Poll: Readers of "Of Crowns and Daggers": Would you be interested in an abbreviated annotations chapter in which I discuss aspects of the story from a writerly perspective? Vote Now!
Author has written 21 stories for Avatar: Last Airbender, Tsubasa Chronicle, Princess Tutu, Hunger Games, and Final Fantasy XII.
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." --Anton Chekhov
"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." --Stephen King
"Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts." --Patrick Rothfuss.
Hello, everyone, and thanks for visiting my profile. If you've arrived here due to a fortuitous series of links, please allow me to welcome you to the hub of my fanfic-writing operations. If you are visiting due to your interest in my work, allow me to welcome you into the occasionally bizarre workings of my mind. In either case, I hope what you read here sheds some light about what you can expect from my work, and if you should be interested in reading it, know that I value your comments greatly. I also recently created a tumblr account, which you can find here (just remove the spaces): https :// cinderstorm . tumblr . com
A few things about me: My philosophy on fanfiction is that any story, pairing, or plot can be done well, no matter how ridiculous it first appears. I do think that certain concepts present a greater challenge, but if something can be dreamed, it can be done. I write both fanfiction and original novels in my spare time, and a few years ago, I published a short story in a contest that supports young writers. I like to take my time with plot and character development, and many of my fics become ridiculously long in spite of my efforts to the contrary. If I'm trying to keep things short, I will tend to write in the present tense, as I feel it creates a sense of immediacy which helps speed the pacing. Generally, however, I write in the past tense, using the third-person limited POV, and tend to have three or four focus characters in a given story. My preferred genre is fantasy. My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson, though I am also fond of Patrick Rothfuss and Kristen Britain. I prefer a straightforward writing style which conveys the visual dynamics and tone of the story, in addition to things like character, plot, and thematic elements. In other words, if a story captures my imagination, that's when I tend to become more involved with it. I'm good at giving advice, but not at following it, and I am known for writing long, detailed reviews (though usually only upon request).
I love reading all your reviews, and I do mean all of them, even the critical ones. I'm perfectly fine with constructive criticism, and if I feel your review has weight and I can still work it into my story, I may go so far as to replace previous chapters to accommodate the change. Also, I'm open to reviewing stories based on requests, though my experience with certain stories may be limited if I haven't read/seen the source material.
Will you review my story? Yes! I love the idea of reviewing works to make them stronger, better stories. If you want me to read a specific story, just send a PM. I'll give you as detailed an analysis as I can, and if I like it, I'll keep reading. Just remember, all the reviews I give are designed to improve your writing, not to bash your story or characters. In fact, I also like it when readers send me more detailed critiques, so if you like any of my stories but think they could be better, just send a review saying what you liked and didn't like.
Have you ever written anything outside of fanfiction? I have. I've been writing to entertain others since the fifth grade, and I'm hoping that, soon, I'll be able to publish a novel. The reason I started writing fanfiction was to see if there was a market for my style of writing and to polish my writing skills even when I had writer's block on my original projects. So far, it's going well. I think I may continue writing fanfiction even if I do get published.
Do you have any advice for a budding writer? Tons. The basics are keep writing, don't give up if you want to get published, and make sure to edit every single thing you write before you let anyone read it. Yes, that includes fanfiction, essays, and emails. When others read your work, you don't want them to think that you just blew off the project you set out to do. You don't want them to remember your frequent misspellings and grammatical errors. You want them to remember that you are a skilled and professional writer, and the best way to do that is to have someone critically examine your story and spend some time working out the bugs. Other than that, most of the advice I give is actually from one of two sources: The Writing Excuses Podcast, or TV Tropes, both of which I will elaborate on below.
Which websites offer the most to aspiring writers? There are several comprehensive sites you should look into during your writing journey. Personally, I recommend tvtropes.org. It has thousands of pages detailing different writing conventions, cliches, character types, and plot devices. Also, it contains millions of examples of tropes appearing in both fiction and real life. I also highly recommend the Writing Excuses website, where I acquired most of the advice I dole out in reviews. The site contains hundreds of podcasts from a group of published writers who specialize in fantasy and science fiction (though most of the advice is applicable to any genre). In addition to writing advice, you can also get tips on writing query letters, finding an agent or an editor, and a bunch of other writing-related topics. Each podcast is about fifteen minutes long, making it very convenient for those of you who can only grab small chunks of time here and there for your writing.
Is there anything to avoid in a story? Yes, unfortunately. In fanfiction, you generally want to avoid anything that violates canon, unless you're writing an AU (alternate universe). In any kind of fiction, however, you want to avoid poor characterization, Mary-Sue character types, motiveless villains, cliches, and poor grammar. Each of these can be explained at length on the websites I mentioned above. Having a friend with a critical eye look over your work can do wonders to help with these sorts of things.
What stories have you written for this site?
The End of Hope. This is an Avatar: The Last Airbender piece based on what would happen if Zuko had fought alongside Team Avatar at the Crystal Catacombs. It is my first completed project, and I don't really recommend reading it unless you're really into my work already, as I was less experienced at the time I wrote it. Be warned: it's rated M for a reason. The plot is a darker than anything you could get away with on a kid's show, and in later chapters, there is explicit content. It's a Zutara story, and while the facts of the world don't change, the characters develop differently than they did in the original third season of Avatar. Complete.
The End of Mercy. This is a sequel to my previous Avatar: the Last Airbender story, The End of Hope. It starts off right where the previous story ended after the Day of Black Sun. It is still Zutara. There will still be explicit content. Complete.
A Song of Earth and Fire. This one is set two centuries after Aang defeats the Fire Lord. Peace has reigned ever since the end of Sozin's War, but trouble is stirring in the Earth Kingdom even as a new Avatar begins his training. Meanwhile, in the North Pole, a princess faced with an arranged marriage rebels against her father's wishes, fleeing to the Earth Kingdom for a chance at freedom, friendship, and love. Violence is guaranteed, and explicit content is a very real possibility. This one will be all original characters except for brief nods to history. Note, however, that Legend of Korra didn't exist at the time I started this story, and though I have started to integrate bits from LoK into this fic, chances are a lot of the early chapters are going to conflict with the new series. On permanent hiatus.
Before the Story. A series of drabbles for Avatar: the Last Airbender. All drabbles will be pre-series, and will cover a wide variety of characters, from Team Avatar to their enemies to one-shot characters I wish to explore further. Many will be humorous, but some will be darker. Requests welcome.
In Control. A short oneshot in which Mai meets Jet in an insignificant Earth Kingdom town and has a bit of fun with knives. Complete.
To Catch the Moon. After a long hiatus from the Avatar: The Last Airbender fandom, I rediscovered my love for the series and began writing this. The story starts off as your standard Zutara capture fic, but is set much earlier than most such fics, in the episode "The Siege of the North," and follows Katara and Zuko through much of season two. Warnings: significant divergence from canon, slow burn, explicit content.
Hated. This is my first fic for Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. It's how I see the story going after the Tokyo arc if the characters were just a little more bitter than they were the first time around. The mature rating is for violence, but there is no smut. Complete.
Reversal of Fate. Another Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle story. This is my first T-rated story, so there's less blood and gore than other fics I've written. This story exists on the premise that it was Syaoran who lost his memories, not Sakura. Since Sakura's personality is different from Syaoran's, the course of the story branches off almost immediately. I expect this to be one of the longest stories I will ever write, both in terms of word count and the time it will take to complete. I will also admit that the early chapters are a bit amateurish compared to my current work, and may at some point undergo a revision for clarity and style. This story now has a TV Tropes page, which, if you read the rest of my profile, you will know is a huge honor for which I am very grateful.
All the Missed Moments. A series of drabbles for Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, highlighting Syaoran and Sakura's relationship, as well as illuminating some of the darker moments in the series. Informally complete. Requests welcome.
Trees. This is a Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle story, in which Syaoran's clone attacks the real Syaoran. This story is very graphic, and includes explicit sexual situations, rape, and violence. I wrote it at about five in the morning, did a couple revisions for style, and posted it, and yes, it's sick and disturbing, and no, I don't think that that's any reason for me to be ashamed of it. Read at your own risk. Complete.
The Beginning of Existence. Another Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle story. Fujitaka finds Syaoran alone in the rain one fateful day. This is the story of how he became a father. Complete.
Between the Light and the Shadow. A Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle oneshot. Syaoran's greatest fear has always been losing Sakura, but there is one other thing he fears that steals his peace of mind even as he struggles to hold himself together. Complete.
Shatterheart. A Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle story set in Infinity and progressing to the end of the series. Kurogane/Syaoran yaoi. Not a crack fic, though it does contain a crack pairing. Mostly, I just wanted to see if I could successfully write a multi-chapter yaoi fic. This story now has its own TV Tropes page. Complete.
Love Bites. A Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle three-shot in which Syaoran takes on the duty of being Fai's "game" in Tokyo, which eventually leads to a short-lived, intense romance. Written for Serena-loves-Angst. Complete.
Clockwork Tsubasa. A futuristic piece in which Syaoran, a highly intelligent automaton, is discovered by one of the last remaining human settlements on Earth, three hundred years after most humans left to roam the stars. Syaoran must endure the suspicion and bitterness of the colony of survivors, all while coming to realize that his memories may have been tampered with. Written for Cinnamon-Romanji.
Of Crowns and Daggers. A post-Tokyo TRC fic inspired by Scott Lynch's Red Seas Under Red Skies. An outcast among his traveling companions, Syaoran seeks solace from this world's version of Ryuuo, only to find that the other boy's interest might be more than platonic. Written for TheOddFandom.
A Raven or a Swan? My first Princess Tutu story, written on request of one of my friends who noticed how few Rue/Duck friendship fics there were out there. Oneshot. Slight AU due to the timeline. Complete.
That Thing They Call Honor. My first Hunger Games story, told from Cato's point of view and revealing his perspective of the 74th Hunger Games. This is primarily based on the book, though there will be some crossover with the movie when it is applicable. On permanent hiatus.
Little Knife. My first story for Final Fantasy XII. Takes place the night Balthier meets Vaan, and primarily revolves around the way Balthier views people as tools. Oneshot. Complete.
A Thousand Tiny Moments. A series of drabbles for Final Fantasy XII. Like my other drabble series, these will span an array of moments, moods, and characters, providing a variety of snapshots of Ivalice and its people. Requests welcome.
The Leading Man's Lies. Another Final Fantasy XII fic. In the aftermath of the battle for Rabanastre, Vaan grieves for the man who represented his freedom and future, only to find out a year after war's end that his mentor is alive after all. Balthier/Vaan. Written in present tense and beginning to show signs of becoming much longer than I anticipated.
I will update this section as I write more fanfiction.
Have you ever considered being a co-author with someone else? I have. In fact, I'm working on a project called The Intergalactic Games under a joint account named "Flight of the Mockingjays." As of right now, that is the only story I'm co-authoring, but I will consider requests to co-author if I have the time, and if I find your writing style enjoyable. Please understand, however, that there are many shows/books/etc., that I'm simply not interested in writing for, and if I reject an offer to be your co-author, I am doing so only because I feel it would be unsuitable for me to enter into a partnership with you at this time. That does not mean I will not help you with another story later on, so please do not feel, just because I reject one offer, that I am completely opposed to assisting you.
How often do you update? I try to update every week or so, when possible. If I can't reach the computer long enough to write a chapter, I generally have a few saved up in the document manager that I can quickly edit and send out. I try not to go too long without updating, but inevitably, some of my projects end up languishing in Development Hell for a while. Most of my chapters hover around 2500 words, but a few may be shorter if I feel it's right to leave the chapter at a cliffhanger. Additionally, I have priority stories, which I try to update a couple times a month. That means my less important projects may get pushed back to accommodate these priority projects. I shuffle between priority fics often, however, and even the non-priority fics will receive occasional updates, when I can manage it.
Do you reply to reviews? Generally, no. If you specifically ask me to PM you regarding a question you pose in a review, then I will probably reply. But the reason I don't reply to my reviews is because I tend to get long-winded when I send messages, which cuts into my writing time. Also, I prefer to keep a certain professional distance. Some reviewers find it awkward when an author replies to their reviews, and I don't want to alienate anyone who's willing to give me comments. If you want to get in touch with me, I am always happy to receive Private Messages, and will usually respond within a few hours of receiving one, provided I am not otherwise occupied.
Why don't you write more author's notes? When I started writing fanfiction, I made a decision to let my writing stand on its own as much as possible. Of course, the nature of the chapter-by-chapter updates and AU settings means that sometimes I have to clarify certain points/discrepancies with an author's note. I'm loosening up a little about this, meaning some of my author's notes now include more personal details, but I don't live a particularly exciting life, so don't expect me to post a note every chapter outlining what I've been up to since the last update. As I said above, I prefer to maintain a certain degree of professional distance whenever possible.
Will you Beta my project? Provided you meet the qualifications listed in my Beta profile, yes. Be aware that I update my Betareader profile on occasion, so make sure to double-check that you still meet all the requirements when you request my services. Also, I currently only Beta works for Avatar: the Last Airbender and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, so please be mindful of that.
What is your Beta style? I will underline passages you have written when I need to draw attention to them. Most of the time, I will add either a suggestion or a statement of what is off about that particular segment (comments such as "this is wordy" and "awkward sentence" and so forth). If I underline something and don't give a reason for it, it's probably an adverb or an adjective that you need to delete (most adverbs and adjectives should be deleted, as they only serve to intensify the verb or noun they are modifying. Rather than having adverbs and adjectives, try more specific verbs and nouns to get your point across). Also, if I see a grammatical error, I will fix it and put the change in bold print so you know to change it on your file. If it's a change that is difficult to see, I will put parenthesis around it (I tend to do this when the punctuation is wrong, as it is hard to tell the difference between a comma in bold print versus a comma that's not in bold print). If any of this is confusing, I have posted a sample paragraph of what my edits/suggestions would look like below.
Sample Beta'ed Paragraph: She walked into the tavern her skirt brushing lightly across her smooth skin. Just wearing the skirt made her chaferight word?). How any self-respecting spy could wear something so itchy, she could hardly understand(a bit wordy/awkward). How could he(who is "he?" There should be a name or some kind of description/title here to clarify) have subjected her to this It was bad enough(cliche. Consider revising)that she'd spent the last three hours mingling with the wedding-goers--did he really have to make her go to the reception, too?
Explanations on above paragraph: You can see that the first change I made was the addition of the comma after tavern. Since commas can be difficult to notice even when put in Bold Print, I have enclosed the comma with parentheses. If you were receiving a document from me, you would add the comma in the indicated place, but not the parentheses. In the next sentence, I've underlined the adverb lightly and the adjective smooth. In the first case, the verb brushing implies the adverb lightly. In the second instance, smooth is probably unnecessary because, unless this is the first paragraph of your story, your readers probably know enough about your character to know that their skin is smooth (be it through the character's age or previous descriptions of said character). However, if this is the first time you are mentioning this character and the smoothness of their skin is relevant to their characterization or the story itself, then it would be acceptable to leave the adjective in the sentence (this is why I usually leave your original words in--so you can make those decisions for yourself). In the sentence after that, you can see that I've underlined chafe, which would be the word you'd originally put in the story, and followed it with a comment inside a set of parentheses. Such comments are always put in bold print so they stand out and so you know that they are my personal comments/concerns/questions. The same thing occurs in the next sentence, where I pointed out the wordy awkwardness of the last phrase, and in the sentence after that, where I questioned who the pronoun he was referring to. After this, you'll note that I changed another punctuation mark, likely a period, into a question mark, using the same technique I used to call attention to the missed comma before. I then pointed out another worrisome sentence, this one containing a cliche, and recommended you do a revision on that. My final correction was to switch the wrong form of to/two/too with the correct form, and because this was purely a grammatical mistake, I merely put it in Bold Print so you would notice the change and fix it.
Terms you may need to know if I am Betareading your work:
This is short for Paragraph Break. I find that improper separation of paragraphs is a very common problem among writers. This abbreviation indicates that you need to start a new paragraph (I will also move the paragraph in question, splitting it up as needed). This is not usually a grammar problem, but rather an issue involving clarity or style.
Very simply, narrative is any part of the story that does not consist of dialogue or direct thought (more on those in a moment). For example, I might underline a piece of direct thought and say something like "Better as narrative," indicating that you should revise that portion into narrative instead of direct thought.
Direct thought consists of words that come straight out of a character's mind. For example: It's so far away, she thought. Direct thoughts are generally italicized, rather than placed in quotes or parenthesis. Note that sometimes character's thoughts are not direct thought. This, for example: [She thought it had something to do with the conversion of light into magic.] Despite being about the character's thoughts, this sentence is actually narrative.
Dialogue consists of anything a character says. Dialogue is always encased in quotation marks. If a character is quoting something as they talk, the quote is sandwiched between single quotes (this is the only time you should be using single quotes).
These are more slang terms than anything. I use these words to indicate that you should try to develop the language within a sentence, making it more artful, specific, and emotional. There is a slight distinction between the two, however. When I say "spice," it generally means that the overall structure of the sentence is sound, but the word choices could be more precise/evocative. When I tell you to make something more "dynamic," it means that the content of the sentence does not inspire enough emotion. These terms can sometimes overlap or in some cases be used interchangeably, but being mindful of the distinction between the two may be useful to you.