Daniel G. Taylor's Blog: Notes From Daniel's Writer's Studio - Posts Tagged "daniel-g-taylor"

When I was younger and pounding out thousands of published words a week, people often asked me how I wrote fast.

With my inspiration coming from David A Fryxell's "Write Faster, Write Better" combined with ideas from Jeff Bollow and Theodore A Rees Cheney plus 18 years behind-the-keyboard experience, here's my answer:

1. Outline: Everything has a structure and it changes depending on what form of writing it is. This is to make sure I get the bones right.

2. Near-Perfect First Draft: Because I've done Step One, I can write something that hits my target word count and needs little editing when it's finished.

3. Quick-Edit: But I still have a 3-step editing process. First I read through the whole thing to get an impression. Then I reread and make notes on where I need to make changes. Don't get bogged down in this step.

4. Edit: Instead of getting bogged down in Step Three, get bogged down here. This is where you get the words right, fact check and fill in any gaps.

5. Polish: Proofread it, targeting spelling and grammar and the details. When done, read it once more, aloud this time.
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Published on April 07, 2012 04:40 • 300 views • Tags: daniel-g-taylor, how-to, writing
I've been writing reviews for more than 20 years... movie reviews... theatre reviews... and, of course, book reviews.

For the past eight years, I've also been the reviews editor for several business, investment and self-help magazines.

The blank screen can be overwhelming. So much so that you don't put into words your thoughts about the books you've read.

In my role, I haven't had that luxury. To write reviews fast, I've developed a system. The secret is that reviews have their own structure. Follow the same structure. You'll write readable reviews that cover all the bases.

You won't feel overwhelmed thinking about writing them. You'll know where the finish line is before you start.

Here's the format I follow for 200-word reviews (later I'll show you how to adapt it to longer reviews):

HOOK

OVERVIEW
General
Specific
Specific
Specific

EVALUATION
Claim
Proof
Proof
Proof

RECOMMENDATION

Hook: no matter what you write, your opening has to latch hooks into your reader's eyeballs and reel them into the rest of your piece of writing.

Overview: You want to give readers an idea of what the book's about. Tell part of the story if it's fiction. Describe the sections or chapters if it's non-fiction.

Your first sentence gives the big picture view. Then in the following three sentences you give your reader details that fill out that first sentence.

Evaluation: This is where you give your judgment of how well the author achieved their intent.

Your first sentence makes a claim about the book. "The author's idea's work." Then in the next three sentences, you offer evidence to support your claim. "One way I know her ideas work is that I applied them in my own life... and got results."

Recommendation: Almost every book published through a mainstream publisher will have a home with the right reader. In this final section, you let your reader know who would be a good fit for the book.

So how do you write longer reviews? Simply repeat the structure in the Overview and the Evaluation sections. For 750 word reviews, such as the ones I write for M/C Reviews - 'words', I make two extra general statements about the book and two extra claims. Then I give the details to establish my point.

Reviews are simple and fun to write. They give you a chance to articulate why you're passionate about a book you loved. Or think through the reasons for a book you loathed.

Have fun writing reviews.

Do you have any lingering questions? Ask them in the comments and help this article become a more useful resource.
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Published on December 07, 2014 02:00 • 143 views • Tags: daniel-g-taylor, how-to, reviews, writing-craft

Notes From Daniel's Writer's Studio

Daniel G. Taylor
Random ramblings from a full-time writer, carer and lover.
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