I’m a professional writer by background, and I’ve learned over the years that writing anything is an exercise in choosing not just what to say, but what to leave out.
When I write a review, I tend to approach it by focusing on the experience of examining the pen for the first time: what it’s like to look at, to hold, to fill, to write with (generally in that order).
I take lots of macro photos of the pen’s details, and I describe the features that delight and annoy me the most. I talk about what the pen means to me, how it makes me feel, and why I bought it.
I have a lot to say, but I try to keep my reviews quite short: about 700–800 words.
All of this means I leave a lot out of my reviews. Stuff like:
- Size comparison photos (which I figure are only helpful if I’m very careful and consistent with my photography, and have the same pens as you to compare against!)
- Writing samples with different inks on different papers (I hate my handwriting, so I want it on display as little as possible)
- Detailed specs (I figure you can get these from the manufacturer generally; stuff like measuring ink capacity or weighing on kitchen scales I usually can’t be bothered with)
- Lots of information about pricing, availability and where to buy (I figure this will vary too much and is unhelpful for the 75% of my readers outside of the UK)
- Links to other reviews (Google does a better job than me)
- History of the brand and model (I’m not really interested in this stuff)
- Alternatives and competitors (I don’t have a good reason not to do this…)
- A numerical score (although I have dabbled with this)
- A consistent checklist of features to enable comparison (does it post, how does it fill, how does it cap
- Anything involving video (I very rarely watch video reviews, so I have no interest in making them).
What do you look for from a review? Is there anything you want me to cover in my reviews in the future? Are you happy with what I choose to include and leave out? Let me know in the comments.