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Gungan to the left

Letting your readers know...

By : Valeda Kor

How to write a fan fiction review.
Note: This article is adapted from information previously published by the author in "Murder: Past Tense," the Journal of the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society

You've just read a fan fiction story, and would love to comment on it. "Hey, TF.N's Fan Fiction Archive" is looking for reviews of their stories. I can do that! Er, how do I do that?"

First of all, we're not talking a review the length of Gone With the Wind. There's room and reason for everything from pithy capsule reviews to lengthy comparative analyses. Having said that, I should add that I don't think it's really possible to say anything substantive in under 150 words; however, 300 words should suffice. If you need more space, the editors will be happy to work with you -- and your review.

Begin with a plot synopsis. A general idea of the major characters, setting, and major story lines is in order. There's no need to make this longer than a sentence or two. Then, if you're feeling reckless, you can discuss themes. What you don't ever want to do is to give away a major plot development, or to tell so much of the story that it ruins the potential reading experience for others. There is no "Spoiler Alert" space in the printed media. (There are also NO EMOTICONS. Do not use them, ever.)

Now comes the fun part, wherein you get to ruminate on what worked for you, and why. Be specific. Quote passages that illustrate what you are talking about, or cite specific instances. Let your readers know how well the author created a Star Wars universe that was real and believable, and that the characters he or she brought to life were living, breathing people. This applies to the SW fan fiction universe just as it does in any type of fiction. Historical fiction is a wonderful example of this. Writers of historical fiction put words into the mouths of characters from Jesus Christ to Henry VIII; writers of SW fan fiction have the responsibility of taking established characters like Luke, Leia, Darth Sidious, Qui-Gon Jinn, etcetera and making their position in the story seem equally "right."

Finally, it is not necessary to say "I really liked this story" or "I recommend this story." Your feeling about the book should be apparent from your analysis. And you do not need to focus on every element of the story in any given review. You may choose to focus on one, like the romantic elements of the story, or the general action scenes, and then briefly comment on another one or two. This is not a checklist, but a general offering of ideas. As you read a story it will usually become apparent which elements you will want to key in on, and sooner more often than later. However, don't worry if something doesn't occur to you until the end of the story! Sometimes you will start off writing about one aspect and find yourself making a left turn. A good author may have you guessing until the end of the book, when you -- finally! -- realize what he or she has been trying to say, all along.

Since these stories can be written only for enjoyment and not for any widespread audience or financial benefit, opinions (or feedback, if you will) is important. Your opinion counts as much as anyone else's. The Star Wars Fan Fiction universe is open to all, readers/reviewers as well as authors.

If you are interested in writing reviews for the TFN Fan Fiction archive, please contact the editors.

Article Rating

Current Rating is 7.55 in 11 total ratings.

Reader Comments

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Author: Rogue 8
Date posted: 12/27/2001 2:01:58 PM
Rogue 8's Comments:

I have become a reviewer, but I couldn''t have done it withount this article.

Author: The Stormtrooper Shrink  (signed)
Date posted: 2/15/2004 3:21:38 AM
The Stormtrooper Shrink's Comments:

I agree with the above. Except I'm not a reviewer yet. Maybe I should try it - I was too scared before.

Author: anakinskywalker9-19  (signed)
Date posted: 6/1/2005 3:49:44 PM
anakinskywalker9-19's Comments:

Thank you for writing this article, I barely signed up to become a reviewer. This will definitely help me.

Add a comment about this article

Comments to Valeda Kor or post it in the Jedi Council Fanfic Forum.
Uploaded: Wednesday, August 1, 2001

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