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PaulAsaran


Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

Oct
18th
2018

Paul's Thursday Reviews CXXXV · 8:37pm Last Thursday

Remember back when I was fretting over writing reviews right before or even on the day of publication? This blog is the first one resulting from my efforts to correct the problem. To be specific, I intentionally rearranged my review order so that this blog would have less than 70k words of total wordcount reviewed. I did the same with the next blog and less than 90k with the one after. The good news is that it appears to have paid off. The bad news is that Iā€™m currently in the midst of a

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Reading Progress

Review Requests

Rules for Requesting Reviews

Want to request a review? There's no 'correct' way to do it. PM me, comment on my blogs, comment on my user page, it's all good. As soon as I've acknowledged the request I'll go into my Review Schedule and add yours to the queue. Just remember: requests are always first come/first serve, so don't be surprised if you're waiting a few months when my request list has gotten overwhelmed.

On that note, I strongly discourage waiting for the request list to empty before making one. There is never any guarantee that the list will shrink in the first place, so all you're really doing is guaranteeing it will take even longer for your story to get reviewed.

I don't care about genre, maturity or even length. You can even request your own stories ā€“ in fact, most requests are from the authors themselves. When it comes down to it, there are only three rules:

No Clop
Have I read clop? Yes. Do I review clop? No. My reviews are for stories, not blatant fap material.

This doesn't mean I won't read a story with the sex tag, it just means that I won't read a story that is all about titillation. You request a story that has sexuality interlaced with an actual story and we're in business. Heck, I'll even accept a story where sex is part of the story's dynamic (Xenophilia is a good example). But if it's just sex for the sake of sex? No dice.

Incompletes
As a general rule, I avoid reading incomplete stories. However, it's not something I enforce too strongly when it comes to requests. If a story has gone on hiatus or has been cancelled, I'll consider it fair game. If an author has specified that a story is going to be huge (like, say, 300,000+ words) and has only barely begun, I'll consider it.

If a story is known to be close to completion, I may throw it onto my Incomplete bookshelf and wait for it to finish before scheduling. I don't want to start reading something, finish and review it just for it to be completed a week later.

Generally speaking, Incomplete stories are in a murky grey area for me. As such, I reserve the right to accept/decline these as they come.

This is Me
The review you are getting is based on my opinion only. I don't care if a story has a 1,000/1 upvote ratio, if I think it's bad, I will say so. There are no retries or second opinions, and if a review is negative you don't get a take-back. I stopped caring about hurting authors' feelings a long time ago and I'm not inclined to be nice because we're friends, so be careful what you wish for. Above all else, I strive to be fair and honest to everyone, even if that means putting your baby on a pike.

That being said, bear in mind that these are indeed my opinion. My views will be altered based on past experiences, personal preferences, and certain biases. This is an inevitability when it comes to reviews. I try to balance this by recognizing when my opinion is based on my own personal biases, but I can make no promises.

Review Schedule and Rules


Rules

Revised 03/14/2018

This section only covers how my schedule works. Information on review requests can be found above, and information on Author Scoring can be found below.

Most weeks on Thursday I will review up to 10 stories. What stories are reviewed and when are based on two schedules: The Review Schedule and the Reading Schedule.

Review Schedule
The Review Schedule does two things. First, on the right it provides lists of all the stories currently queued for review (explained below). This list is interactive: viewers may use a drop-down list in the title to determine which story list is displayed at any given time.

On the left is the current schedule, featuring the next five scheduled weeks. There may (and likely are) be more weeks scheduled, but only the next five will be shown.

Stories in the schedule are color-coded as follows:
Yellow means the story is either being read or is coming up soon to be read. I will highlight stories when I am one week away from beginning them.

Green means the story has been read and a review written.

Black means the reading/reviewing of this story has been delayed for some reason. These are uncommon but may lead to a blog being postponed.

New blogs are scheduled on Saturdays, adding to the set schedule. I will always have at least five scheduled and on display. However, the actual amount scheduled is based upon how many I need to fill in five weeks of reading material in the Reading Schedule. Sometimes this leads to a lot more than five weeks being scheduled behind the scenes due to an abundance of short stories.

Reading Schedule
Built in concert with the Review Schedule, the Reading Schedule tells me when I should be reading what stories in order to keep up with the reviews (or, in reverse, tell me when it's okay to schedule more than the mandatory five weeks of reviews). The exact number of stories read is dependent upon my wordcount limit, which is 30,000 words/day for most weeks (see exceptions below). I may read more or less depending upon the size of the individual stories that need to be read.

Upon opening it, the first thing you see is the day-to-day reading requirements set upon myself. This is an easy way to see exactly what I'm reading on any given day. Only the next five weeks are shown, including the current one. Stories are color-coded based upon the week they are due. You can determine this by checking the Thursday of any given week, which will be colored to match. This opening tab is automated based upon the Data tab, explained below.

Data
The Data tab tells the same information as the Reading Schedule, but is more in-depth. Intended for my personal use, it includes what stories/chapters I need to read on a given day and their wordcounts. The design is meant to let me control how much I read on any given day so that I don't overwhelm myself. Only the first six weeks will have been scheduled at any given time, but the exact time length of the schedule is dependent upon when reviews are due. So for example, if I'm currently reading stories that are due for review June 14, but it's currently March 14 the schedule will stretch out until it hits that due date, even though only five weeks have been set up with wordcounts and chapters. This tells me exactly how far ahead I am in my schedule, and thus lets me plan breaks and the like more effectively.

Each block of information (story, chapter, wordcount) is color-coded. Segments colored dark green have been read already. Any other colors indicate the coming week in which that story is scheduled to be reviewed; check the Thursday of any given week to find its corresponding color. The first day of the week will also be colored if it is a special week type (explained below).

The last thing to note about this tab is the 'Long Term Schedule', which can be found by scrolling all the way to the right side of the page. I use this to schedule any story that is longer than 70k words. I developed this method upon realizing that scheduling big stories as they come tended to leave me overloaded and unable to keep up, so now I space them out over long periods to predetermine when they will be read and released. This often means that big stories will show up later than originally intended (sometimes much later), but it's a small price to pay to guarantee weekly reviews.

Wordcounts

The third tab is the 'wordcounts' tab, which I use as a means of controlling exactly how many words go into each day. Without this I'd have a lot more trouble making sure I don't overload any given day with material. That's really all it is used for, and likely won't mean much to the casual viewer... unless they just want to see how many words I'm reading on a given day.

Reading Schedule: Week Types
There are four different week 'types', which are color coded (check the Sunday of a given week to determine the type). The most common is white and is a regular reading week with a 30,000 words/day maximum, or 210,000/week.

Pink weeks are 'Vacation' weeks; on these weeks, no reading is done whatsoever and the entire week is painted black. These occur roughly once every 9 weeks, not counting break weeks. Even I need a break every now and then!

Black weeks are 'Workaholic' weeks that increase my maximum wordcount to 40,000/day, or 280,000/week. These are meant to be for catching up when a series of big stories start threatening my review schedule. If a black week is scheduled but not needed, I'll likely stick to the regular maximum.

Dark Red weeks are 'Bibliophile' weeks. These extreme weeks double the maximum wordcount to 60,000/day, or 420,000/week. Like the black weeks, I'll only go that far if I deem it necessary to keep up or take some pressure off my schedule. They also are great for taking big chunks out of those ridiculously long stories that sometimes pop up. *coughProjectHorizonshack*

Break Weeks are white, just like regular weeks, but occur every 7 weeks. These can be readily identified by checking if the Thursday of the week; if it is not color-coded, then it's a break week.


Review Categories

The reviews are currently divided into categories described below. If any of the categories are emptied, the extra opening will be filled in by one of the others based on my own discretion.

To Read List / RiL
These are stories that I placed into my To Read list for later consumption. There's no process to this; if I see a story that looks interesting, it goes here. These stories are always read in the order they are entered into the RiL. This is by far my largest list, so anything new that goes into it can expect to wait a LONG time. Even reading 2-3 RiL stories a week, new entries are likely to be waiting more than a year.

Note that there are only ever 100 stories in the spreadsheet's RiL list at any given time. It would be too much of a hassle for me to go into the spreadsheet and update every time a story catches my attention, so I don't bother. Instead, every time a new week is scheduled, I update the spreadsheet's list then. Those of you wanting a look at the real list can check my "To Read Later" bookshelf, which is public.

This list is stymied by a 'Only One Per Author' rule, which dictates that no author can be in the RiL more than once. This is largely an attempt to keep the RiL from exploding into an even greater size than it already is, but it also serves to keep my reviews spread out and not focus on any one author. That said, it is not uncommon for an author to appear on the others lists at the same time as this one.

Requests
Stories that have been requested by other authors. I read two of these every week. See the rules for requests above.

Sequels/Completed
Two stories reviewed from this list every week. It holds two story types. First, any story that is the sequel/prequel/side story to another that I liked will go here for fast-tracking. This is largely to ensure I don't forget the important bits of the prior story by the time I get to its companion.

Second, this is also the home of completed stories. Sometimes I'll see a story that looks interesting but is incomplete. As a general rule I avoid reviewing incomplete stories, so I'll track them and wait for their completion. Once a tracked story is completed, it goes here for fast-tracking. Naturally, a lot of big wordcount stories tend to end up here as a result.

Recommendations
This list was originally created to fill a quota from a group I once took part in. Since the group has effectively died, this is no longer necessary and I no longer accept general recommendations. However, as a member of Seattle's Angels, I will sometimes add to this list stories that I have been obligated to read by that group so that it can get a longer, more in-depth review later.

Known Authors
The newest list, this one includes stories written by authors I have already reviewed at least once. After reading any story by any author from any of the other lists I will, assuming I enjoyed what I read, find another story by that author and add it to this list. This was created for two reasons: one, to try to keep control over the size of my RiL, and second, to better police the 'no two stories by one author' rule. Essentially, if an author has a story in this list, that author can't appear in the RiL.

Author Scoring

A while ago, I started implementing a means of scoring authors based upon how their stories landed in my bookshelves. This was originally planned as a process for selecting followers, but it ended up being far too stringent and difficult (and there were some people who just deserved the attention). So I changed it! Author Scoring is no longer about getting me to follow you; I'll do that on my own if I think you've earned it. Instead, it is now a system for authors to make certain milestones. Follow the link above to see the Author Scoring spreadsheet, which includes a list of stories with their rankings and a list of authors with their scoring calculations/placement.

But don't think it'll be easy! With the aid of a certain blue pegasus, I've conjured up a set of five ranks for authors that are selected based upon how well they score over time. The points are accumulated by bookshelf:

Why Haven't You Read These Yet? = 4 Points
Pretty Good = 2 Points
Worth It = 1 Point
Needs Work = 0 Points
None = -1 Point

For every story of yours I review, it will receive one of the above ranks and the points that go with it. Ranks are determined as follows:

Anyone who has yet to achieve a rank at all gets a None ranking. Nothing to see here, folks.

The first ranking is Cool. You can earn this ranking if I've read at least 3 of your stories and you managed an average score of 1.9.

The second ranking is 20% Cooler. You earn this ranking if I've read at least 5 of your stories and you've maintained an average score of 1.9. This used to be the requirement for earning my follow, and it is much harder to achieve.

The third tier is Awesome!. This score can only be earned if I've read at least 8 of your stories but you've managed to maintain an average score of 1.9. Good luck.

The last tier ā€“ the epic scale which permits you to lord over all others ā€“ is the RAINBOOM rank. To get this epic rank, I need to have read at least 10 of your stories and you need to have managed at least a 2.1 average score. So not only do you have to somehow get me to read a lot of your stories, but you must also land at least one story in the rarely granted WHYRTY? bookshelf. As of this time, only three people have achieved this rank.

Comments ( 581 )
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2659685
Neat, any advice helps. I'm looking forward to it!

2659680
You can find out specifically what you need to take into consideration for people like me when you read the review on the 8th. :twilightsmile:

Thanks for scoring my story. My apologies that you didn't enjoy it, I'll even agree that its not one of the best things I've ever made, but I'll definitely take this into consideration for future works of mine. :twilightsmile:

2658912
Glad to hear from a fan! No weapons in Bulletproof Heart were based on anything in the real world, and on purpose. There are some commenters who have speculated on real-world possibilities based on certain similarities, but any such similarities are purely coincidental.

Bit of a random question. In Bulletproof Heart, were Silver Lining and Ruby Heart based on any specific, real-world firearms? Just a curious gun nerd who loved the story asking :twilightsmile:.

  • Viewing 577 - 581 of 581
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