reviewers' club


"To write is human, to edit is divine."
Stephen King

Message from Writer

This is a club for writers who want to help and be helped. To know more, please read the first published piece "An Introduction".

reviewing for dummies: a guide

September 1, 2019


I mentioned in my first piece, An Introduction, that there was a standard that all reviews submitted by club members for the reviewing assignments would have to meet. 

This standard isn't very clearly defined, as there are many styles of reviewing: one that's brief but to the point can be more helpful than long, flowery reviews which ultimately convey nothing useful. 

Here are some tips, that in my opinion, can help you write a good review:
  1.  Please be honest. If you think a sentence doesn't flow right, or one particular line disrupts the flow of the poem, please SAY SO. You're doing a disservice to the writer if you don't.
  2. USE. THE. BLOODY. HIGHLIGHTS. They're there for a reason, and that reason is to make reviewing easier. You have to be specific with some pieces, because they might be good overall but the wording in that paragraph was awkward, and it threw you off. Maybe their opening sentence caught your eye, maybe their conclusion could've been stronger. Whatever it is, if you need to be specific, H I G H L I G H T.
  3.  Use the questions area for broad observations. Is there a mistake that the author makes repeatedly? Are their descriptions too tedious, do the action scenes seem weird? There should always be an overview, with general observations on which parts of their writing you think are the best, and which you think can be improved on.
  4. Tell them WHY and HOW. HOW do you think they can improve their dialogue? WHY did you think that it needed improvement? WHY did you like that character?
  5. Don't treat reviews as a chore. YOU signed up for this, and you signed up so you could help and be helped. It goes both ways. Reviews are rare, good ones are rarer still, and I think we all know the feeling when you open up a review, and see that there's two comments, and no highlights, and your heart crumples in your chest. You could make someone's week with a good review, hell, you could make someone's entire career. You could make your own career, even, because reviewing helps you look critically at your own writing. So many possibilities.
  6. Use the feedback sandwich. You want to help the person, not crush their soul. In a review, I usually go like this: praise - criticism - praise. It's worked pretty well for me so far.

That's it. If you need more help, comment on this piece, and I'll do my best to help out. For examples of good reviews, go check out r|A|i|N or rainandsonder. There's also a great piece on reviewing by CWC (rip) which you can get here.

Happy reviewing, everyone!


See History
  • September 1, 2019 - 11:15am (Now Viewing)

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  • and-peggy

    hey, can i join?

    4 months ago
  • r|A|i|N

    thx for referencing me! these are all great points. i think what most reviews really lack is detail—even if the highlights are used and the questions are answered critically, both sections can be minimal. again, thank you for posting this!

    5 months ago
  • Bookworm101

    I reviewed it, but you'll need to wait a bit for it to come through. (It still hasn't been shared yet.) It was good! (Sorry reviewers club for having to have this conversation in the comments of one of your pieces!)

    6 months ago
  • Harlow

    hey. this might be stupid or needy, but I wanted to know if anyone could review my piece "Islands" for the human connections competition. I just wanted it at its best before I submit it for expert review. The help would be appreciated. Here's the link:

    6 months ago
  • ajamwal

    m a y b e you can ask in "An Introduction." Thanks for the piece!!

    6 months ago
  • Victoria Martin

    Is there a way to join this club? Saw it a few weeks ago but...forgot to join and am only hearing about it again now. It sounds pretty awesome.Thanks for the tips :)

    6 months ago