Review Exchange: Gamer Girl

Looking to do review exchanges for my web serial, Gamer Girl, as well as the WordPress site that houses it.


Summary:


WordPress: https://gamergirlwebserial.wordpress.com/ (I'd recommend the plain text versions on the Table of Contents page).

Web Fiction Guide page: http://webfictionguide.com/listings/gamer-girl/


Also, I've noticed that the Gamer Girl Web Fiction Guide page links to the Wattpad version of the web serial, not the WordPress site. If any of you have any idea how I could correct this, I'd be grateful (I'm guessing they did this because at the time of my submission, my WordPress site only held PDFs of Gamer Girl, not regular plain text posts).


I'll get to reading it, but I'm not yet listed so don't worry about reading mine about yet. I can tell you I already hate the name of the main character, but that's nothing in the grand scheme of things.


Thanks, CorpseMoney! I don't care if your serial is listed on here; I'll review 'The Remnants' and your WordPress site, and then transfer the review onto your Web Fiction Guide Page when you get one, okay? It might take a little longer than I'd like because of holiday festivities on my end. Interesting that you hate the protagonists name. Do you mean Gamer Girl or Ralphie Hero? Why do you hate it?


While I don't mind it in your story's context, the term "Gamer Girl" has some aggravating connotations, what with the whole sexism in games controversy, particularly in light of GamerGate. That said, such a "controversial" title will definitely net it some attention and interest, so that's not necessarily terrible.


In fact, it made me interested enough to give it a shot!


*cue Mega Man 5 weapon music*


You Got... Sharkerbob Review!


Before you posted this topic I clicked it before, and the name Ralphie immediately put me off. I'm very picky though, i'll just ignore that and read it.


That's an interesting point, Sharkerbob. The reason I chose Gamer Girl as Ralphie's alias is because the catalyst for the web serial was me realising that since superheroes have a long tradition of being called 'insert word' Man, Boy, Woman, or Girl (Superman, Best Boy, Wonder Woman, Batgirl), and that there are a LOT of unused terms like that (Gamer Girl, Fangirl, Valley Girl), you could potentially make hundreds of superheroic or superhero-like characters by taking those terms and basing personalities and superpowers/abilities around the stereotypes associated with them. I did actually consider the fact that the term 'Gamer Girl' had certain stigma attached to it during the web serial's inception; nevertheless, I'm not one to shy away from controversy, especially if the subject is interesting.


Anyway, thanks for agreeing to review my web serial/WordPress site! Is there anything in particular you'd like me to review of yours? You seem to have myriad individual works.




@Joe - I figured it was something like that, using the traditional naming scheme. It's fun. My review didn't say too much, but hopefully it suffices.


I don't have any sort of serial or whatever, and I'm not concerned with getting reviews, but if you'd like to check out a story or two on my blog and let me know what you think, that'd be nice. :)


http://sharkerbob.blogspot.com/p/table-of-contents_21.html


Of the content, the Intrepid or Runan stories are probably the most worth reading. Most of the rest is old stuff and not that great.


I took a glance. Something immediately jumped out at me and made me facepalm.


Don't call Asian people, "oriental." Trust me.


Oh, that reminds me, "Japanese eyes" is a bit of an odd descriptor, but then, in today's hyper-sensitive, trigger-happy outrage culture, it's hard to know what descriptions will piss people off more. Never been sure how to describe Asian eyes without it sounding racist. Which is a pain in the ass when I have a fantasy world where there's a country of people with "Asian" features, but there isn't an Asia.


Oriental is one of those words that has gotten more offensive over time, but I still see it debated whether or not its "officially" as bad as your usual racial insults. It may depend on the region. If you really want to avoid being offensive with it, I'd say just mention the character is Japanese (or let her name give it away), and then never bring it up again, unless it's specifically relevant to a conversation ("So where are you from?") or situation ("We're looking for Asian extras for our Kung Fu movie.") or that sort of thing.


Here's my review of 'Remnants', CorpseMoney.


Story and Style:

Like a lot of serials that I review, your first chapter is loaded with unnecessary exposition. From what I read of your synopsis, I was going into 'Remnants' thinking that the serial would get to the fusing of Earth and Earune pretty early on, but you drag us through Allen's pretty mundane, exposition heavy encounters at the start instead. You yourself have demonstrated how little it takes to put a reader off of a web serial. Do you really think someone looking for a fantasy adventure is going to tolerate a first chapter where nothing fantastical happens? You need to GRAB their attention as soon as possible. Get to whatever the most important bit of the plot is fast, i.e. the fusing of Earth and Eaurne and all the interesting stuff that comes with that.


Grammar:

Bad all round. You need to draft your work so that errors like 'Allen stepped out of his home, letting his screen door gently slide CLOSED' don't get through.


WordPress:

Functional, easy to navigate, a little drab looking; could do with at least one picture related to The Remnants. I'd recommend you hire an artist.


P.S. How exactly did you get that PayPal Buy Now button onto your site? I'm actually curious because my PayPal Support button has been playing up (I suggest you change 'Buy Now' to 'Support The Remnants' or 'Donate' since no one is actually buying anything).


Blaise Corvin and Sharkerbob, these are problems I have been wrestling with for weeks. Unlike with white people and black people, there is no specific descriptor for mongoloid people except the term 'mongoloid', which as you can imagine, will definitely offend readers. The reason I used 'oriental' instead of 'Asian' is because 'oriental' leargely means East Asian (which is what Kaze is) and is debatable as an offensive term while 'Asian' can mean anything from East Asian to Indian to Russian (though it can mainly become associated with East Asians in America, in the UK, it's mainly associated with Indians).


This is the crux of my problem: if a character sees a East Asian they do not know, and describes them as Japanese, then that's a big assumption of their part. They could be Chinese or Korean or whatever. You see where I'm coming from? I think I'll have to bite the bullet and go with Asian or East Asian. They're not as specific/snappy as oriental, which is itself still quite vague, but definitely less likely to distract readers. We'll see.


I'm less concerned about describing Kaze's eyes. You're right, Sharkerbob: describing them as Japanese is weird. I'm a creative guy, though; I'm sure I can figure out a way to describe an epicanthic fold without getting the readers frothing at the mouth.


Sharkerbob, thank you for the review. Now that I've finished CorpseMoney's review, I'll get on your stories.


Note: I've just made a major revision to the beginning of the web serial, but as of this post, only the plain text version on the Gamer Girl WordPress has been updated. The PDF version on the Gamer Girl WordPress as well as the Wattpad version on my Web Fiction Guide page will be updated in the coming days.


I'll take you up on your offer Joe. I'll have a read of Gamer Girl shortly.


@Joe You're overthinking this. Just say "Asian." Most Asian people I know consider "oriental" to be how one describes objects, not people.


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. http://webfictionguide.com/listings/gamer-girl/review-by-corpsemoney/


@JoeBB,


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 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.


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.


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.