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A place for Round 3 Raters (and writers!) to discuss their experiences
Posted: 6/21/2011 11:39 AM PDT
>>I would like to be able to assign two scores: one for story and another for writing. In your "rape" case, this would allow you to object to the content (included in your 'story' score) and still evaluate the quality of prose independently in your 'writing' score.
Actually I would like to see more than two. As long as the rating is boiled down to one thing, though, the rater is forced into their own decision of how to 'balance' the various elements. So, for me, I tend to settle on the 'would I read this' overall paradigm. So, would I read this because the writing was good? Not if there is a graphic rape. Would I read this because the plot is so well done? Not if it included a graphic rape. Others might rate otherwise, but my rating always boils down to 'with all of the varous elements, would I read this?" So my (1) is "no Way!", and (5) is 'When does this get published? Can I get an advanced copy?"
To my mind this is what all of writing and rating should boil down to.
Posted: 12/13/2010 7:15 AM PST
Yes. Altho I, myself, even have this for the one pagers. Just reading the synopsis I still say, "I would love to read a book about this', and yet still say, "what horrible writing" or "this moves to slow (or too fast)" etc.
Posted: 12/12/2010 9:31 AM PST
One of the real problems here is that we're trying to cram about 30 different considerations into a single number. I can certainly understand doing this on a first or second round review, where we have so little to story development to evaluate that we're really just judging quality of writing, but by the time we get to 50 pages, there are a lot of threads in the weave. We have enough now to begin commenting on story idea, plot, characterization, writing quality and pacing - just to list a few. At the very least, I would like to be able to assign two scores: one for story and another for writing. In your "rape" case, this would allow you to object to the content (included in your 'story' score) and still evaluate the quality of prose independently in your 'writing' score.
Posted: 10/30/2010 2:46 PM PDT
I tend to fall on the opposite side of this scale from the previous posters. Offensive elements turn me off, and that will be reflected in my rating. So a rape story had better be on the level of the rape of Tamar to get me past it with a decent rating... and if it is joined by other offensive elements, well, there are other raters.
Posted: 10/29/2010 4:48 PM PDT
I think it depends on several variables, most important of those is does it work for the story. One of my favorite writers is Lee Child, and he can be just plain horrific with some of the violence, but he does it to make you so repulsed by the bad guy that when his hero brutally murders them you don't feel bad for them at all. So it works for him, while in other stories it might not. Often I've stopped reading books because the violence was just so excessive that it seemed to only be included for shock value.
Another example I would point to is a book where they used a particularly nasty racial slur constantly, (yes, that one) and I found absolutely no context for it. I think the author was trying to make a statement from it, but it just came off as him having a ball getting to use it. I stopped reading and I would never read the author again. Meanwhile, the book I'm reading now has the same word used, not as often, but the author does use it. But, he makes it obvious that he is not using the word, his characters are, and they are doing it because where they live, and who they are, it is acceptable in their own minds to say it. Then he knocks them out and calls them ignorant assholes.
I have no problem with that (even if I hate that word), being realistic is very different from being excessive. I would say if the story is realistic, even if that means it's vulgar, there's not much you can do about it. The world's a pretty nasty place, unfortunately. At the same time, though, you are a reader, so if it turns you off, mention it. I wouldn't rate them down for it, but I would tell the writer it bothered you, because you never know how many other people will say the same thing, and they may want to change or tone it down before they keep moving.
Posted: 10/29/2010 12:10 PM PDT
I would ask myself these questions:
- Does the idea fit within the story at hand?
- Does the way it is written fit into the story/genre?
- Is it written about in a way that is different from what's been written before on the subject?
- Am I the target reader for this kind of book?
Personally, I wouldn't rate something negatively solely because of the subject matter. I would, though, if it was written about in a way that didn't fit the story or the genre. If you're not the target readership of the book, then I definitely wouldn't rate low because of subject matter.
I would rate it based on the way the writer handles the subject matter, not the subject matter itself. Of course, I might also add something into the comments about the topic and the fact that it might turn off a lot of readers.
In round 3, I feel like it's even more important to try to be objective than it is in the first two rounds. Part of this is because in the first rounds, one rating isn't going to make or break most books. And it's also because we have a lot more say in what we rate, genre-wise. With round 3, one vote could definitely determine whether the book goes forward or not, and because of that, I try to be a bit more objective in how I rate. If the author wrote effectively, said what he/she meant to say, then I disregard a lot of personal prejudices.
Posted: 10/29/2010 11:47 AM PDT
Hi - I'm conducting my first Round 3 evaluation and I'm in a dilemma: There is a story element that I object to (rape), and I'm not sure if this should influence my numerical score or not. Any suggestions?