Book Reviewing (2)

Returning to the subject of book reviewing:

Once I have completed a first draft of the review, I put it aside for a day or two, then return to it with fresh eyes for revision. I check for clarity and freedom from error, then for economy, finally for beauty of writing thanks to vocabulary, variation in sentence structure (simple, compound, complex), and sentence length. I know the power of very short sentences, especially those of one word. So I look for opportunities. One-word sentences I’ve used before: “Stop.” “Enough.” “Congratulations.” “Continue.”

Then comes the final test: reading the text aloud. Nearly always, voicing the written word reveals errors or clumsiness I had overlooked. Once those are corrected, I’m ready to submit the review for publication.

I should mention in passing that I write in the literary style, not the journalistic style. The differences are small—for example using no spaces on either side of the em dash. Had I been using the journalistic style, that sentence would have begun “The differences are small — for example . . .”

Is it hard work? Yes, but it’s work I was born to do. So, as with all the writing I undertake (I now have six books and 17 short stories in print while working on two more books), I find it fulfilling.

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