Well, I think I just crushed a girl's dreams of becoming an author -_-

I hope I didn’t, but at the same time I sigh and wonder why people can’t take constructive criticism.

There’s this girl who’s been commenting on my stuff at dA and fanfiction.net. She reviews a lot, only that she seldom says more than “Continued!” about fics and something just slightly more elaborate about art.

She asked me to review her fic, and I finally did - but with a sense of dread, because I knew she wouldn’t like what I said. I also felt bad because I have an inkling, because of her rather odd errors, that she may have dyslexia or something similar - otherwise my best bet is that she’s from a non-English speaking part of America (she listed herself as a sixteen year old American).

Now you know me, I like to sugarcoat things, but I don’t lie. That fic needed A LOT of work. Here’s a copy of the review from my cache, because she took it down after sending me a long explanation that didn’t make much sense.

Okay, you asked me to read and review, so here I am. Now, I hope you won’t take offense from what I’m saying, because it’s all meant to help you improve your writing.

First of all, I do think that you have an interesting idea, with this kind of dark infection thing going around. Your writing itself, however, needs some touch-ups.

For example, sentences like this is very much confusing: “Three fingered claw with big sharp black nails”. She has a claw with fingers and nails on?
Second, I strongly recommend not using things from other fandoms, like Pokemon and Sharingan, to explain things. Those things do not exist in the Jak and Daxter universe, so Tess would not know what they are - and just as importantly, not all of your readers will know what they are. If you just say “black eyes like Dark Jak, with a Sharingan on the left and the right one pitch blacker than mines”, not everyone will understand what you mean. I know very little of Naruto, just enough to know what a Sharingan is, but not everyone watches that.
Also, your grammar is rather odd here and there. “the right one pitch blacker than mines” is a good example - it should be something like “the right one is pitch dark/black, blacker/darker than mine”.

I recommend getting a beta reader to help you straighten out these errors. I’d offer to help, but my schedule doesn’t allow for it. Anyway, I hope that this doesn’t disencourage you. You just need practice and to fix the rough corners. Good luck writing!

Those are actual quotes from the fic, yes - from the two first paragraphs.
The thing that gets to me is her reaction: sending me an explaining (what’s to explain?), apologizing note and taking the fic down quicker than you could say “dark eco”. I KNEW that she would do that, except I wasn’t sure whether she’d send a nice note or chew me out for being a big fat meanie for not liking her story. Kinda relieved it wasn’t the latter, but I still doubt she’ll dare to put the fic back up even if she fixes it. It would be a nice surprise if she did, though.

pinches bridge of nose

I’m not sure if I’m actually going anywhere with this tale, more than a moan at the state of things. I get sad when people don’t like my stories too, but if there are errors there ARE errors (and hooo, are there errors in my old stuff. BRRR).

I’m more jaded and bitter about the fanfic world than you’d think, thanks to spending way too much time on ff.net. I can DEAL with people writing dreck (don’t worry, I’m not talking about anyone here) - we’re all beginners at first and I wouldn’t touch my first fics with a ten foot pole now. What I CAN’T deal with is when people hightail out or throw a tantrum when they face even the kindest criticism. Nothing makes me more furious than fanbrats screaming “FLAME WTFBBQ U HOR!” at people who take some time out of their life to offer advise to a beginning writer. Now this girl did not do that, thank the heavens, but she still recoiled.

Story is not baby. I’m not saying you suck. I say your writing isn’t the best.

And does it always hurt so much getting told that you should get a beta reader? Because for some reason, that’s what seems to piss people off the most.


I guess now somebody should say “That’s nice dear, but what are your thoughts on yaoi?” :fungah:

Well, that Is one of the perils of giving advice (on anything); you never know how the other person will react. But at least you know that you tried to help her. And in fact, you DON’T know that you didn’t- she may be smarting now, but it may lead to an evaluation of herself and her skill. Maybe she’ll decide to focus on becoming a better writer. Or maybe she’ll give up entirely- and then discover that it wasn’t really her call, and find something else that is. In both cases, it’s a good thing. Don’t always assume the worst, Weii.

On that topic, I’d like to point out, that maybe us online readers demand a little too much of online writers. We assume everybody who posts a story MUST have the talent to write. Or that they somehow owe us something, and we get mad when we see all their errors. Both these concepts are WRONG. People write because they find it fun, and post their stories looking for acceptance. If they want to become professional writers, then they should apply themselves, but if all they want to do is write up their fantasies ala Yaoi or Mary Sue, they have all the right in the world to do so, and we can’t complain.

Here’s something to make you feel better, Weii:

Oh, btw… will you please join my RPG SAGA this year? Please please please please pleeeease??

Some people, when they say things like “I would like your advice”, really just mean “tell me that I’m right”.

You did a good thing, Weiila. Whatever problems this girl may or may not have are not yours.

People ARE perfectly free to write whatever they enjoy writing, like Wil said, and more power to them, but if they post them somewhere where the general public can see, they should be ready to deal with the possible consequences.

Still, if you feel bad, mayhap you should try and get in touch with this girl again. If she listens, there might just be hope left in the universe. :wink:

I remember writing a fanfic way back when… more than ten years ago, back when the Internet was shiny and new. I thought it was the best thing since sliced cheese, and the three people I showed it to were too polite to say it sucked. Then I actually sent it into a semi-real fanfic site, who summarily rejected it. I remember having a frantic e-mailed conversation with the site admin, who I essentially accused of not appreciating good writing by e.g. claiming he liked things like Clive Cussler while I liked things like Lord of the Rings.

God, I’m glad that not only do I not write fanfic any more, I have a much thicker skin when it comes to my work. -_- I actually have it poking around my hard drive somewhere, just in case I’m in the mood of an enormous, tectonic-plate-scale cringe.

Come on, a trifle such as a “negative” criticism never stops someone who really wants to write.

People may write just for fun but they ask for feedback when they give their story to the public. I don’t expect excellence, only that my time is not wasted. I mainly read fics in moderated sites -as I’ve got plenty of books I want to catch up to- but want the fics I read to be good.

edit: I zoned out while writing.

I’m ashamed of my first writing attempts beyond words can say. For a beginner’s work, they weren’t all bad, I suppose… but I have this neurotic fear of looking like a colossal moron. Which, of course, makes me look back on the old days and think “I wish I could go back in time and smack the stupid out of me.” It’s probably why I don;t write anything anymore, because in four years, will I look back on it and think “this was crap”?

Criticism is an awkward thign for the beginner. We’re like children: we draw/make something, and we want to hear how it’s good, instead of how it could be better, because it’s good enough, right? We might say we want to hear what people think, but what people think should be “I’m gonna hang this up on the fridge!”

You did the right thing in telling her like that, Weiila. Maybe soon, she’ll come out of her rabbit hole and try writing again. Or mayeb she won;t. But if that’s the case, I don;t think that having someone else tell her in no uncertaint erms that it was bad, would have made much difference anyway, so at leasy she got a friendly putdown.

I have no problem with criticism so long as it approaches the boundaries of reasonable, so I see no problem with yours. I once wrote a song with a line in the chorus amounting to “I don’t know just what it isi I mean,” upon which I got three negative comments stating that it almost sounded like I, or the speaker, didn’t know what I/they meant.
Comments like that generally deserve whatever angry, abusive reply they receive, but simple grammar corrections and statements of fan-fiction etiquette don’t warrant any sort of angry response or a tear-filled one with a cessation of writing. I had numerous canon errors someone was chill enough to point out in my firstfanfic, and I was glad for the help. Anyone who seriously wants to become a writer should be, as well. If she doesn’t want critiques, she doesn’t dream of becoming a writer, she has dreams of becoming a person who writes. There’s a big difference, idealogically.

That’s nice dear, but what are- oh. :frowning:

Well, the general distribution of “authors” being sixteen years old, lacking a grasp for grammar and idea of plot, plus being in posession of an abundance of hormones is enough to turn me off from reading fanfiction for fun.

I’ll tell you something, though; the first time I read one of your fics (I think it was called <i>Those not chosen by the Faerie</i>) I thought there was hope in the fanfiction world after all, so I browsed other fanfics for a while, only to be disappointed :frowning: I think that most writers try for a pastiche, but it’s hard to convert video games, movies, or anime into writing, which is what most of them write about anyway, despite its monumental difficulty.

Hell… I practically BEG for any kind of criticism. To be honest, I hate being ignored more then being flamed. At least I know how good I really am, or am not when there is feedback.

… Just my two bits.

If she really has a writer spirit, she’ll follow your advice. Otherwise, Weilla, you’ve done a good action towards mankind as a whole by helping to reduce the spread of gibber in the internet.

At least originality isn’t a requisite there. I’m off to eat some pastiche.

I can’t see how anyone would want to read about it either. Original stories are far, far better.

Not necessarily. Plenty of original stories are very, very bad. Plenty of fanfiction is Okay. Okay trumps very, very bad.

Oh man, I agree with this so much. ANYTHING is good, as long as I can work with it!

If she decides not to pursue the writing realm, just remember that you saved her a whole bunch of time.

Thanks guys XD For all of it.

Well, she sent me a new version of the story, though the only change I could see was that she had added a line or two about Nintendo sending TV signals to other planets, to explain that Pokemon and Sharingan thing.


I told her that there were still problems, went English teacher on one of her paragraphs, and advised her to try writing a shorter story with only a few characters in, instead of trying to write a long story with EVERY character in. Every character as in “Why is this guy alive if they know about this?”

She wrote back just saying she’d try that. I hope she has better luck with that. And gets a beta, seriously. I keep feeling bad for her because she seems to be so enthusiastic but she needs so much help and doesn’t seem to want to really understand that.

Well, if she really does pursue this option, look at it this way:

Like the rest of us, she will slowly get better and better as she continues to write, especially if she has people like you helping her. And like us, she will one day become halfway decent and look back on her old works with fear and embarassment.

Wouls you rate the book “The Giver” poorly for not having enough description, and being pretty much boring through the first half of the book. I bet you would be too disgusted to go on if it were not for someone persuading you to read it. Go on…respond.

I wouldn’t know, I haven’t read it.

Wouldn’t “the Giver” be better if its first part wasn’t boring? Unless the second part is so extraordinary it wipes out the boredom you had to endure.