Alise’s Certified Book Review Writing Process

November 19, 2015 Discussion, Tutorial 46


Step One: Prepare to read Le Book.

I get out a notebook and Le Book of my choosing, ready to write down notes about what happens in Le Book and how I feel about it as I read. I will also have some sticky notes ready to put on quotes I like. This is good because I have an exceptionally bad memory and will help me remember the book and have stuff to write about instead of just staring at an empty post.

Step Two: Disregard all preparations made in last step.

I probably forgot to take notes because of said bad memory. I really do bring this on myself.


Step Three: Finish Le Book, Begin Writing Review

I have yet again screwed myself over because I either a) forgot to take notes b) was too lazy to take notes or c) have lost the notes. All are equally possible.

Probably have to reread the blurb to remember the main character’s name and also in hope it will all come flooding back to me. It won’t. Stop trying.

Step Four: What Are Words?

Stares at post for a good fifteen minutes.

Stares at wall for another good fifteen minutes.

Goes on Tumblr.


Step Five: Try To Lure Words Out Of Brain

Wonders if people notice that I use the same words all the time.

Looks up synonyms.

Loses train of thought in middle of sentence, is lost forever.

Step Six: Finishing Touches

It’s been two hours.

Spend time debating on whether or not to bold things and if so, which things. Do people just read the bold things? Sometimes I’ll just read the bold things. Am I a terrible person?

Step Seven: Redirection

Decides to abruptly write discussion post about review writing instead of writing a review.

How do you write your reviews?
Do you find it to be a tedious process?
Any review writing tips?


46 Responses to “Alise’s Certified Book Review Writing Process”

  1. Mara @ Mara Was Here

    I’m practically laughing right now from this post, lol! (Which is actually really sad because I can relate to this 100%)

    I usually remember to take notes, though, except when I’m reading from a physical book because I’d hate to stop reading and take a piece of paper to write the I want to remember or something (I’ll cry if I fold even an inch from my books). After I finish the book, I write whatever’s on my mind for my book review and stuff I noted in the book before I forget everything and hope for the best (which only takes me around 5 hours. The forgetting part, I mean. I hate my memory.)

    Sigh, the sad part of being a bookworm that writes book reviews…
    Mara @ Mara Was Here recently posted…The Story Of Awkward: Where I’ve Learned That Being Awkward Is Good

    • Alise

      Ahaha, glad you liked it!

      When I’m on my ipad it’s easier to take notes, agreed. Tell me about it, it sucks. Why, brain, WHYYYY

  2. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    I have only tip – do not lose your notes LOL ;) But seriously, if I didn’t take notes while I read, there is no chance that I would remember what I wanted to said about this or that book.
    And I like writing reviews. Especially about books that I have strong negative or positive feelings for. I hate writing reviews for mediocre books… If I have nothing to say, I just write sentence or two on Goodreads about it and forget about post full review on my blog. It is very freeing!
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…4 Reasons Why To Read HELLO? by Liza Wiemer

    • Alise

      Easier said than done ;)

      I wish I could have that mentality haha, I like reviews but the process of writing them is meh for me haha. That’s a good point, I’ve done that too!

    • Alise

      Teach me your ways! I’m the exact opposite, I can bang out an essay for class in less than three hours but reviews-NOPE.

  3. Sara L.

    Ha ha ha, it’s OK, Alise. ;) My problem with writing book reviews is knowing when to stop writing sometimes. Especially if I really enjoyed a book, my natural inclination is to go ON AND ON AND ON about why I did. But I try to limit myself to 2 or 3 paragraphs (I gave up doing long reviews earlier this year to allow more time for other blog posts), and for the most part it seems to work.

    I don’t take notes, but I use the Status “tool” on Goodreads to record reactions to what I’ve just read. Having that “record” helps me remember what to include in the review when the time comes to write it. Maybe that might help?
    Sara L. recently posted…Now Open for Guest Posting!

    • Alise

      So you have the exact opposite problem, switch with me? Haha. I wish I could find that much to write about, it takes me forever to even make a few sentences.

      Oh, that’s a good tip, I’ll have to try that!

    • Alise

      I do the quick notes thing right after I read a book too and it helped at first but now I’m having the same problem where I can’t take those little notes and make them into sentences. The struggle is real haha

  4. Terri M., the Director

    *smiles* Your post brought a smile to my face today. :)

    I use post-it flags in physical books to mark quotes I love. This usually helps trigger my brain into writing something. I find it difficult with books I love to not just spill everything and have a spoiler. For a book, I disliked I don’t have problems pointing out things I didn’t enjoy.
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…A Blog Post a Day Update | A Note from the Director

    • Alise

      Yay, thank you! I’m glad :)

      I use post-its to mark quotes but it’s a good idea to actually write stuff on them xD

  5. Maya @ Paper Oceans

    Haha love this post! since my blog is not even a week old I have only written one review! It wasn’t that bad… I hope:/ hehe I’m writing another review today on a book i just finished, I hope I can actually do something decent!
    Maya @ Paper Oceans recently posted…Currently Reading

  6. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    LOL! This post is life. I am thankful everyday that I have a pretty spectacular memory, especially when it comes to useless information like book plots and television show plots XD I do take notes though, usually on my phone so that I can email them to myself to make writing my review easier. I DEFINITELY do the thing where I feel like I’m ALWAYS using the same words and wonder if people notice. Then I look up synonyms LMAO! Also: I SWEAR that I don’t just read the bold things :)
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Let’s Discuss…(4)

    • Alise

      Hehe, thanks! Micheline lead me half of your superior memory powers. Ahaha, that’s great, I’m glad I’m not the only one! ;)

  7. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

    Hehe, I always have to go look up the MC’s name again and get pissed when secondary characters aren’t mentioned in the blurb since then I can’t remember their names… Sometimes I skim for the bold things and then if they catch my interest, I read the paragraph, it happens ;-). My main tip is to bust out a post-it note immediately after finishing the book and write down the main things you want to mention in your review, that helps me a lot!
    Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings recently posted…A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan Audiobook {3.5 Stars}

    • Alise

      Aha, right?! Same here, I’m naturally drawn to the bold but will usually read the surrounding text if it’s something I am interested in. Good tip!

  8. Cait @ Paper Fury

    hehe, you’re hilarious. xD I’m actually so entirely opposite!! I can’t WAIT to write reviews! The second I finish a book, I basically am on Goodreads typing madly my review (also…I do that so I don’t forget all the details, haha *ahem*) But I confess I spend far too long looking for the perfect gifs for my reviews.

    *whispers* Sometimes I just read the bolded parts too if I’m a hurry. MY BAD.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…How To Translate What The Writer-Creature Is Trying To Say

  9. Peach @ Rebelle Reads

    But is this not me????

    LOLOLOL. I swear I’m kidding. Honestly, I feel like I follow the same route most of the time. I ended up writing down a quote I loved from Everything, Everything while I was reading it and I’d wanted to include it in my review, and never did. (Oops.) I do more italicizing than bolding. Sometimes, too much of it. haha. Great post, Alise!
    Peach @ Rebelle Reads recently posted…DNF Review: Divah

    • Alise

      Italics are the new bold ;) I usually do remember quotes because they add to the review and I don’t have to struggle as much to write a full post haha. Thank you!

  10. Ebony @ Fictionally Florence

    Hahaha, oh this post is FANTASTIC. I can relate to it for about 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time I write my reviews quite structured…I try to write a sassy/catching introduction and then try to write a paragraph on each major element (plot, characters, etc). As I’m writing, things I want to say generally come to me, so I’ll plop them in somewhere and then…ta DA! Done…well, as soon as I find the perfect GIFs…

    I always say I’m going to take notes whilst reading, but I pausing unnecessarily whilst reading.
    Ebony @ Fictionally Florence recently posted…A Few New Changes

  11. Romi

    “Is lost forever”. That should be, like, the calling card for the internet. Somedays you mightn’t get out. At all. *Creepy smile* Although how the internet could smile….
    This is so neat and hilarious! I’ve always thought I had a really poor memory, but it’s actually brilliant compared to yours, by the sounds of it! I rarely take notes whilst reviewing, unless a scene or a book is particularly annoying me or particularly gorgeous, and I do seem to get by. It makes me feel really fortunate, that I can remember the details a couple weeks after finishing a book- because let’s just say I’m not the fastest of review-writers. Also, as usual, your gif choices are ace.
    Romi recently posted…Blogversary? What Blogversary?

    • Alise

      *nervous laughter*
      *backs away slowly*

      Thank you! :) Oh gosh, probably, mine is seriously terrible. That is awesome!

  12. Anissa

    Hahah, great post! I sometimes have the same problem as you. I don’t really make that many notes when I read, but I’ve been doing it more lately because it does help. Some of my notes don’t many any sense though haha, don’t know what was going through my mind! xD I think if I really liked a book, I can talk about it much easier. I find it harder to review books that were just okay. :)
    Anissa recently posted…Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    • Alise

      Thank you! Yeah, it helps me a little too but I still just stare at a blank post for awhile xD I feel you, I’m the same way!

  13. Anna @ Adventures with a Book Nerd

    This is totally me! I find that if I do not write a review for a book right after I finish it, I don’t remember enough to actually write the review. That is why I don’t always write reviews, because if I can not write a review the second after I finished the book, I just don’t remember enough. My mom says I have Swiss Cheese for a brain, but oh well! I try my best! Great post!
    Anna @ Adventures with a Book Nerd recently posted…Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria

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