I'm excited (and a little nervous) to jump into this. It would be great if you could coordinate! :D Organization will make this much more effective.

I'm interested to hear your answer to Lillian's question. Can we post five a week, or will it need to be one per day?

Also, since I have so much to learn, I think I would be better suited to reviewing articles from levels one and two.

Shann, are you willing to jump in on this?
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:46 pm

I love this idea. As most of you know, there was a time when I left a comment on every entry. Right now, I can barely find time to do much of anything and I miss that.

As Jan pointed out, some people only want fluff. I understand that but think it is so sad. I like to do the reviews before I know who wrote them because I find I am less biased. No matter what I also try to leave at least two positive things for every constructive one.

With all the critiques I've left, I would say most people probably 80% never say anything at all to me about my comment. Out of the 20% who do, probably 95% of the time it is a heartfelt thank you. Out of the five percent who are hurt or even a tiny bit defensive, I immediately send a note of apology stating I never intended to hurt their feelings, my comment was coming from a place of love and a genuine desire to help others.

Out of those, only three people have refused to accept my apology. Other than the three, the others would write back and actually thank me and say after letting it sit for a bit, they were able to look at it with fresh eyes and see where I was coming from.

Unfortunately, the three who refused my apology nearly crushed me. They were so bitter and said some pretty vile things that left me deeply wounded and in a despondent state for days. One was so bad that my husband begged me to leave FW> Even now, though it's been a year or two, I'm still tearing up over it. I think I've come to the point where I can realize for someone to say they would never write again because of me and that I totally ruined their passion is their problem not mine. The funny thing is all three of those times I had almost gushed over the parts I liked. The constructive critique was something minor, but they focused on that instead of words like loved, brilliant, nailed it which were words I also used to describe their writing.

I'm not sharing this to scare people off. Instead, I want to encourage people to leave comments. I have left roughly (I was going to try and do the math but my brain won't cooperate) so I'll say hundreds though my brain wants to say closer to thousands of comments (not just on challenges but on regular submission and critique circle), out of all those comments, only 3 people have reacted in a really negative way. Even if the people who don't say anything about might feel a sting, are included there are still so many people who have been so grateful. It makes me feel like I am making a difference.

If I comment Wow, or I love this on your piece, know I meant it. I don't use words like that without meaning it. I will definitely take the challenge and even go a step farther. If anyone has a piece and would like me to comment on it, send me a PM or email. If you have a friend who is down because she hasn't received a comment, send me a link to the story and I promise to try my hardest to comment.

Great minds think alike because I was going through the last two times when I was congratulating people on rankings, and notice many stories that only had one or two comments and wanted to challenge people to leave comments more. If everyone read each piece in their level, think how many comments people would have. That's why I love the Critique Circle so much to get a comment you have to leave one. Ahh for another day.
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:51 pm

So what level am I starting at Graham? I know Rachel said she wanted to do lower levels. I will say sometimes I do get totally immersed into the story and don't see anything to tweak, especially in the higher levels.

Another thing I always do before commenting is pray. Sometimes I clearly hear God say, nope leave only fluff hear. I've wondered on those three who left FW because of my comments (or so they said) why God didn't tell me to leave those alone? I'm sure he had a good reason, though it wasn't easy on me. :mrgreen:
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby lish1936 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:06 pm

So sorry to hear about your negative experience, Shann. That can be quite disconcerting, and certainly discouraging. Thanks for giving me a head's up, although I think I have a rather tough skin. As you have indicated, our comments are meant to help.

I hope your post means, Yes, add my name. :D
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:27 pm

Right after that post, I went to level two and read and commented on 5 stories. It didn't take long at all. I'd do more, but my back is aching. Oh and I left a constructive critique on 4 of them because one was my challenge buddy and I've already critiqued him to tears (not really, he's a great guy and keeps writing which is admirable.) :D
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:31 pm

It did mean that Lillian! I try to go through every week anyway, but I'll still make a note of this. I think it is a splendid idea. Plus it only took me 20 minutes to read and comment on 5 stories. I tend to keep this well hidden so many of you may not know, but I can be a bit wordy at times too :heehee so it shouldn't take others who aren't wordy as long! :D

Apparently math isn't my high point either since it took closer to 40 minutes but still not long if it helps someone else blossom. :mrgreen:
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby lish1936 » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:49 pm

I'm also a bit hesitant about leaving comments on articles in Level 4, but I'm up to the challenge. Pun unintended. :D

After all, included in the "Tips" is this:

"Even the greatest pieces of writing have room for suggestions and opinions...
Whether the author agrees with any of your suggestions or ideas is not relevant. You have given them another perspective on their work they would not have otherwise had."


There was a time when I, too, had a problem with leaving constructive criticism on articles that were on public display, but I've come full circle. Should I ever want to use the articles in a portfolio or something, there's another way to do it.

So back to you, Graham.


Blessings,

Lillian
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I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby RachelM » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:43 pm

Thank you so much for sharing about your experience in commenting, Shann! I feel much better prepared now, and I will make sure that I pray before commenting.

If we want to grow as writers, we need to be willing to accept (embrace!) criticism. Sadly, those three people weren't interested in growing.
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:56 pm

I want to stress that most people really do appreciate it. I had three bad experiences in the course of hundreds of amazing ones. To prove my point, within an hour or so, I received a delightful thank you on one of the pieces I commented on. It does make a difference. I never would have made it to Masters, let alone be bogged down by all these editing jobs if not for the challenge and the comments.

I know some prefer to send critiques via PM and I understand and appreciate that. For me personally, I don't do that because number one, since people can enter 4 times for free and I try to make comments anonymously (meaning I don't know who the author is, not that they don't know who is making the comment) some of those people may be silver members and not have access to the PM.

Secondly, and for me more importantly, the challenge is about learning. I can't tell you how many times I've had someone say your comments on other challenges helped me. That way instead of helping just the author, my comments can help countless people.

Time to read some more...or lie down not sure which yet! :book2 :mrgreen:
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:25 pm

Go lie down Shann, you must be exhausted after all that sharing. :lol: :lol:

Only kidding, like Rachel and Lillian I really appreciate your sharing. It teaches us a lot.

I also had a very bad experience with leaving reviews and it took me very close to leaving FW. I received an email telling me that many people were going around saying that if they could survive a critique by Graham they could survive 'anything'. I was devasted on three fronts. First, there was no way any of my comments deserved such a bad reaction. Secondly I had followed the advice on leaving critiques to the letter, used the sandwhich model, made more positive comments than negative and highlighted that the constructive opinion was only my opinion not fact. And yet the official email I received, from a FW moderator, proceeded to tell me how to do what I had already done. And third, a continuing problem which we are now dealing with, thank You Father, is that the reason I joined FW in the first place was to receive critiques which helped me improve as a writer.

Here are some quick points to keep in mind that will protect us from this sort of reaction.

1. The entire site (FW) makes it clear that the reason for joining is to grow and to help others grow. If people join they MUST EXPECT critique or they will never grow. If they react to a good constructed critique then I boldly say, very frankly, that is their problem and we do not need to own it. Obviously this means we must show compassion and love, but we do not need to own their reaction.

2. Our motive is to help. As writers we should be able to make word choices which carry a soft message, and that will help, but we do not help to the best of our ability if we do not share something that can be improved. Only thanks are an appropriate response to that.

3. To be honest we need to keep in mind that level one entrants are more at risk of feeling rejected (the other levels have been around longer) so you guys who want to stick with levels one and two are making a dangerous choice. :lol: I'm only partly kidding here, truth is that many who join and start at level one have joined because they already believe they have some sort of gift and are in for a surprise at how much help they really need. Go careful in level one. New members may take offence quicker and leave before they learn.

Lillian, I agree 100% we do not need 'more' guidelines, not at all. If you look at my comments you will see that I have not added a single thing. I simply summerized what all of the guidelines said. That being said, I feel we should all feel free to leave comments as we feel led and the only important point is the two to one ration of the sandwhich model, two positive for one negative comment.

Okay, this post is too long already. I'll go to Mike and Bea's corner and highlight this thread, asking them to comment and give approval. I'll invite Deb along too. I can't see this being a problem, but they are our leaders and we need to respect that. If we can get enough members involved we could also turn the Critque Circle around too.

I'm excited and want to "THANK YOU" for your courage and commitment to making this work.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:09 pm

Mike, Bea and Deb have been invited to join this discussion.

One other point about our protection in doing this; there is safety in both numbers and familiarity. As the number of good reviews increases so entrants become familiar with seeing them and come to expect them. This alone could also encourage more and more writers to leave them. It is a bit daunting to leave a critique when every other comment you see is a large bouquet of roses.

Blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Shann » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:41 pm

You make good points Graham. I did lie down and watched the British crush the US in curling. :?

One other thing. Anyone who is familiar with my feedback will know they tend to be long. The main reason is I try to give specific examples. Instead of saying show don't tell, I'll take a line, copy it and then show how to make it more showing. I think that's so important. It might not be perfect, but is a way to help them understand.

I Love the safety in numbers. I am sensitive and it crushes me If I accidentally hurt someone. I've been to other sites and that seemed to be the main purpose. Here it's different some times to the detriment. If someone doesn't show what you're doing wrong you can never improve.

When I first started I thought I'd win for sure because family and friends had told me how brilliant I was. Tah! I look at those early entries and cringe. :mrgreen:
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Re: A Few Tips For the Reluctant Reviewer?

Postby Come forth » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:59 pm

Joining and expecting to shine is pretty common, Shann. We joined because we believe we are writers, we just don't recognize the 'in making' part of the task. :lol:

the other thing I didn't answer was 'one a day or five in one day'. I don't think it matters at all. Our agreement here is to give five a week -- all at once, in drips and drabs or one a day. I have not given one this week because I'm having a really large week getting ready to preach this week-end at a small seminar. But I'll make a point of catching up before the winners are announced.

I guess there will be times when someone can't keep their end of the deal for a week, or maybe even longer, because of illness, holidays or whatever. Let's keep this friendly, support each other in the task and keep it enjoyable.

More blessings, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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