Here is my review for Never Once Imagined.
"Through literacy you can begin to see the universe.
Through music you can reach anybody.
Between the two there is you, unstoppable."
--grace slick♥avvie: julia/the_opaleye
I know this probably isn't how I'm supposed to think, but since it was introduced to me, I've always struggled with the idea that nit-picks are so terrible. Perhaps it's because in the other things I do - betaing, for example - nitpicking is one of the most important parts of it, and you are there to help the writer catch every mistake. I also think MNFF has trained me to spot all mistakes even when to some they're incredibly small. However, even when I think about nit-picking strictly in relation to reviewing, I still struggle to come to the conclusion that it is such an awful thing as is sometimes made out.
Yes, I agree that nit-picks shouldn't be added for the sake of it. I don't think a reviewer should trawl the story finding any mistake they can just to avoid a completely positive review. There is after all, nothing wrong with a positive review. In fact, as far as I'm concerned they're the best kind - what is going to make an author feel better than reading that their story is great.
However, if an error is kind of glaring, and does distract me as a reader, even if it is only a single error, then I don't see why there is anything wrong with pointing it out as part of the review. Not a big part, but just as a mention. Some authors will appreciate it and change it and if others don't want to change it then they don't have to. I would never make pointing out single errors the bulk of my review so hopefully there would be enough nice stuff left for authors to just glaze over the pointing out of the errors if they wished.
Certainly, I know that I as an author, would prefer to have things pointed out to me if the beta has somehow missed them, than just left for people to notice and think ooh, she made a mistake!
Hmm...I guess I can understand why some people don't like nit-picks but for me, they're not the worst thing a reviewer can do. I wouldn't point something out for the sake of it, but I genuinely thought it was useful, then maybe I would.
EDIT: It's interesting, though, what an effect these discussions can have on you. I've just been finishing up a review and I noticed a tense mistake that I wanted to point out. However, even though it was still what I class as a helpful nit-pick, I didn't include it, because I was thinking about SPEW and the fact that nit-picks aren't supposed to be part of what we do. But then I have to wonder whether I left out the nit-pick because I felt it was wrong, or whether I did it to please SPEW. Interesting...
This is something that I've really learned since joining SPEW. Earlier, I used to beta as well as review, and I often mixed up the two. I think I've improved a lot on th nitpicking count since I've joined SPEW, and I'm really glad about that.
I have made a huge transition from being a very annoying nitpicker to being a somewhat better reviewer. Nitpicks, as I first saw them, were what made the story improve from being just 'good' to making them grammatically perfect. I felt they were necessary, but now when I look back, I was practically looking at them only from that aspect. Sometimes, I concentrated so much on the nitpicking aspect that I almost lost the enjoyment that I gained from reading a well-written story with a good plot and good characterisation. >.<
I do not agree that nitpicking should be banned, however. I feel that nitpicks, when they really ruin your experience of reading, need to be pointed out. One of the examples that I remember is when an author confused 'bear' with 'bare'. A sentence can sound really awkward then, and it sort of ruined the mood that the story was projecting to the reader. I feel that such mistakes could be pointed out, especially if they are repetitive errors. It would technically be a nitpick, but as a reviewer, if it was something that really put me off while reading, I would point it out.
I now think that reviewing is more about conveying to the author what you felt about the story, not what sentences should be fixed. I think that comments on the plot, style of writing, characterisation, attention given to aspects like detail and depth, and the overall effect that the story had on a reader, is much more important. Nitpicking for the sake of it, just because you have nothing constructive to say, isn't quite worth it. Reviews do not have to be 75% praise and 25% critique, or anything like that. It basically depends on the story, I think. There are stories where I give more critique than praise, and there are others where I practically just gush, because I love the story so much.
As an author, I look at nitpicks and try to analyse how and in what manner they affected the reading of the story. At times, people have suggested to me to change my choice of words, though what has been written is not exactly incorrect. If I feel that it does make it sound better, I gladly go back and change. So yeah. I don't really get irritated when people nitpick in my stories, and look at them as an opportunity to change and learn.
Thanks for the wonderful reviews, guys!
Now for the answers. -hides-
How did you find the experience of co-writing a story with Hannah? Would you like to repeat the experience, either with Hannah or another author? Why, why not?
The experience of writing with Hannah? In a word, amazing. Hannah is a very talented writer, and we found that we both agreed on so many things in the very first chat we had! She's very helpful, extremely co-operative, and co-authoring a story with her was such a pleasure. <3
As for repeating the experience, well, why not? The only thing that could prevent me is time constraints( ), but other than that, I'm all for it. To be frank, I am writing a story with Leslie, a fellow 'Claw, as of now. I feel that it helps me broaden my horizons, besides also allowing me to interact and get to know other wonderful authors, and the experience in itself is enriching.
What is your favourite genre to write? Is there a genre you'd like to write but you find difficult to capture, as such?
Favourite Genre: Dark/Angst. I like the genre because, somehow, I like the darker side to any personality, when compared to what is seen on the surface, and hence my liking towards that genre as a whole.
A genre that I find particularly difficult to write, but love reading, would be dark romance. I don't think I'm particularly good at any romance, leave alone dark romance, but it would be nice to be able to pull it off.
And, old question, I know: but, what inspires your writing?
A lot of things do. I know for one thing that my language text does(mostly because I can't stand what's written in there, sorry), and another would definitely be music. I also get inspired by conversations with people around me, daily insignificant activities which can sometimes be very interesting to analyse, and things I observe on my way to and back from college. =)
Where did you get the inspiration for this story? For the potion ingredients?
When I joined the boards, the first ever activity that I took part in was this in-house character analysis thing, and the character that I chose was Horace Slughorn. Since then, I've been rather fascinated by the character, and have always wanted to write a story about him. When I was given the opportunity to take the Alchemy class later during the year, I learned a lot more about potions and potion ingredients, and when I saw the final, the first thing that came to mind was this. It somehow fit very well in my mind- the character, his motives, and the potion itself. The potion ingredients were mainly based on a lot of research that I did during the course of the class. =)
What is your favorite book/novel/story outside of Harry Potter?
Toughie. >.< Uhm. The Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum is definitely up there among my all-time favourites. I'll say that, for now. But there are at least ten of them that I'd love to list. >.> Decisions are tough things.
Thanks again, guys!