There are too many reviews out there that I don’t actually want to read. This is probably a shocking thought to many reviewers, as they are doing their hardest to provide a service for the community, but I think they often miss the mark.
I consider that in the class of writing that consists of people writing about particular experiences they’ve had for the benefit of others, there are three distinct sub-classes: reviews, comment and criticism. Each is really targeted at a different audience, for a different purpose.
Reviews are for those people who haven’t seen/read/heard the thing being reviewed yet, and would like some guidance about whether they should. Comments are for people who have seen/read/heard it, and are looking for additional information that will add to their enjoyment of it or to gain a better appreciation of it. Criticisms are for people in the industry (or the meta-industry) around producing new creative works, where the merit of the piece, skill in its execution and generally what’s good or bad about it are discussed with a view to improve the industry as a whole.
Mostly, I’m interested in reviews.
Unfortunately, if I accidentally read something that’s not a review, then not only have I wasted some time, but I may end up ruining the very experience that I was hoping to later enjoy. This happens when the writing includes detailed information about the plot or characters of, say, a film, or even its ending. This is quite valid if the writing is a comment or a criticism, but not if it’s a review.
Hence, I will strive to follow the three principles that follow as my manifesto when writing about creative works on this site:
- Unless otherwise clearly indicated, the writing will be a review. In other words, it is intended to better allow the reader to decide if they want to experience the creative work themselves.
- There will be no discussion of any plot or character development beyond the very beginning of the piece, e.g. first five minutes of the film or first chapter of a book. General discussion of the themes, or information provided through knowledge of the title or author/director will be allowed.
- Use of industry terms or reference to obscure works will be kept to an absolute minimum. Should be easy as I don’t know many of them myself!
In short, these principles are intended to restrict my reviewing to the intended audience. That is, people who (i) haven’t seen/heard/read the work, (ii) who are considering seeing/hearing/reading it, and (iii) are not part of the industry (or meta-industry).
I hope that this results in the sort of reviews that I would like to read myself.