- Please update!
Why don’t you write it for me since you obviously have more free time than I do? Plus, once I update, I’ll probably not hear from you until weeks after, telling me to update again, if at all.
- This sucks, scrap it.
Scrap your attitude first and tell me what sucks or else I’m not going to learn, but with that attitude, I’ll probably just ignore you entirely anyway.
- This and that are totally unrealistic! Do this instead.
Thanks for letting me know, and I’ll work on improving, but is there anything I did get right?
Your spelling is fine.
R u sr aboot tht!
- This is great!
Thanks. Is there anything in particular that you liked?
No, not anything specifically.
So, this isn’t great, it’s just OK. Is there anything I can improve on so this story would be great?
No, nothing in particular.
So this story is great?
- Do you have anything else?
If I had anything else, do you think I wouldn’t upload it ASAP?
- Hey, could you review one of my pictures/stories?
OK, but after I go to the picture/story you want me to review, ask you to review the picture/story where you just asked me to review, and, only then, after you do put down a review on my picture/story, will I review your picture/story. I’ll even match the word count of the review you gave me. Not one word more, not one word less.
- Thank you for the fave!
Ugh, I have to look through my favorites gallery to find out what I faved? Give me a hint at least. What’s the name of the thing I faved?
- First comment!
First unneeded spammer!
- Oh my god I’m going to cry!
They’re tears of joy! . . . . Right? . . . . Right? . . . . Oh god, is it that awful?
- I’m disappointed. You said there would be death/sex/etc. You’re a liar!
I said that there would eventually be death/sex/etc. The story isn’t even finished yet.
- This story is boring! Put in more action.
Well, not everyone’s life is an action movie. Or a drama, horror, western, science fiction, or even a romantic comedy. Sometimes, it’s just a simple slice of life. The genre I purposefully stated somewhere on the story!
- This story has no plot.
I’m only three chapters in! Is the world supposed to be saved within three chapters?
- I really like this story, but, I’m sorry to say this, there’s already a theme of this happening in another story here.
And I’m sorry you’ll just have to stick to this clichéd story if you like it so much.
- I can’t wait for the next chapter!
And I can’t wait to see whether or not you leave an actual review after I update.
- This has already been done before.
Are you calling me a plagiarist?
Then there‘s no problem. Who knows? Maybe, by the end, it’ll actually be different from every other story after all. Be sure to let me know when I publish the last chapter. If you’re still around, that is.
- Is there going to be a sequel?
Well, no. A story has to end some time. Sorry.
- Update or I’ll kill you/stalk you/etc.!
I’d like to see you try. And if you do manage to find me, would you like quantity or quality?
- I love this story so much, and hope to see the next chapter soon!
I’d love it more to know what exactly you liked and didn’t like about the story.
- Can you please update soon?
How many people have asked me to update besides you?
Er. . . .
Sorry, but even though you asked nicely, if I can’t get it done, I can’t get it done yet.
- This is so cool!
Want to know what would be even cooler? A review more than two sentences long. Wanna know what would be totally awesome? A review of at least a hundred words! Wanna know what would be so monumental that I would frame it? A review at least a full page of size 10 Times New Roman on Microsoft Works Word Processor with the margins stretched to the very edge!
- A five year old could draw/write better!
And a four year old would know how to be more constructive.
- If you review me, I’ll review you.
OK, but I insist that you go first, since you’re already here and all.
- This should totally happen in your story!
Since you seem to be the epitome of total creativity and originality, write your own story!
Second unneeded spammer!
- Oh my gosh! You totally copied me/my friend! You’re a plagiarist!
Did I copy a story word for word?
Did I steal any names?
Are they common names?
Did I take a story plot?
You totally did!
Really? Have controlling the elements, the chosen one, a character healing after a traumatic experience (ad infinitum a list of plot lines) had been done before by other writers?
Does the order of events match you or your friend's story?
Did I take characters?
Well, no, but—!
Then am I really a plagiarist?
I’m reporting you!
And you're welcome to do that because I would never get in the way of your right of freedom of speech, even if you are wrong.
I know, I know, I know. Despite what the title says, this does, indeed, make me look like a total jerk, if not a complete asshole, but I know I am not the only one who thinks snide remarks when reading these kinds of comments. I also know that I would never, ever, actually reply to any of my reviewers in this manner. Ever. No matter how bad it was because that would make me a total jerk, if not a worse libel. Yes, some of these were inspired by some reviews I’ve gotten, and some reviews I’ve seen given for other people’s stories, but if I was a jerk, I would have directly quoted those kinds of reviews and have given out usernames. As you can see, I didn’t.
This, my fellow writers, readers, and potential reviewers (AKA feedback givers AKA critics AKA critiquers AKA constructive criticizers), is basically my expression for the lack of control I have. I wish I could tell people what I would like in a review and have every single person follow that rule to the letter, but I can’t, and, frankly, no one else can either or else all the “Update soon” people wouldn’t be around anymore. It doesn’t mean I can’t still be frustrated and irritated because of these kinds of frequent comments though.
If there’s anything that you can take away and learn from this “rant” (besides that I’m annoyed, but don’t have the authority to command you on how to review my stuff), is that most writers would appreciate at least one of two things:
(1) Personalization. Ask questions, make a conversation, be friendly, and/or tell the writer specifically what you liked (or didn’t like) about the story. If you noticed the examples from above, none of them did this. Not even the more positive comments. My personal policy is to reply to every single review that I can. Not all sites allow me to respond to anonymous reviews, but when I can, I will; however there was one exception, and I decided not to respond to a review even though I could have. Basically it was one of those “I like this story and this chapter, and hope you update soon,” and even though I would normally respond to those comments with a “Thank you, I’m glad you like the story, but unfortunately, I don’t know when I’ll be able to update,” I decided not to today. I didn’t reply to the comment because while the “update soon” comments are generic, I know the person means well, but this person left an earlier review on another chapter of the same story, and you know what? It was the exact same wording, exact same capitalization, and exact same punctuation. It was the same message down to the shift button. It was too copied and pasted. I figured if I already replied to that earlier comment, I don’t have to do it again for the exact same comment. The bottom line is that it irritated me more than just the generic “please update.”
(2) If there was an error or if there was something you don’t like about the story, back it up! Is there a word that is often misspelled, or a punctuation often misused? Does a section seem choppy? Why didn’t you like this character? Why doesn’t this character seem believable? Use examples from their story and give options and suggestions on how to fix it. Quote their work in the review. It’s one thing to give ideas when it’s unneeded (like comment number twenty-three), but it’s another when it’s purely an option in order to help, and some writers would very much appreciate examples, plus giving examples and options would make your explanation clearer. In addition, unlike comment number three, giving examples and suggesting small tidbits of an idea will make you seem friendly, and not out to get the writer or to dictate their story.
In summary, all you really need to do is personalize the review, so that if the review was in a jumble of other story’s reviews, someone could easily differentiate which review would belong to which story, but if you would like to point out something not-so-stellar, back it up. I’m not going to tell you to make a sandwich style review (bad in between the good buns) or to balance it with good and bad, because not all stories are equally bad and good. Some people would rather just get to the point and bullet point all the errors and leave their personal opinions out, preferring to keep it private, or to tell the writer that they‘re enjoying what they‘re reading through the private message system. Some people feel that they don’t have enough writing knowledge enough to point out all the errors and opt for praising instead (remember to personalize it). I wouldn’t mind either as long as it feels specific to my story, or other writings. Yes, the bad stuff will hurt, but as long as the comment isn’t insulting me as a writer, or telling me that my stories are lost causes and to give up on them, I’ll be fine. I can’t say the same about other writers, but I assure you that I will be fine.