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How can I make my work better through reviews?

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Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:20 am
emilybrodo says...

It seems that whenever I get a review I have trouble following The reviewer's advice to make my work better. I want to become as good as I can get or at least close to that. Advice would be awesome! : )
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Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:08 am
Jagged says...

Improving is rarely a fast process, and while taking reviews into account helps, you should also remember that not every review is necessarily spot-on - something that would bug one reviewer might go perfectly fine for another, and so on - which means you need to sift through the advice you get and decide what works for you and your writing style.

If you agree with the reviewers on things you can improve - if you know you can - then focus on that in your next works, get a better sense for it. If there's something you can't follow, then maybe just keep it in mind so you can adjust a bit, but don't try to please everyone, because that's (sadly) pretty much impossible.

After that, it's just a matter of practice, and writing lots :P
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Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:47 pm
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Rosendorn says...

You can also PM reviewers asking them for more info on what they actually mean. It is rather difficult for a reviewer to determine what your intent was in writing any particular piece, and I've found the best advice comes when an author reviews "blind" (without knowing intent) then revises their advice once they know intent. Then, you get a better idea of what the advice was actually saying.

However, Jagged's advice still applies. Reviews aren't spot on, and it can take several drafts of hearing nearly the same advice to get any changes.

Reviewing other people is another way of improving. By looking at pieces not your own and critically pulling them apart, you can get a better eye for your own work. You often don't realize that's happening, but it does happen. Primarily because you're starting to figure out what you like and don't like in a work, and you're learning more about writing by reading other reviews, linking articles (you have read) and getting feedback.
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Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:26 pm
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Emerson says...

I 150% agree with Rosey saying to review other people's work. I did that more than writing, but whenever I did write it helped me break away from my own work and be very harsh and honest with myself. If you can do it to other people you should be able to do it to yourself - and better than anyone else can. We writers, we are our own worst critics! Use this to your advantage, not to your discouragement.

One important thing to keep in mind with reviews, and I loved this bit of advice, is that you're the writer. If someone tells you that your character is stupid for doing X in your story, but that is your FAVORITE THING, and you love it - forget what they said. You are the author. You're really not trying to please anyone but yourself [and possibly your readers]. And if one reader dislikes something? Well, you can't please everyone all the time. So don't try to do everything that everyone suggests - unless you agree with them. If you disagree, take a step back, try to find if they are right, or how you can use their idea along side your current one. Maybe you aren't seeing your story the way it really can be. I often find that I limit myself and my writing because it "has to be" a certain way. No, no it doesn't! We can do whatever we want. Don't lock yourself into your reviews, or your own mind set. Be open to everything.

And my third suggestion would be to take it in parts. Don't tackle everything at once. If someone tells you your characters are flat, your dialogue is bland, and you use too many adjectives - well, hit the ground level first. Your characters are the skeleton. Your actual writing mechanics can be fixed while you're writing, but fix it from the ground up. Don't worry about whether that comma was miss used on page 145 line 6 -- worry about whether your characters are well written, your settings vivid, your plot interesting. You can always edit a comma. You have to rewrite plot entirely.

Hope this helps. <3
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