Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Else Do You Say Once You've Said It?

That's what I'd like to know.
I've covered the basics and even provided examples.
Other than reviewers re-visiting to refresh their understanding of
reviews, what else is there to say?

What should this blog focus on now? I don't want to be a broken record - remember those? LOL - someday, most people won't.

How about if you ask me some questions? What would you like to see on this blog? What opinions have I stated that you'd like clarification on?

I'm game for a Q & A session.

I could also use this blog as a glorified self-promotion of the reviews that I do for LASR and Whipped Cream Reviews but it'd be so one-sided, where's the fun in that?

I know.

How about the subject of reviewing anthologies!
I really would enjoy a discussion on the best way to approach reviewing them.

I don't know if it's this way for all review sites but anthologies tend to scare the bejeebies out of reviewers. Reading them is all fine and dandy. I found a lot of the authors I read now via anthologies - Nancy Warren and Lori Foster come to mind.

But reviewing them? Yikes. Those are the types of books that tend to languish the longest. I think they can be overwhelming. I once read an erotic anthology of twenty-one stories. And no, I did not review it. Even I was wary of doing it. Where to start and how do you rate a book when perhaps six out of them tanked while some were stellar and some were mediocre reading? How can a reviewer do justice to each individual story within the anthology without ending up writing their own book about the book?

And how many is too many to expect a reviewer to review? Two? Three?

What should the format look like? What has worked for other reviewers?

And get this. Since anthologies have limited blurb space as well, a reviewer actually has to allude to a brief synopsis to explain the story within the book. How crazy is that! I've said NO SYNOPSIS for all reviews and I'm admitting that there is a loophole.

I think it's the only time a small, and I do mean small, bit of synopsistic - is that even a word? -  or synopsised?  - sharing is allowed.

Did you just faint? LOL
Yes, I did say it was alright for a small bit of synopsis to help with an anthology review. But Spoilers are still a major no-no. There are no loopholes for those.

So, again I ask you, what is the successful format for reviewing an anthology. Anyone want to share their thoughts/opinions?

Let me know.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

I review anthologies/collections all the time and it is not much different than doing a novel. Just don't give away too much.

The way I do it for big books is pick several and write about my favorites. If there are half a dozen to a dozen stories, I may choose to write a little something on each one.


Xeranthemum said...

I'm thrilled to see your comment.

So, for instance, that huge anthology I referred to that stymied me, you would have picked the best few to mention in the review? I like that - takes the pressure off on doing every single one.
However, for ratings - we have 2 1/2 to 5 (5 being stellar good) - in what way would you lean towards rating it? Law of Averages?

I know it's an extreme example since most have two to four stories on average, but I was curious as to how you'd handle it.

And...can we clone you? **VBG**
Your review site is lucky to have you - a person who finds no qualms about tackling the big stuff.
Kudos to you!!

And again, thank you for your input, Kevin.

Stormy said...

Xer, I love to read anothologies but I don't run to choose them for reviews. Having said that, I reviewed a six story anthology recently and opted to not break down each story. Mostly because I was fortunate enough to get six really great writers with no major problems with any of the stories. Instead, I gave my overall impression of the stories as a single collection. I felt like the blurbs that were given for each story was more than enough of a teaser to the stories themselves anything else I might have added would just have been either retelling the blurb or giving away to much of the story.

Sherry Gloag said...

I have reviewed anthologies, and took advice from the review site owners. In the end it was agreed that individual reviews were fine, because ~ in this case ~ one author- three stories.
I have also reviewed multi author anthologies, but as you say, they are much harder.

Xeranthemum said...

LOL- Stormy I don't run to choose them for reviews -- nor do I. :-)

However, sometimes there are authors I can't ignore and I have to read that anthology because they are there. Which, I think, is the point.

You were so fortunate to find an anthology that was all good. AND one that had blurbs with enough information to be able to summarize like that. I've had many where each story had a two to three sentence mention. Those don't help a reviewer at all.
But you described a perfect scenario. Wish there were more of those. :-)

And yeah, giving away too much is always a bad thing.

Thanks for your comment!

Xeranthemum said...

Hi, Sherry!

I love review site owners who know what's what. :-)

And I'm happy to hear you've experienced writing successful anthology reviews. Yay!

I just did a book that had three individual romances within one story arc so it sort of was and wasn't an anthology. It's a challenge to touch base on each one and then give an overall feel for the book in its entirety.

It's those kinds of situations that keep a reviewer on her/his toes. And keep our reviews from sounding formulaic.

Thanks for stopping by!