This is a current topic of discussion on several of the writer boards that I frequent. I personally do quite a bit of review and critique work for other writers. So much so in the past that I had to cut back on it quite a bit. I was spending all my free time looking at the work of others and none on my own. Some people ask how do you do a good review or a good edit or a good critique. Everyone has different ways that they do it. I have several rules that I follow. These are not hard and fast rules for all people, but my own rules that I have set for myself.
1. Remember that you are reviewing someone’s hard work. It means something to them, and their heart is involved.
2. Don’t only focus on the bad stuff. There has to be good in there somewhere. Make sure to touch on it as well. Point it out.
3. Keep it constructive. Always.
4. Be honest, but not hurtful. If you hate the story, instead of saying that, say what they could do to make it better.
5. Remember that it is not your story. You might have done it differently, but you didn’t write it. Stick with the edit and the critique.
6. If you aren’t sure about a change make sure to state that you aren’t or even better look it up.
That’s about it, the basics anyway. Are there any other rules you use that aren’t on my list? Do you want something in particular when you ask for a review or a critique?