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Cynthia Stan

Aspiring writer seeking critique on fanfiction.

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Hi! So as the title stated, I am aspiring to become a writer one day, currently I am very interested in getting feedback for my fanfiction. If it's not too much to ask, it would be of great help to hear any critiques, things you liked or disliked in general and why, things that you think could improve my writing etc. 

The fanfiction revolves around Cynthia from Awakening finding her way into the plot of 3 Houses and her dealing with shenanigans as she narrates the story. It is written in a (Apparently controversial) first person POV in a diary format. It's going for a comedic albeit somewhat dramatic tone. So if anyone is interested, here it is: https://archiveofourown.org/works/24495517/chapters/59128225

Again, any advice or comments are greatly appreciated!

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If you're looking for critique only, I'm gonna shove this in the subforum dedicated to that.  Don't think you'll want me as any sort of critic, because. . .well, let's say I have a very unique sense of humor, and I think the fourth wall is a nice suggestion.

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5 minutes ago, eclipse said:

If you're looking for critique only, I'm gonna shove this in the subforum dedicated to that.  Don't think you'll want me as any sort of critic, because. . .well, let's say I have a very unique sense of humor, and I think the fourth wall is a nice suggestion.

Oh, thanks for that! I'm still very new to this site as you can probably guess. 

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Fanficer here! I'm looking to improve my skills as a beta reader, so I can help you! Do you want me to post it here or on the story on AO3? A combo of the two? Like do you want me to give my critical comments here and what you did right on AO3 or vice versa? Do you want critique on grammar/spelling? Story? Characterization?

Edited by Dragoncat

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12 minutes ago, Dragoncat said:

Fanficer here! I'm looking to improve my skills as a beta reader, so I can help you! Do you want me to post it here or on the story on AO3? A combo of the two? Like do you want me to give my critical comments here and what you did right on AO3 or vice versa? Do you want critique on grammar/spelling? Story? Characterization?

Hi! Thanks so much!  If you could write the critique and copypaste it on both place it would be great! I am mainly interested in story and characterization, if you want to of course. 

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I'm not a fanficer, but I am an aspiring writer. I'm not sure if I should review this though; I've never understood the idea of fanfics that use pre-existing characters, since I've always seen writing as being for telling your own story.

I understand fanfics that explore a part of the setting with their own original characters, as I can see those kinds of fanfics actually being useful as a way to practice writing skills and creativity by coming up with your own stories and characters while using a pre-existing setting; I once even considered writing one such story for practice, though I never actually did (it was going to be a Dragon Age fan-fic about a clan of Dalish Elves). For me, using one that heavily involves the original's main plot, and uses pre-existing characters, kind-of defeats that purpose. 

But, that's just me. I'm currently working on my own novel (though it's been hard to find time to write it). 

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4 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I'm not a fanficer, but I am an aspiring writer. I'm not sure if I should review this though; I've never understood the idea of fanfics that use pre-existing characters, since I've always seen writing as being for telling your own story.

I understand fanfics that explore a part of the setting with their own original characters, as I can see those kinds of fanfics actually being useful as a way to practice writing skills and creativity by coming up with your own stories and characters while using a pre-existing setting; I once even considered writing one such story for practice, though I never actually did (it was going to be a Dragon Age fan-fic about a clan of Dalish Elves). For me, using one that heavily involves the original's main plot, and uses pre-existing characters, kind-of defeats that purpose. 

But, that's just me. I'm currently working on my own novel (though it's been hard to find time to write it). 

This is a unique view! Many fanficers kinda look down on OC fic, because they want to read further stories with characters they're familiar with, and not everybody is skilled enough at writing to make good OCs. But I can agree with this, my main reason for writing fanfic over original fiction that I tell people when they say "why don't you write original?" is that half the work is done already. Nowadays I make OCs to fit in where they're needed, or flesh out very minor canons to the point where they might as well be OCs.

OP doesn't have a unique idea, let's be honest, but there are really no bad ideas, just bad execution of ideas.

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7 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I'm not a fanficer, but I am an aspiring writer. I'm not sure if I should review this though; I've never understood the idea of fanfics that use pre-existing characters, since I've always seen writing as being for telling your own story.

I understand fanfics that explore a part of the setting with their own original characters, as I can see those kinds of fanfics actually being useful as a way to practice writing skills and creativity by coming up with your own stories and characters while using a pre-existing setting; I once even considered writing one such story for practice, though I never actually did (it was going to be a Dragon Age fan-fic about a clan of Dalish Elves). For me, using one that heavily involves the original's main plot, and uses pre-existing characters, kind-of defeats that purpose. 

But, that's just me. I'm currently working on my own novel (though it's been hard to find time to write it). 

If you want please go on and review it! Anything helps really!

I using this mostly for practice, I'm trying to make the plot fairly different from that of 3H by adding Cynthia into the mix. Honestly, I think most people just do it out of enjoyment for the source material, in a way, I think, it's showing your love for that said source material. At least I do it in part for that, I really liked the character of Cynthia to the point I wanted to write something about her. One thing I have to say, and you will probably notice if you read the fic, it's that I tend to make the characters a bit OC, trying to imitate the source material writing style in a 1:1 basis seems very boring to me, for me the fun of reading fanfics comes from seeing what other fans add to the source material. 

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I just finished the first chapter, interesting stuff! I’m not really experienced with critique (or writing, for that matter- I want to be though! Quite a bit.) but you said you’re focused on characterization and story, and I think these two things would fall under the story category. Speaking of the story, I think these two things fall under that category. Also I have to say, the concept is quite interesting to me! I’m looking forward to the rest. Anyway, the first thing is the info dump at the beginning. I don’t think it flows very well to just get all that thrown at you at the beginning, knowing Cynthia I could see her writing all of that, but I could also see Cynthia writing something like that in a report. Still though, I could also see her bringing it up anywhere fitting individually, so I would keep that in mind. The other thing is from a paragraph near the bottom, “Then you dismissed me, but not for one second did I doubt your judgment. Well actually one second was very short time, it was more like a day? Or two, BUT, Flayn was always there to calm me down, she was like the cutest thing ever, I imagine she would prefer the world delightful thou, she’s just soooo big brained for her age, like she has lived for a thousand years. Let me tell you our first meeting, she knocked the door, I opened.“ I think this could use a little more elaboration. More specifically, what happened to Cynthia after she was dismissed? She’s somewhere where Flayn comes to knock on the door and she is in a position to answer, but where? Why did Rhea put her here? What is she doing here?

Lastly, I saw on there you said grammar issues on Cynthia’s part were intentional, but does that extend to spelling errors? Speaking of spelling errors, as far as what other people had to say, there was a little bit right below what I quoted. ““Oh! Let me cook you something miss! Do you like fish!? Silly me! How should I call you?”” I have never heard someone say “how should I call you?” BUT since Flayn speaks really old fashioned, this might be intentional. If she isn’t trying to speak in older English though, I think she means what should I call you? “Cynthia, I rather have bear meat but fish is okay.” “I rather” isn’t grammatically correct, I think I should be “I would rather”, since rather isn’t an action. And then, she says right at the end of the report ““I swear on my duty as a princess I won’t! Mouth is shut like my integrity.”” “Shut like my integrity?” What does that mean? I’ve never heard of integrity being shut so I might be in the wrong here, but I thought it was worth checking. Other than that it was a good story, I liked the plot and the characterization was good, although me already knowing these characters might mess with my perception o the characterization. Have anyone not experienced with fe who could give that a read?

You told Dragoncat to put it on the story on AO3, and I could do that too if you like. That just means the comments right (I don’t really know AO3)?

...so? How did I do? This is my first time writing ‘critique’ on such a scale. 😅

 

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Woah thanks! Yes, the spelling mistakes were intentional, the grammar ones were not, so thanks for pointing them out! English is not my mother tongue so those kind of things end up happening much more than I would like to. 

The shut like my integrity  part is just Cynthia not knowing what worlds really mean. But if you didn't get that by reading it, it probably means I should change it. 


Also thanks for pointing out the info dump for me, that has been a common criticism, and even thou I have reduced it quite a bit already, it seems like I have to work more on it, and yeah, just put this same comment on the comment section of AO3, if you want to I mean. And I mean, your critique was really helpful, so thanks for that again!

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20 minutes ago, Dragoncat said:

This is a unique view! Many fanficers kinda look down on OC fic, because they want to read further stories with characters they're familiar with, and not everybody is skilled enough at writing to make good OCs. But I can agree with this, my main reason for writing fanfic over original fiction that I tell people when they say "why don't you write original?" is that half the work is done already. Nowadays I make OCs to fit in where they're needed, or flesh out very minor canons to the point where they might as well be OCs.

Interesting. I know next-to-nothing about fanfiction, so I had no idea my view on it was unique.

 

23 minutes ago, Cynthia Stan said:

If you want please go on and review it! Anything helps really!

I using this mostly for practice, I'm trying to make the plot fairly different from that of 3H by adding Cynthia into the mix. Honestly, I think most people just do it out of enjoyment for the source material, in a way, I think, it's showing your love for that said source material. At least I do it in part for that, I really liked the character of Cynthia to the point I wanted to write something about her. One thing I have to say, and you will probably notice if you read the fic, it's that I tend to make the characters a bit OC, trying to imitate the source material writing style in a 1:1 basis seems very boring to me, for me the fun of reading fanfics comes from seeing what other fans add to the source material. 

I think I'll pass. But, I will instead recommend some YouTube channels that offer a lot of good writing advice that have helped me a lot:

Spoiler

1. Overly Sarcastic Productions: This is a channel that looks at history and popular media in funny and entertaining ways. For writing advice, I recommend their series "Trope Talks", which discusses and explores various media tropes.

2. Hello Future Me: This channel has a bunch of videos on writing and worldbuilding; they're usually titled, "On Writing" or "On Worldbuilding", and they're really good.

3. Ellen Brock: this channel is run by a freelance novel editor, and it has a ton of videos with really good writing advice. In particular, I recommend her video on the four main types of writers, as figuring out which one you fall under will help a lot with writing.

I see. I think the whole, "doing it out of enjoyment for the source material" is part of why I don't see the appeal in fan-fics that lean heavily on the source material's plot and characters; if a fan-fic writer likes the source material so much, why not have their fan-fic expand upon it; explore something that the source material didn't really focus on? Instead of retelling the source material, why not see what you can add to the world the author made? But that's just what seems logical to me. 

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10 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Interesting. I know next-to-nothing about fanfiction, so I had no idea my view on it was unique.

 

I think I'll pass. But, I will instead recommend some YouTube channels that offer a lot of good writing advice that have helped me a lot:

  Hide contents

1. Overly Sarcastic Productions: This is a channel that looks at history and popular media in funny and entertaining ways. For writing advice, I recommend their series "Trope Talks", which discusses and explores various media tropes.

2. Hello Future Me: This channel has a bunch of videos on writing and worldbuilding; they're usually titled, "On Writing" or "On Worldbuilding", and they're really good.

3. Ellen Brock: this channel is run by a freelance novel editor, and it has a ton of videos with really good writing advice. In particular, I recommend her video on the four main types of writers, as figuring out which one you fall under will help a lot with writing.

I see. I think the whole, "doing it out of enjoyment for the source material" is part of why I don't see the appeal in fan-fics that lean heavily on the source material's plot and characters; if a fan-fic writer likes the source material so much, why not have their fan-fic expand upon it; explore something that the source material didn't really focus on? Instead of retelling the source material, why not see what you can add to the world the author made? But that's just what seems logical to me. 

I mean, at least on my experience that's what fan fics writters tend to do, explore interactions that were not seen on the source material, or place the source material characters in different environments. But I've only had experience with Fire Emblem fan fiction. 

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49 minutes ago, Cynthia Stan said:

Woah thanks!

I was helpful! Yay! You’re welcome!

Quote

Yes, the spelling mistakes were intentional, the grammar ones were not, so thanks for pointing them out! English is not my mother tongue so those kind of things end up happening much more than I would like to. 

Yeah, some of the ones I pointed out gave me the vibes of you were trying to say something that makes sense in another language, but the meaning was, as they say, lost in translation. But I understand, I’m trying to learn another language right now and uh... I can tell how easy that is, let’s say.

Quote

Also thanks for pointing out the info dump for me, that has been a common criticism, and even thou I have reduced it quite a bit already, it seems like I have to work more on it, and yeah, just put this same comment on the comment section of AO3, if you want to I mean. And I mean, your critique was really helpful, so thanks for that again!

A general tip that I think I heard somewhere is that there is no need to rush. You only need info needed by the time it’s relevant, and not all of that was relevant in this chapter anyway, so it doesn’t need to all be stuffed in there. I, personally, would cut all the info except the stuff on Lucina and Sumia congrats on picking the objective best Chrom ship by the way, as well as the stuff on the Awakening rite and the crest of flames/fire emblem/mark of the exalt, and try to weave the rest in to the story, for example, someone reminds her of one of the characters, like “Jeritza is just like Gerome! Ah, Gerome, yata yata yata”, or she’s searching for motivation in her memories like, “I must defend people like Yarne!” or something along those lines.

...I really need to write something one of these days...

Edited by Sooks

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2 minutes ago, Sooks said:

I was helpful! Yay! You’re welcome!

Yeah, some of the ones I pointed out gave me the vibes of you were trying to say something that makes sense in another language, but the meaning was, as they say, lost in translation. But I understand, I’m trying to learn another language right now and uh... I can tell how easy that is, let’s say.

A general tip that I think I heard somewhere is that there is no need to rush. You only need info needed by the time it’s relevant, and not all of that was relevant in this chapter anyway, so it doesn’t need to all be stuffed in there. I, personally, would cut all the info except the stuff on Lucina and Sumia congrats on picking the objective best Chrom ship by the way, as well as the stuff on the Awakening rite and the crest of flames/fire emblem/mark of the exalt, and try to weave the rest in to the story, for example, someone reminds her of one of the characters, like “Jeritza is just like Gerome! Ah, Gerome, yata yata yata”, or she’s searching for motivation in her memories like, “I must defend people like Yarne!” or something along those lines.

...I really need to write something one of these days...

When you write something, let me know! I would really like to read it and review it if you want to.

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2 minutes ago, Sooks said:

congrats on picking the objective best Chrom ship by the way

Chrom x Olivia intensifies

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Just now, Maof06 said:

Chrom x Olivia intensifies

Get out. 😛

Just now, Cynthia Stan said:

When you write something, let me know! I would really like to read it and review it if you want to.

Wow, that’s nice. I will do!

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1 hour ago, vanguard333 said:

I understand fanfics that explore a part of the setting with their own original characters, as I can see those kinds of fanfics actually being useful as a way to practice writing skills and creativity by coming up with your own stories and characters while using a pre-existing setting; I once even considered writing one such story for practice, though I never actually did (it was going to be a Dragon Age fan-fic about a clan of Dalish Elves). For me, using one that heavily involves the original's main plot, and uses pre-existing characters, kind-of defeats that purpose. 

I agree with you in regards to essentially to just retelling the same story beat for beat(although there is nothing wrong with adaptation which is a craft in it of itself) but sometimes you can still use pre-existing characters to explore aspects of a narrative that the story itself doesn’t go into too much detail involving pre-existing characters. I’m currently writing an awakening fic about Lucina’s future and her journey before she leapt through time. It’s an underexplored aspect of the story that I thought would be fun to write about. 
 

On topic though, I’ll give this read and feedback when I get a chance. I’m not too big on crossover fics like this but who knows it might be interesting.

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14 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

I agree with you in regards to essentially to just retelling the same story beat for beat(although there is nothing wrong with adaptation which is a craft in it of itself) but sometimes you can still use pre-existing characters to explore aspects of a narrative that the story itself doesn’t go into too much detail involving pre-existing characters. I’m currently writing an awakening fic about Lucina’s future and her journey before she leapt through time. It’s an underexplored aspect of the story that I thought would be fun to write about. 
 

On topic though, I’ll give this read and feedback when I get a chance. I’m not too big on crossover fics like this but who knows it might be interesting.

Not trying to criticize your opinion or anything, I'm just curious, since I think hearing what you have to say could help me. Why do you dislike crossover fanfictions? Do you think there is something in them that makes it harder for them to work? I want to know because I'm interested in avoiding common problems you might have spotted on crossover fanfictions. 

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Er. . .I only made it past the first two paragraphs (I'm waiting for my dinner to cook, and I'm bored).  And I already have a bunch to say about it.

1. Work on pacing - as in, read it aloud.  Can you say the first sentence in one breath?  If not, see if you can break it up a bit.  Tone is important, but so is readability.
2. Would Sumia have told Cynthia about the time she accidentally slapped Chrom?  She seemed pretty embarrassed about the entire incident!
3. Do you really think Cynthia had the life of a pampered princess while she was a little girl?
4. Cynthia's thought process bouncing around left and right is something I CAN see.

Your intent appears to be a diary written by Cynthia.  Writing existing characters has its ups and downs - you have some personality traits to work with, but if you deviate too far, it won't look like you're writing in that character's voice.  Since you're having her interact with other existing characters, you'll also need to have a handle on their personalities, too.  If you want me to explain this in more depth, please let me know!

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3 minutes ago, Cynthia Stan said:

Not trying to criticize your opinion or anything, I'm just curious, since I think hearing what you have to say could help me. Why do you dislike crossover fanfictions? Do you think there is something in them that makes it harder for them to work? I want to know because I'm interested in avoiding common problems you might have spotted on crossover fanfictions. 

I don’t mind crossover fics in general. One of my favorite fics is essentially just one gigantic crossover. It’s ones of this of this nature that I don’t particularly care for because I just feel like it messes with the canon too much for my liking. I don’t really know how else to describe it. Like a lot of what makes Cynthia well Cynthia is what she went through growing up and how that affects her. Changing that to make her fit in a completely new setting disconnected from the one she’s from just kind of feels wrong to me unless there’s some added context(like you know after awakening finished she just winds up here and shenanigans ensue). I dunno I just feel like if you wanna make this work for me personally, then you should at least try to do something interesting with the character.

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1. Thanks for pointing out the pacing is too fast. I assumed Cynthia would write like that, but I'm probably overdoing it. 

2. That's a good point, but this is mentioned in her C support with Sumia, apparently Cynthia heard the story somewhere.

3. Maybe I'm missing something in here, but in Cynthias supports she seems to describe her past life (Before Sumia died) as herself being quite a spoiled child who would often chase after superficial things. She specifically says girly thing. And considering she was a princess, I assumed her being a pampered princess was something likely. But I have to admit this is a headcanon, which I honestly don't mind so much. What I do mind is the idea that this contradicts something with established lore, is that the case? 

4.Yes, this is intentional, but thanks for pointing it out nonetheless.

 

Thanks for this short review!

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5 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

I don’t mind crossover fics in general. One of my favorite fics is essentially just one gigantic crossover. It’s ones of this of this nature that I don’t particularly care for because I just feel like it messes with the canon too much for my liking. I don’t really know how else to describe it. Like a lot of what makes Cynthia well Cynthia is what she went through growing up and how that affects her. Changing that to make her fit in a completely new setting disconnected from the one she’s from just kind of feels wrong to me unless there’s some added context(like you know after awakening finished she just winds up here and shenanigans ensue). I dunno I just feel like if you wanna make this work for me personally, then you should at least try to do something interesting with the character.

Noted! The Cynthia from my fic is someone who after trying to go into the past to stop Grima, she lands on Fodland instead. The main focus of the fic is Cynthia dealing with the trauma and guilt of the death of her mother and the lack of resolution for this conflict in her life. In awakening, she get's to move on because of course she get's to meet Sumia, but I want to explore what happens if she never had that opportunity, plus knowing how morally complex Fodland is compared to the plot of Awakening, this has the potential to break her whole worldview. 

Thanks for the response!

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14 minutes ago, Cynthia Stan said:

2. That's a good point, but this is mentioned in her C support with Sumia, apparently Cynthia heard the story somewhere.

3. Maybe I'm missing something in here, but in Cynthias supports she seems to describe her past life (Before Sumia died) as herself being quite a spoiled child who would often chase after superficial things. She specifically says girly thing. And considering she was a princess, I assumed her being a pampered princess was something likely. But I have to admit this is a headcanon, which I honestly don't mind so much. What I do mind is the idea that this contradicts something with established lore, is that the case?

2. Definitely not from her mom, given Sumia's reaction.  Sounds like a third-hand tale from Owain or something.

3. If you're going with Chrom being Cynthia's dad, then I'd focus on those two.  From what I got from their convo, Cynthia didn't spend as much time as she wanted to with him. Meanwhile, this Chrom has no clue on how to be a proper dad to his daughter, but he'll try!  From her other supports, Cynthia seems to be off in her own world a lot of the time, playing the hero as a kid.  Yet that enthusiasm rubbed off on quite a few people (but whether it transitions into a good support convo or not really depends).  I didn't get the sense that she was after anything superficial - it felt more like she wanted to play!  Regardless, she'll give 110% of herself and then some!

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3. "Yeah. After the Risen killed her. Being such a mama's girl, losing her was... It just...hurt so much. I was so angry. After that, doing girly stuff... It all felt so pointless. I didn't care about being pretty. I just wanted to be strong enough to avenge her. I suppose I looked at the boys and thought they seemed stronger..."-- This is from her conversation with Severa on Harvest Scramble, that is from where I took that interpretation from, but maybe I interpret it in a weird way xD Regardless, the timeline of her mother's death seems confusing.

 

Edited by Cynthia Stan

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That's. . .not what I got out of it.  What I read was that Cynthia's "hero" schtick is her trying to channel her grief.  And in her mind, heroes didn't spend their time making pretty and all, which is why she dropped the girly thing.  Being a "mama's girl" doesn't necessarily mean being girly.  It just means being the bestest little girl to your mommy!  Then again, I'm a girl, and can kinda relate to that shift (though mine was because I realized all my hobbies were shared with boys, not girls).

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