The Professional & Consumer Merits of Writing Your Own Synopses – A Discussion

Being a book and anime blogger can be extremely challenging, especially when one is first starting out. I remember when I initially began writing reviews for books in 2015. About a year afterwards, I became so intimidated by the whole entire process (something that I had turned into a big, grisly beast in my mind) that I ended up taking a break for a few months. I did some research on popular blogs and YouTube channels, and even looked up guides on what makes a good review. Then in December 2016 to January 2017, I decided to give it a second shot. Shortly after that, I began adding anime content. Out of everything that I have experienced since starting BiblioNyan, writing synopses for content that I consume was the most difficult yet beneficial thing I’ve learned.

One of the first things I discovered when it came to having one’s own space for content creating is to have something that sets you apart from the rest. Back in January 2017, I decided that writing my own synopsis for a book or anime would be my unique thing. So many creators that I was following didn’t even bother with it. They usually opted for copying the snippets off sites like GoodReads or AniList and My Anime List (MAL). While there’s nothing really wrong with this, I discovered that as a consumer, whenever I saw a copied and pasted summary, my brain immediately checked out of the review and I couldn’t focus on the rest of the write-up at all, no matter how much I tried. I didn’t want to have that sort of ambiance on BiblioNyan, and that’s why I began to practise the shite out of writing my own synopses for everything that I read and watched.

Another thought process that had steeped its way deep into the darkest corners of my brain was this: if I can’t come up with a mere handful of sentences to describe what I just read or watched (with respect to summarising, not opinions), then how am I going to be able to string together a cohesive and engaging enough review or discussion for said media? Shouldn’t a writer be able to, at the very least, write a basic summation?

I know that I’m definitely in the minority with this subject matter. I’ve lost count of how many bloggers out there choose to copy and paste their abstracts rather than to try and piece one together themselves. Many of them say that they are terrible at summarising things and aren’t always sure of whether they’re giving away too much information or not. Others just find the task to be extremely daunting and pointless, and would rather cut to the reviewing part of their posts. Some are just lazy (which I can relate to a lot, unfortunately).

So, I’m sure that this discussion will probably ruffle more than a few feathers. Even so, before I jump into the meat of this chat, I do want to make a point of stating that I’m not here to be disrespectful or to cause drama. Frankly, I’m too old and too damn busy for that shite. I’ve been a blogger for about six-ish years now, and the simple act of putting together a little snippet has taught me a lot about blogging as both a creator and a consumer, not to mention the numerous benefits I’ve reaped as a writer outside of the blogsphere. But they are all my own opinions and musings. As I mentioned, I’m not here to be an asshole. I completely respect that everyone has their own subjective processes and experiences, and I’m only going to ask for the same respectful understanding in return.

Anyhoo, with that disclosure out of the way, let’s talk about the merits of writing your own synopses for books and media, and how it’s much more professional to do so for both content creators and consumers of entertainment!

My Personal Challenges with Synopsis Writing:

When I first began doing this (specifically with books), I fucking sucked at it. It was intimidating and since it was how I started most, if not all, of my posts, I’d be stuck staring at the screen for hours on end. Because of the way my mind works (thank you ADHD, autism, and anxiety), if I can’t have a perfect beginning, I’ll never make it to the middle or end. My snippets would always be way too detailed and long-winded, or they wouldn’t have enough information in them to help a reader properly understand what they were getting into it. Other reasons I felt frustrated with it was the godawful fear of giving away major spoilers, especially when they happen right smack dab in the beginning of the book. A lot of shocking shit can occur in the first few pages of a psychological thriller, for example, and if I just splay it open in my review, there would be no incentive for the reader to pick it up because the “thrill” aspect of the thriller would be utterly demolished (you won’t believe how many people do this!!!).

Nevertheless, no matter how much I struggled with it, including all of the raging and cursing, I kept with it. I knew that I could either be uncomfortable and awkward with writing synopses and use that as an excuse to give up, which would also make me feel like a colossally inauthentic reviewer, or I could practise, practise, practise and slowly hone my skill at it, which would also make me a better writer. Out of all the feelings that I had inside of me creating this dark twisty pit of despair, feeling like a fake or like I was half-arsing my reviews was the worst of them. I hated that feeling more than intimidation or fear. I don’t like being callous and careless with things that I’m supremely passionate about. If I’m going to treat it like some boring homework assignment or dumbass chore then what’s the point of me picking it up?

Lastly, I didn’t want this to negatively impact the professionalism of my work. My blog is definitely a personal space for me to rant or rave vehemently about things I enjoy, but I also wanted it to be a professional space I could refer to when the situation calls for it, which it most definitely did when Uni came knocking on my door last year. My goal is to become a writer of books, a translator of Japanese fiction, and an academic of something very specific in the very near future. Copying a synopsis from GoodReads or AniList is extremely unprofessional and shows an incredible lack of work ethic that I didn’t want to display on BiblioNyan.

So, I sucked it up and wrote all of the terrible synopses that I could until they weren’t so damn terrible anymore. The progress of getting started with it and forcing myself to write something based off entirely my own experiences and memory of the content consumed was appalling. More often than not, I found myself looking up certain details to ensure they weren’t spoilers, or to make sure that I wasn’t confusing one book with another (happens when I read from the same genre simultaneously, which is why I no longer do this). On top of that, my summaries were boring due to how protracted they became. I felt discouraged, but I kept going and kept practising. With each new synopsis that I wrote, I became better and better. Now, I can drop a snippet in one’s lap with two to three sentences tops, while lighting a ciggy like I’m Bunta motherfucking Fujiwara. I’m proud of my ability to do this because I worked my goddamn arse off to get to this point.

Sharing Links versus Straight Copy-and-Paste

I’ve seen a lot of discourse on this around the (mostly bookish) blogging community. Why is it okay to share a link to a book’s GR page, but not to copy a synopsis for it, even if it’s cited? Or why is it okay to link to an AniList page, but not use the AniList’s synopses?

The first and (personally) most important reason I can offer is that it’s plagiarism. It is stealing the words written by another person, sometimes the marketing department of publishers, and then using it for your own benefit, especially if you have a monetised platform. On AniList, the synopsis for a title is typically taken from news sources, such as Anime News Network, or it’s written by moderators of the website. We do also get straight-from-the-production-company snippets, which is nice. Even so, it’s stealing. For example, if the AniList snippet was taken from Anime News Network and you’re only citing AniList (they almost always list their source), then you’re plagiarising Anime News Network, whether you realise it or not.

Then there’s the argument (for GR specifically) that the summaries are in quotation marks and listed as being from GoodReads. It’s not plagiarism if it’s done that way. Technically yes, but also not always. I used to be a Librarian and moderator for the GR website. Anyone who had librarian status could alter the snippets for the books without it really being challenged at all, and I’ve seen on numerous occasions where the summaries were altered by users (usually taken from reviewers). They weren’t the same as the back of the book (or inside flap or found on publisher’s website) as they were supposed to be, and I hated it. People who copy and paste that could be stealing from others and not even fucking know it.

The second reason—and one that may get people yelling at me—is that it’s a total waste of blogspace. The information found on GR and AniList can be found by anyone if they run a basic internet search for the titles. By providing access to the links to respective pages, one assists in saving the consumer’s time and energy, however, if one straight-up copies the information word-for-word, then it’s nothing more than a fluffer to the rest of the content to come (yes, all the puns). It also makes the rest of the review or discussion feel incredibly inauthentic, impersonal, and even a touch dishonest. Usually when people go looking for reviews, they are seeking something personal and candid about the work in question; subjective perspectives that can give them keen insight they won’t find on commercial communities like GoodReads or Amazon.

When I read reviews as a consumer, and the synopsis isn’t cited until the end of the post (literally stating that it was copied from GR), it makes me question everything else that I’ve read in the review up to that point, and whether it truly is a reliable representation of the person’s intimate perspective on the novel they consumed.

If you need more reasons as to the why and why not of writing your own shticks, well… Here are plenty of professional reasons as to why one should write their own snippets, just as there are consumer merits behind reading said personalised snippets. Let’s take a look at those. (Using books as the main example to keep things simple.)

The Values as a Reviewer & Content Creator:

🖋️ Plagiarism: I’ve already touched base with the first one. If a person can copy a synopsis, then they can copy a full review from another individual. While this isn’t that common, it has happened and is happening more and more frequently. I have seen reviews on GoodReads written by amazing people who choose to review solely on GR, have their content stolen and pasted on blogs who then claim that work as their own. It’s deceitful, indolent, and erroneous, not to mention extremely fucking wrong.

🖋️ Professionalism: It is exceedingly unprofessional to read someone else’s words on a personal book review that is supposed to be based off of a single person’s experiences and responses with the book in question. If you read a review from a source such as The New York Times, you will see that the basic outline of what happens in the narrative is never copied; it is always stated in the reviewer’s own words. Sometimes key phrases may be taken, but never the entire synopsis. It illustrates a disregard for the quality of the review being written, while also coming off as inherently amateurish, and can also be indicative of them either not understanding, or not wanting truly to discuss the work in question.

🖋️ Individuality: A synopsis can be the gateway to help other content creators in understanding how a reviewer processes the books that they read. Every reader who reads the same title experiences it differently, and this can be exhibited in the specific synopses written. For the novel, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Person A can say, “It’s about a brown-skinned girl who was oppressed, but discovers she has badass powers that she then uses to try and save her family.” Person B can say, “It’s a fantasy story inspired by South Asian culture that revolves around strong females on different sides of a political shitstorm.” Person C can say, “It’s about a girl and a boy on opposite sides of a war, set in a South Asian-inspired fantasy world, where they have to fight everything that they’ve been taught so they bring peace to the realm, which includes falling in love.” Each of those synopses is different in its own way and reveals the different ways an individual reader absorbs the same narrative. This is especially important when it comes to diverse books and #OwnVoices reviews of those books (e.g.: a Chinese teen reviewer who reviews a Chinese YA story).

🖋️ Takes out marketing bullshite: Snippets provided via the publisher are written to be charming and to draw readers into the things they are trying to sell. Because of that, they can be unreliable themselves. I have read many books where the synopsis was nothing like the actual, physical story that unfolded, or it completely gave away the big spoilers without me realising it (until I was reading it). It infuriated me. By sharing the happenings in our own words, we are providing a more trustworthy source of information without having to worry about it being some sort of marketing gimmick (unless openly stated, of course).

🖋️ Consistent blogging and writing development: Learning how to write a synopsis and then practising it over and over and over again with every book that I read helped me become great at writing them. I was horrendous at pulling together a synopsis when I began. Saying that a reviewer doesn’t like writing a synopsis because they’re terrible at them isn’t really a good reason because they can always improve if they’re willing to put in the time and hard effort. Synopses writing also helped me learn how to be more succinct with blogging, as well as with academic papers with tight word count limitations. It taught me where I needed to be more detailed and where being vague was far more beneficial; it showed me how to avoid talking about spoilers while still allowing myself to discuss critical elements; and most of it all, it helped me find a comfortable blogging voice and rhythm that is uniquely my own.

The Significances as a Consumer and Connoisseur

🖋️ Spoiler-Free! As I briefly mentioned (ranted) above, snippets found on the inside flaps or the back covers tend to give it all away, especially in recent years. When an interesting title catches my attention, I don’t want to know every single fucking thing about it, otherwise the mystery and enjoyment factor is stripped away entirely (for me). The most basic and simplified ideas are the best, and that way there is room for me to be shocked and space for me to utterly invested. Writing my own synopsis has taught me how to pay closer and more critical attention to the stories that I read so that when I do concoct my own abstracts, I know exactly what to avoid and how to keep things basic yet alluring. Most readers and consumers (including me) don’t want spoilers when we look up reviews. We want the gist of what to expect narratively, and then how the reader felt after reading that particular book. Did it make you mad, sad, contemplative, connect to cultures, etc. etc.

🖋️ Content warnings: Content warnings are a source of great strife for many people. A lot of readers want it and feel it’s incredibly necessary (I agree wholeheartedly, as someone who has severe PTSD), while other folx feel it’s unnecessary and can tread into spoiler territory. Very, very few publishers and authors opt to include a list of content warnings in their books, so it’s up to the reviewers to help shine a light on them whenever possible. In 2021, I have begun adding content warnings to everything that I review or talk about because I have experienced how vital they are to the things I consume, and I want to be respectful to the people who visit my blog space. As a consumer, I actively go searching for content warnings on books, anime, films, and more, and when I can’t find them, it’s so excruciatingly frustrating and disheartening. If I know a book has graphic scenes of cat torture or death, for example, or domestic violence, I will avoid it as much as I can. Those are humongous triggers for me. When it’s brought up, I can take comfort in knowing that I can pass those books (and media) up and move on to the next. (I mention this because I have seen reviewers who include the content warnings right after their snippets and it’s always such a welcome.)

🖋️ Variety: I will admit something: if a review has a snippet that is taken off GR, I won’t read it, most of the time. The only exceptions I make are for close, personal friends, and even then, they have to be chatting about a book that I’m really interested in. It is boring, unimaginative, and excruciatingly repetitive. I don’t want to read the same exact fucking snippet three or four times. I like to read multiple reviews for a book to gauge the different ways it’s been perceived. Everybody reacts differently to the same stories, and seeing how individuals can have extremely varying opinions on a single book will usually make that book more interesting for me. Different synopses help keep things fresh and they add variety to a consumer’s research, which is far more important than it may seem.

🖋️ Discover new bloggers/content creators: Before I ever became a content creator myself, I read blog posts. I had subscribed to many different bloggers and would thrive off their content. It helped me gain more confidence when it came time for me to start my own dive into blogging. It also helped me maintain a list of unfailing sources to turn to when I would go shopping after all my bills were paid. People who take the time to write their own synopses, usually have far more entertaining and insightful posts across the board outside of the reviews. They also tend to think outside of the box and create unique content. I find them to be highly intelligent and engaging, and usually the comments section on their blogs will help me find more similar bloggers. It’s a kooky kind of chain that is pretty amazing. If a reviewer copies content, then I know to avoid them because then I will more than likely not enjoy their other overall content, or take them as seriously as much as others.

Exceptions??

The only real exception is when someone is putting together a To-Be-Read or To-Be-Watched list, as they won’t really have the necessary information to toss together their own synopses at this point. As a consumer, when I read these particular posts, I don’t have much expectation beyond curiosity and gauging similarities and differences in watching and reading tastes. As a blogger, though, it’s a bit of a different story.

I will skim the book’s snippets, while avoiding as much of the spoilers as I can, and then think of a couple sentences to describe the book in my own words. Even when I don’t know what the hell to expect, I still make the effort to personalise everything. If I don’t want to know anything about a book at all (usually how I go into fantasy, sci-fi, and horror), then I will be upfront about it in my TBR post and then share links to publishers’ websites and GoodReads pages for anyone that wishes to know more on their own time.

With that, I bring my ginormous discussion of why content creators should write their own synopses to a close. I know that a lot of people may be pissed off or feeling negatively upon reading this novel-sized chat. Nonetheless, my goal isn’t to attack anyone. My personal feelings are quite strong on the subject and I felt like sharing these thoughts with you all. Madame Gabs referred to synopsis copying as my pet peeve, and honestly, she wouldn’t be too far off the mark. I suppose it’s a concept I simply don’t understand, and I feel that it can be an incredible waste of some amazing potential out there.

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44 thoughts on “The Professional & Consumer Merits of Writing Your Own Synopses – A Discussion

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  4. Not gonna lie, I have never considered just copying or linking to MAL, MDL (MyDramaList), etc as plagiarism. I also didn’t fully realize those descriptions were submitted by fans until for MDL I started writing them myself! I don’t feel the need to defend myself, but the times I copied I was more or less trying to jump into writing without forgetting to talk story, etc. Retrospectively, I’ve held off on reviewing things exactly because I couldn’t write a synopsis. Was I actually paying attention to a story or just want to be the first one to comment on it? There’s more self reflection to be done on my part, but seeing the differences you articulated here is really important.

    You’ve articulated a lot of good points and I’m really glad you took the time to write about them throughly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been studying plagiarism quite a bit in-depth for one of my classes, and that’s when I made the co-relation between the two. I even had a discussion with my teacher and another blogger about it. Once we started chatting, it started to make a whole lot more sense as an act of plagiarism. So, that’s probably more from an academic POV than a professional one.

      I’ll admit that writing a synopsis for anime is what gets me the most. Sometimes I will hold off on writing a review for weeks or even a month because I can’t get the synopsis right (in my head or to fit my review). That’s when I learned to write out the rest of my review regardless so that i don’t lose the points I originally wanted to discuss, and then I can mould the synopsis around that to an extent. It has helped me out quite a bit. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me! Appreciate it very much. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ohh~ That actually sounds like a really intersting point to articulate in a class. I had the ‘don’t do it, have someone double check if you’re not sure’ but not in-depth between a teacher and such. I’ve always considered academic and professional to be linked, you have to source an academic paper to be published, and vice versa. That might just be my opinion though.

        It’s so difficult! I’ve been doing better to at least jot down crib notes for what I want to say. I have a hard time doing things ‘out of order’ so to speak. But I’ll take this into more consideration in the future!

        You’re so welcome! Having these discussions is so intersting!

        Like

  5. For the (very few) reviews I have, I’ve written my own synopses because of your “copping out” reason, but to be honest, I’d never thought of plagiarism ramifications.

    I tend to forget about trigger warnings but I do have a tl;dr and “anything else?” at the end of my reviews which tends to cover the same kind of ground, if it’s not being retroactively added.

    The first thing I do when I hear of some type of media I’ve never heard of before, anime, manga or whatever, is to Google it and/or read the synopsis provided on the page I discovered it on. This way, if I encounter something I don’t want to encounter again (for instance, UzaMaid from last year), I can dodge it, and that automatically means I can skip future encounters with a copied synopsis as well.

    The only flaw with knowing what stuff is the occasional “confusing similar things” scenario like Bermuda Triangle: Colorful Pastrale and Pastel Memories (both winter 2019 shows about CGDCT based off a game of some kind), so if I get pissed off at how much I get confused and they’re both available to me, I just toss them both onto my PTW…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, for most media I consume, I like to know very little about it, so I purposely avoid looking it up if I can, unless I need to for a specific reason. I’ve been learning that I’m slightly in the minority for that kind of thing, which isn’t a bad thing, just interesting to me.

      I don’t think I’ve heard of or seen anything on Bermuda Triangle, and if they’re based off games, I might avoid them, at least for now.

      Thanks for sharing your processes and thoughts. It means a lot to me. 🙂

      Like

  6. Isn’t using someone else’s synopsis a kind of summary plagiarism? (That’s a pun.)

    If you want to use the MAL synopsis, you need to attribute. Of course, if you just take the MAL synopsis and reword it, you haven’t given me anything I didn’t already know. Why should I read your review on top of all my other reading? I feel a tiny bit cheated.

    I admit I don’t remember all the character’s names. I don’t do that for people either so I shouldn’t expect to be any better at that in anime. Instead, I’ll go hit up the wiki site for a name. The plot and thematic elements I can usually keep straight if it is interesting.

    I’ll usually watch an anime twice, once for the plot and once for screenshots and anything I might have missed the first time. Constantly stopping for screen grabs disrupts the flow.

    Lately, my creative and analytical juices just have not been flowing. I can see it in my writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so terrible with remembering characters’ names as well. I almost always have to look up the names. Unless I’m ranting about how terrible the show was. Then I’ll just give them a nickname of sorts since it fits the ranting.

      I love to re-watch anime. I feel that the second impression is always more valuable than the first one, and as you’ve said, it makes it easier to get the screenshots without disrupting the flow whilst watching the first time around.

      I took a break (quite a few breaks over the past few months) because my creativity was so lacking. I say take your time and don’t worry too much about being absent. I’ll be here waiting for you when you return and feel more comfortable/better about your writing. 🙂

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  7. I think you made some great points there and I mostly agree with them. When I copy the synopsis from Goodreads, I do feel as if I’m coping out or being lazy. In many cases, I am. However, I do read them first to make sure they actually discuss what happens in the story. Sometimes the synopsis on Goodreads doesn’t do a great job of stating what the story is about or it gives too much away. In those cases, I often just write my own.
    It is hard to write one’s own synopsis, especially of long, detailed books. I agree that a person can get better with practice because I did too, but these days I totally just cop out and post what’s on Goodreads. However, you post here has made me want to challenge myself a bit and start writing my own synopsis again (or at least do it more often than I usually do). When I just started my blog, my intention was to always write my own synopsis because the one on Goodreads, which is often the same as what appears on the book cover, does not always give me the details I want. I’d always get those details from bloggers who wrote their own synopsis, so I wanted to do the same. Obviously, I’ve deviated from that goal since starting the blog, but I’d like to shimmy back to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad that my discussion makes you want to challenge yourself a bit more and try to get back to trying to write your own synopses. It really does make a world of difference for so many reasons. I wish you all the best with that.

      Thanks for taking the time share your thoughts and experiences. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Writing the synopsis is my favourite part of writing reviews. Not only does it allow me to use my very few creative skills but I find it helps to contextualize the review for readers who have seen the show. That one paragraph will show them my personal take aways and impressions on a series which will make my subsequent thoughts easier to understand in contrast of their own experiences….

    Like if I got into my drinking game to much and half the plot went over my head, they’ll be able to tell right away 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely, and it’s one of the reasons you’re a fave aniblogger of mine. It really fits your persona and the individuality of your blog. I respect that and admire that a lot. 🙂

      That’s another great thing you pointed out. For people who’ve already seen the anime (or read a book), the way you write the synopsis can contextualise the material in very engaging ways. I’ve noticed that when this happens, it helps open up new lines of thought that probably hadn’t occurred to me before.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment, Irina. I really appreciate. Also, Sir Betrothed is trying to convince me to do a drink-and-review type o’ post. I may have to refer to you on that since I don’t know much about booze at all, haha. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t say that I’ve ever been put of by people using Mal synopses on their posts, but I’ve never done it myself for a lot of the reasons you describe. I’ve always written posts so I can get a better understanding of what I’ve just watched, though I do check with other synopses to make sure it’s somewhat consistent and didn’t interpret what I saw incorrectly.

    This is a great post, Neha 😁.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also double-check my synopsis sometimes when I’m not sure if I’ve captured things correctly. I know I did that when I wrote a review for the anime series Code Geass. It was one of my first anime reviews and I wasn’t sure how to word everything properly. I ended up scrapping the review because I wanted to take a totally different direction, but the point is, that it can be hard sometimes. There is a science-fiction book called The Fifth Season that everyone who reviewed it gave away the biggest spoiler for it because they copied the synopsis off GR, or mentioned the big twist right off the bat, and it killed my interest for it. That’s why I practise writing it so much, even if I don’t review the book/cinema title, I’ll write a synopsis down to keep myself practising. I’ve learned that being vague isn’t a bad thing either.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was a difficult post to write, but one I feel very passionate about. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The reason I follow you is explained perfectly in this blog, you are human and it shows through your writing. I have decided to follow only blogs I will read every time they are posted, this shows it is a good decision. Great blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I also always make it a point to write my own synopsis for reviews, and I find reviews that simply copy the back’s blurb/the synopis on GR (or wherever else) to be extremely off-puting as well. I want to know what people thought of the book, in their own words, not what I can easily get from any given website. As you’ve mentioned, someone’s individuality can really shine through when people write their own synopsis.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! I have a couple of book blogger friends who had read the same book and their snippets were so different from one another. It was very intriguing because, not only does it show their uniqueness as bloggers, as you mentioned, but it gives insight into what they thought about it persoanlly. One person referred to some harmful content in their synopsis, while the other touched base on a specific theme. I love that; it shows how multi-faceted individuality is, and it’s one of the things that made me want to be a blogger.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’m very appreciative.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Great post!
    I perfectly understand your point of you even if I tend to use synopsis from MAL on my post. I do give credit and I always put it into quotation mark to show that it’s not my words. The reason why I do this it’s cause I always struggle to summarize something without giving away any spoilers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, avoiding spoilers is something I still struggle with, especially with anime/drama/cinema content, so I do completely understand that. I feel it’s even harder when you have a super complex plot, where listing even the name of one character can actually be a spoiler later on in the series.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Excellent and daring post, I appreciate your willingness to stick to your guns and let people know why it is important to try and write your own synopsis. As a consumer I don’t want to read the same thing I can just look up on another site, I want to know in your own words what the book/anime/what have you meant to you as the reviewer. Thank you for sharing and keep it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your support!

      As a consumer, I also vehemently concur with you. Reading the same thing that I can just Google (or Bing–do people still do that?) over and over again can become immensely frustrating, and makes me not want to engage with the content; this was all before I ever became a blogger. I used my experiences as a consumer to mould my blog, and reviews to stay specific to the topic, so I think because I’ve always had issues with it, being a content creator has only exasperated my frustrations with it, if that makes sense.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment! ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  14. You’ve made lots of interesting points, Neha! As I’m sure you know, I do use the Goodreads synopses when reviewing books. I guess I do that for a couple of reasons – I have a terrible memory, so I often can’t remember what happens in a book even a week after I’ve read it (let alone what the main characters names are!) so it is just a lot easier for me to use the synopsis. I’m also, to be quite blunt, very lazy. If an okay synopsis is on Goodreads, for me it feels like a misuse of my time to be re-wording it for my blog. I also think it’s sometimes interesting to use the ‘proper’ synopsis of a book and then contrast it to my thoughts – e.g. in my recent review of In at the Deep End, I contrasted the buzzwords in the synopsis (romp, raunchy, etc.) to what I thought (that it was a funny but hard-hitting read).

    However, I am totally taking on board your comments about where to place the trigger warnings. I think I usually put them at the end of the post because I didn’t know where else to put them, but you’re right, I should put them after the synopsis. Thanks for bringing this up, I hadn’t considered it before.

    Hearing about your pet peeves is really interesting. What other blogging-related ones do you have?

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    • The only “proper” synopsis would be the one the publisher uses on the back or inside jacket of the book. But in the review process the proper one is what the book meant to you. Have you tried writing down your thoughts as you are reading for recall later?

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    • My memory tends to be pretty bad too, or my brain gets confused with complex stories. One of the things that I do, which I think someone else mentioned below, is to take notes while I’m reading so that I have something to refer back to when I get ready to do my reviews. I’ll confess that speaking out a synopsis is much harder for me (like on BookTube) than writing one for my blog, but practise is the only reason I came to find common ground with it. For BookTube, I just don’t do face-to-camera book reviews any more. They’re more podcast style, which has helped immensely for my anxiety.

      My personal experience with it, after lots and lots of review writing–and I say this as someone who is also very lazy–is that putting together my own synopsis actually takes me less time than it would to copy a GR one and format it into my review. Again, this is a wholly personal thing. I have literally clocked myself doing it a few times for out of sheer curiosity and it saves me a good five or ten minutes, depending on the book (or anime) and size of the synopsis. Not to mention, I always have to edit out all of the spoiler stuff on GR/MAL ones, which is furthermore not worth the effort to me.

      I actually don’t have a lot of blogging pet peeves, but this is one I felt passionately enough about to create a discussion on it. If the others ever reach that point, I’ll probably make a post about them as well.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and provide your personal insights into the topic. I appreciate it.

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  15. This is a really interesting angle that no one really approaches—thanks for sticking your neck out like that!

    In every single review I’ve written, I’ve always made my own synopsis for it. I think my reasoning goes back to how you mentioned that if I can’t summarize the series in a few sentences, how can I expect to understand it let alone review it? Pride is part of it, but I think my viewing experience comes full circle only after I’m able to fully recap the series in my own words.

    That said, the synopsis part of a review is also the hardest for me. So many shows that I’ve wanted to talk about I skipped just because I couldn’t muster the words necessary for a summary. That’s why now, before writing, I’ll hop on over to MAL and Wikipedia, read their summaries, then look away and try to write what I can.

    I like to say I’ve gotten better at the art, but there’s still room for improvement!

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    • Thank you! I went back and forth on it a bit on whether I should actually share it. I’m glad that I did. 🙂

      I feel exactly the same way, that my viewing–or reading–experience comes full circle after I’ve written the snippet in my own words. It helps me cement my thoughts and feelings on it that much better, and also works as a guide for the rest of the review that follows. I feel if I gave up when writing synopses intimidated me, I would never learn what the connection between the content I consume and my experience with would feel like. It’s such a great feeling, I’m glad i stuck with it.

      Anime and cinema synopses are still very difficult for me to write, especially with finding a balance. I tend to look at other reviewers and see what they had to say. It helps my brain flesh out whatever I’m struggling with, and I make sure that when I do that I link to the respective blogger who’s inspired me. I know there’s still definitely improvements for me to make in that regard, but I welcome it. 🙂

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your experiences.

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