As many of you know, I am involved in the Jukepop Reading Party, and I often plan the stories I aim to read. My current list (in no particular order) for the Reading Party kicking off 24th – 25th October is:
Aconitum by M Howalt (I need to finish the last 9 chapters!)
Neither £egal nor Tender by TP Keating
The Chronicles of Tearha: The Number 139 by Aden Ng
Underground by Ada Redmond
Far Flung by T.C.C Edwards
The Writer by Step Hender
Flocked (Volume 2) by Ryan Watt
The Hand of the Morrigan by Kitty Loy
As before, in order to dedicate more time to reading the serials, I will only offer some brief feedback on the last chapter. A few weeks later, I will submit a more extensive critique on this blog.
Before we touch on the impending reviews, I wanted to talk about something that really made me think when it came to my reviews. Aden Ng wrote a blog post that touched on what a good, constructive critique should be and also how some authors seem unable to handle negative critiques, leading them to lash out at the reviewer.
I am going to be reading the work of JP authors that I am unfamiliar with – I have never read their work before. They may indeed be unfamiliar with me. With this in mind, I would like to stress to them that these ‘reviews’ should be taken as an opportunity to grow as an author. They are not formal – more an extension of the comments function on Jukepop. They will be honest but fair. Authors will not be treated to an ego massage, nor a written ‘bashing’ of their work – neither of these things are useful. Instead you will receive a balanced critique showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of your work.
In order to do this I will point out what I liked most and what could be better, rather than what was ‘good’ and what was ‘bad’. The reason I take this approach is:
- a) In my experience, stories are very rarely ‘bad’. It might perhaps need a little work, but it is infinitesimally unlikely that it is beyond redemption. I have yet to read something where I couldn’t find at least one thing I liked in it.
- b) Work on Jukepop is generally unfinished/ongoing, so I can’t critique it the same way I might a book I bought from a shop.
To me, Jukepop is an online writing group – people offer up their work because they know that it needs a little TLC before taking it further. Jukepop authors rely on feedback from unbiased third parties to point out things they have missed. I know from experience that when you comb though the same chapter countless times, the innumerable drafts can merge together, meaning continuity issues and erroneous spelling and/or grammar can and do slip through the net. Although I will point out spelling and grammar errors, it is important to note that it will merely be a passing comment in the review; I will state that you had some and move on.
My focus will be on what works really well and what could do with improving – whether this is plot, scene, setting, character, dialogue, pace or anything else that may stand out. These (in my opinion) are by far the most valuable pieces of feedback an author can receive at this stage. A writer needs to know what parts of their story could use work but it is equally important to see what really shines.
So essentially, you will not find any maliciousness in my reviews. They will be honest, but they will be fair. I have already posted two critiques if you want to see the sort of thing to expect:
I am really looking forward to this months Reading Party. I have decided to focus on serials that have been sitting on my JP bookshelf for a while that I have really been meaning to get into, as well as stories that I’m close to finishing ( I have a problem with stories ending – I often put off reading the last few chapters because when a story ends, especially one I am really enjoying, I go through the five stages of grief! It really feels like I’ve lost a dear friend).
I might not get through everything, but I know I will thoroughly enjoy trying!
I hope to see many other Jukepop authors/readers joining me in the Jukepop Reading Party. You don’t need to set such an intimidatingly long reading list as I do and you certainly don’t need to write extensive reviews for each serial; This is something I choose to do in conjunction with the Reading Party. You could simply aim to get through that one serial you’ve been meaning to finish for some time. It’s up to you. Jukepop is such a fantastic community – the Reading Party is just another extension of the support fellow authors show one another.
The Jukepop Reading Party kicks off this weekend! Good reading to everyone who joins!