Fan Fiction: Critiquing Your Own Stories

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

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

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

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

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

Heaven’s Gift

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

HIDE & SEEK

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Honey In Tea

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Neurotic

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

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

Payback

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Scheming Nature

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

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

Slanted Thoughts

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

Slicing Boundary

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

The Business

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The Dating Game

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

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

The Other Extreme

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

Tri-Visual

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

True Friendship

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

When Wishes Come True

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

Winds & Rain

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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Year 2017 in Recap

year_review

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

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

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

Books Reviews:

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

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

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

Songs Translations:

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

Chinese:

Vietnamese:

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

Wilber Pan: Jacky Cheung’s Unofficial Disciple

will_jacky

(image source: Will’s Facebook)

The other day, Wilber shared a picture with “God of Songs” (歌神) Jacky Cheung with the caption that mentioned Jacky was supposedly his “master” (師父). I had to double-check since I wasn’t aware, lol. The other picture disclosed of the matter even more, because, from the flowers he sent Jacky, it clarified that Jacky wasn’t really his master, not really in a sense that Jacky recognized it and had gone through the “tea offering ceremony”, lol. Will had decided to declare it as that–quite thick-skinned attempt on his part (as he had said in the message, lol). You gotta love Will for his effort, right? What was the occasion? Jacky had launched a world tour called “A Classic Tour” so that had drawn a lot of attention and excitement all around the e-circle. Many others had posted their own pictures of attending the tour, but what caught my attention was Will’s humor.

Year 2016 in Recap

year_review


Year 3 in doing this. I really want to keep doing this, but I felt that 2016 had been a complete letdown on my part. Granted, it was a terrible year on many levels. It had affected me so much, draining me emotionally that I didn’t feel like keeping some kind of streak anymore. I only did some posts when I felt like it. Then I also tried to pick myself up by the end of the year by trying to release songs translations back-to-back at times, not even saving them for later so cushion posts could do the honor. I just didn’t feel like updating a lot of things. At first, I had prepared a post about a particular pairing, but I felt like I’m better than that. Not to mention how I wouldn’t want to cause even more misunderstandings between fans. At times, it’s very hard to restrain. But in the end, real-life got in the way. I took the actions that wonderful couple took, instead of arguing with senseless people who are full of evil thoughts for them. Yet I will say that can’t be epic like them so maybe one day I will break out of my silence to go at it in one post to unleash all the bottled-up frustrations. Because I know one of those days I will just blow up.

Total Posts in 2016: 77 (6.5% of all time).

January: 18 (23% of the year)
February: 3 (4%)
March: 1 (1%)
April: 3 (4%)
May: 9 (12%)
June: 7 (9%)
July: 14 (18%)
August: 3 (4%)
September: 3 (4%)
October: 6 (8%)
November: 2 (3%)
December: 8 (10%)

Notice that I took the poll out for the stars. Partially, it was due to what happened earlier this year. The other part was because I felt kind of wrong with teasing readers about possible updates if they voted more or whatever. I’m grateful to those who participated and continue to follow my blog–even in silence. I appreciate the constant likes and all as well. I really do. It’s just that I don’t want to be leaving you hanging on that. Sure, I will continue to update for my favorites from time to time, but that will depend on how long before I take care of some real-life matters.

Books Reviews:

Movies + TV Series Reviews/Episode Summaries:

Fan Fiction:

I think the year reached a new low for fan fiction updates because of my distractions of other stuff. I can’t promise it’ll get any better this coming year. I’m sorry that I made those of you who are reading those stories wait for too long. But I can promise you that I will finish regardless of obstacles since I don’t usually scrap stories away when it’s well on its way. I’ll try to do a separate fan fiction update later this year to clarify some matters.

  • Payback – Chapters 4-5

Songs Translations:

Using Rebirth to start the year didn’t help at all. Despite the fact that I was having high hopes at that time. The year continued to dive with a lot of forced positiveness. But what else could I do, right? Hopefully the coming year will be better.

So, what now? I don’t think there is any other choice except to move forward. I want to keep being positive, ignoring trolls in general, and just focus on my own matters. I want to get back on writing posts about Jun Ya and Xiao Xiao Yu. I have been active on Xiao Xiao Yu for the first part of the year and then somehow faded. But I did update more on Qiao Qiao in the later parts of the year. I just have to continue on that track. Not to mention getting back into fanfics, because I seriously miss them. Focusing on just real life stuffs really suck all the energy right out of me. I’ll try to work on a balance. Somehow. Because I seriously miss this blog. What I did do though was letting this blog becoming somewhat official with its own domain. Yes, that was a mini-Christmas present for myself since I managed to find a deal. Oh yeah, how could I forget Janine? Although I did update on her this year, I was somewhat neglecting her and only updating randomly. I also want to get back to Penny. More importantly, I want to actually watch and finish reviewing some dramas I’ve been holding back on.

This might possibly be the last year I do this type of update since I don’t find the fun in it anymore. Maybe resorting back to the typical data from WordPress next year. Not sure. But we’ll see.

We’re All Afraid of Pain by Wilber Pan

(Uploaded by: Diana Sim)

Song Title: We’re All Afraid of Pain (我們都怕痛)

Music by: Lin Zi Liang (林子良)

Lyrics by: Lin Zi Liang / Wang Ya Jun (林子良 / 王雅君)

Key:
Bold = Original
Blue = Pin Yin
Faded Red = English
Royal Blue = Vietnamese

她說她再也不相信 眞愛
ta shuo ta zai ye bu xiang xin   zhen ai
She said she doesn’t believe in true love anymore
Cô ta nói rằng cô ta không còn tin tưởng vào tình yêu chân thật
我能給的安全感 也用完
wo neng gei de an quan gan   ye yong wan
What I could give her as feeling of security has already been used up
Cảm giác an toàn mà tôi có thể cho cô ta cũng đã dùng hết
原本的孤單 己變成不安
yuan ben de gu dan   ji bian cheng bu an
The original feeling of loneliness has turned into insecurity
Cảm giác cô đơn đã biến thành bất an
像看穿卻又放不下 依賴
xiang kan chuan que you fang bu xia   yi lai
Like being able to see clearly yet couldn’t let go of dependency
Giống như đã nhìn thấu được nhưng không thể buông xuống sự ỷ lại

看著她低頭 勇敢牽著她就走
kan zhe ta di tou   yong gan qian zhe ta jiu zou
Seeing her with her head down, I courageously hold her hand and walk on
Thấy cô ta cúi đầu, tôi dũng cảm nắm tay cô ta và tiếp tục đi
別怕 只要在一起就能穿越黑晝
bie pa   zhi yao zai yi qi jiu neng chuan yue hei zhou
Don’t be afraid, only being together could overcome the dark days
Đừng sợ, chỉ cần gần bên nhau mới có thể vượt qua những ngày u ám
她的眼晴說 愛太迷人卻猜不透
ta de yan qing shuo   ai tai mi ren que cai bu tou
Her eyes say that love is enticing yet couldn’t be guessed
Cặp mắt của cô ta nói lên sự mê ly của tình yêu nhưng không thể đoán được
她的脆弱只有我能 看懂
ta de cui ruo zhi you wo neng   kan dong
Only I could see her vulnerabilities
Chỉ có tôi mới hiểu được sự yếu đuối của cô ta

我們都怕痛 但又好想試著牽手
wo men dou pa tong   dan you hao xiang shi zhe qian shou
We’re all afraid of pain, but still want to try and hold hands
Chúng ta đều sợ đau khổ, nhưng vẫn cứ thử nắm tay nhau
兩個心 隱藏在背後不敢承諾
liang ge xin   yin cang zai bei hou bu gan cheng nuo
Hidden behind the two hearts is the fear of making promises
Ẩn sau hai trái tim là sự không dám hứa
不想再難過 丟棄回憶重新來過
bu xiang zai nan guo   diu qi hui yi zhong xin lai guo
Don’t be sad, discard the memories and start over again
Đừng buồn nữa, bỏ đi những hồi ức và làm lại từ đầu
讓我永遠牽著你 把手給我
rang wo yong yuan qian zhe ni   ba shou gei wo
Let me hold your hands forever, give me your hand
Hãy để tôi vĩnh viễn có thể nắm tay em, hãy trao tay cho tôi

(music)

她說她再也不相信 眞愛
ta shuo ta zai ye bu xiang xin   zhen ai
She said she doesn’t believe in true love anymore
Cô ta nói rằng cô ta không còn tin tưởng vào tình yêu chân thật
我能給的安全感 也用完
wo neng gei de an quan gan   ye yong wan
What I could give her as feeling of security has already been used up
Cảm giác an toàn mà tôi có thể cho cô ta cũng đã dùng hết
原本的孤單 己變成不安
yuan ben de gu dan   ji bian cheng bu an
The original feeling of loneliness has turned into insecurity
Cảm giác cô đơn đã biến thành bất an
像看穿卻又放不下 依賴
xiang kan chuan que you fang bu xia   yi lai
Like being able to see clearly yet couldn’t let go of dependency
Giống như đã nhìn thấu được nhưng không thể buông xuống sự ỷ lại

看著我低頭 她說她願跟我走
kan zhe wo di tou   ta shuo ta yuan gen wo zou
Seeing me with my head down, she said she’s willing to walk with me
Thấy tôi cúi đầu, cô ta nói rằng cô ta nguyện đi cùng tôi
好怕 讓她心碎的痛又反覆折磨
hao pa   rang ta xin sui de tong you fan fu zhe mo
Really afraid that she would be heart-broken once again
Rất sợ rằng cô ta lại bị cõi lòng tan nát
我的眼晴說 笑或淚我都會守候
wo de yan qing shuo   xiao huo lei wo dou hui shou hou
My eyes say that whether in laughter or tears, I would be by her side
Đôi mắt tôi nói lên rằng dù cười hay khóc, tên cũng vẫn ở cạnh cô ta
她是我唯一執著的執著
ta shi wo wei yi zhi zhuo de zhi zhuo
She is my one and only perseverance
Cô ta là sự kiên trì duy nhứt của tôi

我們都怕痛 但又好想試著牽手
wo men dou pa tong   dan you hao xiang shi zhe qian shou
We’re all afraid of pain, but still want to try and hold hands
Chúng ta đều sợ đau khổ, nhưng vẫn cứ thử nắm tay nhau
兩個心 隱藏在背後不敢承諾
liang ge xin   yin cang zai bei hou bu gan cheng nuo
Hidden behind the two hearts is the fear of making promises
Ẩn sau hai trái tim là sự không dám hứa
不想再難過 丟棄回憶重新來過
bu xiang zai nan guo   diu qi hui yi zhong xin lai guo
Don’t be sad, discard the memories and start over again
Đừng buồn nữa, bỏ đi những hồi ức và làm lại từ đầu
讓我永遠牽著你 把手給我
rang wo yong yuan qian zhe ni   ba shou gei wo
Let me hold your hands forever, give me your hand
Hãy để tôi vĩnh viễn có thể nắm tay em, hãy trao tay cho tôi

*All translations were done by DTLCT.