Thank you for the critique on Eleanor! It helped a lot and I'm currently redoing the parts that you pointed out. If it isn't any trouble, can you remove the critique from this blog? I have written down what is needed to be fixed and am getting right to it. Thank you and have a nice day!
Sure thing. Glad I could be of some help.
Is anybody up for a blog discussion?
I don’t like this story, but I could try and make it better, amirite? You could review or critique, up to you. (Sorry).
NOTE: Unlike previous fics, I am not going to list all the canon characters used or mentioned! Sorry. Also, first chapter sucks because first chapter sucks uvu. Also, I am aware that you aren’t supposed to report a missing person for at least 48 hours, but hey, this is fan fiction.
AN: // I was rereading some bad reader inserts that shan’t be named and this idea came to me! You know those inserts that actually give you a name, appearance, age, and everything? Most of them are teenaged girls (sorry boys). You always read that You [them] left a note about how you ran off with some men, right? Well, how did the parents react? Just for naming sake, we are going to assume that Your [their] last name is Sue. And that Your [their] first name is Jane. (Originally planned on ‘Jessica’ for perhaps the most iconic Sue-Insert, but I thought against it to avoid problems that arise with it.)
Jane Sue’s Mother: Rachael Sue
Jane Sue’s Father: Karl Sue
Jane Sue’s Younger Sister: Ashton Sue
Police Officer working this ‘kidnapping’ case: Jeremy Bird
Jane Sue’s Best Friend: Noel Hyde and Abagail Valencia
Rating: T with hints of M
Warnings: “Kidnapping”, vulgar language
It all sounds good, my dear. Let’s see what this story has to offer.
Rachael Sue headed up to her daughter’s room. It was 6:15 and Jane needed to get up for school after all.
I went to a party a while ago and spent the majority of my time talking about fanfiction with two of my friends. Both of them are beta readers and, as such, they do not hesitate to bring me their qualms about stories they’ve looked at. One of their main issues is the quality of first chapters. According to them, no one seems to know what they should do with their first chapter.
Looking at it from my perspective (I mostly critique first chapters), I understand what they mean. More often than not, it feels as though I have to repeat the same critiques over and over again. That’s strange, I thought. I made a rant about pilot chapters a long time ago, didn’t I?
Rereading it now, I realize that I was very vague with what exactly I was looking for. My apologies.
So to remedy this strange epidemic and to fix my previous mistakes, I present the First Chapter Check List: breaking down the major points one needs to double check for the first chapter. Naturally, I should mention that this is my advice and being my advice, I maintain that everything here is vital, especially for a write with a limited or nonexistent fan base. There are always exceptions to these rules, but if you feel as though your chapter is lacking, it’s probably one of the reasons below.
Before you post the first chapter of you fanfiction, make sure…
By definition, a prologue is a separate introductory section of a literary or musical work. In literature, a proper prologue is typically used to write out a scene that is vital to the set up, but cannot be given as much detail if put into a normal place in the narrative. In Tamora Pierce’s novel The First Test, the prologue is an introductory scene in which three characters set up the main conflict of the story. In this case, the king, his champion, and the pages’ training master decide that the first known female knight must undergo a probation period before her position as page is set into stone. After this scene, the focus pins on the main character going through the probation. There is no other place in the story for the prologue to be cemented in or is there any space for any other character to go into such detail about what happened.
So why would I go into such extent to explain what a prologue is and give a proper example?
No one here seems to understand what a prologue is, or if they do, they use it for the wrong purposes. This is for information that happens before the story, before any of the main action. It is not just a fancy word for the first chapter.
But if we are going by the proper definition, then prologues aren’t that bad, right?
Think of fanfictions as a sort of investment. A person is selecting to read your story for whatever reason you presented in your summary. Unless your prologue adheres to something in there (which will most likely not), then it’s going to do nothing but be a boring piece of information that the reader will not be willing to see applied to the story. You want your plot to start as soon as possible. Prologues will only buffer the plot’s development.
There are always a few exceptions to this rule in particular, so it’s best I talk about why this one can work sometimes. I hate to use myself as an example, but I seem to be the only person who has done it right (of course). In my fanfiction El Verdugo, the prologue recounts the murder of the main characters’ guardian. Why would I buffer the plot to tell this incident three years before the actual story takes place? It goes with the summary. The summary talks about murder and seeing this man murdered is what the audience wants. Did I think that telling this incident would be a better hook than the actual first chapter? Of course I did. Did I acknowledge that the real action will start the next chapter? I did. But it all comes back to the fact that the prologue immediately addressed something in the summary that the readers are interested in.
Unless you can do that with your prologue, you need to drop yours and find a way to incorporate it into the actual flow of events. You always want to get your plot on its feet as soon as possible. That’s called pacing. Of course, this leads us to our next point.
Imagine that you are scrolling through lists upon lists of fanfictions, looking for the right story to read. Summary upon summary past along your eyes until you find one that you like. You read the first chapter, but find that it doesn’t meet your expectations. Why? More often than not, the first chapter did not fully establish what was mentioned in the summary.
In fanfiction, unless you are a well-established writer, you only have one chance to hook in your audience. That chance is the first chapter, especially the first part of it. Unlike books where you can spend multiple chapters with a slow build up, fanfiction requires your plot to get up and running ASAP.
The words of Kurt Vonnegut are rather helpful in this sense: “Start as close to the end as possible.”
Often times when I read fics with the Hetalia-Fan-Is-Thrown-Into-Hetalia trope, the first chapter will spend the first few pages talking about the fan’s irreverent home life before throwing them into the Hetalia world. Then, the chapter ends. Your summary said that Sally was going to fall into Hetalia. In theory, your first chapter is perfect, right?
When I say that you have to advance your plot, I mean advance it. Give me the problem, have the characters acknowledge the problem. Take that plot and push it as far as you can before the chapter ends. The conflicts are where the good stuff is, not the exposition. Take your readers to the conflict as soon as possible.
I never understood why people have a problem with putting this in the first chapter. This seems pretty obvious to me, but alas. Everyone thinks differently. I might as well explain.
When you are writing a fanfiction, you write it with the knowledge of what’s going to happen. You know the shinning trait that’s going to make it different from the rest of the stories out there. Your readers don’t know that. What you have to do is get that exciting hook out there before that chapter ends. Let them in on the secret—they have more right than you to know what makes your story different from everyone else. If it’s going to be the same tired plot over and over again, who would take their time to read it?
If your plot is established, then your character has to be as well. I don’t mean that I should know every little nuance about his life by the end of the first chapter. No, that’s no fun. You still have to leave room for character development.
What I mean is that I should have a basic grasp on what kind of a person your character is (this applies to both original and cannon characters, so listen up).
Characters have histories and they have room for development. Okay, that’s grand, but I want to read a first chapter and know that I am going to get a three dimensional character. The question then becomes how do you show your character is complex without revealing too much?
There’s no clear way to answer this. Different authors have different ways to achieving this. I have never had to ask myself how to do this before, but I’m the kind of person who fits her head in a character’s skull and just makes them react. That doesn’t work for everyone. So here are some things I typically try to get out as soon as possible:
+Relationships with other main/side characters
+Faults (I will go into more details about this next rant)
+A tiny taste of character background, like family life and personal history
Again, I don’t mean staring at each other for a brief second before the chapter ends. I mean meaningful interaction that establishes how their relationship is going to run for the rest of the story. I’m amazed that I have to point this out, considering that the interaction between characters is a major part of storytelling.
Hetalia is about countries interacting with each other. The Notebook is two characters interacting before falling in love. The Odyssey is Odysseus interacting with people as he makes his way back to his wife. Conflicts arise from character talking to each other. There is no possible way to tell a complex story without a character coming in contact with another.
This leaves a question for you: if characters interacting with each other are so significant, then why don’t you put it in the first chapter?
Now that you accept reader inserts, can you finish reviewing Kidnapped by Sexy Men?
Sure. Let’s do that first.
I thought about integrating these changes over time, but then I realized that since there are two of them, it would be easier on me if I just did them all at once.
For now on
I also figured that I will take this time to present a few more quick updates. The rant I mentioned all that time ago is finally done, so expect it some time tomorrow. After that I’ll focus a bit more on getting some reviews and critiques done until I do the next rant. In the meantime, feel free to suggest topics and submit more material for reviews/critiques.
We’ll also be getting the revival of blog discussions this Wednesday. If you have any topics you want to discuss, feel free to submit them.
And lastly, I’m still looking for people to review my stuff (as I mentioned in here). I would hate to have to review myself. Please offer up your time to do it. I beg of you.
That’s about it for the time being. See you next time around.
Hetalia Season Five Bloopers!
I have some stories for you to review. I think really like them, and maybe you’ll feel the same way too.
I Ordered Russia Online and I didn’t Get him: [link omitted]
American Girl:[Link omitted
Kidnapped by Straight Men: [Link Omitted]
The Fangirl: [Link Omitted] (read the rest of the series with it. It gets weird.)
Normally, I would keep this in my inbox until I get around to reviewing them, but at this point, I’ve just had enough.
I’ve been running this blog for more or less three years now. From day one I have been getting requests to either review HETA or the Fanseries or generally SOMETHING written by me.
There is no way for me to appease you people, is there?
So fine then.
I will review it.
Or I will try to get someone to review it.
If anyone would like to please sit down and use my grading scale and do some big old reviews for my fanfiction, please tell me. You can do it, I can post it/reblog it and credit you, this can no longer be a problem, and we can all be happy. If I can’t get anyone to agree to do this, then I will have sit down and try to do some critical analysis of my own work. It won’t end well, so please ask about doing it.
I’m begging you.
*not a question* but you my friend have just earned yourself a follower! I read a romano x oc critique of yours and I fell in love xD , I'm so happy someone notices the same things I do ! Not enough people write Romano correctly ! Anywhale I hope you'll write a response , or something xD have a wonderful day! Happy critiquing !
though I will pretend to actually remember this romano X oc story.
Romano is one of my favorite characters, and one of the hardest to write. I do try my best to give the character the justice he deserves.
What's your upcoming rant about? Is it going up any time soon?
The upcoming rant is me discussing things that I believe make strong first chapters, especially when you are not established and have no fan base to fuel the review meter until your story gains its own set of readers. It’s slow work since I keep on adding and deleting points, but it should come out soon.