Searching for Neville's Toad
TQ: How do you prepare for a review? How has this process changed since you started in SPEW?
When I started in SPEW my reviews tended to be a lot shorter. I essentially read the story, and tried to get my thoughts and critiques down in a somewhat organized manner. Before I took my hiatus over the summer, I would generally read, print out, highlight and get my main ideas down on paper, then write the review. I'm currently trying to get my reviewing back to where it was (because I'm very, very rusty). Now I try to follow the same process, but I'm having a lot more difficulty organizing my reviews and getting my thoughts out clearly. This issue is greatly exacerbated by my procrastination of reviewing until the deadline.
TQ: How much crit/squee do you generally put in a review?
TQ: How much time do you spend filtering out squee comments or softening critical ones?
It depends how much I've procrastinated the review. Critique is a lot more difficult to write because I have to make sure I'm clear and that I'm not phrasing it in a way that is rude or condescending. Also, I have to make sure that I'm giving reasons and explaining precisely what I didn't like and why I didn't like it. I personally find a well worded criticism is more helpful to me than squee-ing. I really try not to squee unless I actually think the thing is worth squee-ing about. In other words, I try to say what I mean and mean what I say in a review. However, if I'm running late, a lot more squee than I really want in the review slips in, which is not something that makes me happy. I feel like if I squee at everything, the things that I really think are squee-worthy aren't distinguished. However, it's much, much more difficult and takes a lot more time to critique than to squee.
TQ: Do you review every story in the same fashion, or do you have different techniques for different genres?
With a poem, I will always print it out and highlight and make comments. I will generally note the number of syllables and highlight repetition and make more generall comments on the piece. I then will review. With a one-shot what I do varies more. If I have definite things I like or don't like about it that come to mind immediately, I'll brainstorm them down on paper. If not, I may print out the story and use that to help me think. I'll pick out and highlight sections that stand out to me, and make comments right next to them.
TQ: How much do you edit your reviews before submitting?
Not as much as I should. I have very little patience for editing, and if I've left my reviews really late I've often written them out then just submitted them. I always write my reviews in word and spell check them. If I'm feeling really good about the review, I'll look it over quickly and submit. If I have a lot of critique or am not thrilled about the content I will carefully go over the review and try to make sure I'm clear and have put thought and reasoning into everything I've said. I also try to make sure I don't sound condescending.
New TQ: Do you have a favorite genre to review? Why is it your favorite?
Poetry is my favorite genre to review, and I also find it the easiest genre to review. I like to review more technical aspects of a story and connect them to theme, plot and, characterization. Poetry is a genre where technical things like line length, rhyme, stanza breaks, etc. are critical. The length of a poem is generally much shorter than that of a poem, so I find the review much easier to organize than with a longer story (even a one-shot). In a longer piece, I have to pick and choose what I want to comment on more than in a poem which is nice.