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01 February 2009 @ 11:55 am
Twilight Effect: self-insertion and wish fulfillment  
I'm still on HIATUS, don't be deceived. However, I just wanted to discuss something with anybody that concerns this issue. I tried to ignore this nagging, self-loathesome feeling for months now. I just have to let it out because it seems like I need to hear other people's thoughts.

Some of you know that I write in Death Note fanfiction back in the old days and my most read and affirmed novel is "Appetite for Enigma" [L x OC]. Admittedly, it has been many months since my last update. I don't get that much inspiration pursuing this fic. I don't know how to say this but...I feel like I'm doing something wrong. True that I was very stubborn before when someone rudely criticizes my work. But I've been writing fanfiction for two years now and I've learned so much from many fellow writers here in LJ. I became more adaptable and open-minded. And now I give myself some self-doubt when it comes to this work of fiction. I do love the story because the readers who love it are very grateful that I wrote it. Unfortunately, I'm starting to see the plot-holes and Sueness of my characters that it's so worrisome for me. I call this the Twilight effect. When Stephenie Meyer published her series, it ensued lulz in literature because it was bad writing. It was just mediocre. And now as I look at AFE, I'm sort of having second thoughts. I started reading it again and it just hit me. The main character Francesca is a self-insertion like Bella Swan. And my characterization of L is a wish-fulfillment as well that I feel guilty for bastardizing him. I know there is truth in this fear but I want to know if I'm being too bitchy about this. I know writing is a craft that needs to be constantly challenged and now that is what I'm doing.

If you're curious to see the story, click this. So, F-list, do you think I should re-write the story? There is potential in my plot and characters and maybe I should just revise some chapters and small details. This is my most popular fic and I hate to see it suffer because I lack the motivation to polish it. Perhaps I should be a decent writer and just kill my darlings?

I'm sorry but... I have to laugh. It's hard not to when you used the *masculine* form for "beautiful" when describing your Mary-Sue throughout this entire chapter. Try "bella," next time. Or, how about no Italian, at all? Also, the italicizing of each Italian word is not only distracting, but unnecessary.

Your characterization is fairly bad. I can see you have a vague idea, but you're still terribly off. Your Near is unrecognizable for the established personality given to him. Near was not the competitive one; Mello was. Near would not go after your Mary-Sue. He wouldn't even care about her. Near barely cared about his own teammates in canon. Also, is this supposed to take place prior to the Kira case? Since you never make that clear if it's supposed to be an AU, or prior to what happened in canon. If so, Near wouldn't be more than ten, which just makes the situation even more unbelievable. Especially since L would never bring Near or Mello onto a case. Even if they were older. L is L. He would remain the only L until he ceased to be. Tag-alongs need not apply.

Your L thinks too laterally, and gives up his secrets far too easily. His motives are also pretty flaky at times. And your Mello talks too crassly, even for Mello, and he canonly wouldn't tolerate half of the stupid and obnoxious behavior your OCs are displaying around him, especially the flirting.

Also, your OC, Francesca, is entirely unlikable. And believe me, I tried. I tried so very hard to find a way to like her. But she's so obnoxious, so arrogant, so filled with purple prose, so over the top practically perfect in every way, that if she were to suddenly come out with a british accent and everyone called her "Mary Poppins," I wouldn't even raise a brow. She really is, when you gut her characterization, a Mary-Sue. No matter how I tried to analyze her otherwise, that's the only conclusion I could come up with.

You're really not a horrible writer. Your spelling and grammar are both very well done. You can string along sentences well enough, and your plots, while not really strong at points, show promise. Your characterization, however, needs a lot of work. It's like you've only skimmed the characters' personalities, and are writing pale, husk-like versions of them. And it's your characterization that makes the story a bad read.

You seem like you can do better. I think you can. I'd like to see you prove me right.

The critic haunted me up to this day. I cared about what she said because this Kat-chan is the writer of the popular L/Misa story "Rewrite," if anyone is familiar. At first I didn't agree but I've done some self-reflection about this story and I would like to think that I've evolved as a writer after two years. I really would like to think so. I need an advice from friends and fellow writers. Anybody out there?
Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed
viola_canina on January 31st, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
I'll have to re-read your story in order to say something specific (I'll try to do it during weekend!), but honestly? Revision is never a bad thing. And you don't have to kill them if you still care about them. You've become more mature as a writer... I think you can use their potential to create an even better story. If you lack the motivation, well, that's another question and it's all up to you, but I personally don't want you to just kill them. x3; Old materials are still valuable and you can make them evolve into something great. Um, like I've said, I need time to think about it. ;;;
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: misa playtimeharleycooper on January 31st, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the advice and concern. It would also upset me if I just kill my darlings >.< Nothing can be more frustrating when you realize you've been doing something wrong in your writing and you have to fix it. Maybe I will. I hope the avid readers of the fic won't complain. The public demand for this fic's update can also get tiresome. But I understand since many of my readers do love it. I sort of started despising it when I re-read it but it's not entirely hateful. And, please do read it, if it's not too much to ask! I need to know how you think about this too, Viola-chan, since I also consider you one of my pillars of support Tezuka-centric, much? here in LJ ^^;
(no subject) - viola_canina on February 2nd, 2009 11:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on February 5th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - viola_canina on February 5th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cassandra: Mikami | Tiediluted_thought on January 31st, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry, darling, but I won't be able to read your story! DD= At least not soon; life is getting too hectic for me, and I would like to devote all my attention to reading when I do. =/ Please forgive me! ♥ I would really love to. I'll get to it as soon as I can. If it escapes me, please do not hesitate to remind me.

I can relate to what you said about being worried about Mary Sues. I'm in the process of (as in, on hiatus?) of writing a fic for the novel Companions of the Night. It involves vampires also, and because of that, I'm afraid that my portrayal of the heroine, Kerry Nowicki, is going to slip into Bella Swan mode. Dx The stories are vastly different, but there is always that nagging feeling of What if I turn out to be just as bad as Stephanie Meyer? I'm constantly revising my dialogue for Kerry and trying to build on her character without making her sound like a Sue.

That being said, I agree with Viola and say that revising is never terrible. Most of my fanfics aren't published without some heavy revision, so don't feel like you just have to do away with everything. If there's a plot hole you find but know you can fill, fill it; there isn't an adamant need for you to just delete everything, unless you want to. You're the author, so if you feel like the story needs to be totally revamped, that is 100% up to you. Sure, your reviewers will be disappointed, but it is ultimately your decision. I would just debate the pros and cons of deleting everything all together.

Writing styles change as we become more experienced, I think, and this is not a bad thing. Don't worry about experimenting if that is what you want to do. I'm sorry if this reply is rambling and incoherently. ;;D= I'm tired and should be getting to bed soon. I hope this helped!
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: evil gets a better faceharleycooper on January 31st, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I do not want to cause grim inconvenience so all is well, Cassie-san! ^^ I do sincerely hope you can find time in the future to read the fic even though right now I'm having bitter thoughts about its quality. But no matter, thank you for responding to my message! I really need all the advice I can get to discern how I will move forward with this literary crisis.

You know, I'm starting to think that there is a positive impact on struggling young writers due to the unfairness of Meyer's popularity and credibility. I've learned to look at my fics and ask myself the same question that you also asked. Mary Sue labels...I never really take them seriously. But I don't want to stun the growth of my story and characters. And yes, ever since Meyer got published, it was a rude awakening for me: Mary Sue is real. Too painfully real, if you ask me.

You're right. I could just revise some chapters that were distasteful to me when I read it. I could go for that. I should listen to what my heart and tells me and evolve...right? ^^;

It surely helped! Thank you very much for the time, Cassie-san!!
'Nilla: sticky sweet fingertipsangels_burn on January 31st, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
I haven't read it yet so my advice might not help you directly, but you can come so far in only two years time, and if the story is worth it--if it was that popular and you loved it that much--as a writer, you might take the critc you get and definitely revise it. Maybe not rewrite it but tweak it. I'm very curious to go read it. It's difficult and challenging to write outside of a canon storyline. If you did L and an OC and made it work, then kudos to you for doing so and putting your all into it. ♥

And I will probably come back with feedback once I have read this fic. x)
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: Lmisaharleycooper on January 31st, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
It is indeed very nice of you to share your thoughts!

I am in love with L Lawliet for the longest time and he was the main reason I decided to write for Death Note fandom. I wanted to do something special with him in a story so I did. As much as I have doubts about Appetite for Enigma it is generally likable. I had fun writing it, making the characters real and reading the positive reviews afterwards. But this year, I somehow realized that I do want to strive for quality, to be taken seriously. I've received fan mails from readers who said that I help them fuel their own writing and that AFE meant something to them. I think I will revise the story for these people because they also helped me with their sweet affirmations. Writing is not only a tool but a gift.

And it would be very generous of you if you did find time to read the story. Thank you once again for your advice! ^^
Rex: DN - L + gimmeicequeenrex on January 31st, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
Hey there sweetie :) I haven't read the fic entirely but I did read a fair amount of the first chapter, went through the various POVs such as Near's, Light's and Mello's and such and I browsed through your other stories as well; just to sort of see what else you wrote and what pairings. Kat-chan herself is a good writer, hands down but the only way I became aware of her was through your review so I wanted to see her works as well.

The critique she gave was a little rude in my opinion, because I don't think it was very kind to actually say she had to "laugh" at the story. That aside, after reading what I did, she did have some valid points. This may be my own bias so feel free to overlook this as well, but I do find it a little unnerving that Mello and Near actually put up with some of the girls' flirting. The girls have rather loud/large personalities, particularly your main OC and I hate for this to sound mean or rude or anything =( but Francesca is a little Mary-Sue-ish.

Your language, spelling etc. are all perfectly fine so there's nothing wrong there. But, like Kat-chan said, maybe you should work on the girls' and some of the canon's characterisation and give the OCs more depth and the canon ones more them if you know what I mean.

Sigh, I honestly hate writing critiques about other people's writing, especially when I'm a writer and therefore far from perfect myself, but I do want to be helpful. I know I have a tonne of flaws in my own writing and I really don't want to sound like a hypocrite or anything -_-

I think that Meyer-ism is one of the things all writers who insert OCs into their stories face; so you're not the only one :) With a bit of work, you could really turn these characters into something interesting and deep so, yeah, don't throw this away, do some revision like everyone else said because that is always helpful :) You also have to remember that a lot of other authors/readers will dislike OCs paired with canon ones because most of the time when people hear OC they immediately think Mary Sue so that's the stigmatisation that all fanfic writers will have to face at some point.

I hope this wasn't disheartening or anything, because we all learn from little bumps such as these. Good luck with your story and I hope this was helpful :D
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: Can you hear the bells?harleycooper on January 31st, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you deepest for the kind words and insights, Rex-san. It touches me deeply that my grave fears are acknowledged with sensitivity. You just spoke out what I've been thinking for the longest time, about the way my main OC seems whimsically-conceived. I do agree now because as far as I can remember, I seem to have written her for my own pleasure and not for anything that resembles literary quality. I also got my ego inflated because of the praises I get from reviews. But now that I somehow learned in my two years of FFnet experience, I realized that Appetite for Enigma is distasteful. It has potential to develop better and I'm actually working on a revised version and only halfway through. But then I don't know how to explain myself to the readers who followed the story through and even got themselves fighting the people who bash in the reviews page. Many have liked it a lot so far and it puzzles me sometimes and yet it warms me all throughout my delicate pride as a writer. It would definitely break their hearts so I wish to inform each one who added the story to their favorites if I do want to delete and post a new version.

If you must, Rex-chan, it would give me the satisfaction if you can read the firs draft and also my other LJ friends. Because I think I need insights as to how I will go about it or if there are things I need to work on some more. I hope this won't burden you.

Kat-chan's Rewrite is spectacular. I always look forward to the story. However, the author has been avoiding me and there are many one-sided encounters on my part. I feel embarrassed to bother her so I stopped.

Thank you once again!~ Especially for this: You also have to remember that a lot of other authors/readers will dislike OCs paired with canon ones because most of the time when people hear OC they immediately think Mary Sue so that's the stigmatisation that all fanfic writers will have to face at some point.

I'll do better! And I plan to write a Kyouya/Haruhi oneshot, btw...and would want to dedicate it to you. I'll post it in this new LJ aterraincognita
(no subject) - icequeenrex on January 31st, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on January 31st, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
εмι™: Death Note → omigod serious?sadisticupid on January 31st, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
I haven't read the story, so this just what I think based on the entry.

If you are unhappy with it then I think you should rewrite it. I'm not sure if you would do just bits, or the whole thing, but if you do I think you should have some sort of plan before you start editing.

You said characterization was a problem. I was thinking maybe use one of those RP help communities like what_the_l (which I noticed you are a member of lol).

While I find bits of this review rude and uncalled for, I think you should try to learn something from it. But don't let it haunt you.

When/if you rewrite get a beta reader or two. Feedback before being posted is always nice.
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: misa playtimeharleycooper on January 31st, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
I've read all the entries in what_the_l and have gotten pretty good insights on the L roleplayers themselves as how to correctly portray L. I'm a big spectator of the rper dubia_lux I love how she plays L.

Thank you very much for the sincere words and honesty!

Can Hotaru-san be generous and allow herself to read the draft for the revised version I'm working on, that is if it's not too much to ask. ^^; I strive to get more insights and critic because I do not want to take for granted Appetite for Enigma because I think there's so much to it that I just need to work on.

And I do now that you and I both like Misa Amane and I love writing about her so much. I'm pretty sure I writer her just fine but...I guess I never know unless I hear it otherwise from somebody else. Or is this too much self-doubt? >.
(no subject) - sadisticupid on January 31st, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on February 1st, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sadisticupid on February 1st, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on February 5th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
erivall eleniele_eleniel on January 31st, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
Well, you seem to have encountered a real challenge that made me -about half a year ago- stop reading anything related to DN and writing for that fandom.

Let me bable here as a felow DN writer:

You might check my ff.net profile, there is a lonely fic there, called Tainted Love. Admittedly, when I first posted its first chapter, it was applauded as an epic. Many ppl who like Ezan's works compared it to her fic that also deals with after life. It spurred me on and I wrote 5 chapters of it, posted 3 of them and estimated that it was going to end up something around 20 chapters with a total amount of 400-500 thousand words. That fic has the best plot structure that I ever came with, and believe me I poured so much efford in it that many readers told me that it was like poetry in prose form, full of material in between the lines.

After posting the third chapter I got a very harsh criticism from a real-life friend of mine, who also knows the anime and a graduate of English Language and Literature department -like me.

She told me the same thing, that I could write Raito well, but L was another story. She labeled my L as a Mary-Sue- as if he was a self insertation-, thus completely out of character, weak, scared with average intelligency- all the things he isn't in the canon.-

Guess what, I immediately erased the whole fic and never posted 4 and 5 and never again thought about that fic, until another reader of mine from Code Geass fandom recognized me there and Pm-ed me asking why I erased it.

I wrote other fics for DN after this incident but mainly oneshots that are focused on philosophical - thematical plots rather than action packed ones. The readers of them persistently asked for Tainted Love and I posted it again, but never updated it.

My problem is somewhat different from yours in relation to my use of language and pattern of speech. Many deemed my earlier writings as purple prose, a genre I like and am excelled both in my mother tongue and English- but this incident made me realise that for better characterisation, one had to balance the amount of purple prose -I guess what I understand from this is different from what others understand of it- , dialogue and action.

The writers that I am fond of and admire are the ones who can do that. Ezan is an example of it, Blackened_Wing is also another, I also remember wild_filly. I remember some other writers from DN fandom, too but none of the rest have an impact of influence on me much. These three writers use dialogue precisely, economically, in a calculated way. They talk about what the character thinks, feels a lot. But they can amazingly balance the flow of the prose in such a way that it is not boring to read, nor it interrupts the fludity of the plot.

Some other writers use minimum words and descriptions about their characters but, hell, they can achieve IC characters maybe with just a piece of dialogue or a line of description. Calicedesang aka. Danielle_Davidson was one of them. Too bad that she erased her earlier works for personal reasons but she used to write like that. My current style is like her current style, we just tell the events, talk about the ideas and what they think without going in to too much detail. I admire her style since it is economic and dynamic. I guess my aim is no longer writing in an epic style -by what I mean epic style you can check my DN story Through the Gates of Horn.
erivall eleniele_eleniel on January 31st, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
Writing Mary Sues is something that none of the fanfic authors can refrain from. I mean if you are writing an OC, the immediate reaction is "Oh, it is a Mary, no need to read it." I myself never read stories which focus on an OC as the main character. Because a fanficcer uses a world which is not created by them, thus they have to accommodate that world to their OC to fit her or him in there in a believable way. Many writers fail in this department, it is such a big challenge and a tiring one; generally a process which either results in dissatisfaction of the writer-sooner or later the writer himself-herself understands that they are not doing well enough- or displeasure from the readers.

If a writer cannot look back and analyse his-her own writing from a detached pov to criticise their own work in terms of accuracy in characterization- fludity, flexibity and credibility of the plot, then that writer is a happy one. S-he writes and is happy with what they write. But self-conscious writers like us aren't like that.

I myself used to write for applause. I am an attention whore and I want to be recognized. Yet I learned my limits and the reader response well in 6 years. I have been reading fanfics avidly for 6 years. When a story catches my attention for some reason, I check the reviews immediately.

Seldom I saw criticism that could take you somewhere as a flourishing writer. Many fics that I read in DN fandom mainly dealt with OOC situations like wild sex between L and Light putting them in such OOC situations that made me gag.

Nilahxapiel or whatever her name was a writer that became popular during the time I decided I hated DN fandom in general. Her works that focused on -admittedly well written- sex made me stop and read her reviews and I was shocked. Damn, she became popular with seme-L stories... Seme-L... Something I still cannot comprehend and don't want to. For me, her works and her fellow writers -she collaborates with a few seme-L writers- were the utmost cases of stupendeous reader response. It taught me that sex sells, especially if it is steamy...

The age group and social background of the readers are important factors here, too. But I guess the person who sent that review to you has high standarts and fairly refined tastes. Yet again, I need to remind to you that OC writers try to 'add' something new to an already complete universe. Thus, whenever the writer tries to reconcile the plot she wants with the already existing canon plot, the writer imminently destroys something from the canon. The canon characters have to give the reactions- say the things that could be OOC to let your plot flow, because you disturbed their completeness by adding a foreign insertation. This, inevitably affect both other characters and the canon plot line. I have yet to see a writer who is able to do otherwise with an OC in leading role.

I have read all your other DN stories but not this one, mainly due to my aversion of Ocs... By any means you can ignore this review and continue the story as you planned or turn back and revise it. To me, a Mary Sue OC is no better than an OOC canon character. But the sole redeeming quality of an OC is that YOU are the person who knows that OC better than anyone else and can improve that OC. Whereas, an OOC canon character has no redeeming quality since everyone knows that canon character and you can't justfy their OOCness with saying, “I perceive him-her as such, so I am writing him-her like this”. Even though it is a given that ppl from the same fandom perceive the canon Characters differently, there are some given qualities of them that cannot change. Ignoring this, and claiming that their version of L or Light or any other ones is better is a fall out and when that is applauded blindly and become popular as if they are the best things ever written becomes the fatal blow to the taste I get from a fanfiction.
(no subject) - e_eleniel on January 31st, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on January 31st, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on January 31st, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on January 31st, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Nana Banana: The very pointiest pencilspeaky_bean on January 31st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Wow, it must have been really hard to have to read a review like that. Even if it has some valid points (and I truly hate to say it, but it does) it still would hurt to hear those things.

Look Harley, I'll be as honest as I've always been. When I've reviewed your work in the past, I've always told you exactly what I thought of it, without holding back. I respect you as a writer, and I think that you have a lot of potential to grown and improve yourself, and I also think you're serious about doing so. I have not read AFE in its entirety, so I'll only comment on what I've read so far.

I do actually like Francesca--and I like Nicoline even better. Your OCs were fascinating to me, and my favorite part of the story was reading about the way they processed things and how different they were from each other. Your OCs never struck me as Mary Sues. I think a lot of people are quick to slap that label onto any OC who's paired with a canon character. I found your OCs to be fascinating characters. They were not the problem, and neither was your plot. You managed to weave an extremely complicated storyline that brought up a variety of intelligent points. I ended up strongly identifying with a lot of things said about Nicoline in the beginning, and it made me examine my own life--if a fictional character can make you question yourself, that's a good thing.

The problem was with your characterization of the canon characters. To be honest, many of them were quite off. In order to enjoy the story, I decided early on that I would read it as an original story, or something that was not meant to be IC. My sister and I have an RP that utilizes DN characters, and it's not IC and isn't meant to be. However, we don't post our RP for public consumption. When you do that, it's important to try to write the characters as they are in canon, otherwise you're going to put a lot of people off. I did not read up to the point where Mello or Light or anybody showed up, and I don't have a good enough grip on Near, so I will only talk about L. Now, don't get me wrong--I love your L. I think he makes a great original character. But he isn't the L from Death Note. Your L is not loud or forceful, and he doesn't have unhibited sexual desire. I think the L you write is fascinating, and I wouldn't want to see him lost, but he isn't...L.

I've given you this advice before, and I'll give it again. This is a good story, the problem is when you try to call it a fanfic. My advice is to take out the Death Note references, and make it into a wholly original story. Don't scrap it altogether, you have too much good material here, but rework it. I think that your characterization of L is excellent, but it would be much more at home in a story where he wasn't being presented as someone else.

I hope that made sense and was helpful in some way. :)
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: mello scar tissueharleycooper on February 1st, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
Nana-san, thank you for coming to my rescue! I needed someone who have read Appetite for Enigma and I know you have read some chapters so far. I think you stopped in Chapter Eight because that is your last review. I'm dearly relieved to hear that you find my OCs fascinating. Especially Nicoline. 3pleconfusion will be pleased to hear that since I based it on her...the anal-retentive stuff too :3 And in what way does she remind you of you? Just wanna ask if you don't mind explaining that.

Thank you for your honest opinion back then and also now. You have mentioned in your review of Chapter One that my L is not L from Death Note but a different character all together. Most readers overlook this; both the fans and the bashers. The bashers just want to grind my face on it while the fans like how L is so...different but still quirky and eccentric. However, I do think that I've done a good job about my OCs and maybe the reason why the character developments are tacky and a little deceitful is because of the interactions between CC and OCs. As you have pointed out, my CCs are not IC and I can admit that now while I'm rereading and proofreading AFE last December. It was a yuletide season too so I'm extra pissy on things. And behold! I knew I need to revise the story a little, the CCs especially because I still want this to be a Death Note fic and I don't want to fail at that.

By the way, I'm continuing Sherlock Chronicles but I decided to rename it. Does Nana-san mind if I send her a copy of the first four chapters? I revised many things from the last time I posted it here for you and Viola-chan to read. Is Nana-san busy? Can she help me proofread my work? Onegai? >.<

Thank you for the advice. You can always balance your opinions when it comes to criticizing and affirming my work. I've missed you a lot lately. You were always kind and sincere when you talk to me and encourage me when it comes to writing. And reading your DN fanfics give me a boost of confidence. I myself can do better as well like you have and I should try to at least outdo myself.
Raven: ♚ Jadethanks4smokin on February 1st, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
Alright, alright! First of all, don't panic! (??) To be honest, I'm not reading your story because I don't like Death Note fanfiction *gets shot* but... Indeed, the truth is, when a femal author inserts an original character in a story it's always some kind of Mary Sue, even unconciously D: *done that. never gonna happen again*

Besides, this fic... It's been half a year since you last wrote something for it, so maybe.. I don't know, preferences change in a couple months, writing styles change with them... To be honest, my first fic (five years ago) was a Mary Sue for Lyserg Diethel (LOL!) but now I even avoid making up characters. So, don't worry. I can comfort you anytime ;D.

But yeah, the truth is... it's Mary Sue, dear D: ...*dies*
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: sanzo profanityharleycooper on February 1st, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for that, Grell-san (?) XD You prove to be as accommodating as you are entertainingly funny!! Well, what do I expect for someone who made very funny icons from plastic_clown I'm still not over laughing about the D-Gray ones because they are so funny!!~

And yes, writing styles do improve and change and I would like to think mine have after two years. I guess I can just revise fic and see how it goes. I've always believed what Wilde said: "I treat art as the supreme reality and life as a mere mode of fiction." But I need to keep myself grounded because I still have things to learn.

Tell me, do you like Grell x Sebastian or Sebastian x Grell. I'm writing a oneshot about the pairing and would want to dedicate it to you :3
(no subject) - thanks4smokin on February 1st, 2009 06:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - harleycooper on February 1st, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
nimblnymphnimblnymph on February 1st, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Except for the bit about it being laughable, it wasn't entirely a BAD/FLAME review. I personally don't agree with everything that was said, but it's one of those things where you take it with a grain of salt.

Your OC is your OC. That is YOUR character, and if you're satisfied with her then so be it. And ignore what the reviewer said about Italian in italics. ANY time you're writing something that's not in the native language (i.e. you're writing a Japanese character in an English setting) then you use italics. You did it right, so disregard that straight off the bat.

As far as characterization goes... *scrunches eyes* Eh. Everyone has their own way of relating to a character. Yours might be a little different than mine. Unless it's blatantly OOC (like L suddenly decides he wants to be a stripper), then it's a bit subjective beyond what's canonical fact. HOWEVER, if you're reading through it again and having second thoughts about how a canon character is coming across... chances are you should listen to your gut and revise.

Revisions are NOT a bad thing at all. I'm STILL revising "Enemies, Right?" to this day, and it's been done for quite a while now. Sometimes, reviews like this one are good for you. The "ZOMGILUFU!!!one!!!" reviews are nice and all... but they don't really do much for you as a writer. Now, I'm not saying you need to change your fic for EVERY negative review you might happen to receive. If it's a straight-up flame, ignore it and move on. But if it's like the one you cited (minus the laughable part) then maybe you SHOULD give it another read-through and see if their points make sense.

I recently had a review for my current fic complaining that one of the characters was being too bossy and mean. I read through the part she'd mentioned again... and decided that a) the character was within boundaries, and b) I NEED her to be bossy. So... I didn't change a thing about it. That there's called filtering. Reviews are good, insightful things for an author, but you've GOT to filter which ones are bollocks and which ones actually have a good point.

Learning to accept critiquing is a HUGE thing. It's difficult and sometimes a little harsh... but ultimately, if you think about it, the people critiquing are actually in YOUR corner. They want you to improve and to do better. And honestly, my love, the fact that you ARE considering revisions is proof enough that you've grown not only as a writer but as a person as well. I know it's easy to say and harder to do but... don't take the reviews personally. As a writer, your pour yourself into what you do, so any attack on the story feels like an attack on you. But that's truly NOT the case in a constructive review. Most of the time, a writer leaving concrit is doing so because THEY'VE been there themself. I guarantee you this Kat-chan has written at least one fail fic in her life time. Hell, I've got fic that will make your eyes bleed it's so bad! That's all part of the writing process.

The one thing YOU'VE got is that your story is good. Maybe a little tweaking here and there is needed... but at least your plot is solid. And if you're doubting Francesca as a believable, realistic character... examine her. Make a list of her qualities. Ask yourself if she's the type of person YOU would like. While it's definitely important to make the OC relatable to the canon characters, it's even MORE important to make the OC relatable to your readers. So... make a list, separate each point into a pro and con column and go from there. Sometimes, it's also helpful just to write a drabble or random little scene involving your OC just to get a feel for their character.

I really hope this helps you, dearest. It'd be a shame if you stopped writing over one review. You DO have a talent for it, and you most certainly have the passion. That right there is a huuuuuge mark in your favor.
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: sanzo profanityharleycooper on February 1st, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
Crowned vision! You--I never thought you cared that I still exist because I haven't heard from you in a long time. And I ask myself questions like: does she hate me now? Has she forgotten about me? I PM my F-list, including you, and that is my pathetic way to make you notice me again. You have left me barren lately because I need your strength especially when I can't stand up in my own feet; not even baby steps!

I can honestly say that what Kat-chan said did bruise me..much now because I'm more self-aware as a writer than I ever was. I tried contacting her again or at least make friends with her because I thought perhaps she can help me learn something but my attempts were denied twice. So I got a clue and realized she just doesn't want to be associated with me. I don't want to look like a desperate idiot so I left her alone. I know she has her reasons and frankly, maybe we're just passing acquaintances and nothing more. But I will remember her fondly in the future. Her critique meant something to me.

I love you, crowned vision!~ I'm sorry for sounding like a stupid fangirl but you--I wish I deserve to know thou name so I can address thee as a person. And Enemies, right? is a classic work to me. I've had it printed and book-bound. I just want you to know that it got me back to good literary sense after the Twilight series almost destroyed my will to read. I'm sorry to share this but I reviewed ER again in FFNet (if you have noticed) and I meant every word. The way you conveyed Sanzo and Yaone, both as individuals and as a couple, is so strong and realistic that I got sucked in to their drama and romance. It was painful and joyous to read the development of their love story and you did so well, so brilliantly that I held my breath every time I come across a crucial, emotional scene between them.

You don't know the lengths of how you inspire me and you needed to know that, crowned vision! So please tell me how to address thee!~
(Deleted comment)
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: Can you hear the bells?harleycooper on February 5th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
I don't think there's anything wrong with what you write being mostly wish fulfilment either: no point in writing something you wouldn't/don't enjoy reading yourself – and it looks like other people enjoy it too, so one can't say that posting it publicly is stupid either.

Thank you for the kind words, Aramis-chan!~ This is very significant for me to hear because I do recognize writing stories to be literature's gift of masturbating. I get off writing my thoughts and ideas into something literary like a work of fiction. And it also gives me satisfaction that other people read it too and enjoy the creation themselves.

It is nice to hear your opinion. Thank you for the time and advice :3
Hezaa: Mello: Curious/Inquisitve/Wonderingsoul_of_raziel on February 18th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC)
I personally don't like how the opening was about how she found the story laughable. I don't know this person very well, though I found that statement rather rude. Though there are some points that might be taken into consideration within the review, I think that it could've been better worded. Though, I read somewhere that to handle criticism better, that it says a lot more about the critic rather than the person being criticized. It shows that they have a need to be critical. Recently, my writing has been critcized; mainly for the purple prose-esque tendencies, which has caused it to be labeled as 'pretentious'. Granted, I realize that I can go overboard with description and I may get too elaborate with prose and metaphor, but I simply write what I like. I love fancy description and other elements of writing. I think that it's true to my style. However, that's not to say that I can't improve; I'm willing to admit to my flaws, and listen to what other people have to say. Sometimes, people are just rude and have a need to be critical.

As for your story; I've only read a little bit of it, though I have to say it was a very compelling narrative. Even if you might've taken some creative liberties with L, I still found him as a fascinating character, and your characters were also compelling. Even if they were Mary Sues, I think the most important thing is making a character interesting. I've even read somewhere that there are legitimate characters that were considered Mary Sues, though people still enjoyed them anyway. Why? Because the readers found them interesting. Of course, what is defined as 'interesting' may vary from person to person, though if you're a damned good writer, you can make almost everything possible. And I think that you're a damned good writer : P So there.

I have to say that it's admirable that you've done some self-introspection and decided to reconsider your writing. That's what I've done recently, so I think it's safe to say that we're going through the same process. I've had great input from my friends, and I'm striving to become the best writer that I can be. In other words, prove the critics wrong : )
Harleigh Maureen Cooper: mello scar tissueharleycooper on February 21st, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
Thank you very, very much~!

There is such a good thing as good purple prose, right? Besides, writing style does evolve and I just feel like that mine has lately, if I can honestly surmise that myself. You've always been very kind to me, I remember. You liked my stories and the content and you praised me quite generously. I'm telling you, it has always encouraged me to write more even when there are bashers out there who keep telling me to quit. I'm very honored that I have met such a very endearing person like you. And I guess I would still change Appetite for Enigma because I'm not satisfied with it. I do feel like owe Kat-chan that; but she was sort of rude when she found my story laughable. Admittedly, it needs fixing and tweaking...but that's how writing should be; constant process. Kat-chan is a good writer but I never felt like she was other than just that; perhaps because she refused my friendship when I was willing to get to know her and have her get to know me. But it's not my loss. We both have better things to do.

I hope you could check out my revision here in my LJ. I won't be posting it sometime soon because of RL stuff to engage myself with but hopefully, I'll have it ready. Thank you once again for the warm words and encouragement!