This (short) essay is based on an anonymous review I got which was for some reason telling me off for pointing out spelling mistakes to authors. I was ready to dismiss the review but then I found that I've got a few good arguments in my head about why this review was, simply put, a bit stupid.
"What, are you like the official editor of fictionpress? If we wanted advice or spelling lessons we would ask and I don't think we have." - anonymous review
What are reviews? In my eyes reviews are somewhere that someone can give constructive criticism to the author. They should do this in a polite way, of course, but everyone has to understand that they are not perfect and therefore we should all be striving to improve and should be grateful to these people who are taking time to read our piece of work and leave a critique. Everyone loves compliments but I know for a fact that compliments are not good for you. When I was on I got a load of complimentary reviews and so I was feeling pretty confident when I moved to another site. However, there, they told me I would have to edit my story and re-write bits of it to post it. Sitting down and doing this I realised that my story could be improved and I sort of wished I'd been told this earlier because then I began trying to re-write and got writers block. From there on I couldn't write a word more and moved to fictionpress.
Obviously this won't happen to everyone but this is just one story where I can show that compliments are not the best course. They are the easy option for reviewers because it is easy to compliment a piece of work. I'm not saying work shouldn't be complimented because, of course, a writer's skill should be acknowledged, but if you can spot something which could be improved then tell the author! Some people don't like to give constructive criticism because they are afraid of hurting the author's feelings but one part of being an author is the ability to take constructive criticism. If you got a book published then you would get a lot harsher criticism than you would with fictionpress.
I love constructive criticism because if you don't get offended at it and listen to what the reviewer has to say then you can find it is extremely helpful. When I get some criticism I know that the reviewer isn't trying to hurt my feelings (or at least I hope not) and be rude to my work and if you read it with an open mind then you can see this.
I, however, am not too good at giving constructive criticism all of the time because I can't explain things to save my life so I usually deliver the wrong point across. But I do want to help authors out so if I see a spelling mistake or grammar mistake then I point it out. I know that I make spelling mistakes and I would like it if people could point them out to me so I can correct them. If I make a grammar mistake I want to know so I can snap out of a bad habit.
Furthermore if you go onto your fictionpress account and click, "Create Story" then the following rules are down:
Spell check all stories and poems. There is no excuse for not doing this. If you do not have a word processor that has the spell checking feature, use a search engine such as to find one.
Proofread all entries for grammar and other aspects of writing before submission. "Hot off the press" content is often riddled with errors. No one is perfect but it is the duty of the writer to perform to the best of his/her ability.
Respect the reviewers. Not all reviews will strictly praise the work. If someone rightfully criticizes a portion of the writing, take it as a compliment that the reviewer has opted to spend his/her valuable time to help improve your writing.
Everyone here is an aspiring writer. Respect your fellow members and lend a helping a hand when they need it. Like many things, the path to becoming a better writer is often a two way street.
Use proper textual formatting. For example: using only capital letters in the story title, summary, or content is not only incorrect but also a disregard for the language itself.
Let's look at point number one. I spell check but obviously some mistakes slip past me. It is clear from this and point number two that fictionpress thinks that spelling and grammar are important and I can quote the "no one is perfect" part. Don't you want to get as close to perfect as you can though? Spelling and grammar is an easily corrected thing so you may as well try to score one hundred percent on that. I'm just lending the author a helping hand.
Point number three: respect the reviewers. As you can see there I don't just strictly praise work and here it says that writers have to accept that and take it as a compliment that I've bothered to point this out instead of skimming over this which infact, is sort of an insult that they don't care enough for your work to help you out with simple things like that.
Point number four clearly shows what I have also been pointing out about improving. I have never flamed anyone and I have never purposely been rude to anyone about their work. I respect that I'm not the best author in the world and I give criticism to authors better than me in most cases.
I think I've clearly made my point here. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out spelling mistakes as it helps the author out. I'm not an expert, as I've said, but I try to do my bit.
One more point at the end: if anyone does have a problem with how I review can you please email me and not leave a review for me. After all, the reviews I give have nothing to do with my work and so if you really are unpleased then why can't you tell me at my email address? This might not be the case, but it is probably because you are too much of a coward to actually leave someway of contacting you so I can respond. The least you could have done was leave a signed review or an anonymous review with an email address. I'm not going to do anything to you except for argue my case. If you really believe in what you've written and think I'm wrong then what are you scared of? I might be a little out of line with this but this is what I believe in and I'm not ashamed of it.
A/N: If you've read this then I'd love to hear your views (unless they are flames) and of course, if I've made any spelling or grammar errors I'd like to know, even if it is an essay.