why bother?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
for what its worth...

Submitted: July 26, 2016

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Submitted: July 26, 2016

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Why bother?

I’ve asked myself this a few times, here on Booksie and other writing sites of which I’m a member. Why bother to try my best to answer a reading request with a review? Why bother to read a posting of another person’s work, by his or her request, with a critical eye and make notes here and there as a possible way to improve their writing?

Why bother, indeed?

I bother because I care enough to offer my opinion on a method of improving a work. It isn’t mandatory to do so. I could simply sit on the sidelines, churning out chapter after chapter of my own works and never bother to read anyone else’s offerings. But the author I’m reviewing should keep in mind that this is just my opinion, not a hard and fast rule. I may point out a grammatical error, but if I do, most of the time I will cite the rule. People advance their knowledge by learning rules, not by ignoring them.

I’ve been writing formally since 1957. Starting when I was 15 years old, slaving away on an old Underwood writing articles for my high school class newspaper in Germany. I wasn’t very good, but I improved, guided by an extremely capable taskmaster of an Editor who also taught English. I listened to critiques, guidance, and most of all peer reviews. If my friends couldn’t figure out what I was writing about, how could I expect anyone else to? I’ve been writing ever since.

Throughout the next fifty-nine years, I find that I can improve by listening to reviewers and their comments. In reality, the less-than-enthusiastic reviews are the ones I thrive on because they may actually point out a plot hole, a badly constructed sentence, an incorrect fact that I should have checked further or, worse yet, a hazy passage that leads the reader astray.

 

My Booksie career started in January 2012, which wasn’t terribly long ago. My first offerings were dreadful and garnered many a so-so or worse review. Then I began to look at what was being said to me. My grammar improved along with my storylines, due to these bits of constructive criticism. I began to thrive on them, looking forward to reviews from fellow Booksians.

Of course, there were bad reviews -- some simply stating, “your work stinks” or worse. I was never given any reason for such a dreadful offering, just that “it stinks”. This is not a terribly enlightening statement. Of course I felt badly about these, and looked hard at what I’d written, trying to find ways to improve it. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t, yet I never gave up. If you think my writing stinks, by all means says so! However, please do me the courtesy of including a reason you think it stinks. That way, I don’t have to hunt around and possibly ruin one area while fixing another.

So, this is why I bother to give reviews. Should I stop? I don’t think I will; because there might be just one budding writer out there who will go on to create a masterpiece. And, when it is published, I can read it again and say to myself, “I remember pointing that out”, or “the plot did change here where I thought it might go smoother”.

It gives me the feeling that I’ve accomplished something. That’s what makes the writing game exciting. So, if I give what you may think is a bad review, take a good look at what I’ve written’ change it, don’t change it, that’s not my decision – it’s yours.

~Tom Oldman, June 26, 2016.

 


© Copyright 2017 B Douglas Slack. All rights reserved.

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