How to Write a Review of a Fictional Book

a course in miracles books review can be a great way to experience journalistic writing. Not only are book reviews often relatively short in comparison to larger articles or feature pieces, but they also have a well formulated standard or structure that you can follow in order to produce a well-written piece. In addition, writing book reviews can be a good way to ‘get in with’ a publication, and potentially go on and write other pieces for them. This is true regardless of whether it is a magazine, a newspaper or an online publication that you’re approaching with your book review.

So what exactly is a book review? Well, quite obviously it is a review of a book, and in this instance, a fictional book or a novel. So we next need to look at defining what a ‘review’ is. The University of North Carolina has a nice definition that we can use. It defines a review as, ‘a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms.’ So, now we know what a review is, and the fact that it needs to be aimed at a fictional piece of literature, let’s look at what information you should include in a review of a fictional book.

1. Length. The length of a book review is important. Too short and you won’t convey sufficient information about the novel. Too long and you’ll either bore the reader or you will give too much of the plot away. It is a fine balance between the two. You’ll also find that you are often restricted by the amount of space the newspaper, magazine or online publication will afford you for the review. Most will have a word limit of 1000 words; and often this is quite generous.

2. Read the book. Sounds obvious enough but lots of people try and get away with writing an informed book review without having finished or sometimes even started reading the novel itself. This is a dodgy mistake and it will become obvious that you haven’t read the book in detail, and thus the review is likely to be rejected by the publication you’re approaching.

3. Spend some time thinking critically about the book. You need to form an opinion on the fictional work of art – you need to be very sure of how you feel about the book and why – it is this opinion that you’ll be sharing with readers through your book review.

4. Next you need to formulate your opinion on the book into some form of well constructed review. Each review will differ, often depending on how you felt about the novel. It is important however to include the following elements in your review; introduction, a summary of the content or the main plot line, your analysis and evaluation of the book, and a conclusion where you can re-state your final thoughts on the book itself.

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