Sometimes I’ll close the cover on a book and the writer part of me will instantly flick the cap off a ballpoint pen and just ITCH to make changes.
Literally, just like that. That cat is my spirit animal. This isn’t because I thought the book was pants, or because I think I can do it any better. It’s simply a “if it were me” kind of imagining. Does that make sense?
A bit of background info here:
I used to write reviews in a simple way where I would split it between ‘what worked’ and ‘what didn’t work’.
However, I always felt somewhat uncomfortable with the ‘what didn’t work’ section. It seemed too negative to me. It made me wonder if it came across as harsh or too critical. Whatevs. It just was not sitting right with me.
So I ditched that format altogether.
This open-plan formula wasn’t working for me either though. If I’m given too much space to roam in I will get lost. I will literally ramble on.
I don’t care how anyone else works; I need parameters, expectations and fences. Yes, people. I need a damn box.
So I’ve been trying to be conscious of the things I think about when I read. And what struck me time and time again was how often I’d feel a “well, if that were me, I’d totally start the book here, and not there” or a “this book could have been longer” vibe.
If any of you have read a lot of my reviews you will have noticed how often I harp on about ‘potential’. I do this SO MUCH on Goodreads too.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to write my reviews loosely based around these headers:
- INITIAL GUT REACTION – first thoughts and a chance to get any fangirling (mostly) out of the way.
- WHAT WORKED FOR ME – a place to rave about everything I loved in a book.
- “IF IT WERE ME” – a section where I can talk about the things I might change if I were given this book to write. It’s not me saying I could do a better job, or that the book would be anything more than it already is. But it is a way of me exploring parts that did not work for me without feeling like I’m slamming it.
- CONCLUSION – in a nutshell.
Sure, there’s only a subtle difference between the old and the new way, however I feel more comfortable with it. Because who am I to say what doesn’t work in a book? It’s a very personal reaction when you read something.
I hope this sorta makes sense. Please do feel free to holler at me. Call me a nut. It’s cool.
How do you handle the less than positive segments in your reviews?