Tips for Writing ABNA Reviews

When I used to teach Creative Writing classes, critiques were often one of the most daunting tasks for students. I know that some people have had questions about how to write a review and what to say. There are countless ways to review, I thought I’d provide a few helpful tips here.

Tips for Writing Reviews of ABNA Excerpts:

1. Don’t read other people’s reviews until you’ve written your own. It would be difficult not to be influenced by others’ words, and you want your review to be authentic.
2. Write down your initial reaction as a reader. Did you enjoy reading the excerpt? Were you drawn in from the first paragraph?
3. Give praise where praise is due. If an author has done something really well, let them know. It’s always nice to hear a little praise. Perhaps they have a strong narrator/protagonist. Maybe they are able to create a vivid setting or their dialogue is realistic.
4. Provide constructive criticism. Think about what did or did not work for you as a reader. What was a source of confusion or disinterest?
5. Don’t criticize the author, criticize the story. It’s all about the work.

Here are a few elements of a novel that you can think about and comment on:

~Did you learn anything from the excerpt?
~Did you gain anything from the experience of reading it?
~Would you recommend this novel to friends? To family?
~Did you have a favorite character? Why or why not?

~Is the story believable (according to its genre, obviously some genres ask you to suspend your disbelief more than others).
~Is some sort of conflict set-up. This can be an external conflict (woman versus mafia) or internal conflict (man must decide what to do with stolen diamond)?

~Does the description paint a vivid enough scene for you? Are there not enough or too many details?
~Does the author rely on too many clichés: avoided her like the plague, eyes blue as the sky (or emerald green for that matter), easy as pie, chip off the old block, etc.

~Are the characters believable? Do they seem too flat and dull, or are they complex like real people?
~Are the details about the characters correct and consistent (if the story is set during the Civil War, do the facts check out)?
~If there is an antagonist, does he or she seem real enough?

~Are the things that people say consistent with their description?
~Were the conversations easy to follow?
~Was the speech natural or did it sound fake?

These are just a few things to think about to get you started. For many of us authors, we welcome the chance to improve our writing nearly as much as we appreciate praise.

Thank you again for downloading my entry and for taking the time to review it. If you are an Amazon customer who hasn’t written a review yet, don’t be shy. Go to: , and download, read, and review!

I would love to hear what you have to say, and I also encourage you to view the other Semifinalist entries at:

Valya Dudycz Lupescu
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist

Web site:

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

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