The most common mistake that is made when writing about the plot in a book report is simply reiterating the storyline. This will not get you the best grades. When you write about the plot, you need to critically analyse it. This means that you are searching for two ways to write about the story. The first way is to look for reasons why you like the story. One of the best ways to measure a book’s success is if it reaches truthfulness. This doesn’t mean that you believe in Hobbits; it means that while you were reading the book, you were truly engaged with the story and even if it was about Hobbits, it echoed the human experience. If you could not find any holes in what happened in the plotline, then you can write about that in a critical manner. Writing in a critical manner does not have to be negative; it can also be positive.
The second way to critically comment on a novel is to point out the flaws in the storyline. Often students choose to always write book reports on books that they love. Although this can be enjoyable, it is actually great fun to write about a book that you have loathed. The main point to remember here though is that you can’t simply state that you hated it, you have to have good evidence from the text that it is a flawed piece. Remember, just because books are deemed classics doesn’t mean that they are all perfect pieces of writing. There are many flaws to be found in the plotlines of lots of books, you simply need to view them with a critical eye. For instance, if after reading William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’, you didn’t believe that the school boys would have survived both the plane wreckage and living on a desert island without adults and all the infighting, providing you can find evidence to back up your assertions, you could put that in your report.