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.

Xiao Qiao's Wedding

Last weekend was actually Xiao Qiao’s wedding. I previously saw pictures but was confused since aside from her pictures, others didn’t post anything. I thought I misunderstood or it was for a show. But then last weekend’s updates clarified everything and it was very exciting.

The majority of the J-Star family came to support and celebrate with her. In fact, the other members of the 7 Flowers were her bridesmaids. The best men were Johnny Yan and Sam Wang from 183 Club and GINO from K-One. From other pictures, there were other pairings as well.

Of course, there were also other non-J-Star members who came.

Liang Zhe was seen next to Ehlo at the reception.

Jun Ya, Derek Chen, and Ada Pan posed together at one point.

My favorite one must be of Doris and Sam, lol. Because she said the “before picture” was closer to their real-life selves. She paired with Sam so Johnny and Jade were paired together (just like some past events).

Anyway, it was a huge event yet was also heartwarming in many ways and brought back memories for those previously following J-Star events. And I only posted up some pictures from the people I do follow so I don’t know the rest of the details. Also, some people I follow didn’t post up pictures so I wasn’t sure if they were there or not.

*Images credit: Joyce Zhao, Doris Lai, Sam Wang, Ehlo Huang, GINO Tsai, Tony Sun, Derek Chen, and Zhao Jun Ya

Love On Sale by 183 Club

Song Title: Love On Sale (愛情特賣)

Lyrics by: Ke Cheng Xiong (柯呈雄)

Music by: VJ – James Chu and Lars Quang

Key:
Bold = Original Lyrics
Maroon = Pin Yin
Blue: Jacky
Golden: Ehlo
Pink: Johnny
Green: Ming Dao
Purple: Sam
Red-Violet: Xiao Qiao
Teal: Chorus

我覺得有點點悲哀
wo jue de you dian dian bei ai
I’m a feeling a little sad
Tôi cảm giác rằng có một chút đỉnh bi ai
給你的愛 卻被判出局
gei ni de ai   que bei pan chu ju
I’ve given you my love yet was eliminated
Tôi cho em tình yêu nhưng lại bị loại ra khỏi cuộc
我低聲問著Can We Try
wo di sheng wen zhe can we try
I asked softly, “Can we try?”
Tôi thì thầm hỏi rằng, “Chúng ta có thể thử không?”
殘酷的給了我答案 Wowo No
can ku de gei le wo da an wowo no
You’ve cruelly responded with, “No.”
Em tàn nhẫn đáp lại rằng, “Không.”

如何才能把你忘記 (我想忘了你)
ru he cai neng ba ni wang ji   wo xiang wang le ni
What could I do to forget you? (I want to forget you)
Làm sao mới đem em mà quên đi được? (Tôi muốn quên đi em)
不想再為了你歇斯底里 (Can U See it Baby)
bu xiang zai wei le ni xie si di li   can u see it baby
I don’t want to be hysterical anymore because of you (Can you see it, baby?)
Tôi không muốn vì em mà bị mắc chứng cuồng loạn nữa (Em yêu, em có thấy được không?)
到哪裡找個真正的愛
dao na li zhao ge zhen zheng de ai
Where could I find true love?
Đến nơi nào mới tìm được tình yêu chân thật đây?
徹底把你給取代 愛情特賣
che di ba ni gei qu dai   ai qing te mai
Thoroughly replacing you, selling love
Triệt để đem em đi thay thế, bán đi tình yêu

祝你開心 Please Don’t…
zhu ni kai xin   please don’t
Wishing you happiness, please don’t
Chúc em vui vẻ, xin đừng…
It’s Happy Anniversary
It’s Happy Anniversary
Đây là ngày kỷ niệm vui vẻ
但受傷的我卻不開心
dan shou shang de wo que bu kai xin
Yet I, whom had endured pain, am not happy
Nhưng tôi, người đã từng chịu đựng đau khổ, không được vui
廉價的愛情是贈品
lian jia de ai qing shi zeng pin
Cheap love is like a giveaway item
Tình yêu rẻ giá giống như là tặng phẩm vậy
最低的折扣是同情 Wowo No
zui di de zhe kou shi tong qing wowo no
The lowest discount is pity
Giảm giá thấp nhứt là sự thương hại

如何才能把你忘記 (我想忘了你)
ru he cai neng ba ni wang ji   wo xiang wang le ni
What could I do to forget you? (I want to forget you)
Làm sao mới đem em mà quên đi được? (Tôi muốn quên đi em)
不想再為了你歇斯底里 (Can U See it Baby)
bu xiang zai wei le ni xie si di li   can u see it baby
I don’t want to be hysterical anymore because of you (Can you see it, baby?)
Tôi không muốn vì em mà bị mắc chứng cuồng loạn nữa (Em yêu, em có thấy được không?)
到哪裡找個真正的愛
dao na li zhao ge zhen zheng de ai
Where could I find true love?
Đến nơi nào mới tìm được tình yêu chân thật đây?
徹徹底底給取代Don’t Hurt Me No More
che che di di gei qu dai don’t hurt me no more
Thoroughly replacing you, don’t hurt me anymore
Triệt để đem em đi thay thế, đừng tổn thương tôi thêm nữa

不要說什麼要天長地久 說你愛我
bu yao shuo shen me yao tian zhang di jiu   shuo ni ai wo
Don’t say things like “eternity”, say that you love me
Đừng nói những lời như muốn được thiên trường địa cửu, hãy nói rằng em yêu tôi
不要說什麼愛己經被偷 不要騙我
bu yao shuo shen me ai ji jing bei tou   bu yao pian wo
Don’t say things like love has been stolen, don’t deceive me
Đừng nói những lời như tình yêu đã bị đánh cắp, đừng lừa gạt tôi
不要說什麼它很不值得 這算什麼
bu yao shuo shen me ta hen bu zhi de   zhe suan shen me
Don’t say things like, “It’s not worth it”, how could it be calculated?
Đừng nói những lời như nó không xứng đáng, nó làm sao mà tính toán được?
不要說什麼要天長地久 說你愛我
bu yao shuo shen me yao tian zhang di jiu   shuo ni ai wo
Don’t say things like “eternity”, say that you love me
Đừng nói những lời như muốn được thiên trường địa cửu, hãy nói rằng em yêu tôi
Oh No…Don’t Hurt Me Any More
Oh no…don’t hurt me anymore
Không…đừng tổn thương tôi thêm nữa

各位女士各位先生
ge wei nv shi ge wei xian sheng
Ladies and gentlemen
Kính thưa quý vị
歡迎蒞臨今天的愛情特賣會
huan ying li lin jin tian de ai qing te mai hui
Welcome to today’s “Love On Sale” event
Hoan nghinh quang lâm hội “Mua Bán Tình Yêu” của hôm nay
我們保證價格超低
wo men bao zheng jia ge chao di
We guarantee that the price is the lowest
Chúng tôi bảo đảm giá cả là rẻ nhứt
品質絕對讓你滿意
pin zhi jue dui rang ni man yi
You will be fully satisfied with the quality
Phẩm chất tuyệt đối sẽ khiến cho quý vị vừa ý
還要送你超多超值的贈品
hai yao song ni chao duo chao zhi de zeng pin
We also want to give you a lot of worthy complimentary items
Chúng tôi còn muốn cho thêm quý vị nhiều tặng phẩm đáng giá
不要傷心不要不開心
bu yao shang xin bu yao bu kai xin
Don’t be hurt, don’t be unhappy
Đừng đau lòng, đừng có không được vui
好好的紀念你的愛情 瘋狂的Shopping
hao hao de ji nian ni de ai qing   feng kuang de shopping
Carefully commemorate your love by exercising your shopping madness
Hãy thích đáng mà ôn lại kỷ niệm tình yêu bằng cách mua sắm điên cuồng

如何才能把你忘記
ru he cai neng ba ni wang ji
What could I do to forget you?
Làm sao mới đem em mà quên đi được?
不想再為了你歇斯底里
bu xiang zai wei le ni xie si di li 
I don’t want to be hysterical anymore because of you
Tôi không muốn vì em mà bị mắc chứng cuồng loạn nữa
到哪裡找個真正的愛
dao na li zhao ge zhen zheng de ai
Where could I find true love?
Đến nơi nào mới tìm được tình yêu chân thật đây?
徹底把你給取代 愛情特賣
che di ba ni gei qu dai   ai qing te mai
Thoroughly replacing you, selling love
Triệt để đem em đi thay thế, bán đi tình yêu

如何才能把你忘記 (我想忘了你)
ru he cai neng ba ni wang ji   wo xiang wang le ni
What could I do to forget you? (I want to forget you)
Làm sao mới đem em mà quên đi được? (Tôi muốn quên đi em)
不想再為了你歇斯底里 (Can U See it Baby)
bu xiang zai wei le ni xie si di li   can u see it baby
I don’t want to be hysterical anymore because of you (Can you see it, baby?)
Tôi không muốn vì em mà bị mắc chứng cuồng loạn nữa (Em yêu, em có thấy được không?)
到哪裡找個真正的愛
dao na li zhao ge zhen zheng de ai
Where could I find true love?
Đến nơi nào mới tìm được tình yêu chân thật đây?
徹徹底底給取代Don’t Hurt Me No More
che che di di gei qu dai don’t hurt me no more
Thoroughly replacing you, don’t hurt me anymore
Triệt để đem em đi thay thế, đừng tổn thương tôi thêm nữa

*All translations were done by DTLCT.

183 Club’s First Album

Old album, but for sentiment’s sake, I’m digging it out and reviewing it anyway. First thing I want to say is: I regretted not getting the other version. ‘Cause I got the simple version so I could take advantage of a certain deal. I swear it was a bad idea. Free stuff isn’t all that. So yes, I wished I had gotten the other version where I could have the MVs as well. But I guess what has passed already passed. Can’t whine about it anymore. Or at least it wouldn’t amount to anything anyway. Maybe except to remind myself to never go for free stuff in the future.

So, moving on to the actual album. Quite a good deal. ‘Cause it was their first album at that time, it was interesting in many ways. Because it sort of veered away from the overly pop theme that many fans were used to while listening to different soundtracks they participated in. However, the pop was still present. It was just taking on a different form.

1. Chess For 2 (兩個人的西洋棋). Strong, powerful song for the opening.

2. One Umbrella (一把傘). The epic song that punned on their band’s name. So sad yet so touching at the same time. Love Jacky and Ehlo’s voices in here. Then the others accompanying. Beautiful ballad.

3. Deceive (欺騙). ‘Til this day, I still don’t get this song. Not regarding the language either. But the way it was written, lol. But still a nice song to listen to.

4. Conquer The Whole World (為你征服全世界). This song surprisingly brings back a lot of memories. Or maybe because the MV had indicated of different appearances and/or events they attended at one point and with fan’s support. Those were the days, right?

5. Anniversary (紀念日). Again, love Jacky and Ehlo’s singing in this one. So sentimental also.

6. Lemon Dream (夢裡). This song made me soooo sleepy. LOL! I swear. I remember it being on my playlist for “sleeping aid” ages back, lol. I guess it still is. I’m not saying it’s not a nice song. But I guess it served its purpose with being a dreamy song, lol.

7. I’m So Hot. Fun yet hilariously silly in many ways as well, lol.

8. Love On Sale (愛情特賣). I used to not like this song as much and also felt annoyed that there was talking in the song, etc. However, when I ended up liking Xiao Qiao, I enjoyed those parts more and felt like it was a nice contribution to the song.

9. Once Again (再一遍). I didn’t come to appreciate this song until later. But it’s a really nice, touching song. Not to mention this song was written by Jacky’s brother, James. (James joked at one point that he had written this song for money, lol.)

10. Hero. This song used to be one of my favorite songs when I listened to the album in the past. I think it still is until this day.

Doing this review had brought back lots of memories. And in a way, it made me feel kind of soapy, lol.

*All images were scanned by DTLCT.

Dan Shen You Yue: The Wrap Up

Yup, they’re done! In fact, they were already done during the time I posted the other entry. But I just got SUPER busy that I didn’t post updates.

Their wrap-up party celebration was quite hilarious with some of the pictures, though.

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