5 Things I Have Learned from Writing Book Reviews

At the end of this week-long book review fest, and all of the other reviews I have posted over the last few months, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned for my own work from writing them.


  1. Characters, characters, characters – I can forgive A LOT in a story if I am in love with the characters.
  2. Plots can be simple – I write and read a lot of romance novels. The romance comes first in the story, but there is usually a plot holding it all together. This can be as simple as: find the murderer. Find the thief. Free the hero from a curse.
  3. But there needs to be a clear plot – simple is fine. Preferable, even. But there needs to be one. And it needs to be believable.
  4. Adverbs aren’t all bad – One of my favorite books was filled with “ly” words. Overflowing with them. I still loved it. I am not entirely sure how the author pulled it off, but her work was sensuous and was one of the best seductions I have read.
  5. Show, Don’t Tell is Real – Most of the stories I disliked the most were ones where what I was told about a character contradicted what the character did. Brave characters who then cower over mean words said to them. Witty characters who never say a funny or insightful word. Kind characters who hang out in ballrooms the whole story. Perhaps it is the cognitive dissonance this creates that makes me dislike them so much. Interesting, as I am sure the author was telling me these amazing things about the characters to get me to love them.
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2 thoughts on “5 Things I Have Learned from Writing Book Reviews

  1. So how do you feel about character arcs or growth or changes? If it isn’t love immediately with a character can you fall in love with them if they grow? Do you value character development?

    1. Yes! I love good character arcs. A redeemed villain is fantastic. Someone who starts out driving me nuts, but comes into their own? Awesome. Darth Vader comes to mind…he was my favorite character as a kid.

      From what I read of Harry Potter, I could see the same thing with Snape.

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