Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Discussion: When Do You Review?

Image result for book review images

So I know this discussion has probably been done a million times, but I'm curious- when do you write your review? Do you do it right after finishing the book, or do you wait a while and let the story percolate? I prefer to write the review as soon as I finish the book- same day if possible, or the next day at the latest. Why? I'm not sure to be honest, it just feels like something I want to immediately talk about.

However, there are times when I can't write the review right away, and it might sit for a few days. I've even gone a week or two. It's rare but it has happened, and here's the thing- I think my review is different when I wait as opposed to writing it right after. Do you have the same experience at all? I say this because there was a time I started a review and then got sidetracked, and when I got back to it I just started over, and then compared it to what I had written previously. Um, pretty different!

So that got me thinking. What is it about waiting that changes how I review? Is it the passage of time giving me more insight- or just different insight? I think of this now every time I write a review with the book fresh in my mind. I wonder should I wait a few days or a week, and see what happens? But I don't. I just like reviewing the book when fresh. Maybe that's blog scheduling OCD rather than any real need to do the review right then.

The other thing is notes vs. no notes. I used to take notes when I read so I could look back at them as I wrote the review. But invariably after finishing the book I just start writing and hardly look at the notes. I just let the thoughts flow. Sometimes after I've written the review I look at the notes to see if I forgot anything. Occasionally I will add something but not often. Anyone else?

49 comments:

  1. I try not to write a review as soon as I've finished. I'm a little too fangirly. OR too pessamistic. I need some time to think what exactly I liked or didn't about the book. I think I'm a little more coherent if I wait a few days. But not too long or I forget too much. I have a bad memory and when I read a new book it pushes older ones out of memory.
    I used to take the most detailed notes whilst reading. Like four A5 pages of tiny handwritten notes on each book. But it took me out of reading. These days I just read and hope that I remember all the important bits. Occasionally I'll jot down a few notes (usually character names because I'm hopeless at remembering those) but that's it.

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    1. I think it's good to wait, and sometimes I wish I did it more. I think sometimes I'm afraid I'll forget stuff too. I agree though- as a blogger I tend to start a new book as soon as I finish, and yeah that can push the details of the previous one away- making it harder to review. I hadn't thought of that go od point.

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  2. Good question.
    I have written reviews minutes after I finished the book. I have also written them a month after I read the book. Sometimes I write them, let them sit for a while, and get back to them, and I always have something to add that I didn't think of in the first draft, and I sometimes find I have changed my mind about something, so I definitely agree: they turn out different depending on when you write them.

    First impressions can often be accurate, but when we are able to think about things for longer, we sometimes change our minds. The reviews are not necessarily better, just different, and both a hasty review and one into which much time and thought have gone can be good reviews, because they show our impressions and opinions at a particular point in time.

    As for notes, I either take none or I write a reading journal which I generally post on my blog, with the review as a kind of summing up of my thoughts and impressions.

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    1. Right. Waiting definitely gives a different impression. And agreed about first impressions and later ones- they can be quite different! I sometimes wonder if I made a point of waiting would I like the reviews better? Hard to say. :)

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  3. Well... In my perfect world, where I'm the perfect blogger, I write all my reviews within a day of finishing a book. In my reality, I often just get some notes and then struggle to write the review weeks later. I hate writing reviews later because, even with notes, it's just not as fresh. Idk if the distance of time is a good thing or a bad thing for how it changes the review - maybe you're a little less swept up so the review is more accurate? But at the same time, if a book manages to really sweep you up, shouldn't the review convey that?

    Something that could be cool - and I'll never do, because I struggle to get my reviews out in general - would be to write the review and then let it sit for a couple weeks, and then add a section at the bottom of the review about how the book feels now that you've stepped away from it. But that's a lot of work!

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    1. I always try to write it immediately, it bugs me if I go too long without writing the review. I usually try to write it right after I finish, and I've just gotten used to that. when I wait it bugs me. :)

      And you hit the dichotomy perfectly- there's something to be said for your immediate reaction, but also what about waiting and perhaps more insight?

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  4. Hmmm... I don't have a real system for reviewing. Sometimes, I'll go rant or gush about a book five minutes after I've finished it and sometimes the book languishes for a month. I *try* to get my review done in a week or so after finishing the novel, especially if it wasn't particularly memorable - I have terrible book amnesia and struggle to remember names of characters and so on.

    I don't really want to read my old reviews to tell you the truth. I think I'd cringe for about half of them - not because I hate my writing or anything, it's just that you always read and write in a specific mood, so it's understandable that you can never really replicate the conditions. I have probably been too harsh or too enthusiastic quite often.

    And no, I usually don't make notes. Very occasionally, I'll put a sticky note next to a particularly beautiful or horrifying quote but I end up forgetting about them more often than not. Like you said, I just let the thoughts flow.

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    1. I can forget things too if I wait too long. And I've wondered- since I review right after, am I gushing or getting swept up in the moment? Would it be better to wait? But I'm not sure my personality will allow me. :)

      Good point about old reviews. And I agree. I've read some especially from my first year and they're kind of embarrassing (not all, but some). I'm like was I that gullible a reader lol?

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  5. I never have tome to write it write after but I jot down some bullet points I know I want to talk about. I try to write them within the week though. I agree passage of time does change things a bit for me and it could go either way. I can't take notes while reading because it takes away from it for me. I do highlight some things every now and then though. Great post!!

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    1. I don't take notes either (rarely). Sometimes there's something I just want to remember, then I will, but otherwise- nah. I don't want to be taken out of the story either.

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  6. I need to write it as soon as I can because I forget too easily and I'm lost thereafter...

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    1. Me too, although in my case it just bugs me if I don't write it right away. Although when I have waited it doesn't turn out too bad- but still, I prefer to get it done.

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  7. Hey Greg!

    I write a review for every book that I read (except re-reads) and what works for me is waiting a couple of days so that my true feelings for the book come forth. Ha! Like Kate, I'm a little too fangirly right off the bat so I have to wait a couple of days before writing reviews.

    Lately, I've been waiting weeks and letting my review list pile up and then writing a bunch of reviews in one sitting but I don't like to do that. It takes me forever to write reviews that way so I try not to let my reviews pile up.

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    1. Hey Rowena!! That's a great way, I wish I had the patience to do that. I'm sure that waiting would allow things to sink in and I might put together a better review.

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  8. Very interesting post, Greg! I don't have any preference as to when I write reviews. However, it's frequently turned out that there's a few days from the time I finish a book, to the time I actually sit down to write the review. It just happens that way a lot! It has to do with my post scheduling. Sometimes I have to publish a post, such as a blog tour, that prevents me from posting a review for a book not related to the tour. It all depends.

    As for note-taking, I don't do that as I read, because then I won't be able to concentrate on the plot. However, if I can't review right away, I do go back and skim through the book to jog my memory about events and characters.

    The bottom line is to have fun when writing reviews. If they ever become a chore, then it's time to step back and perhaps take a hiatus. This is why I will no longer do blog tour reviews. I feel pressured to read the book before the posting deadline. Furthermore, I know that blog tour companies, as well as authors, expect favorable reviews, even if they don't say so.

    Thanks for the great post!! :)

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    1. Thank you. I think a lot of people do that- I'm not sure that many write it immediately like I do. I mean I know some do, but a lot of people seem to wait either because they prefer to, or they just have time constraints.

      I tend not to note either, although sometimes I do.

      And I agree. I actually like writing reviews and it feels weird NOT to write one now when I finish a book. I wouldn't like it if it became a chore. And I don't do blog tours same reason- I like the freedom of reading what I want when I want, with no release date pressuring me.

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  9. We are pretty similar. I prefer to write the review as close to finishing the book as I can. Every once in awhile there will be a book that I need to think about a day or two but most of the time I'll write it either the day of or the day after. I don't really take notes either though every once in awhile I'll write a name down if I know I'm going to have trouble remembering it or a specific point that I don't want to forget but for the most part I just read. Great post!

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    1. Yeah I like to write it as soon as possible. It just feels right for me, even if waiting would perhaps improve the post. But I don't know, I think my reactions right after finishing hold up most of the time- in terms of how I feel.

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  10. Good question, Greg. It's actually an issue I struggle with as a blogger and reviewer.

    I tend to write my reviews when I have time and feel like I have something to say, which means that some get written immediately and some get written weeks later. (And unfortunately. some never get written at all.) I do agree with you that my review is different if I've had some time to think and digest my reaction, rather than writing it in the throes of post-book euphoria (or disdain, as the case may be.) I think the reviews I write a few days or a week after I finish the bookare more thoughtful, and often more analytical, whereas the reviews I write immediately tend to be more emotional but also more on the surface.

    My ideal, when I'm able to do so, is to write up my initial reaction right away, as notes in Notepad. Then when I'm ready to write the review itself, I have that initial emotional reaction plus any specific thoughts I wrote down at the time, and I can incorporate some or all of that into my final review.

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    1. I've been wondering about it- for a while. I agree- waiting seems to improve anaylsis, while writing more immediately definitely captures my *feelings* for a book better, I think.

      I like though how you take initial reactions and then give it some time- maybe getting the best of both worlds, to an extent. Nice.

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  11. I generally write a review within a couple of days of finishing the book. I like everything to be fresh in my mind {and I don't use notes}. But then again, my reviews tend to revolve around my impressions and feelings about the characters and the story and less about the technical aspects of the writing process of the book {voice, POV, style, etc.).

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    1. Me too. I like it fresh. And I absolutely care more about how the book made me *feel* as opposed to the technical or craft aspects of the writing- that's just how I am. I don't spend a lot of time dissecting the writing style- I'm all about the escapism. :) So I agree.

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  12. Interesting question. I usually quickly jot down my initial thoughts as soon as I finish reading but then I'll usually wait a few days before I write the actual review, just to give myself a little more time to reflect on what I've read.

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    1. That's a good way. I don't know if I'm OCD or what but I feel like I HAVE to write it right away- but I'm sure if I made myself wait it would be fine. :) I do think you probably get some insight that's refreshing after letting the story percolate. But yeah I definitely need to capture that initial thoughts feeling.

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  13. I usually write some thoughts right after finishing the book. Every once in awhile, I write thoughts down as I am reading. If I wait too long, I may forget much of what I wanted to say. There are those books that need to stew a bit before writing anything.

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    1. Agreed. Some need to be digested. Generally tho I go with initial thoughts too just because it feels more to me to do so.

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  14. I like to review right after reading. I'll admit these past few months though I have waited to write reviews. I don't really like that because I can't remember anything about the book. Plus I am one who likes to read other reviews before writing up mine. I find that reading other reviews can get me thinking more about the book, topics I may not have thought of myself when reading. I never take notes. Nice to see you posting a discussion post. I used to try to post one discussion post a month then got tired of trying to think of something to talk about. Look forward to more discussions...

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    1. I do too. And yeah I run the risk of forgetting thing if I wait too long.

      Thanks! I haven't done a discussion post in a while, but after tiring of Waiting on Wednesday's I decided to fill Wed's with discussions. :) It's been a while since I've done them.

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  15. Okay, consider me impressed, because I am lucky if I write reviews the same MONTH I finish the books ;) Seriously, I WANT to do it sooner, because I think everything is fresher in my mind- though I will say that I NEVER rate/review a book until the next day. I sleep on every single one, because I often find that my brain needs a minute to step away and look at it from a distance- I think this is how I used to get in trouble with too many favorites! I'd like to review books within a week, I think that would give me enough distance to have my thoughts gathered, but the book would still be fresh. I'm actually not *too* far behind right now, I think my oldest unreviewed book is about a month ago, so better than usual?

    I also TRY (emphasis on try) to take notes- at least a few. It doesn't even have to be while reading, but immediately afterward at least. I feel like it helps bridge the gap between when I read a book and when I review it. But still, that is hit or miss. So the bottom line is, I am a mess and you are organized. Also, randomly, you need a blog button. Just was thinking about that haha. Great post, I think this topic is fascinating, to see how everyone else does their reviews!

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    1. Ha ha I like your reviews you're not a mess! I like to write when it's fresh in my mind but I think you're right- waiting doesn't hurt and probably makes it better. And this might be why I also question some of my positive reviews, like we talked about on your blog the other day- I review right away and later my thoughts may have changed??

      You're right, I need a blog button. Is it sad I don't know how to do it?

      I agree, I LOVE seeing how everyone else does it. :)

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  16. I SHOULD write notes or something while I'm reading, or at least right after I finish a book, but I just don't. haha I tend to review at different times. Sometimes I can do it in a day or so but other times I just don't feel the urge or don't have the time. It's usually better to do it as soon as I can, just so it's fresher in my mind.

    -Lauren
    http://shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com/2016/10/hp-month-pretty-posh-weddings-discount.html

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    1. Yeah I like it to be fresh in my mind too. But I can also see the advantage of waiting. I think sometimes I may do it TOO soon rather than give myself a day or two to think.

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  17. I'm like you in that sometimes I just can't write it immediately, my thoughts are too jumbled or whatever, but most of the time I like to write the review ASAP. It's crazy how fast we start forgetting things. Hell, I usually take notes because I forget the things I liked and disliked by the time I look up from the last sentence lol. I think that's why reviews are different when you wait, because you forget things, both good and bad. Everything kind of smooths out more. Things that bothered you kinda get brushed aside in your mind now that you're not actively seeing them, some of the excitement about good things dissipates, etc.

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    1. I think you're right. I know the few times I've waited, the review comes out pretty different. Maybe yeah the good and bad stuff, or the little stuff, is less important and the broader thoughts on the book take over? But I do like writing right after I finish. And I think as bloggers too just the sheer number of books we read- makes it hard to remember stuff. I don't take a lot of notes but I do jot down things that seem like they may be important later- it's like will I remember if that plot point gets resolved? I don't want to miss anything :)

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  18. I mostly try to review a book as soon as I finish it. I have even been known to start reviewing a book before I even finish it. (I think that's so I don't forget what I want to say or the feelings of the moment.) For me, I've noticed that if I wait awhile to review the book, my review is more...balanced. Like it's less love-or-hate and, usually, slightly less filled with emotion (be it good or bad). That's why I like reviewing books as soon as I finish them because, while the review might mello in time, I like the strong emotion that comes through in the review.

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    1. I do that too. I prefer to write the review as quickly as I can after finishing the book. And yes- I've done that, where I start the review or at least jot a few lines down so I don't forget. Glad I'm not the only one doing that. :)

      And I agree- even though if I review later my review may be more measured, I like catching those feelings I have right after finishing.

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  19. I do a mini-review right away on Goodreads and then I copy and paste it to Netgalley and/or Edelweiss, If it is an ARC. My Goodreads review is also what I use for Amazon. Four and five star rated books I review on my blog, and unless I am doing a blog tour review, those may show up a year later. Ha ha. My blog reviews are more in depth and I have a section where I refute some of the things I have seen in other Goodreads reviews. I have a note book app I sometimes put notes in, but they are usually only for books I am hating on. Ha! Great discussion!

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    1. Do you? That's a good way to do it. I haven't thought of doing that way. I like how your blog reviews are more in depth... and refuting other concerns in reviews, that's interesting. I've never thought of that either.

      It is fun to rip on books sometimes if they're pissing me off, but I don't put that in reviews, so I can see where that app would come in handy!

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  20. Great post and I definitely understand both sides of it. For me, I review when I can -- sometimes it's right after or within the same day of finishing a book but other times it is several days later. I think that things are fresh when you review right after but I do like the reflection that comes from reviewing a few days later. I try not to go more than a few days because I forget things since I read so many books

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    1. I agree. I like to review as soon as I can, even though I know by waiting maybe I would get a more reflective review? And sometimes you HAVE to wait just because life calls.

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  21. When I was reading a lot more library books, I'd tend to read through my stack then go back and review. After losing the Word file with my notes for a book, though, I started reviewing as soon as I finish reading. I've also found that this helps keep me from getting lazy about getting the review done because I don't allow myself to start a new book until the review for my most recent read has been written, lol.

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  22. I definitely like notes, especially about the narration. But that is mostly because I often don't get around to writing the review for quite awhile.

    My most recent discussion: Whetting Your Appetite or Pure Torture: Excerpts

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  23. I always write my review after I finish the book, usually not right afterwards, but before I start the enxt book. Which usually means I write the review somehwere between 1-24 hours after I finish a book. I feel that if I wait longer it's harder to adequately describe what I thought of the book. I also think that over a longer time different things keep standing out more. Minor issues might be forgotten while more a feeling about the book remains and maybe some parts you really liked. So yes I do think when you review influences your review.

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  24. I definitely write the view as soon as possible after I finish reading the book. If I have too many feels I'll just write quick notes in my review draft and then come back to make it coherent when I've calmed down LOL! Sometimes, if the feelings are complicated, I'll wait a day or two but it's rarely more than that. I do find that if I wait the review changes. The feelings aren't as fresh and it that changes the tone of the review. I often take notes...especially if the story is complex and I want to remember important plot points. Recently I find I'm not taking as many notes though and I'm not sure why?

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  25. I agree with you. I prefer to write my reviews as soon as possible. Not only can I easily get back to the feelings I had while reading the book, but I also feel like I can enjoy the next book better when I feel completely ‘finished’ with the previous one.

    My reviews are definitely different if I wait a while to write them. Although I can remember most of the book, I still think I forget little things. I do always read my review again a view days later. Sometimes I add to them, or change some lines.

    And about taking notes? Well.. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It all depends on how I feel. But making notes makes writing the reviews easier I think.

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  26. Usually not right after I've read the book - I need to let my ideas percolate a bit. Sometimes I start a placeholder post with some initial thoughts, and then go back and edit it when I get more inspiration.

    However, it's not good to wait too long, because then I forget too many details. With my most recent review, of The Evil Wizard Smallbone, I got the ARC many months ahead of the September release and read it immediately, then forgot about it till now - so i had to read it again to write my review. It was no hardship to do that, fortunately!

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  27. I usually do my review right away because I want to make sure that I don't forget anything. I take notes while I read, but I don't stop to take notes while I read if it will stop the flow. So when I'm really into it I will just wait till I have to stop reading anyway. Then when I finish my review I immediately write out a rough draft where I put my notes. When I get online to finish my review I do change and add things a lot though since I don't always finish my review right away. Sometimes things I put in my notes end up sounding too harsh or something and I take things like that out. Fantastic discussion post!

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  28. I am so random about this. Sometimes I write reviews right away, and sometimes I take forever. And I agree it makes a difference. It would be better if I was consistent, but I doubt I'll manage to change anything. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  29. I try and write my reviews nearly straight away after I've finished reading the book. However sometimes I have no motivation to write the review then but when I go back and write it I find I can't remember what I liked or didn't like about it...

    I too find that if I start writing a review straight after I finish the book, but then come back to review and continue writing, that my opinions have changed. It's interesting how we feel about a book weeks after we've read it compared to right after we've read it.

    There are a few books that I look back on now and think I would rate it differently if I were to review it now.

    Jordon @ Simply Adrift

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