Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Personal Approach to Reviews

Week of October 23—What We Can Learn from Horn Book Reviews

Thursday, October 27—A Personal Approach to Reviews

I’ve got good news and bad news. Today your favorite manuscript is going to be reviewed! (That could be good news or bad news, depending on your opinion.) And YOU are the reviewer. (Again, that could be good news or bad news! LOL!) Here’s what you do.

1. Choose your favorite manuscript.
2. Read it objectively (and as if you’ve never seen the piece before).
3. Begin your review by summarizing the story’s plot points.
4. Then evaluate the plot, the pacing, the word choice, and character development.
5. Be honest and be fair. (In other words, don’t beat yourself, but don’t go easy on yourself either.)

Below is my review of one of my manuscripts.

In Granny Weathers the Storm, Granny Steinert is preparing for a surprise party, but she can’t remember who the party is for. Just in case, she prepares a cake, balloons, and a banner. But when she heads out to the party, she has to deal with a hail storm, gusty winds, and torrential rains—all of which destroy her party preparations. Luckily she arrives at the party safely where she suddenly remembers the surprsie is for her. Granny is a hapless character, charming but a bit one-dimensional. We love her, but don’t know why. The party preparations are fun, but predictable. The weather escapades are the funniest part of the story, but seem to move too quickly. Dialogue is warm and colloquial and perfect for Granny. The end is a surprise to Granny, but probably not to the reader.

What this review process has done is to help me identify the problems in my own writing. Now I know what next-steps to take to strengthen and improve the manuscript.

Ok, are you ready? It’s time to review your manuscript. And if you’re brave, feel free to post your review in the “Comments” section of this post. 

It’s Your Turn!1. Get busy! You’re supposed to be reviewing one of your stories!


Carmela Martino said...

Hi Rob,
Just came across your blog today. I love your posts about what we can learn from reading book reviews. One of my co-bloggers has an interesting spin on reviews--she recently blogged about writing the review you WANT to get when your WIP is published, as a way to stay focused. You can read her post here:
Keep up the great work!

Janet, said...

Granny Weathers the Storm sounds like a great manuscript! I enjoyed your review. I just recently found you site, too, through the PiBoIdMo event Facebook page. I write PBs, but have yet to have any published.

Rob Sanders said...

Welcome, Janet. Glad you found us.