Are you guys finding the review swaps useful?

Responses

  1. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I'm wondering something else now: does anyone read the serial of the person who wants to swap before the swap actually happens? And if you do, what's your dominant thought when going in: to gauge whether or not you like the story, to see how well-written it is, to see how long it is, to see if there's any advice you could actually give that person?

    Only because with the amount of swaps leaning harder towards a critique than review, swappers might be getting distracted by the obligation. That need to uphold your end as fast as you can might have some defaulting to, "This is how it could have been written better," instead of letting it simmer long enough to discuss, "This is how it impacted me. Or didn't."

    Does anybody feel like they're reading too fast or too on-the-surface to chat about more than edits? If I asked you personally to go back to the trades you made and write a new reader-focused/personal opinion review on them, would those be very different from what you already wrote or quite similar?

    (Just to throw it out there...

    @Marn, your reviews have been spectacular. You're not only being reader-focused, but telling us who you are, which really helps me to decide if your tastes are close enough to mine for me to give your opinion its full weight or to adjust it to fit me better. I also love the way you've been discussing *when* you started to feel something. That's a teeny bit of feedback that's oh so good for authors in a way that doesn't make the whole thing a letter to them. 'Oh, I didn't like So-and-so right away.' 'I did like So-and-so right away!' 'I liked So-and-so, but not after X happened.' So subtle! So simple! So useful!

    Okay, I'm done reviewing your reviews now.)

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  2. Sten Düring (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra No. I simply bow out when I don't have the time (which is the reason you haven't seen a single review from me the last two months).

    @Chrysalis It was a swap, eventually. Started as an "I might do yours if I have the time and inclination" and in the end we both did.

    Back to Tartra's question.

    Now I'm an annoying person, partially because I'm annoyingly upfront. I have neither the time nor the interest in extended social dancing. I'm much too lazy for that.

    For me review swaps are just that (and they're are not critique swaps a someone else here touched upon). They serve three purposes. 1) To increase visibility of my story. 2) To give me reader input on what I wrote. 3) To force me to read something that might be outside my comfort zone.

    In that order.

    Note how my writing a review didn't even make the list. Why? Because when I have the time I write reviews. Unless I have a shortlist I'll pretty much review on random, but I prefer a shortlist. And I don't mind filling it with explicit requests or trades.

    I'll also let my review mirror what I subjectively experienced as a reader. Note subjectively. Reading is subjective.

    However, I won't review something unreadable, because it was unreadable in the first place and hence I didn't read it. Writing a review on what I didn't read would be dishonest, and, well, there was this thing with annoyingly upfront.

  3. Emma (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra: I started to read Warbler before I decided to do the review swap. I don't have time to sit down and read something that I potentially didn't like. I liked the first chapter well enough that I decided to go ahead and do the review swap. I also should mention that I don't usually read or review anything that isn't completed. I thought I would give a first impression review a try as well.

  4. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Sten - That's an excellent breakdown, and I'm glad to read such clear expectations of what you're looking for. I also like the fact that you maintain a shortlist rather than a deadline. As a reader looking to use reviews to help me out, I'd love to know you're only writing these as time or interest permits. At the very least, without that ticking clock, you'll be giving that subjective POV as naturally as possible.

    @Emma - Okay, that makes sense. If you don't mind me asking more about it, do you find yourself reading those samples (and then the whole thing when you get down to business) the same way or to the same detail (more or less) that you would if it was just for the hell of it? You also mentioned time as a challenge; do you feel like it puts a deadline in to finish you wouldn't normally have?

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  5. Emma (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra: Yes, I go into every story as a reader. I'm reading for my own enjoyment, even if I'm reading with the knowledge that I'm going to write a review on it or that it's for a review swaps. I try to make my reviews about the enjoyment that I have gotten out of reading the story, and not about the technical aspects of writing unless they stop me from enjoying the story.

    Deadlines are a gift for me. If I don't set them up for myself, I'd never get anything done. Working two jobs, going to school, and writing does put a damper on free time. I do get what I want done though. It is taking me a little longer to read and review Warbler than I would like, but I'll have it done soon. But yeah, deadlines, they're good for the soul.

  6. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Emma - Ah-ha! :D Well, that answers my questions. Thank you!

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  7. Emma (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra: Not a problem. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. :)

  8. Grey (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Sounds like people should make a strong distinction between whether they want criticism or a review, to me. Makes sense - I'd always feel better about a review motivated by a sincere impulse to share my work, in the same way I get excited about books and try to make my friends read them (like Blindsight, by Peter Watts, which anyone who loves bleeding edge sci-fi and transhumanism should go read right now).
    It just seemed to me that in terms of local board culture, a review swap was functionally a request for constructive criticism.

    And to answer Tartra more directly - wall of text inc.

    On reflection, rather than ask to swap a review, I'd request - as I have done - and exchange of critque. I'd be looking for strengths and weaknesses, from both a reader perspective and that of a fellow writer. I would, however, be less thrilled about editing notes; I'll catch the typos eventually, right now all I care about is the story.

    Learning which criticism to apply and which to ignore is a skill in itself, but if someone told me to scrap my first ten chapters and gave me a compelling reason why, I'd probably end up scrapping some and modifying the rest.

    I write games and guides, too.
  9. Marn (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra Oh gosh, thank you! I'm fairly sure it comes from years and years of writing critique letters for creative writing classes. (I also tend to go into stories as a reader first, and jot down my first impressions as I go, which definitely helps.)

  10. Sten Düring (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Grey Arguably the "story-reflection-inputs" on this site are better suited as reviews than as critiques. At least I have come to see the mainpage as aimed at readers of webfiction.

    And for now a minor nitpick. I'm never interested in criticism. I do however enjoy critique a lot (given a context where it belongs. Writing circles etc). While criticism is without a doubt a valid part of most critiques, the very word 'criticism' implies a skewed attempt at finding what's wrong instead of applying as objective an eye as possible to a piece of writing.

    I'm probably overly wary as the Swedish language lacks the luxury of the two different terms. 'Kritik' means both 'critique' and 'criticism'.

  11. Grey (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Sten - Which is why I'd request critique over a review? Better I get feedback in comments or a thread here, rather than inconvenience readers; I too would view the front-page as a resource for them, not us.

    Not to be pedantic, but: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism would be the spirit in which I use criticism, critique technically being the term which refers to the product of criticism (a review, for example).

    I write games and guides, too.
  12. Tartra (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Grey - I really liked that used a thread here instead. I think it works better for you, because instead of a wall of general advice, you get smaller, more specific improvements that you can actually start a dialogue with. You can't exactly 'talk' to a review. They're strict a statement of opinion, not a conversation. Using the thread > using reviews.

    @Sten - No, no, we've got the same problem. Critique and criticism are different concepts (critiques offer improvements and criticism tears down), but CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is the same as critique. :P Everyone's confused in every language!

    The Other Kind of Roommate — Like Fight Club meets X-Men meets The Matrix meets Superbad.
  13. Grey (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    This is me, with my finger off the pulse - criticism may be negative in the vernacular (probably owing to the post-90s everyone-is-special backlash against criticism forcing the qualifier 'constructive' to be used), but here I am stuck in last century's usage.

    I write games and guides, too.
  14. Sten Düring (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra and @Grey

    In the Swedish language we only have one word 'kritik'. That word is used both for 'critique' and (negative) criticism. Reading the article liked to by Grey I saw that the two words in English could indeed be used with the same semantical value. Strangely enough our English professors (from Britain, Canada and USA) chose to make the (layman?) distinction between critique and criticism.

    The reason why is unclear to me though, but I very belatedly took up academic English (2006 or so), which could coincide with Grey's last remark.

    Interestingly enough the Wikiedia article begins with suggesting that 'constructive criticism' be redirected into 'criticism'.

    Anyway, with two possible meanings I stand corrected. My bad.

  15. Sten Düring (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    @Tartra and @Grey

    In the Swedish language we only have one word 'kritik'. That word is used both for 'critique' and (negative) criticism. Reading the article liked to by Grey I saw that the two words in English could indeed be used with the same semantical value. Strangely enough our English professors (from Britain, Canada and USA) chose to make the (layman?) distinction between critique and criticism.

    The reason why is unclear to me though, but I very belatedly took up academic English (2006 or so), which could coincide with Grey's last remark.

    Interestingly enough the Wikiedia article begins with suggesting that 'constructive criticism' be redirected into 'criticism'.

    Anyway, with two possible meanings I stand corrected. My bad.

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