Friday, August 12, 2011

The Anatomy of a Criview

As mentioned in the Libratopia Manifesto, we will be following certain criteria as we criview books.

It was agreed that this criteria ought to be explained at least once, as anyone reading will surely question it at least once.

Each section will be able to receive up to five stars (or melons, or bottles of rum, or whatever goofy image we settle on once we get going). Once the criview is over, the numbers of *insert victory object*s will be added up and averaged out and that will be the ultimate grade for the book. Therein will lie the critique, and the review will be the ramblings of the Criviewer that will be the explanation for why each section received X number of *insert victory object*s.

So, for your consideration, here is a brief explanation of what goes into a criview:
  •   Jacket Promise Fulfillment
o   If the monster on the cover doesn’t show up until the last chapter, the reader has been conned and the Criviewers will seek justice. By giving a poor rating in this section.
  • Voice
o   The narration. First, Second, Third, Twelfth Person, whatever. This section is judged by clarity, believability, enjoyability of the presenter…ability. If the attention of the reader wanders away from each sentence, or if it is impossible to remember what you read last (“Wait, what? When did he show up? What do you mean he’s been there for four pages?”), the voice is uninteresting and therefore bad.
  •     Character
o   Main
§  If we are supposed to want the main character to succeed, do we instead want to see her die early? If we are supposed to want him to die early, do we find ourselves wanting him to succeed? Could the main character easily be replaced by, say, a Mr. Potato Head with no real changes to the plot? Or worse, would that be an improvement?
o   Supporting
§  Do we wish the supporting cast was the main cast? Does the supporting become the main, and the main the supporting? Are they treated like tinsel on a tree, or fluff in a pillow? Have they any more personality than a cardboard cutout? Would cardboard cutouts do better in the role? All these and more and taken into consideration.
  •   World
o   Whether it be a high school, a cave, a magical fish, or a tree house, the world of the book is the stage the characters run around on. The humblest setting can be fascinating. The most intriguing setting can be mind-numbingly dull. It all depends on the skill of the writer.
  •    Plot
o   Does it thicken, or is it in serious need of corn starch? Or is it lumpy like a bad cottage cheese? If the ending is obvious after the first paragraph, the plot will not receive much more than a frowny face emoticon.  If the ending doesn’t make sense after you’ve read the book five hundred times, there will be more frowny faces.
  •     Last Page Satisfaction
o   If the book hits the wall, there is a problem. If instead you find yourself gnawing on the last page, trying to absorb its powers, then the author did something right. If you find yourself scratching out the author’s name and penning in your own, stop immediately and look up the full punishment for plagiarism. It’s harsh. 

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