Friday, December 26, 2014

What reviews aren't.

     It is that time of the year again: the time to explain what reviews are!

     I know what you might be thinking: "But I know what reviews are!"

     Well, sadly, chances are, you don't.

     A review is not you telling your audience what happens in the story from beginning to end. That is called "plot summary". A plot summary is not a review, and it spoils the story. You are ruining the experience of discovery for your audience by doing them this disservice.

     A review is also not you going through the story scene by scene and commenting as you go. That is called "riffing", and was probably invented by Mystery Science Theater 3000.

     If you are riffing on a story, or summarizing the plot, you are not a reviewer and what you are doing is not a review.

     A review, is an article, or a video, that serves one purpose. That purpose is to convince you, the audience, that a product is worth purchasing, OR convince you to stay away from it.

     I am not going to touch reviews of eggbeaters or beds here; this is not the time.

     Instead, I will talk about the reviews of fiction: books, movies, videogames, and such.

     When you review a piece of fiction you are again adhering to the basic purpose: to convince the audience to (not) get the thing themselves. You are convincing me to read, or not to read the book.

     A review should begin with a description of what kind of story it is; what genre it could be pigeonholed in.

     Then, you give the premise: who goes where, when, and why. Tell me how the story starts; that much is not a spoiler.

     Then, you describe the tone to me: is it serious, or crazy? Sad, or funny? Realistic, or cartoony?

     Then, you give me your view on the quality of writing: do you think the premise is executed and expanded upon well? (you can actually find a guide to good writing on this very blog)


     There is nothing else you should do. Good job. Your review is done. Finished. Now you relax and sip some tea. Your review is complete, for it has every single thing a review should.

     I hope you learned something today, future YouTube superstar.


  1. You should post this on Channel Awesome or make a video of it
    Long have I shared this opinion.

    1. It's nice that you liked it, but I am not going to make a video on anything like that. You can share this link with your friends or smth if you want to.