- Creativity 8.6 - Shelter, Unchanging, Tradition, Finally, Ember Island, Time, Reality: those were the words that inspired the seven chapters in Seven Seaside Stones. I have high praise for the author's weaving stories out of these simple nouns, but there is a slight deduction. I've read similar stories by Fruipit, before. A few of the underlying themes, namely insecurity, confusion, and trust are repeated. They aren't done exactly the same, but I do sense a recurring pattern, just with different situations.
- Plot/Organization 8.7 - For this particular category, I want to make it clear that I'm not really deducting points. It's just that a series of seven one-shots, short one-shots at that, can't live up to the higher scores merited by an elaborate, serial fanon. There just isn't enough time and volume to have deep plot developments. However, I will say that each miniature vignette was well organized and nicely done. Fruipit tied each message together at the end of each chapter. As a whole, the inherent structure of the fanon doesn't truly allow it to knock my socks off, at least with regard to plot complexity.
- Character Development 8.5 - This category always seems to be the longest. Why you ask? Because character development is "the life and blood of a fanon, and all fictional writing for that matter. Character Development is the magic potion that turns rabid Mako bashers into the next generation of fangirls drawing Mako in the margins of their math homework. Character Development can make or break a story." - according to the WLS Urban Dictionary, that is. Bottom-line: character development is crucial.
- In this series of one-shots, Fruipit does many things extremely well. For one, she writes the dialogue and descriptions almost pin-point on character for Toph. One of my favorite lines is "He broke her heart. She broke his nose." XD It's obvious that the author knows the ins and outs of the characters. She is able to dissect their feeling and elaborate on them in incredible detail. This talent, however, lead to some problems. I'm just going to say it bluntly: the narrator told me more about the characters then the characters themselves.
- Character development is all about portraying the suffering and defeats of characters. The reader has to witness them making mistakes and dealing with the consequences. I didn't get the level of intimacy I wanted to when I read Seven Seaside Stones because the author, in many cases, told me what happened. It's like "Oh, she loved him. Then she finally realized it, but by then it was too late." - That's nice. How much better would it be if the author described the hollowness in her soul as she watched him walk away? The emptiness of seeing him that close but being unable to have him. Don't tell me the emptiness exists, make me feel it for myself. There's nothing wrong with writing in third person; I do it all the time. Please think about balancing the narrator's role with the characters. It's possible to oscillate between the two, providing insight but at the same time allowing the character freedom to act on their own.
- Takes a deep breath - On to the next point. Romance. As a romantically themed story, Seven Seaside Stones focuses on the evolving relationship between Sokka and Toph. It depicts the high-points, low-points, lights and darks, goods and bads of their relationship over the years. I really like the variation of the tone between the two. Sometimes it was friendly and easy-going, other times it was strained. That's fine. The one qualm I have about the romance was the one-sided nature of it. For the most part, these chapters told Toph's side of the story. The author did make a conscious effort to include Sokka's development, but it fell short. Sokka didn't really visible change. He just sort of realized his feelings. The last chapter was the best one, regarding Sokka's development, but it was also the shortest of all the chapters. It's important to understand that romance is between two people. Make sure to portray the opinions and sides in equality. When two people choose to love each other, it's that much more powerful. These one-shots seemed to be more about Toph's struggle with romance and not the evolution of "Sokka and Toph." Savvy?