What does it take to be the best MMA fighter in the world?
For Nik Torsten, it takes an adventure into the dark and occasionally bizarre world of Japanese fighting organizations. It takes a journey through love, hate, brutality, otherworldly beings and heartbreakingly hard decisions. Not much is clear, except for one thing: The life of a fighter is never easy.
But then again, nothing worth fighting for is ever easy.
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If BltNanox is a boxer, then 'Diaries of a Fighter' is his punch—fast, precise, and makes your jaw drops. Few stories with pacing this fast are good reads, but Diaries of a Fighter isn't just good; it's phenomenal.
We follow the story of a Dutch guy from his starting point as a nobody to the top, assumingly the Yamato Damashi tournament in Japan. The character is believable and is totally someone I can vibe with: a person with a passion and a determination to live up to that passion. Because of the very fast pacing, the side characters aren't as fleshed out, but I don't mind as long as the main character is great. Some of the dialogues are very good, like the 'dojo' dialogue.
One thing I think is interesting is we haven't learned the name of the main character yet. It provides some anonymity and makes it feel like an actual diary. The book reads a lot like a diary, a memoir of some sort, and that gives it a particular appeal.
Something I think can be done better is more description in scenes where the author should raise the stakes, for example, the fight scene, the train scene... these scenes are the scenes with high emotional impact, so I think more descriptions of the actual fight, maybe the surrounding space, more spatial information, more sound, more inner thoughts etc. Also, he can give more time on interactions with Peter, maybe with mom and his sister. It's optional though.
It is a really intresting and nice novel. Though there aren't many chapters yet, I think it has the potential to something great.
Also, the grammar isn't bad. It's easy to understand what the author is trying to convey. So, give it a try, you might like it.
Well, depends how the story turned out later, I might change my review. Let's hope it's for the best.
I mean, like, the author writing a fake email into the story to build up the plot from a new perspective. It is heavily under-used in the fiction world, and I truly am happy to see people using it at any level. Sure, the other parts of the style could be worked on a small bit. Pacing right now is the main issue which I could see.
Other than that it seems fine enough. A bit clunky at times but not enough to get angry about. 4/5 for now
This is a story about a fallen fighter trying to pick himself up again. To demonstrate the fall, the first chapter is a bit on the info dumpy side, but I like the actual fight. The introspection afterwards as he picked himself up and tries to start a new life in Japan is very emotionally immersive, perhaps the author pouring a bit of his soul into it.
The setting in Japan, as well as the experiences of the main character in trying to find his way there, finding work, the relationships, are well written. I could really feel the struggles of the main character.
On the grammer side, there are a few typos and errors in dialogue structure but they don't really take me out of the story. The writing is easy to read, although I would've preferred to have some more personality to the writing since the author has demonstrated that he can inject emotion to scenes.
Onto the problem with the story, it is slow paced storywise as well as release wise. From the synopsis, we can see that the hooks are joining the Japanese fighting organization (Yamato Damashi) and other wordly beings. Neither of those have happened in the story as of Ch. 18; the MC is still finding ways to join the Japanese fighting world while there are only hints of other worldy beings. There are barely any fights, which should be the main selling point of this story. This is compounded with the release rate of short chapters
I truly am interested in the story, and I believe it has great potential. I hope the author works on this more, but it is good to give this a try.
I've read the first chapter od Diaries of a Fighter, and I must say, the author has a clear idea of his character. I know nothing about MMA fighting, but it does seem the author knows a thing or two, which is refreshing. Nothing seems unbelievable or "over-the-top", which you can find a lot in action fiction, unfortunately. So much of the time are MCs perfect, knowing exact what to do and how to do it, with a flawless execution. Not the MC. Though arrogant and made out to be perfect in the beginning, that big head of his is soon deflated, which is a nice touch, even if it was predictable--not in a bad way, though. I assume the reader is supposed to know the MC loses this fight to set him on his journey for the rest of the story.
Style: The narrative is told in first person, and the MC's voice does shine through. It's easy to read, I wasn't tripping of the stylistic choice.
Grammar: I didn't see any issues with grammar in this first chapter.
Story: This is my only gripe with chapter one. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I don't think it deserves less than 3 stars because I understand this chapter's intention; however, not many readers will enjoy reading an entire chapter of backstory, let alone the very first chapter. Though nothing but backstory, it's still engaging to keep you reading to find out how it all plays. Even if you're meant to expect the MC to fail, you want to know how, and after reading chapter one, you'll want to know why and what happens next.
I like reading stories that place you into the story and sprinkle backstory here and there, and I think this story would've been fine with that method: placing the reader in the moment after the fight or months later--what have you--peppering in exposition so the reader understands what happened, rather than using the first chapter to tell the reader what happened (though it does show you how the fight played out, and I extremely enjoyed that. You got a piece of the MC's thoughts--panicked, aware they know better but unaware to react accordingly. It was such a nice touch). I think I craved more story than backstory for a first chapter, something to put me into the current situation, rather than the past, since I don't know the characters yet, so hearing backstory doesn't make me feel much for them yet.
Character: you're introduced to a few characters, but only the MC really stands out. He's cocky, arrogant, self-absorbed...the typical characteristics of someone on a win-streak. I'm never a fan of characters like this; however, it's meant to be this way. The reader is supposed to see how the MC was and compare him to how he is after, and it's a good starting point. As stated above, though, much of it is very tell-y rather than engaging. The MC is simply telling you rather than the reader getting to see much of it themselves. I can appreciate a character that starts off as an asshole only to be knocked down a few pegs and learn a hard lesson about life.
Overall: I craved something more out of chapter one, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good chapter for what it's meant to be. Many, many people expect something different from a first chapter, but just know that you're getting nothing but backstory to set you up for upcoming chapters. It's written well-enough, not clunky or hard to read, engaging regardless of being backstory, and leaves you with a hook that makes you want to know what happens after, makes you want to know where the MC will end up because his dreams are already dashed and he made a fool out of himself, especially after being so cocky.
So, just for the record, this isn't the kind of story I'd normally read on RR (ie. fantasy). That being said, I'd rate this as an above average in terms of how well it's written. I don't see any issues with grammar. And the sentence structure is actually varied, which is a nice change. A lot of stories are just, "I did this. I did that. Then I did this." etc. This story uses fragments, interjections, clauses, etc. in interesting ways. So all said and done, it's well written.
I don't know if this counts as a "sports" story, but if it is, I'd have to say it's kind of... anti-climatic? Except for the first fight, which was interesting btw as a hook, there hasn't been a whole lot happening plotwise it feels. You're basically 50 pages in, and he still hasn't joined the Yakuza yet, which was the whole premise of the summary. Now, don't get me wrong. This would be perfect as a slice-of-life or something. The characters are funny, Emile especially, even the brief glance at Nik's sister is funny with the email. But I guess I'd be expecting more... fighting? Strategizing about the sport? Random Yakuza stuff? If I was just a random reader, I'd say I'd lost interest somewhere around the bar scene with the three girls.
My overarching impression is that, characters are interesting, writing is above average, narrative is deep/psychological, but plot is meh. Obviously your story, but maybe something like, Nik goes to Japan, randomly meets someone, gets into fight, finds out he's actually a Yakuza member, conflict ensues when he later tries to join said Yakuza. Or something like that might be more interesting plotwise. Anyways, just my two-cents. Best of luck writing!
BitNanox has a good plot here. I can sense some familiarity with the material, so I would guess the author has spent time in Japan and knows their way around some martial arts, or at the very least has done some reasonable research.
My main point of criticism is that the story moves far too quickly, glossing over important points of character and motivation that leave the plot feeling disconnected from the people involved in it.
The style is sparse to a fault. There's little in the way of sensory description or of the internal life of the MC and the author seems keen to move as rapidly as possible from one plot point to the next.
It's fine, but unimaginative. I would tentatively guess that BitNanox isn't writing in their native language.
The strong point of this fiction is a compelling plot with an interesting arc. A gaijin finding his way into an elite mixed martial arts tournament via working in a high-end butler cafe is... well, it's original.
The weakest point is the disconnection between the reader and the MC's motivations and perceptions. The first few chapters rush through Nik's rise and fall and brush over his near-suicide with barely a sentence of self-reflection. And before we know it, he's flexing for giggling Japanese students. Opportunities to address how his damaged ego is deconstructed by the experience of trying to survive in an alien culture are ignored, as is the re-building of the ego through the unconventional context of the butler cafe. Even at the very start of the story, his build up to his first pro fight is glossed over.
A terrific and original idea for a narrative arc is let down by an author rushing through important character development and the establishment of an underpinning appreciation for motivation. But if BitNanox were to use the fiction (when finished) as the framework for a longer, more considered piece of writing, I think this has enormous potential.