As I’m reading a ton of books as of late, I chose to come up with a better rating system. It seems more productive to have this in place. So, starting with “Heartsnare,” by Stephen B. Williams, I’m rolling out my new way of reviewing books. It is a fair system to all authors. This is how it will go. I think it’s a great system, and I can still use it for nonfiction. The plot for nonfiction is usually what the author is trying to explain or their point of the title.
- Characters: You either earn a one up to five stars on characters. Are they likable, lovable, redeemable, or relatable? Did they blur the lines with their characters (ex: not all good/bad)? Did they throw in useless characters in the middle of the book with no rhyme nor reason? Did the author accurately spend time with each character to develop them? For SFF (science fiction & fantasy), did the author use abundant character archetypes?
- Plot: Does this novel have a good plot? Five is the most an author can earn for the complexities of their plot devices. Did they use minor and major plots? What’s the purpose of a story if it doesn’t have a plot? I know a lot of authors don’t use plots. But there’s always a plot somewhere in a story even if it’s a minor plot. Is it character or plot-driven? Yes, I’m dissecting all books at this point. I want to say this when I read a book… “Wow! I didn’t see that coming!” If you’re able to do that, I’ll give you a five for this category.
- Book Covers: Does this book cover have anything that pertains to the novel? One to five stars if the book cover accurately depicts what’s happening inside the book.
- Writing: This is very important. Is the author clear? Is it well-written? Do they know their tenses? Did they write in the same tense, or did they change tenses in mid-chapter? Did they use correct grammar and spelling? Did they use too many adverbs? Does any phrase stand out? Is there too much slang? Did the author jump from point of views in one chapter, or did they properly put in a chapter to switch point of views? One to five stars earned for a well-written story. Redundancy… Does it sound like a broken record? Are they showing or telling? A writer should always show and never tell. If character B is a dick, show me why he’s a dick. Give me dialogue as to why he’s a dick. Don’t tell me he’s a dick with no solid evidence.
- Formatting: Are the words falling off the page? Did they use accurate scene and chapter breaks? Is it properly spaced & titled? Formatting can help or trash a good book. How about the table of contents? Is there a table of contents in proper heading 1?
I will take a tally of all five categories and rate each book according to the score. So, if you earned a one on book cover, but scored a five on writing, formatting, plot, and characters; I’ll add up the score. Divide the total number by five and that’s your rating. Let’s try this shall we? 1+5+5+5+5=21/5= 4.2 for a round-down of 4/5 stars. If it’s 4.5, I would round-up to 5/5 stars. They don’t distribute half or partial stars for book reviews.
Diversity doesn’t earn you extra points with me. I love it, but I don’t necessarily need it. All I want is a clear story that takes me there. It needs to flow like water without me trying to decipher what the author is trying to explain.
A book has to be horrific for me to give it a one-star review. Basically, my first rough draft was a bit of a mess. As long as I can read it, I can review it. It has to be worse than the first draft, I stupidly published without editing it at all! Laugh now! Yes, it was my newbie mistake. I took my books off the shelf to properly edit my works. I took many years to study how to write. I don’t bother to edit blogs. But when it comes to my books, I’m on top of that shit. So, unless your book is as bad as that draft of mine, I’ll be okay.