Fan Fiction: Critiquing Your Own Stories

Years ago when I was still active on Winglin and other online communities, there was an explosion of different authors and readers alike coming out with websites or their own page to critique different fan fiction authors. Whether it was to help the authors improve their writing techniques or just something fun to do, it was quite an experience. I never submitted my stories to any of those websites but found them intriguing because I learned of how an author’s perspective could be versus how readers see it. It’s so obvious for everyday, published authors to go through this process. But at that time when I started posting my stories online, it was a new experience for me and it opened my eyes to some levels.

So, what’s the point of this post, right? Especially when I’ve been lagging soooo much on stories. This is an attempt to get back into it. Because the following will be an activity like the title said. I’m going to have fun and critique all the fanfictions I’ve ever written. Yes, I won’t leave anything untouched. But before I do, here’s a disclaimer for those who haven’t read the stories yet (so don’t say I didn’t warn you):

NOTE: The following contains spoilers (obviously from the title), SO if you haven’t read my stories yet, DO NOT proceed.

The beginning of the story had great potential and felt refreshing. It paved a nice and peaceful picture and a hopeful feeling because it described the two major characters’ feelings and goals in life. The humorous exchanges between several characters led readers to believe it would be a fun story. Although it had some typical formula of a small-town family with the scenic backdrop to pave the way, there was some mystery with various characters that readers could look forward to exploring. All in all, it paved a promising picture.

The problem with this story was that it was too wordy. It was one of my first attempts at writing fanfiction so it got so messy with descriptions. It didn’t take into account “show instead of telling” so it felt flaky and corny. In addition, because there was a setback with the last few chapters so it dived into the morbid side without intending to in the first place. It completely took away from the main plot and its lighthearted feeling that was established in the first place. A bad call. Like the feeling when the writers totally gave up and just wanted to end it already like how I often criticize them, lol. Also, the feeling of the celebs chosen was so random and unorganized, like lumping a bunch of people together just because. It felt like a test run.

Heaven’s Gift

The setting at the beach at the beginning of the story was promising and lighthearted. It presented a typical picture yet also let readers see a glimpse into each major character’s personality with a dash of humor. It seemed like they didn’t change much over the years, except for the circumstances around them. Light humor continued to occupy the scene, paving the story and pushing the major characters together–or apart–as time went by. There were some surprising details to the plot but it lacked some details here and there, not allowing the full potential of the plot to be explored.

HIDE & SEEK

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Honey In Tea

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Neurotic

Like some other stories, it started out describing the scenery and then introducing the characters. The weather, once again, like some other stories, gave hints to what the plot was going to be like. There was some side humor but just subtle, not too much. It was saying like the story meant business and it was no time to joke around, not really.

It was an interesting concept although it didn’t take in a lot of rules of sci-fi and went off the rails regarding technicalities. However, what made up for it was the layout of the major characters. It kept consistent and featured three female leads. What broke the rule for the third one was leading into a happier, hopeful ending than was predicted. It also gave more character and depth to one of the so-called villains and even allowed for that person to redeem himself and had a start over.

Payback

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Scheming Nature

This was a typical setup of two pairings that were living on the opposite side of society. They met and interacted and somehow became entangled in a complex scheme. It provided a sense of mystery to the overall story and made the readers want to know what was to come and where the story was heading toward. The ending was a bit of an unknown, especially after the intense confrontations between two of the major characters and how it went down. However, it proved to be going on a typical route with allowing all problems to be resolved in a more favorable manner.

This story attempted to mock the life of gangsters and how it was supposed to be yet failed because, in the end, it was equally cliche and was corny in a sense of allowing some bizarre details to come into play. Although having the theme of gang-related activities as the backdrop for the plot, it failed to achieve its intended effect because of the halfway compromise of the mood as an overall. Sometimes, it edged toward the side of intensity or darkness that could push past the barriers of safety but it was shy of making it into something much more.

Slanted Thoughts

The story started out really random, bordering childishness because of the constant fights between two of the major characters. However, it evolved into a sadder story because of what happened at the end. Although it attempted to resurrect the atmosphere with some side humor, the plot never recovered with the happiness felt at the beginning of the story. It was later explained in the second part why it was so and eventually leading the plot into a darker path than was originally intended to–or so it seemed when compared to the beginning of the first part. What the plot lacked severely was the explanation and more details into a certain mysterious organization that impacted some characters’ lives so many years and ongoing. Some of the undertones provided a hint about how they were a big deal and were not to be messed with. Yet it failed to back up the claim as the story went along and eventually wrapped up. It also never explained why Tammy’s character had so much impact on what Wallace’s life was going to be and yet left him alone after he had apparently restored his memories. Or was it because it was to emphasize how scary he was if he returned to his past self? Or because the organization didn’t care how things turned out and that it was only important they kept everything a secret? Some things were never answered.

Slicing Boundary

This was a fun read, at least at the beginning. Sure, there were childish humor and constant competition between the two siblings–or so readers thought as it was with typical siblings rivalry. However, it took a dark turn, killing a major character unnecessarily. Was that an attempt to be overdramatic? Or was it because the writer just decided to give up and end it that way?

The Business

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The Dating Game

The story seemed really random but that wasn’t a bad thing. It hinted potential with so many major characters involved and how each was at a different point in their lives. It was fascinating to see how they all met and would become important–one way or another–in each other’s lives. The story shifted between humor and intensity and back again. Yet always managed to push the plot forward, introducing new characters or circumstances into their lives and how they would react to those situations.

Although the cast was so extended that it provided an outlet for many story arches yet because it was so crowded that it didn’t allow for a focus on some characters. Also, some of the characters had suffered from the inconsistency of personality, except for the main characters. It also created an unrealistic atmosphere with so many of their gatherings and their strong bonds over the years. It could be both good and bad but mostly it was unrealistic. Not to mention how ridiculously meddlesome most of them were of one another’s lives. The occasional stalking of various parties was equally bizarre.

The Other Extreme

The first scene already gave a snapshot of what the story was going to be about and how the dark mood predicted the inevitable ending for some characters. The weather foreshadowed a lot of the scenes that were to come for the story. The layout wasn’t bad yet the constant side randomness and humor involving the characters downplayed the overall theme for the majority of the story. It was actually character-based and not plot-based like it should have been. The lack of information on both gang’s background made it hard to relate and didn’t allow for more interest toward that side of the story. It became a wannabe gangster story because it didn’t say how or why they were fighting or fleeing for their lives. It was only covered briefly at the beginning of how both sides had been fighting since forever yet never revealed the real reason why.

Tri-Visual

The storytelling style was strange yet intriguing. It made readers want to read more and find out what was going on and what was the deal with these characters. Or if they could get out from the current prison they were in. However, there were only glimpses here and there and some side details of the characters. They could have been extended to a much more complex story.

True Friendship

This story started out introducing the main characters right away and hinted at their established relationship and how it would come into play later on. The story began lighthearted with some side humor and then took a more serious turn as the characters acknowledge much more complex issues surrounding their lives. In some sense, the story allowed the characters to face reality with a hard punch. But in other sense, it felt a little dramatic and forced. Yet the story was still written a dialed down sort of way, like some subtlety of daily life happenings that could edge toward blandness but jumped back with a kick to tell us that reality will strike again. It was a mixture of complexity and simplicity. It had this balance and one tip of the scale would lead the story spiraling away.

When Wishes Come True

The story introduced some promising aspects, such as the story being told from the main character’s point of view. There were also inspirational quotes involved. So that sort of gave a feeling of a legit book. However, it took a shaky turn and ended up being a typical high school, mean girl type of war. There were some interesting ideas but the execution was terrible and the plot dull. If at all, that was.

Winds & Rain

Extremely disappointing because it seemed like an attempt to crank out something that involved the two main characters. It seemed like an unfinished story and didn’t involve a lot of details. It would have been better to wait for some sort of idea to come forth before continuing with the story. It should have been a one-shot, then it would make more sense.

Conclusion

So, aside from being random for this post, what’s the point here? Of all the stories I’ve written, I only liked True Friendship. Yes, that sad. I took it slow and made it through without feeling like I needed to rush anything or wanted to write to please readers. It wasn’t like I didn’t add in random conversations or some bizarre humor. The story had both. But what was different was how the two main characters didn’t end up together but also didn’t downplay their relationship throughout. It acknowledged some of the more realistic aspects of life, even if it didn’t allow for the story to cover all. I did get stuck on it at one time but the time spent thinking about the plot as an overall and side brainstorming, it had allowed me to change the ending for the better, at least to me.

I also realized some things about my writing styles. Well, I already realized it for a while now but here’s an outright confession, lol. Some characters, especially the main ones, tend to fall into one formula. So I think that’s something to take into account to try to make it different in the future. Or least mix it up a bit.

If anyone noticed, I think I got influenced by Gu Long and Jin Yong at times, lol. No jokes. Sad, but I read those two a lot so I got influenced, especially with describing sceneries and stuff. But of course, I couldn’t go to their level. Not yet. The reason I said “not yet” is because I at least want to reserve some hope that one day I could reach another level. Or like find my own styles. For now, just recognizing the flaws is enough.

So that’s the fun post. More to come in the future, hopefully.

NOTE: This post will be updated from time to write as I add more stories to my blog or finish the current ones.

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Year 2017 in Recap

year_review

When I thought that 2016 was a terrible year for me, I was wrong. 2017 continued to tank to a new level of crappiness. There were many frustrating things–one after another. It was like when I asked, “How much worse could 2017 be?”, it was like a challenge to the universe. So stuff happening in real life obviously affected how much time I have for this blog or attempted to keep some sort of activity. I did better than last year regarding updates, but that was a lot of effort because I’m still way behind on some news that I wanted to talk about. Yet no time or more like didn’t feel like it at the moment. I continued to get drained to another level that I thought might not be possible–like several days before. Then the pattern just repeated itself at different intervals. I think somewhere along the way, I ended up revamping my blog by getting rid of the too random posts. Like those general update ones. Although my blog already is random on many levels, I didn’t want to just post for the sake of placeholders too much. Anyway, here are some stats for this year.

Total Posts in 2017: 155 (11.7% of all time).

January: 18 (% of the year)
February: 10 (%)
March: 21 (%)
April: 20 (%)
May: 11 (%)
June: 18 (%)
July: 6 (%)
August: 4 (%)
September: 20 (%)
October: 14 (%)
November: 9 (%)
December: 4 (%)

Books Reviews:

Sad, because I actually read a bit this year but didn’t feel like doing reviews for some of them. Maybe I’ll go back to do them later.

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

Complete failure–unlike what I promised last year about getting things done. I started looking over some of the fanfics again and managed to get going on some, but I can’t promise how fast it would be rolled out. I’ll get it out when I’m happy with what I wrote.

Songs Translations:

I used “You’re Always Beautiful” to start the year, thinking that if I continue to retain some sense of positiveness, somehow things will get better. But it didn’t. Anyway, how was this year regarding translations? I didn’t realize I was that productive. Mostly, I tried to push the majority of 183 Club’s songs out.

Chinese:

Vietnamese:

I didn’t want to do this update like I said last year. However, I felt like I needed to persuade myself to continue on. Not to mention, I want to keep some sort of a teeny, tiny bit of hope that 2018 will actually be better. So we’ll see, right?

The Handsomest Men of the (Ancient) World

(image credit: as marked)

I just stumbled upon this MV and couldn’t help but share. (Click here for the original on Weibo and here for Vietnamese subs of the song.) The song is Zhang Jie’s “Tian Xia.” I used Ken’s picture because that was where I first saw the video being shared.

Anyway, did you see your favorites in here?

Forbes China – Top 100 Successful Celebrities 2017

(image credit: Zhao Li Ying’s Studio Weibo)

I usually don’t do this, but I just thought I do it since year since I saw the list the other day.  (Go here for the list in its originality.) And I know she’s not ranked first, but I just like the picture, lol.

Anyway, here goes the translation for the list:

  1. Fan Bing Bing / Phạm Băng Băng
  2. Lu Han / Lộc Hàm
  3. Yang Mi / Dương Mịch
  4. Zanilia Zhao Li Ying / Triệu Lệ Dĩnh
  5. Yang Yang / Dương Dương
  6. Tamia Liu Tao / Lưu Đào
  7. Jackie Chan / Thành Long
  8. Angelababy / Yang Ying / Dương Dĩnh
  9. Jay Chou / Châu Kiệt Luân
  10. Wu Yi Fan / Ngô Dịch Phàm
  11. Li Yi Feng / Lý Dịch Phong
  12. Deng Chao / Đặng Siêu
  13. Betty Sun Li / Tôn Lệ
  14. Tiffany Tang Yan / Đường Yên
  15. Chen Kun / Trần Khôn
  16. Huang Xiao Ming / Huỳnh Hiểu Minh
  17. TFBOYS
  18. Hu Ge / Hồ Ca
  19. Cecilia Liu Shi Shi / Lưu Thi Thi
  20. Lay Zhang Yi Xing / Trương Nghệ Hưng
  21. William Chan / Trần Vỹ Đình
  22. Wallace Huo / Hoắc Kiến Hoa
  23. Crystal Liu Yi Fei / Lưu Diệc Phi
  24. Jing Bo Ran / Tỉnh Bách Nhiên
  25. Huang Zi Tao / Hoàng Tử Thao
  26. Wu Xiu Bo / Ngô Tú Ba
  27. Andy Lau / Lưu Đức Hoa
  28. Vicki Zhao / Triệu Vy
  29. Li Bing Bing / Lý Băng Băng
  30. Huang Bo / Huỳnh Bột
  31. Wallace Chung / Chung Hán Lương
  32. Lin Chi Ling / Lâm Chí Linh
  33. Jia Nai Liang / Giả Nại Lương
  34. Chris Lee / Li Yu Chun / Lý Vũ Xuân
  35. Sally Jing Tian / Cảnh Điềm
  36. Mark Chao / Triệu Hựu Đình
  37. Di Li Re Ba / Địch Lệ Nhiệt Ba
  38. Tong Li Ya / Đồng Lệ Á
  39. Zheng Shuang / Trịnh Sảng
  40. Cheney Chen Xue Dong / Trần Học Đông
  41. He Jiong / Hà Cảnh
  42. Wang Kai / Vương Khải
  43. Kenny Lin Geng Xin / Lâm Canh Tân
  44. Xue Zhi Qian / Tuyết Chi Khiêm
  45. Faye Wong / Vương Phi
  46. Eddie Peng / Bành Vu Yến
  47. Lu Yi / Lục Nghị
  48. Shu Qi / Thư Kỳ
  49. Nicky Wu / Ngô Kỳ Long
  50. Jin Dong / Cận Đông
  51. Liu Wen / Lưu Văn
  52. Guo De Gang / Quách Đức Cương
  53. Michael Chen He / Trần Hách
  54. Li Chen / Lý Thần
  55. Jiang Xin / Tưởng Hân
  56. Jacky Cheung / Trương Học Hữu
  57. Eason Chan / Trần Dịch Tấn
  58. Donnie Yen / Chân Tử Đan
  59. Zhou Xun / Châu Tấn
  60. Louis Koo / Cổ Thiên Lạc
  61. Huang Lei / Hoàng Lỗi
  62. Wu Lei / Ngô Lỗi
  63. Sun Hong Lei / Tôn Hồng Lôi
  64. Show Luo / La Chí Tường
  65. Tony Leung Chiu Wai / Lương Triều Vỹ
  66. Ryan Zheng / Trịnh Khải
  67. Ruby Lin / Lâm Tâm Như
  68. Sun Yang / Tôn Dương
  69. Zhang Yi Shan / Trương Nhứt Sơn
  70. Zhou Dong Yu / Châu Đông Vũ
  71. Ni Ni / Nghệ Ni
  72. Yang Zi / Dương Tử
  73. Victoria Song / Tống Tây
  74. Xie Na / Tạ Na
  75. Hawick Lau / Lưu Khải Uy
  76. Mayday
  77. Huang Xuan / Huỳnh Hiên
  78. Sandra Ma / Mã Tư Thuần
  79. Guan Xiao Tong / Quan Hiểu Đồng
  80. Chen Dao Ming / Trần Đạo Minh
  81. Carina Lau / Lưu Gia Linh
  82. Jolin Tsai / Thái Y Lâm
  83. Nicholas Tse / Tạ Đình Phong
  84. Aaron Kwok / Quách Phú Thành
  85. Gao Yuan Yuan / Cao Viên Viên
  86. Olivia Wang Zi Wen / Vương Tử Văn
  87. Kevin Tsai / Thái Khang Vĩnh
  88. Liu Hao Ran / Lưu Hạo Nhiên
  89. Han Han / Hàn Hàn
  90. Feng Xiao Gang / Phùng Tiểu Cương
  91. Xu Zheng / Từ Tranh
  92. Zhang Jia Yi / Trương Gia Trạch
  93. Zhang Ruo Yun / Trương Nhược Quân
  94. Ray Ma Tian Yu / Mã Thiên Vũ
  95. Jason Zhang Jie / Trương Kiệt
  96. Zhang Hui Mei / Trương Huệ Muội
  97. Zhang Yimou / Trương Nghệ Mưu
  98. William Feng Shao Feng / Phùng Thiệu Phong
  99. Lin Qin / Lý Thấm

Our Time Will Come: A Wallace and Zhou Xun Collaboration

This was actually shot before the Ruyi one but I think the other one received more attention. Anyway, this is a movie directed by Ann Hui. It’s a war movie.

Many war movies focused on the male side, but this one will focus on one of the notable heroines of that time, Fang Lan (方蘭), but she is often known as Fang Gu (方姑). This is, of course, Zhou Xun’s character.

Wallace will play her lover, Li Jin Rong (李錦榮). His name sounds really, really familiar. I can’t place it at the moment. Not sure if he was mentioned or appeared in Dong Jiang Heroes yet wasn’t focused on since the other drama focused on Liu Hei Zai and his side mostly.

Which brings me to the other essential character of the drama, Liu Hei Zai. He will be portrayed by Eddie Peng. (Good luck with that since Wang Lei already stole my heart, lol.)

They will be joined by other veteran stars, such as Bau Hei Jing, Ray Lui, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Eddie Cheung, and more.

Check out the trailer (uploaded by 双喜電影 A Really Happy Film). It looks quite promising.

*All images were collected around the net hence belonging to their rightful owners.