To Read or To Write…Maybe Both?

Almost a year ago when I was visiting my sister in Georgia we started to talk about our blogs.  She has a wonderful website (cyncesplace.com) with valuable content for her core audience, homeschooling mothers.  I asked her about my blog and how I could keep it fresh and interesting to my readers.  I originally began my blog as a way to share the stories and poems I’d written but since I wasn’t writing nearly enough, my blog wasn’t being updated regularly.  I then decided to write book reviews since I’m an avid reader.  This helped to keep my blog updated but again, I felt my blog needed more.  My sister gave the helpful suggestion that I should write about my book reviewing process.  She said it might help those who want to start or have a blog about book reviews.  I thought it might even help those who need to write up a brief report for school.  So here I go with my first article about writing a book review for your blog.

How many times have you read a book and gushed about the story to someone?  If you are a reader I’m sure you have done this numerous times.  Did you know when telling someone about a book you’ve read you are actually giving a verbal book review?  Now writing one is really no different…it’s your time to share your views on the book you just read, and this time you don’t have to worry about being interrupted.

Anyone can write a review, but the hard part is to write one with the purpose of clearly relaying your perspective of the book to the reader without giving away the book’s ending; after all, if the ending is revealed what is the use of reading the book?

The best way to begin your review is to know what you want to accomplish.  If you have a clear idea of what you want to share, then your review will stay on track and the reader will benefit from your review.    For example, when I write my reviews I want to share with the reader the following points:

  1. A personal introduction of why I picked this book to read.
  2. A brief synopsis of the book.
  3. What I liked or disliked about the story.
  4. My recommendations on the people I think might be interested in reading this story.
  5. Any extra information I’d like to share with the reader such as the artwork, the author, or if the book was made into a movie, etc.

After you know what you want to share in your review, it’s time to write it.  That’s the hardest part to accomplish, but don’t fear the blank page…instead look at your review plan and begin with #1.  It might take several tries before you feel you have expressed yourself the way you want and that’s okay.  There’s a reason your keyboard comes with a delete/backspace button.  The important part is to get your thoughts written down.  Believe me; I’ve used the delete button numerous times when writing my reviews.

Once you finished that first paragraph continue down the path to #2, and so forth.  Before you know it, you will have completed all steps and your review will be finished.  Now step back, give a happy sigh, and…no wait, don’t hit that post button just yet.  There’s still one more step you need to take and that’s proofing your review.  After writing it and using that delete button, well, sometimes your sentences get kind of mixed together and a word is left here and there that shouldn’t be there.  So that means you need to re-read your entire review.

During this time you probably will find areas you aren’t pleased with.  If you do,  take the time to rewrite those parts and then continue on with your proofing.  Fix what needs to be fixed and then read your review again.  This will ensure you find everything that needs to be fixed – including the areas you rewrote when proofing the first time.  Sometimes it’s best to proof the second time at a later date, like an hour or two after your first read over.  This will allow you to see your work fresh and will help you in discovering those typos.

Another helpful hint in proofing your review is to read what you have written out loud.  I’ve found this to be very helpful in finding errors in my writing, plus it helps in finding those rough edges when your words aren’t flowing as smoothly as they should.  If you can’t read it aloud without stopping to reread a sentence or two then it’s best to rewrite those sentences until they flow easily off your tongue.  If you can say it easily, you can read it easily.

Once you’ve looked over the whole review and are happy with what you have read, then “Congratulations”, you are ready to post your review!

This article was written as a brief overview on how to write a book review.  I hope it was helpful to you.  If so, please come back for more helpful hints.  I plan on elaborating more about the five points mentioned in the above article.

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