Review Exchange: Gamer Girl


  1. CorpseMoney (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Thanks Joe, I'm still reading Gamer Girl, getting through it quickly. But before knowing about Ralph H Baer, it appears like one of those small details chosen to make a character stand out more.

    But I think what you're talking about with my slow start is the problem I've wrestled with for years, I think it has to be that way to give you all the different information I want the reader to know about. One chapter without magic isn't the worst thing in the world I don't think.

    I really like a lot of things in gamer girl, and of course there are somethings I don't. I'll get the review out quickly.

    Edit: Ooops review up.

    My web serial is titled, 'The Remnants'. I wrote five chapters and decided I needed to restart.
    so bear with me.
  2. SovereignofAshes (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago


    I don't mean to dog-pile on this topic, much respect to everyone involved. I was just reading up on this and had my eyes twitch a few times.

    It would seem like the topic of descriptions of 'racial features' is still on the table. If not, my apologies. I'll toss my tuppence at it. This being from a Canuckistanian who exists in the frigid wastes of Political Correctness, as well as someone who lived in Nihon for a few years teaching English. Also, just an idea that might not have been touched upon, yet, which could help with writing for anyone who might find it useful...

    JoeBB, you mentioned describing a given character in your story. I think that's Kaze (Wind)? That she has Asian-type features and you want to describe how she looks. A great way to do this is to put yourself in her shoes as a character. I'm going to have to assume here, that you're Caucasian and from... I'm guessing, the U.K.? Imagine yourself as Kaze. Imagine growing up in a household that is predominantly Japanese. How would she describe herself different from say... Her sister? Her parents? Or a cultural icon from 'back home' that she grew up with? Imagine yourself not being able to use any kind of racial descriptor.

    Then describe who she is and how she looks. Does she have full lips or thin? Are her cheekbones high or sullen? Does she have the more almond shaped eyes of people from Eastern or Northern Japan (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto)? Or does she have more puffy eyes and a darker complexion like the people from the South or the islands (Okinawa, Kyushu, Shikoku)? Is she of mixed heritage? Did she ever get called "haafu" by friends or cousins growing up? Does part of that define who she is or does she try and let it go? Does she dye her hair or does she enjoy the dark and straight hair she got from her mother? Stuff like that.

    If you're not going for the high-development and just want to keep things short and pithy. Just go with 'Asian' or better yet, her actual heritage. If she's Japanese, say so. If she's Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Korean, or anything else, just say so.

    As people have already mentioned, yes, 'Asian' encapsulates a lot more than just people who might be 'East Asian' or referred to in old British academic circles (usually pre-Enlightenment history and in comparative studies) as 'Oriental' when contrasted to the European 'Occidental.' If you just want to mention it and move on, go with it. If you want to be more accommodating to readers or explore that character's background, then mention where she is from, or where her heritage is from, and move on.

    Whatever you do, please don't use the term 'mongoloid.' I don't know if you're from the U.K., but I have a lot of family from there (consider it home, once Canada starts burning here soon). I'm sure you understand, that particular term has some very disparaging connotations. Not just for people from Mongolia or who have North-east Asian features, as well as First Nations people here in North America. But, it's also a negative term used for people with developmental disabilities/syndromes.

    To go further devil's advocate on the broad-range idea, 'Asian'... Think of this... A lot of people of Latino/Latina descent are very fiercely protective of their cultural identity. I've had a few friends growing up, some from Europe, and some from Mexico/The U.S., that are very protective of their Latin/x culture. Now... Try telling a Latino/Latina person that they're "European" or "Caucasian." I've had a few friends stare at me with daggers when I tried to take the piss like that.

    Sometimes it's just best to go with a person's culture as it is, than trying to skirt around the issue. "I'm Japanese-American. My father was stationed in Guam. My mother is from Osaka. They moved to Portland and... Well, here I am. Does it matter too much? It shouldn't. I'm a super-hero!"

    I have stuff on here too! The Vorrgistadt Saga.
  3. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    I think that's a fine enough cap to the "how to describe Asians" topic. I think the author might appreciate more discussion of the actual story.

  4. Joe Berridge Beale (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Thank you for the reviews, CorpseMoney, Sharkerbob and Team Contract.

    @ Team Contract and Sharkerbob. One thing I could have done with in your reviews of the examples of things you didn't like, especially in regard to the quality of the writing. Team Contract, you wrote that 'The writing could be improved a lot'. What aspect of the writing can be improved a lot? Sharkerbob, you wrote that the serial is 'a bit unpolished' and has 'a rough start'. How? You've got to be specific in criticism otherwise the writer come away with only vague impressions. When you, Team Contract, complained about there being too many descriptors, that was good. That's a specific example I can work to address. I can't work off unclear statements.

    @ CorpseMoney. Not sure you're right about Covenant energy shields being stronger than those of the Master Chief. In Halo 2's campaign and Halo 3's multiplayer, elite energy shields are of identical strength to those of spartans.

  5. Joe Berridge Beale (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Sharkerbob: "I think that's a fine enough cap to the "how to describe Asians" topic. I think the author might appreciate more discussion of the actual story."

    That's okay, Sharkerbob. I find these writing problems interesting, and they do feed directly into Gamer Girl's content. Though I WOULD appreciate some commentary on Gamer Girl #2: The Public Good, not just the first chapter.

    SovereignofAshes, you bring up some interesting points and I'll give you a full reply tomorrow.

  6. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Fine I just figured you didn't want it taking over the whole thread.

    So you're looking for more of a technical critique, not a general impression overview for public display. Alright then. I will have to give it a second more thorough read over.

    Off hand I'd say I found the story pretty annoying generally but that's more due to a personal taste issue, and I try not to let that take over my assessment. I don't really like these types of stories overall, although I think yours captures the spirit well enough. But I suppose that's too intangible to be of much use.

  7. CorpseMoney (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Joe I must've accidentally typed shields. I didn't mean shields, I meant the character summoned that sword. When she already had halo items, I think she could've just as easily summoned a covenant energy sword. One lock on energy stab probably would've saved the day easy.

    My web serial is titled, 'The Remnants'. I wrote five chapters and decided I needed to restart.
    so bear with me.
  8. Team Contract (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago


    My impression was much like Bob's. This genre really isn't my cup of tea. But aside from that, what I see mostly in terms of the writing is that it appears to be a written like a text representation of anime. i.e. everything is viewed and experienced externally, the characters and situations etc.

    The visual medium and written are two different things. You need other things with writing to help the reader connect.

    First and foremost is Point of View. Deciding what point of view to use determines in a lot of ways the kind of story you want to tell. Either First person, 3rd person limited, omniscient.

    For written comedy, omniscient, which seems to be somewhat of what you have, is common, but what makes it funny is not what's being seen or described, but rather the prose themselves. In other words, your writing itself and how you describe things must be very witty for comedy to work in written form. I don't have that gift, so I can't give you an example, but I'm sure some comedy writers on here can.

    Next, plot, pacing, characterization. Without grounding the POV, all of these suffer from lack of depth, tangibility and clarity.

    If there is one suggestion I could make to improve, I would say focus on the POV and work on telling the story from the constraints of one POV character. What makes them tick, what do they want, what's holding them back. Only by having the POV clearly defined can the reader have something to latch on to for the ride.

    When you get good at it, the POV will affect even how the world is described and really place the reader in their shoes. Things like the character descriptors I mentioned before will become obvious. Because once you're in that characters head space, it will seem odd for them (you) to keep referring to your best friend as "the Asian" "the Noirette." etc. You'd simple refer to them by name or just he or she.

    It might seem repetitive, but its not. It becomes invisible and that's what you want. Much like the word said. When I first started, I used to use all kinds of speech tags because I mistakenly thought that said was boring or repetitive. But it's better to use because it becomes it invisible and all the readers sees is the movie playing in their head.

    Anyway, that was a lot. Hope it helps somewhat. There are a lot of nuances to writing and much of it depends on what it is you're actually writing. Read more of the genre you want to write in and then you'll start seeing where the norms are.

  9. CorpseMoney (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    For me the biggest problem was the tone of the setting, there are a lot of wonderful things going on in this story. But I think it would lend to the story more if you dealt with how Ralphie struggled with the potential for pure senseless violence that her ability allows. Instead she is weirdly bottlenecked by both the implements of gaming you choose, and her own choices. Which I think with her ability would be easily overpowered. The level limit seem like a clever way to pace her power advancement, but at the same time with the level of power you've already given her the level thing seems redundant.

    She thinks to summon a socom pistol after the fight, but not during? So mercilessly put the animal down, but not execute it when its a threat? Idk seem like tone choices which hurt the setting overall, which would serve better with a layer of grit. But that's just my personal opinion, and I understand that may no be to your taste or preference.

    Overall you have a lot of things within I love, but some glaring issues which hurt my potential continued readership.

    My web serial is titled, 'The Remnants'. I wrote five chapters and decided I needed to restart.
    so bear with me.
  10. justinwenger4 (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    I'm halfway through the first chapter, and I have to say. Wouldn't Co-Op or Multiplayers have been a better team name than dualistic duo?

  11. CorpseMoney (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Justinwenger4 that threw me off too, when the girl scouts were mentioned I thought oh that is perfect. Cause the girls were really happy, and positive. But dualistic duo is just odd, I mentally kept calling them the girl scouts.

    My web serial is titled, 'The Remnants'. I wrote five chapters and decided I needed to restart.
    so bear with me.
  12. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    Could also go with Dual Shock.

  13. justinwenger4 (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @Sharkerbob That's actually pretty good

  14. Joe Berridge Beale (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @ Sharkerbob. Okay, I finished reading Runan and the Glass Desert. Here's my review.

    Runan and the Glass Desert
    I really like Runan and the Glass Desert. It's an interesting mix of a Boy and His Dog, Mouse Guard, and the Dark Tower series. The characters are intriguing (I like the idea that Runan is searching for the enigmatic 'likeness of God') and the world is nice and mysterious. My interpretation of it is that all/almost all the humans died in a magical apocalypse, which somehow gave the other animals sentience. It reads like a fable, a little like The Lord of Light, which I think is what you were going for. Aside from one it two typos, it grammatically fine too. I also found Runan and Santauros' little philosophical debates to be highly entertaining. Oh, and you handle action in a poetically entertaining way too. My only complaints are 1,that you don't do enough to emphasise the heat that Runan, an EMPEROR PENGUIN, must be suffering in a DESERT at the beggining: 'the heat was beginning to take its toll' just isn't enough. In real life, he would be dead; in this fantasy world, he would at least feel awful. 2, Runan having a katana seems a little 'cool for the sake of cool'. Runan seems like a monk so I think a less flashy weapon would suit him better.

    It's a pity you decided to stop writing this as it would make a good web serial. I'd read it for sure.

    Edit: Why is it called the Glass Desert?

  15. Joe Berridge Beale (Member)

    Posted 2 years ago

    @ Sharkerbob. And here's my review for Intrepid and your website.

    I'm lukewarm on this. You, like so many other writers, burden your reader with exposition at the start. Jason and the others simply talking about their world and histories for so long at the beginning is just boring and messes up the pacing. Unlike with Runan and the Glass Desert, there's no mystery to the characters or the world because of all the exposition. Why not actually show Jason's fight with Grendel, or mention it appropriately during his fight with Humbaba: Jason makes a mistake in the fight and has flash backs of his fight with Grendel kind of thing, which then necessitates the superheroes coming together as a team to reassure him that he can win? I kept hoping that the Jason and the others would stop talking so that the story could proceed to the action. It's like I told CorpseMoney: you need to GRAB the reader's attention, ESPECIALLY a superhero fan reading your stuff, for which the fighting is the main appeal, and ESPECIALLY a web fiction reader: we are a niche of niche; there are a thousand more popular, mainstream things that the reader could be reading, and if you waste their time with pages upon pages of telling how the characters got their powers, what's going on on the other side of the world, the details of exactly how Jason 'went nuclear' and why, then they will. In short, everything before the fight with Humbaba could have been drastically shortened to great effect.

    All that said, when you actually get to the story/fighting, you're almost golden. The action is described well and with a degree of poetic imagery like in Runan and the Glass Desert, and the superpowers, while not especially novel (Mythos' was the only one that stood out to me), are believable and entertaining. The flaw in this fight is that Humbaba doesn't come off as a realistic Empowered animal, just a big always-angry monster. If an animal is attacked, it will either fight or try to flee, and if it can't flee, it will try to show its submission to whatever it is fighting. Even when Humbaba is zapped in the eye, it seems unrealistically eager to fight on.

    I didn't like Jason as a main character. Because of the exposition overkill, he comes off as a melodramatic tragic hero rather than a sympathetic one. Also, you haven't outlined his motivation. He needs something concrete to aspire to in the story. Maybe he wants to kill all the Typhons, or a particular Typhon (I'd suggest Grendel being his nemesis but he's dead)? Mythos is the best character by far; with lines like Pah, a city. I set half a state on fire' he fills the bad boy role well. All I can recall of Swan and Arcana's characters is that Swan comes off as immature while Arcana is the mature one. Again, motivations for these characters would be nice. I also thought that Kenrick was too nice to be a CIA agent: he should be more slick and evil-inclined. A real CIA agent would have tried to guilt trip Jason into joining his superhero team BECAUSE he blew up a city.

    Last points. The whole thing would have been much more readable as a post by post web serial instead of one looong line of text, I don't understand why you capitalised Empowered and Typhons, and I don't understand why you call them Empowered at all if you keep slipping back into using superhuman.

    The Site: it's serviceable but ugly. Blue and grey do not work well together. Why do you have to have labels on the side?

    Final thoughts: What surprised me about your writing the most is the actual time you said it took you to write it. If you wrote Runan and the Glass Desert eight years ago, why do you want it reviewed; why not get something newer reviewed? It took you four to write Intrepid? Why? Do you have a main series that you're writing instead of it? Is Intrepid the main series?

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