Essay Writing: Down to a Science

A page of a notebook written by Champollion

Image via Wikipedia

Middle School – High School – College – Critiquing. What do all these establishments of education, or the exercise of attained ability thereof, have in common? They typically all require essay writing. In the case of Middle School, it may be something small and requiring proper grammar and spelling, rather than content. In High School you soon discover that content is what matters, and writing goes from being a science to an art. In college it may go either way, and when it comes to critiquing, you enter a different territory altogether.

As I’ve participated in Post-A-Day 2011, I’ve found myself writing more and more reviews. In fact, what was once focused primarily on movie reviews has come to encompass books, music, video games, MMORPG’s, manga, food, and various other mediums of culture.

Yet how does one go about writing a review? What about on a regular basis? If you do not have a set standard for review writing, you may find yourself lost in the process with almost no hope of getting back out without encountering the dreaded Writer’s Block. It is however, a relief to realize that many writer’s and bloggers alike develop their systems automatically, whether through practice or spontaneity, some invisible literary thread is formed – a thread which provides the foundation for many critiques in the future.

For those unacquainted with writing critiques, or interested in an alternative style of writing, I’ve provided the basic outline (that are many variants) that I personally follow below:

1. Entitle your critique, whether with the movie’s name, or a related tag-line.

2. Summarize the wonder – or lack thereof. Give your readers a glimpse into what you’ll be discussing. If the movie was a sequel, did it live up to its predecessors? Elaborate upon some minor details – such as the superb graphics (or cheap, low-budget filming), or other such details, without giving to much away. This is your catch – where you’ll be drawing in your reader.

3. Quotes can make a difference. At this point, you may want to add a quote as I did in my Secretariat review. It gives the reader additional information about the movie, and serves as an introduction to the plot.

4. Go over the movie. Your readers may or may not be acquainted with the movie and/or the series, so don’t be afraid to briefly outline the plot. Describe significant points in the film, and leave your summary at a cliff hanger, so as to avoid spoiling the film for potentially interested movie-goers.

5. Diagnose the Patient. What made the movie an enjoyable one, or one of the worst you’d ever seen? Elaborate, and build upon your points with proof – mentioning various sections of the movie where you noticed such fantastic “filmsmanship” or lackluster.

6. Moralistic & Philosophical Aspects. Here you may get into the nitty-gritty.

Image representing PluggedIn as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

If the film had a deep, philosophical contemplation wrapped up in its story, feel free to share! However, keep your leaders tracking along with you by using layman’s terms, as opposed to textbook terminology. If you’d like to be like Common Sense – describe if the content was appropriate or not. Or if you’d like to go in the direction of Christian movie review website, PluggedIn, then describe religious aspects and contradictions. Also, was there a moral to the story? Or something you gleaned from it? Describe it!

7. Get personal. Identify a potential audience for the film, who should and/or should not go see it? Before now you should have given some idea of the film’s genre, now consolidate it.

8. Make your finale. Conclude with your overall thesis statement, you may choose to incorporate #6 here as well.


About The Game Detective

Hello, my dear Watsons, I'm The Game Detective.

Posted on 02/16/2011, in Literary Focus, Post-A-Day {2011}, Tutorials & How To's and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I am awsome at science. I actually am in the middle of writing a paper about the cardio vascular system and I am going to take a collage class this summer where we disect the human body and other stuff. But I am going to be the only freshman from highschool because it really ment for collage students.


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