Country of Residence: United States of America.
State of Residence: Virginia
Favorite Television show: Sherlock
About my Critiques:
During my time on FanFiction, I have noticed that to many reviews are just, "That was cool and I liked it". I choose not to do that and give more criticism. Now, since I am a critic, it means that I criticize. My version of criticism is to point out everything I didn't like about what I read, so assume that if I didn't mention it then I had no issue with it.
Also, I don't do much critique on grammar, more on plot. The only reason I will critique grammar is that it detracts from the story or completely prevents me from reading and understanding what I am reading.
2/16/2013: From this point forward, no more cursing in my reviews.
Now to business.
Let Us Define Our Terms:
Story: A series of events
Plots: Why things are happening. Plots come from characters. Thus, plots are, essentially, character motives. The two characters we should be most concerned about in the story are the protagonist(s) and the antagonist(s). When their individual plots intersect, conflicts emerge.
Theme: What the story is about. A good theme involves conflict. Conflict should change the protagonist and/or antagonist leading to character development. A good theme causes character development.
Complications: These are things, people, or events that slow the protagonist's movement toward their goal.
Roadblocks: These are things, people, or events that stop the protagonist in his tracks.
Reversals: These are things, people, or events that turn the story on its head; the protagonist changes his worldview, his direction and often his goal.
Think of it as a car on a road. The road is the story, the car is the plot, the characters are the driver or passengers, and conflict is the fuel.
What is the Plot?
When we talk about the plot, it is necessary to make a distinction between the Premise, the Theme, and the Plot.
Premise: The premise is the foundation of your story.
Here are some other ways to describe it from various sources:
A premise usually has three parts: the protagonist, his or her action, and the result. The antagonist and the need of the protagonist can be a part of the premise, but they are generally major parts of the plot.
Theme: The theme is what the story is about. The theme and the premise can often go together or be the same thing. Usually, when a theme is also a premise, it is the premise of a sub-plot. A good theme should have conflict. In the theme, you give the central idea of the story.
Plot: The plot is what happens in a story. It is what makes a story interesting, make sense, and be creative. It is the logical connection between events in the story. It is essentially the premise plus an interesting complication or conflict. It also answers the question of "why" in the story. Generally, a good plot has a good premise that makes you want to bother paying attention in a story. An even better plot puts the protagonist on a journey that gives them various challenges along the way that they must grow and change in order to deal with those conflicts. Side characters that are a part of this kind of plot must also grow and change along the way with the protagonist.
A good plot is clear. We understand why a character is the way that he/she is and is acting a certain way. It also has a clear theme with understood conflicts. It also has character development that gives value to the conflicts.
Important Terms to Know for my Reviews:
Subject: The subject is a base category. Nouns (persons, places, or things) are subjects.
Questions: There are two kinds of questions. Those that arise naturally as the story progresses and those that arise out of personal reflection. These questions are not destructive in nature, but do need to be answered by the end. If the audience has to guess an answer to a natural question, then there is something wrong.
Stupidity: Stupidity in this context happens in two ways: The first is when the audience (myself included) is unable to comprehend what is being shown or told and the second is when the characters act contrarily to common human intelligence, to their established characterization, and to logic itself. If I say something is stupid, then one of these two issues are present.
Plot Holes: A plot hole is the break in the continuity and cohesiveness of the plot. It can occur as a result of the characters behaving stupidly or by a character changing the plot or by abandoning the plot entirely. A plot hole breaks the logical associations between the scenes and breaks the narrative.
Contrivance: Something that is contrived is something that appears to come out of nowhere. It has no build up or post explanation and is there to move the plot along. It exist because an author is unable or incapable to connect ideas in a meaningful or proper way. A plot that is contrived has an important element that is unlikely or not possible that breaks the audience's willing suspension of disbelief.
Lore: Lore is established evidence and knowledge we are shown within the universe. A question of lore is raised when the narrative contradicts previous lore, when the narrative ignores previous lore, and when the author introduces new lore and does not explain it.
Series: Here, I challenge previous plots and characters. We are asking about all the other scenes, characters, and plots throughout. While lore usually deals with specific objects like technology, series questions challenge pre-established plots and characters.
Simple Fix: In simple fix, I fix things. It is always a good thing for someone from the outside looks at your story and can give a simple fix to certain problems.
My Problems with Romance:
I have several problems with many of the romance stories I see on the site. I don't think people really understand love. For instance, in the Greek language there are four words for love. These are: Storge, Phileo, Eros, and Agape.
Storge: Storge is translated as "affection", the kind someone would have for family.
Phileo: The city Philadelphia (city of brotherly love) was named after the word Phileo, meaning friendship. Friendship is the strong bond existing between people that share a common interest or activity.
Eros: Eros is the love in the sense of "being in love". It is a passionate love with sensual longing and desire. However it is not a sexual desire, that would probably be Venus.
Agape: The greatest of loves, also known as the "God love". It brings forth caring regardless of circumstance and demands Agape love back. It is, in essence, selfless. The only time marriage should be considered is when both partners are in a fine tuned Agape love state.
Now these four do intertwine at some points (such as Storge and Agape) and it is hard to know exactly where a person is. However, when two characters say "I love you", they should not be written to still be in Phileo. Both parties should either be in an Eros state or an Agape state.
Me Not Having Any Stories:
Yes, I know that I don't have any stories of my own, but that doesn't mean that I cannot criticize. I am working on a story currently, but that is still a work in progress until I can beat the plot holes out with my cricket bat and make sure that everything happens in a logical chain of events.
Critiques of Favorites:
Due to the fact that the story is still in progress, I will hold my review until it is completed.
Megaman ZX: Return to Zero:
Due to the fact that the story is still in progress, I will hold my review until it is completed.
Dark Fire, Part 2: Shattered:
Pokemon Adventures: Where Legends Cross:
Chief of the Rings:
Modern Warfare 2: Makarov:
Operation: There Is No Operation:
While it is technically not complete, I highly doubt that The Creed will ever be updated again, so I will permit it to exist in my favorites list. The reason I like it so much is because it understands what Assassin's Creed is about: stabbing people and scaling rooftops. Due to the fact that I have not read an Assassin's Creed story that does this well, The Creed is in my favorites list.
Red vs Blue Reconstruction: Through the Visor:
Final Challenge is a hard story to review. The reason for this is because the the plot does not appear until chapter 16. It is not until chapter 30 that the heroes actually meet the plot and they don't actually get involved until seven chapters later. The heroes of the story engage with the plot five chapters away from the story's ending. While most people, including myself, would see this a drawback to any other tale as a whole, I think that it actually works for this story.
It is a lot like Half-Life in a way. The plot is something that is going on in the background. It is not until the hero is near the end (or in the sequel in Gordon's case) that the plot begins to matter. It shows a commitment to pacing that you just don't see anymore. The beginning is slow and normal not only to establish the setting and characters, but also to make things more meaningful when things escalate. When it comes to pacing, Final Challenge does it masterfully.
It also does the ending well. While most writers would have had the "all-powerful being" that exist in Final Challenge summoned and battled, Matkni22 realized that we the audience have never seen it nor heard it speak. Therefore he chose for the final battle to be against Giovanni, the real villain we have been keeping up with. Endings should never bring in new characters, because the audience has no connection to them.
The final moments are good too. The way that Ash figures out how to win is both reasonable and excellently done. How he acts is even better. Sure, the result is a downer (spoiler alert), but the epilogue does an excellent job showing that life goes on and that hope lives on.
Does Final Challenge have its problems? Yes. The absence of a real plot for a large aspect of the story is sometimes a large draw back (especially in slower moments). Also, I found the Forrest and Dawn relationship weird. I saw it from Forrest's side, but I don't ever recall once when Dawn showed any romantic interest toward him. It is implied that most of it was "off-screen", but if it is so boring that it is not shown, then it begs the question of why it is there at all. Forrest's presence period is also something that confused me. The story would have been just fine and would have continued on in the exact same way were he absent. It sort of makes me wonder why he was written in in the first place. If there is one thing that I don't like it is the presence of a character in a story that has no purpose. Then there is Rey, who can't figure out whether or not she is a serious character or just comedic relief. There are several times where she breaks off from the group to have a small adventure in the near vicinity, but the scene always ends before any serious development happens.
Thankfully, Final Challenge has more positives than negatives. While it may not be the best Fic I've ever read, it certainly is in the top ten and, for me, that is saying a lot.
CPR, My Way:
The first FanFiction I have ever read and one of the few one-shots that I have read that has a self-contained plot.
Common Mistakes I See on FanFiction.net:
1) “Never Read C.S. Lewis” Disease: Misunderstanding of love. Look above.
2) Nightcat #1 Disease: Ditch the poetry. It is pointless. You can use song titles to establish a mood, but don't put a song in your story. It is distracting, pointless, against site policy, and highly illegal. Don't even make your own songs. That is even worse because I have no idea what that song sounds like.
3) Mischaracterized characters: Characters should either a) have their original characterization in the source material or b) grow beyond that in a positive and non-stupid direction. A character's characterization and growth should also complement the overall plot. A person's characterization should never be different than their role in the plot.
4) Bad Crossover Disease: Favoritism in Team-ups. One team in a team up should NOT look better than the other.
5) Mass Effect 2 Disease: This is having a poor plot. Think out your plot before you publish it. Mass Effect 2 was a collection of sub-plots loosely connected to a poor plot that was nothing to write home about.
6) Mass Effect 3 Disease: Having a terrible ending. I don't think I need to elaborate on why this is a bad thing. The journey is NOT more important than the destination. The ending is what the audience leaves with, so if the ending is bad, then the whole story is bad. We all saw this in the Mass Effect 3 debacle (you know, the WORST ending of ALL TIME).
7) Countdown Disease: Poorly Done Character Deaths. Heroes need to go out on a high note. Moving on.
8) High School Fics: I don't care if you want to "write what you know", if the continuity you are writing in is not focused in a high school (ie- EVERYTHING that I read) then you should not write it as such. It is lazy and stupid. It also shows no regard to continuity, but more on that later.
9) For the Evulz! Disease: Villains who do evil things for poorly justified reasons. This does NOT mean that all villains must be sympathetic, but they should have a good reason for doing what they do.
10) Disregard for Continuity: This is FanFiction. You are basing everything you write on clearly established source material That means that you should have reverence for that material. You should not try to ignore certain aspects of it and you should not try to explain away clearly established events if they make sense (unless we are talking about stupid things like all of Countdown to Final Crisis or Mass Effect 3's ending).
11) Interactive Stories: Against the site's rules. Moving on.
12) Script Formats: Against the site's rules. Moving on.
13) Stories with Mistakes: Against the site's rules. Proofread your stuff. It makes you more professional.