That's fine. We all review our own way.
Quite often on YWS we use different words when replying to someone's work. Responses, comments, reviews, critiques, e.c.t
Then there’s all the other words; appraisal, evaluation, assessment, mark-up, proof, analysis. Scorn, judgement, praise, encouragement. Just because it’s called a ‘critique’ doesn’t mean you have to sit and criticize for two hundred and fifty characters to get your points.
If you find it hard to speak negatively about someone’s work, but can’t seem to make your reviews meet the quota, then here’s a few other things you can comment on instead.
Grammar and Spelling
Fixing grammar, spelling and minor typos isn’t a way of demeaning someone. I am really bad at proofing my own text so I always appreciate the effort. You don’t need to give lectures or explain why it’s wrong, you’re just tidying up the nitpicks that they’ve missed.
‘ ‘Pumkin’ - *Pumpkin’
‘ ‘I had went’ should be ‘I had gone’
‘ ‘When i walked…’ don’t forget to capitalise your I’s.’
The great thing about style is that there isn’t really a good or bad to it. People have their own preferences, but no particular style of writing will suit everyone. You can give your impression and the writer can do with this what they wish.
Simply say what you notice.
‘The style is very simple, which works since I can see this story being ideal for younger readers.’
‘English isn’t my first language, so I found some of the longer words hard to understand.’
What the writer wants to convey and what actually comes across can be different, so it’s always useful to get someone else’s opinion on the matter. It’s easy. Just write what you think of the characters.
‘I get the impression Luke doesn’t really like Ellie that much, but they’re both friends with Brie, so it will be interesting to see how they turn out.’
‘Does Vayne have parents? I can’t believe they let him stay out past midnight!’
If you’re reviewing chapters (which is more fun than it sounds) then you’re in a position to comment on the plot and that’s something many writers feel insecure about. After all, the plot is the backbone, so by giving feedback the writer can see it forming from someone else’s perspective.
‘The plot is moving forward really fast here, I hope something exciting is going to happen soon!’
‘I’d love to read more about that love triangle, it was just about taking off.’
Receiving criticism is never easy and the first time is always the hardest. However, receiving constructive criticism from peers is the safest and nicest way to toughen up for facing real setbacks in the future. When done with consideration it can make us strong enough to pick ourselves back up when things don't go our way and bold enough to grab the quill and ink and try again.