I write comic and graphic novel reviews for Omnivoracious
on a bi-weekly basis. Tips I've learned:
1. Avoid beginning your review with a question. "Looking for a good movie this weekend?" Everyone does it (self included), but it's usually a sign of an aimless opening.
2. Avoid cliched, overused phrases and descriptors: "That said," "rollicking," "riveting," "tour de force," "fully realized," etc. If you frequently read/hear it elsewhere, it's tired.
3. Grammar, grammar--pay attention to your grammar basics: "then/than," "you're/your," "they're/their/there," "it's/its." These are the building blocks of writing a sound review. If you are unable to show an audience that you can even do that, you will lose them. If you are unfamiliar with a usage, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Spend three minutes and look it up!
4. Before you click "publish" on that great review you've just written, take five minutes and read it aloud to yourself
. You won't believe the mistakes that your eye will pass over but your mouth will catch. If you stumble over a phrase, rewrite it!
But the best advice is this:
Read more reviews, and read reviews that are from sources and about topics that are outside your comfort zone. The only way to be a better writer is to read and write more. Yes, it's tough to stay motivated and to keep your writing fresh without falling back on easy habits, so read more! And good luck to you, Suicide.