One of the reviewers on Fanfiction.net has pointed out something that I feel warrants a little bit of ink on the website. Long story short, she feels that it is unfathomable that Serah can behave the way she did in my story, and that the fic is sloping down to a Serah-bashing fic. This is what she wrote in her review for chapter 4:
I’m saying this as one writer to another, since I can tell that you’re mature enough about writing to handle this information. As an author, you reserve rights to write about any subject that crosses your mind, and by all means, please do. But I also think that as an author sharing their work with the general public, you have to consider what your audience wants to see and what they don’t. You made it very clear in your opening that you have a negative opinion of Serah as a character. That’s fine. There’s characters that I can’t stand too- that Chocobo lady in FFXIII-2 that sells you stuff, for starters 😛
I’ll say up front that I ship Snow/Light under proper circumstances (otherwise, I wouldn’t be here, right? :D) and that I’m not Serah’s biggest fan, since she’s kind of minor and not as interesting as others. But the whole time I’ve been reading this, it’s been bothering me that this story is descending more and more into a hatefic and/or a “die-for-my-ship” fic. I was holding on after the last chapter with the hope that the pink-haired girl responsible for Lightning’s “situation” was going to be Lumina, the new evil!Serah from Lightning Returns, or at least a random pink-haired someone that was more likely to be behind a plot like that. But clearly that wasn’t the case.
You’re allowed to take certain liberties with characters when you write fanfiction, and for the sake of this pairing you have to meddle a bit in existing relationships…but for the life of me, I simply cannot comprehend a world where Serah hates her sibling so much that she would wish rape on her. Maybe the two of us got different impressions about her from playing the FFXIII series, but the way I see it, it’s just not in her at all. It’s pretty much the extreme, polar-opposite of the Serah we see searching for and helping “onee-chan” for all of FFXIII-2, isn’t it? I could understand loneliness and maybe even pent-up frustration and jealousy, sure, but outright hatred? Of a young woman who practically raised you, fed you, put a roof over your head, and sacrificed her own happiness, without ever asking to be repaid? Nope. I don’t see it, and it’s impossible for me to suspend that disbelief when I’m reading this. And I don’t think I’m the only one that feels this way, but I know from experience that reviewers are surprisingly quiet about things they don’t like in fanfiction. So I wanted to say it just for that sake of it being said.
While I do think her comments were made prematurely, given the fact that the story has not been complete yet, I can see where she’s coming from. I also believe that if one person feels strongly enough to write a review about it, there is at least 20-40 other readers have thought about it. Therefore, I decided to share my response to her here:
That being said, I do want to address your comment regarding my interpretation of Serah. I do understand your frustration and disbelief of why Serah is behaving that way – in fact, that is exactly what I want my readers to feel as they go on this journey with Lightning and Snow. I can understand why you feel this fic is going into a Serah-bashing fic; I probably gave the wrong impression by prefacing it in my first chapter when I mentioned that I didn’t care for Serah as a character. However, let me assure you that there is a reason I am portraying Serah the way I am, and it is not for bashing purposes. For plot line purposes, I don’t want to reveal my reasoning behind my Serah interpretation, so I hope you understand. In addition, as each chapter begins with the warning, this fic does NOT take FFXIII-2 into consideration whatsoever at all, and considering Serah has probably 10 minutes out of an 80-hour game, she actually is open for interpretation if you do not think about her at all from FFXIII-2. There is an inkling of my theory on the evil!Serah already in chapter 2, and will have more in chapter 5, but I’m trying to be subtle until I reveal it later in the story.
While I do hope that you can continue on the journey with me and let me know how you feel once everything is revealed, I understand if you wish to say goodbye to this fic. Again, thank you for your candid comments that brought some things to my attention, and I appreciate your constructive criticism wholeheartedly.
I decided to put the exchange on here so it’s out in the open (especially since I couldn’t openly respond on FF.net, heh). I know my skills as a writer isn’t as sharp as I’d like to be, where the weaving of different clues can be done elegantly and properly, but I am using this fic to try to hone my skills. This is also the first time I’m trying to achieve such depth and continuity in the story that I have not previously attempted. In a way, I feel somehow accomplished for this reviewer to feel so baffled by the evil!Serah, since that meant I did my job. I simply hope that when all is said and done and the story comes to an end, my readers can feel that I did a somewhat decent job on trying to accomplish what I wanted to. We’ll certainly see about that. 😉
Thanks for letting me rant! ^_^