Saturday, October 13, 2012

Reviewing the Work of Others

Reviewing the Work of Others
by Angus H Day

When someone creates a work in writing, artistic media, music or acting they have invested of themselves and followed their muse.  These are the sources of entertainment and the stimulators of imagination in our culture.  They deserve our respect and our gratitude for their effort to keep us thriving and open minded.
My point of view as an author and a consumer of fiction is that there is nothing to be gained from a negative review.  The old maxim of 'If you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all' is not just to keep from offend someone else, it is to keep from injuring yourself.
When ever we offer up negative reviews whether they are justified or not they are inflicted upon the public and the artist of the work.  However politely they may be worded they are an attack based on their venue.  Attacks actually do harm to the attacker as well, in this form they punish the attackers ability to enjoy anything in the future without stabbing at it.
Bearing that in mind these are my reviewing rules, the ones I hold myself to:

1) Regardless of how tedious or wrong-choiced, once I have committed to review something I will finish it.
2) I will find two or more things about the work to celebrate and put some work into composing a well thought out review based on the things that I liked.
3) If I have a problem with something about the work, and feel strongly enough to take up the challenge, I will make the effort to contact the artist and express my view with respect.
4) I will not publish negative reviews, which does not mean that my reviews are dishonest, meaning that the attributes I do talk about are ones that I like.
5) I will always compose my reviews off line, proofread, then post.
6) Do not spoil the plot for readers who haven't read the work.

We do not have to be snobs to be quality reviewers of works of art.  Being considerate and respectful is the way to go in regards to the target and your own conscience.  For those who would state that 'I wish they had told me how awful that was' I would add that you would not want that to be for public consumption.

(Rating system as provided by the venue)
Two to three sentences minimum to describe and highlight the work without spoilers.
"I would recommend this to" or "for".

Review.  A simple and gracious act to thank the artist for their effort.  Not a venue for attacking someone because they are not your favorite whatever.