Daily Thought #29

This post is going to be centered around my experience with websites where you post your story for feedback. Since I turned 18 (before that I refused to sign up on any websites because of my age), I have dabbled in a few such websites to get feedback for my stories and become a better writer. And, while I learned a lot on these websites, it was usually what not to do. Personally, I am not an advocate of these websites for several reasons, which I will lay out for you.

First, the quality of reviews. Honestly, a lot of people go on these websites (authonomy [which no longer exists], fictionpress, wattpad, etc.) to get reviews. What people do not realize is that it is about give and take. Part of it is about reviewing others to get reviews. Sometimes this is unsaid, sometimes not. On authonomy there was actually something called a story swap. On fictionpress you could send messages to people who had Beta profiles (who offered to read your story for nothing in return).

While I found a couple people who read mine and I read theirs, honestly usually people would just read my first chapter and expect me to read all their story. This seems disproportionate to me, and since I love analyzing other books, I put out way more then I got. This is partially my own fault, but then again it taught me how to review.

Another thing I disliked was quality of reviews. Honestly, most people do not know how to critique stories. I usually use the sandwich effect (say something good, give a critique [something which they could develop more, or a plot hole], and then give a compliment) as well as balancing what I critiqued (characters, plot, grammar, etc.). This helps the author not get discouraged, but still helps them grow.

However, I realized most people did not have the same idea that I had in giving reviews. Either they would only critique grammar (which is helpful, but not something I have big issues with so it wasn’t helpful to me, since I was looking for a reviewer not a proofreader), or they only gave critiques without giving any hint to what was good about the story.

So, I personally have never had good luck with these websites, but what about you? Have you had good experiences? If so, why? If not, what did you find was a problem?

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