Hello fanon portal-ers. I’m putting up this blog for the benefit of those I have already written reviews for and those whom I might write reviews for in the future. Basically, I wanted to give some explanations of the categories that I use to review fanons, why I have them on my list and how I calculate scores. Of course, some of the categories intertwine with others at times, so they cannot all be considered to be mutually exclusive. This is especially the case when the same thing causes deductions in multiple categories, and the same reasoning might need to be repeated on the fanon review. Hopefully this should make things more transparent for my reviewing and also shed some light on what I believe to be quality writing in general.
Plot: This is similar to what others sometimes call story. It involves the novelty and quality of the premise, the order and flow of events, the integration of plot twists, how things are introduced, pacing and general potential to entertain (whether or not it actually does may depend on some of the other categories in the review). How canon aspects are incorporated into the fanon may also play a role. While I don’t have any definite bias against either story-based or character-based stories, it’s generally good to know which kind you’re writing ahead of time. Merits in this category can be given for the premise itself, how it is paced and the ability to keep interest levels up. Deductions might come from choppiness, plot holes, and lack of an ability to maintain a reader’s interest.
Execution: This is sort of similar to what others sometimes call organization. However, there is more involved than that, so you might consider it organization plus a couple things. Execution is all about how the basic story was put into action. That means pacing is significantly more important than it is in the plot category. It also means format, managing of characters, managing of information and all the micro elements not covered simply by the plot. You also might consider the tense and point of view you use and whether it was appropriate to the story or whether you used it correctly to your advantage. Ultimately, the reader must be able to follow the story. I do not deduct any points from simply breaking with tradition or established conventions. In fact, I admire the thought of trying something bold and new. Some of the better authors on here, some of whom I’ve reviewed in the past, have done this. However, the exception to this is whether the story was limited or hindered in some way by it. Then there will be a deduction for that. Deductions might also come from awkward or repeated words.
Proper Writing: Unlike the other seven categories, this one is one hundred percent objective. It’s dictated by what mistakes were found from spelling, grammar, punctuation, incorrect usage of words, capitalization and anything completely technical. Based on how many errors there were, the fanon will be given a score based on a scale that I designed. As you may notice, the scale is not exactly to scale, but I modeled it based on professional standards and how much relative effort it takes to reduce these technical errors. Each one can be an eyesore when trying to enjoy quality writing, so it’s best to take the time to clean up before you hit publish! Since the score is already dictated by the scale, the category is straightforward and I couldn’t give a higher or lower score even if I wanted to. A possible exception to this is when many of the errors are the same or the more recent chapters showed improvement, but even then, the difference it makes scarcely goes beyond one decimal point.
Deductions are NOT made for anything that is subjective or not a definite error. Differences between British and American English are not factored into this score, and anything considered correct in either or both will not be marked as an error.
The scale is as follows:
- No errors = 10.0
- 1 error per 10,000 words = 9.0
- 1 error per 5,000 words = 8.5
- 1 error per 4,000 words = 8.3
- 1 error per 3,000 words = 8.0
- 1 error per 2,000 words = 7.5
- 1 error per 1,000 words = 6.5
- 2 errors per 1,000 words = 5.0
- 3 errors per 1,000 words = 4.5
- 4 errors per 1,000 words = 4.0
- 5 errors per 1,000 words = 3.6
- 6 errors per 1,000 words = 3.3
- 7 errors per 1,000 words = 3.0
Creativity: It’s all about the originality in the piece. This includes the originality and novelty of the overall idea, the originality of the twists in place and to a lesser extent, the originality of the words and descriptions employed. Merits in this category can be given for worldbuilding, original characters and great effects that knock the wind off of us readers! Deductions might come from plainness (which often translates to laziness), unexploited areas for more creativity and a general lack of originality. Like with Execution, there can be a deduction for things being too rushed in Creativity. Unlike with the former, however, the deduction is not related to the overall pace of the story in Creativity, but loss of opportunity.
Description of Action: Both this category and the next one are similar to what others call writing. On my reviews, all eight categories are equal, but since “writing” is divided into two, you could consider it doubly important. These two fraternal twins represent separate sides of writing. Therefore, a fanon with 8.5-quality writing may have an 8.5 in both categories, or it might have a 9.0 on one and an 8.0 on the other. Granted, it could have been divided even more, as writing is a complex art, but I have only so much time and only so much space for each of my reviews.
The action description includes fighting and battle scenes, as though that weren’t already obvious. It also includes any general actors in motion, verbs, interactions and dialogue tags. Merits in this category can be given for skillful immersion, smoothness of language, strong metaphors, literary eye candy and anything really that leaves an effect. There may be a motive to use very detailed description, but it’s important to remember that simple description can also leave a powerful effect at the right moment. Such things are scored favorably. Deductions might come from overly repeated words or phrases, and choppy description in general.
Description of Setting: The second writing fraternal twin category deals with elements that are still. The merits and the deductions are similar, but the focus is separate. It deals with time, place, mood, tone, and sometimes techniques like foreshadowing. Like the above category, its generally good practice to show rather than tell. While dialogue tags are part of Description of Action, the dialogue itself is part of Description of Setting. As there is no separate category for dialogue, it has to go somewhere and it is outside the voice of the narrator and part of the overall scene, so anything added or deducted based on a line of dialogue is part of this category.
Realism: This is similar to what others sometimes call believability. Everything must be plausible enough to feel real within the world that the story takes place. If that is the Avatar World, then that is the one that it must fit within. On the other hand, if it takes place in another world or an alternate universe, it is the responsibility of the author to define what the logic and rules for that world are. Should they fail to do so, the category score will be determined automatically by whatever may seem natural for the reader. Since human nature is generally considered universal everywhere, the rationality of character actions and motivations will be judged similarly. Same goes for politics. Meanwhile, canon characters, needless to say, should be appropriately in-character.
Character Development: Here we deal with how well-rounded the central characters are, as well as what changes they undergo and how they grow. Naturally, they should be believable and relatable to an extent. If they are a well-designed original character, then naturally credit will be rewarded for that. For canon characters it’s all about what is done with them, and deductions will be given for them not being in-character. Of course, the main focus is on the heroes and the villains. As far as side characters go, their significance in the scoring process is dependent on their degree of importance to the story. We can’t equally develop everyone all the time. Remember, though, that a brief, illuminating snippet can get across a lot about a character in a little time if you can’t spend much on them. Also, it is important to know that it is good writing practice to know more about a character than you intend to use in a story, not just the amount that you anticipate that you will need for the story. Nevertheless, the score will be determined only by what is in the story.