Friday, January 10

Writers and Reviews

I looked at a few reviews for a book I thought about buying. I could immediately tell which reviews were written by writers or aspiring writers,. They read like critiques. If I read those reviews as a reader, I would have no idea what they were talking about.

 A lot of the writing "guidelines" were listed. For example:

                       "The author did too much telling and not enough showing."
                       "There were no scene breaks between pov's. I got confused about whose head I was supposed to be in."
                        "There were too many "ly" adverbs."
                         "The prologue was unnecessary. It read like backstory. A lot of it could have been sprinkled throughout the story."

As a reader, I would have would have no clue what the problem was. As a matter of  fact, I would have looked at the reviews that didn't read like you needed a master's degree in literature to figure out what the hell they were talking about.

When I write a review, I write from a reader's point of view, so a reader can understand what I'm talking about. Most of the books I loved as a reader were apparently not good writing according the "guidelines." I disagree. To me, they were great books.  So I'm wondering. When you write a review, do you review as a reader or a writer?


  1. I never tell the story in a review, which is why mine are always so short. I figure it's to tell what I like and--sometimes--what I didn't. The blurb is already there. Good post, Shawn.

  2. I write my reviews like a reader, not a writer. Besides, I've come to realize a lot of readers don't even know what head-hopping or point of view is, so using those terms are kind of useless. If I couldn't connect with the characters emotionally, I might state that, but that's about as far as I'll go. I certainly won't state why, because it's all subjective anyway.

    If I find a book that had all those errors (and they're only errors if you want them to be), I'll just state that I'm apparently not the author's intended audience and leave it at that.

  3. I was a reviewer for several years before I was published. My goal wasn't to critique the writing, but to give information about the book itself, what I enjoyed, what I didn't enjoy, etc. I would only bring up the quality writing if there was some part that made the book hard to understand or something similar.

    I always, always review as a reader. That's the whole point! Plus, when I read the books, I'm not in the mindset of an editor, looking for errors. I try to enjoy the book.