Most people experiences with reviews start and end with books or movies. However, there is a thriving industry in writing reviews and being a critic in niche and specialized areas for on line and print media publications. As a reviewer or critic , you are summarizing and evaluating an event, text or experience for a specific audience. Your role is to give an insight and an opinion.
The structure of a review is generally the same, no matter what the subject area or audience. Usually you will introduce the subject within a few sentences and explain the topic or area of interest. A summary then follows briefly outlining or reporting on your overall opinion. The next few paragraphs forms the ‘Critique’ which examines detail and should balance the evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses and notable features of the event or product you are reviewing. Most reviews mix facts in with basic opinions – such as running length of the move or a street address. Be detailed with your opinions, giving reasons and explanations for your feedback.
Many critics are well known for their wit and depending on the publication, it may be appropriate to use humour. It may also be appropriate in some areas of interest to develop a rating system – from a simple thumbs up and thumbs down to a stars or numbers.
Conclude restating your opinion and present your recommendations with details for your reader to access more information.
Before you review something, you must have your audience and the medium (newspaper,magazine etc) in which you will be reaching them in mind. Make notes on what you already know about the subject or product and jot down questions you believe people may ask if they wished to know more about it. Be curious and ask yourself lots of questions about the subject area before proceeding to the material, event or product.
It may be appropriate in some instances to offer a recommendation as it will assist the readers to make up decisions regarding the product or event. In most cases, you are being paid to be opinionated – so draw a conclusion and stand by this. A surprising amount of scathing critics have a loyal following, having built their reputation on honesty, wit and well structured analysis. Your goal is to fairly inform your audience of your experiences, be it positive or negative. Be fair, be honest and give your audience some direction.
Interested and don’t know where to start? Join a Reveiw writing meme especially to hone your skills in this area!
Fill and expand your creative well by practicing writing reviews for a myriad of topics and areas. Each week, a different type of review will be posted. Its up to you to be creative in the way you explore that area. Write the review with the purpose of it being published in either a newspaper, magazine or part of a website…who knows, you may find your passion and an income stream through practicing your art.