Review plan? – You don’t need it!

I guess all reviewers have some sort of review plan. I have one, and when I was a newbie reviewer I used it a lot. Nowadays I’m more flexible about it. I sort of have a plan, but in reality I just go with the flow.

Today I want to discuss why you don’t always need to follow your plan when you’re writing a review. Actually sometimes you need to through away any kind of plan.

A while ago I’ve read On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I loved it so much that I had a hard time writing a coherent review. I just put my tangled thoughts and emotions on the paper and posted it. I admit I was a little embarrassed by that review. There wasn’t really any structure. It was very short. There was nothing specific about plot, characters or actually anything besides my emotions.

To my surprise that review got a lot of attention from my followers. It was more popular than my proper informative reviews with structure.

At first I was baffled. Why?

After some reflections I realized, my review On the Jellicoe Road had one thing that appealed to readers: it was very emotional, and as a result it was personal.

I definitely prefer emotional reviews with a personal touch. Emotional reviews have greater impact on readers. Personal reviews touch readers.

Do you have review plan? Do you always follow it? Has ever one of you “weak” reviews turned out to be popular?

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11 Comments on “Review plan? – You don’t need it!

  1. Firstly, On the Jellicoe Road is an amazing book. I read it in high school and since then I’ve read it three more times. All I can say is that Melina Marchetta is a genius.

    As far as a review plan or a laid out review structure, I don’t usually have one. Typically what ends up happening when I go to write my review is one concern or positive thing will be featured more than others (like my love of the characters or great writing…or the opposite) and then I briefly mention a few other things. Personally, I’ve found that the more rigid I try to be with my approach to blogging the less fun I have with it, so I’ve loosened up with it a lot over the years. And I think you’re absolutely right, Ksenia: readers tend to prefer more emotional reviews, or reviews that at least reference your emotional response to a book. Great discussion post!
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Romance Review Roundup: Vol. 2

  2. While I have several different types of review posts from Coffee dates, to straight up reviews, I let the book and my emotions dictate what I use. Fantastic post!

  3. I’ve always winged it really, but I’ve noticed I’ve changed my review style a lot over the years. My early reviews were only a paragraph or too but with some books now, some reviews have reached over a thousand words. I used to post every second day, but now it can be only once a week. I try to post up when I’m able to comment on other blogs but lately I’m finding my reading time is reduced by trying to blog regularly as well. I wish I could find that balance though. I’ve thought about blog planners, but I doubt I could probably stick to one.

  4. Review plan, ha, I just sort of write all my thoughts on a page and then try to formulate that into a coherent post. I used to stress myself out overthinking my reviews thinking I hate to mention certain things every time or had to write a more coherent professional review… I then realised I am not paid as a reviewer, I am a blogger. I started my blog to talk about books and that’s what I do in my review, I flail, I despair and I say what I thought. Sometimes I come across as a fangirl trying to throw a book at people to read and other times I say I enjoyed a book and forget about it 2 weeks later. Having a plan is way too structured and stressed me out way too much so now I just enjoy myself. It’s the best way to be.

  5. Yeah I do better when I just roll with it when it comes to reviews. I tend to wind up writing them in the same few ways – whether it is lists, a couple of paragraphs or a really short couple of sentences. I just try not to push a review into something it isn’t or I am not feeling. Grea post!
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Reviews ~ Seven Days of You

  6. I used to have a review plan, but then sometimes this didn’t always work out, as a book that didn’t leave the greatest impression with me I didn’t really have a lot to say about. But I tend to find my reviews which I write straight after finishing a book are usually my better reviews, as I’m able to put my thoughts and feelings about the book in straight away! Thank you for sharing another great post with us Ksenia!

  7. I’m a pantser and I found the less I plan, schedule and try to fit myself into the box the happier I, and my followers, seem to be about my blog.

    I was cranking out reviews there for awhile, trying to get in so many posts per week or be on top of the *it* books and I lost all sense of myself. And readers didn’t respond as well either.

    I think even if we’re squealing or ranting – it’s the emotion we get caught up in when reading blogs. Or at least that’s the case for me. I read a lot of blogs that don’t even review genres I enjoy but I like their voice.

    We’re all passionate about books and I know I’m happy when someone else gets that OMG feeling and it shines through in their review.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth
    Karen recently posted…listening to: podcasts

  8. I don’t have a specific structure that I use for every review, but I do want all my posts to have *a* structure, whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but things like having a clear introduction and smooth transitions and a clear conclusion are important to me. I admit I dislike reading disorganized writing personally, so I try not to be disorganized myself. I’ve run across some posts that are really covering three topics, not one, or have phrases like, “I have no idea where I’m going with this” or “Maybe this isn’t relevant to my point” written directly in them, and that point I’m just wondering why the person didn’t step back and revise something they seemed to know wasn’t quite working out in the first draft. So, I guess there’s a nice spectrum between “I am super, super organized” and “It’s not really clear to me or anyone else what the major takeaway here is.” I like things to have a little structure, and I think this is particularly helpful to readers who are trying to read lots of blogs in a limited time period.
    Briana @ Pages Unbound recently posted…We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

  9. Like you, I used to think that my reviews had to be structured to better help my readers but these days? I write what I feel and then move on. You’re right, you don’t really need a review plan, you just need to write about how the book made you feel…the rest will come.

    Great post, Ksenia!

  10. I used to think it’ll be helpful if I have some sort of plan in placed. But I find that I do much better when I fly by the seats of my pants. All I really need is some alone time without any distractions, I think. So hard to do when I’ve got so many things going on during the work week. Sigh. #bookbloggerproblems

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