How To Write A Movie Review

As a writer, you can be contacted to write a review on a blockbuster or a flop. As such, the onus is on you to hone your ability to think critically and watch movies beyond the conventional it was a great movie or a flop mindset.

Writing a movie review requires you to watch the movie more than once. This is because you are not watching the movie to relish it; rather, you’re watching with the aim of taking cognisance of every act, scene, dialogue, and monologue to help you write a review. Therefore, it is advisable to watch the movie with a notepad so you can take note of every detail and observation. However, here are some tips you can use to write a good movie review:

Begin with a compelling detail or opinion about the movie: this serves as the premise of your review. The idea is to grab your reader’s attention immediately. Your intro has to give the reader a feel of the movie. For example:

‘Despite a cracking soundtrack and an inspiring performance by Olumide, Late Last Night never gets past its weak plot and poor dramatic personae’.

‘Despite a growing agitation for same-sex marriage, not everyone understands its effects on our societal values like the characters of Flip Gender’.

Express your opinions and back up your criticism: some readers will rely on your review to decide if they should go ahead and watch the movie or save their precious time and money, so endeavour to give your thoughts and observations in your review. State why you are criticising an element in the movie and support your critique with valid facts. For example:

‘Flip Gender is a great movie that clearly mirrors the effects of same-sex marriage on our societal values. The characters, costumes, settings, and scenes made the movie worth viewing over and over again’.

‘It doesn’t matter how much you love politics, with Elections Day, you will be better off if you save your precious time and money doing something worthwhile’.

Create a thesis based on your findings: after thoroughly going through the movie, identify the unique insights you intend to bring to the fore. Come up with a central message or idea you want to highlight, and support it with some elements in the movie. This will move your review beyond a summary to film criticism. You can consider the following question to form the basis of the thesis for your review:

  • Does the movie portray or depict a contemporary issue? Is it the producer’s way of engaging in a wider conversation about an issue in public debate? Relate the film to a real-life situation.
  • Does the movie have a central message, or is the producer trying to wipe out public sentiment? Highlight if the movie has hit or missed its mark on either side of the divide.
  • Does the movie connect with you or the audience on a personal level or not? You can write your review based on your feelings or perception of the film. You can also infuse some personal experience into the review to make it more interesting to read.

Be concerned about your audience: consider who you are writing the review for. If it’s a third-party writing, create a balance between pleasing your client and your client’s audience. At Sabi Writers, we ensure we balance both. We take into consideration who our client’s audience is;  is it a national daily, box office, teen magazine, or fan site? Ensure your writing style and language is suitable for who you are writing for. Knowing your audience will help you determine the elements you should highlight in the movie.

Be armed with the cast portfolio: some people will watch a movie just because their favourite actor is featured in it. Spend a considerable time highlighting the performance of a veteran taking up a new role, the good performance of a rising star, and the brilliant performance of the cast despite a wishy-washy script. Spend a little time talking about the performance of the lead actors and whether they were able to do justice to their assigned roles or not. Commend the casts where they did well, mention where they were below par, and recommend how they could have done better.

Throw the spotlight on the directors, special effects, cinematographers, etc.: let your readers know the superb performance as well as the flaws of the directors, costume designers, makeup artists, cinematographers, etc. Highlight what they did well, where they astounded the audience, as well as where they disappointed the audience etc.

Avoid spoilers: as you are writing your movie review, remember that you are writing to propel people to watch the movie and not to ruin it. Give your readers an insight into the movie plot and strive to make a case for them to watch the movie.

Study other professionals: the importance of reading cannot be overemphasised in a writer’s life. Read other film reviews and observe what the reviewer did that you like and what you don’t like. Look for a leaf you can borrow from the reviewer and avoid the red flags you found. Read the publications you want your review to be published to serve as a template for writing your review.

Read and edit your work: your views on a movie will not be taken seriously if the cast names are not well-spelt. Ensure that actors’ names and the various locations you captured in your review are well-spelt. Check your work for grammatical and mechanical accuracy, and ensure your review is not devoid of organisational flow.

Hone your voice: every writer has a distinct and unique way of writing. However, finding your voice in writing does not happen overnight. So be deliberate about developing your own voice and style that will become the signature of your craft and keep your reader returning to your page.

A professional writer is expected to have a critical mind, so next time you watch a movie, be conscious of every element in the film and factor how you can critically analyse it for readers through your review.

However, if you need to write a movie review and you don’t have the time to do so, you can contact us at   +234 810 374 1847. Our team of writers will take the burden of writing off you.

Grammar Rules You May Have Been Overlooking

The English language can be very tricky. A word, phrase, or sentence correct in spoken English may not necessarily be suitable for written English. So do not be surprised that after all your years as a writer, there are things you still screw up in your writing.

Nonetheless, how do you guide against those grammatical errors you may not even be aware you’ve been making? Well, you should start by reading this article and identify the grammatical mistake that resonates with you most. Ensure you take note of the ones you are guilty of, or, better still, bookmark this page to serve as a reminder.

Their vs There

People often misplace these words. ‘their’ refers to a thing owned by a group of people, while ‘there’ refers to a place. So ensure you check that you are using the right ones in the right places and at appropriate times.

For example:

I heard their managing director is around

They’re going there in the morning

Your vs You’re

The contradiction between these is that the former emphasises ownership while the latter emphasises being something. ‘Your’ is in a possessive form while you’re is a contraction of ‘you are’.

For example:

How is your project going? Are you wrapping up?

You gave Folakemi your balance – you’re generous

Its vs it’s

A lot of writers are dribbled by these two. ‘Its’ is possessive while ‘it’s’ is a contraction of ‘it is’.  This can be particularly confusing because ‘it’s’ has an apostrophe, which often means something is possessive. But in this instance, it is a diminution or contraction.

For example:

A dog can be very protective of its puppies

It’s almost time for the meeting

Incomplete Comparisons

This one can make your writing look quite ridiculous. When you are making comparisons between things, it is important to state what you are actually comparing it with, not just stating the qualities that make it better than the other.

For instance:  

My car is better, faster, and stronger.

Instead, My car is better, faster, and stronger than Olumide’s car.

Whenever you make a comparison between two things or more, ensure you always clarify what you are comparing it with, else, it becomes difficult for your readers to decode what the comparison represents.

Hanging Modifiers 

This occurs when a descriptive phrase doesn’t apply to the noun immediately following it.

For example:

After diminishing for weeks, Uduak tried a new method to soar the company’s sales.

In the above sentence, it is difficult to ascertain what is actually diminishing. Is it Uduak? But in reality, the sentence said that the company’s sales were diminishing – not Uduak.  So to address this issue, reset the sentence structure:

Uduak tried a new method to increase the company’s sales after it had been diminishing for weeks.

Referring to a Brand or an Entity As ‘They’

It is imperative to note that a business is not plural; therefore, it should not be qualified with ‘they’. Use the word ‘it’ instead.

For example:

To keep up with their new management agenda, Sabi Writers rebranded in 2015.wrong.

This can be a bit confusing because, in English, brands and entities are not identified as ‘he’ or ‘she’, so ‘they’ seems to make more sense. So to put it right, the sentence will be:

To keep up with its new management agenda, Sabi Writers rebranded in 2014. – correct.

Possessive Nouns

Oftentimes, possessive nouns carry an apostrophe, but where you place the apostrophe can be quite confusing.

For example:

All of the dog’s hair grew back.

In the above sentence, ‘all’ implies there is more than a single dog, but the location of the apostrophe informs us there is just one dog. However, you can apply the general tips below to address this pitfall.

You can add the apostrophe after the ‘s’ if the noun is plural.

 For example, the dogs’ bones were all crushed.

Affect vs Effect

Most writers confuse these when they are implying that something is changing another thing. For example:

That book effected me profusely- wrong

‘Effect’ with ‘e’ is not used as a verb. Therefore, whenever you are talking about the change in itself, the noun to use is ‘effect’.

For example:

That book had a profound effect on me.

But when you are writing about the act of changing, the verb to use is ‘affect’.

For example:

The book affected me profusely.

Me vs I

Most English users understand the disparity between these two but default when using it in a sentence.

When you finish the book, send it to Chidimma and I.

Sadly, the sentence above is wrong, despite how appropriate it sounds.

How about you take Chidimma out of the sentence – It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? You will not ask someone to send something to ‘I’ when the person is done. It sounds absurd because ‘I’ is the sentence’s subject, and ‘I’ should not be used as the object. So in that situation, you should use ‘me’. For example:

When you finish the book, send it to Chidimma and me.

Like in every other language, English has its intricacies and tricks; while mastery is a work in progress, you can always get better than you were yesterday by reading articles like this and many others on You can also ease your stress by sending your manuscript to our professional editors to take care of it.

8 Writing Exercises To Help You Become A Better Writer

Do you ever think your writing is not good enough?

Well, there is no perfect writer out there. Even the best of the best aren’t 100% perfect; they constantly look for ways to improve their writing skills. That’s why they get editors to edit their errors and improve their writing. That’s the difference!

They were once amateurs who never quit but sought improvement.

There is always room for improvement and growth as a writer, but you have to be intentional about it. The finesse you need to take your writing to the next level won’t happen by chance; you need to constantly take steps to grow and improve your craft.

If you think you can do this by reading, well, you are not wrong but becoming a great writer isn’t attainable by just reading; you need to practice the art of writing. Needless to say, writing is a way to get better at writing. When you write, you practice what you’ve learned through reading, observing, etc. You will also easily identify your weaknesses and strengths and see areas you need to improve.

If you’ve identified your weaknesses and want to improve your craft, these creative writing exercises can loosen you up and help you keep your creative juice flowing. These exercises are fun activities that can help you get through your writer’s block when you feel stuck.

  1. Choose a random object around you and write an image-only poem: Pick an object and describe it using your senses—what does it taste like? What does it smell like? What does it feel like? This exercise helps you to describe vividly without totally relying on telling. It sharpens your use of imagery and description.
  1. Write a short story without using adverbs or adjectives: Write a short story of fewer than 500 words and impose these restrictions. It will help you master the use of stronger verbs and reduce excessive descriptions that weaken writing.
  1. Take a romance short story and rewrite it as a horror: This exercise expands your imagination. It makes you go wild and think of the impossible. Switch genres for a change and turn a love story bizarre, or you can do the opposite. Either way, it’s fun!
  1. Free write for at least 5 minutes before writing: Consider this a warm-up exercise as a writer, just like athletes do. Loosen up and flex your muscles. Write anything that comes to your mind. For example, you could journal your previous day’s activity or explore a topic you enjoy writing about. Just write anything! 
  1. Pick your oldest write-up and rewrite: You may cringe a little when you pick up the first article you wrote in secondary school or the first article you wrote after deciding to start a career in writing. You may even laugh at the mistakes of your then perfect work. Rewriting an old write-up helps you take note of corrections and analyse your progress so far. You might end up creating a beautiful masterpiece from an old story; who knows? Just have fun!
  1. Rewrite a story from a different point of view: Changing who is telling a story can give you a completely different character motivation. It broadens your perspective and takes you out of the zone you are used to. When you move out of your comfort zone, new ideas will come, so try this!
  1. Copy what you read: Now, this is not to say plagiarism is allowed. Let’s just say, when you are reading, you read like a writer by paying attention to how a story is written. So the craft elements—style, structures, figurative language, word choices, etc., that make a story worth reading can be replicated deliberately in your work. This is more like inspirational writing. You can pick an author you love and replicate their writing style with No Plagiarism.
  1. Journal your daily activities: Get a notepad or a diary and write down your daily experiences—good or bad. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you don’t need a high level of expertise, and you don’t need an audience or a topic/theme. Just write down what you feel or experience throughout the day. This writing exercise helps to engage your mind daily, and it’s a way to improve your writing skills by writing daily.

Practising any of these exercises may feel challenging at first, which is absolutely normal. However, to unlock new ideas and keep your creative juice flowing, challenge yourself with these exercises, and you will see results.

Don’t be too rigid about it; you don’t need to prep yourself before starting. Pick one and flow. Just have maximum fun while you improve your skills.

If you found this article helpful, drop a comment, and follow our social media pages @sabiwriters. 

How To Bring Expository Style To Your Writings

The expository writing style uses facts gathered through detailed investigation or research to explain an idea, topic,  concept or situation.  It can assume a compare or contrast form, where two different ideas are juxtaposed. It can also use a causal effect analysis, multiple ideas and examples, etc.

Using this style demands objectivity and relies primarily on proven data and statistical evidence. The structure of expository writing permits detailed, clear and logical explanations and should not include the writer’s personal opinion about the subject. This style is used in academic, business, journalistic, scientific writing, among others.

Employing expository writing requires that your work should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion.

The common number of paragraphs in a short expository work structure is about five: one for introduction, three for the body, and the last for conclusion. However, the scope of your exposition determines the number of paragraphs to be employed.

Here are a few things to consider when embarking on expository writing:

  1. Research and outline the writing structure

The first step to expository writing is gathering relevant information about your topic through research. It is important to brainstorm the topic and outline details to be explained and included in each paragraph. Always remember that expository writing uses third-person pronouns, such as he, she, they, etc. Objectivity cannot be overemphasised, so ensure you document the information and data obtained and not your subjective opinion.

  • A clear and defined introduction

The introduction is the section where the topic under discussion is unveiled. It should clearly define the topic and the purpose of your writing. A clear and concise introduction enhances readers’ understanding and interest in the work.

  • Seamless connection between sentences, paragraphs and structures

It is important to ensure a logical transition between sentences and structure while using the expository writing style. For instance, each idea discussed in a paragraph should connect to the next idea in the following paragraph and the general topic.

  • Paragraphing

The body entails a breakdown of the general idea. Therefore, each paragraph in the body of the work should be restricted to discussing an idea. In other words, the number of paragraphs in the body should equate to the number of ideas under discussion. Paragraphing this way builds your argument or point, idea by idea, until the concluding evidence or closing statements. Consequently, the readers can easily detect your point in each paragraph without confusion.

  • A simple and clear conclusion

The conclusion in expository writing is not necessarily a summary of the work. Instead, it is a simple and clear evidence of support on the topic being written. Therefore, a conclusion should be logical and precise, based on all the facts and ideas provided.

While the things to consider may be inexhaustive, it is critical to follow the standard structure and ensure that all facts are presented accurately, coherently and objectively with a precise conclusion. That is the hallmark of expository writing.

The Importance of a Rough Draft

A rough draft is a document that has the idea you want to portray but lacks quality and accuracy. There is a reason why it is called a rough draft, and you will find out more as you read this article to the end.

If you must write your book, for example, then you must be patient to bring your ideas to life.

You can do this by first getting them out of your head and on paper the basic ingredients of the work. Your book at its basic form could be called a rough draft.

Rough draft is what it is, rough.

In agreement with this, John Dufresne, an American author, said, ‘The purpose of the first draft is not to get it right but to get it written’.

The ideas you put down may be disorganised or lack the professionalism you desire at first, but be patient; it will all make sense soon. You will have the time to fill in more details and restructure every sentence to reflect quality.

A rough draft is an integral part of writing, and the following are a few reasons why:

1. You start your writing process:

Like they say, starting is the most essential yet challenging aspect of any project – including writing. After doing your research, the thought of writing may seem scary or confusing at first. However, writing down everything that comes to your mind creates a pattern you can follow as you proceed. The ideas you pen down may lack quality in punctuation, grammar or presentation, but by penning them down, you can say that your writing process has begun.

2. It lets your creativity express itself. 

When you know your writing is allowed to look its worst as a rough draft, you become willing to give your creativity free rein. You become free to explore characters and writing styles because you understand that the planned out book or content can take a different turn in the course of the writing refinement. As a writer with a rough draft, it is okay to make mistake.

3. You can feel and touch your ideas.

With a rough draft in your hands, you have a better understanding of your ideas: what to add or remove, how to proceed, if you should follow the structured outline or create a new one. The story may even change totally because you are now more aware of better ways to present your idea. Creating drafts will help you visualise your book or article and gauge how much more work you still need to do.

However, if you are in haste to get it over and done with, you can always contact us. We have talented writers who can write long and short-form content with an impressive turnaround time.