• Tabitha Tomala

What's in a Review?


When I started to work towards my BA in English and Creative Writing, I had no idea what I was in for. Each class taught me a bit more about deconstructing books. Taking a look at the mechanics that create the world the reader enjoys and analyzing every little detail.


Did the plot move at the right pace? Was the dialogue realistic? Where were the conflicts? Did they progress the story? I could list so many questions I had to answer when picking apart books to write essays on. As a whole, it taught me how to be a better writer and how to help others. However, there is a downside to it.


I’m afraid to go back and read some of my favorite books from my pre-degree days. My brain is now programmed to pick apart every book I read. To tear it apart and make sure when all the pieces come together, they fit certain criteria. But as much as I fear rereading books like Twilight (I’ll take the plunge someday), my degree is one of the reasons I write books and beta read for authors.

So, I guess I consider my degree a blessing and a curse. (Cliché I know!) But it also means that when I write reviews, I try to be both analytical and entertaining. I want people to know what elements I enjoyed in the book, but I also want to highlight the foundations that made the book work, or not.


And don’t forget I also beta read. 😉 But when beta reading, I become extremely granular with writing mechanics. I don’t take a personal approach to the story like when I review. Instead, I make sure the different parts of the story flow well and make sense to a general reader. It’s always important when beta reading to keep a balance between the author’s vision/style while making sure it is a marketable book a wider audience will enjoy.


Books I Always Recommend for Writers:


Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg


On Writing Well by William Zinsser


On Writing by Stephen King

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