reviewing the reviewer: not a good idea

Here is a post about the operations of writing groups or workshops. It’s something that annoys me immensely.

Picture the situation:

There is a group of writers who are critting each other’s work. One particular writers offers a story or a chapter, and the rest comment on it.

Next, this happens:

Reviewer 1 makes a comment about the believability of a situation a character finds himself in

Reviewer 2 comments: OMG has reviewer 1 never heard of … (insert situation). She must have been living on another planet.

I think this situation is destructive. At the moment reviewer 2 starts questioning reviewer 1’s sanity, the discussion becomes about reviewer 1 and reviewer 2 and no longer about the piece of work under consideration.

The author of the work is not a fool. He or she can read and can draw conclusions based on reviews. As reviewer, you should be offering your opinion about the text, and nothing else. The author can count (seven people get it, two don’t), and the author can decide what resonates and what doesn’t (even though two people don’t get it, that may not be a problem, or maybe one of them has said something that might fix this problem). The author doesn’t need bullies to tell him/her which fellow reviewer’s opinion has more or less weight.

Do NOT offer your unwanted and unsolicited opinion on what someone else said about a third person’s work. If you really can’t restrain yourself, do it in private.



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