Why reviewing Fanfic or Fanart ?
There’s a popular beliefs in all the fandoms that alive, creative and successful ml (especially if it’s dedicated to an exclusive pairing like ours) owe their success to the number and to quality of the fanfic writers and artists whom serving in their rank…
That’s probably true, but it’s a vision which is obviously underestimating the positive and invaluable contribution of the other members. To attract talented writers/artists, to keep them productive as well as to help new ones to emerge you need a fertile ground. And this fertile ground is named REVIEW.
We have a wonderful community that consistently offers supportive and constructive reviews. It’s one of the things that makes writing/drawing Truhan very rewarding. The belief of the moderator board is that good reviews are obviously the biggest wealth of our website.
We know that a lot of you would like to review but are too shy or afraid to make fools of themselves because writing an insightful review isn’t an easy task. That’s why we wrote this small tutorial about the fine art of reviewing.
Please note, these are only SUGGESTIONS. They are not hard and fast rules you must follow. Simply a list of tips and ideas to help newbie to write their first review, so that a great number of shy member can too encourage our fanfic writing and fanart drawing community. Although it was designed for reviewing fanfic, most of those tips also work for art reviewing.
Lesson #1 : Praise and Courtesy.
We’re human. We all need to be told “job well done.” Writers give themselves headaches and will agonize over a comma for hours. They deserve to hear something for their trouble.
This is why it is important to use terms of praise when you write a review. Point out what you enjoyed. If you find issues with grammar or plot holes point them but be sure to kindly balance the pointers with an acknowledgement of the good things you saw.
Be specific, also. It is always great to be told “Good job.” But if you say “Good job with that funny Macarena dance Gohan did,” it will help the writer know that was an idea that worked well.
Specific praise is very satisfying for a writer. Quoting what you liked the most is an excellent way to accomplish that. It also lets the author know you read carefully.
It makes you feel wonderful when people want to read your work. But reviews that just say “Loved it! Update soon!” or “Great job, where’s the next chapter” Will not help the writer get better, even though they’ll obviously feel happy after reading it.
Here is two examples of the type of praise a writer might find useful and encouraging. We removed some part to keep it anonymous.
Example 1 :
Wow! “Name of the writer” it is just… I understand that … is proof of her mate’s infidelity, if it can be called that. (In my book, being cuffed to a cliff and ravished by a hot saiyajin probably doesn’t count as infidelity!) However, this immediate insistence that he …
*shakes head* If nothing else, the woman lacks any kind of sympathy for her mate.
In short, I want to smack her. Therefore, you accomplished your mission with her!
I liked that “Y” didn’t reject him. He often does…. I just don’t see “Y” throwing “X” at the door….
Example 2 :
This is feedback for your story “Name of the Story”. I absolutely love the story. I’ve never seen one this original. Hey I was wondering can you make one like this but with the Little Mermaid instead?
Also when are you going to introduce Gohan to the fic? I’m dying to find out what happens next! And I loved the song things, you fixed them to suit the fic so well. *eyes get all watery ^sniffle^ * I’m starting to love you man.
For your good story I hand you a giant macadamia nut cookie *hands “Author’s Name” giant cookie* hope you enjoy your cookie and please update soon! ~_^
Lesson #2 : Kind Honesty and Positive Criticism.
It is important to be honest in critique. Otherwise reviews lose some power. Of course part of that involves being polite and kind. When you review and mention something problematic, it may discourage or hurt the writer/artist especially is she/he is insecure about his/her writing skills or if he/she is a beginner.
Mean reviews often have a powerful and destructive force on the writer ego and his/her confidence and may be highly counterproductive if the writer/drawer ends thinking he/she’s writing/drawing worthless story/fanart.
However if you balance your critics with an observation about what they did well, it might actually motivate them to try harder. And this make a very big difference! Always keep in mind there’s a first time for everyone, and most of the actual great writers all probably started by writing fic which wasn’t perfect or even truly crappy. The point is we’re learning from our mistakes, pointing them is fine as long as it’s done nicely in a non-discouraging way.
For example, if an author gets a bad review, like “That was awful,” they might think it was simply not to the reader’s taste and dismiss it. When in reality it could have been because they had a huge plot hole. The reviewer missed a chance to encourage better writing, and the writer lost the chance to improve. Rude or curt criticism is usually dismissed at best.
A review that focuses on the bad stuff, like “You had a plot hole, I could not follow the story because of your typos, and they were all out of character,” will probably discourage the writer, make them wonder why they bother trying. Many give up. This is not what a review is for. It is not to silence writing, but improve it. So this type of approach is a waste of time for both parties.
The best type of criticism is constructive. And positive, always reminding the writer that they put in a good effort, that there were parts you liked, or had promise. And of course be considerate. Writers who are serious about their craft are often thankful for this type of review.
Lesson # 3 : Points of Analysis
There are several areas of critique I have always found helpful to get feedback on, as a writer. These are inspired by “Media Miner” evaluating system but also by the list of criteria that will be used by the Jury of various fanfic Contests :
A) Spelling-Grammar :
Was the fic hard to read because of syntax problems? : “Gohan happy was.”
Grammar problems? : “Gohan were happy.”
Spelling problems? : “Gohon waz hapy.”
Maybe the punctuation made it hard to read : “Gohan’, was happy,,,,”
These are problems that unfortunately make many otherwise good fics unreadable. Bad format and bad spelling/grammar are often pushing away the potential readers. Therefore you must point that.
B) Writing Style :
Some writers give a barebones or script like description. (“Trunks was sad.”) Others are very descriptive. (“Trunks felt melancholy flood his soul.”) Did the author pull it off well? Was it exciting? Did you feel like you were right there? Or was it hard to imagine? Is it too flowery ? Does the lemon make you believe you read a biology book or a cheap Penthouse book ? Did you have to read the same phrases several time to understand their meaning? Is it flowing nicely or is it chaotic? etc….
C) Originality/Interest :
Was the story unique? Did it keep you guessing? Or was it formulaic? Neither is necessarily bad nor good, if the story keeps your interest. If it is supposed to be a mystery, it should be unpredictable. A romance can be very interesting with a predictable ending. It all depends.
D) Story/Character’s Coherence :
Is it way too OOC “Out Of Character” i.e the behaviour inconsistent with the personality of a character as established by Akira Toriyama. Is there incoherence with the timeline of the anime or the timeline of the fic ? Were the characters believable? Or did they say things that seemed to make no sense, do things that were not explained through action, dialogue, or narrative?
E) Overall Enjoyment :
So how did you like it? Was it funny? Did you stop reading in the middle of it? Or did you read it three times in a row? Did you cry?
This wasn’t an exhaustive list of what you may incorporate in a review. Barely suggestions to get started as well as to help reviewers get their analytic minds going, and ultimately benefit the writers.
We hope that helped you.