Decided to poke around my old favorites and found the stamp again, but I have a new experience to share. When I faved the stamp, I had not been a member of QuoteV.
QuoteV is probably worse with this than DA. So many people there have OC review books, but they spew much of the same old shallow BS. I've seriously seen people say "Mary-Sue age!" when a character's sixteen. I've also seen butt-length hair as a Mary-Sue trait. They also get annoyed at characters (for fan fiction) who join a group, and that group just so happens to be a popular group other people with their OCs join, and this counts against this character. A hilarious thing I saw in the Writing group is the thread title that said something like "Detailed Character Reviews Up to 200 Words." (How sparse are these character sheets that it takes only 200 words to review it?) It's the same ridiculous BS as everywhere, but I say it's worse on QuoteV because of the sheer number of these books, and it feels like people are settling for bad reviews. (Or they believe these bad reviews are actually good reviews.)
After looking through fifty pages of searching for these books, there have only been two that seem at least reasonable. The one I really want a review from has been very busy with school, so I don't mind waiting. The other was
They didn't point out anything petty, and said my character wasn't a Gary-Stu and all, but it wasn't really an in-depth review. It seems that writing reactions after some parts of of the character sheet is the most popular way to review characters, which I don't mind, but the "reactions" are usually one or two-liners, and they're purely reactionary. No real critique or advice or friendly suggestions.
Unless they're telling you to "fix it" or "get rid of it," which they don't suggest how, or they just plainly refuse to reconsider their views even after a discussion.
For shiz and giggs I chose a fairly popular OC review book with the same BS being spouted around, just to see what they would say (and maybe change their views a little). That experience just absolutely baffles me and reinforces the reasons why I scrutinize character review books (especially when scores or the phrase "Mary-Sue" is involved).
First, they didn't understand that private character sheets that I use—and I would think is like most other people—are not as detailed as the character sheets I type for online reviews. Usually for fan fiction I just have the name, appearance, and rough history and I'm good to go (no hobbies, personality, goals, motivations, etc. because that's easy stuff to remember or make up as you go), but if I want the character to be reviewed, I know I need to put down a ton more information so they actually know the character short of reading the story. It's like editing your own story, even the obvious is missed, so I miss some details that may be needed because while it may be clear to me due to knowing the character myself, it wouldn't be clear to other people who don't. So, yes, missing information is indeed my bad, but there's no need to give me attitude through the review on an otherwise completed character sheet.
Another thing I hate is when the reviewer guesses. "Let me guess, this is going to happen." And then when their guess is proven right, they say, "Called it," as if a little predictability is a bad thing. That is not in the least bit constructive, and is condescending.
Here's the confusing part, though: I was extraordinarily detailed in the appearance and the clothing. I described him so well you can sketch a mugshot of him with technical speak kind of description, and even the shape of his hands and feet. I described different outfits he tends to like in casual outdoor, casual indoor, semi-formal and formal (plus his superhero outfit). So it's no wonder that I got a 10/10 under "Appearance." I got an 8/10 under "Personality," which she said is really good and extremely balanced, but could always use improvement, but the reason it was docked two points was because he has PTSD, which leads me to the next score which really gets my goat.
A 1/10 in the backstory. Why? Because of sexual abuse, plus PTSD, plus self-harming. Three things that tend to go hand in hand for a ton of people is overdoing it. They made it sound like if I had stopped at sexual abuse, then the character may have been redeemable, PTSD is really, really, pushing it, but self-harming is an absolute no-no. They also complained that that the backstory was all sad. Fair enough, but I just wanted to focus on how the abuse started, and why the abuse changed him and played an integral part to how he became the person he is at the start of the story. So sorry if I didn't mention any family barbecues or holidays or hanging out with his friends or camping trips or whatever. I bullet-pointed the history because I just wanted to get to the important parts, and his abuse was central to his metamorphosis from an average kid to how he gained powers. And even then it was pretty darn long. As if that wasn't annoying enough, the character was for Teen Titans, and an abusive or sad history is pretty common in the characters that become heroes. Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne, Deadpool (I guess?), and a ton more superheroes from any universe. The really sad part is that even with all the details in everything else, they didn't trust me to do research on these subjects so I don't misrepresent or romanticize it, and lumped me with "those" people even though reviews are supposed to be individualized to only that one person's work.
The Overall Character score was a 4/10 because even though I was super detailed in the personality and appearance, the backstory was just so unforgivable, the person didn't even know how to average out the score.
As for the extra tips, they put "FIX THE BACKGROUND!" yes, in caps lock. And what they meant by "fix," they mean "get rid of." Everything. Sexual abuse, PTSD, and self-harming.
It gets worse.
I placed a respectful comment asking for them to reconsider. I explained to them that the abuse was the reason how and why he became a hero, and I said that I didn't see how it was fair to penalize my character review for other people who've done the misrepresenting and romanticizing of sexual abuse. I told them I would add onto the character sheet to add the extra information that was needed, because it was needed (but the sass wasn't). I also asked if the Overall Character score was a separate score or an average of the three other categories.
The OC review book had two reviewers, and the main author was not the one who reviewed it, but she was honest in that she thought worse of it; however if I did add in the information, she said they would reconsider and revise their review. I did add the information and even added links to sources to grooming, signs of sexual abuse, pedophiles, PTSD, self-harming and self-mutilation, and even several sources on Navajo country because the character was Navajo (and yet neither of them asked me if I knew anything about being a Navajo and what it's like to live there and all). No one usually adds links to anything unless it's a picture of their character, so me adding links to my sources is really going the extra mile. OK, an extra mile of the five extra miles I had already put into the character sheet because it's really detailed.
I waited three weeks even though she said only a few days. Only one thing changed.
The Overall Score. From a 4 to a 6.3. Which is the average of the Appearance, Personality and Backstory scores, which stayed exactly the same word for word. I know because I had screenshot everything before and after, including my comment along with their response.
This experience is my fuel to write my next how-to guide, which is between a guide on how to spot a good OC reviewer from the atrocious, and a rant because I'm quite passionate and I don't think other people should have to go through all of that