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SmashLampjaw

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#21 [url]

Jan 16 17 12:58 PM

I'm very concerned by your statement in the Background that you were "doing research into rewriting the reviews for existing gender-bender comics." Is this review part of your strange conviction we need to "detoxify our brand"?

"Defining Flaw" tells me nothing about what was the single worst aspect of this comic and is too long. Most comics have characters who make bad decisions; you need to explain why the badness of this decision ruined the comic, and do so more tersely. The bit at the top of the review is supposed to be a summary overview of what the reader is about to get details on. You don't elaborate on things there or support things there; you do those things in the body of the review. You have a very conversational style of writing, which you might be able to make work in the body of the review, but the summaries needs to be summaries. They're not a place to ease into making a point.

"Storyline" summary: Could be shorter, but mostly okay. The second sentence ends with "and only as much as they encounter which is really all that is needed" which is... eh... a bit of a ramble? I can tell what you mean but it doesn't sound natural to me as language. Part of this could be in the Downfall.

"Characters" summary: "overly dominated by their predominant" is a little redundant. Otherwise fine.

"Overall" summary: The writing itself is fine, but the tone of what you wrote makes it seem like you didn't really want to review the comic. You're not putting a review for it on the Almost Good But Not Quite And That's Okay I Guess But Here's What's Wrong Webcomics Wiki. (The AGBNQATOIGBHWWWW are a bunch of dicks anyways.) You don't have to be insulting, but for you I'd recommend writing this like a more personalized version of a thesis statement where you say why this comic wound up getting reviews in spite of being "better than the sum of its parts." Maybe start with how it disappointed you or get into the hopes you had that got dashed, then point out why you had hopes in the first place, instead of talking up the comic and then walking that back.

"Story and Plot", "Downfall", and "Writing Review": The review is structured by category not chronology. You've essentially described the comic in a linear conversation that you wrote down, then put your descriptions into these sections in the order these sections appeared. Your "Story and Plot" describes the comic's setup, your "Downfall" picks up describing the story from there and mostly focuses on panel 217, and then your "Writing Review" section covers 217 through the end.

"Story and Plot": You're supposed to summarize and critique the entire story and plot here, not just talk generally about the story's setup. That's why the heading is "Story and Plot" rather than "Comic's Introduction".

"Downfall": I can't actually tell what you're saying the downfall is from reading this (as if I were a BWW guest). It's a definite improvement from the last version in that it mostly focuses on the comic, but it's still kind of all over the place. I know from talking to you here that the downfall for you was the painfully stupid choice of the character to explain things 150 panels apart from when he just demonstrates the transformation. You spent (in order) 2 paragraphs on the navigation (which you should keep but edit down a bit), 5 paragraphs setting up the downfall, 2 paragraphs where you kind of explain the downfall, and then end on a sentence by itself that doesn't summarize anything above it despite beginning with "The point is".

The irony is, you almost completely summarized the downfall in the caption of the image you included off to the right.

This section is supposed to make it clear to the reader, "This is the point I knew this comic was doomed." If you look at other reviews on the site, you'll find the Downfall section is very short most of the time, even in long-winded reviews like mine. The reason being is that it is rare you will be touching on writing/art flaws in the Downfall you won't also be covering (in greater detail) in other sections of the review. To demonstrate this point, I have constructed this Downfall out entirely out of your own sentences, half of which you used elsewhere:
.

Downfall wrote:
As for the downfall of the story itself, it's panel 217 (Downfall). The main character makes the worst possible choice in trying to solve his problem (Defining Flaw). Linus tells her the truth and that it's really him and his body turns into that of a woman that he's been passing off as his own cousin and this all started after some strange woman in a bar bit him (Downfall). It ends in predictable embarrassment and then it's right back to desperately trying to find a way to get rid of the condition (Writing Review). It's also the point past which things really go off the rails from a storytelling point of view (Writing Review). The equally obvious solution (Downfall)? Show them the transformation first (Downfall). There's nothing stopping the story from jumping from panel 217 to panel 384 where the main character does what he should have done in the first place (Storyline Summary).

.
That's almost usable as a Downfall (though sentence 3 needs to be punctuated and/or split up, as it borders on being a run-on sentence). I made it out of your own words to make it clear this is an issue of failing to organize your thoughts into the structure you're supposed to be fitting the review to. Also, considering there are 5 references to panel 217 in your review, 3 or which are in this section, you should consider making one of them a link to that panel. You should probably link panel 384 as well.

"Art Review": Amazingly, you wrote this section exactly how you should have. It's entirely usable as-is.

"Writing Review": This is almost unusable as a writing review. There's maybe 2 sentences of critique of the writing in it. Meanwhile you have 8 paragraphs of post-Downfall story and plot summary that should have gone in the section called "Story and Plot".

"Characters": You mostly use this section to explore story elements, so I'd make it a sub-section of Story and Plot rather than its own section after the Writing Review.

"Author Biography": Fine, but the sentence at the end about the website needs to go. It has nothing to do with the authors. You can append it to the link at the end if you want. There's often random trivia in the Links section.

"Conclusion": Again, I find myself very concerned. Do you actually believe we should be reviewing this comic, or did you grab it up so you could softball the review? Because nothing I read prior to your conclusion makes it "a surprise to [me] that [you] actually quite like this one". I liked Parasite Galaxy by the end of reading it in spite of its flaws, but I still recognize it's a bad webcomic because of its flaws. That is not the impression I get from reading what you've written.

Some review sites focus on the positives but highlight the negatives. Some review sites focus on trying to present the illusion of "balance" (because they're non-committal or pretentious). BWW focuses on the negatives but highlights the positives (if any).

.


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Shan

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#22 [url]

Jan 16 17 2:55 PM

I'll take all this onboard and try again with my next attempt. Hopefully, this means I'm heading in the right direction. This is all very good, I'm both learning from this and it shows quality control is very important, no-one can just put anything together and put it up. This is how we learn.

I'll get back to the rest of this but just a quick couple of things. "I'm very concerned by your statement in the Background that you were "doing research into rewriting the reviews for existing gender-bender comics." Is this review part of your strange conviction we need to "detoxify our brand"? - no, that was just me noticing a common theme through everything I'd reviewed and then was planning to review happened to be part of 910cmx (the Werewif is the first that isn't but common theme).

Did I say detoxify the brand? I don't think I did, or at least I didn't mean to (I mean, that wasn't my intention...) I did say some people see it as toxic but that was part of a bigger point that in every thread of discussion regardless of where it is, other people counter that view. Also, you can't really, not with something called "The Bad Webcomics Wiki" short of changing the name. Also, that is it's brand by my understanding, there's a degree of confrontation from the outset. Take that away and it's not that anymore.

"Again, I find myself very concerned. Do you actually believe we should be reviewing this comic, or did you grab it up so you could softball the review?"

I'm clearly having trouble with getting across that I find these stories the most frustrating. Stuff that's irredeemable from the outset (either concept or execution) are one thing but what I'm trying to convey is that if only a few things were tweaked, most namely the whole fact there's nothing blocking the eventual solution from the outset - and that what he does instead - well even someone thinking straight wouldn't do that - definitely not twice. Even something as simple as saying "if you tell anyone, you're stuck that way", even if not true would be credible as hey, look what's happened so far.

Instead I'm reading this thing and I can't shake that feeling - here's an obvious solution - why is there 200 pages of both arbitrarily avoiding it and making a fool of yourself in the process. Now the 3 star overall is that, we'll it's still something I can read through several times (review purposes and not) - it's quick in that respect and not to painful and also, well ... a reflection that it's realistically salvageable if only a few different things were done? Clearly, I've veered too much in the other direction this time.

I'll have another crack at it and see how I go.

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#24 [url]

Mar 21 17 1:59 AM

I think you're being too nice about it

the half-assed explanation of how the transformation sort of works, the fact that he never properly explains his condition to the people who it would make the most sense to get help from - btw, was the comic written and made by a woman or a man? I think that would actually be an interesting perspective to take along.

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Shan

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#25 [url]

Mar 21 17 3:02 AM

Smash is being a hard taskmaster which I didn't reply when you said good work on the review, I suspected that pass wasn't going to survive the peer review process either. Totally worth it, though. It may still not be ready but it's a lot better than my first effort at it.

How it works isn't so important to actually explain IMO (if anything, the more you try to explain this sort of thing, the more problems you can end up creating for yourself) but I think you're right, "the fact that he never properly explains his condition to the people who it would make the most sense to get help from" is where I think it falls down the most and what I'm trying to get across (YMMV on how successful I am with this).

Whatever your crisis is in a story, I find it believable that we wouldn't always do the most logical or sensible thing upfront (sometimes people never do) but illogicality of the illogic in this is what I think drags it down and easily could have been avoided if things had just been restructured and rewritten. I don't have to suggest how, that shouldn't be the job of a reviewer, just that what you've got doesn't work (to whatever degree) and why.

I think it was a team effort with men and women both working on it going by the credits and I don't think I'd be able to sort out who did exactly what past the general outline I put in my draft.

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SmashLampjaw

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#26 [url]

Mar 22 17 1:46 PM

Some improvements. Still needs work.

Defining Flaw: Huge improvement since last time. It actually made me laugh out loud and was much better than my suggestion.

Rating Summary: Everything except Storyline looks good. Storyline's last sentence borders on being a run-on sentence, but might be improved with more punctuation and conjunctions. Alternately you could just chop off the last point you made and move it into Writing Review.

Background: I have no earthly idea how what you wrote here relates to the review or the comic being reviewed. This section is supposed to cover the how and/or why of this comic being reviewed by you. There's a lot of latitude here, but what you wrote doesn't fit it.

Story And Plot, Downfall, and Writing Review: Same problem as before with treating them like chronological headings instead of distinct categories. Story and Plot is very rambly and spends a surprising amount of time defending the characters even though you made a Characters section you could presumably put this into.

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Shan

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#27 [url]

Mar 28 17 1:17 AM

Funny, isn't it. I'm actually quite nervous before reading each update on this, I spend a day or more doing the cyberspace equivalent of pacing around before biting the bullet and reading it. Well, back to the workshop but I think the trend is a positive one and we'll be getting a review out of this yet! (Goes off to read an article on Wikipedia about "Sunk Cost Fallacy"...)

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SmashLampjaw

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#28 [url]

Mar 29 17 4:47 PM

If it is any consolation, I completely believe you're capable of writing a good review. You just need to focus your thoughts, speak more definitively, and adhere to the format better. I've seen you make your points on the forums; the writing is much more cohesive. Why you're using such a different style in the reviews is beyond me.

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Shan

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#29 [url]

Mar 29 17 5:21 PM

I think with the possible exception of I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle, my other efforts are varying degrees of majorly embarrassing. So this is all good as I definitely want to write more reviews but I really do need to get this all sorted out here first. it's already improved a lot as it is, so this is all worthwhile. The effort on all sides is definitely worth it.

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#30 [url]

Mar 29 17 11:08 PM

Dont' be that harsh on yourself - though, staying critical of your own past work and trying to improve is never a bad thing (hell, a shitload of the webcartoonists we critique could do well in learning how to do that)

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Shan

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#31 [url]

Mar 29 17 11:52 PM

webkilla wrote:
Dont' be that harsh on yourself - though, staying critical of your own past work and trying to improve is never a bad thing (hell, a shitload of the webcartoonists we critique could do well in learning how to do that)

It's more along the lines that they're softpedalling far too much because I hate to look like I'm offending people or especially attacking them directly. I have to go back and fix those in order to especially make them look more objective. IDOAJB is probably my best one because it did hit so many of my rage buttons so I was able to cut loose on that one. I still like to think I was fair, though.

​This is all good, though. It's helping me improve a lot so it's worth sticking at it until it's done. It's not just the final results, it's the process.

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Shan

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#33 [url]

Mar 30 17 7:15 AM

webkilla wrote:
if you're afraid of offending people... why do you then want to write reviews on this wiki? but ya ok

I'm increasingly learning to get over it insofar as I do want to write the best possible critiques of stuff. I still want to be fair but harsh if necessary, however.

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Long Tom

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#34 [url]

Mar 30 17 1:57 PM

Shan wrote:

webkilla wrote:
if you're afraid of offending people... why do you then want to write reviews on this wiki? but ya ok

I'm increasingly learning to get over it insofar as I do want to write the best possible critiques of stuff. I still want to be fair but harsh if necessary, however.

In the case of Demon Battles, the author was initially upset, but she realized we were right, and scrapped and revamped her webcomic.  So criticism is worthwhile in some cases.

In others, we laugh at the people who react like crybabies, such as the author of Bridgette's Belly, or worse the author of Sandra And Woo.

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Shan

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#35 [url]

Mar 30 17 2:22 PM

Long Tom wrote:

Shan wrote:

webkilla wrote:
if you're afraid of offending people... why do you then want to write reviews on this wiki? but ya ok

I'm increasingly learning to get over it insofar as I do want to write the best possible critiques of stuff. I still want to be fair but harsh if necessary, however.

In the case of Demon Battles, the author was initially upset, but she realized we were right, and scrapped and revamped her webcomic.  So criticism is worthwhile in some cases.

In others, we laugh at the people who react like crybabies, such as the author of Bridgette's Belly, or worse the author of Sandra And Woo.

Well, absolutely. I remember you saying Demon Battles is the site's biggest success in terms of results but actually, it's Exiern.

​Seriously.

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SmashLampjaw

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#37 [url]

May 21 17 10:38 AM

Everything above background: Good. Already commented on it earlier.

Background: "Now this isn't part of 910cmx but things adjacent to the chasm can also fall in when you dig a hole in the first place." I get what you're going for, but... I mean try reading it out loud to yourself. It's a bit cumbersome. Still, at least it makes it clear you found this thing in the first place.

Story and Plot: Still does not contain the whole story or plot. It cuts off half way and then the second half is in the Writing Review. I've told you several times review sections aren't chronological. They're categorical.

The whole third paragraph, beginning with "To be fair to Brian" is just rambling. Other than that and the fact the section cuts off abruptly and only has 2/5 of the story or plot in it, you have a good start here. You just need to go over the other 3/5 of the story and plot in this section.


Downfall: "Image 97" should be a link to the comic it references. Otherwise, good job. This section finally is the Downfall, it's to the point, and I completely understand what you're saying and agree with your reasoning.

Art Review: Not sure about your decision to sandwich the words between the pics instead of leaving them both right-aligned. Everything else I said previously still stands; this section's been good for a while now.

Writing Review: Looking more like a Writing Review Section, but still has a lot of story and plot analysis that should be in Story and Plot.

A bit rambly: Starting with the obvious problem, even though we don't always perform optimally over pressure but even taking that into account, for this particular story, telling people that you turn into a woman every full moon is just going to have everyone think you're mad.


Run-on sentence containing 2.5 sentences: Other than that issue which is both major and yet easily could have been fixed, bar some really duff moments like this one - really Suzie? (people were much more enlightened about the range of behaviour across gender lines even back in the now archaic historical era of myspace than this), things don't obviously fly of the handle until the home stretch.

Everything after the "Other than that issue" is a mix of Story and Plot review with Writing review. You introduce a lot of things that aren't writing to highlight writing issues, to put it another way.

"Turns out there's a cure ... and that it's Linus and only Linus who can do it by killing Morgan, returning all people bitten by Morgan (who are not pleased) back to normal. So suddenly it goes from what was sort of implied maybe science (but not as we know it) to a sudden lurch into a mix with what could only be magic. Why would this even work? We have to assume it's been done before as we're not even given a hint as to why this (and only this) would work."

^==Plot development vs. Writing failure

Additionally, you're still acting like there's a chronological barrier between the Story and Plot section and the Writing section. Story and Plot is where you go over the entire story and plot (even if only in summary). Writing Review is where you go over the writing and highlight successes and failures of it. Both sections cover the same material in different ways. If it's in the comic and it's neither art nor the author's background, it gets covered by both sections.

Characters: This is mostly good. Bold-facing the names would help, and there are a few places where added commas or semicolons would improve readability.

(Brian) Really clumsy language: Best summed up by even if it's unintentional when he knocks on Suzie for not being the first person to believe Linus even though she was the first person he told.

(Brian) Fragment sentence with unclear pronouns: As opposed to him who was the first person who did believe him.

(Brian) Tortured English, unclear what "this" refers to, and rambles a bit toward the end: But prior to this, Brian had also just said words to the effect that you had to have seen it in order to believe it and that's precisely why he believed Linus in the first place.

(Morgan) There's definitely a word missing somewhere around the highlight: Basically rebelling against their society which is to keep quiet and out of sight.

(Morgan) Tortured English and redundancy: How Morgan's situation is helped by repeatedly biting people is never really explained and we don't really see but of the character outside their wanting to find ways to entertain themselves. How this behaviour helps with even that isn't really all that clear, either.

(The Werewives) The entire thing is one big run-on sentence. Otherwise good, though.

(Joe the Barman) The entire thing is one big run-on sentence or bordering on it. Otherwise good, as before.

Conclusion: This section still makes it sound like you didn't think this thing should be reviewed in the first place. This is supposed to be an overall summary of the good and the bad from before... or at the very least, some parting thought for the reader. It currently reads like an apology to the author with some reassuring words for someone thinking of reading the comic after your review. There's nothing inherently wrong with having positive remarks here, but what you've written is still in stark contrast to the rest of the review.

The good of the comic failed to overcome the things that frustrated you to the point you recommended this comic for review and reviewed it yourself. That fact, which is expressed over the rest of the review, is absent here.

.


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Last Edited By: SmashLampjaw May 21 17 10:42 AM. Edited 1 time.

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Shan

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#38 [url]

Jun 4 17 5:19 PM

"Not sure about your decision to sandwich the words between the pics instead of leaving them both right-aligned. Everything else I said previously still stands; this section's been good for a while now."

I did the split like that after cutting a section of text out left one of the two images in another section from what I remember at the time. Anyway, when I next rewrite sections of this thing, I might be able to shuffle it back. I'll see how I go with my next attempt.

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