Welcome to #BookBlogWriMo day thirteen! Today’s prompt is about our review process, or how we review books. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into detail about this before, so this will be new information. I’m actually trying out a new reviewing system, so it’s in the experimental phase at the moment, but I’ll talk about it anyway.
Step 1: Take Notes
The first step of my personal reviewing process is to read a book (obviously). While reading, I almost always take notes about the book for my review. I don’t trust myself to remember everything I’d like to talk about, so taking notes is a bit of a safety blanket xD But, taking notes can also hold me back from reading, because I feel the need to write full on, grammatically correct sentences about the book in my drafting phase (which is the note-taking phase), rather than short phrases. I’m definitely working on breaking this habit.
For example, yesterday I finished reading In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (which was amazing, by the way, and if you haven’t read this series, I don’t know what you’re doing with your time!), and I pulled out my notebook that I’ll be using for review notes. Then, I sectioned off a few pages for where I’d talk about certain characters. I used another section to talk about general thoughts about happenings in the book, and then I used another section for favorite quotes. This is a more organized way of note-taking, rather than the way I used to take my notes, which was in chronological order.
Now, instead of writing, “I was really impressed with Ruby’s character development throughout the series,” I would write, “impressed w/ character development” under the “Ruby” section. That way, I could cut down the time it took to write basically the same thing, but still feel secure in knowing that I’d know what to translate that to when it came time to start writing the actual review.
Step 2: Step Away From The Book
With my old reviewing process, I would finish a book and then immediately start the review, letting my feels spill out onto the keyboard. While this isn’t a bad thing, it isn’t always a good thing, either. By writing my reviews right after finishing the book, I feel like my opinions were biased. If I loved a book (or thought I loved it), I would do nothing but rave about it (see Allegiant review). If I didn’t love a book, I wouldn’t exactly be positive about it (though I do try!).
By stepping away from the book and my notes for at least a day, I’m allowing my feels and fangirl-y emotions to settle down, so I can form opinions that are semi-decent xD
This is the procedure I’m following for In The Afterlight, so I’ll probably start writing the actual review today. But in this case, my thoughts about ITA haven’t changed one bit.
Step 3: Pull Out Your Laptop, It’s Review Time
We’ve now reached step 3 of my reviewing process, which is when I start crafting the review. This is when I sift through my notes and decide what I do and do not want to include in the final review (I’m not too big on editing… *sheepish grin*). This can take a while if my notes are extensive. Just take my Clockwork Princess review. I think it took me five months before I actually started going through my notes, because there was so much I’d written! It can definitely get overwhelming to the point where you don’t even want to see your notes.
Just like the notes I took, I will section off certain places in my post to talk about the characters, etc. This is when I’ll also (obviously) start making the phrases in my notes actual sentences. For example, in my notes for In The Afterlight, I wrote under my Ruby section, “changed so much since TDM,” which I can easily translate to: “Ruby’s character transformed immensely since The Darkest Minds.” It’s like magic!
(I’m totally using that example sentence in my review… *coughs*)
Step 4: Rate The Book
Rating the book used to be something I’d do right after finishing a book. I’m trying not to do that because, like I said, I like to let my feels settle down before proceeding. I feel like this step ties in with step 3. I do sometimes try to gauge what I’d rate the book I’m reading as I’m reading it. I’m not going to get into too much detail about how I rate my reads, because that’s something I’m saving for tomorrow’s post :D But I will tell you that my ratings are solely “gut feelings.” I usually feel a “pull” to a certain rating, if that makes any sense.
Step 5: My Review Just Went Live!
After rating the book, I “edit” my post (lol, not really… I rarely edit anything… that sounded unprofessional, wow xD), tag it, and send it off into the World Wide Web for you to read!
My reviews tend to be on the longer side, and I’ve tried to cut down, but I have too much to say. I think the reviews are more for my benefit, just so I can get my feelings out of my head and somewhere else… if I don’t do that, I’ll never sleep at night!
My reviews are also almost always spoilery, so I really think that they’re more aimed at people who’ve already read the book in question. I am trying to start something new where I put a small “non-spoilery” section in the beginning of my review, so I can try to reach everyone :D
And then… rinse and repeat!
That’s all for my reviewing process. How do you review books? Are your rituals anything similar to mine? Or nowhere close? Let me know, and leave me links!