Reviewing (part 1)
March 5, 2011 Leave a comment
I began writing reviews for two reasons–it was a way to get my writing published and keep my name out there, and it was a way to get free books. I suppose if I had known then what I know now I would have taken a different path or at least moved in different ways. The past is the past however and while you can learn from it you should also learn not to spend too much time there. I should explain that when I talk about writing I mean writing professionally. Or maybe I should capitalize it so you know when I mean Writing versus just writing. I’ve been writing since 4th grade, possibly earlier although none of those drafts exists any more. In fact the earliest piece of writing I have is from my senior year in high school–a twilight zone kind of thing with a touch of magic realism and a theme working the idea that reality is not always what it seems. I’ve played with this theme a lot over the years.
One of the issues I’ve had with Writing is that I tend to be all over the place. I’ve done poetry, fiction of all lengths, screenplays, teleplays, articles and, reviews. I started doing reviews when I was working with a much more established writer, helping him fine tune a novel and develop two screenplays. There were a couple of other long projects in there as well and I really wanted to try to take what I was learning from him and apply it to my own work. But, I found myself creatively drained by the end of the day and hard pressed to spend much more time in front of a typewriter. Reviews seemed a good fit. I was already a voracious reader, the reviews themselves were fairly short, and there was just enough room for creativity to keep it all interesting. And so it began.
Like my Writing, my reviewing has wandered all over the place. I’ve reviewed genre magazines, novels, short fiction, movies, television, computer games, and the occasional book of poetry or art. If you are interested in seeing some of the places I’ve reviewed (and there are more than a few) you can visit my website: damnaliens.com. It’s still under construction in some areas but the bibliography is fairly complete.
Nowadays, more than 20 years later, I am still writing reviews although I am a bit more selective about where I review and what I say. I still do it to keep my name out there and for the free books.
In the next episode, I’ll talk about some reviewing experiences, how I select what to review, my own review process, and some of the issues that most reviewers face if they stick with the work long enough.