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!

Meng Fei Comes Across

I haven’t watched a drama of Jiro’s in years–although I do stalk him on Facebook. One of the reasons is because I still have a lot on my to-watch list. But this one got me hooked from the start and a rare palace drama that I actually enjoyed. I think it was because it was a comedy and that they mocked the other palace dramas so I got a kick out of that. I felt all the cast did very well and the comedy wasn’t too over. Sure, they were over-dramatic at times but like I said, it was mocking palace dramas so it fitted. I loved that they did one episode per random story. At times, it extended but wasn’t dragging. There were also major story arches like they were trying to find the lead and/or masterminds behind the assassins at various times. But they added enough intrigue to the cases.

Jiro and Gina were so cute together as the king and Consort Meng (萌妃). Consort Meng’s good sisters at the palace were equally likable in their own way. I liked Consort Yan (言妃) for her innovative side and her sharp mind. Yes, she was sure gossipy,  but that had its advantages since it drew out a certain suspicious character at one point. Not to mention, it wasn’t like she gossiped about important matters regarding them. What irked me about Consort Yan was the story where she was tricked by that one girl into investing in chicken and all. It was so out of character for her. Yes, I got it that the other girl was cunning and manipulative, but I swear Consort Yan was one of the reasonable ones, regardless of how she wouldn’t pass up a chance to make money. She also witnessed how the other girl tricked Qu Wan Wan (曲碗碗) that one time also. How could she fall for it? Yet it didn’t last too long so I just let it go eventually and call it a plot hole. Anyway, Consort Xiao (骁贵人) was quite cool. She used to be a general and later entered the palace because of her father’s passing and the king wanted to look after her, but they weren’t romantically involved. They were actually childhood friends so he felt the need to look after her. In fact, it was mentioned that the king was fine in letting her go if her beloved returned yet it turned out quite tragic with her story. I thought it was like how Consort Meng’s brother’s story was–like eventually, it would be a happy ending. The story with Bu Yue (步约) and Chen Yuan Xi (陈鸢喜) was quite nerve-racking since I thought she died for real. Yet that was a misunderstanding and they eventually got married after some more obstacles. I thought it would be the same for Consort Xiao since it seemed hectic and all, but I thought it would be another misunderstanding. Luckily, Consort Xiao had the other three to accompany her and help her get through it. Lastly, Wan Wan was actually quite cute and innocent. And I swear she wasn’t fat. It was just that the others were so skinny so she looked fat comparing to them. I also thought she would end up with the royal cook’s son. I suspected it would happen when she went outside of the palace to help look for him yet returned with many delicacies for herself instead of bringing him back. I thought they were cute when they fight. Because this wasn’t a traditional palace drama so I thought it would have been fun to watch it turning out that way, considering how the king didn’t like her in that way so he could let her go. When I looked up more information for the drama, I realized the person who portrayed Wan Wan sang the main theme. Han Jiu Nuo sure has a sweet voice so it made the song really lively and so suitable with the lyrics. The ending theme was also quite cute and worked for the drama.

There were many hilarious scenes also. What got me going for a while was how they introduced the four little dragons of the palace, because the royal cook said that he was Wu Qi Long (吳奇隆), lol. Oh yeah, they also used English at various times and even incorporate some of the modern trends into different scenes. Like how they were using microphones, which was actually created by sticking a cucumber through an orange.

What else? The story with the king’s sister and the royal medic was also totally random but cute in its own way. The series actually wrapped up with their story and then added in a very cute and romantic scene with the king and Consort Meng. It was somewhat hilarious though, considering how the eunuchs arranged so that the flowers were falling down on them so nicely. It was hilarious yet was suitable to wrap up the drama. What tugged at my heart was how I seem to want even more episodes. There were ups and downs at times and there were some stories I didn’t care for, but overall, I loved it. It was refreshing in a way because it seemed to be a parody to all of those palace dramas they did year after year after year. So I would recommend it for comedy fans. I would definitely recommend it to Jiro and Gina fans. They were hilarious and I haven’t watched Jiro in a comedy for a while now so I felt it was a good fit.

*All images were captured 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?

Qiaoru: Meeting the Parents – Real Life Version

You know 2017 is going to be a good year when you wake up and read about Qiaoru’s latest development. Kidding aside, it’s true though that the media is circling back to Qiaoru again. I can’t believe it has been 8 years since the Love Buffet situation. But yes, it has been that long. Good memories to look back on actually, even though some are bittersweet.

Anyway, there are two articles that sorta went into details so I decided to read it thoroughly, dissecting it to bits–just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. Or more like misunderstand anything. (Go here and here for articles.) Anyway, both articles mentioned about Calvin’s latest reveal that could possibly clear all rumors (or not). He said that he hoped to have kids before he hit the big 40 (the CTS article actually said 38 but it wasn’t too far off), because he claimed he didn’t want to be too old to spend time with his kids. Totally a good cue for a set of questions to unleash. (Hey, he jumped right into that one, didn’t he?) Calvin actually admitted that he had taken Qiao Qiao to see his parents already (for a meal). His parents complimented her simplicity and pure personalities. Did that mean she was good as in the door already? Nope, at this state, Calvin and Qiao Qiao are considered “meal friends”, lol. As a recap, Calvin said that they both lived in the Tianmu area so they often hang out and go for meals. Calvin even complimented her on being down-to-earth and going out for meals with her was easy since she wasn’t a picky eater. They could browse around the street stalls, not having to go to fancy restaurants. When pressed for an answer regarding if he has plans to get married with Qiao Qiao within the next two years, he answered that if it was matters of marriage, they would announce–yet if it was just a relationship not leading to marriage, he wouldn’t publicize it. The media went bonkers by then, stating that it was an indirect admittance to him loving Qiao Qiao. Sounds good to me! LOL!

Seriously though, Calvin had taken a few of his female friends he felt was a good match to see his parents in the past (aside from Qiao Qiao). Yet his parents–contrary to typical parents who want grand-kids or whatnot–told him not to rush things. They advised him to pick carefully before getting into marriage. Aside from those important details (lol), there were some tidbits about him hanging around the gym with Jiro and Dylan at times to work out. (If you stalk all three of them, you could see pictures of them at the gym. They’re seriously obsessed, lol.)

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