Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF #18 - Writing Reviews 101

Friday, December 2, 2011 with 3 comments

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads!  In this weekly feature, Ginger poses a question to her followers and then asks everyone to link up at the end of the post, sharing their responses.

This Friday's Question:

Writing Reviews 101: What's your process for writing book reviews? Any tips or suggestions you would recommend to other bloggers?

For me, it mostly boils down to taking notes.  Good notes.  Not like the ones I took in high school.  While I'm reading, I keep my trusty spiral-bound notebook and my favorite blue pen next to me so that I can record any great quotes, any memorable moments, or even any random, barely-coherent thoughts.

After the reading is done, I tend to immediately start preparing the review in my head.  It may not make it to the computer for awhile, but it's swirling around in my head until that time.  And it's probably changed a hundred times before all is said and done.  Which is why my first piece of advice -- and I'm aiming this at myself, too, because it's a huge issue for me -- is to write down every single thought I have about the book.  Because all too often, by the time I do get around to typing up the review, I've forgotten half of the awesome things I came up with to say about the book.

Some people like to stew over a book before they write a review.  Others like to get the review done while the book is still fresh on their minds.  I'd like to say I'm part of that second group, but more often than not, I start reading another book instead of writing my review.  This is because I go through serious withdrawal after finishing a book.  However, this poses a problem for me because then I'm so immersed in the new story that I don't want to stop reading it in order to write the review for the book I just read.  Also, I forget things easily these days and I have been known to start confusing which characters go with which books if they're not my most recent reads.  And this is where my advice to take concise and thorough notes really kicks in.  If I didn't have my notes, it's likely I'd never get a review done.  And if you know me at all, you know I'm already ten reviews behind because of my affinity to get over my PBS (post book syndrome).

So, pretty much my advice is to a) take good notes and b) review a book as soon as you're done reading it so that its novelty hasn't worn off yet.  I know there's more I can and probably should say on this matter, but those two tidbits are the most important for me.  Probably nothing you haven't heard before, but honestly, I don't think there's a right or wrong way to review a book.  I mean, even adding spoilery details is okay, as long as you properly identify the spoilery material for those who haven't yet read the book.  As long as you write about how the book made you feel while you were reading it and you don't completely bash an author or their book, I think you're good to go.


  1. Love seeing your process. I definitely have to write down my thoughts soon after reading a book, and then think about it for a day, write down more thoughts, all before I start the next book. That's probably why I don't get through more than 2 books a week.

  2. I definitely agree when it comes to taking down notes. I'm trying and definitely learning to be more organized about my book blog and reviewing books; taking notes is part of my list of new things to implement :)

  3. I also wish I wrote more of my reviews quickly after finishing a book. But I don't. I'm the world's worst procrastinator. Luckily, I don't usually have trouble remembering details, and I do jot down some notes. While I like to think about a book for a while before I review it, I also wish that I had the discipline to keep my blog posts scheduled a few weeks in advance.


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