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.

In Time for the Lunar New Year: QiaoRu Got Married!

(image credit: Joanne Tseng’s Facebook page)

Oh, happy day! No jokes! This is not a drill! QiaoRu got married! This came out as a surprise for me too since I was just scrolling down my Facebook page out of boredom. Then I saw Qiao Qiao’s post.

Translation:

We got married! ❤️

We’ve known each other for so long. Mr. Chen has witnessed me from a little girl turning into a woman, and continues to accompany me with much tolerance.

From this day on, I am Ms. Tseng and also Mrs. Chen. 🙂

People who love us are numerous, thank you for everyone’s caring and blessing. We will work together in the upcoming days, and will help each other to continue to grow.

A new page has opened up in our lives, please give us lots of advice. 🙏🏼🙏🏼

Joanne Tseng

I thought she was putting us on. Seriously, even after I read the message. I just thought they finally worked on a drama together. Yet a quick stalking of Weibo confirmed the news and also because Aaron posted his congratulations to both parties.

Translation:

Yu Tang, congrats!

Wishing you a lifetime full of happiness.

Chen Yi Ru, congrats!

Wishing you a lifetime of success.

We’ve been together in each other’s lives and grew up together. Having encountered such fate isn’t easy.

Thank you both.

Aaron Yan

I ended up checking Calvin’s page also and indeed, he had posted up a message of his own as well–with the same picture shared.

Translation:

Life has entered a new phase. Unplanned, but every one of us has our own pace, right? We’re married! In the new year of 2020, our responsibilities will be heavier. Thank you to our families and friends who have accompanied us. This road has been full of laughter and tears. Thank you for everyone’s concerns. Thank you for everyone’s blessings. For the new year, wishing everyone a progressive growth of goodness. Happy New Year! Most importantly, a year full of health!

Calvin Chen

Different articles could be found on the UDN site. (Go here for more.) One of the articles mentioned that Jiro had also sent his blessings for Calvin and Qiao Qiao. Esther from Qiao Qiao’s band Sweety had also congratulated her. Other friends and those within the industry had also sent their good blessings as well.

Anyway, how do I feel? So excited! I couldn’t be happier! Life has been tough lately SO this is one of the sunshine moments that I could use. Having followed them since their failed collaboration and then finally a successful collaboration, I’m beyond happy to learn of the news. Congrats to them and wish them all the happiness in the world!

Rainbow Tears by Sweety

(Credit: ForwardMusic 豐華唱片)

Song Title: Rainbow Tears (彩虹眼淚)

Music by: Chen Xi (陳熙)

Lyrics by: Chen Xi and Chen Tian You (陳熙, 陳天祐)

Key:
Bold = Chinese
Navy Blue = Pin Yin
Orange-ish = English
Red-Violet = Vietnamese

他總是不了解
ta zong shi bu liao jie
He never seemed to understand
Anh ta giống như chưa từng hiểu qua
我那些假裝的無所謂
wo na xie jia zhuang de wu suo wei
That I feigned indifference
Rằng tôi đã giả vờ như mình không sao cả
關於那些是是非非
guan yu na xie shi shi fei fei
Regarding those rights and wrongs
Về những chuyện thị phi đó
愛的疲憊 又有誰能陪
ai de pi bei   you you shui neng pei
The exhaustion of love, who could once again accompany me?
Sự mệt mỏi của tình yêu, còn ai có thể đi cùng tôi?

我總不夠堅決
wo zong bu gou jian jue
I never possessed enough determination
Tôi chưa bao giờ đủ sự kiên quyết
才會在愛裡面繞圈圈
cai hui zai ai li mian rao quan quan
Hence being trapped when in a relationship
Nên mới bị trói buộc trên đường tình
我學得會 口是心非不要流淚
wo xue de hui   kou shi xin fei bu yao liu lei
I learned to not to say what was in the my heart, and not to cry
Tôi đã học được cách miệng nói không như lòng nghĩ, và không nên khóc lóc

天上的眼淚 他好像懂我的心碎
tian shang de yan lei   ta hao xiang dong wo de xin sui
Heaven’s tears, it seemed like it understood my broken heart
Giột lệ của trời cao giống như đang hiểu được nỗi đau của tôi
懂得輕輕給我一些安慰
dong de qing qing gei wo yi xie an wei
Understanding and gently giving me a little bit of comfort
Hiểu được và nhẹ nhàng cho tôi một chút an ủi
我們應該要了解
wo men ying gai yao liao jie
We should have understood
Đáng lẽ chúng ta nên hiểu rõ
傷了心有種愛的美
shang le xin you zhong ai de mei
The heart that has been injured contains a beautiful kind of love
Trái tim từng đau khổ cũng có chút vẻ đẹp của tình yêu

天上的彩虹 總出現在天晴雨過
tian shang de cai hong   zong chu xian zai qing yu guo
Heaven’s rainbow has finally appeared on the clear sky after the rain
Cầu vòng rốt cuộc cũng xuất hiện trên bầu trời trong sáng sau cơn mưa
我己經懂得輕輕的放手
wo ji jing dong de qing qing de fang shou
I finally understood and gently let go
Tôi rốt cuộc cũng hiểu được để mà từ từ buông tay
就算我覺得難過
jiu suan wo jue de nan guo
Regardless if I was sad
Cho dù tôi có đau khổ cỡ nào
你會在我身邊守候
ni hui zai wo shen bian shou hou
You would be by my side, watching over me
Anh sẽ ở bên cạnh tôi để mà trông coi
陪我一起去看彩虹
pei wo yi qi qu kan cai hong
Accompanying me to go see the rainbow
Cùng nhau đi coi cầu vồng

(music)

你總是不自覺
ni zong shi bu zi jue
You never seemed to be conscientious
Anh giống chưa từng biết qua việc tỉ mỉ
才會在愛裡面繞圈圈
cai hui zai ai li mian rao quan quan
Hence being trapped when in a relationship
Nên mới bị trói buộc trên đường tình
讓他去飛 留過淚水才能學會
rang ta qu fei   liu guo lei shui cai neng xue hui
Just let him go, having to cry would allow myself to learn
Cứ để cho anh ta đi, có khóc qua mới biết tự học khôn

天上的眼淚 他好像懂我的心碎
tian shang de yan lei   ta hao xiang dong wo de xin sui
Heaven’s tears, it seemed like it understood my broken heart
Giột lệ của trời cao giống như đang hiểu được nỗi đau của tôi
懂得輕輕給我一些安慰
dong de qing qing gei wo yi xie an wei
Understanding and gently giving me a little bit of comfort
Hiểu được và nhẹ nhàng cho tôi một chút an ủi
我們應該要了解
wo men ying gai yao liao jie
We should have understood
Đáng lẽ chúng ta nên hiểu rõ
傷了心有種愛的美
shang le xin you zhong ai de mei
The heart that has been injured contains a beautiful kind of love
Trái tim từng đau khổ cũng có chút vẻ đẹp của tình yêu

天上的彩虹 總出現在天晴雨過
tian shang de cai hong   zong chu xian zai qing yu guo
Heaven’s rainbow has finally appeared on the clear sky after the rain
Cầu vòng rốt cuộc cũng xuất hiện trên bầu trời trong sáng sau cơn mưa
我己經懂得輕輕的放手
wo ji jing dong de qing qing de fang shou
I finally understood and gently let go
Tôi rốt cuộc cũng hiểu được để mà từ từ buông tay
就算我覺得難過
jiu suan wo jue de nan guo
Regardless if I was sad
Cho dù tôi có đau khổ cỡ nào
你會在我身邊守候
ni hui zai wo shen bian shou hou
You would be by my side, watching over me
Anh sẽ ở bên cạnh tôi để mà trông coi
陪我一起去看彩虹
pei wo yi qi qu kan cai hong
Accompanying me to go see the rainbow
Cùng nhau đi coi cầu vồng

擦乾了成長的淚水
ca gan le cheng zhang de lei shui
Wiping away that thread of tears
Gạt đi dòng lệ tuôn trào
搭上了幸福的地鐵
da shang le xing fu de di tie
Stepping on to the train of happiness
Bước lên chuyến tàu hạnh phúc
遠方有個聲音
yuan fang you ge sheng yin
Faraway, there’s a voice
Nơi xa xôi có một thanh âm
那一定會是你
na yi ding hui shi ni
That must be you
Đó nhứt định là anh

(music)

天上的眼淚 他好像懂我的心碎
tian shang de yan lei   ta hao xiang dong wo de xin sui
Heaven’s tears, it seemed like it understood my broken heart
Giột lệ của trời cao giống như đang hiểu được nỗi đau của tôi
懂得輕輕給我一些安慰
dong de qing qing gei wo yi xie an wei
Understanding and gently giving me a little bit of comfort
Hiểu được và nhẹ nhàng cho tôi một chút an ủi
我們應該要了解
wo men ying gai yao liao jie
We should have understood
Đáng lẽ chúng ta nên hiểu rõ
傷了心有種愛的美
shang le xin you zhong ai de mei
The heart that has been injured contains a beautiful kind of love
Trái tim từng đau khổ cũng có chút vẻ đẹp của tình yêu

天上的彩虹 總出現在天晴雨過
tian shang de cai hong   zong chu xian zai qing yu guo
Heaven’s rainbow has finally appeared on the clear sky after the rain
Cầu vòng rốt cuộc cũng xuất hiện trên bầu trời trong sáng sau cơn mưa
我己經懂得輕輕的放手
wo ji jing dong de qing qing de fang shou
I finally understood and gently let go
Tôi rốt cuộc cũng hiểu được để mà từ từ buông tay
就算我覺得難過
jiu suan wo jue de nan guo
Regardless if I was sad
Cho dù tôi có đau khổ cỡ nào
你會在我身邊守候
ni hui zai wo shen bian shou hou
You would be by my side, watching over me
Anh sẽ ở bên cạnh tôi để mà trông coi
陪我一起去看彩虹
pei wo yi qi qu kan cai hong
Accompanying me to go see the rainbow
Cùng nhau đi coi cầu vồng

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

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?