Defining Terms: “At Times…”

I try to be balanced in my reviews and hold off on ranting negatively about books, but I do struggle with how to introduce criticism in my writing. I’ve adopted “at times” as a phrase to introduce criticism in my writing. Does it lighten the affect of the 3* or 2* review? I have used it countless times. At times the pacing, the characters, the descriptions, the execution…

Some of my reviews are done at lists, and for those, I use “Things I loved” and “Things That Were Ok” as my headings. I have also used the phrase, “My criticism lies in…”

How do you introduce the criticism in your reviews? Do you do anything to lessen the blow?

15 thoughts on “Defining Terms: “At Times…”

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  1. I still measure my words carefully when introducing criticism, but probably not as much as before, lol! If a negative aspect isn’t a big deal and only affects a small part of the book, then I think “at times” is perfectly fine though. But for books that really frustrate me, I don’t hold back 😛

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  2. Personally, I hate discouraging anyone from reading anything, so I try to be as objective as possible so, when I wasn’t a fan of something, I prefer to use a compliment sandwich where I couch what I didn’t like between what I thought was done well or at least satisfactorily. I also do a brief wrap up paragraph where I try to focus more on the good stuff. I like to think it softens the blow, especially when I read a book at the author’s request, but authors are often sensitive souls, so it’s not easy.

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