Reviews for Making the Grade
Lemon Cream chapter 1 . 10/18/2010
This is the first fanfic I've read in a very long time, and the first review I've left in years, so forgive me if I say anything weird or something I shouldn't in a review.

Overall, I liked the story. It was simplistic, but it was the kind of simplicity that I like. And I can tell that it'll be one of those little stories that sticks with me and I think about now and then. I enjoy any kind of interaction between the Frontier kids and their family members, namely Kouji and his family. There really isn't enough of it.

And for the most part it was well written, a welcome change to the sort of slop you usually see on this website. So I commend you and desperately hope that you don't take offense to anything else I might say.

After reading this story, I do have some constructive criticism to offer.

Grammar wise, the story is mostly okay except for one small mistake you seem to make over and over, which is lacking a comma when ending dialogue. When you end a spoken line, right before the second quotation mark, you want to put some kind of punctuation. You use a comma instead of a period for a normal sentence, or a question mark or exclaimation mark as needed.

"Alright. I'll go" she sighed in defeat.

Should become:

"Alright. I'll go," she sighed in defeat.

I noticed you did a lot of culture clashing within the story. Seemingly, the characters are stationed in Japan. The characters names are all Japanese (you even acknowledged this by giving the teacher a Japanese name; most writers ignore this and give an OC teacher a name like Mrs. Smith or something) and Kousei travels to Sapporo for his trip. But at the same time you used a lot of Western concepts. Using titles like "Mr" and "Mrs", and using Western food that the Japanese probably wouldn't be eating regularly, like sandwiches. Japanese students also primarily take English as a second language, and it is mandatory.

These things aren't as drastic as some of the culture clashes you typically see, but it was noticeable to me, so I thought I'd point it out.

As for sentence structure, for the most part it is all very good. My only issue was your tendency of always overdescribing a character's spoken line. After each spoken line, you've put that they joked or said apologetically or muttered or said defensively. This is all very nice and descriptive, but for me it gets to be a bit of an overload when every single line is spoken with such specifics. Some of them were a bit too much of a stretch, liked "hissed disbelievingly." There's nothing wrong with just plain "said," plus I imagine it must get rather repetitive trying to find a new adjective to describe how a character is speaking every time they open their mouth. If two characters are just having a normal conversation, there's no need to describe in what manner they spoke after each time; in some cases it may not be completely necessary to clarify the speaker at all. If there's only two individuals in the conversation, we can probably figure out who is talking, so long as you occasionally drop in some description.

It might help a bit if you switch it up and sometimes clarify the speaker BEFORE the sentence and not after. Perhaps the sentence could be: Satomi shrugged and said, "That's all."

It gets rather monotonous when every sentence is written the same. Not to mention, in some cases it makes more sense to clarify the speaker beforehand, notably when you begin a conversation with two characters in the room. For that sentence the reader is left kind of floundering, wondering who is speaking at the moment.

Sometimes characters did things twice or did things they ordinarily wouldn't do consecutively in such a short period of time. In one instance, Kousei smiles at Satomi, and in the next line, he smiles at her again. Considering this all took place within a few seconds, we can probably assume that Kousei was still smiling at her from the first time you mentioned it; a smile isn't something that a person does once and has to do again a few seconds later.

Towards the end, Kouji snickers, then asks Satomi a question "tentatively." A person who snickers or giggles or something to that extent is probably very comfortable in their surroundings and seems very much at ease. For them to snicker and then two seconds later be tentative doesn't make much sense.

If you're ever unsure of how to describe an action or whether or not you're being repetitive, think about if someone did it in real life. Have a conversation with yourself in which one sentence you growl, then the next you sigh, then you mutter, then you laugh, then you say tentatively. It feels a bit unnatural and cluttered, right? That's what it kind of feels like reading this; to me anyway.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but in my opinion it could be improved.

And finally: story structure. I understand that it's a short story and not meant to be too long, but I'd have preferred a little more interaction between the teacher and Satomi. For something that was sort of the catalyst of the entire story, it was a rather forgettable meeting.

Frankly that's all I have to offer in terms of story structure; otherwise it was fairly solid considering it was a short story. I have no critique towards the characters; they all acted appropriately and for the most part seemed believeable and not unusual.

If I may make a suggestion out of personal preference, in my honest opinion I'd rather not see so much stuff before and after the story. When I finish a story I want to savor it and think about it; not read some random additional notes. I'd much rather those be before the story.

And all the extra information you provided was unnecessary. We don't need to know things like genre and rating and characters and summary; the site already details all of that information for us. It's more useless clutter and redundancy.

Also, to me it's highly preferable that you don't expand upon why certain characters do certain things. Maybe you don't like that Kouji promised he'd only call Satomi "Mom" in the dub, but don't tell us that. It takes away from Satomi's characterization and makes the reader feel like you're trying to impose a little of yourself onto Satomi.

All of this, of course, is purely personal and can be ignored, but maybe take it into mind for future stories?

Anyway, that's all for me. Once again, I apologize if you took offensive to any of the suggestions I mentioned; I meant it in the best way possible.
Kaito Lune chapter 1 . 8/9/2010
Wow, that was really cute. These family genre one-shots you do are really great! I love the part where they were discussing about Kousei's cooking ability. That was just a great bonding for those two. Great job!
reminiscent-afterthought chapter 1 . 8/9/2010
That was so sweet. And seemed primarly characteristic with what little we see of Kousei and Satomi, and the lot we see of Kouji. Well written. I take it that this takes place before the events from Frontier? Anyway, I'd love to see more from you.
Musical Darkness chapter 1 . 8/8/2010
He he! Yeah, it was great! Thanks!