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Okay, um... I've been working on a Yu-Gi-Oh! fanfiction about Kaiba. Basically, Kaiba has amnesia and the story's about his adventures while trying to figure out who he is. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2304826/1/ I started it in early February, 2005, and it's almost done. When I first put it up on fanfiction.net, I would get a average of 10 reviews a chapter, but then the review count dropped to about half that, and now I'm getting something like two reviews a chapter. I guess it hasn't helped that I've been begging for reviews, but I wish I knew what's wrong with the story. Even when I was getting more reviews, though, most of them weren't very helpful.
So... If anyone would like to read it, I'd really like to know what foreshadowing and things people can pick up on. I'd kind'a like some constructive criticism on everything, but I'd especially like to know what people actually think about while reading it. Like "when reading this line, I wondered if..." or something like that. I think I have a little bit of a problem with plot and with having everyone in character, at least at the beginning, and I've heard that I should be more descriptive. Besides knowing what's wrong, suggestions would be helpful... Like possibly a way to make Duel Monsters more exciting... There's also some things I think I might've worded kind'a awkward, but I don't know how to fix it, and I'd like to know if that can be picked up (like, anything a person needs to read twice = not well enough written).
The fanfic's supposed to be canon. If it isn't, then I'd like to know how to fix it. Well, there is one thing... There's a dubbed version, Japanese version, and manga version. My fanfic mixes those versions. So, Pegasus isn't dead, so that's like the anime, but there's manga stuff, too. Sometimes I use actual quotes for flashbacks and sometimes I don't, depending on different things.
I'd like a lot of criticism to a certain point... If everything's negative, and there isn't any positive stuff or ways I can improve, then I'd end up just getting depressed. But, besides criticism, I'd like to know Anything a person thinks while reading the story... When I write it I think "now, people will feel this way when reading this line, and they'll wonder what this quote means, but I won't answer that question until such and such chapter... Oh, here, I just know people will be asking me about what this means!" and then no one comments on those things. So I don't know if they even notice them...
So... I hope I didn't rant too much and I hope some people can help me out.
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On January 7th, 2007 09:56 pm (UTC), kmktr commented:
(I have to be careful tackling a con-crit of this piece, since Seto's seen fit to saddle me with a plot-bunny where he develops amnesia and I don't want to unintentionally plagiarize your story. Still, I think there are enough differences (notably time, as Kaiba will be sans memory in my story for three days, tops) that I don't need to worry.)

An average of ten reviews per chapter! I'm jealous! My Seto-centric story had six chapters and twenty-eight reviews in total, with some chapters receiving no reviews at all -- so keep that in mind when you read my con-crit.

I think the duel with Pegasus was fine, I don't think your reviews dropped off because of that. I liked how Seto was able to find a way to win. That seemed very like canon to me.

For me, Seto-with-amnesia is likable, but perhaps a bit too placid and accepting of things. I think anyone would be more confused and maybe even angry at losing their entire life like that -- but that's just me. I guess I'm not quite feeling the tension from the amnesia. Of course, with the way you have Seto's memories trickling back, it's possible to build that tension now, if you want.

I think you started to tap into something good in the last few chapters, the idea that Seto-with-amnesia doesn't think he is really is Seto; and with Mokuba concerned that he is the one who caused his big brother to think this way. I especially liked the image Seto had of the small boy trying to hold back the flood of memories and the hateful teenaged version of himself claiming it couldn't be done.

Since Mokuba has been with him every step of the way, perhaps he can help him now? Tell Seto that he likes him, even if he never gets his memories back, and that in some ways Seto-with-amnesia is nicer than Seto, but, Seto with or without memories, is still his big brother. I'd think that Mokuba likes it when Seto asks for and needs his help. He wants to help Seto remember, but might miss that openness in his big brother. Basically, Seto is Seto and Mokuba loves him no matter what, memory or no memory.

You seem to have kept the characters close to canon. I especially liked the way Yami tried to reach out and explain to Seto that he understood what it was like to search for missing memories.

Kudos on writing a piece in third person present tense and keeping it straight. That's a hard tense to write a long piece in and not slip up!

One little thing -- a couple of 'you's' slip in there once in a while:

“Mr. Kaiba, will your recent defeat by a local high school student jeopardize your chances in the upcoming tournament?” a different reporter asks.
Kaiba turns toward the reporter, narrowing his eyes. “No comment,” he replies coldly and then walks through Kaiba Corp.’s doors. The clip ends and you again see the newscaster at her desk.

It might read a bit better in a way like this:

Mr. Kaiba, will your recent defeat by a local high school student jeopardize your chances in the upcoming tournament?” a different reporter asks.
Kaiba turns toward the reporter, narrowing his eyes. “No comment,” he replies coldly and then walks through Kaiba Corp.’s doors. The clip ends and the view changes once more to the newscaster at her desk.

So, I hope this is helpful to you. Please don't worry about the reviews, as you have a good, solid story here.

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On January 10th, 2007 12:20 am (UTC), asj127 replied:
Well, first of all, I looked up “amnesia” on fanfiction.net and there was one other story with a plot something like mine. I started reading it, but it was so very similar to mine, it was amazing. I was worried to keep reading past where I’ve gotten to in mine, but after awhile, I read more of it, and around halfway through, it started sounding very different. I told the author about how similar the beginning sounded (and she wrote hers before mine), and she said that some things are just bound to be similar. I’d like to see what you do in your story.
As for the duel in the story, I kind of wonder if I put too much emphasis on Duel Monsters before the duel... I tried explaining some of the rules to Kaiba before, and there’s the small duel between Yugi and him, you know. I did have fun writing the duel between Kaiba and Pegasus, though. It ended up matching up so perfectly, when I wasn’t sure if I had enough cards to choice from to make it sound different enough from other duels, or if I could make the “Expert Mode” rules work. I think I could have wrote more about how Kaiba felt and had more uncertainty on his part, but maybe I can do that if I revise the story... The Negate thing was true. He really did have it in his hand, in both the manga and anime, since the beginning of the duel, and he never played it.
As for not having enough tension... That’s probably a big thing I wanted from the story. I know that I like amnesia, movies, shows, and episodes dealing with amnesia, but it always seems as though they don’t go as far as they could. But apparently, it’s harder then it looks to have so much emotion in a story. Maybe I could go back and try to fix some places to try to show more confusion and anger and things... If you could show me how to write that type of thing, then that would really help... It might be a little better in the latest chapters, though. I have to chapter 23 written, but I don’t have it on the site, yet. I finally have the guy remember a lot of things, but I’m having trouble with how to write it... I’ll have to look over what I’ve written a few times to try to figure out how to express things.
I also thought I’d try fixing the “you” thing you mentioned. When I first wrote those, I thought it was the only way I could word it, but now I can see other ways to say it. I tried searching for “you” in the story, and I never realized how many times someone says “you” in their dialogue. Heh... I found two places I used it outside of dialogue, and after that, I didn’t remember using it again, so I quit looking. If you want, you can read the chapters I don’t have on the site, yet, and tell me what you think about those, but you don’t have to. Thanks for the con-crit thingy.
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On January 10th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC), kmktr replied:
(D'oh! By the way, this is Kittyuehana -- Kmktr is my other LJ account)

Personally, I don't think there was too much emphasis on Duel Monsters in your story. It is a very important aspect of the lives of all of the characters, and the show is called 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters', too. Seto spent a lot of money footing the bill for many of the tournaments throughout the show, and he converted Kaiba Corp from Gozaburo's weapons company into a hologram and game support company instead. Besides, the scene where Yugi is teaching Seto the basic rules of the game was very sweet, and very much in character. I think the only thing I'd suggest there is having the gang sort of look at each other wondering what the heck is going on when Seto asks Yugi for help -- then when Seto asks about it, someone could tell him that he never asks anyone for help -- ever. Seto might make a comment about how that's a stupid way to be.

For adding tension I just think that Seto might be a bit more frustrated, and maybe even suspicious of everyone, like Mokuba, who is trying so hard to help him. After all, Mokuba is a stranger to him! Where I would show the tension if I were writing the story, is showing more of Seto's internal dialog, almost as if there are two people instead of one arguing with each other. Seto's personality is so strong, I can't imagine he wouldn't get his memory back eventually, so in a way his memories are fighting with him to be recalled (like the dream with the dam).

So, Seto-with-amnesia could be rather lost and confused at first, and uncomfortable with Mokuba's familiarity and affection, since he doesn't know Mokuba. Oh, and Mokuba could be a bit confused, too, since normally Seto doesn't ask for help, and isn't so open. I think that might take a bit for Mokuba to get used to. Of course, as time passes, and Mokuba becomes one of the helpful constants in Seto's life, he could react to that affection positively, which would ultimately deepen the bond between them.

I imagine he'd be frustrated, and maybe even lashing out at people as he tried to remember things and couldn't. I think the trick would be to show that Seto-with-amnesia, when he's stressed, does some things the way we would expect from Seto -- like making sarcastic comments, or acting superior -- to show that no matter what Seto and Mokuba think, Seto really isn't two people, he's still himself, even though right now he can't remember his past.

I do like the way Seto is regarding his past self as someone who's not very nice, and someone he might not want to become. In fact, a conversation between Seto and Mokuba later in the story about this could be interesting -- Seto telling Mokuba that he no longer wants his memories back, that he'd rather be the person he is now, and make new memories. It could be fun to explore what Mokuba's feelings about that would be.

I only noticed a couple of second person 'you's' sneaking in there, so you've probably pinpointed them all.

You're welcome! ^_^ I only hope my observations are helpful.
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