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The YWS Reviewing Dictionary



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Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:14 am
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-The YWS Reviewing Dictionary-

Hello There! Welcome to the YWS Reviewing Dictionary. If you’ve ever had a question about reviewing, here’s the ultimate place to have those questions answered! From how to show someone what to do about a mary sue, to showing someone how to correctly format a poem, this is the place to become the reviewing expert you want to be!
Enjoy!



-Table of Contents-

*Helpful links*

*Reviewing Poetry*
*Helpful links*
-What to say about stanzas
-What to say about caps/punctuation
-What to say about imagery
-What to say about cliches
-What to say when reviewing a controversial poem


*Reviewing Prose*
*Helpful links*
-What to say about showing, not telling
-What to say about length
-What to say about flat characters
-What to say about flat plots
-What to say about cliches
-What to say about mary and gary
-What to say when reviewing a controversial piece of prose


*How to Behave When You’re Reviewing*
-How to stay constructive but kind
-How to respond when the person you reviewed doesn’t like your review


hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you


-Richard Siken


Formerly SparkToFlame
  





User avatar
328 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 99
Reviews: 328
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:14 am
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LadySpark says...



hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you


-Richard Siken


Formerly SparkToFlame
  





User avatar
328 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 99
Reviews: 328
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:16 am
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LadySpark says...



-Reviewing Poetry-

Helpful Links-

Critiquing Poetry By- @Cade

How To Make a (Poetry) Review Go Further
By- @Lumi

How to poetry review
By- @Monsters


-What to say about stanzas
Most poems are divided into a format something like this--

Ennie, Meanie, Minie, Mo,
Catch a tiger by his toe,
if he he hollers let him go
Ennie, Meanie, Minie, Mo.
My mother said to pick the best one,
and you are not it.


The length of each line can vary depending on the rhythm of the poem, but most poems are divided by where the pauses are. Sometimes, a poet will put breaks in places to emphasize a certain line or word, but that is very hard to pull off.
As a general rule, commenting on the flow of the poem is a good idea when you’re reviewing a poem. Flow is very important to the feeling of poetry, and can make or break a poem.

>To check the rhythm and flow of a poem, read it out loud and note any odd phrasing. (It’s always a good idea to suggest the author do this with every piece they write.)
>If an odd phrasing is obviously deliberate, discuss whether it is effective.
>Consider offering the poet different choices of words to make the poem flow better


-What to say about caps/punctuation
As a general rule, you shouldn’t comment on lack of capitalization or punctuation. This is often a stylistic choice, and it considered by many poets to be taboo and disrespectful to comment upon. Only comment on lack of caps/punctuation if there is-

>Obvious mistakes elsewhere in the poem, causing the reader to believe the poet just doesn’t know what they’re doing, rather than choosing not to include capitalization.
>You are always free to discuss if this choice is effective or detracts from the poem.
!Always ALWAYS be respectful about how you approach this. It’s very easy to offend a poet by not respecting their ideas.



-What to say about imagery
Imagery is one of the most important things of poetry. If you do not have imagery, it isn’t much of a poem. When reviewing for imagery, it’s important not only to look for imagery, but also strong imagery, that doesn’t fall short or contain cliches.
When images are worn out or uninteresting, it’s very hard to keep a reader’s attention, thus, poets should always try for strong images.
Strong images should be images that

A. The reader has never heard before.
B. A new way to look at something the reader has heard before.
C. Weaves a clean, clear image in the reader’s head of what’s going on.
D. Holds the reader’s interest.

To review a poem on imagery, comment on
> The poem not holding your attention. Suggest a different way to look at the line to make it more interesting.
> Point out any cliches
> Imagery that disrupts the theme or poem, or is misplaced.
> Imagery that doesn’t give the reader a clean image.


-What to say about cliches
We’ve discussed cliches a little bit, but let’s dive in a little bit more.
Cliches are, to put it kindly, worn out ideas that have been overused many times. One that might come to mind could be the story of Romeo and Juliet, and how they’re star crossed lovers. Is there anything more cliche than that? Cliches fill our writing lives, unfortunately. Used sparingly, they can be effective, however, used in abundance, they are not so effective. So what can you say to help a writer be rid of the cliche-fever that sometimes sweeps through?
>Discuss WHY it’s cliche--is it worn out completely, or is it the wording?
> How could the writer changed the words to make the poem less cliche? Discuss.
> What other images could the writer use as a replacement?


-What to say when reviewing a controversial poem
Reviewing a controversial poem, just like a piece of controversial prose is like walking through a minefield. But if you’re brave enough to do it, remember these golden rules.
> Comment on the poem itself and it’s effectiveness, not on the topic itself. Save the debate for the debate forums.
> While it’s bad taste to debate with the poet about the topic, you can discuss its effectiveness in the poem itself.
> Always remain respectful and avoid slurs on their opinions, even if you disagree. Also, keep your opinions to yourself on whether you agree with the other reviewers on their opinions of the controversy.
! Whether or not you agree with the opinion of the writer, it is their intellectual property. ALWAYS respect their writing as you would want your own to be respected. It is not your job as a reviewer to change the writer’s mind on their opinion.
hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you


-Richard Siken


Formerly SparkToFlame
  





User avatar
328 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 99
Reviews: 328
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:18 am
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LadySpark says...



-Reviewing Prose-

Helpful Links-
The YWS Critique Sandwich
By- @Nate

Battle Tactics: Reviewing the Unreviewable
By- @Tenyo

How To Write A Good Critique
By- @Emerson

Reviewing: The gentle way
By- @Tenyo

What isn’t a good critique?
By- @Snoink

When Reviewing, Consider
By- @captain.clasy



-What to say about showing, not telling
Showing can be done through descriptions, dialogue, thoughts. Telling is when you do not allow the reader to imagine anything, but use simple language to tell them exactly what’s going on in a scene. It is common in newer writers, and very easy to fix.
> Suggest changing lines that are telling to thoughts or dialogue.
> Explain how much easier dialogue and thoughts are to read vs. a telling paragraph.
> Point out how to tell the difference between telling and showing.
! It’s important to remind the writer that showing takes practice, and not to worry about getting it right immediately.
!Very useful blog entry about showing and telling by @GryphonFledgling




-What to say about length
Length really depends on the writer. Some writers have 1,000 word chapters, and others have 5,000. It’s important to remember that length is something that is decided by the writer. There is no right or wrong length. However, length can affect the piece. So comment on length if it is-
> So long that you lose interest.
> Not long enough to give the reader any valuable information.

If it is too short suggest to the writer that they
> make their descriptions more vivid.
> Combine chapters so that everything flows.

If it’s too long, suggest that the writer
> Split the chapter into parts.
!It’s important to remember that chapter length/story length is completely personal. The writer might not agree with your critique. Always respect that at the end of the day, it’s the writer’s call.

-What to say about flat characters
Flat characters are just plain uninteresting. You must have interesting characters to make people want to read your story. Some things you can suggest to help writers make their flat characters more 4D are-

> Create a Character Outline. Write out their hopes, dreams, wishes, secret wants, favorite music, movies, books… What they do when they’re alone--tell the writer to get to know their characters like a friend.
> Listen to what their characters are trying to say instead of forcing them to say one thing or another. As writers, it’s important to listen to characters and let them be them.
> Develop the characters in the story slowly. Don’t info dump on the first chapter, make sure that the reader learns little tid-bits about the character throughout.
> Remember that their characters are real people too. They breathe, they eat, they sleep just like everyone else. Make sure to have little things like that occur in their stories to make them seem more real.

-What to say about flat plots
Flat plots are something that drive readers absolutely crazy. There’s no motivation, no rise and fall-- nothing. Just a plot that plods along without anything to interest anymore. When you come across a flat plot, considering saying things like
> Work on the plot and making it original. Spend a lot of time plotting out the rise, the fall, the action and the build up.
> Make sure you have enough to keep people interested. You don’t want all action, but you want enough action to keep the balance of interest.
> Make sure the plot is desirable. Don’t write something cliche that people have seen done over a thousand times.


-What to say about cliches
Cliches are worn out ideas that have been overused many times. They appear constantly in poetry, and sometimes pop up in prose as well. An example might be a character falling in love with their best friend after a bad break up. Is there anything more cliche than that? Cliches fill our writing lives, unfortunately. Used sparingly, they can be effective, however, used in abundance, they are not so effective. So what can you say to help a writer be rid of the cliche-fever that sometimes sweeps through?
>Discuss WHY it’s cliche--is it worn out completely, or is it the wording?
> How could the writer changed the words to make the prose less cliche? Discuss.
> What other themes could the writer use? what other plot devices could replace the cliche ones?

-What to say about Mary and Gary
Mary and Gary are the classic cliches that usually accompany chiche plots. They’re flat, uninteresting and usually not well rounded.
>Talk to the writer about what a mary sue is and why their character is one.
>Discuss with the writer what they can do to make their character not a mary sue.
>Discuss what plot themes could make their characters appear cliche.

-What to say when reviewing a controversial piece of prose
Controversial prose reviewing is very similar to poetry reviewing.

> Comment on the prose itself and it’s effectiveness, not on the topic itself. Save the debate for the debate forums.
> While it’s bad taste to debate with the poet about the topic, you can discuss its effectiveness in the prose itself.
> Always remain respectful and avoid slurs on their opinions, even if you disagree. Also, keep your opinions to yourself on whether you agree with the other reviewers on their opinions of the controversy.
! Whether or not you agree with the opinion of the writer, it is their intellectual property. ALWAYS respect their writing as you would want your own to be respected. It is not your job as a reviewer to change the writer’s mind on their opinion.
hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you


-Richard Siken


Formerly SparkToFlame
  





User avatar
328 Reviews



Gender: Female
Points: 99
Reviews: 328
Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:22 am
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LadySpark says...



-How To Behave When Reviewing-

-How to stay constructive but kind
It’s very very important when you’re reviewing to remain respectful and genuine. Always remember that you’re critiquing someone’s original work. Their baby, for lack of a better phrase. Do not under any circumstances tear down the writer with insults. It doesn’t benefit you, or the writer in any way. That does not, however, mean that you should sugar coat something or lie to the writer about their work. Find the happy medium where you are honest, but not mean.

-How to respond when the person you reviewed doesn’t like your review

If you believe in your argument, by all means stand by your review. Hurt feelings are something that sometimes comes with the territory of proper critiquing. Arguing with the writer will just exhaust both of you, however. When a writer doesn’t like the way you reviewed their piece, it’s best to say very politely something to the effect of:
”I’m sorry you disagree with my review, but I still think my points are valid (and here’s why: “...“).
hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you


-Richard Siken


Formerly SparkToFlame
  








Noelle, you can lead a writer to their computer and give them coffee, but you can't make them write.
— CowLogic