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Title: It's hard.
Posted: June 20, 2009 (01:09 AM)
Writing reviews that is, not whatever you had in mind.

A few weeks ago I wrote an 11,000 word piece examining the business model of The Southwestern Company and its consequences. It was the biggest piece of writing I had ever done. It was also the first piece of extracurricular writing I have done since the last review I submitted to HG, which was in 2005, before I started college.

When I first started writing reviews on GameFAQs at 15 or 16 years of age, I was basically a machine. I could simply take a game and more or less without stopping put everything I had to say about it down on paper (or on the screen really) and post it as a review. Those reviews probably weren't very good, but the writing process was so much simpler and easier back then.

As I received feedback from ROTD's I began to learn more and obsess more about writing well. One comment in particular stuck with me: Denouemont gave a review I wrote for Skies of Arcadia an honorable mention, but remarked that the writing did not flow well. At the time it was a concept beyond my skills and understanding, and even today I feel it escapes me to a degree. I was directed to NT220's review of Lufia for a seminal example. Man was that guy good, and I'm pretty sure he wasn't even a native English speaker.

I ended up taking a pretty long break from reviewing, and extracurricular writing in general, because the process became too hard with perfectionist obsession. Four years have passed, mostly with school, drinking, and other appropriate activities for my demographic. In a year I will graduate with a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

I've come back to reviewing with an older, wiser head, assuming I haven't killed too many brain cells with mind-altering substances. I have a greater respect for the writing process, and a greater sense of humility for where I stand as a writer. It can be both too inspiring and too disheartening to look at a review like King Broccoli's review of FFX and think, "Man, I want to write like that."

The perfectionist tendencies haven't gone away entirely. But more so than four years ago, I'm sometimes able and willing to just put down ideas, even if I don't think I have them worded perfectly yet.

I think that's a good (re)start.

jerecUser: jerec
Posted: June 20, 2009 (07:36 AM)
Man I hear ya. Back in my first couple of years I wrote over 100 reviews without much effort. None of them survive to this day. :P

Sometimes I write a review in a short amount of time that just seems to work well, like my GTA3 review, but it's a success I find very hard to replicate. I do a lot of review judging, and it's hard to switch that off when I'm writing my own reviews, so my output is very low. There's so much I know not to do in a review that it's hard to get through those opening paragraphs or even lines.

I've managed to stop my brain from rejecting my reviews lately, and it's resulted in a few new reviews being posted, though quality wise, they're not as good as I hoped. My Lego Star Wars review was an attempt to let a passably good review through. Not everything has to be a masterpiece - least of all reviews. We're just trying to tell people what we thought of a game and to try and influence a decision.

bluberryUser: bluberry
Posted: June 20, 2009 (03:13 PM)
I had a penis in mind.

radicaldreamerUser: radicaldreamer
Posted: June 20, 2009 (04:54 PM)
Oh Booberry.

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