Do you have trouble writing reviews? Are the meh-ones the hardest? Or maybe the bad ones? Are you doubting the way you write reviews? Maybe you sometimes forget characters’ names or certain events / topics you wanted to mention? Or, better yet, you simply forget to review a certain book until way too late?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, my answer is simply: We’ve all been there! You’re not alone!
A little while ago, Marie posted about how reviews can differ depending on the person writing them. This had me leaving a huge comment on said post and got me thinking about sharing it with all of you guys.
We all know it can be a struggle to write a review – it doesn’t even matter whether it’s a good, glowing, meh, or simply ranting one. Sure, some reviews are written pretty easily, depending on how you feel about it, but other books can be a real challenge. I’ve often found myself tongue-tied and unable to write down my thoughts in a coherent way. I still do sometimes, but it’s gotten a lot better since I found my perfect review-writing process.
As Marie mentioned, there definitely are a lot of ways to go about it. Some people write their reviews immediately after reading, others use sticky-notes so they can go back to what they tagged and write their review that way. Others simply wait until they feel like writing their review – and then sometimes struggle remembering little things or even character names. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Since a couple of months, though, that doesn’t really happen to me anymore. Like, I said, I found the way that works best for me. It all started when I had this one aspect in my mind that I wanted to mention. I decided to immediately start a draft and type it down. A bit further in the book, I thought of a specific sentence I wanted to incorporate in my review and went back to my draft. It didn’t take me long to get into the habit of doing that and I often found myself with a pretty much finished review even before finishing the book. Editing aside of course.
This worked perfectly for me since I got to mention small things I would’ve forgotten about otherwise – not to mention character names! I was also able to compare my feelings throughout the book to my thoughts after finishing it, which often led me to conclude things I wouldn’t have realized otherwise.
Recently I’ve changed my process by not typing out everything, but simply using a draft to put my thoughts in bullet points. This can be as short as:
- World-building: could’ve been better [lots of questions]
- Character X got on my nerves; actions are understandable
- Mention of [insert triggers]
- Loved it when character Y did … because…
This pretty much gives me the basis I need to write my entire review, deleting the bullet points I’ve covered so far and putting them in the order that feels right to me.
Apart from that, I also use sticky notes to tag quotes I love, scenes that pulled my heartstrings in some way or munches. Most of the time I actually have multiple munches-options so I can decide at the end of a novel which one I’m going with or is most realistic for me to make / bake / get a picture of. I always take out the latter sticky notes because those don’t really have any meaning other than review-purposes, haha.
Before I discovered this is the way it works best for me, I tried a lot of different things. Immediately writing the review after finishing a book, jotting down notes in a notebook when I thought of something, only writing the review a couple of days after finishing the book and so on. They worked to some extent, but I still felt like I was missing something. It fit me, but not perfectly? It’s hard to explain really.
Let’s just say I’m glad I discovered the bullet point-way!
What’s your reviewing process like? Do you switch formats according to the book you’re reviewing? How many different reviewing ways have you tried out in the past? Which ones?
Let’s talk reviewing styles!