Resources for Writers
Critical Analysis: Really Useful Links by Paul Anthony Shortt
I’ve been writing for a long time and if there’s one skill that has served me best out of everything I’ve learned, it’s critical analysis. Literary criticism is the study and interpretation of written work, and it has formed the core foundation of the way I approach writing.
Far more than a study of the simple 3-act structure, critical analysis lets you understand the themes and context of a work, both in its self-contained aspect and in the larger context of the author’s background, concerns, and beliefs. No work of fiction is exempt from it; even the most basic children’s book or movie can be analysed to better understand the writer’s intent and the storytelling process. I’ve often pointed to children’s movies as being the best place to learn the fundamental aspects of writing fiction.
But outside of studying in college, it can be difficult to find reliable resources on the subject. So I’ve found some online resources you can use:
1: How to Write a Critical Analysis – I don’t often link to WikiHow, but this article is spot on with its simple breakdown of the steps to crafting a solid critique.
2: How to Analyse Fiction – This article goes through the various subjects you can analyse in a work of fiction, from plot and characters to imagery and symbolism.
3: How to Analyse a Poem – Whether you write poetry or not, understanding how to break down a poem can be just as useful as knowing how to study fiction.
4: Important Literary Terms – Critical analysis is its own language, and to do it correctly you need to understand that language. These terms are vital in learning to structure your argument properly.
5: YouTube – There are several YouTube channels whose owners post regular video essays critiquing movies. As I’ve always said, film can be a great source to learn from, and you can find some of the best video essay critics here: Nostalgia Critic, Lindsay Ellis, Patrick (H) Willems, and even yours truly.
That’s all for now. Good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt