Tuesday, September 4, 2018

[Know The Score] How I score a book review, more than stars are involved.

Professional Reader
Mrs. Y's Book Reviews Scoring System
Hello, all you wonderful reading friends out there who follow me and are interested in my reviews! I'm so glad you joined me today. I get questions about the logic behind my system for grading books by numbers as opposed to stars. 

Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and a few other reviewing sites do something like this. They have the star system, but it aggregates, and to me, the aggregate score is the more clear score to understand how something is. I moved to this system because I felt conflicted by the stars. Sure, I could say something is 5 stars, but what if it had flaws? How could I justify my score without some numbers? 

With that in mind, here is how I make my reviews and grade points for them. Hopefully, this page will help make sense of any of that confusion and bring light to what it is I do when I form my opinion for a review and also get a score. Please understand this is my opinion on something. I do not take that opinion lightly, and I am aware that sometimes my opinion will not get me, friends.

Whole Story

First and foremost, is this a whole and complete story? Meaning does the story have a beginning, middle, and end that resolves the story presented in the manuscript for this specific book. Whether a short story, novella, or novel, every story should have a proper beginning, middle, and end to it.  I realize series have more going on, but the book specifically should have all three. 
Possible 40 points

Story Structure, Foundation, and Presentation

This has everything to do with pacing, tension, act separation, and presentation. Presentation, in this case, is grammar, spelling, and polish in the editing that was put into the book. Examples of what I look for: 

  • Improper comma use
  • Ellipsis confusion with commas, or hyphens
  • The correct spelling for a word, wrong word for the sentence "Her hair was as golden as the son that shown in the sky" Clearly, it's the improper use of Son, not Sun. 
  • Semi-colon's used incorrectly
  • Run-on Sentences
  • Inconsistent spellings of words even made up ones like names. For example: "Brian said hi" and later "Bryan then opened the door"  The Brian we are talking about is the same guy.
  • The wrong word entirely. Irregardless is not a word, for example, regardless is however the correct word.  

Possible 40 points.

Cliche Much? 

Cliche's which are improperly executed remains a big deal to me, and this is the category that covers all of them. From exposition potatoes, deus ex machina and 'oh, of course, that happened because of reasons' situations. This is the category for the "Mary Sue" and "Gary Stu" situations, and all of the other problems that happen in the landscape of literary arts that have cliche names. 

These are generally tired which is why I point it out. Most, but not all, of the worst cliche' offenders  I consider it lazy writing. While I read, I take notes. If there is a lot of problems, the points go down, if there are not, the scores go up.
Possible 10 points

Lost in Translation

This may sound harsh but, I get frustrated by this category. It's a personal pet peeve really. 
Do I have to do research, get a certification from a college, or read another set of books ahead of this one to be able to understand what I have in front of me? 

Can Google tell me what you mean?  
If this book works as a book where I can enjoy it, the points go up. 

Researching slows me down, so if I do not have to do it,  the book will get a higher score. As I mentioned earlier, I believe every story should be self-encapsulating. It's perfectly fine to harken back to previous tales, but if the story is 100% dependant upon those tales to be enjoyed, it also means I cannot pick it out of context. 
Possible 10 points

And that's my point system. What I do is take notes, and I make a list of things. When I am done reading the book, I start to total things. I also go back to pages I noted and verify what I initially put down. From that point, I score. 

Here is how it translates to sites that need stars, like Goodreads or Amazon. 

01 - 29  points is a 1-star review  ⭐
30 - 69  points is a 2-star review  ⭐⭐
70 - 79  points is a 3-star review  ⭐⭐⭐
80 - 89  points is a 4-star review  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
90 -100 points is a 5-star review  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

You may be wondering why the 1 and 2 stars are larger groups of numbers than the 3, 4, and 5. The reason partially is a number to star issue, and partly because most of the reviews I get are 3, 4 and 5. Rarely do I find a book that is so very low it's a 1 or 2. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. 

And that my friends, is my scoring system in a nutshell. 

I hope this clears everything up. Please let me know if you have any questions via my comment form at the top of my blog!

Happy Reading!