Poll: Which aspects of a fic do you consider most important? Vote Now!
Want me to review a story? PM me or leave a post in my forum under Want to have a story reviewed using my ratings system? and if it is in a fandom I am familiar with, I will.
I leave honest reviews that give a numerical score, from 0 - 10, for all the stories that I read. 0 is the worst, 10 is the best. All fics that score a 9 or above on my ratings system go in my C2, "The 9 Plus Crowd", though you shouldn't feel bad if your story scores a bit below that because there are some pretty good stories that score below 9. Every month I select one high scoring story as "story of the month". The story of the month can be found at the bottom of my profile. I have started a forum where you can leave requests for reviews as well as talk about fanfiction and reviewing.
I normally grade on five categories, plus a sixth category that does not affect overall score, although these can change.
Story: This is (obviously) where I look at the story -- how interesting an idea it is, how smoothly it flows, how well it keeps my attention, whether it moves too slowly or too fast, etc.
Characters: This is where I look at both canon and original characters. How recognizable are the canon characters? How much character development is there? How much can this story truly tell us about their character? How likeable, interesting, and necessary are the OCs?
Creativity: Not necessarily a fair category, since a story can be uncreative and still be good, but I consider creativity to be essential to writing fanfiction. This score is mostly based on how well the author comes up with their own ideas as opposed to using fanon conventions.
Writing: Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization are the first things I look for. I also look at how smooth, detailed, and appropriate to fandom and genre your writing is.
Believability: Where I look at how true a story is to canon AND whether the events in general feel like they could happen.
Professionalism: I no longer grade on professionalism. If I need to say something to you that is unrelated to the story itself, then I will put it under "Other Comments".
Sometimes, if the story is very short or if it is poetry, I may combine categories. For most parodies and some extreme humor fics, I will replace "believability" with "humor". If the story is an extreme AU, I may look at AU under the believability category.
Normally, I just average the five main scores together to reach a total, but I reserve the right to add or subtract points if I see a need.
Q: Why do you review in the way that you do?
A: Some people think that the idea of giving a numerical score to fics I read is an odd one, but it works very well for me, for several reasons. I enjoy reviewing. After the author has put a lot of time into writing the story and I've put a lot of time into reading, it seems reasonable that I would put some time into telling the author what I think. Reviewing categorically gives me a way to clearly organize my review and to remember to say everything that I mean to say. Leaving a numerical score may seem like fishing for trouble, but I've actually only ever had a few people get truly upset over it. I think that it is easier to expand on your criticisms in reviews than on positive aspects of the story. Leaving numerical scores lets the reader know that even if I go on and on attempting to explain some flaw as I see it, that I may still find their story very valuable. I might for example, disagree strongly with the characterization of one particular character and want to explain this -- but I might still give the story's characterization an 8/10. Mostly, I think that there are at least three reasons to review a story and I try to keep all of them in mind when reviewing:
1. To help the author improve their story.
2. To give the author your honest opinion as a reader.
3. To let other potential readers know the quality of the story.
Q: Will you review my story?
A: Yes, provided it is in a fandom that I am familiar with. Send me a PM, preferably with the title of the story you would like to have reviewed or leave a post in my forum under "Want to have a story reviewed using my ratings system?" where the request is less likely to get lost.
Q: What are your fandoms?
A: My fandoms
Q: Do you write fanfiction? Will you link to it?
A: Yes, I write fanfiction. No, I will not link to it. Sorry.
Q: Will you be my beta?
A: I am not taking any beta assignments at this time. Sorry.
Q: Will you PM my review to me instead of leaving it on my story?
A: No. Public reviews are the main way that other people find out about me. If you want the review, then you'll have to grant me the review space.
Q: In what order do you fill review requests?
A: Normally I will fill requests for reviews in the order that they were recieved if the stories are approximately the same length. However, if you want me to review a novel length fic, then I may review several short fics in between reading yours.
Q: Will you review fanfiction not on this site?
A: Yes, provided that the site allows for anonymous reviews. However, only fics that are on this site are eligible for my C2, Story of the Month or any other honors or rec lists.
Q: Will you review my friend's story and tell them how much it sucks?
A: I can review the story, but I may disagree with you about how much it sucks. We all have different opinions. Also, be forewarned, if you think it sucks for a reason like "it is slash/incest/OC centric/high school AU/rapefic/insert thing you dislike here" then I'm probably going to disagree with you. Also, if I get the feeling that you want me to review because you have some kind of agenda to goad and humiliate rather than help the author, then I may decline to review.
Q: Are you a published author/professor/editor/English teacher?
Q: Pretty arrogant, aren't you?
A: Not really. I do not, by any means, claim that my reviews are the final say on what makes good fiction or whether or not your story is good. They are the honest opinion of one reader. I happen to believe that, in most cases, if I notice that a character has Mary Sueish tendencies or that you have a lot of run-on sentences, that a decent percentage of your potential readers are going to notice the same thing, but this is not always the case.
Q: Mary Jo Writer's stories are much worse than mine, but you gave her a higher score. Why?
A: There could be many reasons. I'm only human and while I try to be unbiased, there are some conventions and styles that are probably more attractive to me. I could have just been in a more forgiving mood when I reviewed Mary Jo's fic. Also, you should understand that writing, which can break a story if it is incorrect, only counts as 1/5 of the overall score. Or it could just be that I saw something in Mary Jo's writing that you didn't see.
Q: I found your review to be mean and it hurt my feelings.
A: I certainly don't mean to offend anyone with my reviews. I always try to avoid using sarcasm or making personal attacks in my reviews. In the end, it's all about the story. I don't know you as a person and you may be very nice. I don't encourage anyone to give up on writing and one reviewer giving you one negative review is not the end of the world. Even if you were published author, not everyone would love your books.
Q: Don't like, don't read.
A: This is ridiculous. How am I supposed to know whether or not I like it if I've never read it?
Q: I think you should ask the authors before you leave a review.
A: I'm afraid that this isn't how it usually works. I have never, on any site, had a reviewer ask me if it is okay to review my stories before leaving a review. When you post a story onto a public site like this one, you are opening yourself up to feedback including constructive criticism and negative reviews. It may be your opinion that people should ask before leaving these types of reviews, but this isn't the norm and it certainly isn't in the rules of the site.
Q: Did you only rate my story low because it is about (insert squick/character/pairing/genre here)?
A: I won't deny that I probably have biases. Everyone does. However, I do try to be as impartial as possible regarding these types of things. I'll read any pairing, rating, genre, character, or odd idea as long as it is in a fandom that I like. I don't start out saying "this fic is incest, so I'm going to give it a low score" or "this fic is about Snape, so I'm going to give it a low score" (just examples).
Q: Did you even read my whole story?
A: I assure you that if I left a review for your fic, then I have read all of it that you have posted. This does not mean that I caught everything.
Q: Your review was too vague.
A: My reviews, although much longer and more detailed than the average review on this site, are still designed to be general rather than specific. I am not your beta. I’ll tell you if you have a lot of spelling errors, but I won’t go through the story and pick out every single spelling error for you. Nevertheless, I understand that my reviews sometimes tend toward vagueness and I will try to clarify if you PM me or post a comment on my forum under Questions and Comments or Complaints.
Q: Your review didn’t tell me how to improve clearly enough.
A: I have no interest in bossing you around. It is your story. I’ll tell you if you have a character who is OOC and generally why I think he/she is OOC. Figuring out exactly how you should write the character is the job for you, your beta, and any co-writers. I occasionally make suggestions, but I’m not going to go through the fic with a fine toothed comb and tell you exactly how you should be writing it.
Q: Why did you mention the same flaw in several different sections of your review?
A: Although I try to separate my reviews into different sections to give the author an idea of what I see as their strengths and weaknesses, the different aspects of writing a story do overlap a good deal. For example, if you have stiff dialogue and your characters sound like they are giving speeches in everyday conversation, then this is obviously a writing flaw. You are having trouble writing dialogue, perhaps as a result of attempting to put too much exposition in it. However, if the problem is persistent enough, then it also becomes a characterization issue -- if your dialogue is always stiff then your characters are going to come out as overly stiff as well. Taken far enough, this problem could also become a believability issue. I might move from thinking "this character doesn't speak this way" to "no one speaks this way". The more obvious and persistent a flaw is, the more likely it is to mentioned in several sections.
Q: Do you read review replies?
A: Always and I appreciate them, but I won't respond unless I feel you have voiced some significant question.
Q: How do you pick your story of the month?
A: The story of the month is the story that gained the highest score for the month that I reviewed it in. If two or more stories have the same score, then I will make the decision based on my own instincts. In the unlikely event that no story scores above a 7.5 in the month, then there will be no story of the month. No author will have a fic named story of the month more than once in a period of one year. Stories of the month will be added to my favorites list.
Q: If you liked my fic, then why isn't it on your favorites list?
A: Only stories and authors who have been story of the month will be added to my favorites list, even if other fics score higher than them. This is so I can keep track of the Stories of the Month.
Q: You put my story on your C2 or made it story of the month and I don't want it there. Will you remove it?
A: Of course I will remove stories that authors don't want in these places.
Q: Your averages don't add up for my overall score.
A: I reserve the right to add or take away points, though I don't often do this. However, there is a chance that it could be a mistake, especially if the score is more than half a point off from the average of the five categories.
Q: My story scored a nine or above, but isn't in your C2.
A: This is most likely a mistake, especially if it's been more than a day since I reviewed. PM me and I'll add you.
Q: I asked you to review my fic, but you haven't.
A: Please give me at least one month for reviews, possibly longer if it is a massive fic. If it has been one month, then it is possible that I have lost the fic link or never got your PM or some other problem of this nature. PM to remind me.
Q: You reviewed one of my chapters, but not the others. Why?
A: My reviews are designed to look at a story as a whole, and so reviewing for every chapter would be pointless. I will leave another review if several chapters have passed since my last and if you PM me.
Q: I don't want you to review any more of my fics.
A: Then you need to block me from reviewing. I don't give the same person repeat reviews on purpose unless they ask, but I may forget that I reviewed you in the past.
Q: I've spotted a spelling or grammar error in one of your reviews.
A: This is very possible. I'm only human and I don't always proofread reviews with the same care I would a story.
The January Story of the Month:
Title: A flower in her hair
Fandom: Harry Potter
Summary: Lord Voldemort and Luna Lovegood find time to discuss a little philosophy.
Comments: These characters interact with each other in interesting ways and this is just a very unique little fic.
The December Story of the Month:
Author: Bittersweet x
Fandom: Harry Potter
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