Review writing may not be the most lucrative form of freelance writing, but it’s a great way to establish your style, writing niche, and research methods. And if you stick with it, there is money to be made. I’ll will be posting an article that talks about the best places to submit those reviews, and I will also have some posts the showcase my actual reviews, but this post is about the actual writing. This post will go over how to write an article review by digging a little deeper, focusing on what you know, looking for an angle, and creating a thesis.
There is no end to the world of literature, film or TV and they will always need to be reviewed. But how do you write an article review that stands out from the crowd? Because believe me, there’s a lot of competition. Everyone fancies themselves a critic.
First, think about what you know. I was an English major in college, I spend a lot of time studying and reading up about gender studies, and I have basic film studies under my belt. If you want to write a literature review about a new best-seller or a timeless classic, if you want to wax poetic about whitewashing in Ghost in the Shell, or if you want to talk about the new wave of Superhero TV shows, it will help to hone in on your knowledge and preferences.
Once you figure out what you know, you’ll be able to really ramp up your research. For example. let’s talk about those Superhero TV Shows. Say you are an expert on noir fiction and notice the homage to noir and grit in the Netflix Marvel shows. That’s an article right there. For research, you can look up most influential noir films and books.
Often, if I write a review, I’ll talk about gender, compare it to its source material if it’s an adaptation, or go over tropes and clichés because that’s what I know. If I was going to talk about Superhero shows I would talk about the genre-bending ways Jessica Jones stands out as a female superhero protagonist.
Secondly, if you want to get into review writing, it helps to have an angle. You may want to cover multiple facets but centering on a unique take will help your review stand out.
For example. I love horror movies, but with the competition, writing a review about a horror film or book would just be one of thousands. I opted to compare books to film, specifically indy author Ania Ahlborn’s book Within These Walls to horror movies.
My angle: The Payoff: Reading vs Watching Horror.
I didn’t simply cover the book, I talked about the “Payoff”, the last 20 minutes of a horror movie that should keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s what you pay to see, even if you don’t realize it. It’s the standoff, the resolution, the total decimation. I compared this visual experience to the climax of horror books.
Thirdly, once you know the angle you want to write from it will make your review flow much easier. But you’re not in the clear yet. Write a thesis.
You know what a thesis is right? For those unfamiliar a thesis is the main point you are trying to make.
The thesis of this post is “How to write an article review”. Your thesis should be one to three sentences that completely sums up your review. You should include your thesis in your intro paragraph and cover letter when submitting your review. This will help your review stay on track. If you go back and see that you went on a tangent about the portrayals of Batman in film for an entire paragraph when you were looking at the villains in Iron Fist, maybe you need to rethink your thesis.
To sum up:
To write a killer review article you need to focus on what you know, get a unique angle and build the entire article on a thesis statement that fully describes your take. Writing an article review isn’t rocket science, but there are a few little tweaks you can make to your literature or movie review to set it apart.