Author has written 15 stories for Sonic the Hedgehog, and Twilight.
If You have anything interesting to say, feel free to contact me.
I am Lord Kelvin, Your local writer as critic.
I've joined the site ten years ago. Back then Sonic the Hedgehog had less than five thousand fictions, Twilight did not exist, script format was allowed and the site was constantly having power outages. Though, things changed since then...all but one.
This domain can really spoil a person! The amount of encouragement most reviewers can give is simply poisonous. It makes the writer feel on top of the world, to a point he or she stops dreaming about improvement. Admittedly, my writing took a downturn during the first year. With so many popular stories bearing close to no common sense, and the number of readable examples incredibly low, it’s really easy to mess up. That, and the fact young teens like to go "whee," and stare at steaming cups of coffee.
The first suggestions I received, courtesy of Videociraptor, were not taken lightly. Though, her words made me think. I started looking for really good stories. Why didn’t I just read a book, You ask? No idea. If Your way of getting there from such a start is different, cheers to You!
Having seen how constructive criticism works on FanFiction dot Net, with reviews by people like Blue Dragon X, Guardian Hyperion and The Great Critic around, I decided to give it a shot. I’m not proud of my first efforts - making a serious attempt with flawed spelling, little knowledge of the series...but they sure were cutesy. For a long while I’ve limited my reviews to correcting style and grammar, as my English had excelled fast. It took well over thirty minutes to write a review, ranging from one to four pages in length.
However, fixing someone else’s spelling was a tad…primitive, if not silly. Think about it: You can always get a decent spellchecker or a professional (teacher, experienced beta reader etc.) to fix you’re errors. Errors like the one You just saw can easily be prevented with a bit of patience.
Trying to optimize time spent on every review and increase efficiency, I tested a variety of techniques, some of which were adopted by colleagues. There was an effort to make a standard correction policy, making a small library of all possible tips from character development to mundane English. It meant taking ready-made pieces of text and placing the fitting suggestions from the library. Eventually, I decided to scrap the idea, as it was impossible for one person to create a spectrum of possible corrections for every level of experience a reviewee might have. Then, there was another go at making a standard rating (spanning from awful to impressive), yet it proved itself fallacious. Some recipients would simply ignore the commentary and concentrate only on the verdict. Thus, I decided not to compare stories belonging to one author to others' submissions. It brought me to the well-known fully-personalised review.
The current appraisal schematic is as follows: every review consists of three parts. First, the recipient sees a greeting line with a coded first impression. It is to deliver an emotional background the rest of the review will be written according to, because every review has to have an authentic feel, driven by an authentic story. Any story content-related issues may appear in the second part. I normally concentrate on a persona's psyche and coordination with the plot. Originality is also of great importance to me. Depending on a submission's complexity and amount of work the writer put into it, the review may or may not have any language-related suggestions. English is a basic skill. If a novel requires some suggestions on structure or format, it's only right to help a beginner. It's silly to push a fresh writer out into the character psychology battlefield, while English serves as an obstacle. The better the story, however, the more demanding the review. While a beginner might expect a mildly positive review for a barely average story, an experienced long-timer would receive no mercy for making ludicrous errors. That is the cornerstone of a personalised review.Never ask for anything less!
With that, I suppose some of You, dear readers, might ask for risk prevention. My method is simple: writing a chapter, letting it cool for a day or two and then proofreading it twice, applying necessary changes. Not every idea survives this way, and it might not work for everyone, but if it helps, my time was not wasted here.
Speaking of survival, not only ideas get crossed out from within the pages. Sometimes I feel obliged to erase an entire work from the web for logical reasons. I've written many stories, yet You don't see even half of them on my portfolio. Try writing something. Put it in a drawer for a year and then read. The feeling is rarely pleasant. Sure, it is a piece of Your history and development, but it looks hideous now: the words look sickening and the idea is no longer enjoyable.
This story turns to thoughts. Experiencing a time shortage and feeling that my life is becoming busier, I needed to find a way to make my reviews shorter, but still efficient. Whilst syntax and spelling can be learnt with the help of a book (literary or academic reading, not coffee-table material), we still need people to point out our logical fallacies. Yes, most would rather not know about their mistakes. It cuts their self-esteem, stamina, will to write, living capabilities, blood production, skin grease etc. “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” said Winston Churchill. If You got constructive criticism, there’s no reason to scream about it. Besides, going all: "U flammer meh! Smash yer face wit napkin!" is not going to make Your signature more popular. Sure, it might hurt, but if You are wondering whether it's worth to write a mean flame back, stop for a moment.
If the critique was at least somewhat helpful and related to the story, it means that dude or dudette spent some time reading it. It’s a heads up for any author, huh? Now, the fact they also cared enough to explain that there might be an error or two probably made your prized possession look graceless, but isn’t it for the better? Bear in mind I have posted over a thousand reviews in Sonic the Hedgehog alone. Yes, nobody likes that bastard going: “Hey, u! Your wrong!” because whoever dares to correct you is probably a high and mighty prick. Even if the one reviewing is as gruesomely graphic (silly) as the example, why should you waste Your time fighting about personal values? They pointed out a thing or two in your second chapter (even though you’ve had six uploaded), so why not laugh at them by actually improving? It really can shut a critic up. And a silent critic is a sight to behold, or behear.
Moving on to improvement. If there’s anything that can get in your progress, it’s forgetting about the initial chapter of a long story. Unforgivable, nasty and downright horrible. Remember the number of fictions that I’ve deleted from my profile to suit a humane quality standard? That’s just the point! Sometimes we pen-equipped folk are so consumed with writing onwards we forget that every word and sentence needs our attention. Plus, the public does start reading from the first chapter. If you’ve been writing a story for a year and have not revised the first few chapters, you risk others seeing you as less experienced. To tell the truth, I was lazy to edit those initial chapters and did a much simpler thing – removed everything. There is no way to save your stats or reviews if you consider that, so taking a breather from that eleventh chapter might be a good idea, say, once every three months.
One downside of not "refreshing" your creations is the administration. Low quality stories are removed by FanFiction dot Net staff for you. Unfortunately, those people are not paid enough to be civil with every faulty story. So...they give you a ban. Until December 2009, only accounts could have been suspended. According to the current Terms of Service version, your IP address may appear on the black list and the domain will be forever closed to you. When an author is ready to upload a shiny new chapter and sees that long, but polite ban notification, it's a wondrous sight! You won't know the feeling until You experience it in person. Whatever the facial expression would be, it all comes down to "OMG! Me = banned!" Often, numerous complaints and traitor searches would follow, making the situation satirically funny. Though, as the timer on the profile reaches zero, everything is back on track.
Having been a part the system for years I’ve learnt a few things. For instance, depending on the type of rule you broke, response time spans from two hours to a month. Reports regarding extremely bad grammar take the longest. Plagiarism is dealt with in an instant. Chat/script format gives you some time. And if you report another user…you might have to wait for up to two months until you receive feedback. It’s very rare for the site to pull down an account because the owner behaved nasty on forums or review boards.
Here’s the flick: if you plagiarise a story, the site gives you no opportunity to escape losing your account. If you wrote a scripted story, however, you have the time to improve before the report is processed. Now, if you’re a bastard, you’re given a very long period to reconsider your actions.
Some of you might actually wonder how to write a proper abuse report. I doubt there are official rules for this other than the mandatory use of English. Though, there are a few general schematics. A report card needs to be brief and impersonal. It may consist of one sentence, just picking out the infraction, as every abuse topic has subtopics. This usually works for technical flaws. Writing the name of the author, abusive-looking story title and chapter number is not necessary, as it takes extra space, but it doesn't seem to hurt either. Remember that the staff are busy and are more interested in some keywords such as "interactive" or "chat format" rather than reading the whole report. However, these hints do not apply to plagiarism or multi-category entries, as typing in a source or date mismatch (evidence) becomes necessary. Consult the ToS for additional anti-plagiarism statements. In the end, You might discover more efficient ways to prevent literary havoc in the community. Added value is credited accordingly.
Funny, but fancy report cards are not commonplace for most of You. Writer-to-critic relations tend to end with a neat "don't read if you don't like" argument. In fact, it is so wide-spread among first-time constructive criticism recipients, I'd say not using that line means You are one exceptional writer. Alas, for the majority, it is a vivid case that should not be ignored. There is a number of scenarios for this argument to occur, so bear with me and keep Your cool.
The most innocent scenario is being a simple passer-by. You see a story on the front page and it gets a click for being somewhat promising. Sadly, when you go beyond the first few lines, you see forty-symbol screams, general disregard for your eyes and the author behaving like a pig. Some would definitely flee or even block the author so his or her eyes are not hurt ever again by that person. Others would want to deal with this problem to prevent other readers from bumping over the faulty fiction. The reader's expectations were not met and the author gave them an awful time, so the reader is entitled to express his or her opinion in a very consequential manner. Moreover, stories tend to have banners or ads with colourful "R&R" and "review or else." Therefore, it is inexcusable for the writer to even try to complain about getting what was ordered in the first place. Yes, some retards secretly wish for 100 percent praise and nothing else, finding bliss in ignorance. Damn them all to heck. Everyone else, however, should find it appropriate to pay heed to the reviewer's words and address every flaw with utmost rigour.
Writers, please remember, You are at the community's mercy. You alone do not make the community. Readers are its backbone and support. If an unfortunate passer-by happens to betray Your hopes of the fiction being perfect, treat it respectfully, like real published authors.
A less canon course of events occurs when the reader intended to appraise a fiction in question. To all you tender types: praise and appraise are not always neighbours. This variant requires serious consideration. For starters, ask yourself why a person would initially want to write constructive criticism. The reasons can range from noble help to petty shenanigans. (Let's make a standing point that the critic explains the flaws he or she stumbled upon in a story and does not call You out personally.) No matter the reason, one thing can set a temper winding up into dangerous territory. You guessed it, that silly "don't read if you don't like" sign clamped on the beginning of the first story. It immediately tells a critic that You are unable to respect opinions if they do not stroke your ego. That, in turn, explains the level of professionalism the story has. Often it can show how weak the author's fascination is with the series...or point out a number of other weaknesses and insecurities. Perhaps it is acceptable in some circles, and a random person would censor themselves to appease the author. Though, the end result would be that of a Chinese interpreter (read some press to find out the details). It's a general and explicit freedom limitation, therefore imposing You the title of a tyrant within the story. This diminishes the story's mental added value and can be fatal to a reader's enjoyment. Putting it dimly: "I don't care about what you say unless it makes me smile. Then again, if it does not, I will beat you up. Yes, I will fight you to show how much I don't care." Be bright, not dim. The community will thank you! (Me, too!)
Another fallacy I've had the "pleasure" to encounter was the "I write only for myself" type. Me, myself and I. For a start, writing does not equal posting on the biggest fan fiction site in the world. It should also be understandable that this domain is a public site, not a password-protected one-person hangout. If something is posted it will, almost definitely, be read and reviewed. That must be held in mind before posting. It's pretty much like doing anything in the public eye: delivering a speech on stage, taking your mate to a fancy restaurant, even applying for a mortgage loan. All of these require that you consider your capabilities and substance. What if your knees start shaking? What if you don't know which fork to use? What if your family has too little money? The same is with a story. You shouldn't think you are all that safe hidden in your room away from strangers. Once a part of you is out, it's out for everyone to see, and you will at one time or another appear face-to-face with the community's response. If you had written for yourself, you could have uploaded it to your own small site, from where you would show the story only to a cousin or some other family member. Private, personal, perfect. Going on about ultimately solitary literature on this site is hogwash and an obvious excuse to confuse a reviewer. In fact, because such entries are most common in review replies, and you get one only if the review did not shine with rainbows, it's easy to deduct that the author is merely trying to make an easy fib. Praiseful reviewers are apparently welcome in that kingdom.
Some argue that they only post the story to give them a sense of achievement, let the story feel complete. However, they forget this place has rules, and an obviously large monthly hit count. It enables a danger that someone might just review the fiction. The work is your responsibility, not the community's, therefore only You decide where to post, and how to keep it private. Plus, just knowing that someone wrote the story solely for themselves and the reader's opinion would not be appreciated brings a foul taste. Done in a public domain, it's definitely a bad show. The community is here to be entertained. If you fail to accommodate them in your abode, you have failed your purpose as a writer. (Also you'd never get any money for your doodles with that logic.) Admittedly, there really are exceptions. Some people are criminally retarded and are unable to upload their files to other sites or do they even know others exist. Such individuals post huge flashy banners with apologies that their hard drive or website are full and this is the only place that accepts uploads. While it is disrespectful to an extent, it can be understandable. With that exception mentioned, it is clear others would use the term only as an excuse. Most of You would have to eventually admit the review or another thousand page hits are a great motivation to write and be an active member.
You can probably see that excuses I mentioned do not lead to positive conclusions. The outcome is often less than happy.
Finally, why Lord Kelvin?. I find it funny. Don’t You?
Here's a little extra for those curious tykes who keep wondering how is yours truly getting around reviews. The answer is very simple: I do not stray from the first page on the general updates board unless asked by the author. Your uploads are chosen either in a completely random manner or by using the simple top-to-bottom method, in which five to fifteen stories on the first page are reviewed in a row. Currently, my regular fandom is Sonic the Hedgehog, where I reviewed over 4000 stories. I do not review anonymously. Whenever browsing outside the series, I consult the "Just In" page.
As of December, 2009, I do not review first-time authors' stories due to disputes over quality. Novice members are entitled to a welcoming message with initial pointers for better orientation in the login area menu. This does not apply to reporting possible abuse. I retain the right to exclude the bulk of commentary should a creative work be considered not abiding by the domain's guidelines, ToS or etiquette policy.
I take review requests in my forum (preferred) and via PM.
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31/05 11 years of membership! To commemorate this, I've posted the last chapter of Paint My Rose Red, an experimental piece written to better understand the survivability of thematic trends in the Sonic fandom. Catch up with me in the Kelviniana forum if you wish to know how that went and stay tuned for our next adventure, Inside the Box.
13/06 10 years of membership on FFN and this site is still amazing. Forums, communities, review replies, messaging, alerts...can you imagine FFN without any of these? Those were the site's humble beginnings, and we've gone a long way since then. Big shout out to all you veterans who've shaped this community. You're the best!
03/11 Voice of the Night received a substantial update. It is now longer, darker and more detailed than before. Be sure to experience the only Halloween one shot by yours truly.
And to show numbers can be fun, here's something amusing I've found on the site: more than 10 people wrote for a fandom called 'To Be Deleted 7227'. Here's a link: http://www.fanfiction.net/crossovers/To_be_Deleted_7227/7227/. The fandom remained To Be Deleted for almost a year now. However, you can still find these people's stories on the site. This writer, for instance, posted a story for To Be Deleted called Artist One Shot. But you can't read that. Is it magic? No, it's To Be Deleted!
19/06 Currently fixing up my stories on an oldest first basis. This should make them more relevant to the current series and maybe worth continuing.
To prevent certain misunderstandings: note that blocking me makes you unable to receive any kind of response to personal messages. Do not ask for a reply if I am on your block list.
Doctor Eggman and Shadow the Hedgehog are copyright SEGA. Shadow is copyright AimyNeko. Eggman Cometh is copyright Courtland Brugger. Used with permission.
Have a nice, abuse-free day. is a trademark of Lord Kelvin. Copyright Lord Kelvin 2004-2014. All rights reserved.
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