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WIP Four Deadly Secrets by OneirosTheWriter - M - RWBY

Discussion in 'Anime, Cartoons, and Comics' started by Jarik, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    Title: Four Deadly Secrets
    Author: OneirosTheWriter
    Rating: M
    Genre: Drama/Angst (Really, it's more Drama/Action in my opinion. Not all that much Angst.)
    Status: WIP
    Fandom: RWBY
    Pairings: [Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee] [Yang Xiao Long, Blake Belladonna]
    Summary: Sometimes the most innocent smiles hide the worst secrets. Violent pasts are shrouded by pretty lies as four girls try to keep their mistakes from the public eye. A deeper look at Ruby & co, and a more cynical look at the world of Beacon. Semi-Au, with skulduggery, violence and manipulation.
    Length: 166,587 words
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10449572/1/Four-Deadly-Secrets

    Most of us have been reading fanfiction for a long time. Having read so many thousands of stories and being burned on so many terrible ones, we develop fantastic skills at being able to judge stories based on their summaries. Some good signs of a cheesy attempt at drama include key terms such as "Deadly Secrets" or "Innocent Smiles"; Drama/Angst genre; or boasts of taking a "deeper" or "cynical" look at canon. Four Deadly Secrets though, is a great example of not judging a book by its cover.

    Instead of being the guilty pleasure I expected when Nemrut recommended it in the RWBY Fanfiction thread, this ended up being that definitive fic which you find yourself judging the rest of a niche fandom (and even canon) on. It really stands out in a fandom which is mostly filled with guilty pleasure romances or Jaune-centric fics. The only other decent fic that focuses on the original cast is Soulbound which is well written but really more of a novelization of canon.

    The general purpose of this fic is to take a lot of the original character concepts and back stories and exaggerate them. Make their stories more intense, and by doing so, make that aspect of the plot become a whole lot more interesting. Not only that, but it makes every single character that much more badass too. The world, culture and events are tweaked accordingly and the result is very effective.

    Ruby is still your energetic, hyperactive, weapon obsessed girl. But instead of her battle hunger being portrayed with that childish, shounen-style pureness its like in canon, its a bit more bloodthirsty here. I think most implementations of this sort of fic would lead to her naive facade being completely fake, but what is done really well in this fic is how while she really does have a lot more experience in a lot of areas (killing, sex, etc) than she lets on (and lies a lot too), she manages to still be somewhat more naive in others. She's still Ruby.

    Weiss's story is still centered around her being the rich girl who is taken aback and then in by Ruby's straightforwardness. However, where most fandom portrays her Huntress aspirations being an attempt to get away from a fake and awful society that she doesn't fit into (or in shittier fics, and abusive family), this story has her trying to run away from the person she becomes in that scene - the self that thrives and enjoys being the Queen of that awful and cruel High Society.

    I love this idea of The Dance from Weiss's history at the Society (and the Signal equivalent of The Grind from Ruby's background). Sure the Society is a bunch of spoiled rich kids who spent their early teenage years high on cocaine, getting drunk and being cunts to each other at formal events, but at the same time, they were went around fighting the White Fang just for the adrenaline rush which is pretty badass.

    In canon, Blake's history with the White Fang is very much portrayed as someone who has been misunderstood. In canon, she joined them when they were a pure group, and got taken advantage of, leaving when they started getting too dark. It was always portrayed as Weiss' fault for jumping to conclusions and being judgmental. But that really diminished a potential plot point which Four Deadly Secrets makes great use of by giving Blake a less than innocent role from her time in the White Fang.

    I love how this story portrays the terror inspired from Trigger Teams, Trigger Agents and the White Fang in general. There's lots of off shoots, other Faunus militant groups, but the White Fang are portrayed on a whole new level.

    A good example is when Velvet's Dad is talking about the potential groups Blake could be part of, the possibility of Blake being a White Fang member is just tacked on at the end of his explanation almost as an afterthought due to just how scary that possibility would be. Or how everyone reacts to that warning Blake makes when she texts that there's a trigger agent in Vale.

    That Blake was not only a Trigger Agent, but apparently one of the top ones gives a whole new dimension to that aspect of the story.

    Yang is the only one who was a bit dull in comparison to the other three.

    Making her from a biker gang was fine, but I think making her a White Fang sympathizer just loses any potential interesting conflict with Blake. It's also too similar a concept to hers.

    In addition to the main four, I think Four Deadly Secrets has a great side cast, with characters like Miltia, Velvet and Alice being really interesting to read - particularly their clashes and strained relationships with Team RWBY. In general, the interactions between all of the characters on any of the teams are really interesting to read. Even Jaune's complete lack of understanding about how things work in their world and how the law doesn't really apply to them.

    The romance(s) relating to Ruby are done really well - paced really slowly as a side thing to build that tension in the reader.

    Don't think I've shipped Weiss/Ruby this hard, but at the same time, I'm shipping Miltia/Ruby even harder (nothing more romantic than attempted murder after all hey?). I feel so confused.

    5/5 from me. Didn't think the RWBY fandom had this sort of potential until I read this fic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  2. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Second this recc, already gushed about this in the RWBY fanfiction thread, but this story is really the best to come out of the fandom so far. Really, ignore the summary and just enjoy, it's really that good.

    My favourite part is really how it extrapolates from the canon facts that are just thrown in as a gimmicky quirk and crafts excellent story hooks from them.

    Really, the best example is Ruby and how the author takes the aspect of her loving weapons and her having built Crescent Rose and what that truly means, both, for her past and her personality.

    like how Crescent Rose is a complex piece of hardware and how it must be expensive to build and maintain and how Ruby accumulates the funds necessary for that. Similarly, what kind of person is drawn to a weapon like a High Calibre Sniper Scythe

    Similarly, the same is done with every other character of the main cast.

    As to Yang

    while it is true that hers is a bit lackluster compared to the others, it does build up to something, which would be the inevitable conflict with Weiss, seeing that both Yang and Blake had this connection to the White Fang. It made things easier between Yang and Blake but it's going to make things so much harder on team RWBY in general, so, am looking much more favourably on that.

    So, yeah, absolutely love this story. It was updated a few days ago, so, it's definitely getting updates. Check it out.

    5/5 so far.
     
  3. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    I'll put it at a weak 4/5. I'd say it's good enough enough to be library worthy, but only barely. It certainly shines compared to most of the utter shit calling itself RWBY fanfiction, but...

    It might just be a question of taste, but I get really really annoyed by every single character. I get that they're girls, but it seems like almost every single character acts like the worst kind of girls ever. They're all talking indirectly, every single time. They're level after level of subtext and conflicts just circle around and around, with little to no resolution in sight.

    As I said, it might just be a personal thing. But for fuck sake. If someone bugs you, tell them why or punch them in the face, then MOVE THE FUCK ON. Gaaah.

    I'm not entirely fond of some of the stuff they've done to the characters, either. Character development is something I'm a fan of and the world of remnant is a dark place, where there's plenty of room for darker twists to characters. Unfortunately, the author has completely butchered Ruby's innocence, which is really one of the most endearing things about her character.

    If this had been done through character development, it would've been fine. It wasn't.

    Most of the others have their backgrounds fleshed out well. There are some moments of brilliance, like in chapter 11. Yang's reaction to the fight there was really touching and then it was barely even brought up again for some reason.

    I think I should stop rambling now.

    To summarize. A promising author, a promising idea and a good story. It's still very much an unpolished gem (same goes for the author). I feel that with more planning, a lot of superfluous shit could've been cut out to make for a more streamlined story.
     
  4. Erandil

    Erandil Headmaster

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    I am with Jarik and Nemrut on this one.. it is the best RWBY fanfiction out there and the characters and plot are very interesting.

    And yeah Zeelthor, seems to be a question of taste. I love what he has done with the characters and how they interact with each other, especially Ruby and Weiss. I also don´t feel like there is much that could be cut without losing a lot of the atmospehre that makes this fic so special.
     
  5. Cruentus

    Cruentus Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    I like it, but dear god do RWBY and MVEN bitch at each other. The more I read the more I wish the story was from Juane's POV. Him and the rest of JPNR come off a lot more mature and adult in this fic then either of the other teams.

    That said, MVEN is full of idiots, except Velvet it seems. Here's a team of nightmarishly strong Huntresses in training and they seemed to have decided the smart thing to do was to poke em with a stick and then get into bitch fights with them.
     
  6. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Yeah, it was what disturbed me a bit as well. That said, their reasons for doing so, while definitely unwise, are also human and you get where they are coming from. Not to mention, they are all teenagers still, so, I can roll with that. They have grudges, reasonable ones at that for the most part and those grudges influence their behaviour.

    Also, last chapter finally knocked some sense into them, so, I am curious how that will further develop.

    And I can't tell you how glad I am that this story is not from Jaune's POV. He is a nice addition as a supporting character, and, as Jarik said, bringing the view of someone who is not part of the whole hunter/huntress culture. But as the main char? That would be annoying. The RWBY team offers so much more.
     
  7. Cruentus

    Cruentus Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Maybe not just from Juane's POV then, but JPNR's POV. I think a lot could be made of their wanting to get to the bottom of what is wrong between these two and playing mediator. that said, I haven't read the whole thing yet, another really good fic I like is coming back from the dead so I've been refreshing myself on it.
     
  8. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    I don't think MVEN are prodding RWBY as much as you think.

    Firstly, I'd argue most of MVEN don't actually realize how dangerous Team RWBY is. Not one of them actually know the full story - just bits and pieces of individual people.

    Miltia knows Ruby is really dangerous and keeps it from everyone else. She also very quickly buried her hatchet and tried to make amends.

    Melanie thinks Weiss is just an uppity bitch who has power due to her position - all of their bitching is really part of their usual Society interactions anyway. Ultimately, she's the one causing most of the conflict and probably feels comfortable doing so because of their history and because she's oblivious of everyone else on RWBY.

    Velvet knows something is off about Blake and only Miltia learned of that recently. She's been dealing with them pretty amiably.

    Aurea knows of Yang's history and hasn't told anyone. Apart from a few comments here and there, she hasn't really done all that much.

    Remember how surprised they were when they saw Ruby absolutely demolish Alice in that spar, and how most of them admitted to thinking Miltia got stuck fighting the weakest member of their team first.

    And as Nemrut said, they are still teenagers in a quasi-school environment. They probably feel they can get away with it since the Professors will step in if it gets too out of hand.

    Last chapter even saw Melanie looking to make up with Weiss. So yeah. Don't really think MVEN are all that stupid or unnatural for doing what they're doing.

    Think seeing it from JNPR's point of view would be really boring for me. Find every single character in that team in this fic really dull.
     
  9. OneirosTheWriter

    OneirosTheWriter Second Year

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    I didn't want to post directly on this thread because it seemed kind of a naff thing to do...

    But this is pretty much spot on for what the situation and rationale is. I'm actually a little disturbed by how closely this parallels a conversation I had with my co-conspirator/wife yesterday!

    Of the four team Maven girls, Miltiades knows the most and her approach reflects the danger she is aware of. Yes, her and Ruby needle each other but that's more belligerent sexual tension and she certainly does nothing at all that might be interpreted as endangering the secrets of Ruby or anyone else on her team. Velvet interacts cheerfully with all of them (even Weiss, although the SDC thing makes her nervous). Aurea is just carrying on old neighbourhood baggage with Yang that hasn't seen her come to grief yet.

    The fly in the ointment between the two teams is Melanie, who is tunnel-visioned on Weiss (Miltia tells her as much). However, although she herself knows that Weiss is a powerful fighter by reputation, Melanie also knows that as she is a human (and that as a pseudo-Society girl herself, though she'd hate to admit that, carrying on with this kind of cattishness is par for the course and unlikely to get a dire reaction out of Weiss), and not a faunus, she has less to fear from the heiress physically.
    She also knows that Weiss is either clear or nearly clear of the cocaine addiction that drove the bullying and anger problems to the extents they went to, making her safer to confront.

    As an aside, I'd dearly like to know who added the 1/5 rating to the thread without offering feedback :(
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  10. Jarik

    Jarik Chief Warlock

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    Huh, how did you come to that? 7 ratings, 4.29 average = 30 aggregate. That can be achieved with two 5-stars and five 4-stars. Unless there's some feature I've never known about which let's you see what the votes were. o_O

    Also welcome to DLP. Always nice to have new authors join. XD
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  11. OneirosTheWriter

    OneirosTheWriter Second Year

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    Thanks for the welcome!

    And I know because I happened to check the thread yesterday when it still showed as five stars XD It was 6 ratings, 4.83 = 29 aggregate, the maths was pretty easy after that (and no, I haven't voted on my own fic!).
     
  12. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    I just started reading this - been trying to branch out from HP fanfic, and thought I'd see what RWBY had to offer - and I'm a bit off-balance here.

    After a couple 5/5 ratings I was kind of surprised at the quality of the writing in the first chapter. I mean, it's not terrible or anything, but there are some pretty glaring problems.

    If I were editing it, I'd make two stamps - one would say "POV drift" and one would say "show don't tell" - and then I'd just double fist them and go to town on the first chapter.

    There's also a fair smattering of cliched descriptive language, especially when it comes to clothes and physical attributes.

    Like I said, by no means terrible, and I'll definitely hold off on rating it myself until and/or unless I read the whole thing, but does the quality of the writing improve?
     
  13. OneirosTheWriter

    OneirosTheWriter Second Year

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    Chapter 1 suffers for having been done under self-imposed pressure to just get out the door and on the road. I'd been out of fanfic writing for a long time and I needed to break the inertia. As a result, I've never been quite satisfied with it, though it did successfully get me writing again. I've applied band-aids to it on a couple of occasions (and I am currently sitting on a few more fixes that aren't worth fussing with chapter replace just yet), but I do need to give it a more thorough reworking at some point. Of course, with the pressure inherent to fanfiction to produce new material rather than rehash old material, finding the time is easier said than done. It already takes about a month to produce chapters lately.
     
  14. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Okay, I read the whole thing.

    I've tried 10-15 other RWBY fics, and this is the only one that I haven't dropped in disgust after a chapter or so, but that's not exactly a sterling recommendation.

    I agree with that, and it was the selling point of the fic for me. The kind of society implied by the Dance and the Grind is compelling in its own way. And the general fleshing out of the characters is fairly solid.

    But boy, do they sure like to talk about their emotions and their problems and their feelings, instead of, you know, emoting them.

    "Show don't tell" is a phrase that gets bandied about here a fair amount, and this fic is a really interesting case study, in that there's plenty of both, to the point where they end up interacting in strange ways. This is kind of tough to articulate, but let me try with some examples:

    Ruby has a past, and she's shown (in some pretty awesome ways - if the rest of the fic was as good as that hotel room duel with the flame-sword guy, this would be an easy 5) to be dangerous. She only gets into these situations sporadically, but they're bracketed by a LOT of people talking about how dangerous Ruby is or how much they're afraid of her.

    This is an example of showing and telling working well together, reinforcing each other. Ruby does badass stuff, which adds to her mystique, but it's the way people kind of orient themselves around her and speculate on what kind of person this kind of behavior makes her, what her past must have been like - that's good. That's slowly chiseling away at layers and discovering Ruby from outside perspectives. That's good characterization.

    On the other hand, you have stuff like this. After Weiss tells Ruby a little about her past as a society girl:

    In other words, this is a dolled up version of:

    "I'm sorry," Yang apologized.

    Redundancy, not reinforcement. Having Weiss's relief conveyed that bluntly, in two separate ways, actually makes it less effective. I chose that example pretty much at random, but the fic is absolutely LITTERED with paragraphs like this:

    So, yeah. Not great. On a scale of "mildly annoying" to "ruins the fic," it's somewhere in the middle.

    On the other hand, interspersed with all the bludgeoning, hit-you-over-the-head-with-it repetition, there are a few lines of description and figurative turns of phrase that are brilliant. So the writing it's bad, per se - and having read the whole thing now, it definitely ticks up in quality around chapter 4 or 5 - it's just that the author doesn't seem to trust the audience to pick up on any kind of nuance at all.

    The POV switching is a matter of taste, so I won't get into it here, except to say that the way it's handled bugs me. It's stuck in this strange grey area between third-limited and third-omniscient where we hop from head to head so frequently that it feels like there's no real perspective - even an eye-in-the-sky narrator. I wouldn't mind third-omniscient if the author would actually go full on, but right now it reads like third-limited because we see most actions through the lens of someone, it just never stays with that person long enough to feel grounded, at all.

    Anyway. I read the whole thing, and it was entertaining. It's certainly the best RWBY fanfic I've ever read. I'll keep reading, too. So, it's definitely good enough to be entertaining.

    I'd agree with Zeelthor. If it's a 4/5, it's a very soft one. I'll go 3/5 for now, with the possibility of upgrading if the general improvement trend continues.
     
  15. OneirosTheWriter

    OneirosTheWriter Second Year

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    Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely take it on board.

    Pretty much, I'm afraid. I have a dirty, filthy habit of reading something on my second or third pass-through of a scene and deciding the average reader on FFN is going to completely miss what is going on. Usually unfairly.

    Well, maybe unfairly.
     
  16. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Well, there's your problem right there.

    Seriously, though. That's a habit you should try to break. If you write to the lowest common denominator, not only will your fic never really gel into something great with its own voice, you'll be robbing yourself of a chance to grow and develop as a writer.

    Just my two cents, anyway.
     
  17. Nuhuh

    Nuhuh Dastardly Shadow Admin Moderator

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    Writing is extremely verbose. After all the rave reviews I was expecting that to be tighter. I haven't read all that is posted because after a while I wanted to just skip to the dialog because descriptions are so ponderously slow.

    In action scenes the pacing is completely off because 14 words will be used to write a sentence that can be written in half that and convey the urgency of the moment.

    I'm starting with a negative because this made it really difficult for me to slog through.

    Positives:

    The idea of exaggerating character traits or brushing them with realism is a great idea. Ruby being a battle nut, Yang being a thrill seeker can result into bad decisions and terrible outcomes. So I like the concept. Characters seems to interact with each other well enough, sometimes there is great chemistry - if you ignore the dry and long description of what's going on.

    The Malachite twins are written in a really strange way. It seems like three different characterizations: 1) canon personalities, 2) self effacing, introspective confessors to strangers about everything, 3) writer's own take on them being more or less normal, perhaps fun loving, girls. Switching back and forth, especially from the cagey characters to "I know I should get over my issues" sprewing randomly creates a lot of confusion.

    Basically I think the writer has a great idea on how the RWBY world may look if you remove the veneer of shonen morality and lack of realism. But the basic, technical execution of writing needs help. There is far too much word clutter and it's detracting from good things like characterization and general ambiance of these characters.

    And something needs to be done about the Twins, their portrayal is too inconsistent.

    3/5
     
  18. OneirosTheWriter

    OneirosTheWriter Second Year

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    (Okay, so ideally I don't clog the thread with thank you notes, but I'm still well short of the Thumbs Up button becoming available, so...)
     
  19. Erandil

    Erandil Headmaster

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    Well I rather like a somewhat wordy writing style and don´t really get why you people always want a tighter style, especially in a story like this with its focus on characters and their interaction. I like reading about the world and to be able to truly immerse myself in it which, I think, is helped by such a style.

    And I wonder how much you can actually cut from the action scenes while still capturing that RWBY feeling... reducing them to their bare bones wouldn´t work well with the flashy, over the top style of the original fighting scenes.
     
  20. Nuhuh

    Nuhuh Dastardly Shadow Admin Moderator

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    You missed the point entirely.. Word clutter in action sequences brings pacing to a halt. That's not just a subjective critique it's objective. You are not doing the sort of character development mid action that requires a meandering soliloquy. Even the writer here isn't doing that. He's using far too many words and dry descriptions that he's losing the tension he wants to create. Because even good exposition mid action screws up action and it's not necessary exposition we are seeing here.

    Outside of action scenes greater exposition obviously has a place. Character interactions are being compromised by word clutter... See what I said about skipping to dialog? Because that's where the real characterization is happening. Not between those points.. Also Jon is a well loved writer here who does mainly character driven works with high word counts.. But he's not suffering from redundancy and word clutter. These are different things than just liking wordy writing.

    And what the hell do you mean by "you" people!:mad: