the Little Red Reviewer

Follow this one weird trick to write book reviews!

Posted on: May 8, 2017

Fellow bloggers and book reviewers, have you ever said to yourself

“uggh, I have no idea how to review this book!”

or

“I need to review this book, but I have zero motivation to get started on writing the review!”

To those of you who are book lovers but haven’t taken the plunge into blogging or semi-serious reviewing, have you ever wondered what the secret is to writing a review, and writing them consistently?

One simple trick is the answer to all of the above.

You ready for it?

I can only give you this answer if you promise to do the following:

let me know if you’ve ever done something similar and if it has worked for you

if this has worked for you, makes sure all your friends know about this one weird trick so it can help them too.

Because from time to time, we’ve all struggled with writing reviews.

 

Are you ready?

 

are you sure you’re ready?

The one simple trick to writing a book review is to interview yourself about the book.

Don’t bother asking yourself “Did I like this book? What did I like about it?” because you obviously liked it enough to read it and to consider telling other people about your experience. Also? If you knew the answers to those questions you’d be halfway to writing your book review.

You’re interviewing yourself, so ask yourself some easy, medium, and hard questions. Here are bunch of examples:

  • Who was my favorite character? Why was I invested in this person’s story?
  • How long did it take me to get interested in the story? Was there some kind of opening hook that grabbed me, was it a slow burn, or something else?
  • Did a scene make me laugh? Why are funny scenes / funny books so much fun to read?
  • What is the author’s writing style like? Lots of dialog? Lots of infodumping? Lyrical sentences? Did the writing style work for the story the author was telling? Single POV? Multiple POVs? Flashbacks? Do I like this style?
  • What was the pace of the story? Fast? Slow? Did the pace work for this particular story?
  • Lots of action? No action? If lots of action scenes, were they written in a compelling manner?
  • How long did it take me to read the book? (if it takes you 2 weeks to read a 200 page book, either you are super busy or the book didn’t really keep your attention)
  • Did I enjoy spending time with these characters?

That was easy, right? All you had to do was write down a handful of questions (not ALL of those example questions, obviously! But certainly a few of them) and maybe think about them for a few minutes.

Ok, now the hard(ish) part:

Answer the questions.

The answers are your review.

And viola! You’ve got the pieces of a book review. Move the sentences around until you like them, maybe write an intro and/or a conclusion, and you’re done!

 

with this one weird trick, you’ll never struggle with writing a review again!

 

Oh, your problem is procrastination?  sorry, can’t help you there.

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23 Responses to "Follow this one weird trick to write book reviews!"

I use a similar method to deal with writer’s block.

If I’m stuck making words, I ask myself in writing “why can’t I write this?” and answer in writing. When I try to weasel out of answering, I ask myself why I’m trying to get out of answering.

Eventually my brain spits out the real problem. I solve the real problem and proceed.

Liked by 2 people

I have literally interviewed myself in a book review before. Well, interviewed and insulted myself but same thing.

But really, that is good advice. And the best post title ever

Liked by 4 people

This is a great suggestion! I don’t often have trouble writing reviews, once I sit down and start writing, but some books are definitely harder than others. I do find my reviews start to sound the same after a while and this is a good way to add some new questions to the mix.

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You make it sound so easy….

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now if i could only cure my procrastination problem!

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Are you sure you’ve got no tips for my procrastination problem? None at all?

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only one that comes to mind is down a half a pot of coffee, unplug your modem and turn your phone off. at least that will take care of 99% of the distractions?

but yeah, if you have a master tip for fixing procrastination, I sure would love to know it!

Liked by 1 person

Personally, I’m the other way around. Too much stimulation makes me not want to sit down and concentrate on writing a review. If anything, a little alcohol can help, to encourage the ruminatory mood.

The difficulty is finding the point where I’m subdued enough to be willing to sit and write on one topic for a while and not just go browsing forums or something, but at the same time not so tired that I don’t have the energy for it and just want to watch TV or something…

Liked by 2 people

Bookmarking this! Some books I know exactly what I want to rave/rant about, but occasionally there will be a few where my mind just goes blank as I sit down to write a review. These Qs are helpful to get me started 🙂

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I hear that gargling with bleach and diet mt dew also does the trick *wink*

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I think this sort of approach would just confuse me! It seems to be putting the really difficult questions (what’s your favourite character? what is the writing style like?) ahead of the easy ones (did you like it? why?), and would send me chasing down all these little details till I was overwhelmed…

Personally, my reviewing mostly works by asking two questions: what didn’t I like about the book? and if people saw what I didn’t like and took that as a reason not to read it, why would I be disappointed? This can sometimes involve things like writing styles and characters and whatnot, but until I’ve written the review I don’t know what things are relevent – I don’t know which ‘questions’ to ask in an ‘interview’, in other words, until I know what the answers are.

I think maybe you’re just a lot more intellectual in your approach than me… this may be why my reviews end up as sprawling streams of consciousness rather than neat and tidy reviews…

Liked by 1 person

i have certainly written many streams of consciousness reviews. Those are actually my preferred way to write them.

But your method involves asking yourself questions too. and even better, you’ve already found the specific questions that work for you: what didn’t you like? And would you be disappointed if others didn’t read the book? To me, those are very hard questions to answer!

everyone’s mileage may vary.

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Well, I’m very good at not liking things, I’ll admit – it comes naturally to me. Most of my reviews, I have to consciously curtail the grumbling… and then, I’m always disappointed if I think someone isn’t going to read a book, but it can be hard to explain why exactly.
[I don’t think I normally literally ask myself questions – I’m not really a, to coin a phrase, bivocal thinker, I think by lecturing rather than by questioning. But those questions are an attempt to sum up the direction of my thought process in reviewing, I think.]

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Love it! I was having trouble writing a review today – on American Gods! I love that book and yet I couldn’t figure out where to start and how to keep from being all rambly gushy incoherent nonsense. I think I will try this approach.

Liked by 1 person

oh I love that book so much!! very hard to write a review of a book that is such solid awesomesauce! i’m pretty sure my review was just gushy incoherent nonsense.

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This is great. And, please, for the love of all things holy (or otherwise) if you find the cure for procrastination will you please share it – obviously patent it first because you’ll be a millionaire – but please share. I will pay you 😀
I’ve seen a couple of reviews that actually did an interview – I think Lisa might have been one a few years ago – and I thought it was a great idea at the time. Of course I immediately forgot all about it because my memory is likely a leaky boat but having a sort of checklist like this is so helpful. Most of my reviews are seat of the pants and providing I write them directly after reading I have no problem. But, as is currently the case, once I get behind with reviews they feel much more difficult to write, like sluggishly wading through treacle. I think these questions would definitely act as a prompt.
Ta missus 😀

Liked by 1 person

This is fun and also REALLY GOOD ADVICE. 🙂

Liked by 2 people

This is so useful! As I have just started reviewing this is going to be very helpful to me with regards to people getting the most out of my reviews. Thank you so much 🙂

Liked by 1 person

I don’t write a review unless I have something to say about the book or film in question. By which I mean, whether it exposed me to a new idea or made me think about a provocative question. I never write about what it’s “about” either. That sort of thing is widely available. In fact, for a film, I link to Rotten Tomatoes so the reader can go there for a synopsis if they need that. And I always try to step back and take a broad view of the work. I imagine it as a painting. Even though it might be 500 pages, I try to ask myself “what was my overall impression here?” “what emotions did this evoke in me?” or “what did I get out of this that wasn’t directly related to plot?”

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the reviews I enjoy most are the ones where the reviewer is talking about their impressions, and what they felt when they watched/read it. Those types of reviews also give a deeper sense of the reviewers personality and what types of things they have an emotional response to.

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Some great thoughts, and not just for reviewing. I think you can use your ‘trick’ in any kind of writing.. Just start something.

As for’ Oh, your problem is procrastination? sorry, can’t help you there.’ Brutal, but I love it!

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Books, just do it.

Liked by 2 people

Really good tips! I’ll start doing this!

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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