[36] Undertale Reviews, Part 1

Hi everyone, Farla’s brother here. Just as Farla obsessively reviews Pokemon fic, I took it upon myself to obsessively review Undertale fic, starting from the very earliest ones. I thought it would be fun to see how fandom trends developed over time, you see. To avoid becoming a shriveled husk fueled only by hate like Farla, I have restricted myself to only looking at fics that cover topics I actually care about. (Sorry if you really wanted me to cover all the Gaster fic and xReader porn, but you’ll have to look that up on your own time.) When I started, back in October, there were only a few hundred fics, so this seemed like a manageable task. By the time I had gotten to the edge of the original archive, the number had ballooned to a few thousand. I have since given up on this goal. However, Our Lord and Master requires content for her blog, and I see no reason to let what I’ve already done go to waste.

Unfortunately, I never curse up a storm and I yell at people far less than Farla, so this will probably be a lot less amusing for you than usual. I make no apologies for this. The silver lining is that the average quality of stories is a lot better than in the Pokemon fandom, low bar though that is.

And of course, unlike Pokemon, Undertale has an actual plot, so SPOILERS if you haven’t seen both pacifist and omnicide routes.

And you were…?

Hm…

I don’t think roleswap makes much sense for Undertale. The characters here didn’t fall into their roles by chance or events outside of their control; every one of them chose their role on purpose. Their roles are therefore extensions of their personality, so to change the roles you’d have to change the characters.

For instance, Toriel isn’t in the ruins for no reason. She chose to abdicate the throne and run away on purpose. That choice, the way it stems from her conflict with Asgore, is a major part of her character and personality. For their roles to be swapped, there had to be a major change in how the schism happened, possibly requiring the two to effectively become different people. I mean, to be a perfect roleswap, wouldn’t Toriel have to be on board with Plan Childmurder too? If you want to say that they’re still the same characters but they made very different choices that led to these outcomes, you need to show your work, not just take the end result for granted. Currently, I’m just left very confused as to how this happened, and, honestly, I’d be much more interested in the backstory that led up to this than these out-of-context snippets from a bizzaroverse.

Similarly, Papyrus chose to study under Undyne and become a royal guard, he wasn’t drafted. What would make him choose to be content with a boring life as a Snowdin sentry instead? Why would Sans choose a job with more work and responsibility (and time away from his brother) when he hates all of those? What prevented Mettaton from going into showbiz here? Why does Napstablook, of all people, want to take his place? The characters are in the places they are because they wanted to be, and you have to acknowledge that for such a radical shift in the story to make sense.

Toriel had made her captain of the royal guard because of her intelligence and ability to strategerize.

This reasoning is also completely baffling to me. This isn’t D&D; intelligence isn’t some kind of broad, all-spanning ability. People have weaknesses and affinities in all sorts of different areas. Being smart at science in no way implies you’ll be smart at battlefield tactics — they’re completely different skills. From what we see of Alphys, she is absolutely terrible at thinking on her feet and reacting to curve balls, which would make her a terrible strategist. (And even if she did have the skill for it, Toriel would make her a general, not a captain — captains are field units, which Alphys is obviously unsuited for.) Besides, why is there a royal guard in the first place? Toriel disbands it if she becomes ruler in the ending! None of this makes any sense.

Roleswaps make for interesting what-ifs when characters are forced into their roles through fate or chance, since it gives characters a new situation to react to and be changed by. A roleswap like this takes a lot more work, and, honestly, isn’t terribly interesting; as other comments have said, the story probably wouldn’t be much different.

Now, a Chara/Asriel roleswap, that might be interesting.

[Deleted; sorry, but I didn’t keep a good record of these early on]

A world where so called „humans“ lived.

In English writing, the quotes go above the word on both sides. So this should be “humans”. Are you using a fancy processing software like Microsoft Word that does this automatically? Maybe try turning the autocorrect off, or switching to a more basic software like Notepad++.

From the ruins, to Snowdin or [ whatever other places they were ] you had traveled and explored them all.

Uh…? Looks like you forgot to fill in a placeholder here. Proofread.

There were rocks were you came from as well!

Where, not were.

So wait, if Frisk can climb out, does the barrier not exist in this universe?

Chapter 2

You soon realize you were in a forest

The rest of the story is in past tense, so this should be “realized”, I think.

Trick or Treaters?

“Treaters” should not be capitalized here.

“Oh.” Is all you could get out

You’re formatting dialogue incorrectly. When speech is followed by a speech tag (which “get out” is in this case), the speech tag is considered part of the same sentence as the dialogue, so you can’t capitalize it. It flows together like [“Oh,” is all you could get out] The exception to this is if you use a non-speech verb afterwards, such as “grinned”. In that case, the non-speech part is its own sentence, and gets capitalized accordingly. (For example, [“Hello.” She grinned.]) Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. There are rules for more specific cases as well. You don’t make any of these errors, but I’ll give you a reference in case you ever need to use them: If you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s “Hi,” she said. “This is it.” not “Hi,” she said, “this is it.” or “Hi,” she said “this is it.” And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s “Hi. This,” she said, “is it.” The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks with thoughts.

Also, a new speaker means a new paragraph.

How would a monster know what sunflowers are? Books?

He laughed some after his to him probably ironic question.

This is awkwardly worded.

“Oh, by the way, my name’s… actually, just call me Flowey! That’s what my friends call me anyways.”

…Why? In canon, “Flowey” is a pseudonym based on the fact that he’s, you know, a flower. Why would he call himself that if he’s a human?

Deep in your gut, you felt as if you shouldn’t enter. Just something seemed off about the situation.

Try to avoid doing this. Making the main character “just know” things is lazy writing and robs the story of tension by telegraphing what’s about to happen and what everyone’s true motives are. Having characters react realistically based on the information they have at the time (rather than author-granted omniscience) is more interesting and immersive. Show don’t tell. And since this is supposed to be a parallel, consider: did you have a bad gut feeling about the Flowey encounter your first time through, or were you completely blindsided?

Your sentences tend to be short and unadorned, but since you’re a non-native speaker, this is understandable. Still, I would advise experimenting with more complex sentences, like the kind you see in published books — it makes reading much more interesting and engaging. Just try not to overdo it (and regardless of what you may have heard, definitely do not use a thesaurus unless you’re familiar with the words you’re substituting).

Nighty Night

“Of course not! Safety is always my number one concern when it comes to deadly spikes,” Papyrus says, offended.

This is amusing. Your Papyrus is well-written.

Despite everything

Besides from a strange sense of déjà vu

That should be “Aside from”.

“I guess…that was just a dream…” Frisk thought

Don’t use quotation marks for thoughts; it makes characters look like they’re talking to themselves, which is confusing.

This is far too short for a first chapter. You should fuse it with your second.

Chapter 2

“H-Hey Chara,” The flower spoke up again

You’re formatting dialogue incorrectly. When speech is followed by a speech tag (which “get out” is in this case), the speech tag is considered part of the same sentence as the dialogue, so you can’t capitalize it. It flows together like [“Oh,” is all you could get out] The exception to this is if you use a non-speech verb afterwards, such as “grinned”. In that case, the non-speech part is its own sentence, and gets capitalized accordingly. (For example, [“Hello.” She grinned.]) Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category.

RUN. INTO. THE. BULLETS!!!” Flowey’s smile quickly returned, “I mean friendlessness pellets.”

Furthermore: If you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s “Hi,” she said. “This is it.” not “Hi,” she said, “this is it.” or “Hi,” she said “this is it.” And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s “Hi. This,” she said, “is it.” The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks with thoughts.

Okay, so, just repeating scenes and dialogue from the source material isn’t inherently interesting. If you have a point to this, you should skip to where the plot starts. It’s okay to skip over or summarize scenes you’re not going to alter, since you know everyone reading this is familiar with the basic story. This does sound like an interesting concept, but I don’t look forward to trudging through a dozen chapters of filler before the premise of the story finally pans out.

The Ending They Wanted

threw Chara back so that his back rammed into the ground

Repeating sounds and words sounds stilted and awkward. I’d recommend you reword this.

Chara mocked

This is really strained. Just use said. Lovely word, won’t bite, almost always works better than whatever tortured verb you’re trying to use in its place.

“Guess not,” Flowey spoke

Spoke is, ironically, not a speech verb, so this should be [“Guess not.” Flowey spoke]

“Go to the surface.” Frisk said

You’re generally writing dialogue correctly but you made a mistake here.

Frisk nodded and knelt down, putting some dirt in the bottom of the pot before carefully digging Flowey out of the ground and putting him in, they then filled the gaps in with more dirt and that was that.

This is a run-on sentence and your second comma is a comma splice. You should split this sentence in two.

Underworld

Underground.

Flowey was in his way and that was that, he had to die.

Hm, is he though. Chara clearly doesn’t have to kill everyone to gain control of the world, since they never make it to Alphys and the refugees. That scene always felt to me like Chara was either killing him simply because they could, no further reason, or they were acting on some personal reason, such as feelings of betrayal from the village incident.

And with that the two clashed, souls flaring

Chara does not have a SOUL. They borrowed Frisk’s. If Frisk’s SOUL rebelled, Chara should be an empty vessel like Flowey.

As they stood in the sunshine of the morning

Wait what. You need at least two souls to pass the barrier. Frisk can’t do it on their own. Do they use six human souls?

Seems pretty out of character for Frisk to kill someone without remorse.

“No,” Frisk answered without hesitation. “As much as I miss them…I want to spend time in this loop for awhile.” Flowey turned to look at Frisk, his face contorted in confusion. Frisk smiled at him. “I finally got to save you, and that’s the ending I really wanted.”

As does this. If Frisk really just wanted to save Asriel they would have given up in the true final battle. Being willing to kill everyone else just to save one person is awful.

Trouble and Secrets of Fandom University

Try harder.

rinse and repeat

Hm, interesting. Is this an interpretation of the post-merciless pacifist ending?

Toriel’s blood on your hands

While the story is generally well-written, this is a little jarring, since monsters don’t bleed.

[Deleted]

Oh gods you used images. Why. Does AOOO not support the font?

This is a little obnoxious since you can’t just copy/paste it into a translator like you can for morse code. Or Damara’s dialogue if you’re familiar with Homestuck? If this only conceals a non-vital Easter egg (like the Gaster stuff in Undertale itself), this is fine, but if it’s going to end up important to the story, it seems courteous to include a translation. If you convert this to text you can do it with alt text, but it would probably make sense within the story for Sans to include a translation, if the framing device is supposed to be that he’s reading this.

The rest of this got deleted before I remembered to preserve the links.

Chapter 2:

January 11th, 201X

The other entries use 20XX. Is there supposed to be a multi-year timeskip between entries 1 and 2, or is this a mistake?

I would recommend using actual dates (2015 maybe?) if the dates and timespan of the entries are going to be important. If you plan on having the story extend past a single year but don’t give us a definite date, the story will be hard to follow. Even if you only intend to cover a single year, this introduces too much ambiguity, since it’s not immediately apparent what’s changed and what hasn’t when our only window into the setting is secondhand.

Chapter 3:

This entry reads more like normal narration than a diary entry. The events are described in too much detail — exact dialogue is particularly awkward. People don’t usually remember conversations perfectly down to the last word, you know? Frisk’s vocabulary also seems pretty ornate for a ten-year old; I wouldn’t expect a young child to use the phrase “pearlescent snow flakes” in casual writing. Is the use of “20XX” rather than “201X” supposed to indicate that this is many years after the first entry, and they’re an adult now?

You also make a few errors:

It kept melting, melting, dripping away, until her smile was a confused grimace, “what am I feeling for, my child? You are certainly not burning up.”

Her tone turned dark, marinating her last resort in her mind, “we’re going to the skeletons’ house.”

In both of these cases the dialogue is a separate sentence, so this should be i.e. [marinating her last resort in her mind. “We’re going to the skeletons’ house.”]

loose grip

Should be “lose”.

knocking the pearlescent snow flakes back to the Earth.

“Earth” should not be capitalized here, since you’re referring to dirt (a common noun), not the planet.

“Oh dear,” Toriel said, “the human must not eat this, okay?

You’re generally writing dialogue correctly, but you’re tripping up on a niche rule: When breaking up two complete sentences in dialogue, you need to put a period after the speech tag. So this should be [“Oh dear,” Toriel said. “The human must not eat this, okay?]. (And for future reference, if you’re breaking up a single sentence, it looks like [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”].)

“Help you?” Papyrus restated.

“Restated” is a very strained and jarring speech verb. I’d recommend you just use “said” more often; “said” is nice and invisible and won’t distract the reader.

I might start adding multi entries per chapter, just so there aren’t 9 billion chapters on this damn thing.

I was just about to say that these have been pretty short for single chapters. You can actually get away with short chapters if you use this format, though; see Frankenstein for an example. That might actually be simpler, because if you include multiple entries but still break the story into chapters, you’ll have to manage a delicate balance of when and where to cut each batch. Entries that are grouped in a single chapter should have some thematic consistency to them, and the last entry of a chapter will naturally be given greater emphasis than if it stood on its own. It’s ultimately your call.

This is cute overall, though it’s not terribly clear to me where the story is heading.

That Little Voice

Please… Just give me two seconds!

You’re missing a dash at the end here.

After I gave you my… determination?

Chara does not have their own determination, they leech off of Frisk.

–Hey! Don’t talk bad about him, he’s–

…Is this supposed to be an AU where Chara isn’t totally heartless? Because they don’t seem to care very much for Flowey in the omnicide ending. If anything it looks like they kill him purely out of spite.

Hm. Is the dream supposed to reflect what actually happened, or did Frisk’s anxieties warp it into an unrelated nightmare? It’s a bit unclear.

After-Years

This is cute, and it makes sense that Sans would start having a work ethic once the cause of his depression was removed.

Mercy for the Merciless

In the years after the monsters’ liberation, thanks to Frisk, monsters and humans have been living side by side in harmony. And while the general public has accepted them, there was still a handful of humans who did not welcome the monsters and saw anyone who associated themselves with them as monsters as well.

This is very awkward and hard to parse. Your verb tenses are also all over the place. I’d advise you get a beta reader to help you with this.

they looked over to Papyrus and Sans and rubbed her eyes.

This sentence should be capitalized. Also, who is the “her” in this sentence? Frisk? You referred to them with neutral pronouns earlier.

Frisk smiled and stretched a bit, “No, Papyrus.

You’re generally writing dialogue correctly, but you’re tripping up on a niche rule: If you’re breaking up two complete sentences, the correct format is [“Hi,” she said. “This is it.”] not [“Hi,” she said, “This is it.”]. (And for future reference, if you’re breaking up a single sentence, it’s [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”].)

“No, Papyrus. You have to cook the chicken before you add it to the pasta or else I’ll get sick eating it.” The taller skeleton’s smile faded, “Oh. Seems like I’m still not used to all of these new ingredients you humans use.”

Also, a new speaker means a new paragraph.

And I, the great Papyrus, is only two lessons short of becoming a master chef.

Am, not is. You seem to be having a lot of trouble with verb conjugation. Are you a non-native speaker?

“Excuse me, Toriel,” they heard Papyrus, walking past

You need a speech verb here. [they heard Papyrus say], maybe?

that Monster Kid

That isn’t their actual name, so it shouldn’t be capitalized. I believe I heard their canon name is “Kid”, if you want to use that.

Don’t ‘skull’k around

The apostrophes look really awkward here. You should use italics if you want to emphasize it.

and it wouldn’t be fair for them to be dragged back into mess over their family.

I think you dropped a word here.

Please forgive how slow it’s starting.

But is the slowness actually necessary? This chapter is pretty short and doesn’t actually tell us much important information. If even you feel like the story is moving too slowly, I assure you your readers will feel the same. It’s generally a good idea to start where your plot starts, to hook your readers and give them a good idea of what they’re getting into. If you can’t reach the hook quickly enough, you should streamline things to expedite the introduction, or at the very least condense your chapters. Fusing this chapter with your second will probably alleviate that “slow start” feeling, even if that might seem counterintuitive.

Chapter 2

“Hey! Leave our stuff alone!” They yelled

You capitalized the speech tag improperly here.

The other stood at least a foot shorter than Frisk

…How old is Frisk in this? From the notes I presume high school age, but you should include that in the story, since it’s an important detail. (Also, even if they’re high school age, someone being significantly shorter than them would have to be a kid. How is a middle schooler committing successful robbery?)

“Why do you care what happens to these monsters? Why aren’t you even staying with your real family?”

This is ridiculous to the point of farce. Why would a thief be arguing politics at a time like this? That’s time that could be spent making an escape. It is also pretty obvious that Frisk is living there (he just said “our” stuff, after all), so it’s not just “what happens to these monsters”, that’s Frisk’s stuff he’s looting too. Besides, shouldn’t they have better security if this is a regular occurrence?

Why aren’t you with the family that took care of you? Do you really think monsters are capable of loving and caring?

Why do they care? A well-meaning conservative adult might talk like this, but not a teenage hooligan. Frisk has clearly thrown their lot in with the monsters. Racists generally consider people like that to be additional targets, not poor misguided souls.

“Then why do you hate them? How would you feel if I went to your house and trashed it just because I don’t like how your family looks?” The intruder looked down at his feet, in shame. Frisk walked over to him, “Why are you even doing this when they did you nothing wrong?” He sighed, “It’s my parents who hates monsters and they expect me to hate them too. But honestly, I like monsters. They’re so cool and kind, especially Ms. Toriel.”

This is so incredibly wooden. People don’t actually talk like this, especially not kids, and deprogramming racism is not this easy. (Also, a new speaker means a new paragraph.) Since you’ve just demonstrated that this story will be acted out by cardboard puppets rather than realistic individuals, my interest has evaporated.

LV Up, Bow Out

This is well-written, but I have to agree with Ember that this portrayal is more than a little questionable. From what I can tell, Sans is killing Asriel purely because Asriel said he wanted to die, not for any external reasons? That’s pretty messed up. Just because a suicidally depressed person tells you to kill them doesn’t mean you should; and, yes, as Ember said, Asriel has a lot of parallels to people with depression and similar emotion-altering mental illnesses. Killing him is also a betrayal of Frisk, since Frisk wanted Asriel to be saved.

The tags also completely spoil the ending. Tagging is great for organizational purposes and all, but you should keep in mind that almost everyone is going to look at them before they read the story, so maybe don’t spoil your twist ending through them.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to hide behind Ember here. Guess I wasn’t very confident when starting out.

Also, if you were wondering what this fic was a response to, now you know. This is the first of its kind as far as I can tell, but it’s far from the only one.

Anomaly

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the speech tag is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

the elder Skeleton

This is not a proper noun and thus should not be capitalized.

[Deleted]

Underland

Underground.

they were approached by a strange golden flower
[…]
Within the flower, something strange is happening

Your verb tenses are inconsistent. This is very distracting.

something that once was long ago has awoken

What? I don’t understand what this is trying to say. Focus less on being fancy and more on conveying the relevant information.

You take glee

And now you’re switching from third- to second-person narration, which is even more jarring. Consistency is important.

Your writing is otherwise engaging, but this is rather short for a first chapter. I’d recommend you staple it to your second, especially since it looks like you’ll be mostly skimming over events the audience is already familiar with.

Gestures

This is cute, and I like that you have a more subdued Flowey instead of portraying him as immediately going back to the same level of awfulness. But:

Underland

It’s “Underground”.

“Asriel,” Is all you can manage

Also, “is” shouldn’t be capitalized here.

The use of the human souls is a good element. I always wondered what happened to them in the game; seemed like a loose end, and a pretty obvious solution to the problem.

Dyssomnia

the Lady Behind the Door

Thank you for this. So many people seem to forget they don’t know each others’ names.

“it’s ALWAYS funny.”

You forgot to capitalize this.

Hm, would he really be able to hear the fight from out there? There’s a very long room between the place where you fight Toriel and the actual exit. I suppose it’s not a huge deal.

This is nice, though I always thought that Sans couldn’t remember resets, only reloads.

[Deleted]

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the speech tag is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

He screamed at you as you shot up from the table and bolted

The rest of the story is in present tense, so I presume this sentence is a mistake.

“It’s not the fact that I know he’ll be alright, mom.”

When used in place of a name, “Mom” and “Dad” are capitalized.

tv screen

“TV” is capitalized.

Humans and Monsters

Are not proper nouns and thus should not be capitalized.

“Eh, depends… If there are still monsters down there, then possibly. After all, humans and monsters did live beside each other for a while.” You started to think of it rationally. “On the other hand, they could have the biggest ill-will against us the world has ever seen and slaughters anyone that goes down there.”

“Okay, I totally didn’t mean for you to go so in-depth with that.” You both laugh, and continue to talk about the anniversary. You’ve lightened up a bit since the incident, after you saw the condition he was in, and how happy he still managed to be. Maybe your choice to be the bad guy wouldn’t affect your friendships with him after all.

Why is there a large gap between these paragraphs?

like the flash

“Flash” should be capitalized here.

This is really slow and meandering, and I don’t have a very clear idea of where your story is going. A chapter mostly composed of mundane, irrelevant chatter isn’t a terribly interesting opening. You should start where your plot starts. The fact that your characters are using the bog-standard trope of ignoring the supernatural despite the evidence staring them in the face is not encouraging either. It’s dramatic irony done wrong; waiting for idiot protagonists to catch up to what we already know does not make for engaging fiction.

Chapter 2:

Time flies, doesn’t it?

It’s been two years. Your friend is gone, you’ve left home

So… what was the point of the previous chapter? You could have easily started the story here and worked in relevant backstory details as they came up.

It’s obvious that the dream that night two years ago was, in fact, not a dream, as you could to inhuman things that the monsters kept referring to as Magic, and you suspected that anyone else had that dream could also do it, however, choosing that was quite possibly what made him so numb towards anything and everything.

This is a run-on sentence; you need to either split the sentence or use a proper bridge before the “however”. Also, “magic” is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized.

Who is “he”? The friend?

The train docks, and you’re about to board, when… instinct, tells you not to.

This is bad writing. You’ve just shown us that the protagonist will manifest Deus ex Machina powers whenever the plot needs them to, thus eliminating any possible tension from future conflicts. Clairvoyance is a particularly bad superpower. I feel much more invested in protagonists who have to face actual danger and consequences instead of getting bailed out through author fiat.

Paragraphing has rules. You start a new paragraph with each new subject.

laying on it’s side

You want “its”. “It’s” always means “it is”.

the building in near crumbles.

I have no idea what this is trying to say. You’re making a lot of grammar and coherence errors, and it’s making the story hard to follow. I’d recommend you get a beta reader.

“I must commend you for your surviving that attack, I never took a human to be able to withstand something so brutal, so utterly devastating in power.”

Except the protag didn’t survive it. They avoided it. Does this person think they were on the train?

I’ve been at this for far longer than you have. This has been my life, nothing but bad choices, all up until now. […] That’s not what we do. We make people’s lives living hells, not end them.

This seems like something the readers really should have known beforehand. I am left utterly baffled by all of this. Show don’t tell.

“Riddle me this, why would someone your age be using that kind of language, though?”

…Yes, because that is clearly the most pressing concern here.

“Er, yeah. It’s odd. Do you have a first aid kit I could also use?” […] “Oh, yes of course!” She walks to the opposite end of the building and fetches one for you.

Toriel has healing magic.

Sans is oddly accepting of the fact the protagonist murdered someone in anger. He is generally not in favor of that kind of personality in canon.

This reads more like a summary than a story, which isn’t as immersive. The narration moves too fast, and generally reads like a diary or journal. You should slow down and describe the setting more, to give readers a sense of tangibility.

if only to hope that time stand still

Your verb tenses are inconsistent. This is very distracting.

watery grey

There’s an extra space between these words.

“How am I not dead?” You wonder aloud

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the speech tag is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category.

“I need to get out of here,” you decide

The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

Even hell had standards, right?

You’re referencing the singular location, so “Hell” should be capitalized here.

“Nope.Nope.Nope,”

You need spaces after the periods here.

You almost fly down the next hallway, kicking up and jumping over random piles of orange leaves, not trusting that they too wouldn’t sprout consciousness and begin attacking you.

This is a nice detail.

History lessons you’d mostly slept through about a time when monsters and humans coexisted on the surface until war broke out and the monsters were banished. You hadn’t thought those stories to be true.

I’m not sure how believable this is. Medieval history records aren’t so bad that we’re reduced to assuming it’s all metaphor or fiction, like many ancient myths. We don’t doubt the existence of Charlemagne or Julius Caesar, you know? It’s certainly possible for teachers or common wisdom to take a different interpretation, but in a world where monsters literally existed and there was an actual war between them, I’m not sure how skeptical people would really be.

Why does You trust Toriel but not Flowey? I think it’d be beneficial to get a bit more insight into their thought process at the end.

This is a bit short for a first chapter. I don’t have a very clear idea of where your story is heading or what’s going to make it unique. If you’re just doing a straight novelization ending it here is probably okay, but if you have a special twist you’re planning, you should probably get to the point so you can hook your readers better.

Chapter 2

the puzzles were meant to keep humans out

Hm, are they? They don’t seem to get many humans. I thought the official explanation was that Asgore just likes putting puzzles everywhere — Papyrus seems to imply that when discussing puzzle regulation laws, at least.

but you don’t get the feeling that she’s secretly plotting to bake you into a pie

Haha, that’s a nice touch. I imagine most players had similar suspicions their first time through.

“When monsters approach, you’ll be drawn into a FIGHT,” you’re not sure why there was a weird emphasis on that word, “don’t worry though. All you have to do is have a nice conversation with them and I’ll come over to help you.”

This is amusing. You formatted the dialogue wrong, though; since the first dialogue is a complete sentence, you should end it with a period, and start the next phrase with a capital. (And if you ever need it, breaking up a single sentence in the middle looks like [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”])

‘Talk with the dummy,’ you remember

While this isn’t as disorienting as it could be since you use italics, using apostrophes with thoughts is nonstandard and looks a little weird.

You have a vague, niggling recollection of your history teacher droning on about monsters being made of magic instead of flesh and bone.

So they are being taught under the assumption that monsters are real? Why would they think monsters were myths, then?

overall your original idea that she was lonely was reinforced

That should be “is reinforced”.

Haha, they’re already referring to her as “goat-mom”? It’s a little odd they don’t confront Toriel about the pie’s ingredients, though, given how paranoid they are.

Chapter 3

on the eighth day of you staying there

Wait, they’re getting cabin fever after only a week? That seems a little fast, especially since Toriel is supposed to have told them a lot of information. It also seems pretty dumb of Toriel to leave them alone after so little time, especially since they were asking about the way out. It should be obvious to her that they’ll book it as soon as she’s gone.

“You okay back there, pal?” The voice asks

You were writing dialogue correctly, but after this you start becoming really inconsistent.

“The old, whoopee cushion in the hand trick…”

There shouldn’t be a comma here.

The first part of this chapter is good, but it makes me feel like the story would read better if it was all in past tense. Retrospectives and time-lapses are pretty hard to do in present tense.

And…hm. In the game, the door in the basement clearly doesn’t lead directly to Snowdin; even if we discount the Flowey room as a pocket dimension or something, there’s that long hallway. The story does work better this way so it doesn’t break suspension of disbelief, but it’s something I felt obligated to point out.

Chapter 5

Interesting. Though I have to wonder why you labeled this with an X rating? So far this doesn’t warrant anything higher than a T rating, and then only for the swearing.

Unsaved

I believe this marks our first introduction to “Underfell”, an unfathomably stupid grimdark edgelord AU where everyone is evil but Flowey is good because [not found]. It seems to have originated just as an excuse to stick people in cool evil outfits, but unfortunately people thought it would be a great fanfic setting.

Your verb tenses are inconsistent. This is extremely jarring and distracting. Decide whether you want past or present tense and stick with it.

Are you ok?

It’s “okay”, four letters.

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the speech tag is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. Furthermore, if you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s [“Hi,” she said. “This is it.”] not [“Hi,” she said, “this is it.”] or [“Hi,” she said “this is it.”] And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”] The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

Had she saved this version instead?

Who’s “she”? Chara? You refer to Chara with neutral pronouns later.

Even if I am a Flower, I won’t be a Flowey

“Flower” is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized.

Asgores house […] Sans eyes

You forgot the apostrophes here.

You remembered it being blue

How would Frisk know that? Sans only reveals the blue eye on the merciless route.

You’re also dropping a lot of commas. I’d recommend you get a beta reader.

“I promised myself that I would never use SAVE or Reset ever again. Why?”

I can understand refusing to reset, but why wouldn’t Frisk want to save? There are plenty of things that could happen that Frisk would want to undo, even in the absence of overt danger, like falling down a flight of stairs and breaking their neck. It’s also just common sense to cement a major accomplishment — don’t you immediately go back and save after beating a tough boss, for instance?

For some reason my comments on this have completely disappeared, without even evidence of deletion. Possibly they deleted and reuploaded the entire work.

Chapter 2?:

Had Sans gotten taller? You remembered being slightly taller than him before ending up here. Maybe it was the menacing aura around him that made him appear taller?

There’s too much repetition in this section, making it sound awkward.

Chara had cut sans

You forgot to capitalize Sans here.

Okay, so I’m confused. Did Frisk actually go through all the routes and reset a bunch of times before getting the true end, or are they innocent and Chara’s just mucking up the timeline? Regardless, it seems really out-of-character that everyone would immediately turn evil over this; Papyrus in particular is extremely idealistic and forgiving. Is the idea supposed to be that Chara manipulated their personalities too, or is this supposed to be a logical outgrowth of their canon personalities?

This is also a really short chapter. It probably would have worked better attached to your previous one, especially since it contains the basic exposition you normally want readers to get as soon as possible.

Chapter 3?:

A new speaker means a new paragraph.

She possessed Asriel, who became Flowey, and then she possessed me.

That…doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why would Asriel be so elated that Chara’s back in the merciless route if they were sharing a body the whole time?

She is the one who was first able to rewind the timelines.

No they weren’t. Chara doesn’t have their own determination, they leech off of Frisk.

TROUGH

Through.

The worst thing was how you remembered him enjoying your tears and seeing you in pain. When you screamed for him to stop or begged him for mercy, it seemed to urge him on rather than stop him. He had been messed up even then.

Where is this coming from? He doesn’t seem at all sadistic or even angry in that battle, and he definitely doesn’t enjoy it. He even sounds genuinely sad when he offers to spare you. If Sans’ altered personality is supposed to be part of the AU, you should have telegraphed that earlier; but even then, you’re basically writing an original character at that point.

You had deserved it at the time; you had killed everyone he held dear.

Except the argument Frisk made a few paragraphs ago is that she wasn’t in control then. You’re flip-flopping on if Frisk shares responsibility or if it was total possession. That’s an important distinction, so it’s one you should really nail down with more clarity.

I’m also confused as to how Frisk got the proper pacifist ending and not the corrupted one. Were they always able to reset before Chara destroyed the world?

One By One

This one is actually good and I highly highly recommend you read it first. It’s long, though.

He glanced down at Frisk’s knuckles, which were covered in sunset-colored bruises.

Hm. While this works well for the story, in canon it does seem like Frisk’s physical state doesn’t carry over — their HP is healed for instance. You can always handwave it, but this is something that jumped out to me.

Every time you pull that trick,” his voice dropped an octave, “those resets,” his voice lightened again, “I don’t get the privilege of remembering what happened. Memories can’t survive. But, with a little work,” he produced the memo pad from his hoodie, “other things can.”

You’re generally writing dialogue correctly, but you’re tripping up on one of the most obscure rules: interrupting a sentence with a non-speaking verb. The interruptions are independent sentences, so you can’t string them together like you can for speech tags. To the best of my knowledge, the correct form seems to be a dash either inside or directly outside of the quotes. So the correct form would look like [Every time you pull that trick –” His voice dropped an octave. “– those resets –” His voice lightened again.] or [Every time you pull that trick”–His voice dropped an octave–“those resets”–His voice lightened again–], take your pick.

And hm, while this interpretation does have backing in canon, he clearly can remember some stuff, since he counts Chara’s deaths in the no mercy route down to the exact number. Mere intuition and people-reading skills can’t account for that level of specificity. Personally, I think the evidence points to him remembering reloads but not resets.

Undyne had Alphys in an amiable headlock and, in an inspired move, was giving Sans’ bunny ears bunny ears.

This is perfect.

until suddenly, everything ends

Is that accurate in this chain of events, though? I always assumed that “everything ends” was referring to Chara destroying the world, since that’s clearly an event on a greater scale than a normal reset (and has permanent consequences on the timeline). If Frisk never goes for the murder route, it should probably look more like endless splitting and looping rather than convergence to oblivion, or something. Unless “everything ends” is supposed to refer to a reset; it is pretty vague.

Otherwise I might have to re-think that promise I made.

What would killing Frisk accomplish, though? The reason he tries to kill Chara is to force a reset. There’s no real way for him to actively prevent Frisk from resetting, and antagonizing Frisk is probably just going to backfire in that regard.

This is really well-written. I’m interested to see where it goes.

Chapter 5

Wow. I normally couldn’t give less of a crap about Gaster, and here you have me getting misty-eyed over him. Well done.

As everyone else has said, this whole chapter was excellently done. You’re very good at putting in little details, like Frisk making sure to grab the snowman piece.

Chapter 7

Clever use of Chekhov’s guns here. I didn’t expect the stick to be that important. I also didn’t expect the eye flame, though in retrospect Sans’ line was blindingly obvious foreshadowing.

Chapter 8

Yay, good end. This is the best “save Asriel” story I’ve seen, and quite probably the best fanfic I’ve seen in this entire category. And I’ve read lots of fanfics in this category.

But hm… I’m not sure about how you handled Chara. I’m glad you didn’t go the poor innocent woobie route, but the resolution felt very convenient and abrupt. It’s just, welp, their role in the story is over, time to die now. It’s not very clear to me why they suddenly want to commit suicide when they spent so long fighting to stay alive. Like, “I made my choice long ago,” says the person who defied the laws of time and space through sheer force of will in order to stubbornly cling to life for a millennium? I guess the main problem is that it’s never quite clear what Chara wants, because their behavior is so creepy and alien. Is the idea supposed to be that they genuinely want to stay with Asriel, but they can’t leave the Underground, so if Asriel leaves there’s no point in sticking around? I don’t see why they couldn’t just stay in Asriel’s body… (And that also doesn’t account for the fact they’re willing to kill Asriel without batting an eye in the omnicide route, but the omnicide route doesn’t happen here so I guess you can handwave that as driving Chara to be even worse than normal.)

I also think the kids are being too hard on themselves! I’m normally an intentionalist when it comes to morality, but when time travel comes into play, I think functionalism is more appropriate. They may have hurt people in past timelines, but those timelines don’t persist; this is the only true version of reality, so any mistakes they made before are void. Under that model, resetting is only really bad if people can remember it or if Frisk keeps doing it for eternity.

Chapter 9

One by one, those regrets build on us, and weigh us down.

Aha, title drop!

He turned and saw Asriel as the mouth of the cave.

Typo.

The extra-dimensional phone Alphys had given to Frisk had been confiscated, destroyed, and replaced by Toriel, after she’d learned that the two of them were using it to smuggle an entire convenience store’s worth of snacks.

Beautiful. This is such a kid thing to do.

“Godspeed, little buddies. Your parents can kill me, but they can’t make me care”

Why is everything always so wonderful?

Boss Monsters

Hmm. This isn’t capitalized in the game (see the pre-final battle cutscene for proof), so I don’t think it should be capitalized here.

Thank you so much for the first scene. I have many Thoughts about Asgore and Toriel and this agreed with basically all of them. I particularly like that she doesn’t forgive him and remarry, as so many fics seem to think is inevitable. I felt the fact that she didn’t forgive him in the ending of Undertale was really important, and bucked an unsettling trend in media where love is supposed to be eternal and solve everything, especially when it comes to women. Their talk here felt raw and powerful, and accurate to both their characters.

[Deleted

You’re making a lot of mistakes in sentence construction. I would recommend getting a beta reader and reading up on comma usage.

a hesitant, albeit blessing from the humans

I think you may have mixed up some words here. I can’t parse this.

Chapter 1: Sun Rise

Is the break intentional? Normally it’s “sunrise”, one word.

all the anime princess’ they

You don’t need an apostrophe here, but you do need a plural. So it would be “princesses”.

Humans

Are not proper nouns and should not be capitalized.

He yelled suddenly with excitement

Who is “he”? I know it’s obvious from context, but you still need to establish this explicitly.

Everyone cast a glare in his direction and he blushed

You’re missing a period here.

“Light.” Frisk said

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

“Go?” Frisk questioned.

“Questioned” is what police do. The connotations are roughly equivalent to “interrogated”. Be careful about what speech verbs you use; make sure they actually fit the situation, and aren’t just there for variety. “Asked” would work fine here.

Asgore aided

Similarly, I don’t understand what “aided” is supposed to mean here. Nonstandard speech verbs draw attention to themselves and slow the reader down; don’t use them if you don’t intend that.

Sorry it is so short

If you’re aware it’s too short, it’s probably a better idea to wait until you’ve written more instead of apologizing for it. You don’t have a deadline, remember; you can keep working on your opening as long as you have to. And you should put a lot of effort into your opening, since you need it to hook your readers. Right now, I can’t be terribly invested in this story, because I have no idea where it’s going or what makes it unique. When writing first chapters, you should try to keep writing until you can at least introduce the story’s unique hook. (Simply reformatting the story so that it starts at the hook is better, but that might not always be easy or possible.)

Undertale: Ruins of the Past

Monsters

Are not proper nouns and therefore should not be capitalized.

many of the world’s scientist

You forgot a plural here.

and assisted with catching up humanity on the technology she had developed in the Underground

This seems a bit off, to me. She was working purely off of old junk and scrap, so shouldn’t her tech be behind that of the human world at large? Her main advances had to do with soul and determination research, which may well have been a completely different branch of technology rather than something humans merely have to “catch up” on. And if humans have done their own soul research, that’s a pretty important detail that warrants more comment than a single throwaway line.

It helped that monsters were all very nice and empathetic.

That seems a bit too quick of a generalization to make. What about Muffet? Or all the monsters who can hurt people unintentionally, like Vulkin?

The first paragraph of this chapter is unnecessary, as it’s just recounting information your audience already knows. Just noting that your protagonist is aware of the monsters’ return is enough. In general, this reads more like a summary than a story, which doesn’t make for particularly interesting reading. Common writing advice is “show, don’t tell” — this kind of summary is all tell and no show. It would be much more interesting for you to work in the relevant details organically through your slice-of-life story — show what living with monsters is like and how it affects everyday life, with the protagonist divulging relevant backstory information when it comes up. That sort of thing.

You’re also right that this is too short for a first chapter. You had the right idea posting both chapters simultaneously, but I think it would be a better idea to fuse your first two chapters together. The first chapter is supposed to hook your reader, but currently it just bombards the reader with a bunch of unnecessary facts and only briefly touches on your main hook at the very end; that’s not very conducive to reader investment.

Chapter 2

You’d climb down where Frisk fell and retrace their steps.

Just how much detail did Frisk give to the public? Knowing the exact location where they fell seems too specific, especially since Frisk probably wouldn’t have been paying attention to exactly where it was on the mountain.

You didn’t have a car, so you just rode with the moving van.

I’m…not sure how legal that is, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now. And I presume you’ll explain this at some point, but why doesn’t the driver notice or care that they’re parentless?

“Of living next to Monsters.” he clarified.

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

The gaps between your paragraphs are too large — this is especially glaring with your dialogue. From what I can tell, there’s something wrong with your paragraph tags that’s automatically adding space after every paragraph break. Did you write this in the vexatious monstrosity that is the most recent Microsoft Word? That thing creates paragraph buffering automatically and getting rid of it is a nightmare. Try writing your chapters in LibreOffice, or Notepad++, and see if that fixes it. Copying the text into raw HTML rather than Rich Text should also do it.

You turn your head to ask what he meant, but you blacked out. […] You came to your senses outside of the town. You hadn’t really fallen unconscious. You just were suddenly there, with all of your stuff unloaded.

And You doesn’t find anything weird about this at all? o_O If I experienced sudden memory dissociation like that I’d be panicking, especially if I suspected someone did it to me on purpose.

Speaking of the mover, he was nowhere to be seen. Your bag of clothes, your laptop, and your backpack full of schooling stuff. All because you wanted to research a cave didn’t mean you wanted to drop out of school, after all!

You seem to have dropped a sentence or a clause here. There has to be a transition between the first sentence and the second.

You layed down

You want “laid”, not “layed”. The latter is not a word.

You switch to past tense for this entire paragraph. I know it’s kind of tricky since you’re mostly recounting backstory, but try to pay attention to what narration is happening in the present, like [You opened your front door, and quickly dropped everything off.]

You don’t need to lock your door here. No one here would stoop to theft.

That’s… pretty idealistic. Try not to make the town into the location equivalent of a Mary Sue.

You suppress a giggle as you imagine Asgore’s horns scratching up the door. The secretary is a human girl.

You need a transition here.

As your reading

You’re. “Your” is the possessive.

“yeah, it’s pretty great.

Nitpicky, but if you’re writing an all lowercase Sans, shouldn’t you be writing an all uppercase Papyrus to match? (Personally though, I’d recommend just writing them normally; the quirks are more distracting in prose than in game.)

Overmyth

Asriel wasn’t sure what was going on, all he knew was that he was scared.

This is a comma splice. You need to either split this sentence in two, or replace the comma with a semicolon.

Your sentence construction is wonky in general. I would recommend you get a beta reader and read up on comma usage.

In a sudden burst of static some of the shapes gathered

What shapes?

“…there’s a goat under the table”

You’re writing dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part is considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking to themselves, which is confusing to the reader.

“The more time passed the more that person weakened until they fell. We floated for a moment, they were shivering and sobbing. I wanted to help them; I really did…so I approached.

But it was too late. They…turned into dust. They died”

Also, when you’re breaking up a long speech into multiple paragraphs, you don’t end the quote until the whole thing is finished, but you do need to include a new start quote at the start of every new paragraph.

But it felt so…alive.

How would they know that just from a single prod? It might make more sense to use a word like “looked” or “seemed” here.

What reaction will it have when it sees it’s in an unknown place? They aren’t prepared to deal with a scared creature.

Your tenses are drifting here. Remember to keep everything in past tense. Alternatively, switching the whole story to present might work better if you want to use a stream of consciousness style like this.

9th, 201X

No month?

“ReallY?”

Seems you made a typo here.

This seems interesting, especially the white-out bits, but it’s impossible to appreciate that when I’m distracted by so many technical errors. You should proofread more thoroughly, and get a beta reader to help you on the aspects of grammar you have trouble with.

This Human Practice of Couchsurfing

This is cute. Though Dave is awfully blase about drawing blood in a spar!

*through*

Why’d you do this instead of italic tags, though?

4 Comments

  1. illhousen says:
    “Now, a Chara/Asriel roleswap, that might be interesting.”

    Hmmm… Well, it’s interesting to ponder, at least. Would Asriel be particularly different in Chara’s place, though? Still soulless, probably absent in the Pacifist run, probably similar enough to Chara for most of the Genocide run.

    Chara, on the other hand, I can see behaving differently. Flowey seemed to be more interested in messing with people than actively killing them, while Chara is all about murdering you in your face. So I can see them going around searching for monsters weak enough for them to kill instead of watching the Ruins and talking to Papyrus. That could be an interesting butterfly to play with as suddenly there is a serial killer flower on the loose, so quite a few characters would be dealing with it rather than Frisk. Undyne comes to mind immediately, Asgore would most likely be involved as well, Toriel depends on whether or not she’s aware of it in the Ruins, etc.

    Oh, and if they manage to kill one of the previous kids and get their hands on a soul, well…

    “Also, if you were wondering what this fic was a response to, now you know. This is the first of its kind as far as I can tell, but it’s far from the only one.”

    And now I know. To be honest, Farla’s fic flew over my head the first time I read it, and I thought it to be a macabre joke. Thankfully, Ember has informed me of the context, though I didn’t read the fics of this type until now because, seriously.

    “I believe this marks our first introduction to “Underfell”, an
    unfathomably stupid grimdark edgelord AU where everyone is evil but
    Flowey is good because [not found].”

    Oh, hey, I’ve stumbled upon one of these! It was a fic about Frisk sprouting flowers on their body with each reload. The premise seemed curious enough to spare an hour or two (I mean, Frisk who can legitimately pass for a monster, that’s going to change the dynamic), but the summary said it was loosely based on Underfell, and I didn’t know what it was, so I did some digging around.

    And… yeah. You know, I normally enjoy Mirror AUs. It can be fun to reimagine heroes as villains and vice-versa. It prompts you to think about their personalities and what choices would reshape their morality, it often exposes interesting things about how protagonist and antagonist powers are constructed, etc.

    However, I have to say this: Undertale is uniquely unsuited for this kind of thing. Because, well, it kind of already is a Mirror AU to standard RPGs, as was discussed before, especially in the Genocide route. A lot of characters are fairly archetypal for the genre, but portrayed much more sympathetically, and Chara, of course, stands for your regular MC with consequences of their actions acknowledged by the narrative for once and monsters making a desperate last stand against them that’s not going to work thanks to save scamming.

    Trying to switch it all back just produces a regular RPG plot, which is dreadfully boring and kinda misses the point of the game entirely.

    1
    1. Mini-Farla says:
      That could be an interesting butterfly to play with as suddenly there is a serial killer flower on the loose, so quite a few characters would be dealing with it rather than Frisk.

      Yes, exactly! One thing I found unsatisfying about Undertale was that there was never a true antagonist causing trouble. You are basically the closest thing there is to one, but not only can you choose to not be, if that’s a hard choice for you you’re engaging with the story wrong. For a story in a non-interactive medium, it’s much more interesting to approach pacifism from a different angle: sure, you’re invincible, but what about all these innocent bystanders? How well does your bright-eyed idealism hold up when the villain is hurting other people, not just you? What happens when you really do encounter a relentless killer? That possibility’s teased by Flowey at the end of the Ruins, but it’s an empty threat in the game itself.

      So of course no one does that because all the fandom cares about is skelebro angst and cult pamphlets about how Chara was actually a perfect cinnamon roll. It’s a real shame too, because one of the few movements that looked like it was getting traction in the early days was oppression fic about Frisk dealing with anti-monster racism, and that would have been perfect for taking pacifism to the next level. Unfortunately, all the ones I found seemed to have flamed out before they got anywhere.

      1
      1. illhousen says:
        Hm, yes. I wasn’t exactly bothered by it since I liked to experience a world where all conflicts can be solved by applying sufficiently large amounts of diplomancy, but it’s certainly an interesting direction for fanfiction to take.

        Fanfics as a medium are very good for things that didn’t have enough room in the original work but would be interesting to explore thematically all the same.

        Also, yes about the skelebro angst. I didn’t care much about Sans to begin with. Not for any particular reason, I’m not even annoyed by him, he just didn’t click with me like other characters. And I continue to not care much about him in fics.

        I would actually like to see a horror story about Gaster, complete with reality slowly breaking, people being erased and the remaining ones poorly filling the gaps (that’s your roleswap mechanic, right there, only they would fill more than one role because there is not enough people left) and mindfucks flying everywhere as he attempts to reconnect with reality or merely causing it all because he’s already here even though he shouldn’t be.

        So then, let’s start a story with Papyrus’ comment about how he’s only a dozen followers away from double digits. This is not a joke.

        Instead, he’s used as, well, you know.

    2. Mini-Farla says:
      Oh, whoops, I forgot to talk about Underfell. Yeah, that’s basically my thoughts on it, and the worst thing is it’s not even a proper Mirror AU. That at least might provide some interesting insight into character traits, but people seem more interested in cobbling together grimdark slasher film cliches and slapping canon character names on them.

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