Some more writing advice: using negative reviews and rants to write better stories

I’m posting writing advice again. I don’t know why, but I’ve been really into writing advice posts lately, so I also feel like making them.

Today I’m going to talk about how to use negative reviews and rants to make your story better. I don’t mean reviews of your own story – I mean reviews of books that are completely unrelated to your writing. There’s a Booktuber called Sam (you can check out her channel over at Thoughts on Tomes) who does book chats and gripe reviews. In her book chats, she discusses things she likes and doesn’t like about books in general, and in her gripe reviews she rants about a specific book she really didn’t like. These two types of videos are extremely helpful when you’re writing your own story, because you get to listen to someone say exactly what they don’t wanna see in a book, and it can make you reconsider a lot of your ideas.

Now, an opinion should not make you completely change your story. That’s not what this is about. But maybe you have an abusive relationship in your story and you don’t even know that it’s abusive, so you’re making it all romantic. Book chats and negative reviews will often mention stuff like that, and they can help you find problems in your story that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. These videos are really helpful in making you recognise aspects of your writing that are problematic and that perhaps you should work on.

I think the best reviews to look at are of books you haven’t read. If you’ve read the book that is being reviewed, you will have your own opinion, and if you actually like the book and the reviewer is ranting about it, the video won’t help you and will instead make you angry. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

So what I think you should do is find Booktubers and/or bloggers who are especially good at finding problematic things in stories, and listen to them. Listen to what bothers them and consider if that’s what you’re writing. Apart from Sam, another Booktuber who does a fantastic job at reviewing books critically is Cece at Problems of a Book Nerd.

Now I’d like to ask the writers out there – do you find that book reviews help you write better stories? Or do they have no effect on your writing whatsoever? I’d love to know.


‘Till next time and happy reading!



12 thoughts on “Some more writing advice: using negative reviews and rants to write better stories

  1. Oh wow, you’ve basically summed up my thoughts here! Reading rants and rave reviews have helped me so much with my own writing. Sometimes book bloggers/ booktubers point out such obvious issues that you may have overlooked. Part of the reason I started blogging was to be critical about the books I read, and read reviews that offer different interpretations. Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t comment on this from a writer’s perspective, but well constructed and put together rant are some of my favourite types of reviews to read. I find them so interesting. I absolutely love Sam’s gripe videos! They’re so good. I’ll have to check out Cece’s channel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I love reading them! I take everything very personally, which I know I shouldn’t, so I usually only watch/read rants of books I haven’t read or didn’t like. 😀
      You should definitely check out her channel! She’s fantastic at pointing out problematic things in books and she’s super sweet and likable.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Using negative reviews is definitely good to gain some insights into what might be wrong with some stories. So is reading bad books actually. Learn from other’s mistakes, right? But there is also a risk of overdoing it. At least I did in my case. One of the most common criticism of fantasy books like asoiaf and wheel of time is that they are overly descriptive. I took this to heart and always tried to rein myself in when I’m describing something. I overdid it and ended up with the white room problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great advice! When I was writing my first novel, I consulted a lot of literary blogs and literary agents websites to see what they liked and disliked so I could avoid them. I’ll have to check out YouTube. Booktubing is still new to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post!

    The whole intention of my blog is to help myself and other writers craft better books, through the in-depth critique of what’s already been published. So yeah, I’m 100% in support of everything you just said. 😀

    I’ve never seen Sam’s videos, but I’ve bookmarked them now. Thanks for pointing them out!

    Liked by 1 person

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