1. The second prompt is revealed! (Q2 2018)

    "Breaking into Snape's office in the middle of the night was a risky move at the best of times..."

    Deadline is June 18th, also known as the 22nd Anniversary of a seriously sad day—a tremendously black day for anyone.

    As with before you can check out the new thread discussing scoring, rules, and other such matters in the in the Story Competitions forum.

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How do you score a fic?

Discussion in 'FanFic Discussion' started by CareOtters, May 17, 2018.

  1. CareOtters

    CareOtters Minister of Magic DLP Supporter

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    I've noticed that a lot of different people use different metrics here. I'm curious to know what the process anyone else has for choosing how many stars to rate a fanfic: from the good old "5-stars, good & 1-star, everything else", to the classic "everything is 3 stars, my favourite colour is beige", how do you do it?

    My process is pretty regular.


    1 star - little to no familiarity with the rules of English spelling, grammar, or syntax. I refuse to read these out of principle and a fear that dyslexia is contagious

    2 star - likely some errors with the writing, but legible. This bracket is defined by an inability to write in-character, poor plot, and worst of all, bad taste. This is where we find stories that ONLY exist as fanfiction, as opposed to being stories which just so happen to be fanfiction. 90% of fanfiction lies here.

    3 star - possibly errors, but not sufficient to impair my enjoyment of the fic. Probably some good ideas, but not executed well, or good writing without any plot to back it up. 90% of the library lies here.

    4 star - possibly errors, but only minor. Genuinely enjoyable plot with fun moments, interesting ideas, which engages me throughout. Almost always 100k+ Either consistent with canon or deviates into an internally consistent AU which adds more to the base experience.

    5 star - errors must be actively looked for. Would recommend to anyone who has an interest in that fandom. Great plot, characters consistent and with engaging interactions.
     
  2. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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  3. Anarchy

    Anarchy Fourth Champion DLP Supporter

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    1 - Awful. Plot is shit and the author doesn't know how to write coherently. First chapter is usually nothing but crazy cliches and random plot twists, such as Hadrian Potter-Black-Gryffindor's parents secretly being Death Eaters and he has a super special wand with dementor blood despite being able to cast wandless killing curses by the age of 8.
    2 - Bad. Author unintentionally relies heavily on dead cliches. Usually not an ounce of originality in the fic, and if there is, it's often drowned out by the overall shittiness of the fic. Involves things like "Ice Queen", Ron foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of Slytherins, unrepentant Dumbledore bashing, Harems.
    3 - Average. Unfortunately, average in the HP world is still not really readable. Writing can be technically sound and there can be a coherent plot, but it still lacks a hook or any reason to even read. Often times, the pairing is the main selling point of this type of fic. Lots of rehashes fall under here, as well as fics that were almost good and tried to be super ambitious (like a Long Journey Home) but ultimately fail in execution.
    4 - Good. Fic has minimal mistakes and has a clear and concise plot progression, distinct characters, and a world that feels like a world. Has everything you want from a fic, sometimes more. May contain random out of place nonsense that distracts you from the main body of the fic, but is ultimately an enjoyable read.
    5 - Great. Original plot, or executes and idea flawlessly. Has the perfect blend of drama, action and adventure. Has you by the edge of your chair, and you find it hard to put down. When it's over, it leaves you yearning for more. There's only a handful of these stories written per year if we're lucky.
     
  4. Palindrome

    Palindrome A bigger, darker mark Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Oh man, that brings back memories! For a long time, I used to think that Kinsfire was just a synonym for shit...
     
  5. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    I don't know about you guys, but I usually go to the local dealer, Big Stan.
     
  6. Stealthy

    Stealthy Fifth Year

    Joined:
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    149
    1 - Reading this gave me physical pain. Kill it with fire. If somebody recced a 1/5 fic then I'm never listening to their opinion again.

    2 - If I made it through, it's probably because it's short enough that it's hard not to. Complete waste of my time, as the writer is all things amateur. If somebody recommends this I will argue against it.

    3 - Eh, okay. If there are some good things, or even really good things, then they're washed out by the mediocrity or headache of the rest of the story. I don't regret wasting my time on this, but there are better things I could've done with it. Guilty pleasures lie here. Only would recommend if it fits a particular niche that somebody's looking for, with a disclaimer that it's nothing special, or if there's just a dearth of good shit in the fandom.

    4 - There's certainly some flaws and I have some complaints, but overall this was definitely worth the time I spent on this. For amateur writing, it's pretty good. Actively following this, and with pleasure. Unless there's something here you specifically don't like or want, I'll toss in a recommendation.

    5 - Must read for the fandom/genre. Original and creative, excellent execution, and I eagerly await every update to come. Will certainly re-read at some point, and is a go-to rec.


    I have a bad tendency to trend towards 3, but overall this is kindof a vague guideline. All about enjoyment, more than anything.
     
  7. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. DLP Gold Supporter

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    1 - This should not even be considered a story, or English. Would not recommend to anyone, under any circumstances, ever.

    2 - No good ideas in it. Utter waste of time, but at least technically readable.

    3 - Has flaws that cannot be ignored (either technical writing mistakes, dragging the story on too long, stupid ideas, failure in execution, etc.). Has a few good ideas in it that drives you to read more when desperate, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless they wanted to scratch a specific itch. YMMV. These are the disappointments and the could-have-been good.

    4 - Minimal mistakes in technical writing and a plot that makes sense. Not perfect, there are definite flaws which detracted from my reading experience, but I won't hate you for recommending it to me. Enjoyable read, would recommend to anyone familiar with the fandom.

    5 - I would pay good money to read this story. Leaves me wanting more at the end of it. Flaws must be looked for and what's there is easily outweighed by the rest of the work. Story is a good read, even for someone unfamiliar with the fandom.
     
  8. BieberGrl96

    BieberGrl96 Fourth Year

    Joined:
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    How do I score a fic? Well, there’s a lot of this: “definitely not a 4 or 5... but it has more promise than xyz, which I gave a 3, so... I guess, yeah, a 4 feels about right.”

    DLP’s spoiled me. It’s been possibly never since I last saw a fic riddled with Evanescence lyrics and bold mid-text A/Ns put up for review. If that did happen, I’d feel bad painting them and the less obviously awful fics under the same 1-Star brush. But since it doesn't, I don’t.

    If a story gets my blood pressure up in a bad way, it’s getting a 1/5.

    I don’t give fics higher ratings for being technically well-written, having consistent internal logic, decent characterization, etc. — these are prerequisites. Stories get points for being good, not for being not bad. That being said I’m very much a lenient reviewer. My bar is pretty damn low. The more compelling the story, the higher I rate, and I’m easily entertained. I don't knock off points for grammar either unless it is truly appalling. Good betas are the finest of luxuries. I’d rather the author spend 10 hours writing another chapter instead of squinting for minor slips and tweaking syntax for the thousandth time. So even if I spot some wonky sentences in 5-star bait I’ll still slap it an unrepentant 5/5 regardless.


    1-Star = Actively hate it.
    2-Star = Didn’t keep my interest.
    3-Star = Like it.
    4-Star = Respectable. An all-around good fic.
    5-Star = Gets that implacable something right. When you finish reading it, the world around feels oddly muted. Your heart hurts a little. And months later when your own writing gets stuck this is one of the fics you pull up in order to relearn what a sentence is.


    Sort of unrelated, but I like the idea of only being able to rate a thread on submission of a review. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed, but there’s this practice of 1-bombing or 5-bombing story threads to skew ratings. Like if an up-for-review fic is hovering under 3.5 stars, and someone believes it deserves to be in the library, they’ll give it 5 stars to push it over the threshold, even if they don’t think it’s 5 star quality. Then other users submit/re-submit ratings to shove the score back down/up. It seems kind of trivial to fuss over, but if a story is good enough to convince someone to put it in for review, the author likely spent an appreciable amount of time and effort on it; fics can only be submitted once, they can’t be removed from the library, so even though we’re DLP and this our library and we can do whatever we want, out of basic decency I feel like we have something of an obligation to give their story a fair rating and not play games with it. Something to think on at least
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  9. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I mean, honestly, it is.
     
  10. Andrela

    Andrela Plot Bunny DLP Supporter

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    Either I like it or I don't.

    If I like it, 5 stars.

    If I don't like it, I don't rate it at all.

    I only 1-Star stories that offend me in some big way, but that's rare.
     
  11. Thaumologist

    Thaumologist Chief Warlock

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    1 = Bad. The story is boring, the writing is terrible, and I am actively disliking reading it. Almost certainly not going to rate, because I'm not going to read it.
    2 = Dull. I might not dislike reading it, but I'm not going to go back to it.
    3 = Good, but has issues. Maybe the spelling isn't great, or maybe the writing lacks sparkle. I tend to enjoy this and upwards. Or it might be something I don't think should be in the library, but is otherwise good - that story where James was an Olympic swimmer.
    4 = Good. If I've enjoyed the fic and nothing jumps out as good or bad, it gets a four.
    5 = I actively look forward to reading this, and quite possible didn't sleep so I could finish it. Spelling, storyline, and technique is all excellent. If it's a humourous story, I actually laughed. Or gasped at the reveal in a mystery.


    Generally, I default to a 4 for stories I've enjoyed. If there's any issues, then I might devolve it to a 3, or if it is truly excellent then upwards to a 5. But if I've read the whole thing, and there's nothing major, then it's generally getting a 4.

    I can read something that I've rated a 3 and not dislike any of it. But at the same time, notice some obvious room for improvement.

    I have noticed in previous reviews I often end swinging around 3.5 or 4.5 - for something that's really good but lots of minor errors, or something that's just got that one inexcusable error (but everything else is perfect).

    I like the idea, but I think it would probably push reviewing even further down. I like that we can now see who has voted on a thread, but maybe the option to see what people have actually rated it?
     
  12. Hymsicality

    Hymsicality Second Year

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    1 Star- Offends me on some visceral level.
    2 Stars- Starts off okay as a guilty pleasure before descending into unreadable.
    3 Stars- Bang Average, read once if I have a craving, never read again and forget everything in a few weeks.
    4 Stars- Technically Strong and emotionally resonant to some degree. Good enough to not feel fucking ashamed of myself for reading fanfiction rather than rather than choosing from my backlog of novels.
    5 Stars- So good I can recall the names of them at a moments notice.
     
  13. Zombie

    Zombie John Waynes Teeth Prestige DLP Supporter

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    That's kind of useless. Especially when the goal is to inform others of your opinion and why your opinion is such. If it offends you, tell us why it offends you.
     
  14. LinguaManiac

    LinguaManiac Third Year

    Joined:
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    0
    1. I didn't read past the first sentence or paragraph at most.

    2. I didn't read past the first paragraph, or chapter at most.

    3. Fine (which with writing means bad) and I skip large parts of it, or it's a fairly wooden, poorly plotted guilty pleasure.

    4. Good. Perhaps with some errors but it's otherwise publishable (except the whole copyright thing).

    5. Fantastic. Not just of publishable or near-publishable quality but with interesting ideas besides. There's often something exceptional in the writing as well.

    I generally separate the five stars into two categories, or put some stories here outside the rating system entirely, like "Forging of the Sword" or "What You Leave Behind".
     
  15. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Professor DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    So I used to, very similarly to the above, have a general 1 - 5 scale, but over the years of reading reviews I've come to most value those reviews that factorise and assess well and want to replicate that.

    Nowadays, I assess in three major domains, based on what makes me care about the story: prose, characters and world building, plot.

    Each of these forms its own 1-5 to me and then I get a mean from that.

    Most of the time if I read a story, even a good one, I'll enjoy it and then glide away like a fart in the night to the next tab. It's not best practice but sue me, I'm a lazy fuck.

    If I'm reviewing it's either because it's exceptionally good and underrated, or my opinion goes against the grain: everyone thinks something's shit and I think it's great, or vice versa.

    If I'm going to the effort of a review then I want it to be understood well and for the person who reads it to understand my priorities and be able to see how they gel with their own and how applicable the opinion is. I think scoring the domains you assess by individually achieves this.
     
  16. Xepheria

    Xepheria The Benefactor

    Joined:
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    High Score:
    0
    I work off an 'enjoyment scale, generally something along these lines:

    1 - Not worth opening. Probably dropped this before finishing the first chapter. Anything that is an active waste of the English language.
    2 - Not worth reading. Gave it a shot, perhaps it looked alright at first, but ultimately dropped it.
    3 - 50/50 whether I dropped it or not. Has its pros, but brought down by noticeable and obvious cons. Nothing to write home about.
    4 - Enjoyed it, but has flaws that stop it reaching the highest tier
    5 - Stories that I will recommend, and actively look forward to updates. Often thought provoking, and plays well to its themes.

    I'll also generally shift around my ratings based on fandoms - what might be a 3.5 in HP may become a 4 in a fandom generally starved for good fics like RWBY. I get desperate. Sue me.
     
  17. Mal'sSerenity

    Mal'sSerenity First Year

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    1 makes me want to claw my eyes out. It's terrible and the author should feel terrible.
    2 is bad but does have a few good points to it. This is where I put the wasted potential fics at.
    3 is acceptable and something that I kind of enjoy but it still has plenty of flaws. This is where I put Almost Recommended at.
    4 is good and where I put Library material at. It does still have some flaws, but they are forgivable and don't detract from enjoying the story.
    5 is awesome and I will probably lose sleep to keep reading it. This is professional level writing and story-telling and could be published as its own book if it wasn't a fanfiction.