Most of our writing so far has been objective and impersonal, but it can often be a lot of fun to infuse yourself into your writing as well. One of the easiest and most enjoyable types of writing that we’ll look at is a review of a book, movie, tv show, CD, etc.
You may choose your own topic to review. I would recommend choosing something that you know well, so you don’t have to do much research or review, and something that you’re passionate about. It DOES NOT have to be something that you really LOVE! It can be really fun to review something that you really HATE, as well. Choosing something to review should be easy. Pick a movie that you’ve seen recently or a bunch of times, or a tv show that you really enjoyed, a book that you liked or hated, or whatever is on your mind! It should be some kind of work of art, though. Reviewing things like food or your English class can be interesting, but there’s a bit more of a challenge involved, because there are certain things that I want you to include.
1) Do a bit of research. You need to provide some background/context on the thing that you’re reviewing. I read a lot of music reviews, and I hate it when a reviewer assumes that I know a lot about that band already. Assume that your reader knows nothing about the CD, book, movie, etc. and give them enough background information to understand where this thing comes from (who wrote it, directed it, produced it, whatever…)
2) You need to accurately describe the thing you’re reviewing, again assuming that your reader has never seen the show/movie, never read the book, never heard the music, etc. What is it like? Generally reviews avoid spoilers, but contain enough of an overview to help the reader understand the story/project.
3) The fun part – your opinion! Why do you love or hate this thing? What makes it work or not work for you? This is entirely subjective, but you’re giving advice to someone else. If one of your friends came up and asked you if he/she should see the movie/tv show you’ve written about, read the book, buy the CD, etc., what would you say? The thing here is that you have to EXPLAIN WHY you love or hate this thing. If you love it, what makes you love it? If you hate it, what’s wrong with it? You can compare it to other things if you wish (ie this movie is nowhere near as good as… , because…)
This is supposed to be easy and FUN, so put some personality into it!
Your finished review should be around 1/2-3/4 page (single-spaced, 12 pt type – around 500 words or so.) In a good review the 3 sections are mixed, but for your first draft, you can write them out as separate paragraphs if you like, just to make sure that you’re covering each part well.
Here’s a sample review, written about a series that I LOVED over the holidays: TEOTFWreview