Inquiring Minds Want To Know #25

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A reminder, that if you would like to be involved, just answer the very simple survey here and I’ll consider your question for inclusion in this series of posts. You don’t have to answer the second question but if you leave your name and link I will link to your blog when I respond.

Question: How long does it take you to write reviews? Do you plan the content and/or structure ahead, or do you just “let it flow”?  From TSOG


This question I need to split into two parts because episode reviews and whole series reviews are two different things.

Episode Reviews:

My episode reviews are incredibly reactionary. They are relatively short and mostly end up being drafted within twenty minutes of my first watch through the episode. However, as I do not post the same day – usually, the current My Hero Academia series is my shortest turn around yet – I have given myself time.

And in that time I rewrite, rephrase, remove rants, remove unnecessary details, sometimes go and rewatch the episode, and basically make sure the review says what I want it to say.

However, the let it flow approach is probably the most apt. Despite all the editing and rewrites, I tend to stay relatively true to the initial reactionary writings unless it is actually completely incomprehensible. But I find that is the best way to capture the true mood or spirit of the episode.

Series Reviews:

This is a whole other ball game and again split into two parts. Series reviews that I am writing immediately after a season has ended are much easier as I have all my notes and episode reviews to rely on as well as a myriad of screen caps to look back through. I usually write these reviews about a week after the final episode airs and then schedule it out whenever my next blank space in my review line up is (so could be several weeks later). These reviews are pretty straight forward and mostly I just let them flow.

There are times when I get stuck. Yuri on Ice was such a time and then I fell back on a plus/minus format because I couldn’t write a review. It just kept becoming this gushy love letter and a fan-girl squeal fest.

Still, these reviews are simply approached by noting the main points I came back to time and again while episode reviewing, figuring out what my main point is and whether I enjoyed watching the show or not, and ensuring that I’m being fair to the show because sometimes I don’t like things just because I don’t like them and there’s actually nothing wrong with the show itself (Tsuki ga Kirei). Same for sometimes when I like something just because I do and there’s nothing particularly good about the show (King’s Game).

Being fair doesn’t mean I don’t express my opinion, I just try to balance it with evidence and I do look for positives that other people might find in the anime even if I didn’t enjoy it as well as looking at the obvious flaws of something I quite enjoyed.

Reviews of older anime are usually even more planned out. I’m usually not in a position to fully rewatch these, though sometimes I plan a rewatch so I can review a particular title. These reviews are usually very planned out and I spend time reading through the episode synopses, reminding myself of key scenes, considering the character points I want to raise, and trying to figure out how much I can say before I just cross into blatant spoiler territory.

As to how long it takes to write a review… that entirely depends. Initial drafting of a 500 word review (give or take) usually only takes about ten minutes as long as I have a plan and have thought about what I’m going to say, no comment about how long that process might take sometimes. But then there are a lot of rewrites with full series reviews. Generally speaking, I’ll rewrite it two or three times in its entirety and certain sections may end up with up to five rewrites before I feel it is reasonable.

I’m just going to be thankful that I type fast so as long as I have a solid idea in mind, writing it out doesn’t take too long. It is getting the ideas together and then making sure I’m happy with how I’ve expressed it that takes all the time.


I’d love to know from the rest of the community – what is your approach to reviews?

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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18 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want To Know #25

    1. Yes, my only super skill is typing and reading fast. Someone I know in real life once described the sound of my typing like the sound of rain on the roof.
      As I said, the planning before I start typing takes a lot longer and I’m really kind of not wanting to ever count how much time I spend on that part of the process, but by the time I put my fingers on the keyboard I’ve usually got a very solid idea of exactly what I’m wanting to say and then it is just putting it into the computer.

  1. I accidentally clicked the stupid enter button while trying to ask a damn question; I have to remember to not press the sucker when I’m not writing a new blog post; otherwise, I submit things before I get to finish my thought.

    1. Anyhow, I wanted to ask your thoughts about anime influencers in the community. I’m certain some are good people, but do you think the status sometimes impairs their vision? For example, telling fans which anime series are good or bad; or, the right methods to support the community.

      For me, I having nothing against these people as I enjoy a good amount of their content, but I can’t help shake the notion that many people put too much faith in what they say. Could just be me; I don’t know.

      Would refill the survey, but the sucker won’t let me. Anyways, great post! Reminds me of the problems I face.

      1. Thanks for the question. I’ll add it to the line up. Sorry the survey won’t let you resubmit. I may have to re-set-up the survey if it is doing that to people.

        1. I’ll think you’ll be good. So long as no makes the same mistake as me. Hell, I do this with Facebook almost all the time.

          Love the enter button way too much

  2. For me, I usually just bounce ideas or thoughts in my head as I’m reading/watching. I might jot down a few thoughts (mostly on the translation, as I’ll forget what I had spotted if I don’t), but I usually just do the whole thing in a day or two.

      1. Never paper. Either my iPad if I don’t want to turn on my computer or in the draft of the post if it’s going to be something longer since my scribbles on my iPad are often illegible.

  3. For my reviews, I watch an episode straight-through with no notes. I want to make sure I experience it as a viewer so the work just washes over me. Then, I bring the episode up on the left and the template for my review on the right. By now, I have an idea of which three moments are my favorite (though some shows have so many I end up deleting some!). I replay the episode, noting the time index for my three favorite moments, and describe why they’re my favorite.

    Sometimes, I’ll have an idea of the topic for my thoughts; other times, it comes to me as I write my favorite moments, and I jot notes I’ll flesh out later. After finishing the second viewing, I’ll flesh out my thoughts.

    I wait at least one day for the next edit, because otherwise, I’ll miss too many mistakes. That next edit includes me grabbing screen caps. I also make sure I link to the Reddit discussion of the episode, as well as reviews from other bloggers (including Karandi!).

    I don’t have a lot of time to write. Only weekends and an hour or two during the week, and sometimes my weekends get bumped. So I’ve had to come up with a process that optimizes time but still yields a product that I don’t hate.

    Well, don’t obviously hate. I have the same problem as Karandi — I’ve never written anything I’ve liked! It’s hard to know when to stop rewriting, because, I’d rewrite it forever, too. So the process I came up with had hard cut-offs.

    Anyway, that’s my process, FWIW!

    1. Thanks for sharing your process. I must admit, I try and get screen caps the first time through but when I’m super into a show, that isn’t happening. My Hero Academia is one I regularly need to rewatch after the review is finished to actually get screen caps because that just slipped my mind while watching.

  4. Wow…just…wow. I already knew you workes hard on your posts, but I did not realise it was this hard. This was really insightful and actually it gave me some pause as to how I write my own posts.
    Sometimes I just really struggle with finding something interesting to say. I always like to start my revieuw with something fun to open up with that also has something in common with whatever I am reviewing. But that is hard at times…but I hardly rewrite though. It’s mostly typos that I try to correct, or a sentence that just sounds weird. I also have that problem that a review starts to form in my head when I watch something (which sometimes forces me to rewind what I just watched lol).
    This post only made me respect your work even more (and I did not think that was even possible anymore at this point 😀)

    1. I’m one of those people who never likes what I write. I’ll rewrite something forever if I could and never do anything with it. Blogging has been great for me because it forces me to decide that something will have to do (time constraints and a need to work on the next thing). I’ve definitely noticed less rewrites and more just heavy edits and reorganisation as I have moved into the second year on the blog (though I’m still not above deleting and rewriting large chunks of post drafts when I’ve got the time). I’ve also finally moved away from staring at the white screen with the cursor blinking without being able to get started. I now just write, knowing that no matter what, I’ll probably change it anyway so I might as well put something on the screen. That said, if I could I would go back and rewrite literally every post I’ve ever published.

      1. Really? Do you even know how awesome your writing is? Well…I will make it clear to you in an upcoming post by the end of the month (In case you thought I forgot…I promised to do a book review for a book written by this amazing person and writer called Karandi, you may have heard of her 😀).
        Seriously though…I am my own worst critic as well, and am rarely completely happy with my posts, so I guess I know a little bit about what you mean. Still though: you have nothing to worry about: your 2000 plus followers only prove my point even more 😊

        1. I think being critical of your own work is important to improvement, but it needs to be balanced because too much criticism is paralysing. Blogging is definitely helping me find a bit of a balance with this.

          1. Could not agree with you more on that: and it’s certainly something that I have learned here as well. Another thing to add to the never ending list of things we learned from blogging 😊😊

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