Arts Reviews: And How to Write Them by Celia Brayfield

By Celia Brayfield

Publish yr note: First released in 2008

The so much sought after, the main feared, the main hated, the main strong task in journalism: being a reviewer skill writing approximately whatever you're keen on and getting paid for it. So for many humans it's the #1 dream activity within the media.

Whether your ardour is movie, song, books, visible arts or the degree, you may get toward it as a reviewer and determine a occupation in a single of the main influential roles open to a author. an exceptional evaluate may be learn via hundreds of thousands, and writing it demands a excessive measure of ability. in keeping with a lifelong ardour, packed right into a few hundred phrases and sometimes written in under an hour, a evaluation makes heavy calls for on writer's method and event.

This e-book explains tips to grab your readers' consciousness and the way to be witty continually, attention-grabbing more often than not and bitchy should you have to be. studies from vintage author like Pauline Kael or Kenneth Tynan are contrasted with today's sizzling names together with Mark Kermode and Stewart Maconie.

We glance again on the heritage of the critic and a few of the groundbreaking teams who've formed our tradition, together with Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin around desk, the French New Wave administrators who based Les Cahiers du CInema and London's celebrated smooth evaluate, based through Julie Burchill, Toby younger and Cosmo Landesman.

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Extra info for Arts Reviews: And How to Write Them

Sample text

Often negligence will only be noticed by the artists themselves and, hey (figures the irresponsible writer), who cares what an artist thinks, anyway? So I have been in a screening room with a very grand colleague who fell asleep the moment the movie’s title appeared on the screen and only woke up when we nudged him as the closing credits rolled. He went away and wrote a highly critical, and, of course, highly misleading, review of the film, despite the fact that he hadn’t viewed a single frame 53 of it.

For a film, how the production was financed can be important, and for any screen drama you should know where it was made – that way, you won’t praise the use of the moody sequences in the back streets of Paris when the production was shot in Prague. 46 If you’re reviewing a classic play, you should know its performance history, be able to identify important elements in the drama and refer to major previous performances in the leading roles. So if you were reviewing Henry V by William Shakespeare, you should be aware that this is the fourth of Shakespeare’s seven history plays and that the character of the King first appears as a wild youth in Henry IV Parts I and II.

If it is in a recognisable genre you should know the work of authors who have defined it, but the concept of genre in literature is becoming increasingly elastic as more and more books defy classification. A grounding in literary theory is helpful, as is an understanding of basic narratology. Personally, as a novelist, I know that theory is rarely relevant to the practice of writing and I view narratology as a misguided pseudo-discipline but when you are struggling to analyse your response to a work it can be helpful to separate it into elements – character, setting, storytelling, suspense, language – and judge how well the writer has addressed each of these.

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