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Thread: October Activities 2012

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    October Activities 2012

    Hello, and welcome to SPEW Buddies! If you've never participated in this before, SPEW buddies is an activity in which you are paired up with a fellow SPEWer. You both review each other and then participate in a character chat, an example of which can be found here. You can conduct these chats either by IM or by PM (total word count should be at least 500 words between all characters); the IM chats should be dialogue only and the PMs written like letters, as illustrated in the chats thread. Which you choose to do is up to you.

    If you're interested, please sign up in this thread by no later than the end of the day (US Pacific Time, GST -8) on October 20th.
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    October Feature: Review a Cotillion Fic

    This past year has seen one of the greatest challenge turnouts that I have personally ever seen. The Inaugural Great Hall Cotillion churned out 72 (not a typo) stories, and 69 of them were complete by the deadline. In this challenge, which was derived by your very own fearless leader, there was a celebration of love stories of all kinds: sad, happy, angsty, fluffy, and everything in between.

    I challenge you to go forth, find one of these stories, and leave the author a stunning review to complement their completion of such an arduous challenge. The challenge thread can be found here: http://fanfiction.mugglenet.com/foru...read.php?68647

    As always, ask and answer a TQ. Here are a couple to get you started:

    Do pairings selected for shock factor have to live up to a higher standard to you as a reader?

    Would you read something you find categorically impossible or extremely implausible just to see if the author can prove you right or wrong?

    Do pairing-driven stories stay with you more, less, or the same as plot-driven stories?



    This activity is due by the end of the day on November 15th.
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    October Discussion: Concrit and You

    When I first joined MNFF as a member, I feel quite embarrassed that it took me about a year to figure out what concrit actually stands for. If you have had similar difficulty, its an abbreviation of 'constructive criticism'. Honestly, though, in its full length, I think it changes what the word means to us.

    Often, in my travels of SPEW membership, 'concrit' has been offered up in reviews, but there have been times that I've wondered what was constructive about it. If, say, someone comments that a comma is wrong or that they do not agree with a character's interpretation, does that genuinely help an author? I know of a very prominent MNFF writer who received multiple reviews from a long-gone member of SPEW, and most of them were maligning the author's characterisation based upon the reviewer's opinion. That event is one of the catalysts of how SPEW is being run today.

    What I would like to see you all discuss, my wonderful disciples, is what makes criticism constructive and what sort of critique can you bring to the table that is based in fact or pre-established assumption of truth (like canon or general consensus). As always, ask and answer one TQ, and I'll post a couple to get you started. I heavily encourage returning to this discussion because it's a very enriching one when it comes to your role as a professional reviewer.


    When you bring a point of contention up in a review, what sort of bases do you cite as your reasoning?

    Have you ever found yourself searching for reasons to discount something?

    Do you think a review with little or no criticism carries the same weight as one laced with concrit?



    As always, this activity is due to be completed by the end of the day on November 15th.
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  9. #9
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    Review: here

    Do pairings selected for shock factor have to live up to a higher standard to you as a reader?
    I definitely think so. I love reading rarepairs - as in the really crazy ones like Peeves/Moaning Myrtle - provided they are written well. I think if an author deliberately chooses a pairing to shock, then they have to work twice as hard to keep them in character. The fic I reviewed for this managed that spectacularly: Fleur/Mrs Zabini is something I would never have thought of, but I was completely convinced by the end. It's relatively easy to write a Harry/Ginny or Ron/Hermione, because we see these characters interacting so frequently. To use minor characters who are not an obvious choice as a couple could be risky, and therefore a lot of skill and character knowledge is needed to pull it off successfully.

    Do you like to be shocked by a pairing or the way an author depicts a pairing, or do you prefer to stick solidly with canon? Why?



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    When you bring a point of contention up in a review, what sort of bases do you cite as your reasoning?

    Well, canon is usually the most obvious one. Also, if I've written a lot of a certain genre or pairing, I may mention that in the review, but more often than not, that can come across as a little patronising, so unless, say, you have a reputation on MNFF because you write a lot of a certain genre or perhaps have a QSQ in a certain area (so Gina/Gmariam is generally seen as Marauder expert, Lori as Romione queen, Jess along with Sophie as a grammar Nazis), it's probably not right for you to say, essentially, "I'm experienced in x and you're not, so that's why I've decided to criticise you on your handling of x, y and z." Generally, the best basis for criticism is canon. The worst basis -- and, sadly, I see this crop up in reviews from time to time -- is personal preference, because it is never okay in my book for someone to criticise something when it's based purely on their opinion or their preconceptions about, say, a certain POV choice or characterisation choice.

    Have you ever found yourself searching for reasons to discount something?

    Sometimes. It's hard at times to pinpoint exactly what it is about a story that you don't like. Often, like I said above, it comes down to taste, and the problem with that is that it's not fair to take time to leave someone a review chockfull of crit if you don't particularly care for the story, or it wasn't to your taste, or you liked the concept but really wished it was written in third person rather than third.

    Do you think a review with little or no criticism carries the same weight as one laced with concrit?

    Absolutely. One of my best reviews (at least, I think it was one of my best reviews...) was for Carole/Equinox Chick's story, Monochrome. I barely criticised anything because it was just that gorgeous, but I still think I did a good job in reviewing. Having said that, reviews laced with crit aren't bad, necessarily. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but the 60-40 thing is really important to me. If I don't like at least 60% of a story, there is no way I'm reviewing it, because I just know I'll upset the author. Really, if you want to give up your time and actually write something meaningful in that white box, there's no use in upsetting someone in the process. Criticising is fine; the problem, often, is that crit is delivered badly, or there is too much crit in a review.

    New TQ: Would you prefer to receive a flaily review with no crit or a review chockfull of criticisms (all which are well-put)? Or would you be fine with either?

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