A Welcome And The Rules

First of all, welcome to Concrit By Night!  We’ve put this site together as a way of giving anonymous feedback to authors, in the hope that it will guide them to better writing in the future.

Here’s what we’re NOT: A site that condones personal attacks on authors.  You will never find something like, “Author X is an idiot,” or, “Y should just stop writing.”  If we see that, those comments will be stricken. We’re not here to bully or allow bullying.  ‘Concrit’ is short for ‘constructive’, folks.

Continue reading A Welcome And The Rules

…and then Sherlock said, “Wassup?”

Okay, so today’s story is not quite that bad.  But it’s up there!

Got a hankering for some Johnlock, and started reading.  The thing about the Sherlock fandom is that it’s pretty mature, and there are good writers out there – people who, if they wrote professionally, I would happily hand over my hard-earned cash for their books.  Hell, even the author of the travesty I’m about to discuss has written some good stuff.

But not “Going Once, Going Twice” by prettysailorsoldier on AO3. My main issue with this story is that it’s so completely out of character that it’s unbelievable.  I mean if you have to choose any fandom out there, Sherlock is one of the tops when it comes to proper use of language.  So it’s quite unbelieable when Sherlock uses the word “wanna” repeatedly, as does other supporting characters.  And Sherlock absolutely abhors his brother – but he would never introduce him as “Mike”, even if it’s to get his goat.

There are other good Sherlock stories out there, and like I said, even by this same author.  I wouldn’t even consider this a Sherlock story, though.  I would consider it a story that happens to have character names the same as you would have found in an episode of the BBC series, “Sherlock” – but that’s where the similarities end.

I just… AAA!!!!!

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  A messed up word here, a punctuation thing there, and I can overlook it.  But there are those that I cannot overlook, and it’s this story: “You’ve Got (Blutbaden) Mail“.

I have a personal pet-peeve when a story description is nothing but a clip from the story.  I mean, that can work if you’re actually setting something up for the reader.  But the description of this story doesn’t really do much.  But it goes beyond that.  I personally didn’t get past the first paragraph.  Why?  Here it is:

It had all started rather innocently. Whilst trawling through Marie’s trailer one late evening, Nick happened across a very old watch. At first he had been cautious as most of the trailers contents were either weapons, books or more weapons. What if it send him back in time? Or forward? What if poisoned the wearer? Holding it up to the light, he had noticed that it was stopped. Its hands frozen forever on three minutes past twelve. He wonders if it has any relevance. Knowing the things that lurk in the dark interior of the trailer, probably. Carefully setting it back down, he forgot about it.

So the things that get me right off the bad are the tense changes – sometimes within the same short sentence.  Such as the sentence “Holding up to the light, he had noticed that it was stopped.”  Present tense in the first five words, but not the rest of the sentence.  Same thing with “Carefully setting it back down, he forgot about it.”

Writers: You give your readers whiplash when you write like this.  You need to pick a tense, and stick with it.  A good way to tell, is to read your story aloud.  If it doesn’t sound right, then you need to fix it.  If you’re not a native-English speaker, or if you just don’t know what to fix, then find a beta.  It’s relatively easy these days!  There’s a community on LiveJournal called “Find Me A Beta“; people are there to help  you.  Trust me!

If you’re looking for a well written Grimm fic, then try “Hotel California” by VampirePam.  She’s only written one work in the Grimm fandom, but it’s phenomenal!

This is NOT the kind of review to give someone

So if you’re a writer, you write what you want – what you know.  And what you write is a very personal choice.  And of course fanfiction writers get “paid” in feedback from their readers.  It’s how we not only survive, but thrive!

I was perusing a due South story, and found probably one of the nastiest feedbacks I’ve ever read.  I mean this person was awful!  Exact quote:

Fraser’s a horrible person to break up with Ray at Christmas and choose that immature Kowalski over Ray. I hate F/K slash, especially those written by stupid shippers who obviously hate RayV.

Excuse my language, but are you fucking kidding me?!?!?  This person read a story on their own free will, with a pairing that they already don’t like, and then insulted the author because they didn’t like the outcome!


Keeping the “real” in “reality”

So I’m just bouncing around AO3 going between all the fandoms I’m in, reading what catches my eye. I find this one story in the Don Strachey fandom, and the premise is basically that Don hates clowns.

I hate clowns. Match made in heaven, yes?

So I start reading, “Send In The Clowns, and it’s cute. Don and Timmy are adorable together and I’m digging it. Then we get to the meat of the story – a child disappears during a birthday party. Don’s on the case!

The story’s onlu 7,000 words, so resolution comes quickly. The evil kidnapper is a clown (go figure). But also? He’s a shapeshifter. Seriously. A shapeshifter.

When you’re writing fic, you stick to canon where you need to, and fanon when you need to. Fanon is where you can write in your own take on characters and such. But going from canon/fanon to outright SciFi/Fantasy is just beyond the realm. Worse? The writer included nothing in the notes or summary.

If John Sheppard is a cabdriver, that’s AU. If Simon Banks has wings, that’s AU and fantasy. Don Strachey is a Private Detective in Albany, New York. There aren’t any freaking shape-shifters in Albany. From the story:

Donald laughed softly, the fire in his own eyes matching his partner’s. “Forget having bad guys shoot at you. We’re going to have to pit you against demonic shape-shifters in grease paint and bad wigs more often.”

Don and Timmy don’t even flinch? Just seriously wrong…

Not everyone talks like Data from Star Trek

I saw a H50 fic mentioned on tumblr, and thought I’d check it out.  It’s called, “Five Times it Didn’t Count (and One it Totally Did)“.  Yes, the concept is pretty cute.  And I’m a sucker for kidfic – and this one starts out with Gracie, so yeah, it’s cute.

But there’s something about the dialogue of this fic.  It’s like it’s written by Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  There’re no contractions in it.  At first it was a little off, but the more I read, the more it bugs me.

A little help from a beta – especially one good with dialogue, would help a great deal.  Also, words like “bedroom” are just that – bedroom and not “bed room”.

When it’s pretty good, but needs something…

So I’ve not really been into Hawaii Five-0 fiction yet.  I’ve drabbled a little, but nothing has caught my fancy; just really the “Commander Octopus” series; the first two are pretty darned good!

My cohort sent me a link to “Home Improvement” on AO3 by JiM and kalena, and said, “Trust me – you’ll like it.”  So I started reading it.  Then I got confused and had to put it down.

Then I started again.  Put it down again.  Started.  Down.  Started.  Down.

I finally called her and said, “Dude…  WTF?”  I went on to explain that the fic is majorly confusing to me.  I mean, in the first 500 words, we go backward and forward in time, in and out of dream states and the like.  And not a single bit of it is identified by the author.  Even major points between Danny showing up at the office to get Steve and them showing up at a dogfight aren’t really defined.  I was reading, but wasn’t really “getting it”.  And the more I read, the more frustrated I was getting.

Then she told me what the trick was – to read the story with your internal editor turned on.  That’s what she’d done, and it worked for her.  And you know what?  It worked for me, too.

This is a really well done piece of fiction, as long as you come at it knowing that about the first 1/2 of the story needs you to engage your internal editor as you’re reading.  It gets much better (less distracting scene differentiations) the farther along that you go.  Trust me, it’s well worth the read.  And at more than 30,000 words, it’ll take you a while to get through it.  But like I said, trust me – it’s well worth it.

And to the authors: Just a little cleanup at the beginning – maybe even just a single “*” to indicate how it moves from timeline to timeline or such.  Just a little, that’s all it needs.  But you know what?  The line ‘The Williams Anal Experience’ is the best four words ever strung together in the history of the English language!!!  Okay, of slash, but still!!!!

We don’t even have a section/tag for this… I’m just going to put it under “review” ’cause it mostly is.

Want to know what makes me cry?

I mean seriously…  Cry, or want to harm someone, I forget which.  And that’s people that IGNORE constructive criticism.

I found a McShep comment ficlet and read it.  It definitely needed some touchups, and there was a commenter that said as much.  The author blew them off, though they apparently did make the change that needed to be made (“Rodney was exited” versus “Rodney was excited”).  Nobody brought up the “loose” thing (which the author used incorrectly – twice), though they should have.  And don’t get me started on Sheppard being way out of character…

Then there was the second person, also offering constructive criticism.  At that point, apparently, the author had enough – because they stopped answering their comments.  I mean, when authors write for free, their payment is comments from the general public.  Why not even just acknowledge them back?  Ugh.

You were SO close…

Okay, so I can usually take a word or two out of place.  You know, the mixup of “your” and “you’re” and the like.  It’s not too bad.  But when you couple a bunch of them with such an out-of-character description of John Sheppard?  Yeah, that makes it pretty bad…  That’s how I feel about the SGA/Sentinel fusion story “For Me“.

Now don’t get me wrong.  The premise of the story is good.  It’s just – I don’t know… REALLY hard to swallow when John Sheppard is so blatantly out of character it’s not even funny.  This is the very first passage that includes Sheppard:

He wiped at his eyes hurriedly as he went in search of the enticing aroma his nose was sniffing appreciatively.

He found it in the Gate room scattered in with the new recruits that’d just gated in. Rodney went up to it and buried his face in its neck, sniffing happily.

“What the fuck?”  A startled voice exclaimed.  But the person it belonged to didn’t try to push him away.  Rather strong arms pulled him closer.

After a long moment of ecstatic sniffing Rodney looked up.  “Hi,” he said shyly.

Gentle hands cupped his face.  “Hello.  Mind telling me what you’re doing?”

Seriously.  John Sheppard, as emotionally repressed and standoffish as he is, would never willingly let a stranger, who’s suddenly attached to him at the neck, just stay there, much less pull him in closer.

I think there’s so much you could do with an SGA/Sentinel fusion story (and honestly, I think this story could be salvaged by being rewritten to be more in character, etc).  I mean seriously – go read esteefee’s “A.W.O.L.“; it’s incredible!