How to Write a Book Review: 3 Things to Include

Writing Tips by Sherry Allred   September 23,  2017 

3 Ways of Overcoming Writer's Block

Writing Tips by Sherry Allred   September 23, 2017 

Book Reviews can be a validation to future readers of whether a certain novel is worth investing time and money in. Truly, when millions of literary works are available, book reviews cut to the chase and help to dwindle down the choices for readers. That's why you want to write a review that offers the best representation of a certain book as well as the author. When writing a review, there are three things you may want to include to assure your potential readers are properly informed and anxious to read the book you are reviewing. 

The first thing is to hook your readers. If the fish don't bite, you won't have any catches. We live in a world where we are bombarded with so much reading material, that many people only take the time to read what catches their eye, like a shiny fishing lure. You are going to have to work hard to compete with the over-saturated market to get someone to read your review. Additionally, if a book review isn't worth reading, it might reflect that the book in which the review is about is equally unprofitable. So, how do you hook a reader? With powerful and captivating words that motivate someone to action. You want to use words that literally grab a reader's attention and catch their interest; words that cause someone to abandon their busy schedule and look twice. Which book review would you want to read? One that begins with, "This book was a good read because it had exciting moments in it." or "Engage in this exciting novel and you will discover the thrill of your life!"

Second, be honest. Be honest in reading the actual novel and honest in what you write about it. I once had someone offer to write a book review if I would send her a complimentary copy of my first book. She added that she was quick, and offered a reasonable pay rate for future reviews. She suggested that she could teach me how to do fast reviews also. Shortly after, she wrote a terrible review for me. The content was general for any book, and evident that she had not read it but perhaps skimmed it. It did not properly exhibit my book and I was quite disappointed. Once you have read the entire novel you are reviewing, write your honest evaluation. Include how you felt about the book and how it compared with other books of the same genre. Could you recommend the book to other readers? Which readers would be most likely to enjoy it? Share any qualifications about the author and conclude by summarizing your overall perspective about the novel.

Third, and possibly most importantly, proofread your book review. It's difficult to read something if you are constantly being hung up on poor grammar, spelling errors, or improper usage of punctuation. Take the time to revise your book review, even allowing some time after you have written it before doing a final revision.

Writing book reviews can be satisfying for writers, authors, and readers, alike. Offer the most with your skills by including valuable content that is captivating, honest, and thorough, and you will reap the rewards of a propelling review that will merit reputable results and earn you future opportunities.

Creative Writing Tips

You have an idea for a new novel and so you thrust yourself in front of the computer and write like crazy. The idea seems to flow for the next twenty to forty-five minutes, then suddenly it stops. You wait, yet nothing comes. Inspiration seems to have abruptly ended like a river bed stopping in the middle of a desert. You have just experienced what many people call "writer's block". It can be frustrating for a writer to hit this wall, and often times writers becomes discouraged, abandoning their manuscripts indefinitely.

I have come across many writers who have left their stories partially written but not forgotten. They are truly anxious to get it out again and finish it, but don't know how to push past their writer's block without falsely forging inspiration. There are three significant reasons writer's may experience this "mental block", as it is also called. By understanding the underlying causes of this hangup, writer's can rekindle their inspirational flame and continue their work, and ultimately finish their goal.

1. DEAD ENDS. Have you ever driven your car through a neighborhood with many roads and passed a street that had a sign indicating that it was a dead-end? Dead end warnings are to prevent you from going down a road that does not go through. You will find yourself trapped by houses or a large field, with no access to continue on to your destiny. Dead-end streets occur along the roads of writing. Once you turn down that dead-end, inspiration stops dead, just like the warning signs signify.

In my experience, it has most often held true, that when I hit writer's block, it is because I have gone down a road that has a dead-end. Some dead-end streets are deceiving, stretching for some distance and winding around in hair-pin turns until they finally stop at a fence or a field. Likewise, some paths writer's take their story down, appear to be a through street, yet the road deceivingly drops you at the end of its passage. Once I hit writer's block, I analyze my story and determine if I have, indeed, gone down a dead-end street. To remedy my dilemma, I back out of the story and retrace my steps to the point that led me down that path. I have to trust that even though that dead-end idea was a really great road to go down, that there is an even better road to travel. One-hundred percent of the time, I have rejoiced in the better road, and my novels became deeper and far more moving than they ever would have if I had forced the dead-end idea to work.

2. DISTRACTIONS. Another component that may discourage inspiration from flowing is the presence of distractions. Although it usually isn't our intention to immerse ourselves in the midst of things that interfere with our ability to write, distractions are often hard to escape. The dog barks, the neighbor's dog barks, the kids whine, the phone rings, someone texts you... the list goes on. There may not be an ideal solution for avoiding all distractions because it is part of living, and those very things that distract you may often be the basis for your writing inspirations. Nevertheless, you should take charge of your time and allow yourself moments when you can feel pure and uninterrupted inspiration. Analyze your schedule and set aside a time to write when things are the calmest in your home. Turn off your phone, and let your friends and family know that you are working during that time. Another option is to leave the house and go to a quiet place to write. Perhaps a park or a library. Or maybe you just need some time to ponder, time to meditate, time to escape the clamor of the world and allow your mind and heart to drift freely in the spectacular places you create in your imagination. Take a drive to the mountains or a walk along a trail and surround yourself with nature. Trees, plants, rocks, mountains, the ocean side, and rivers are filled with inspiration that will help you get past your writer's block.

3. TOO BUSY TO WRITE. Life is busy and we may find ourselves so overwhelmed with our responsibilities that there simply isn't time to write. Certainly, the stresses linked to our obligations thwart inspiration, and even if we squeeze in an hour or two a week to write, we wouldn't be able to let down and allow ourselves to be as creative as we have potential to be. Believe it or no, this predicament can be remedied. Review your schedule and contemplate the way you spend your time. Perhaps you can give up a movie, or surfing the internet. Maybe an hour of sleep can be sacrificed. The key is to be consistent. Choose the same time every day, or as many days in the week as possible, to reserve for your opportunity to write. Be patient with yourself and don't expect too much at first. Eventually your mind will tune in, and the creative juices will naturally begin to flow at the same time every day, because you are consistent.

Make the time to allow yourself to share your talents and your message with others. And when you feel writer's block coming on, step back and take a moment to see if you need an inspirational break or simply take a different route with your story. Above all, pursue your passions to write. Don't let the obstacles in life discourage you. Follow your heart, and share the stories you dream up, believing that you have something good to share with the world.