As book bloggers, the way we write reviews changes over time. I remember when I first started writing book reviews back when I joined Goodreads and, at most, they’d be a few sentences long. But then, as I got more experienced and figured out what I truly like and don’t like in the books that I read, my reviews gradually got better, bit by bit, until they became what they are today.
I still don’t think that my reviews are very good…to be honest, I’m frequently embarrassed by them, wondering if my opinion is “right” or if what I say even matters — especially if I have an unpopular opinion compared to other bloggers or people on Goodreads. I’m starting to get better at this, though. I try to convince myself that I don’t need to care about whether people agree with me or not…it’s more important just to be honest and go with my gut.
If anything, my reviews are more for myself than other people anyway. I’m always surprised when people read and comment on my reviews! It’s definitely awesome when people let me know that they appreciate them or agree with me, but I actually find it kind of cathartic to get my thoughts about a book down on “paper.” I’d probably be doing it no matter what! Plus, sometimes it’s nice to go back and read old ones (although sometimes it’s really really not, depending on how old they are, haha!).
But what I really want to talk about today is review style. I’ve never really had a certain way that I reviewed a book. But lately it’s happened a few times where, after I’m all done with my review and it’s posted, I’ll read other people’s reviews and something that they’ve said reminded me that I really meant to mention a certain aspect of the book, but I totally spaced out about it!
Sometimes I get so caught up in commenting on one specific part of a book that it’s easy for me to forget other things that I should be talking about as well. I’ve never gone back and fixed it when that’s happened, because part of me feels like that’s almost plagiarism, but it’s annoying when I know that I wanted to share my opinion about something, but now that review (there are quite of few of them ) is lacking because of my forgetfulness.
So I decided that I would make a little list for myself so that I would always remember to mention each thing that I want to touch on! On a little sticky note next to my computer, I have a list of elements that I can follow along with when I’m typing up a review:
- Overview of the book & introduction to the review
- What I loved about the book
- Main characters
- Background characters
- Writing style
- My emotional connection to the book
- Things I didn’t like
- Wrap-up and closure of the review
I don’t always do it in this exact order, and I don’t always mention each and every thing on the list, but that’s basically what my reviews have started to look like. And I’m really liking it!
Sometimes I struggle to put my thoughts into words, especially if I really enjoyed a book, so this list has made it easier for me to keep organized and write everything down, instead of just being a big jumble of emotions that I can’t quite wrangle into sentences.
I don’t think that I’ll ever be an amazing book reviewer…and I’m not really sure that’s my goal…but, at least for now, this system is working for me, and I’m loving how much better my reviews seem to be coming out 🙂
What about you…do you have a certain review style? Do you talk about things in a certain order? Do you have any sort of charts or organizational tools you use when you write your reviews?