If you’re a writer, especially someone jumping into it as a newbie, eventually you find others who share the same experience. Why? Well – it gets a little lonely in the writing cave. The one thing that drives us to others are strong messages that our work needs a second, third, maybe more set of eyes.
I participate in several writer communities. From this network of fellow word smiths, I tested fresh pages of new work to a select few I’d grown comfortable with (by that, I mean established a degree of trust that I’d get a true, objective opinion). I didn’t want to fall into that novice pothole by cringing from a no-holds-barred review, skulking back to my cave with ‘they don’t get my stuff’. Kind of the point isn’t it? Unless I planned to write stories, then bury them in a time capsule for aliens to find ten-thousand years from now, I needed feedback redolent of what the public might think.
As I built trust with others, they asked for reciprocation of services rendered by asking me to read their stuff. I initially cringed with heavy doubt I was qualified to rate someone else’s stuff. It sent me to the archives of my groaning file of writer research for how to do a proper critique. Like everything else in this wacky art form we drudge through, how-to advice in writertopia is as varied as insect species on earth. I chose a reviewing format in the same manner I use when purchasing new appliances, or looking for a plumber. Which appliance (or plumber) is on most every one’s recommended list? In this case, what pearls of reviewing wisdom floated to the top?