|Reviews for Final Fantasy VI: The Novel|
| Faenon chapter 50 . 7/18
I read every word (all 300,000) of this novelisation of the greatest video game ever made (I read 100,000 words of it every Summer, for three years).
Thank you for writing it.
It has the great virtue of containing all of the (translated) dialogue from the game, and of sticking very closely to the game, which means that reading it is as close to re-playing the game as possible, which is why I read it.
I very much enjoyed your novelisation for this reason. It is an incredible achievement. Many FFVI novelisations began, but only yours came to completion, at least on this scale.
Now I can dip back into particular scenes of this game if I need to, without having to play through the whole thing or look for a particular place in a Let’s Play on youtube (which will also have annoying commentary).
My favourite parts were Locke meeting Celes for the first time, the final battle with Kefka, (probably because they are my favourite scenes in the game) and what you did with Relm and Shadow.
Here are some amazing original sentences of yours I especially loved as well:
“Locke looked as blank as Edgar’s weekend date list.”
“Kefka pushed his lips into a line so thin they nearly disappeared from his face.”
“...his voice piercing the quiet veil of sadness that had fallen over them.”
Since we’re here, and since I have an interest in helping you improve your writing as
(1) It means if you or anyone else ever revises this I can read an even better version of it and
(2) I am watching what you are currently working on and may read that later too,
here is some constructive criticism from someone who has been writing a long time, has had some short stories published and who has completed a literary mentoring programme:
(Obviously these are just suggestions. But please bear in mind that I only bother to do this because I read the whole novel and enjoyed it and am grateful to you for writing it.)
- I don’t know if you are aware of this, but the point of view you wrote this novel from is generally called ‘omniscient point of view’ or ‘involved author’ or just ‘head-hopping narrator’. This is because most of the time you dive in and out of different characters’ heads and thoughts. Published fiction used to do this much more, and maybe it is appropriate for a novelisation of this kind of videogame. But it can also be very confusing. You might want to edit so that each chapter sticks to a single POV and only lets us into that one person’s head at a time (compare, for example, the A Song of Ice and Fire books).
- Some of the narrative summary is ridiculous, like the first time you move from Narshe to Figaro. Everybody uses condensed narrative summaries for travel, but the abrupt switch here is I think too jarring-suddenly moving from mountains to desert. Of course, that happens in the game, but in a novel I think it needs to be slowed down just a tiny bit more. You could add some more detail about the change in climate to make it more believable.
- Sometimes, as with many videogame novelisations, I think you rely too much on a reader’s prior knowledge of the game, which means that you don’t describe what is going on properly. I saw this quite a lot but one of the biggest examples I saw was “The castle completely submerged a minute later.” This is ‘telling, not showing’ (or ‘informing, not embodying’). How did it submerge? What did it look like? What actually happened? If we’ve played the game we remember, but even if we’ve played the game we want to re-experience it here-that’s why we’re reading the novel! Often I think you could slow down your descriptions of action just a little and make them just a little more vivid, for someone who hasn’t played the game (even if they have, like me, when you are reading a book you want to see everything happen again in front of your eyes).
- There are some phrases which I found you over-use far too much and which could be cut or replaced. One is “freaked out” (this is also a ‘tell’, not a ‘show’). Another one is “he/she crossed his/her arms over his/her chest”. Your characters do that waaaaay too much! In one way this action is good, because it is a show NOT a tell-you are showing a character doing something rather than just telling us what they are feeling. However, it was so over-used it became distracting to me. I imagine this probably came about because you were writing by playing through the game and writing up each scene simultaneously, and the sprites do that a lot in the game, but I would try to find some alternative body language to convey what is going on in the characters’ heads (without just telling us it from omniscient POV).
- "Yeah, this kid seems loaded for bear.” I have no idea what this sentence meant. Also at one point someone says “Have you no shame? I’ll have you know...etc...etc…” I think you meant to fill in the ‘etc.’s with something else?
- Your grammar got better as you went on, however in some places, especially early on, it was so bad as to be extremely distracting. Microsoft Word should be able to help you here these days. Just in case nobody has told you yet, please note especially these things (this will also really help you if you ever revise this and for anything you ever write in the future):
1. In dialogue, you have to put a comma before the speech marks close off the statement if you are attaching a dialogue tag, not a full stop (unless you are not attaching a speech tag). For e.g.
“Hi there,” said Celes.
“Hello.” Locke fidgeted with his bandana.
That’s the correct way to punctuate dialogue.
2. You should only use ‘said’, ‘asked’ or ‘replied’ as speech tags 99% of the time. We are so used to them that our brain treats them as invisible. Anything else, and any adverbs, are distracting and slow down the story so should only be used VERY occasionally when you really want/need them.
3. This is a big one:
It’s it is
Its belongs to it
It’s raining outside it is raining outside
Its cheeky grin the cheeky grin belonging to it
4. You write ‘must of’ a LOT where the correct grammar is ‘must have’. For e.g.
‘That must of made you drowsy.’ should be ‘That must have made you drowsy.’
- Ok, moving on from grammar now: Sometimes you use anachronisms-you mention things which do not exist in the Final Fantasy world-which are quite distracting. E.g. ‘kodak moment’, ‘Generation X’, ‘WTF’, ‘Ionic and Corinthian columns’, ‘Martha Stewart’.
- Cyan should totally have a katana, not a rapier.
- I did feel that you ended a bit quickly-probably because I wanted more! In the end, the final part of the final battle, and the escape from the tower, was quite fast. Maybe this was because you hit the beautiful 300,000 word mark and wanted to end on a nice round number? I just wonder if you could have lingered a bit more over the final act, and everyone together on the airship flying off into the distance, and shown us a little more of what the world will be like now, to ease us out of the story?
Anyway, those are my thoughts. Thank you so much again for writing this; I really enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to reading more of your work (maybe something original too?).
If you’re interested, years ago I wrote my own effort at a re-telling of the Locke-meets-Celes scene, and more recently I’ve started writing an epic fantasy series heavily inspired by Final Fantasy I-VI. Check my profile.
| Kye Byllesby chapter 42 . 6/13
Why did Mog suddenly start referring to himself in the third person last chapter and this one?
| Kye Byllesby chapter 34 . 6/5
Something to keep in mind: it's been one year since the world shattered, not two. I don't know why, but this chapter seems to get this wrong consistently. If it were a creative change I would understand, but it still breaks consistency with this adaptation of the story. In my revised edits, I'm fixing it, don't worry.
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 50 . 5/16
Wow. What a game, and what a retelling of it. I don't regret the borderline insane strategy I went with in the slightest. If I'm being completely honest, it might have been the best video game I've ever played, and this story did not disappoint an incredible legacy. Of course, there were some differences, namely Shadow died on the floating continent in my playthrough, and also I had Locke, Celes, Terra, and Relm as my final party. Sadly, Celes went down to the third... thing before Kefka, so she didn't get to take her frustrations out on him. Her crazy magic training would have been helpful, because we got smacked around fighting that demonic clown. After a brutally tough battle, though, he fell, and I got to set the controller down and enjoy the ending. And what an ending it was. 14 days and 40 hours to get there. Seeing all those post-game scenes and hearing the great music... What an ending to what is likely the greatest RPG ever made. Sorry VII and IV, VI gets the title. To get back on-topic though, you did a heck of a job. Yet again.
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 46 . 5/12
Ha, that was beautifully set up with Sabin and Relm at the end. Made it look like he was going to reveal the truth about Shadow, and then went off on a completely different tangent. Good job with that one, mate
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 43 . 5/10
Wait, could Gogo be...
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 31 . 5/8
Ok, I need to read that one again, but listening to the music along with that chapter, for the full experience. But wow. You didn't do a whole lot, but what was there...
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 30 . 5/8
And then, the game got incredibly dark. Oh boy. I can't wait to see what you do with a certain incredibly famous scene involving Celes. It's going to hurt, if I had to guess.
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 29 . 5/7
No, Leo... I had desperately hoped he would be playable, but alas, it was not to be. Unfortunately, I already had the twist about Relm's father spoiled for me, so that might take some excitement out of the next sections, both in the game, and in the story. But hopefully, there are some twists that remain to make these next parts crazy. One way to find out, I guess.
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 22 . 5/6
Darn it, now I need to stop for the night, until I can get further in the game. My fault, I guess, for insisting on reading this, and playing simultaneously. Ah well. At least it's been worth it so far, with how good both ends have been
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 21 . 5/6
For the record, I still don't think she was evil. Keep in mind I' playing through the game for the first time right now, so I have no knowledge of anything much further than this chapter. But she wasn't evil... right? One thing's for sure, though. We haven't seen the last of her. On a more upbeat note, Kefka's obsession with "SON(S) OF A SUBMARINER" as an insult is cracking me up. Absolutely glorious. Overall, another strong chapter.
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 20 . 5/6
You know, I found it strange how one quick sentence so thoroughly convinced them that the person that had traveled with them for all that time was just a spy. Who do you trust more, the person you met 30 seconds before, or the woman you've been working with, shared danger with, saved, and been saved by, for the last... however long it had been? I can kind of understand Cyan, he never trusted her one bit, but I expected better from Locke. But hey, not your fault at all. You did a great job expanding the emotions, even the ones they probably shouldn't have been feeling. That scene was probably my biggest complaint about the story so far, but I can't fault you for following the game so strictly. That's kind of the point of novelizations, isn't it? Outstanding first 40% of the story, mate
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 3 . 5/5
"I'll give you three reasons!" Edgar exclaimed, holding up a finger. "First of all, your beauty has captivated me!" He held up a second finger. "Second...I'm dying to know if I'm your type..." Terra's jaw nearly dropped. This man wasn't blunt! Edgar began to stroll away towards the doorway in his throne room and stopped to stare at her, holding up a third finger. "I guess your...abilities would be...a distant third."
Such an iconic monologue...
| RandomFF.netUser chapter 1 . 5/5
So, you did VI too? I read the IV, Interlude, and TAY novelizations you wrote, and they were really good, so I figured I'd see if you'd written a novelization of this game too. I FINALLY started playing through it the other day, and hopefully I can avoid spoilers by just stopping right before where I actually am in the game? Risky, but hey, if this is half as good as the IV story, it's worth it. One way to find out, I guess
| Kye Byllesby chapter 12 . 5/1
Hey, I'm really enjoying this interpretation of the story so far, but I have to say: you used "cried" way too frequently as a verb for speaking. Seriously, please stop.