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Corner Writing Club

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How to Comment Like a Boss *dabs*

September 13, 2018

FREE WRITING

16
This is a scenario that has happened to me countless times, and, I imagine, to most everyone on this site. Unless you're great at giving feedback and always seem to know what to say about a piece *cough* Luna Lemon *cough*, you've found yourself in the situation where you've just read a fantastic piece. You've read it all the way through, maybe given it a like, but you want to comment something to let the writer know what a great job they did. You're sitting there, your fingers at the keyboard...

...and nothing.

Your brain is empty. You have no ideas for what you could comment on.

So today I'm going to be throwing out some tips and ideas for responding to a piece... like a boss *dabs*.

First, a quick note. Comments don't have to be long to be helpful or encouraging. If you write an essay comment where you just ramble on and on about nothing, that's just as bad as leaving one of those "OK" or "Cool" comments that infuriate writers. Also, and this should go without saying, be respectful in comments. Criticism is fine, but "you suck lol" isn't. 

1. Mention the content of the piece.
You know what makes a good comment? "This piece made me feel so *insert emotion here*." You know what makes a better comment? "This part/this character/this line made me feel so *insert emotion here*." Not all helpful comments will be critiques or constructive feedback! What I call "beta commenting", which is where you react to the piece as a typical reader or audience member, can be equally helpful, as it makes the writer feel good and see if their piece had the intended impact. Saying that you liked the piece or that it made you feel a certain way is a good start, but try to mention what exactly it was that made you like it or feel a certain way. Mention what you thought of the characters, what parts specifically drew out that response in you, what lines you really liked. This lets the writer know that you really liked the piece, and that you actually read it.

2. Say thanks!
This might sound weird, but if you comment a little on what you liked and whatnot, and then end the comment with something like "Thanks for sharing this piece!" or "Keep writing!" or a small, encouraging note like that can really brighten the writer's day.

3. Elaborate.
Sure, you can comment something like "I like it!" or "Wonderful!" or "Great work!", but you know what's even better than that? Elaborating. Tell the writer why you liked it, what made it so wonderful, the things that made it great. You'll have to, *gasp*, think here! Consider why you liked it. Was it the figurative language? The writing style? The characters? The expertly crafted plot? All of those? And then comment that!

4. Analyse.
Wait... what?
So we've got it down that you should mention the content of the piece and elaborate on what you liked, maybe end on the comment on a nice note, but now let's take it up a level. Here's a comment I made up:
"Great piece, really liked it."
Using the tips from earlier, let's make it better:
"Great piece! I really liked the use of figurative language here, specifically the line ____, and the characters felt so real to me. Thanks for sharing it!"
There, done, you think. It's simple, encouraging, and specific. But I think we can make it better. Put a little more thought into it! If you liked the figurative language, think about why, what made the figurative language so great, and how the writer used it in the piece. So we can take it from:
"I really liked the use of figurative language here."
To:
"The figurative language is creative and unique, and sets up a mysterious, enigmatic tone for the rest of the piece."

Now here are some ideas for things to include in the comments, along with the other tips:
- lenny faces, emojis (if on mobile), and emoticons. If you don't have words for how the piece made you feel, these work perfectly. I suggest lennyfaces.org.
- if it's a series, predict what will happen next, offer theories, or tell the writer how you need an update and are suffering because of a cliffhanger
- your writing style is...
- the tone you create is...
- you use figurative language to...
- I think that ___ symbolised/means...
- I like the *insert writing element such as metaphor, alliteration, rhythm, etc* here...
- you build character by...
-  you create a realistic setting/character by...

Again, not everyone is a critique commenter. Some people are beta commenters, and that's fine, but like I said, try to be specific. Give an emotional reaction, tell the author what you feel as an audience, but be detailed and try not to say something generic like "dis good" or "I like dis".

Also, don't be afraid to give constructive feedback! You can phrase it politely, but hearing how you can improve is really important to writers and 95% of the time they won't be offended. But more on that later...
So now that we've given you this, make sure to leave a comment here! Consider it practice. Let us know if you found this helpful, what you thought of it, what you agree or disagree with, et cetera. Also, if you have any questions about writing or critiquing, or have a problem with writing or critiquing, or want to hear our opinion on something about writing or critiquing, let us know!
And, of course, if you have anything to add to this, any tips or techniques of your own, make sure to share them!

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  • September 13, 2018 - 8:30pm (Now Viewing)

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11 Comments
  • Silver Pen

    YES! Where has this been my whole life! Your accurate analysis of my problems with feedback make me feel so understood. I also had to grin at your "comment practice" suggestion. This piece should really bolster my commenting skills, and it'll probably help me when I'm phrasing my review requests. Thanks for taking the time to help us improve.
    No, I am not saying these things just to show off, I really mean it.


    10 days ago
  • Corner Writing Club

    @Quille Yes, we are, I'm arranging them now.


    about 2 months ago
  • Quille

    Thanks! This piece gives a lot of good tips for commenting, which I need to work on........
    Btw, are we getting more reviewing assignments this week?


    about 2 months ago
  • LackingASocialLife

    (I'm sorry my sass levels are crANKED)


    about 2 months ago
  • LackingASocialLife

    Ok, Cool.


    about 2 months ago
  • Luna Lemon

    This was a really great list! Thanks for the small shoutout btw, lol.
    I like pieces like this a lot, they help people on this site really branch out and show all the possibilities that we can all do. This was really thorough and well done.
    I like the term "beta commenter" btw, XD.
    Thanks for posting this!


    about 2 months ago
  • she's-got-a-story

    dis good


    about 2 months ago
  • Johanna

    *dab*


    about 2 months ago
  • Kahasai

    This is definitely something I need to strengthen. These are good tips, especially the one about mentioning something from the piece (haha, see what I did there?) Luna Lemon has made me really appreciate good commenters (which is something I'm not). Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it. :-)


    about 2 months ago
  • lianhabanana!

    This is an area that I could definitely improve on. Thanks for sharing :)


    2 months ago
  • -Foxmillionaire-

    After reading this I thought about using your tips to write a nice comment. But then I was like. "Nah I'm lazy" and so I wrote this one instead.


    2 months ago