I want to start by saying that this is not a post about the ‘right’ or ‘best’ reviewing style, it’s about how everyone has a different style when it comes to writing reviews. I have been meaning to talk about this for a while because I have tried multiple reviewing styles in the time I have been blogging, but I still haven’t found MY reviewing style, the one that’s right for me. That’s why I wanted to discuss it with you guys, to see what you thought about it.
When I talk about reviewing style I’m talking about several things:
1) The type of review
There’s so many different types of reviews, you can review books by making a list of reasons to read a book, a list of likes and dislikes or pros and cons, a long text or a short text, a review with different sections, a bullet point list, you can make reviews so many differents ways. None is better than other, it’s a matter of personal preference.
This first item on the list is the one that’s more independent, because the next few items are closely interconnected with each other. Still, it’s a very important part of the review! Here are some examples of the types of reviews that I have written since I became a blogger:
List of Likes and Dislikes: The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Reason to Read: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Review with Different Section: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Long Text: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
2) The review focuses on your experience with a book in a implicit or explicit way.
When you are sharing your opinions about a book, it’s clear that those opinions are related to your experience reading the books, but you can choose how much of your experience makes it to your review. By experience I mean everything from how you felt ot what you thought while reading, stories about why you decided to read a book or about why a book is relatable to you and other things like that.
When you talk about a book, your experience reading that book can be implicit, for example, ‘the characters were well developed’ or ‘the pace was off’, even when you don’t say it your opinion is based on your experience while reading the book. Other times, when you talk about a book, your experience can be explicit, for example, ‘I waited to read this book until the series was completed because I’m always scared that the last book in a series will suck’.
This point is the one I have the most trouble with when I’m writing my reviews. Sometimes I feel like the experience can overtake the review and it can push the book to a second place. I feel when this happens the review ends up not being that helpful to someone deciding whether to read a book or not. At the same time, I love reading reviews when people manage to drop little bits of their experience in the review.
Examples on my reviews:
The experience is explicit: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
The experience is implicit: When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez
3) You use first person or you don’t.
This is related to what I was talking about in point 2, if your review is focused on your experience with the book, then you tend to use first person and if it isn’t focused so much on your experience, you tend to not use first person.
What I have noticed is that most people, when they are writing a review, tend to write in first person; they say things like I think, I feel, I thought, I felt (This different use of verb tenses is adressed in the next point).
Examples on my reviews:
Example of using first person: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Example of not using first person: Review of God Smites by Ishara Deen
4) The verb tenses you use to write your review
Mainly, people use past or present tense when they are writing their reviews. The decision of which tense to use is related to the second point in this list, because when people focus their review on the experience they had while reding the book they tend to say ‘the book was great’. Instead, when the review is more focused on the book as a things that exists and not a things that one has already experienced they tend to use present tense, for example, ‘the books is great’. Nonetheless, this is not always the case!
Examples on my reviews:
Present tense: If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Past tense: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
My reviewing Style
How I used to write reviews: almost always there were lists of some type, especially lists of likes and dislikes; my experience while reading the book was always explicitly present in my reviews; I wrote in first person and past tense.
How I’m writing my reviews now: I have been writing just text and not other types of reviews; my experience while reading the book is always implicit; I don’t write in first person and I write in present tense. I made this change because I wasn’t happy with the way I was writing reviews, but even when I feel like my reviews are better written lately, I feel like I have less fun writing them. I think my experience while reading the book needs to be explicit more often.
What I want to try next: I want to mix up the way I write reviews again and try to find the reviewing style that suits me. But I want to know your opinions first. Tell me about your reviewing style! Do you write in first person or don’t? What types of reviews do you write? Do you write in present tense or past tense? Do you make your experiences while reading the book explicit or not? I would love to know all your opinions and comments about this!
This got really long. If you read it all, thank you! If you read a part of it, thank you too!
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