This week’s question: What is your method for writing reviews – do you write immediately after reading, wait a few days, or write as you are reading? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)
How I write my reviews
Writing book reviews, especially when I’m writing several a month can feel daunting. I’ve found a system for how I write book reviews that usually works for me. I create an outline then flesh it out.
Each time I start a new book, I create a new note on my phone with the book’s:
- Pub date
Then as I read I keep notes about the basic plot, main characters, thoughts about the writing style and storyline.
Read other reviews
I always read other reviews about the book both professional/trade like Publisher’s Weekly and Book Pages as well as reviews on retail sites, Goodreads, NetGalley, and Edelweiss. Doing so gives me a different and wider perspective.
Likes and dislikes
Once I finish the book, I think about things like the plot, tone, voice, and characterization in the book. Did I like them or not.
Genre and tropes
I look at the genre and subgenre and think about the conventions of those types of books. Did the author meet my expectations? Like if it’s a mystery, does the reader find out who did it, and does it make sense within the confines of the story?
Then I make a list of the tropes in the book. Are they skillfully done? Did the other flip any on their heads like a meet-disaster instead of a meet-cute?
Putting it together
I sort through my notes, then write my review in Google Docs, fleshing out my outline. I include a summary, what I liked, and my rating based on five stars.
When I write the summary, I make sure that I don’t include spoilers.
Writing in Google Docs means I can easily copy and paste to Goodreads, retail sites, and my Bookstagram account.
Other things to add
- I let readers know if the book is part of a series.
- If possible, I suggest other authors or titles that readers might enjoy.
- If necessary, I include content warnings.
I use an outline to structure my review, then flesh it out once I finish the book.
It’s not perfect but it usually works for me.
If I get stuck, this NoveList guide to genres usually sparks some inspiration.