When not to write…

When not to write…

When I started blogging, there were series I already knew I wanted to write about. Nana, Itazura na Kiss, even series I’m not crazy about such as The Devil Does Exist were all series I had ideas of topics that I could write about in the future. Whether I loved it or hated it, if a series made a strong impact on me I felt a strong desire to share my opinions of them. But there are times when I feel it’s better not to write anything at all. When a series doesn’t leave a lasting impression on me, I tend to have a difficult time coming up with something to write about it. Although part of me wishes to write about a series just to show I’m familiar with it, I’ve come to believe that this alone isn’t a strong enough reason to write about a series. Take Nodame Cantabile, for example. I’ve read seven volumes of this popular josei series, yet when I tred to write a review for the series I found myself coming up empty. Sure, I like Nodame – she’s a fun character and I especially like it when she tries to act ‘sexy’ for Chiaki. And the series has definitely made me laugh out loud on occassion. But after finishing a volume of the manga, I’d completely forget what had just happened. I like the series enough, but unfortunately, I felt I had nothing else to say about Nodame Cantabile, and that’s what inspired this post. Even though I originally had wanted to do a review of what I had read of the series, I felt as though I couldn’t contribute anything worthwhile to say about the series, especially when there are other bloggers out there who already have

This is even true for some series that I feel are unique. I really like Prétear because I think it twists the magical-genre in clever ways, yet I didn’t have a strong urge to write about the series. It’s a much more emotional series than I expected it to be, and I love a mid-series twist invloving a certain Leafe Knight. I considered writing a review of the anime, yet my opinions of the series aligns with many others who have blogged about it, and I didn’t feel I that I could analyze the series from any unique angle. That’s not to say that I feel in order to write about a series I have to be the first or only person to hold a certain view of a series – what I’m saying is that I need to have a strong opinion in order to discuss a series. I’ve never been a big fan of reviewing series to begin with – I tend to enjoy looking closely at specific themes or characters rather than trying to capture the gist of my feelings toward a series. And when it comes to reviewing, I tend to just want to jump into writing my thoughts about the series instead of having to set the series up by summarizing its plot and characters. So I’ll extend a question to you bloggers out there: do you feel the need to write about series you didn’t have a strong reaction to? And do you enjoy writing reviews, or do you prefer to write other types of posts?

15 thoughts on “When not to write…

  1. I almost never write about something unless I have something to say about it. The exception is at AnimePlanet, when I feel have to review something as a follow-up to a review of a prequel.

    But for the most part, I agree with you. If nothing sticks out in particular, I stay silent on the subject or talk about it to people online in less formal formats (Twitter, IM).

    1. It would seem obvious not to review something you have nothing to say about; yet there are some bloggers who are able to write about so many series, even ones that they only felt were ‘meh.’ I’m not judging them for this – I actually praise their ability to find something to say about so many series, regardless of their feelings toward them, because I know I don’t like doing it.

  2. I like to write reviews, except I think my reviews tend to be more about what I think about a certain series or game. I tend to analyze characters, stories, or themes as a separate post. The worst part of a review is trying to summarize things for background purposes. I prefer to jump right into my thoughts and impressions as if the person who reads my post will already know what I’m talking about.

    I also agree that you have to feel particularly excited about writing a whole post dedicated to an anime or manga series. If my heart isn’t into it then I won’t write anything on the topic. I find that when I really enjoyed reading, watching, or playing something then that’s when most of my best writing comes out I think.

    1. I don’t much like writing summaries about series because I always have to ask myself how much of the series I should be summarizing – whether I should describe just the general gist of a series or give it an entire rundown. I actually prefer to read reviews that are more about the writer’s opinion – if I wanted a summary I could go to Wikipedia. Yes, I have to be invested in what I’m writing about in order for me to feel satsified with my piece.

  3. I will, with very few exceptions, limit my blogging to the titles I enjoy. For most things this is a single post, but if I love a series enough I’ll devote the time to do episode by episode reviews. and meta posts as well.

  4. I do a bit of both I guess. I will do impressions of all manga volumes I read regardless of how I feel about it. It serves sort of like a landmark for me (what I’ve bought and read) and I like going back to see how I felt about different volumes and if my predictions came true. Things like that. I won’t keep buying volumes of series I don’t like though, so most of my impressions are actually of things I do like. I do feel like sometimes I’m not quite sure what I should write about, but for me, the hardest is usually starting. Once I start expressing what I liked and didn’t like, everything tends to flow from there.

    I also don’t like writing summaries too much as I tend to feel like I need to write about everything and then my summaries get long, but I do it anyway in case someone wants a summary (in order to follow my thoughts or refresh their memory). This is also why I break my impressions into two parts. Summaries for those who want/need them and My Thoughts for those who read the manga and are just interested in seeing what another reader thought about that particular volume.

    Everything else though, I write because I want to write it. And that’s probably why most of my topics outside impressions tend to focus on media stereotypes and gender roles/gender as those are areas of interest to me. 🙂

    1. I actually like that format (separating your summary from your impressions) as a reader, but as a writer I tend to lose interest when I’m writing summaries. I’ve reviewed a few things I was on the fence about continuing, but those reviews can be useful because they can help people decide whether to bother with a series or not. Even if a series didn’t strongly impact me; as long as I have a strong attitude toward a series (I really think everything about it is average, I think it’s unique, etc.), I can write about it.

      We’re the same about tending to write about gender roles – I think for me it’s especially important because most people who do discuss gender roles in anime and manga primarily focus on fanservice, while I like to focus on other issues in the topic.

  5. I review for a series this is middling, I think, can be just as important and effective as a series that one has strong positive or negative feelings toward. But it’s also a lot harder to write! And if one doesn’t take the time to really craft such a piece, these reviews can be downright unreadable.

    And that said, you also mentioned that a lot of these series have already been reviewed, so sometimes another review is just adding to the noise.

    For me, I sometimes have to decide not to write (or rather publish) when it comes to more editorial/analysis-related posts. I come up with an idea that I think is great, write down some notes (or an entire article), and then realize that it just doesn’t work and is beyond repair. It’s then that I need to have the resolve to trash my work. Sometimes, that’s hard to do.

    1. I so agree with you – if you point out both what’s good and bad about an average series, people can decide whether those flaws bother them enough not to read or watch a series.

      Oh yes, in journalism we call scrapping ideas or even really good lines from a piece ‘killing your babies.’ Sometimes the flow of a story just doesn’t work, other times you realize that even though you may like an idea it’s difficult to execute well. It’s good to know when not to write – but it’s hard.

    2. Yeah, I also find scrapping your ideas hard. Haven’t done it yet because I’ve only recently started writing more analytic pieces, but there were two times I wasn’t sure if I would have enough to say or whether it would be coherent enough to publish, but it came together after I sat down with it a few times and edited out the parts that were nonsensical.

      1. I’ve had a few post ideas where I felt I didn’t have enough to say so I decided to hold off on publishing them until I could add more or better examples to prove whatever I was trying to argue. But sometimes that doesn’t work for me because I tend to like to write something when it’s in my head – once I’m not in the mood to write it it won’t turn out the way I want it to.

  6. To be honest, It’s rare that I don’t have anything to say about a manga series that I have read. In fact, I haven’t encountered that many series that I didn’t like (none since I started blogging). But if I did read something I didn’t enjoy, I’d still be inclined to share my opinions.

    I enjoy writing reviews but I tend to only review an entire series or the first volume of a manga; I can’t imagine there’s be much to say about a volume seven without giving away the story!

    1. I usually do have something to say when I don’t enjoy a series – it’s when a series, a). didn’t make a strong impression on me either way, b). is unique but whatever is unique about it just doesn’t interest me or c). has been heavily discussed already, that I find it best not to talk about it.

      That’s very true for me too; I can’t really review series volume-by-volume. Again, since I like to talk about characters and overall themes, I like to do so in the context of a series as a whole, not just a small chunk of it.

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