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Cynthia Stan

Aspiring writer seeking critique on fanfiction.

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9 hours ago, Cynthia Stan said:

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. 

I see. 

Anyway, I hope my video recommendations help; they certainly helped me a lot with my writing.

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11 hours ago, eclipse said:

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.

To add to this and maybe give a second opinion, since it's a diary written by Cynthia, OP should mostly have a handle on her personality. Other existing characters not so much, it's first person from her point of view. So she'll see how the other characters are externally but that's it. She might see Claude as "charming and tricky", or for a great example, Felix as "a jerk", without knowing that he's hurting on the inside. Cynthia in particular wouldn't be that good at reading internal thoughts and moods, I don't think.

So to use Sour Puss, she might describe his infamous "go get a husband" to Ingrid like:

Quote

I don't know what this guy's deal is! Girls can absolutely be knights! What a sexist jerk!

Instead of:

Quote

He told her to "go get a husband", but the look in his amber eyes was saying "I want you to be safe", he's a broken man and he doesn't know how to deal with that.

Basically, since it's first person, use a lot of surface value, OP. Other character dialogue should sound like the other character though.

Edited by Dragoncat

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Apparently I have to wait a day for AO3 to send me an invitation to make an account. I don’t know why that is but okay.

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2 minutes ago, Sooks said:

Apparently I have to wait a day for AO3 to send me an invitation to make an account. I don’t know why that is but okay.

Yeah, it's weird. As a warning if you use yahoo mail, there are known bugs which cause the invitation to not arrive or take several days, so you might want to contact AO3 using another email

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So I started writing Fire Emblem fanfics when I was still in high school. And now many years later I'm employed in a field where a large part of what I do is professional writing.

And I'd definitely encourage you to stick with it. Starting off like this really helps you find your voice as a writer.

I think you did a generally good job conceptualizing Cynthia, and writing in a way that felt organic to her character and her thought-process. She's scatter-brained and she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She's bubbly and exuberant. She's goal-oriented towards heroics, but she has a very juvenile and simplistic idea of what "heroics" mans that doesn't fully comport with how a more mature mind would treat the subject-matter of heroism.

...and that all comes across here...

I like the interactions with Seteth and Rhea. I like the bit about them referring to the Brand of the Exalt as a "Crest," and seeming to have some knowledge of who Naga is.
___

If I had some constructive criticism, it would be to focus on your transitions and make sure your whole work flows together as one cohesive piece.

The way you jump from narration to dialogue and dialogue to narration is--choppy. Here's an example of how you write:

 In a weird way, his stupid fantasies reminded me about my mother, why did I put up with his nonsense so much? Well, I felt like he really understood my feelings, in a weird cousin like way, and he was part of the justice cabal after all. But he hardly was a real hero, that was Gerome, omygosh! I mean besides me. Gerome was like ten thousand percent plus two hero material. He is so awesome he doesn’t even need like to talk!

“Gerome! Geromeee! Time for our weekly hero talk already!”

“I have nothing to say.”

“Cmon! I love it when you used to tell me I was, graceful, beautiful, HERO, smart…”

“I-I a-already told you we’re not children anymore! A man like myself… Can only sit in the embrace of darkness…”



And here's an example of a way that you could write the same thing, but integrate the narration and the dialogue together:


“Gerome! Geromeee! Time for our weekly hero talk already!” Why did I put up with so much of this nonsense? In a weird way, I guess, his stupid fantasies reminded me about my mother.

“I have nothing to say.” Gerome was like ten thousand percent plus two hero material. He is so awesome he doesn’t even need like to talk!

“Cmon! I love it when you used to tell me I was, graceful, beautiful, HERO, smart…” I felt like he really understood my feelings, in a weird cousin like way, and he was part of the justice cabal after all.

But he was hardly a real hero.

“I-I a-already told you we’re not children anymore! A man like myself… Can only sit in the embrace of darkness…”  That was Gerome.



 

Edited by Shoblongoo

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9 minutes ago, Shoblongoo said:

So I started writing Fire Emblem fanfics when I was still in high school. And now many years later I'm employed in a field where a large part of what I do is professional writing.

And I'd definitely encourage you to stick with it. Starting off like this really helps you find your voice as a writer.

I think you did a generally good job conceptualizing Cynthia, and writing in a way that felt organic to her character and her thought-process. She's scatter-brained and she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She's bubbly and exuberant. She's goal-oriented towards heroics, but she has a very juvenile and simplistic idea of what "heroics" mans that doesn't fully comport with how a more mature mind would treat the subject-matter of heroism.

...and that all comes across here...

I like the interactions with Seteth and Rhea. I like the bit about them referring to the Brand of the Exalt as a "Crest," and seeming to have some knowledge of who Naga is.
___

If I had some constructive criticism, it would be to focus on your transitions and make sure your whole work flows together as one cohesive piece.

The way you jump from narration to dialogue and dialogue to narration is--choppy. Here's an example of how you write:

 In a weird way, his stupid fantasies reminded me about my mother, why did I put up with his nonsense so much? Well, I felt like he really understood my feelings, in a weird cousin like way, and he was part of the justice cabal after all. But he hardly was a real hero, that was Gerome, omygosh! I mean besides me. Gerome was like ten thousand percent plus two hero material. He is so awesome he doesn’t even need like to talk!

“Gerome! Geromeee! Time for our weekly hero talk already!”

“I have nothing to say.”

“Cmon! I love it when you used to tell me I was, graceful, beautiful, HERO, smart…”

“I-I a-already told you we’re not children anymore! A man like myself… Can only sit in the embrace of darkness…”



And here's an example of a way that you could write the same thing, but integrate the narration and the dialogue together:


“Gerome! Geromeee! Time for our weekly hero talk already!” Why did I put up with so much of this nonsense? In a weird way, I guess, his stupid fantasies reminded me about my mother.

“I have nothing to say.” Gerome was like ten thousand percent plus two hero material. He is so awesome he doesn’t even need like to talk!

“Cmon! I love it when you used to tell me I was, graceful, beautiful, HERO, smart…” I felt like he really understood my feelings, in a weird cousin like way, and he was part of the justice cabal after all.

But he was hardly a real hero.

“I-I a-already told you we’re not children anymore! A man like myself… Can only sit in the embrace of darkness…”  That was Gerome.



 

Thanks so much! I will take a second look and try to fix the awkward transitions. 

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If I had to give you advice on the grammar in the second chapter, I would say that, in English, when you are referring to someone as their family title in place of their name, it should be capitalized. So when Cynthia writes “dear sister” at the end of sentences, or “sis,” both should be capitalized, because those are acting as her name. That’s the difference between when you would capitalize it and if you wouldn’t. So if Cynthia wrote “My sister is going to be the next queen!” sister wouldn’t be capitalized. (This also applies to mommy.)

Also, during dialogue scenes (this isn’t really grammar and more readability), when there are more than two people, you would do well to say who’s talking when a third person chimes in, so the reader knows who’s talking. So when Catherine and Shamir are going back and forth, as long as you know the order in which they’re speaking (basically you put a Catherine said and a Shamir said for the first two quotes), you don’t need a “[person] says”, but when a third person chimes in (Alois or Cynthia), we need to know who is talking because it reads as Catherine or Shamir. This also includes dialogue after Alois chimes in (for the second time), for example, someone says “no.” but after Alois I have no idea who’s saying that.

Edited by Sooks

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7 hours ago, Dragoncat said:

To add to this and maybe give a second opinion, since it's a diary written by Cynthia, OP should mostly have a handle on her personality.

Awakening's a bit tricky to write for, since several of the characters have multiple layers. Cynthia, for example, has the obvious side - her enthusiasm, hero thing, etc.  What isn't obvious is that she's heavily traumatized by her mother's death, desperately doesn't want to lose her family again, and will do whatever she thinks is necessary to do that.  Thing is, Awakening doesn't make one of the sides obvious.  For a good first-person POV, you'll REALLY need to know the character in question.  Other side characters may not need quite as much of an in-depth analysis, but "how would they react to Cynthia's personality, given that they have no clue about the trauma she's hiding?" must be considered.

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7 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Awakening's a bit tricky to write for, since several of the characters have multiple layers. Cynthia, for example, has the obvious side - her enthusiasm, hero thing, etc.  What isn't obvious is that she's heavily traumatized by her mother's death, desperately doesn't want to lose her family again, and will do whatever she thinks is necessary to do that.  Thing is, Awakening doesn't make one of the sides obvious.  For a good first-person POV, you'll REALLY need to know the character in question.  Other side characters may not need quite as much of an in-depth analysis, but "how would they react to Cynthia's personality, given that they have no clue about the trauma she's hiding?" must be considered.

Yeah, Awakening doesn't really touch on the doom and gloom as much, you have to dig for it.

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6 minutes ago, Dragoncat said:

Yeah, Awakening doesn't really touch on the doom and gloom as much, you have to dig for it.

It's not just doom and gloom - it's that entire second side, no matter what it may be.  Tharja's second side is a decent human being, but the sheer number of people that see her as a creep. . .yeah.  Don't get me started on Nowi.

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47 minutes ago, eclipse said:

It's not just doom and gloom - it's that entire second side, no matter what it may be.  Tharja's second side is a decent human being, but the sheer number of people that see her as a creep. . .yeah.  Don't get me started on Nowi.

I played through all of Awakening and the Tharja bit is astonishing to me.

What support references that?

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Just now, Sooks said:

I played through all of Awakening and the Tharja bit is astonishing to me.

What support references that?

. . .most of them?  It's not explicitly stated - rather, it's something that you'll need to infer from her actions.  Notice how she generally talks people out of her more dangerous spells?

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4 minutes ago, eclipse said:

. . .most of them?  It's not explicitly stated - rather, it's something that you'll need to infer from her actions.  Notice how she generally talks people out of her more dangerous spells?

Oh, I see! I did kinda think about that, but then Noire’s father support made me go “ehhhh”.

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Just now, Sooks said:

Oh, I see! I did kinda think about that, but then Noire’s father support made me go “ehhhh”.

The Noire/father support is bad for a lot of reasons, which I'll gladly gush over if you want to PM me.

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2 hours ago, eclipse said:

It's not just doom and gloom - it's that entire second side, no matter what it may be.  Tharja's second side is a decent human being, but the sheer number of people that see her as a creep. . .yeah.  Don't get me started on Nowi.

It’s part of why I consider her more Mayadere/tsundere than Yandere personally. Tharja is actually pretty sweet. She’s just doesn’t want to admit it or is too shy to admit it a lot of the time. 

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3 hours ago, eclipse said:

Awakening's a bit tricky to write for, since several of the characters have multiple layers. Cynthia, for example, has the obvious side - her enthusiasm, hero thing, etc.  What isn't obvious is that she's heavily traumatized by her mother's death, desperately doesn't want to lose her family again, and will do whatever she thinks is necessary to do that.  Thing is, Awakening doesn't make one of the sides obvious.  For a good first-person POV, you'll REALLY need to know the character in question.  Other side characters may not need quite as much of an in-depth analysis, but "how would they react to Cynthia's personality, given that they have no clue about the trauma she's hiding?" must be considered.

I tried studying Cynthia quite a bit, and I tried exploring the trauma of losing her mother as one of the main focus on the fic that I'm writing, so hopefully it reads out like I actually did the research. And yeah, Awakening characters, at least the ones I somewhat studied besides Cynthia are way more layered than I expected. Even Cynthia I expected to be nothing more than comic relief, but she has quite a bit of depth for her, she has so much potential that Awakening left unexplored. 

Edited by Cynthia Stan

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4 minutes ago, Cynthia Stan said:

I tried studying Cynthia quite a bit, and I tried exploring the trauma of losing her mother as one of the main focus on the fic that I'm writing, so hopefully it reads out like I actually did the research. And yeah, Awakening characters, at least the ones I somewhat studied besides Cynthia are way more layered than I expected. Even Cynthia I expected to be nothing more than comic relief, but she has quite a bit of depth for her, she has so much potential that Awakening left unexplored. 

Okay, I'll take this as true.  Now I'm going to throw out an assumption.  Cynthia expects no one but herself to read that diary.  Knowing what you do of her, would she continue her bubbly attitude in a place where she records her own thoughts?

I will say that I really liked this:

Quote

When your whole family starts being brutally murdered, I guess you begging to appreciate those few friendship you have, to be like completely honest I never liked being alone anyways.

Sentence structure aside, it's the closest I can think of where her inner thoughts collide with the cheerful face she tries to put on.

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13 hours ago, eclipse said:

Okay, I'll take this as true.  Now I'm going to throw out an assumption.  Cynthia expects no one but herself to read that diary.  Knowing what you do of her, would she continue her bubbly attitude in a place where she records her own thoughts?

I will say that I really liked this:

Sentence structure aside, it's the closest I can think of where her inner thoughts collide with the cheerful face she tries to put on.

Lol, I can't believe after reading that chapter like 5 times I still get some bad grammar. 

Yeah, Cynthia doesn't write in her bubbly attitude as much in latter chapters, and her cheerful demeanors begging to tone down quite a bit. 

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6 hours ago, Cynthia Stan said:

Lol, I can't believe after reading that chapter like 5 times I still get some bad grammar. 

Yeah, Cynthia doesn't write in her bubbly attitude as much in latter chapters, and her cheerful demeanors begging to tone down quite a bit. 

This is more "flow" than anything.  I read things aloud, albeit mentally.  I'm not sure how comfortable you are with spoken English, but I use it to make sure that my reader's mental voice doesn't run out of breath.  You may not hit grammar in this way, but I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.  It'll come eventually~!

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5 hours ago, Deirdre an Bhróin said:

I’m truly a bit curious about the sentiment you’d feel towards constructing a non-OC fic of your own. Would you feel restricted and/or frustrated? Would you opt to rewrite many established points? Hmm.. 

(I'm responding to the whole thing and just cutting it to save space). 

I see; yeah, I suppose my perspective comes from seeing fanfiction less as a fun hobby in-and-of itself and more as fun hobby + way to experiment with one's own creativity + writing practice.

I suppose I'd find a non-OC fic restrictive, but if I were challenged to write one (and had the time to write one), I'd probably try to find a way to be creative within those limitations and restrictions; necessity being the mother of invention. I mean, an author once wrote a bestselling book series on a bet that he could write a bestseller from any two bad ideas the person he made the bet with provided. The bad ideas were, "Combine the Ninth Roman Legion with Pokémon", and the bestselling series is Codex Alera (which I haven't read; I just heard about how it was written on a bet).

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On 1/5/2021 at 8:49 AM, vanguard333 said:

(I'm responding to the whole thing and just cutting it to save space). 

I see; yeah, I suppose my perspective comes from seeing fanfiction less as a fun hobby in-and-of itself and more as fun hobby + way to experiment with one's own creativity + writing practice.

I suppose I'd find a non-OC fic restrictive, but if I were challenged to write one (and had the time to write one), I'd probably try to find a way to be creative within those limitations and restrictions; necessity being the mother of invention. I mean, an author once wrote a bestselling book series on a bet that he could write a bestseller from any two bad ideas the person he made the bet with provided. The bad ideas were, "Combine the Ninth Roman Legion with Pokémon", and the bestselling series is Codex Alera (which I haven't read; I just heard about how it was written on a bet).

 

 

To continue this very interesting thread, when outlining this fanfic a thing that has become at least a bit difficult it's being creative with the direction of the plot within the limitations of 3 Houses lore, often you want to do an idea but find it really difficult to implement in a way that makes sense within the established universe. I really like that quote, perhaps I should be less afraid of the restrictions of the lore and instead use that as an opportunity to be more creative. 

On 1/6/2021 at 9:23 AM, Deirdre an Bhróin said:

 

It seems your mentality of creativity is tied to originality. In a way, I find using a pre-existing word/characters/plot-line, especially with Fire Emblem in this case, actually enables me to be creative in more ways than I would in an original work. 

 

I actually greatly enjoy coming up with my own plots and characters, and have done quite a few already. Part of me deciding to write this fanfiction was the challenge of having to adapt one's style of writing to a world that is not one's own. I especially enjoy the process of trying to nail down another characters psychology and then once you understand that, putting those characters in strange situations and trying to come up with a natural reaction from them in these new scenarios. Like you mentioned latter on with your post, fanfiction gives you the opportunity to expand on things that were left unexplored in the original lore.

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