Guidelines for Peer Review

Peer Review is a valuable tool for all writers, at every stage of the writing process. They not only provide the writer with an audience on which to test his/her material, but also provide a forum for critical feedback, discussion of ideas for development and encouragement to keep trying when something hasn’t worked as well as hoped.  Providing Peer Review to others helps us to be more critical when looking at our own work and helps to hone our analytical skills. 

For Peer Review to be successful, it is important that honest feedback is tempered by encouragement and support.  Therefore, when reading material submitted for review:

1)    consider those areas that you think work well – descriptions you feel are particularly successful, dialogue that sounds authentic, characters that are well-drawn and so forth; 

2)   look also at areas that might be improved upon or developed further;   

3)   consider all the elements of the story: viewpoint, character, language, structure, etc.

Feedback should be specific, directing the author to relevant passages within the text. It should include the reviewer’s perception of both the strengths and weaknesses of the work in question and should be presented in an honest manner.  It is important, however, that this be done in a sensitive fashion so as not to discourage the writer in question. 

The writer should carefully consider all feedback received, especially where similar comments have been made by multiple reviewers.  Ultimately, though, it is up to the writer to decide whether these comments are valid.

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