By Victor Juma
Published August 8, 2017
Are you looking for where to get skills in critical thinking, analysis and effective communication? Look no further than How To Write On 1001 Subjects! manual for creative writers, critics and journalists.
As the title suggests, this book by communication specialist Ogova Ondego guides you on how to think logically and analytically in order to successfully write on literally any subject under the sun.
The first chapter introduces you to what writing is and all that it entails. You are informed about the benefits of writing and encouraged to read widely and intensively. Besides advising you to be honest, you are also introduced to the figures of speech that could flavor your writing. Elements like metaphors, hyperbole, dramatic irony and Sarcasm among many others are defined and adequately explained with examples.
The second chapter introduces you to cultural journalism, arts criticism, mass media, news and interviewing skills. The book explains that criticism, that it also refers to as critical appreciation, is meant to increase understanding of and guide artists in pushing boundaries in their quest for creative excellence. The chapter also raises awareness about the role of mass media which includes providing information, education, entertainment and persuasion. It is also explained that news is anything that feeds one’s curiosity and for it to be news it has to be clear, novel, true and accurate.
The third chapter dwells on Culture and challenges you to have knowledge of your cultural history. The book stresses that if people are not educated into their place in human history, they become powerless and vulnerable to strange beliefs. The approaches to appreciating creativity and the analysis of Literature, Art and Music are also discussed here. It is made known that understanding a work of art involves understanding the goal of the artist and the circumstances influencing the work. The book also reveals the outlook, interests and the way of thinking that influences the investigations and interpretations of critics which include the medium and skills seen in the work and the background and environment surrounding the work.
Chapter four focuses on Fine Arts which include Sculpture that it defines as the art of shaping material such as wood, stone or marble into three-dimensional works of art and Architecture that it says is the art and science of designing, planning and building structures, usually for human habitation. The book explains that in architecture, a critic is interested in how well the structure fulfills its purpose. The critic would also be interested in the visual elements of the work like line, colour, the arrangement of the work and the time and place depicted in that work.
Chapter five focuses on analysing writing. Here, it says, a critic is interested in the language used, poetry and the type of writing; whether it is an essay, a short story, a novel, a poem, a stage play or a movie script. The critic also analyses the narrative voice in the work, whether it is from an Omniscient point of view (where the narrator seems to know everything and is not limited by time or place) or from First person point of view (when the story is told from the perspective of a single character who can relate only what he or she witnesses and is limited in his or her understanding). The critic also identifies a poem’s intent and its execution and the formal conventions of a poem. A critic analysing theatre/drama and performing art is expected to consider the work of the director who interprets the play and directs the actors, stage design, light and sound, design and makeup.
Chapter six dwells on Music analysis where Tempo (the rate of speed of a musical passage), Texture (the nature and number of voices or instruments employed), Melody (a succession of musical notes), Harmony (the simultaneous combination of two or more tones producing a chord) and Theme would be the items of interest. The importance of music is extensively discussed and it is made known that music leads to better control of emotion and better body coordination, especially in children.
The seventh chapter gives prominence to tools for analysing movies, which include the definition of the film medium, history and development of the film, its language and its genre, all of which are discussed widely. The Film Glossary at the end of the chapter also helps you to understand the terms used in film.
The last chapter discusses word choice and punctuation in writing and the reader is urged to aspire to write better than anyone else besides being curious, persistent and to have the desire to find new facts known by few.
The book is quite informative and the writer’s mastery of language and writing keeps the reader’s attention throughout the reading time. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to become an above-average writer and an important aid to people interested in the arts in general.