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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No Regrets for Loving You by Ming Dao and Jacky Chu

Song Title: No Regrets for Loving You (不後悔的決定)

Lyrics by: Toro (郭葦昀) and Ke Cheng Xiong

Music by: Jeon, Hae Seong

Producers: Ke Cheng Xiong (柯呈雄) and VJ-James Chu (祝鏘博)

Key:
Bold = Original Lyrics
Faded Blue = Pin Yin
Blue: Jacky
Green: Ming Dao
Faded Rose: Chorus

跟在你左右 看每一個笑容
gen zai ni zuo you   kan mei yi ge xiao rong
Accompanying you left and right, seeing each of your smile
Theo sát bên em, nhìn thấy được từng nụ cười của em
你像個小偷 偷偷偷走我的夢
ni xiang ge xiao tou   tou tou tou zou wo de meng
You’re like a thief, secretly stealing away my dreams
Em giống như kẻ trộm, đã lén lút đánh cắp đi giấc mộng của tôi
好久沒有 這麼幸運 看見了愛
hao jiu mei you   zhe me xing yun   kan jian le ai
It has been so long since I’ve been this lucky to see love
Đã lâu lắm rồi tôi mới được hên như vậy mà gặp được tình yêu

I love U 這不是祕密 早握在我手心
i love you   zhe bu shi mi mi   zao wo zai wo shou xin
I love you! It’s no secret that it’s already within my hands
Tôi yêu em! Đó không phải là bí mật vì nó đã sớm nằm trong tầm tay của tôi rồi
加了點雲加點甜蜜做成一道彩虹
jia le dian yun jia dian tian mi zuo cheng yi dao cai hong
Add a patch of cloud and a drop of honey to make a rainbow
Thêm vào một cụm mây và một giọt mật ong để kết thành cầu vồng
看見你正在看著我 連時針分針都忘了轉動
kan jian ni zheng zai kan zhe wo   lian shi zhen fen zhen dou wang le zhuan dong
Seeing you looking at me, even the hour and second hands have forgotten to turn
Thấy được em đang ngắm nhìn tôi, ngay cả kim đồng hồ cũng đã quên chuyển động

老天保佑 KEEP ON LOVING U
lao tian bao you   keep on loving you
Heaven blessed me to keep on loving you
Trời cao phù hộ cho tôi để mà tiếp tục yêu em
拿 一顆心 一課意 深深愛你
na   yi ke xin   yi ke yi   shen shen ai ni
Using one heart and one thought to love you deeply
Dùng một tấm lòng và một ý niệm để mà yêu em một cách sâu đậm
就這樣 KEEP ON LOVING U
jiu zhe yang   keep on loving you
Just like that to keep on loving you
Cứ như vậy mà tiếp tục yêu em
愛 給了你 給了我 一次深深不後悔的決定
ai   ge le ni   gei le wo   yi ci shen shen bu hou hui de jue ding
Love has given you, given me a profound opportunity of a decision that will not be regretted
Tình yêu đã đem lại cho em, đem lại cho anh một lựa chọn sâu sắc mà ta sẽ không hối hận

你 不得不信 這 一定是天意
ni   bu de bu xin   zhe   yi ding shi tian yi
You shouldn’t doubt that this is all Heaven’s will
Em không thể không tin rằng đó là ý trời
在這茫茫人海竟然和你心電感應
zai zhe mang mang ren hai jing ran he ni xin dian gan ying
That you and I have this telepathic connection within this vast sea of people
Bất ngờ rằng trong biển người mênh mông, đôi ta lại có thể tâm linh cảm ứng với nhau
看見你也正看著我 這多麼不可思議的奇遇
kan jian ni ye zheng kan zhe wo   zhe duo me bu ke si yi de qi yu
Seeing that you’re also looking at me, this unfathomable fortuitous meeting
Thấy được em cũng đang nhìn vào tôi, đây đúng là một cuộc kỳ ngộ

老天保佑 KEEP ON LOVING U
lao tian bao you keep on loving you
Heaven blessed me to keep on loving you
Trời cao phù hộ cho tôi để mà tiếp tục yêu em
拿 一顆心 一課意 深深愛你
na yi ke xin yi ke yi shen shen ai ni
Using one heart and one thought to love you deeply
Dùng một tấm lòng và một ý niệm để mà yêu em một cách sâu đậm
就這樣 KEEP ON LOVING U
jiu zhe yang keep on loving you
Just like that to keep on loving you
Cứ như vậy mà tiếp tục yêu em
愛 給了你 給了我 一次深深不後悔的決定
ai ge le ni gei le wo yi ci shen shen bu hou hui de jue ding
Love has given you, given me a profound opportunity of a decision that will not be regretted
Tình yêu đã đem lại cho em, đem lại cho anh một lựa chọn sâu sắc mà ta sẽ không hối hận

只要轉身我們可能錯過那愛情
zhi yao zhuan shen wo men ke neng cuo guo na ai qing
If we turned around, we could have missed this chance of love
Chúng ta chỉ cần quay mình thôi thì có lẽ đã bỏ lỡ cuộc tình này
錯過彼此相愛的運氣
cuo guo bi ci xiang ai de yun qi
We could have missed the chance of loving each other
Đôi ta có lẽ đã bỏ lỡ một thời yêu nhau
老天保佑我 做你的Angel
lao tian bao you wo   zuo ni de angel
Heaven blessed me to be your angel
Trời cao phù hộ cho tôi để làm thiên sứ của em
一直在 守護著那愛情 I’m loving U
yi zhi zai   shou hu zhe na ai qing   i’m loving you
To keep on protecting this love, I’m loving you
Để tiếp tục mà bảo vệ cuộc tình này, tôi sẽ tiếp tục yêu em

Oh 天保佑 KEEP ON LOVING U
oh   tian bao you   keep on loving you
Oh, Heaven blessed me to keep on loving you
Ôi, trời cao phù hộ cho tôi để mà tiếp tục yêu em
Oh 我愛你 你愛我 一次夠不夠
oh   wo ai ni   ni ai wo   yi ci gou bu gou
Oh, I love you, you love me. Just once, is that enough?
Ôi, tôi yêu em, em yêu tôi. Chỉ một lần thôi, có đủ không?
這樣 KEEP ON LOVING U
zhe yang   keep on loving you
Just like that to keep on loving you
Cứ như vậy mà tiếp tục yêu em
Oh 就是你 就是我 己深深的愛過就是你
oh   jiu shi ni   jiu shi wo   ji shen shen de ai guo jiu shi ni
Oh, it’s you, it’s me. It’s you who I have loved so deeply
Ôi, chính là em, chính là tôi. Em chính là người mà tôi yêu một cách sâu đậm

*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?

183 Club Reunion: November 2017

(image credit: Ehlo Huang’s Facebook page)

This happened like in mid-November, but I was caught up with other stuff so I didn’t update. Anyway, it finally happened! All five of them managed to meet up again. Ehlo was excited when he shared the pictures on his wall, lol.

183 Club Reunion: Onstage! – Part II

Not long after I updated last time, Ehlo shared two more videos of them singing “A Date So Sweet” and “One Umbrella.” And interestingly, Ming Dao jumped off the stage during “One Umbrella” to drag Angel Wang on to the stage with him, joining the rest of them in the spotlight.

*All images were from Ehlo Huang‘s Facebook and Ming Dao‘s Weibo.