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 Post subject: Reviews of A Touch of Zan
PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, '10, 7:10 pm 
Hello,

This topic is for reviews of A Touch of Zan by H-Man. You may use this topic to let H-Man know what you think of this work. When commenting, try to go into detail about what you enjoyed or thought could be improved. Both praise and constructive criticism are encouraged. Please refrain from making non-constructive criticisms.

Please keep your comments in this thread on the subject of A Touch of Zan. If you would like to discuss another writing, please do so in that writing's review thread.

Thanks,
Thoul


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, '10, 8:02 pm 
When H-Man told me "I'm writing something based on a Chinese story", I cringed.

Here is, in a nutshell, my experience with Chinese stories:

"Du De" was the greatest lion-hero of the sixty-seventh war of the "Wa De Va" era. Alone, armed with "Piou Piou", his legendary blade, he single-handedly defeated all the armies of the enemy country, killing sixty five million soldiers without getting so much of a scratch. The seven million archers who fired at him all at once bloated the sun with a rain of arrow unheard of but "Du De" stopped them all using his "Fisherman of the early morning by the lake" technique.

"Du De" then went to see the emperor, married his seven lucky daughters, had five hundred suns, all of which became also heroes and lived six hundred years. Before mysteriously dying fighting a dragon.


I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I could literally not tear my eyes from the story until the end. Great work, great pace. It was extremely enjoyable.

Two things I however noted. You fell out of context twice. Once was referencing to Alys as sexy, that whole paragraph seemed out of phase. I think that part was for our talented Alys lovers, possibly? ;-)

The second part is the battle. As awesome as it was, it was quickly apparent that you were excited and frantic in your writing when you began calling the Dragon missiles "slicers". You can take the H-Man to China, but you can't take the PS out of the H-Man.

All in all, awesome work. This more than anything encourages me to proceed further in reading your other work.

The Phantasy Star circle of fans is embellished by your presence. Thank you.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, '10, 8:24 pm 
Wow, what can I say, H-Man. It was a beautifully written story. I loved the fight sequence as well, and yes, you portrayed Alys magnificently in there. :) It was a bit violent, but all in all, excellent work. It was also nice to see Rune portrayed as a humble man for once, instead of the arrogant jerk that he is in PS4. :D

I really hope you write a sequel to this. It's a fresh, refreshing look at the way we portray fan-fiction, and I'd love to see more of this kind of work.

Kudos to you, H-Man! :up:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, '10, 9:02 pm 
Well, I might not be able to praise well so it sounds as great as Aero or Lyla did. But I can say this..

I agree with them both and this was sheer awesome!

=D

I'll tell you one thing, when the Muskies come around again, you got my vote. ^_^


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, '10, 9:46 pm 
This is really great work, H-Man. The story pulled me in so well that, I didn't even catch the play on several of the names until the end. Ru-Ne was pretty obvious, but by the time the other characters were introduced I was so caught up in the narrative you spun that I didn't make the PSIV connections. Similarly, the dragon missiles went over my head until you specifically named them as slicers.

I did notice a couple of minor technical issues that knocked me out of the flow for a moment. From the first sentence of the second paragraph, I think you meant "no" to be "so":
Quote:Ru-Ne was no involved in his books,

And later on, this sentence below is a bit awkward. It left me wondering, her dress was an odd what?
Quote:Her dress was a odd, she wore white robes over a red silk blouse with white silk trousers.


But my little nitpicks aside, this was a great joy to read. I really cared about the characters and how the story was going to end for them. The detail on the battle is amazing and Ru-Ne's approach to the whole scene was great.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, '10, 2:10 am 
Thanks for all of the positive remarks and constructive criticisms. I corrected the two little things that Thou pointed out (I wrote this story in one day during my free moments at work, so something was bound to suffer). I hope to produce more work in the future that will provide similar enjoyment to you all.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 7, '10, 5:31 am 
My apologies for taking so long to review this story. I'll echo Aeroprism's sentiment regarding Chinese folklore, only I'll apply it to Chinese cinema, since I haven't really read much of their literature. I've never cared much for Asian cinema, as I'm not a big fan of storylines being interrupted by so much kung-fu (I feel the same way about American musicals as I don't like breaking for singing and dancing), and I also don't care for how Asian movie-makers seem to go out of their way to ensure that romantic interests are doomed to never be together.

But enough of that. What you've presented is a very entertaining blend of unusual and effective storytelling and Phantasy Star characters. I especially loved the first half of the story; it's beautifully written and rich in its detail. I love your descriptions, like this one:

Her large brown eyes showed hints of a fiery disposition, but humble enough that he could tell she was not one of those materialistic city girls he always complained about.

Brilliant. (Though I would add "were still" or "remained" between "but" and "humble.")

However, I felt as though you lost some of that momentum during the second half, or the fight sequence. If you could think back to the way you wrote your scenes in the city and in Ru-Ne's home and apply some of it to the battle scene, I think it might flow a little better. Here's an example:

Ah Li was doing a good job of defending herself and striking back at the same time, while Cha-Zi was beginning to take hits from the Tigress, who scratched at his body with her tiger-like claws.

While it gets the action across quite well, its lacking the prose of the first half of your story. I know battles aren't flowery events, but you can still incorporate some the same kind of descriptive language. I reworked the above sentence; see what you think about this and if you can get a feel for it:

Ah Li deftly staved off her attackers while continuing her own punishing assaults on the vicious warrior women, as the Tigress began ripping away at Cha-Zi with her sharp, feline claws.

I used descriptive words to punctuate aggression and intensity, which were more or less absent from your original sentence. What helps me when describing action is to think about it as an emotional event rather than just a physical one. You could say, for instance, "He kicked her in the stomach," but there's no feel for its level of violence. First, give the kicker a personality (let's say he's crazy), and then you can describe his kick (let's say it was really hard). Now you can fix the sentence so it reads, "Delirious, he savagely swung his leg, kicking her in the stomach with great force."

Does this make sense at all? I wanted to help out some, because I really loved the first half of the story and didn't quite feel like the second half matched it in style. In any case, you're doing a great job, and I definitely see an improvement in your writing since I read "The Immortal Realm." I look forward to reading your other stories! Keep writing!


Last edited by Tanith on Sat Aug 7, '10, 5:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, '10, 6:07 am 
I just read this story, and while I'm not much a fan of Chinese related stories, etc., this one was pretty entertaining. I like happier endings, but it leaves the door open to possible sequels. Great job here! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, '10, 10:43 am 
First of all, my apologies H-Man.

I'm glad I went ahead and read this. Excellent work! :D As others have said, it's an unusual blend of themes but it's very well executed and eloquently written too. I'm not one for being able to critique writing much, but Tanith seems to have done the job anyway. :p


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