Are We Scaring Off Good Reviewers

by Harriet Silkwood - Date: 2006-12-20 - Word Count: 595 Share This!

Everyone receives those reviews from Hell occasionally. The ones where the reader isn't able to see past her own favorite genre and thinks you should write to please her. The ones who haven't the life experience to see the 'point' of a topic they aren't familiar with. We get them all.

When we rant publicly about the stupidity of reviewers, we need to remember that we posted our work publicly and therefore asked for public comments. While we aren't expected to take rude, personal insults from anyone, we do need to remember readers come from all walks of life. They are all part of the public, and they will comment.

Amateur writers are sensitive about their work, but so are amateur reviewers. They are both doing their best to get that particular piece to the finished point, and should be respected for it. A reviewer who calls a writer a stupid moron risks his account to be deleted; what does a writer risk for doing the same?

Reviewing well isn't easy; in fact, it's very hard. I have spent hours reading through the masses of items posted (submitted) and more hours writing the reviews. I have struggled through spelling and grammar errors that were so bad, I had to guess at the meaning. I read those first rough drafts that the writer was so anxious to post, he didn't take the time or courtesy to do any editing. I read these gladly because I enjoy watching the imaginations of new writers take flight. I want to help them find their wings, but it's not easy sometimes.

A reviewer is supposed to point out areas they noticed, that in their opinion, needs more work. We are supposed to be constructive while remaining kind; and most of us try very hard to do this. We are cautioned to always be aware of the vulnerable writers that will be reading these comments, and word them so their feelings aren't hurt. It's an almost impossible task being asked of readers, because writers are hurt so easily.

When I see an item or a post ranting against moron reviewers, I take it personally. I feel it personally, because I am a reviewer, a reader. What's said against one is said against all, because we've all hurt someone's feelings if we've ever given a thorough critique. The sight of someone hurling flaming insults is enough to send the average sensitive reviewer into hiding. Many of the kinder folks are already frightened of offending writers, and have made the decision that they shouldn't read your work seriously after all.

Amateur writers are learning to write. It isn't easy. Our egos are tender and can be scarred by cruel comments. While we learn, we expect to have failings. We are helped up and encouraged to do it all over again. We practice and keep on practicing. We cry and throw our work into the trash and swear to not write another word, but we do. If writing is that important to us, we do. No reviewer should tell us our work is junk.

Amateur critiquers are learning to read as writers. It isn't easy. Our egos are tender and can be scarred by cruel comments. While we learn, we expect to have failings. We struggle to our feet to do it all over again. We practice and keep on practicing. We cry and throw our work into the trash and swear to not read another word, but we do. If reviewing is that important to us, we do. No writer should tell us our work is junk.

Respect goes both ways.

Related Tags: fiction, creative writing, classes, new writers, opinion, writing tips, flames, ranting

Harriet is an author on http://www.Writing.Com which is a site for Creative Writing.Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/storytime so stop by and read for a while. She specializes in reading and reviewing new writers.

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