When writing a review there is certain criteria to follow. Some criteria can span Movies, TV, Gaming, and Books.
I’ve read a few books that I couldn’t put down (the first 5 Harry Potter books you had to pry out of my hands) and sped my way through because I loved the book so much. This is a treat for any reader, and it’s true for reviewers too. I love to lose myself in a story, (some of my favorites for this are The Janet Evanovich Plum series, Yasmine Galenorn’s Otherworld series and J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series) I usually gather my thoughts when I close the book. What was it that captured my attention? Was it the characters, the story line, the topic, or the author’s voice? What techniques did the author use? Why would I recommend this book?
With stories like this, I often go back and re-read the book at a later time.
Here I will help you to write better reviews or give you ideas to make some of yours a little different.
You need to give a
- short plot summary
- what it was you did Like
- and did not like about what you are reviewing be it products, movie, tv show, or book etc.
- Stats= The specific information needed about the item being reviewed
Movies = Genre, running time, Rating, starring Actors, What format you watched it on (DVD, Streamed or Blu ray or TV)
TV= Title, starring actors, Day, time* & Station it’s on. Type of Show (Animated, Procedural, sitcom)
*Make note if you are Pacific, Eastern, Central or Mountain time
Books= Number Of Pages Take note of the title, cover, back of the book blurb, story summary in the flap, the table of contents, the introduction, a page or two of the first chapter, and the back pages worksheets, etc., usually seen more often in nonfiction books; fiction books may include list of characters or story maps. Readers may go through these steps before deciding on buying a book.
As a reviewer, it’s helpful to understand the overall theme (you’ll decide later whether the author stays within the ‘promise’ of the book).
Products= What the Product is, Manufacturer, Model type, What the product is supposed to do, maybe a video/commercial of it, and an amazon link & website to it. (Maybe even some instructions how to use it)
Depending on what site you write your review on may have a bit of a limit of so many characters or words, (always write up in a word file first just in case) or you may have to meet a minimum quota of words/ characters on the site. One way or another sometimes an outline helps, but don’t always follow it as readers will notice this general form you are writing in and likely no longer pay attention. You need to change up information when it feels natural
every book has a target audience.
Can you categorize every interest or subject in the world?
What may fascinate me may not even make your take-a-glance list and vice-versa.
Some Dos and Don’ts
-don’t trash published author’s work with personal attacks or their books. readers exist who will love the work.
Your job is to read a book objectively, give your opinion, and connect stories with readers
-Your job is to make an objective evaluation of the writing and think about what type of reader will enjoy the book.
– I give my honest opinion on anything I review Always include what you do or don’t like even if it’s the author’s storytelling abilities.
-mention technical problems, like slow pacing, confusing characters, a too simple plot, uninteresting main character, and similar features that are important for the reader to know.
– I always have my journal and a pen at hand to jot notes while I’m reading, or watching something. Usually, I keep notes important names, places, dates, or quotes. I try to read at all times, in the bathroom, waiting rooms, if I take public transportation or even if it’s in the car for a family trip.
– never give away the ending/mystery etc
- Sticky Notes Are Your Friends
If you want to save a few pages to visit later, stick a Post-It note on the page.
Notes are great if you have multiple pages to refer to (and especially if you hate dog-earred books). Flip through your notes when you write the review
This is what I try cover in my reviews
(this basically covers everything)
Some give the star treatment a rating of 1 through 5 stars 1 being worst and 5 being best; while others just use a number system for an overall grade, which works pretty much the same as the stars.
There are those that use the letter system for an overall grade like they did in school; F being a fail & A+ being the best. If you think about both the letter and the Star system are the same. 1* = F 2= D 3= average 4 = B & 5 = A Someone a long time ago had told me about their criteria for their review how they do it and told me I could make use of it,if I’d like and use it to add to my own.
This is an amalgamation of both of our criteria so that you can use it or some parts in a review and other parts in a different one.
————- THE REVIEW —————
(studio for movie or tv)
Format TV Streaming DVD Blu-ray and if you want you could make note
if you Own or rented what you are reviewing. (If You like it enough you can note you would like to add a copy to your video library.
|Major Fiction Genres||Major Non-fiction Genres|
|Major genres are categories found in libraries, book stores, and online catalogs so readers can find selections.|
|Children’s||Biography / Memoir|
|General||Miscellaneous / Genera|
|Mystery||Cooking / Food|
Plot outline (try to limit to 3-5 lines)
include the characters/ stars & co-stars if you feel the need (or you can add the title’s IMDB.com or Goodreads.com page
Write about what you DID like about the movie/show/book/product
Then what you didn’t
What was your favorite part (definitely include especially if different your favorite funny part)
a Favorite Quote?
Is it an Adaptation from Book to Movie or film to TV Please be sure to note that as well if you have read or watched the other.
Note the differences and if you like them or not
What do you like about the new version
What is t that you don’t?
Do you agree with the casting,and anyone you may have preferred instead
The Questions to ask
How would you describe the author’s style? Is it formal or informal?
Are you turning pages because you can’t wait to see what happens next?
Does the author miss important points? What mysteries did not get solved? What questions didn’t get answered?
Who is the ideal reader for this book? Is it written appropriately for its targeted audience?
Think about the genre, story’s characters, conflict, results, plots, and pacing.
How will I remember all that information?
Tips for Fiction Book Reviews
Are the characters believable and fleshed-out?
Is the storyline interesting and believable? Believability applies to all genres, even in the made-up worlds of fantasy, where readers still need to believe the story.
For historical novels, does the book stay within the time period?
For biographies and memoirs, does the narrative sound true? What is the importance of the person’s biography? Is it to retell their life, share an experience, or help others?
Is the storyline based on plot? Does the plot progress on the characters’ actions?
Describe subplots; mention twists. Don’t give away the surprises or story ending.
Nonfiction Book Reviews
Nonfiction book reviews need some additional information. While you’re reading, consider these points to write in your review.
What is the author’s experience with the topic?
Is the book an overview of a problem? Does it give readers a practical way to solve a problem?
What resources are included?
How are chapters written? Short and easy-to-understand? Long with personal examples?
Would the reader be able to follow the author’s advice?
Is the book written to be a resource, workbook, or beginner’s guide
Originality: 5/5 Length: 5/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 5/5 Cast/acting Set-up/ Execution
Depth/ Range /Emotion
Quality (rise or decline)
Would you recommend this to someone? as well as How Best to see/buy in theater, buy, rent (or borrow) wait for a sale or tv
Overall grade Letter/number/or stars
—-I will add to this as I think of anything else —-
Again Please remember not to use the same outline to review anything, it sounds generic when you do. You want it to be heartfelt, that way others will know if they want to go ahead and see, read or buy what you have reviewed.
Here’s something else that will be Helpful for what I may not have thought to put here
WRITE YOUR REVIEW!
facts: title of the book, subtitle, author’s name, publisher, ISBN, publishing date, format reviewed, genre, target audience, and special things to note (such as author or illustrator awards; warnings on explicit language or scenes that may disturb readers).
Review length depends on the publishing site. A general rule is to aim towards 350 – 500 words, though word count varies depending on the publishing site. Children’s books could be even shorter; you wouldn’t write a 350-word review on a 36-page story.
Write a first draft with your first impressions. Focus on the list mentioned previously.
Some reviewers start with a summary, then follow with their opinion. Other reviewers reverse that order; some combine summary with their opinion. In other words, develop your own style, but include the book’s storyline or premise and include your opinion.
End with your recommendation: Would you recommend this book to others? What type of reader would enjoy the book?
After tweaking your writing, take a break. Go back with fresh eyes after a few days then edit and proofread your work, and write finishing touches.
For more help let me know you can also order this book from amazon
The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
he book explains how to write a book review, avoid mistakes of newbie reviewers, and how to publish your reviews. You’ll learn how book reviews affect sales, book stores and more. If you’re a seasoned reviewer, you’ll also love the resources and in-depth analysis.
It’s not often that a book can be a guide to both beginners and advanced writers.
This book will guide newbie and advanced reviewers on the technical how-to’s on reviewing, as well as the importance of reviews within the publishing industry.
Authors, book reviews, reviews, contest books, and discussions. (My reviews are published on MyShelf.com.)
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