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10/17/2014 c6 14Mrs. Flamer
(1) Title & Summary:

It's a bad idea to include the fandom in the title. The point of a title is to attract attention... which is something you won't actualize by including commonly used words ("love", "forever", "beginning", and so on) or words pertaining to the fandom (this includes the pairing and specific terms from the fandom as well). There are various reasons for this, but the main point to remember is that if you want people to notice your story, you shouldn't include the fandom's name (or anything else I mentioned, for that matter).

The same can be said for your summary. Frankly said, it's boring - and plenty of stories in this fandom follow the same plot. Why should anyone read yours? That's what I need to know. What sets your story apart from all the others including the cast's kids? A summary needs to have a hook - you need to pull people in to try out your story.

A story needn't be all about action. Quaint slice-of-life stories can be just as good, but that doesn't mean you don't have to catch people's attentions. Most stories I review are "bad" in one way or another. When looking for something to review, I look at the title and summary first. Most of the time (as in: 99%, without kidding), I know which stories need help through their titles/summaries. That's how much they tell the reader about the story. Why would I read a story if the title and summary aren't interesting enough? Sure, the story could be better... But why should I try it out if I could just read something else? I've been on this site for ten years, I can say for certain this is how people (subconsciously) think.

(2) Generalities:

Don't use Japanese unless the story calls for it. Suffixes are fine, but anything else reeks of bragging and is utterly useless. Your story takes place in Japan and all characters are Japanese... They are already speaking Japanese, even if your story is written in English. Throwing in random phrases and words is overkill. It doesn't read well and it serves no use.

You know why some authors include phrases in another language? To show the main character's inability to understand what's happening. This could help to hide plot elements, and it could help to create a feeling of loneliness and exclusion. In those cases it has value for the reader. I remember reading a story about a Russian woman in China who understood neither Russian nor Chinese (she grew up in an English area in China). She didn't belong to either group and that feeling was conveyed by fellow Russians talking to her in Russian and Chinese people talking to her (or around her) in Chinese. It was a beautiful example of the out-group phenomenon of psychology and it was pleasant to read (and frustrating... which is how she felt, too).

ANs in the middle of a story are never a good idea. As a writer, you should be able to describe everything without a need for further commentary. If you really have something to say, then do so at the beginning or end, never in the story.

(3) Writing:

[she grinned] "Grinned" is not a speech verb, which means that "she" should've been capitalized.

When there’s a speech tag (said, whispered, yelled, etcetera) you end with a comma and the next word isn’t capitalized. Like this: “Hello,” he said. When there is any other verb (pulled, smiled, grabbed, etcetera) or no verb at all, you put a period and capitalize the next word like normal. Like this: “Hello.” She grinned.

The same goes the opposite way. When you have a speech tag before your dialogue, you put a comma. Like this: He said, “Hello.” Note that you do end with a period because there is no speech tag following the dialogue. When there is any other verb, it goes like this: He grinned. “Hello.”

When a sentence is split up in two parts and both parts are complete, it goes like this: “Hi,” he said. “How are you?” Since both parts are complete sentences, the second part does need its capitalization. When the sentence is broken up and there’s a speech tag in the middle, it goes like this: “Hi. How,” he said, “are you?” When there is no speech tag in the middle, you put a dash instead of a comma, like this: “Hi. How-“ He breathed in heavily. “- are you?”

["Okay... people] People should be capitalized since there are two different clauses.

[Let's see what the Karuta group is doing...] This does not fit your POV.

Now, the main problem with your writing is that you have no idea whatsoever how to write description. You tell as opposed to show what's going on, and plenty of your sentences are structured awkwardly or serve nary to no use. Some of your description is plain bad. Let's consider some of your introductions to start.

[Hakase had messy blue hair and smart-looking glasses on, which covered green eyes] "Smart-looking glasses" is a silly descriptor and completely useless. What am I supposed to picture with this? Rectangle glasses? Round glasses? Oval glasses? The rest of your description, and this continues throughout your story, is solely based on hair color and eye color. Not only is this not enough, this isn't even important. SHOW how the characters look, don't tell me arbitrary details! (Yes, those can be interesting, but they aren't the most important). I want to know specifics. Do they have pimples, scars, sharp cheekbones, a sturdy frame, are they lanky or fat, do they have tics... The list goes on. Tell me what makes them stand out, what makes them, them.

[who was wearing] Clothing descriptions are the ultimate no-no in writing. I have no idea why every single beginning author mentions it, but don't ever do it unless it serves a use. Is your setting something unusual to us, or is your character wearing something unusual? Yes, mentioning it would be a good idea. It tells us something about the setting and the character, respectively. Are you summing up someone's daily wear just because? Stop. It's boring. Writing needs to be alive; I should be wanting to read more, not skim through everything until the end.

[bluette] Never do this. It's cringe-worthy at best.

[Amu sighed heavily] And here's your second major flaw (which, again, is so typical to beginning authors for some reason). Adverbs and adjectives should be used sparingly. "The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place." Think before you write. Is your adjective/adverb necessarily, or is it redundant? Can it be replaced with a stronger verb, or a better noun phrase?

"Heavily" is not necessary. Your writing should stand on its own and the reader should be able to deduct how she's sighing through context cues. I should be able to read a paragraph and know whether she's sighing in exaggeration, whether she's frustrated, or whatever.

You do not nothing but rely on them. It makes your writing even weaker. The adage "less is more" isn't outdated. Redundancy is not something you should aim for.

Now, I did mention you telling instead of showing. The thing is, balance is needed. Telling can be just as useful - especially when you have a lot of exposition. Look at your sentences and see how they are written.

[she smiled at them, to which they nodded] There's nothing wrong with a sentence like this, however, in none of your chapters do I have any clue of anything but the "dry bones" explanation of their actions. Think about the five senses: what are your characters feeling, tasting, seeing, smelling, hearing? What is going on in the background?

Valek was angry. (Telling)

Valek took a gray rock off his desk and hurled it toward me. Stunned, I froze as the stone whizzed past and exploded on the wall behind me. (Showing)

"When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick–one never does when a shot goes home–but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down."

Do you feel how alive this is? It's such good description that I want to keep reading. Your sentences are too basic; they rely too much on the same time and time again.

Your characters don't feel real to me, either. Half of your characters don't act their age (a four-year-old boy having that much interest in a girl, and a girl the same age feeling pangs of love? Hah!), and most of your characterization comes from you telling us (in your second chapter you describe Ai and Kiku by telling us their characteristics. This is bad writing. You need to show us that they're this-or-that through events and dialogue).

Your "plot" doesn't make much sense either. Despite being eleven, he's never met any of the others? They're still friends, but they haven't met up in all this time? Don't you think that's a bit unnatural? You introduced too many characters for a story as short as this. Start by focusing on a couple characters if you aren't used to writing; that's already difficult enough for most.

The last paragraphs of your story are plain weird. They're a blend of clichés and OOCness, as if you had no idea how to end and decided to put some educational values in as an afterthought. Sure, people change with the years, but you should still be able to recognize characters. Your Ikuto is the opposite of the one I read about in the manga.

Your grammar is decent (ignoring your sentence construction, which can be awful), but your description, characterization, and plot are all off. Before you start writing, have a clear idea where you want to go. Want to create OCs? Don't start thinking about how you create characters, think about real people. Description is a matter of reading a lot of good fiction (no YA-bullshit) and writing a lot.

Lots of love,

- Mrs. Flamer.
4/17/2013 c6 AliceKat
awwwwwww - they're 4! I think I might have known what dating was back then? ehhh nope! Ai takes after her mother!
4/17/2013 c4 AliceKat
so cute!
4/17/2013 c2 AliceKat
yay! -
4/17/2013 c1 AliceKat
it's so cute - I wanted them to have kids like that too!
3/23/2013 c4 8The Unknown Lady
This is really cool! Sei and Ai and so cute!
3/9/2013 c6 MusicJustBeLikeThat
Cute! :)
3/9/2013 c6 12AmuxIkutolover
I love it! Maybe you should do an epilogue of the week long vacation or of Sei and Ai getting together and dating? *hopeful expression* Anyway, I love this chapter and fanfiction! It's an original idea and I love that you have my favorite couples! You also have Sei and Ai falling in love which was adorable. I'm going to miss it. . . AMUTO FOREVER! :)
2/20/2013 c5 AmuxIkutolover
I love this! I was right! Ai and Sei are adorable together! So cute! Please update again soon! I'm glad that I decided to read this! Hey, maybe you should do an epilogue of Ai and Sei getting married. I guess you do have to stop somewhere and for most people having the main characters have kids is enough, but the I want their kids to have kids and their kids kids to have kids and ect. Anyway, I think it would be cool if you could do an epilogue of them together. AMUTO FOREVER! :)
2/20/2013 c4 AmuxIkutolover
I didn't want to log in, but here is a review! So far I love this! Ai sounds so adorable! And Ai and Sei sound cute together. :) AMUTO FOREVER! :)
2/20/2013 c1 Guest
Yay! I'm starting this right now! I don't know why I didn't start it like two weeks ago though... AMUTO FOREVER! :)
2/18/2013 c5 6GayestCat
I really like this story I can't wait for the next chapter!
Amuto forever! I love the kids too!
2/12/2013 c4 GayestCat
Ai and Tadashi remind me of Amu and Ikuto! but the other way around.
2/12/2013 c2 GayestCat
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
3
2/9/2013 c1 amuto4374
Can I suggest PurpleSara..? maybe you could focus on the families' POV not too much on the childrens' charas... But it's just a sugestion if you don't like it's okay.. thanks..!
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