If you search for “writing book review” in Google, you will undoubtedly find tons of materials on how to write a book review competently. However, do you know how to write one quickly, especially if you have a fast-approaching deadline? Most articles on book reviews don’t discuss this–and if they do, it is not in length.
Here are four ways to write book reviews speedily:
- Don’t wait to write stuff down while reading your book. Have note cards handy at all times while reading the book, and note important facts, ideas, passages, and your own interpretations down. Organize your notes properly in either alphabetical order or by category. As soon as something strikes you about the book, write it down. Most likely, you will forget what struck you if you wait to write it down. Our attention spans are not that long.
- Create a format for the review that is a standard for you. It is kind of like a fill-in sheet that you can use to keep you on track. This makes the process of drafting smoother and more organized. Before reading the book, create an outline of the format that you want your reviews to be in. Try to keep to this format as much as you can, but if you feel leeway should be given, then you can break your rules at times. If you are confused about how to format a review, usually reviews begin with introductory information about the book, move onto to giving a summary of the book, and then analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the book in terms of its style, pace, voice, and other characteristics of storytelling.
- Do automatic writing. Let your inner editor be silent and let the words rip! When writing, write fast without looking back. Remember: you have time to edit later. The first draft is done to get your ideas down according to your pre-designed format. The finer points come later. A good practice is to set a timer. Usually 5 minutes of free writing, taking a break, and doing 5 minutes of free writing again does the trick. Don’t care that your writing sounds crazy, off, inappropriate, or whimsical. No will see this draft besides you. Like Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” You don’t have to drink alcohol to be drunk. Simply write without inner your editor and you are “drunk” on writing.
- If you hit a block and can’t seem to get through the review, move onto doing another review. There is no harm in doing two reviews simultaneously. It is better than sitting and doing nothing, being frustrated at yourself and the book you have to review. You can also take a short walk outside or watch a comedy video for 5 minutes. Usually these two things refresh us and make us feel like we can do our work again.
Besides these 4 hints, you can always make some coffee, eat some chocolate, or drink some strong tea, and your work will be faster. Having a comfortable space to write that is quiet is also beneficial.
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