On many writing sites we're encouraged to review our fellow writers, so we can all learn and improve and help each other on our respective writing journeys. What should you be looking out for? Well today's blog post will give you a 4-step plan to ensure you're covering the relevant areas and helping your fellow writers gain the most from your comments. We're going to be looking at character creation, plot structure, descriptions and the technicalities.
First up - characters. Some authors go down the descriptive route heightening the senses with carefully crafted places and scenes, while others write a blinding plot that keeps you turning the pages. But for me, characters are the heart and soul. Good character creation will have you connecting with them from the off. You should feel like you know them, be able to describe them, understand what motivates them and distinguish between each character you come across as the story unfolds. Personality traits should be relevant and speech should reflect personality.
Nowadays plot structure is being challenged and writers are keen to break from the norm. Essentially though, every good story has a beginning, middle and end and includes conflict and resolution. A plot line should never start with too much information, but rather allow that flow of information to penetrate throughout. Is the author using everything at their disposal to disperse detail - through dialogue, character action and description. A good writer mixes it up and mixes it up well. As a reviewer, this is what you're looking for. Does the storyline flow? Is it jumpy? Is there too much suspense, or not enough? Are you anticipating the protagonist's next move with ease, or with too much difficulty?
One thing to check with description - do you feel your senses are being assaulted in a good way? You will know if the author is "showing rather than telling" because you will see, hear, taste, smell, feel each scene and everything belonging to the scene like you are standing right there with the character/s.
Lastly, the technicalities. Check for the usual things - grammar errors, misspelled words, commas in the wrong place, never ending sentences... Also, is the tone of the narration fitting with the mood of the story?
Using the above plan will provide a good basis for your review, but remember to keep it positive and upbeat. For any writer, criticism is tough to take when we've laboured for so long over our pride and joy.
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Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.