Review Strategies and Taking Notes

Discuss writing, including writing tips & tricks, writing philosophy, writer's block, etc. If you have grammar questions, marketing questions, or if you want feedback on a poem or short story you wrote, please use the corresponding forum below.
Featured Topic: How to Get Your Book Published
Forum rules
If you have spelling or grammar questions, please post them in the International Grammar section.

If you want feedback for poetry or short stories you have written, please post the poem or short story in either the Creative Original Works: Short Stories section or the Creative Original Works: Poetry section.

If you have a book that you want reviewed, click here to submit your book for review.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 131
Joined: 05 Jul 2018, 03:04
Favorite Book: Wives and Daughters
Currently Reading: No Man Knows My History
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Seer by Larry Austin

Review Strategies and Taking Notes

Post by Yssimnar » 19 Jul 2018, 02:39

While reading books, are there any note-taking strategies that work well for you? I want my content to be engaging and wonder if the secret resides in the notes.

What ways can we use the reading process to prepare a foundation for the review? How do you all approach this?
Latest Review: Seer by Larry Austin

User avatar
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 3828
Joined: 31 Dec 2011, 07:54
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by DATo » 10 Aug 2018, 04:06

I don't think this is what you are talking about but maybe you will find it useful.

I've mentioned in these forums before with regard to making notations in books that I just put a small period (very tiny / almost invisible) in the margin of a line that I want to go back to review later. I make the mark with a pencil and then put the page number(s) on one of the back flyleaves of the book. This saves marking up (thus defacing) a book. Also, it keeps a record of all the points of interest I've come across in the book with the book. For instance: I might read a beautiful passage and want to remember it as an inspiration to something I might write in the future. So I put a penciled (very small and light) period next to the beginning of that sentence and record the page number on the back flyleaf perhaps with a small notation beside the page number which says "beautiful phrasing". Anyone who later reads the book and comes to that page will not even recognize the period mark as intentional and would most probably think that it is a flaw in the paper or print. Only YOU will recognize it because you will be looking for it.

I can't tell you how many times I've been on the verge of screaming out loud when I come across used books covered in text which has been underscored in ink or gone over with highliters or writing. No reason for that at all if this system is used.
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

User avatar
Beth KG
Posts: 233
Joined: 17 May 2018, 09:27
Favorite Book: Time and Again
Currently Reading: Practice the Jealous Arts
Bookshelf Size: 59
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Final Notice by Van Fleisher

Post by Beth KG » 25 Aug 2018, 12:11

I take notes while I'm reading the book but find it to be an onerous process. I note errors and whatever thoughts strike me for possible inclusion in a review. I start out with the date I began reading the book and the title and author, of course. Additional thoughts from someone who has been writing reviews for a while would be very much appreciated!

Asisha Joseph
Posts: 65
Joined: 09 May 2018, 11:26
Favorite Book: The Lord Of The Rings
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 10
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Andalusian in Jerusalem by Mois benarroch

Post by Asisha Joseph » 16 Sep 2018, 11:37

I just jot down quick notes on character, plot, structure etc. Otherwise, if it takes more than a day to finish a book, what I read at the start would be muddled up.

User avatar
Posts: 121
Joined: 09 May 2018, 18:08
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 32
Currently Reading: Betrayal in Blue
Bookshelf Size: 36
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: McDowell by William H. Coles
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by jgraney8 » 09 Oct 2018, 19:58

When I read an ebook on my Kindle Paperwhite, I can take notes when I highlight something. When I finish the book, I send the notes to my email address. That way the notes are available for writing a review, and if I export the document as a csv file, I can copy information for pasting in the review process where I need to record the errors in the book.
“On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

User avatar
Posts: 81
Joined: 23 Feb 2018, 12:59
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 30
Currently Reading: McDowell
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Becoming the Dragon by Alex Sapegin

Post by Harley-Panda » 10 Oct 2018, 07:38

If the book is through Kindle I will usually highlight any errors or discussion points. I also keep either a notebook or a notepad file on my phone in which I jot down ideas for my review, and I write page numbers for each note so I can easily find it again. I try to make notes on characters/plotlines etc. whilst reading to draw back on for my review, and I note down anything like adult themes where necessary so that I don't forget anything in the review.
I go to seek a Great Perhaps

Posts: 180
Joined: 06 Aug 2018, 23:58
Currently Reading: Bug Hunt
Bookshelf Size: 167
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner

Post by jjmainor » 10 Oct 2018, 21:09

I see popular phrases other people have highlighted, and I always wonder why or what notes they wrote about those phrases...

User avatar
Posts: 125
Joined: 19 Feb 2018, 13:08
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 60
Currently Reading: Her Mad Hatter
Bookshelf Size: 48
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Serendipity Mystery: Diary of a Snoopy Cat by R.F. Kristi
Reading Device: B00IKPYKWG

Post by KCWolf » 15 Oct 2018, 11:23

I've created a template in word, that helps me list my likes and dislikes about the book; plus any other notes I chose to add.

I highlight errors in blue, and passages I like in pink. I also highlight important plot points in yellow. I add notes to most of these highlights.

I don't write the summary until I've read the entire book.

After finishing the book, I wait one day to start the first draft and let things settle in my mind a bit.
Currently Reading: Undead Redhead and Her Mad Hatter :techie-studyingbrown:
Currently Writing: Sovereign Eyes: Gifted Saga Episode 1 and Redemption Trails

Post Reply

Return to “Writing Discussion”