Let’s Talk About … My Review Writing Process + A Few Other Methods

Header - Fiona.JPGOne of the many beauties of the book blogging community, is the wonderful diversity of the individuals who make up this body. I’m not solely referring to the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of reviewers, but rather, their unique poise and writing style. Of course, it’s always intriguing to observe how certain reviewers assess the accuracy of an author’s use of representation, but it’s even more profound to view the distinctness of each and every reviewer. What I personally consider to be the most evident difference between book reviewers, is the style in which they compose reviews. The length, manner, and elements discussed are wholly up to the writer, and it’s lovely witnessing how reviews for a single book can vary so immensely. As a blogger, my writing style has evolved over the years, and will likely continue to do so indefinitely. Nonetheless, I thought it might be helpful for me to share my personal review writing process.

Section dividerWhat Books Do I Review And When?

Writing reviews is a very particular and private process for an individual; or, at least it is in my case. I strive to review every book I read, and am proud to say that I am typically successful with achieving this goal. The only factors that could cripple my compulsion to write a lengthy review, would be if I did not finish a book, or if I put off writing the review for so long that I’ve forgotten a great deal about the story. In my head, this feel quite fair, because I don’t think it would be too appropriate for me to bestow a rating on a novel if I’m not wholly familiar with all its aspects. As for when I write reviews … in a perfect universe, I would write a review the moment after I finished reading a book. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and I am by no means, a perfect reviewer. Despite how I’ve fallen into better reviewing habits lately, I often wait a week or two before I jot down my thoughts in a mostly coherent manner. Because I don’t set a specific time to write reviews, I will usually draft out a short paragraph with a vague summary of my thoughts of the book and post it to Goodreads.

Section dividerHow Do I Organize My Reviews?

Although the length of my reviews always vary, I often write reviews that are between three-five paragraphs, and will include an introduction and conclusion paragraph – the Verdict – that summarizes my overall take on the book, and whether or not I would recommend it. No two reviews are the same, but the most recurring elements I bring up in my reviews are the characters, themes, and world building. A part of my reviews that is a bit unorthodox, is how I don’t summarize the plot. I include the novel’s synopsis from Goodreads, but aside from that, I don’t spend much time repeating the information about what the story is about. Instead, I choose to single out the elements that I believe are worth mentioning. By adopting this method, I can easily inform readers about how I felt about the book without spoiling any significant plot points. If I do choose to discuss the events of the story, I will do so in a vague manner. In my introduction and conclusion paragraphs I tend to mostly explain how I personally connected to the story and related to the characters. This is done in a subjective manner, whereas the body paragraphs are usually written from an objective perspective.

Section dividerOther Styles Of Writing Reviews

I have tried so many different styles for writing reviews, that it’s honestly comedic. If you’re short on inspiration or still trying to figure out what your niche is, perhaps you’ll like one of these styles!

  • What You Liked/Disliked
    • Separate your review into two sections, and list all the elements and facts about the story that you loved and didn’t love into the appropriate categories.
  • Bullet Point Reviews
    • Short on time? No need to break a sweat! Bullet point reviews are a fast, effective way to show readers how you felt about a book without having to dive into wordy descriptions. Keep it short and sweet, and be sure to include what you believe are the most important story elements.
    • Personal connections to the story can also be shown here! Don’t feel restricted by the bullet points to only include technical aspects!
  • Separate by Story Elements
    • You can divide your review into paragraphs that each show your opinion about certain aspects of the story.
    • i.e. Characters, Plot, Writing, World Building, etc.
  • Mini Reviews
    • If you can’t seem to elaborate your thoughts about a story, consider doing a mini review – typically one-two paragraphs.
    • You can compile these into a Mini Review segment, and list reviews for several novels at once.
  • Including Images, Quotes, & GIFs
    • A photograph, a few quotes, or a couple GIFs is a lovely way to spice up your review. They can add a pop of excitement or intrigue to your review, and are quite fun to include!

Section divider

Thanks for reading, dolls! What is your review writing process like? What factors do you look at when you write reviews? Are there any styles of review writing you want to try? Let me know in the comments!kelly (3).pngInstagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Bloglovin



47 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About … My Review Writing Process + A Few Other Methods

  1. I used to review almost every single book I read, but over the last year or two I haven’t been. I am hoping next year to get back into reviewing more books. I’ve been sticking to mostly just ARCs are super new releases. I think that’s awesome that you’ve been successful with achieving that goal! I usually write up a quick draft in my notes app on my phone if I can’t get to a review right away. Love your review style tips at the end. I definitely want to try different styles, especially when I don’t have a whole lot of time to write reviews or if I don’t always have a lot to say about a particular book. Great post, Kelly!


  2. I think my reviews are kind of random… Like you, i don’t summarize the plot, because it’s already included in the blurb.
    Sometimes i pick up on characters and talk about them, other times about how i felt about the book, and it might not have anything to do with the plot and it turns into some unrelated ramblings 😀
    But that’s kind of how i tell about the books to my friends as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post so muchhhh!!!!! I’ve been blogging for probably a year and I’m still not v confident with writing actual reviews XD I love tags and wrap-ups but with reviews themselves I take 10000000 years to actually produce coherent content???? But I’m going to follow this post as my guide from now onnnnn c: c: THANK YOU KELLLYYY. ily

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post, Kelly! It’s so funny because everyone does have different reviewing styles for the most part. I feel like mine are super casual and I usually only talk about the things that stood out to me (whether good or bad points) but I know some people’s reviews tend toward the more regimented.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I keep a journal where I write a review of a book I read the moment I finish reading! It’s funny how when I really really love a book, I have just about nothing to say about it except WOW, and when I don’t like a book, I complain about it for five pages.

    Anyway, another lovely post! It’s really nice to know a little more about your reviewing process!

    Also, I tagged you for this: https://audreywritesabroad.com/2018/09/15/my-book-in-gifs-tag/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve tried out a few of these methods as well! In a perfect world, I would be able to stick to one style, but I find different books provoke different responses so I have to consider how much I think I ought to share. It’s always a battle for me to be as concise and selective in details as possible.

    I could write extremely lengthy reviews with every single thought I have about a book, but I know no one would want to read that! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am AWFUL at keeping on top of my reviews. It’s one of the main features of my blog, so I try and keep on top of them. Like you, I review every single book that I read. Once I’ve read the book, I’ll make a few bullet points on a scrap piece of paper or my phone about the things I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy whilst it’s all in my head. It could be 2 months before I get around to that review, but when I do, I know that I’ve got that page of bullet points to keep my brain fresh as to what the book is about!

    Great post as always!


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely post, Kelly! I do have the same process as you do, I thiink. I usually write a small paragraph over on goodreads, but I tend to wait a week or two, depending on the time I have, to properly sit down to write an actual review haha. I wish I could write reviews right away,but…. well, I clearly suck at that haha 🙂 I also don’t summarize the book in my review, because I feel like the synopsis is here for that and I am not a fan of the reviews that take a long, long time to sum up everything happening, either. I also love writing bullet point reviews because they’re so much fun 😀 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marie! I have yet to do bullet point reviews, but I love the idea of them! And I’m not a huge fan of super lengthy reviews that sum up the whole book either. I’m too lazy to write them, much less, read them! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like to focus reviews around whatever most stuck out to me about the book. It makes the writing process more interesting for me, and I hope it helps the reviews sound a bit different from each other.

    I’ve had some internships evaluating manuscripts for literary agents, and I find it harder to fill out a form that asks me about voice, dialogue, plot, characterization, etc. as all separate points because sometimes the points overlap and I’m just like “as I send before…” and sometimes nothing struck me and I’m just like “I guess the dialogue is natural because I didn’t really think much of it while reading; it kind of just blended in…” Which is just to say that I think it’s cool when other bloggers have forms with different categories, but I personally find them restrictive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to focus my reviews on what stuck out to me as well. Following a strict regiment to discuss each individual aspect is difficult for me at times, because sometimes I can’t find anything worth mentioning! Hahaha


  10. I love bullet points in reviews where the reviewer talks about what they liked and not liked in the book. Paragraphs sometimes might seem too tedious. It’s easy to make up your mind about whether to read that book or not if you have all the points right in front of you lol.
    I haven’t been book blogging for a long time so my review style is always changing, too. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post! It’s so true that book bloggers all have different styles for their reviews and that’s so interesting to see! I also love the different “types” of reviews you mentioned. I’ve been thinking lately to start writing mini reviews so that I can still write reviews even when I don’t have the time to write too much! I also always love images and gifs in blog posts 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love this post! I’m still trying to figure out my reviewing style, but right now I guess what I do is closest to the “Separate by Story Elements” method. But before I write my reviews online, all my very first thoughts and impressions of any book I read go in a notebook–a habit I started over two years ago. The reviews in there are messy and unorganized and pretty much just a jumble of thoughts and feelings and are pretty personal, and I use them as a basis to create slightly more formal, cohesive reviews for my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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