Re: Free critical reviews.

Disclaimer: IF A NEGATIVE REVIEW MIGHT KILL YOUR MOTIVATION DO NOT ASK ME TO READ YOUR STORY. If you're scared of dropping in the rankings, move along. I am serious. I will review honestly. I do not review casually. Chances are very high that you'll get something between a 2 and a 4. I don't tend to do extremes unless I really love or really hate something. I would never desire to hurt an author, but I am blunt and I am not shy about saying what I think, and vehemently opposed to lying out of some misguided attempt at protection. If you have any doubt about your ability to accept criticism, please look elsewhere. I have the utmost sympathy for fragile writers, but I'm a critic, not a cheerleader. 

Now, on to business.

My aim here is to practice analyzing and assessing stories for their strengths and weaknesses, both to become a better reviewer and because I'd like to be an editor someday and understanding stories is a good stepping stone to that. I'm very new at this, though I've been reading all my life, I've only recently started trying to understand the how and why and what instead of just 'story good'.

Rather than randomly inflicting my opinion on stories that never asked for my interference, I have decided to make this thread.

I do not ascribe to the '10k' size thing. My goal will be to read your story in its entirety, or at least 50k-100k of it if it's particularly long. 10k is nowhere near enough for me to get a feel for a story.  Similarly, if your story is below 25k, please wait until you have more chapters out before requesting. I don't like starting something and then having it end before I even get going. If your story comes up and does not meet this criteria, it will be unceremoniously skipped.

I don't have a ton of free time. I read on breaks throughout the day. I'll be alternating between review-reading and casual reading for my own enjoyment. This is a long-term project, not something I'm going to blow through in a weekend. It will likely take me a few weeks to get through each story, so this is not going to be a rapid-response thread.

I will probably also note typos or grammatical corrections I see, unless they're too widespread to do so in a reasonable timeframe.

If you have time, all I'd ask in return is that you come back once I write my review and tell me how you think I did. Not whether you personally agree with it, but whether the review is clear and structured in a helpful way. I aim to provide both helpful feedback for the writer and a solid assessment for potential readers, but I am pretty new at this and bound to make a few mistakes before I get it right.

If I haven't scared you off by now, please leave a link to your story in the comments and I'll get to it as soon as I can. I am not going to go in any particular order, grabbing stories at random when I finish the current one, so posting sooner or later is neither a guarantee nor a detriment.  I strongly suspect stories will accrue at a faster rate than I can read them, so this should give latecomers a fair chance.

My preferred genres are anything sf/f or speculative, my least favorite genres are romance and horror. I will try to be as impartial as I can, but chances are good that sf/f are going to be more highly rated on average unless the romance or horror story in question is particularly interesting in other respects.

Currently Reading:
Legend of the Lost Star (review) - chapter 42; odd phrasing, makes me think foreign writer, but fun story. Probably going to pause here and restart for review.

Up Next:
Stormlight Archive (personal)
The Mighty Mustangs (review)


Re: Free critical reviews.

I'm particularly interested in the process of critiquing the critique -- with an eye toward becoming a professional editor. As an art director, it was my job to come alongside artists (and sometimes writers) to help the creative process without trying to overwrite the artist's vision with my own tastes. That is a tricky balance and something that is a skill far beyond just being able to spot errors or generic writing advice.

I see it as a collaborative and supportive role. It isn't so much about grading (as you might think of a teacher grading correctness) and more about helping to refine the writer's vision. It really is all about helping the creator bring out their best selves.

Well that, and making sure the creatives hit their deadlines. Actually, that was the main job most of the time.

Re: Free critical reviews.

Sovrin Wrote:
Pauliuk Wrote: I will sacrifice myself as the 2 star review. Please enjoy tearing my story a new one.

Also thank you for your services for everyone else.

Oh, no worries, I have plenty of 2-star reviews to go around.

Well you get the added bonus of review the whole first part of my story. So I get the bonus of knowing what to improve for part 2.