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Redstar
September 3rd, 2009, 03:15 PM
Alright. Here's my entry for the SWC, and I'm excited to show it off as my first example of writing for you all.

As I said in the Lounge, I started off with no direction and simply let my fingers type as they pleased until inspiration hit, which occurred near the end of the introductory paragraphs. I went with that until the very end, adding a paragraph here or there until I was done... Then I went backed and re-did the entire second part, switched out the villain for another as well as the message of the piece, and it came out like this.

Not sure what else to say, so, comments, questions, and constructive criticism is appreciated. Hope you all enjoy it. =D

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Time is a beast and life is its prey. The Big Bang was the first true deception. It slowly tiptoed outward, ebbing just a few more slight inches each millennia with the promise of 'This is it; no farther, promise.' Then, before Nothingness could realize what was happening, the fatal blow was delivered and chaotic stillness was replaced with the far more chaotic existence of a universe that moved.

In the millions of years since that first war of gods, matter and energy had formed and brought planets and stars crashing into the darkness. Unfortunately, they were fruitless seeds. The Big Bang had sown them throughout the void and promised life to satiate the hunger of its ally, Time. Yes, Time had devoured nothingness for a prey far more delectable: life.

But no life had yet sprung up.

What was to be done? Nothing. Nothing could be done. A story doesn't begin when forced; it must happen on its own, beginning when that single character shouts "Enough!" at the world and delivers it. The same was done now, with the beginning of life in a universe destitute of the tools required for it.

Finally, many, many years later, it happened. An infinity-to-one chance against occurred, sparking one chemical at another and that at another and that at yet another until it could not be stopped. The empty homes long ago built in preparation for life now had tenants. The planets had fostered children.

Here is one of those children now. A blue-faced boy with the name of Red. He lies stiffly on the ground, gasping for breath yet none would come. It was only moments more until Life took another snack.

His hands swung around, infantiley searching out the red-and-white spheres scattered just out of reach. An easy task for even the youngest babes, but just following a battle leaving him weak, and oxygen so few his brain was seconds from ever sparking orders to its body, it was a burden no man but Atlas could bear on his shoulders.

He lay limp. Time had won out. There was nothing left but to pick at the flesh.

But is this the end? Of course not. It's not even the beginning. Do you see anyone shouting "Enough!" at the world? You don't? Then let's go back to when that happened and move on from there...

Another boy, this one named Blue and with cheeks blistering red, huddled against a rock. He attempted to cover his face from the pelting ice shards with his cape, but succeeded only in losing balance and falling to his hands. The snow instantly burned his palms in their intense coolness.

He knelt that way for a few moments, letting the snow chill his hands to the bone and the hail blizzard from above. He was almost entirely covered in snow now, but he let it.

Still he remained as he was, letting the snow and ice consume him like a tomb. The weight of it pushed onto his back, gravity demanding to win out against human disobedience. If only for a few moments longer, Blue would have gladly submitted. Instead he thrust upward and let the snow fall around him, leaving only loose powder on his cape.

He looked upward, nearly blinded in the pure whiteness. In what seemed like miles, but was only a few short yards, flew Articuno. The shimmering blue tail trailed behind it, revealing the otherwise invisible creature. In only a few short moments it disappeared from vision into the white noise around him.

The sentry gone, Blue continued. It was an arduous task climbing this mountain without help from a Pokémon. But he was used to it. He often pressed his body on and trained himself as hard as he trained his Pokémon. In any case, using a Pokémon in these conditions would seriously weaken them for what lay ahead, as well as put him at risk for being sighted. Instead, he applied his mind to body and warmed himself with sheer thought and determination. He'd have to do this part himself.

Nearly a half an hour later, after many brief stops and mental warmings, he arrived at the crown of the mountain. The cliff face would now be too vertical to climb, especially with snow pelting down on his head. He began to shuffle around the snow, moving sideways when he had to. Before long he saw the gentle flickering of light shining onto the snow. At once he began to creep much slower, slow enough that in layers of snow he was barely moving at all.

When Blue finally made it to the lip of the entrance, he didn't hesitate to enter. He'd already placed his hands to the mountain wall and felt no movement inside. He took his cape off, shaking it to remove the powder and clumps of ice, then wrapped it around him once again.

Time was against him. He wished he could move on immediately, but he'd pressed on much too hard in the snow and now had to take a few minutes to warm himself. Finding a crevice inside the cave wall, he fell into it and relaxed only slightly to allow himself to recover.

Why was he here? It was a journey that pushed him harder than before; had nearly killed his Pidgeot in pressing so fast in flight. And that was only a fraction of what was yet to come. So why was he here? Why did he risk it all, when he could have remained as gym leader and let the others take care of it? That he didn't know.

His grandfather, Professor Oak, had merely told him that Red was missing; Brock, Misty, and Erika had investigated, and come back with only a location and injuries that left them bed-ridden.

Blue was odd-man out. His position as gym leader was a hand-out, a consolation prize for being Champion all of one day. He knew that and it sickened him.

He wasn't even accepted as gym leader. There was much more to being a gym leader than handing out badges, yet he didn't know what that was. The Old Guard, the seven that had come before him and the eight in Johto, kept something from him. Blue quivered as the cold melted from his frame. And from anger.

His grandfather may not have known what secret the gym leaders held, but he did know far more than he told his grandson. After his Pokédex errand and being casually tossed to the side, discarded like a parent ignores the child of their spouse's affair, he'd grown used to being left out. Despite it, Blue thrived. He'd become a strong trainer with Pokémon hardened by environment and battle. He was odd-man out, yes, but he'd become better because of it.

He stood up, the cold pushed from his bones and his face returned to its pale color. He peeked from the crevice then emerged, entering further into the stone corridor. Why was he here? To prove he was worth something. From deep in his heart and mind, he bellowed 'Enough!'. And the world would know that soon enough.

* * *

Blue leaned from the mouth of the cave, letting his eyes wander over the valley below. A vast jungle filled the innards of the mountain. In the center of it all lay crumbling ruins built centuries ago in by a people long-gone.

Guyana, thought Blue.

It seemed like days since his Pidgeot had first touched down in a clearing of the wild South American jungle. He had trekked quickly and silently through the mass of living plant, first bombarded with humid heat then as the miles went by dropping temperature. By the time he reached the base of the mountain he was surrounded by falling snow... Gentle and breathless at first, then deadly as his journey took him up and up. Articuno had done its job well.

His eyes followed the pyramidal structure skyward until they fell on a creature perched at the very top. Its yellow wings shook lazily, fighting off atrophy and sending out webbed sparks. Zapdos, the thunder-bird.

Blue didn't question its presence. Professor Oak had prepared him with what he might encounter. And now, far off ahead of him, rested Zapdos. Its job was obvious: creating an electrical field to prevent Articuno's frost from spilling its destruction into the valley below. Someone was protecting the jungle itself. But who and why?

He had no time to figure it out. Instead he turned and ventured back into the tunnel, creeping down an alternate corridor and entering the depths of the mountain still further.

The tunnel was nearly pitch-black. Only Blue's adjusted eyes and a guiding hand kept him from getting completely lost. He wished he could use his Arcanine's flame, but that would be far too risky. His own presence was risk enough.

He continued on, walking further and further down into the mountain. The declining grade would have been barely perceptible to most, but Blue felt the subtle steepness and knew it wouldn't be long before he was in the bowels of the mountain base.

An hour later he began to feel gentle vibrations in the walls. Thirty minutes more, voices in the air. Until now Blue's descent downward had been slow and careful, but at the indication of a coming confrontation he started to go still slower.

Finally, a ball of light flickered around the next bend. Pressing himself to the wall, Blue advanced. The light grew brighter as he drew nearer to the opening it emitted from. So did the voices.

"...many things you don't yet know, and never will." The voice was that of a man, strong and charismatic. He'd never heard it before, but knew he would never forget it after this day.

"You have come far," he continued, "and discovered much on your quest to fill your Pokémon encyclopedia... But the real truth, the reason behind it all will escape you and that old man that put you up to it."

Then, "I'll figure it out. I'm here, aren't I? I'm closer than anyone has been in thousands of years..." That voice! Blue jerked. It was Red's, right there in the next room talking to some unknown person.

What was he to do? This close to the person he had come to save, yet who knew how far from actually doing it? He could not risk making any sudden moves. Everything had to be planned. Everything had to be accounted for. If he and Red were to make it out alive, he would have to be ready for anything.

He took a deep breath and pressed himself against the rock wall, gently placing his fingertips to the stone. He closed his eyes and began breathing slowly, distantly from his nostrils. At last he pulled away. Five figures, two human and three Pokémon. The three Pokémon were Psychics, if the subtle vibrations they emitted into the ground beneath them was telling correct.

Blue sighed. Once he was in there, there was no going out. Not even with Teleportation. The Psychics would instantly feel the attempt and quash it before it was completed, possibly killing him in the process.

He had to have a plan. He began working through possible scenarios, considering some and dropping many others. Then he placed the Pokémon into the fold to see how they would play out. What did Red have? he asked. He thought over Red's usual team, looking for anything that could aid him when it was necessary. None stood out until he his eyes jerked open in realization. Espeon, he whispered.

I only have one shot at this. He slowly let his hand fall downward then pulled one of the Pokéballs from his belt. He held it close to himself, the image of Alakazam inside staring back. Closing his eyes, he placed the sphere to his forehead and began to think clearly and specifically. In response the Pokéball began to scan him, digitizing those thoughts and communicating them directly to the Pokémon within. Blue pulled away and looked at the Alakazam, which nodded in assent.

This was a feature given solely to gym leaders. The ability to plan out strategies non-verbally, to communicate every step before even releasing the Pokémon was something that gave any trainer an immediate advantage. And now, if he were to let Alakazam out and communicate the strategy in the open, it would surely be found out immediately by the Psychics in the next room. Blue was at once grateful for his position. It may be the key factor in winning.

He returned the ball to his belt. Slowly, he moved forward and entered the next room and his inevitable fate. He had a choice to make soon enough. He only hoped he would make the right one.

The chamber was larger than he expected, which felt only still larger with the few people within. He looked around and saw the five figures he'd sense before. Two Kadabra at opposite walls, one Mr. Mime at the center. Red stood off to his right, and before both of them sat a man.

His eyes fell on that man. He sat upon a ruined stone chair in the far center of the room. Elaborate hieroglyphs decorated the aged piece, sending Blue a feeling of timelessness. The man, however, was very much a mortal being. His dome was covered in short black hair, and he wore a black suit with only a single emblem of a leaf decorating the breast. The same emblem he as gym leader gave out after battles.

"What's this," the man spoke "another child come to fight me?" Blue instantly knew the man as his predecessor, the gym leader of Viridian City and leader of Team Rocket.

"Hardly," Blue responded, then, to Red, "What's the deal with Giovanni?"

"Basically, he wants to rule the world."

Giovanni chuckled. "Power? That's how you view it? What a simplistic view of a 9,000-year plan..."

"I did say 'basically'," quipped Red.

Giovanni stood up, walking forward a few feet then holding his arm out as if to prevent the seat he had just been sitting on. "Do you know what this is? The meaning behind it?" He lowered his arm, a sly smile on his lips. "This is the throne of creation, the cradle of all life in this world. Here once sat that ancient Pokémon, the source of all legends and truth, Mew."

"And from Mew I brought forth Mewtwo... No, you cannot simplify a 9,000 year plan into a mere gamble of power."

"Then how would you put it, Giovanni?" snapped Red.

Again, a smile curled Giovanni's lips as he sunk back into the stone chair with eyes closed.

"Time makes men of us all, you know... The entirety of human civilization started 9,000 years ago as naked men in the mud. Now look at us... Masters of a world that would otherwise condemn us to death by Pokémon."

He opened his eyes, shining an aura of charisma and dedication on the two trainers before him. "We have bided for so long, used time for our own, and now we are ready for the next step... Time makes men of us all, but for some... A select few, it makes gods."

Gods... Blue couldn't help but feel the sincerity in Giovanni's voice and feel the power that came with the ideas he expressed. Yes, man had come a long way from being hunted by Pokémon to now hunting Pokémon and battling them. In a way, we had become something more, something special. Maybe there was some truth to the former gym leader's words?

Red's voice interrupted his thoughts, shaking him back to the battle at-hand "I think that's our cue... We need to stop him for everyone's good."

"Right." At that Blue and Red dropped their hands to their belts, pulling one ball after another and releasing the Pokémon held within. Before long Blue was fortified by his Rhydon, Arcanine, Exeggutor, and Alakazam. Red had his Snorlax, Venusaur, Charizard, and Blastoise. Espeon sat casually at the back.

They started with Rhydon, Venusaur, and Charizard. All four charged at once, skillfully using their intense speed to drive close to Giovanni before releasing intense elemental blows. It was all they could hope to do, to overwhelm the psychic so that it couldn't react in time for each. At least one attack might hit and weaken it, giving them some place to start.

Fire, Grass, and Ground. Each arrived at a different angle. Then disappeared. The Pokémon themselves lay fainted against the stony wall. The Mr. Mime stood in front of Giovanni, while the two Kadabra remained at their posts with spoons raised.

The man gave an annoyed sigh. "You really thought you would engage me in a Pokémon battle? That saddens me, really... These Psychic Pokémon are not my expertise, but they were lent to me by someone trustworthy and will obey any command. Nothing you try will work."

Blue and Red stood dumbfounded. Their first strike had failed and the Pokémon carrying it gone. Not a single attack had met its mark.

Blue reacted immediately. "Exeggutor, attack!" he shrieked. The stout tree obeyed, stumbling forth at a speed none would believe. Palm leaves fell from its brow, drifting several inches before being launched with the force of a discus to
cut into the Mr. Mime.

Again, the attack failed. The leaves disappeared moments before impact. All that remained was a cracked egg against the floor, its yolk oozing slowly down the shell. The blue aura of a psychic field still vibrated around it, as if protecting the innards.

"What are you doing!" yelled Red. "You just saw what it can do, now you're wasting another Pokémon? Stop and think! We need to use our brains to get out of this." Blue glared at him.

"I don't see your Pokémon faring any better.""Because I'm not so stupid as to use them when we haven't figured something out yet."

"Red, Blue, listen," interrupted Giovanni. The Mr. Mime lowered its hands, standing idly while its master continued. “We can avoid this... You are both the most talented trainers I have come across in a very long time. Join me, and we can take our rightful place in this world."

"Look what I have accomplished so far. The titans of ice, fire, and thunder at my whim. They now control the very cradle of human existence. My scientists cloned Mew itself and taken the role of creator... Humanity is can only move forward, far past our origins and farther still than even any Pokémon could imagine. I no longer wish to play with the toys of deception and crime, but help the world."

"With all our talents we can do what has never been done before... What has long been denied us by the Legends. Believe me when I say that time has given us the opportunity, and we must use it." He finished, standing in calm patience for the decision of either of the two trainers. The choice was theirs.

Blue closed his eyes. His arms began to quiver as his hands locked into fists. This was the decision he knew he would have to make. It was far more than he expected.

Finally, he opened his eyes and his body became still. He slowly walked forward and forcefully punched Red in the face. The boy fell back, a look of surprise mixed with the blood streaming from his nose.

"Arcanine, attack!" screamed Blue. Red shuffled back, nearly having his throat ripped out before his Blastoise intercepted and protected its trainer.

"Blue, what are you doing!"

Blue looked away, arms crossed and eyes closed. His Arcanine stood before him, ready to jump with fangs bared. "I scaled this mountain in the middle of a blizzard to save your ass, just because my grandfather asked."

He spat at that, then continued. "You and your justice. You're the silent hero that gets into everything, sticking your nose out and sniffing out things to 'right' I'm sick of you coming out on top, making me look bad and everyone hate me."

"It was never like that!" argued Red. "I did what I had to and would have gladly had you by my side."

"No... You would never have done that. It's against your glory-hounds' nature. You refused Team Rocket three times. Well, this is my first offer and I'm taking it. Giovanni is right, and this time you wont be able to stop him."

At that his Arcanine leapt forward, using its greater speed to attack the Blastoise and avoid the type advantage. It jumped back and forth, hurling flames at the shell in an attempt to super-heat it, all the while narrowly missing blasts of pressurized water.

Several times the Arcanine was hit squarely in the side, steam sizzling off its fur and the beast yelping in pain before leaping away. Yet it continued on, battling for its master until the battle was decided.

It circled the enormous tortoise, dodging water even after being slowed. Blastoise grew dizzy after several twists and Arcanine jumped onto it, knocking it to its back. It immediately dealt severe scratches, tearing into the softer cartilage of the front and spewing flames into the shell itself. The Blastoise was now grounded, unable to get up.

All it could do was remain inside, feeling the heat pound against its tender flesh and hope for a command to come to its rescue.

"Hydro Pump!" Red yelled out. The two octagons burst open on the underside, revealing shiny cannons. Water began spraying out, the pressure building intensely until the Blastoise began skidding across the floor in mad circles.

Arcanine leapt off in response, landing on its paws prepared for further attack. Its eyes were squinted closed in dizziness, desperately hoping to shake it off before the Blastoise could right itself.

Both happened simultaneously. The Blastoise launched itself onto its feet and Arcanine opened its eyes, digging its paws into the ground in raw preparation. Blastoise opened its mouth. A slow gurgle sounded in the room, growing louder and louder. Finally, thick blotchy bubbles began to pour out and launch in a beam towards Arcanine.

Blue grinned. His hand went up and Alakazam rose, moving swiftly forward pass the two battling Pokémon. As it rounded the Blastoise, its arm flashed a jab into the stomach then almost imperceptibly went upwards towards still beaming mouth. It fell to the ground fainted. The Alakazam continued on without hesitation, moving closer and closer to Red.

The boy looked around in sheer panic, his eyes begging for help from his remaining Pokémon. They met only a fainted Snorlax with his own Espeon resting slyly on its stomach, tail twisting and turning in traitorous delight.

He looked forward just in time to see the Alakazam's palm slam into his face and push him to the ground. Sparks of psychic energy reverberated from the blow, indicating much more to the attack than physical force.

The Alakazam's hand slowly moved away, leaving Red on the ground, gasping and wheezing. His face began to turn blue as he struggled for breath. Blue walked up to him casually, looking him directly in the eyes before speaking.

"My Alakazam placed a psychic field around your head. In that tiny little sphere there is no air whatsoever. No matter how you move or try, real, fresh oxygen will always be one measly inch from your lips."

Red's eyes dilated even more at this. He tried swinging his arm around, searching in vain for his last Pokéball and the Pikachu within.

It was too late. Time had run out for this Pokémon master. His arms fell to his sides, his face blue and dripping wet.

Blue turned and walked away.

There was silence for a long while before Giovanni spoke. "The Mr. Mime tells me this was real... It sensed Red's mind and felt real terror, real dying. I wouldn't believe it without these three psychics to confirm it for me... You wasted a valuable tool for my plans, but I doubt he would have ever been willing."

Blue pressed his hand to face, wiping sweat from his brow. "Yes, it was hard, but all I have to do now is Teleport away."

"Teleport away? Why would you need to do that? We need to prepare; set the course for things. Even if you did attempt to leave my psychics would sense and stop any attempt."

Blue was calm. There was no reason for him to be scared or pressed for time now that he had finished what he set out for. "I'm leaving, Giovanni. I'm done here... I've removed your greatest obstacle, so grant me this."

A frown crossed Giovanni's lips for the first time. He began walking closer to Blue, his hands tucked into his suit pockets. "You don't understand, Blue. You cannot leave until things are too far along for any betrayal."

"No, I understand perfectly. Alakazam, Teleport."

Blue's Alakazam lifted its hand, the spoon slowly bending in attempt to teleport. Instantly, the Mr. Mime and two Kadabra acted in conjunction and shot a blast of psychic energy. At contact Alakazam faded away like heat in the distance.

"What!" hissed Giovanni. He turned back to Blue, angry at once. "What did you do! Where is it?"

Blue grinned. From behind his predecessor came a hissing, louder and louder until seconds later a sonic boom erupted from the broken Exeggutor egg. Within the shattered psychic field of the final egg came the real Alakazam, its arms raised. It lie dormant, hidden in the psychic shield of the egg from the probes of their enemy.

"Substitute!" screamed Giovanni. He rose his arm towards Blue and directed a spiral of psychic energy like a hurricane. But Blue was gone by the time it reached the spot he once stood. As were all the other Pokémon. And Red's body.

* * *

Blue stood in the fields of Pallet Town, a breeze shuffling his cape. He sat down with aching legs next to Red's body and couldn't help but shiver.

He looked over at the face, the cheeks blue from lack of oxygen and the eyes held open in fear. Blue had killed his old rival. But in the end he had saved him.

Leaning over, Blue took a knife from his pocket and slowly drew it towards Red's face. There was a hesitation at first before the knife finally cut through, popping the watery Blastoise bubble that encircled Red's head and allowing fresh air to fill the void.

He leaned back and gave a nod towards his Alakazam. The psychic released Red's mind from the illusion of being suffocated and restarted the body's functions at a level perceptible to the eye. Before long Red's chest was slowly moving up and down in unconscious breathing.

Soon enough Red would awaken. What would happened then Blue couldn't imagine. He'd manipulated Red's Espeon in helping him with the gambit. If Espeon had not removed Red's means of defense and used its psychic power to shield Exeggutor and Alakazam's actions, the plan would have fallen apart at the very beginning. Blue wondered if Red would understand. It was hard to know.

It was difficult decision, but Blue's job was to get Red out of there. Not stop Giovanni, not find out the truth, not anything but save Red. And he did, best he could manage. By tricking Giovanni. The leader of Team Rocket would still come after him soon enough, but they at least had the benefit of Red being thought dead.

And that was their chance. Without Giovanni actively seeking out Red, he could finish what he had set out to do. There was so little time and there would be none at all unless Red completed his mission.

So little time... Giovanni was right: time does make men of us all. But gods? Time stands would not. It stands still for no one. It takes life without mercy whenever it pleases, even the life of men like Giovanni.

No, time is only against humanity. If we lose this, all we can hope for is to become legends. And legends always die with time as well.

Bay Alexison
September 3rd, 2009, 03:21 PM
This is how I scored your work and also my reasons for it. I'm not a big fan of doing scores though because it's not that easy for me and I'm always wondering if I scored too high or too low. XD

Grammar:8/10
You don’t have much problems here, at least to me. ^^; There were a couple times where a sentence hasn't been doubled space, but I assume it’s while you’re trying to format the story in the PM, so yeah. :P

There have been a couple sentences though that caught me off guard.

Humanity is can only move forward, far past our origins and farther still than even any Pokémon could imagine.
Sounds awkward when I read it. Perhaps remove “is” to make the sentence sound less awkward.

There was another one, but can’t find it at the moment. >.>

Literary Elements (plot, setting, characterization, etc.): 8/10

Nice the readers get inside Blue’s mind during his hike up the mountains and to the tunnel. We get to know a bit about his thoughts on taking this mission of getting Red and his plan on how to go by that. Also, I can tell Blue is the person that likes to plan out stuff and knows what’s he doing (even with his Excecutor, which I thought he did it out of rashness until the end :P ).

I actually like how you put gym leaders are capable of thinking up plans and strategies with their Pokemon. Nice you differentiated between a normal trainer and a gym leader by mentioning that.

Haha, I thought Blue for sure is taking Giovanni’s offer and I’m like, “what?” So yeah, excellent twist at the end that Blue saves Red instead and makes Giovanni think Red died. :P

There are a couple quirms. One, the ending feels a bit unfinished. I guess it’s because I wished you expanded that part a bit, like have Red wake up and be surprised at what happen. Maybe also have the two talk a bit of what’s their next plan of action will be.

Another thing is I would think Giovanni would be suspicious why Blue took both the Pokemon and Red with him. I would. :P

Prompt:9/10
I actually love the monologue about time and how that relates to Giovanni’s speech about time making men out of them. The only thing that held me back from giving you a perfect score is I already explained how the ending felt unfinished.

Overall Score: 25/30

Redstar
September 3rd, 2009, 03:45 PM
This is how I scored your work and also my reasons for it. I'm not a big fan of doing scores though because it's not that easy for me and I'm always wondering if I scored too high or too low. XD

Grammar:8/10
You don’t have much problems here, at least to me. ^^; There were a couple times where a sentence has been doubled space, but I assume it’s while you’re trying to format the story in the PM, so yeah. :P

There have been a couple sentences though that caught me off guard.

Humanity is can only move forward, far past our origins and farther still than even any Pokémon could imagine.Sounds awkward when I read it. Perhaps remove “is” to make the sentence sound less awkward.

There was another one, but can’t find it at the moment. >.>
Skimming through there's a few instances of sudden words appearing or wrong tenses used, with the best example being in the second-to-last paragraph:
So little time... Giovanni was right: time does make men of us all. But gods? Time stands would not. It stands still for no one. It takes life without mercy whenever it pleases, even the life of men like Giovanni.I think what probably happened is when I went through and re-wrote large portions the old sentences sometimes were spliced into the new ones and I didn't catch it. I'm tempted to fix them, but I want to show exactly what I turned in and in the last example, I have no idea what I was going for.

Literary Elements (plot, setting, characterization, etc.): 8/10

Nice the readers get inside Blue’s mind during his hike up the mountains and to the tunnel. We get to know a bit about his thoughts on taking this mission of getting Red and his plan on how to go by that. Also, I can tell Blue is the person that likes to plan out stuff and knows what’s he doing (even with his Excecutor, which I thought he did it out of rashness until the end :P ).
I was originally going to tell the story from Red's perspective, but the very paragraph before I introduced him I decided to just kill him off and go with Blue... He's a character not given much interpretation (even Special doesn't do much but make him look "cool") and I wanted to show what someone like him would feel like to basically be second-place to Red no matter what.

I actually like how you put gym leaders are capable of thinking up plans and strategies with their Pokemon. Nice you differentiated between a normal trainer and a gym leader by mentioning that.
This is semi-inspired by the Special manga, with me wanting to place importance on the gym leaders, but I opted for making them fully capable. They have a purpose I hinted at, but decided not to tell in the end.

If you're curious about the Pokeball-mind-link thing, I kinda took that from Yellow's empathy with Pokemon. I figured it wouldn't be much of a leap in terms of technology considering everything else in the Pokemon world. (I think she even communicated with a Pokemon while it was in the Ball at one point)

There are a couple quirms. One, the ending feels a bit unfinished. I guess it’s because I wished you expanded that part a bit, like have Red wake up and be surprised at what happen. Maybe also have the two talk a bit of what’s their next plan of action will be.
Originally, I was going to have Blue think how Giovanni wasn't really that important; that he was a just a pawn. He is working for someone greater, but that would have made the ending even more threadless.

Another thing is I would think Giovanni would be suspicious why Blue took both the Pokemon and Red with him. I would. :P
That crossed my mind too, but I figured Giovanni would know the relationship between the two well enough that he would think Blue was going to give him a "warrior's burial" that a rival would. In any case, the Kadabra communicated to him that Red was *dead*, so there's no reason for him to think he's not. He could be suspicious, but all the *evidence* points otherwise.

Prompt:9/10
I actually love the monologue about time and how that relates to Giovanni’s speech about time making men out of them. The only thing that held me back from giving you a perfect score is I already explained how the ending felt unfinished.

Overall Score: 25/30
I think I ended it well enough for a one-shot, but there could have been more. Just there was a time-limit and introducing any more would have needlessly spoiled too much.

Thanks for the score. I'm glad that what I did was done well enough to merit an almost-perfect score, especially since I haven't written in over a year. :P

JX Valentine
September 3rd, 2009, 07:27 PM
Because I'd promised to review whenever you posted your work…

Also, as a note, I usually don't pay attention to other reviewers, so if I say something redundant, apologies.

Lastly, I also realize you were writing under a time restriction, but even then, given the intricacy of this plot and the fact that you rewrote certain parts of it almost from the ground up, I'm inclined to regard time restraints as more of an afterthought here.

Time is a beast and life is its prey.

First thing to note is that when writing a conjunction like the above, try replacing it with a period as a test. What this does is allow you to see whether or not it's a compound. If you get two separate sentences as a result of inserting a period, you've got two independent clauses that you're trying to join together with that little word. Ergo, you'd need a comma before the conjunction to serve as a replacement for the period, if that makes sense.

Or, in shorter terms, if you're going to insert a conjunction into the sentence, mentally (or literally) replace it with a period first. If you have two sentences as a result, put a comma before the conjunction.

In this case, the comma goes just after "beast."

You also forget to put a period in a few other compound sentences later on in your work, so I'm just going to leave you with the period test and assume you'll be able to figure things out from there.

ebbing just a few more slight inches

I feel as if "slight" isn't necessary here. Compared to the rest of the universe (or in general), "inches" is a tiny piece of distance anyway. Saying "slight inches" ends up being redundant. Not to mention inches at all offers a solid description of how slow it's going. "Slight" is usually more for vaguer words like "distance."

Then, before Nothingness could realize what was happening, the fatal blow was delivered and chaotic stillness was replaced with the far more chaotic existence of a universe that moved.

This part ends up being a rather confusing sentence because you've been talking about a moving universe in the rest of the first paragraph before this. So, what you end up doing is implying to the reader that what you've created in the lead-up was replaced by exactly what you were describing when in reality, you were just folding back to emphasize that the Big Bang was a sneaky bastard to Nothingness. It may be a good idea to either talk about Nothingness earlier in the paragraph (perhaps as creation ebbs outward) or simply strike this part and leave it at the description of the Big Bang.

matter and energy had formed and brought planets and stars crashing into the darkness.

I'm having trouble grasping the image of planets and stars crashing, to be honest, simply because "crashing" has a destructive connotation. You're implying that they're being destroyed (perhaps by crashing into one another – or into a darkness that became solid), rather than formed. Unless that's what you mean.

beginning when that single character shouts "Enough!" at the world and delivers it.

Remember that all words must have meaning in a story. While this is poetic, it doesn't actually seem to mean anything except imply that all characters act as a result of irritation at their situation. I'm not even sure what you mean by "delivers it" because the phrase seems a bit vague.

An infinity-to-one chance against occurred,

Infinity-to-one chance against = couldn't possibly happen, just because of the word "infinity." While this is possibly what you meant, it means the phrase is inherently contradictory.

infantiley

This word doesn't exist. You could possibly create a simile by simply placing "like an infant" after the "searching" phrase. Alternatively, you could say "infantly." A third option (which may be the best option to avoid being redundant) would be that because you reference babies in the next sentence, you could possibly simply drop it and rely on that image to show how clumsily Red is doing this.

searching out

You don't really search out. You could seek out, however, or search for.

but just following a battle leaving him weak, and oxygen so few

First off, this is actually not a compound sentence. In fact, inserting a comma at this point implies you're ending the introduction phrase, which trips up the reader when it turns out that you're continuing it right afterwards.

Second, because "oxygen" isn't something you can actually count, you can't really say "few" to describe it. This is like saying there's fewer water. Instead, you could say "so little oxygen."

I'm going to say something that sounds rather blunt, but it seems like you're sacrificing meaning for flowery speech. Remember that your reader is most likely the average fan, so you'll want to make things simple so it's absolutely clear to whoever sits down and decides they want to enjoy a fanfiction or two. Moreover, I'd hate to say this, but you won't impress anyone if you say something that looks extravagant and poetic but actually scrambles its meaning by the placement of its words and the oddities of its word choice.

To take an earlier example, you state, "A story doesn't begin when forced; it must happen on its own, beginning when that single character shouts "Enough!" at the world and delivers it."

This is, of course, a very poetic way to describe the existence of a story. However, it doesn't actually say anything that hasn't already been said. Not to mention, as I've said before, there's a few vague points to the sentence that actually detract any meaning at all from it (like the part about "delivers it"). Hence, to the average reader, the sentence has no meaning in the story because it's redundant and vague.

In other words, remember that being straight-to-the-point is a good thing. However, to do so, you have to be very conscious of your word choice and avoid moments that sound like they're added in simply to pad out your writing.

Then let's go back

Nitpick, but be very wary about commas. Comma rules are difficult to master, so it's best just to memorize them. However, one of the most frequently encountered rules is that after an introduction word (including certain adverbs that describe an event's placement in time – like "then"), you need a comma to separate that word from the rest of the sentence.

He attempted to cover his face from the pelting ice shards with his cape, but succeeded only in losing balance and falling to his hands.

Oddly enough, this is not a compound sentence. Note that replacing the comma and conjunction with a period only results in one complete sentence (the part before the comma). The rest is only a fragment. Hence, no comma is needed here.

If only for a few moments longer,

Another case of poetic prose that scrambles its meaning. Here, "if only" could either mean "if only he could wait a few moments longer, Blue would have gladly submitted" or "if a few more moments passed, Blue would have gladly submitted." While you most likely mean the latter, the phrase "if only" usually implies wishful thinking. A conditional. "If only I had (action), (something I wish will happen) would happen."

into the white noise around him.

"White noise" usually describes a sound that covers all frequencies. It's basically the static you might hear on the radio, for example. Considering this is snow and hail, I'm not sure if "white noise" would be an appropriate choice for a description here.

It was an arduous task climbing this mountain without help from a Pokémon. But he was used to it.

Considering these two sentences are closely linked, it might actually look better to simply combine them in a compound sentence. It seems rather needless to keep them separate.

He often pressed his body on

On what?

Seriously, though, to avoid odd mental images (and dangling prepositions anyway), it might be better to simply say "pressed his body" or perhaps "pressed his body past its limits."

would seriously weaken them for what lay ahead, as well as put him at risk for being sighted.

The comma actually implies that everything after it is a description for something before it. (Like, "He didn't go to the store, as he had no time.") Because you're basically saying "using a Pokémon in these conditions would put him at risk for being sighted," it's best to simply leave out the comma to indicate that it's just another verb phrase that can be attached to an earlier part of the sentence, if that makes sense.

It was a journey that pushed him harder than before; had nearly killed his Pidgeot in pressing so fast in flight.

You'll actually want to drop the semicolon for a comma. Semicolons are used in either compound sentences or lists (between items that already contain commas). They're not used in this way.

His grandfather, Professor Oak, had merely told him that Red was missing; Brock, Misty, and Erika had investigated, and come back with only a location and injuries that left them bed-ridden.

Correct use of a semicolon, but yeah, you'll want to drop that last comma. Note that the portion after the semicolon is also not a compound sentence, and if it was, you'd be creating a run-on.

Blue was odd-man out.

Blue was the odd man out. It's an idiom, sure, but basically, "odd man out" serves as a noun.

discarded like a parent ignores the child of their spouse's affair,

The way this is phrased actually implies that you're saying the parent is being discarded, rather than the child. It might be better to say "discarded like the child of an affair."

He stood up, the cold pushed from his bones and his face returned to its pale color.

This actually ends up being a run-on because you've got three unrelated independent clauses strung together. (Note that replacing the comma and the "and" with two periods produces three separate sentences.) You'll want a period after one of these phrases and either a comma or a conjunction between the remaining two. I would recommend inserting the period where the comma is now and creating a compound sentence out of the parts about the cold and Blue's face.

From deep in his heart and mind, he bellowed 'Enough!'.

The exclamation point doubles as the ending mark of punctuation, so you don't actually need a period.

Also, you seem to go back and forth between putting quotes that aren't actually spoken aloud in quotation marks and putting them in single quotes. Earlier (the first and second time you use this phrase, in fact), you put it in quotation marks (double quote marks). This time, you just use single. I'm not sure what rules you're actually using, but to make it consistent, I'd recommend putting it in double and inserting a comma after "bellowed" to treat this as a normal quote. (You may also want to do the same for "This is it; no farther, promise" in the first line.)

Blue leaned from the mouth of the cave, letting his eyes wander over the valley below.

I'm not sure why a scene break just happened. As far as the reader can tell, it's still the same scene, where Blue is inside the mountain and just finished resting, am I right? There's not even a real time lapse, it seems.

first bombarded with humid heat then

I'd suggest turning that "then" into "and then." Otherwise, "then" isn't really a conjunction, so it can't really join two phrases together.

By the time he reached the base of the mountain he was surrounded by falling snow...

Another comma rule to keep in mind: if an introduction phrase is more than four words long, you signal to the reader that it's still an introduction phrase and that you're beginning the main portion of the sentence by using a comma. Otherwise, they inadvertently (even subconsciously) read part of the independent clause as a continuation of the introduction.

I'd also suggest using a comma instead of an ellipsis here. An ellipsis implies that you've finished your thought (or are trailing off with it and won't give the reader much more), so to continue it (with a capital letter, no less) trips the reader by implying that you're putting a divider between the first part of your thought and the second. For something that's meant to be delivered in a tone of awe, you don't want something as jarring as a divider in the middle of a thought.

Thirty minutes more, voices in the air.

I would suggest inserting "there were" just before "voices in the air." Otherwise, what you're saying is that Blue can feel voices. Which, really, would be an interesting psychological phenomenon not often explored in fanfiction successfully (Because, really, who doesn't love synesthesia or general hallucinations?) and but probably not what you meant.

Edit to this part: Feel voices, not hear. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary if he could hear voices. Sorry.

I'm closer than anyone has been in thousands of years...

Somehow, I think he might end this sentence with a definite tone. As in, as I've said not too long ago, an ellipsis implies that the speaker (even if it's the narrator) is trailing off. If Red is in a confrontation, then he might actually end a sentence by shouting or simply speaking with firmness, whereas an ellipsis would soften his voice.

Blue sighed. Once he was in there, there was no going out. Not even with Teleportation. The Psychics would instantly feel the attempt and quash it before it was completed, possibly killing him in the process.

He had to have a plan.

Because the paragraph about the Psychics is closely related to this last line (because it states why he needs a plan), it may actually work better to combine the two paragraphs into one.

This was a feature given solely to gym leaders. The ability to plan out strategies non-verbally, to communicate every step before even releasing the Pokémon was something that gave any trainer an immediate advantage.

So… the ability is given to gym leaders, thus giving them an unfair advantage over challengers? O_o One would assume that all they needed in terms of strategy would be skill and enough knowledge of their Pokémon to control them in any given moment, not the ability to give orders before sending their Pokémon onto the battlefield.

I say this mostly because it's not really an element supported in canon, so it's probably something you added to the world to make it your own. While I don't object to that kind of practice (because it's an inherent happening within fanfiction), I'm just saying if it is, it might require some tweaking or a bit more thought. Otherwise, it feels like you just gave this ability to Blue to make your plot work, rather than to have him rely on skills most gym leaders canonically possess.

In other words, to be blunt, it just feels like a tool of convenience because you painted yourself into a corner with the fic situation, rather than something that would actually make sense in this world.

which felt only still larger

I'd suggest dropping either "only" or "still" and keeping whichever one's left. Otherwise, it feels awkward, like you're saying it's a bit larger by a tiny distance that's almost unperceivable (implied by the "only").

he'd sense before.

You'll want to make "sense" past-tense here for the sake of consistency.

"What's this," the man spoke "another child come to fight me?"

First of all, I'd suggest putting a question mark after "this" and capitalizing "another." Otherwise, it comes off as a run-on sentence.

Second, either way, you'll need some kind of punctuation after "spoke" because you're indicating that the dialogue tag is ending. If you create two sentences around it, you'll need a period after "spoke." If you leave "What's this, another child come to fight me?" as one sentence, you'll need a comma.

Third, to avoid implying that Blue is the one speaking, you'll want to start a new paragraph directly after this part.

Blue instantly knew the man as his predecessor, the gym leader of Viridian City and leader of Team Rocket.

Considering the fact that Blue is the current gym leader of Viridian City, you'll want to insert a "former" right before the phrase here. To avoid stating that Giovanni is the former leader of Team Rocket (unless you're going by GSC's timeline), it may help to rearrange the sentence and mention the part about Team Rocket first and the part about the Viridian City Gym last.

"Hardly," Blue responded, then, to Red, "What's the deal with Giovanni?"

Right now, this paragraph is implying that the quote should be read like this:

Hardly, what's the deal with Giovanni?

In other words, commas before and after a dialogue tag indicate that the quotation mark is one sentence that's interrupted by the tag itself. However, you also want to say that Blue is speaking first to Giovanni and then to Red. There's a few ways to go about doing this without implying that Blue is saying only one sentence:

1. End the first part of the quote before the dialogue tag. As in, right after "hardly," put a period instead of a comma. After that, write the dialogue tag to indicate that he turns his attention away from Giovanni and to Red. (For example: Then, he turned to Red and said,) That way, while you don't address how he speaks to Giovanni, it can be implied that the first part of the quote was meant for him, but now, he's speaking directly to Red instead.

2. On a similar note, you could end the first part of the quote right after the dialogue tag. (For example, "Hardly," he responded before looking towards Red.) As a contrast to the above, what you're doing is stating clearly that the first part is to Giovanni while implying that the rest of the quote is to Red.

3. Split the dialogue tag up into two sentences. (For example: Blue responded. Then, to Red, he added,) This is pretty straightforward and makes things absolutely clear to the reader.

Giovanni stood up, walking forward a few feet then holding his arm out as if to prevent the seat he had just been sitting on.

First, again, "then" is not a conjunction.

Second, "prevent" means "to stop (something) from doing (something)." Because of this, you'll actually want to specify what Giovanni is preventing the seat from doing. (Or, rather, rearrange things to state that he's preventing anyone else from sitting in it.)

"Do you know what this is? The meaning behind it?" He lowered his arm, a sly smile on his lips. "This is the throne of creation, the cradle of all life in this world. Here once sat that ancient Pokémon, the source of all legends and truth, Mew."

"And from Mew I brought forth Mewtwo... No, you cannot simplify a 9,000 year plan into a mere gamble of power."

Because both paragraphs are being spoken by Giovanni, the way you indicate this is to actually remove the ending quotation mark from the first paragraph. That way, the reader realizes that you're continuing into something else, and they get that something as early as the next paragraph.

Red's voice interrupted his thoughts, shaking him back to the battle at-hand

You'll need a period at the end of this sentence, simply because it's a full one on its own.

"Right."

After this part, you'll want to begin a new paragraph. The reason why is because what comes after this part is its own subject. You're no longer talking about something just Blue does or about the way Blue is speaking. It's about what happens as a result of the exchange Red and Blue just experienced.

They started with Rhydon, Venusaur, and Charizard. All four charged at once,

There's only three here.

Blue and Red stood dumbfounded. Their first strike had failed and the Pokémon carrying it gone.

Insert a "were" just after "carrying it." Otherwise, that part of the sentence (because it borrows the missing part of speech – the verb – of the clause before it) reads as, "The Pokémon carrying it had gone." While this is grammatically correct, it actually says the obvious: that they had just gone and attacked, not that they were beaten.

Blue reacted immediately. "Exeggutor, attack!" he shrieked.

Same thing here as a few lines above. Because you're not talking about what Blue does or how he's speaking right after this quote, you'll want another paragraph because you're beginning a new topic.

The stout tree obeyed, stumbling forth at a speed none would believe. Palm leaves fell from its brow, drifting several inches before being launched with the force of a discus to
cut into the Mr. Mime.

I'm not sure why you inserted a line break here. I know it's difficult to keep an eye on your material, but remember to hit preview post before submit to make sure everything is formatted correctly.

"You just saw what it can do, now you're wasting another Pokémon?

Believe it or not, this is actually a comma splice. The first part is a statement, and the second part is a question. They're two different sentences, so you'll need some kind of ending punctuation mark (probably an exclamation point to match Red's tone) where the comma is.

Stop and think! We need to use our brains to get out of this." Blue glared at him.

You'll also want to insert a line break just before the part about Blue (and probably combine that line with his quote, which is attached to the next paragraph).

I no longer wish to play with the toys of deception and crime, but help the world."

I'd suggest rephrasing everything after the comma or simply removing the comma altogether. The reason why is because otherwise, "help the world" is a command.

You're the silent hero that gets into everything, sticking your nose out and sniffing out things to 'right'

You'll want a period somewhere at the end of this.

Giovanni is right, and this time you wont be able to stop him."

Be very, very careful when proofreading. Sometimes, spell-check doesn't catch misspellings if they actually coincide with real words. For example, you mean to use the contraction "won't" here, but you end up using the verb "wont."

"Hydro Pump!" Red yelled out.

Because it's clear that he's yelling to his Blastoise, the word "out" is actually unnecessary here. Moreover, you'll want another paragraph break to separate the command from the action.

digging its paws into the ground in raw preparation.

I'm not sure if preparation could actually be "raw."

Blue grinned. His hand went up and Alakazam rose, moving swiftly forward pass the two battling Pokémon.

A "forward pass" is a term in American football; "forward, past" is a direction. Be very careful when it comes to wording like that.

towards still beaming mouth.

Towards its still beaming mouth. Otherwise, it reads rather awkwardly, as if it's missing something to make it a complete thought.

with his own Espeon resting slyly on its stomach, tail twisting and turning in traitorous delight.

Considering the fact that the evolution of an Eevee into an Espeon is a happiness evolution, why is this Espeon suddenly abandoning its trainer? Yes, I realize you answer this later, but keep this question in mind because I'm going to discuss it a bit more when you do.

At contact Alakazam faded away like heat in the distance.

Because you're probably trying to describe the way something looks, describing it with touch imagery crosses a reader's metaphorical wires. In other words, they're trying to figure out what heat fading away in the distance looks like.

Not to mention it's not an image that makes particular sense. Heat doesn't really fade away the more you walk away from it unless it's produced by a fire. In other words, if you stare at the horizon, you're not going to perceive heat fading away.

He turned back to Blue, angry at once.

It's actually rather clear that he's angry – or, at least, it would be logical for him to be pissed. So, you actually don't need to state how he's feeling because you already show us it. Stating it would end up being a bit unnecessary and redundant.

He'd manipulated Red's Espeon in helping him with the gambit.

Okay, going back to that question, Espeon is known to be the result of a happiness evolution. As in, in order for an Eevee to evolve into an Espeon, in canon, the Eevee needs to be incredibly close to the trainer. (We could debate about what sense this makes for wild Pokémon who are also the result of happiness evolutions – like Pikachu – but because there's no such thing as a wild Eevee, we can go off what the games state what happiness means to assume this is how Red's Eevee evolved.) Thus, to have an Espeon just say, "Oh, well, you're going to try this risky maneuver on my trainer, and bunches and bunches of things could possibly go wrong, but okay!" just doesn't really work because that Espeon is probably going to be incredibly loyal to its trainer. Blue is literally killing Red for a long period of time (as in, long enough to potentially cause brain damage), and there was a very real risk that Blue's plan could backfire. It's even described as a "gambit" right here. I really don't think Espeon would be okay with going through with this. In fact, according to the species' 'dex entries, given that they have precognitive abilities to sense a person's next move and protect its trainer from harm, if anything, this would mean that Espeon would have attacked Blue as soon as he thought of it because he would actually be doing some serious harm to Red.

The short of it is that you'll probably need to better explain why Espeon was completely fine with the idea of Blue killing Red. Keep in mind that Espeon is also Psychic (and the Pokémon of the exact champion who defeated Blue, not one of Blue's Pokémon to begin with), so it's not unlikely that it might be resistant to psychic "convincing" – aside from the fact that it's probably not receptive to Blue's thoughts right off the bat.



So, I'm at the end, and to wrap it up, I'm going to give you a summary of the negatives as well as a few things I found positive.

First, the good news is that I do like the way you describe attacks. The battle was done clearly, with enough attention to detail to make me envision exactly what was happening. (I could, for example, almost hear the water sizzle on Arcanine's skin.) Moreover, it was suspenseful, with just the right pace to feel like an actual action scene – as in, something that doesn't linger on details but instead pushes forward to keep the adrenaline rush high.

Likewise, the tone was well-done, and Giovanni's speech was spot-on for a charismatic former leader of a criminal organization. It almost made me want to join him, which is what made it almost believable that Blue acted as if he fell right into Giovanni's hands. (The only suspicion came from the fact that it was pretty quick for a decision, but then again, Blue also covers that nicely when he says he's tired of dealing with Red.) Thus, the climax with Blue giving Giovanni the equivalent of the finger before Teleporting away to revive Red came as a nice, unexpected twist.

Now, the things you'll want to work on:

1. Grammar. It seems like the thing you have the most trouble with is commas. Commas were absent in places where they really should have been, and there were commas present in places where they weren't actually needed. Try to find a good comma guide via Google to get to know the comma rules.

Other than that, there's also the issue of paragraphing. Remember that when you have a battle, it's not necessary to keep the Pokémon's actions in the same paragraph as the trainer's orders. Instead, separate them out according to topic.

2. On a separate note, wording. Yes, there were times when you said things that weren't actually necessary or seemed a bit vague or muddled in meaning. The beginning of the fic had a lot of this when you were trying to establish just the right tone and ended up trying to be poetic instead of conveying the main idea that the universe can be an ass hole. Try leaving your fic to cool for twenty-four hours after you finish writing it before proofreading. While you won't be able to fully adopt a reader's objective standpoint by leaving it alone for that long, you can get closer to shedding a writer's sense of bias towards his own work. That way, you'll be able to read your fic (preferably aloud) to see whether or not the wording will convey the exact meaning you want it to say. Yes, if the reader has to actually sit down and try to figure out what a line means, then it crosses the line from being literary art to something else.

I don't mean to offend you with this part, of course, but I do have to remind you of what you yourself had said: writing is best when it's straight-to-the-point. Remember that no word should be wasted in a short story (in the ironic words of Poe), so similarly, you'll want to make absolutely sure you're very careful when you select your words and arrange them in order to avoid simply fluffing out the text or saying something when you could actually just say it even simpler. (Hemingway went the latter route, if I recall correctly: forgoing flowery prose for simple, straightforward writing.)

3. A few bits of logic, both of which are mentioned above. Try to avoid making things convenient for the character (like the way Blue was able to manipulate a Pokémon that wasn't his and how he was able to give silent commands to his Alakazam just because "gym leaders can do it"). Part of what makes a story exciting is knowing that the character has incredible obstacles and watching them struggle to get the job done. For example, if Blue couldn't silently manipulate Espeon, how would he have done it? Would he have to give cues to Red that Red might have recognized and conveyed to Espeon?

Moreover, remember that while you have your own world, the reader is most likely unfamiliar with it until you explain it to them. While I'm not asking you to explain every little detail to a reader, I am saying that a reader will automatically assume you're going with canon otherwise. This means, for example, Espeon would be unlikely to rebel against its owner because it's a happiness evolution. So, you'd have to explain thoroughly why that happened.


In all, it was an okay read. Some parts were good, but I was mostly tripped up by the other parts. The main point is that there's room for you to get better, but to do so, you'll need to be very careful in the future.

Good luck.

Citrinin
September 3rd, 2009, 08:50 PM
In terms of specific details, I don't really have anything to add that Valentine hasn't already said. ^^; But I can give you my general impression: overall, I felt it was very good, especially for something written in such a restrictive time period. I really enjoyed Giovanni's take on our existence, and your imagery was very satisfying. :3

Redstar
September 3rd, 2009, 09:05 PM
I'm having trouble grasping the image of planets and stars crashing, to be honest, simply because "crashing" has a destructive connotation. You're implying that they're being destroyed (perhaps by crashing into one another – or into a darkness that became solid), rather than formed. Unless that's what you mean.
The stars and planets are crashing into the darkness in the same way people crash weddings: they're not supposed to be there.

Remember that all words must have meaning in a story. While this is poetic, it doesn't actually seem to mean anything except imply that all characters act as a result of irritation at their situation. I'm not even sure what you mean by "delivers it" because the phrase seems a bit vague.
Well it implies that characters act out of irritation because that's true: a story is not a story unless they shout "Enough!" at the world.

By "deliver it" I mean the character says it, and actually does something about it. Anyone can say they're tired of something, but most people just go back to their abusive boyfriend.


Infinity-to-one chance against = couldn't possibly happen, just because of the word "infinity." While this is possibly what you meant, it means the phrase is inherently contradictory.
Frank Herbert used a similar phrase in Dune. It's not supposed to be taken literally. It's written that way to impress into the reader that they were high chances. That's it.

This word doesn't exist. You could possibly create a simile by simply placing "like an infant" after the "searching" phrase. Alternatively, you could say "infantly." A third option (which may be the best option to avoid being redundant) would be that because you reference babies in the next sentence, you could possibly simply drop it and rely on that image to show how clumsily Red is doing this.
Writers typically invent at least three new words for each novel they write. That's simply part of what it means to be a writer... I understand that as a writer, you should also have a large vocabulary and know which works the best, but sometimes nothing in existence works, so you go with what sounds right. In an old story I opted for "cologned businessmen", because the only alternative was "perfumed". That wasn't masculine enough for a group of people that triggered the final world war.

I'm going to say something that sounds rather blunt, but it seems like you're sacrificing meaning for flowery speech. Remember that your reader is most likely the average fan, so you'll want to make things simple so it's absolutely clear to whoever sits down and decides they want to enjoy a fanfiction or two. Moreover, I'd hate to say this, but you won't impress anyone if you say something that looks extravagant and poetic but actually scrambles its meaning by the placement of its words and the oddities of its word choice.

To take an earlier example, you state, "A story doesn't begin when forced; it must happen on its own, beginning when that single character shouts "Enough!" at the world and delivers it."

This is, of course, a very poetic way to describe the existence of a story. However, it doesn't actually say anything that hasn't already been said. Not to mention, as I've said before, there's a few vague points to the sentence that actually detract any meaning at all from it (like the part about "delivers it"). Hence, to the average reader, the sentence has no meaning in the story because it's redundant and vague.

In other words, remember that being straight-to-the-point is a good thing. However, to do so, you have to be very conscious of your word choice and avoid moments that sound like they're added in simply to pad out your writing.
I was straight-to-the-point. I don't see how the entire theme of my story was redundant or vague... Blue put up with crap for the entirety of first gen and some of second, and in this story he becomes his own.

Also, since when is being poetic against writing? I don't see anyone complaining about Ray Bradbury's works.

"White noise" usually describes a sound that covers all frequencies. It's basically the static you might hear on the radio, for example. Considering this is snow and hail, I'm not sure if "white noise" would be an appropriate choice for a description here.
I'm aware of the meaning of "white noise". I used it to give the readers a feeling of what Blue is experiencing: nothing but snow all around him, overpowering every sense. Sounds like a simile to me.

He often pressed his body onOn what?
Onward. On himself. On the world. Do I really need to specify something any reader can easily infer?

Blue was the odd man out. It's an idiom, sure, but basically, "odd man out" serves as a noun.
I think the reader can tell Blue is the odd man out easily enough.

The way this is phrased actually implies that you're saying the parent is being discarded, rather than the child. It might be better to say "discarded like the child of an affair."
I recall rewording that one a few times, so I get what you mean.

I'm not sure why a scene break just happened. As far as the reader can tell, it's still the same scene, where Blue is inside the mountain and just finished resting, am I right? There's not even a real time lapse, it seems.
A time-lapse, character change, or setting change isn't necessary for a new scene. The scene ended because Blue had resolved something within himself, so the scene had no need to go on... Unless you preferred I explain, word-for-word, how he "felt better about himself", stood up, and walked for 15 minutes doing nothing until he reached the opening down into the valley?

Thirty minutes more, voices in the air.I would suggest inserting "there were" just before "voices in the air." Otherwise, what you're saying is that Blue can hear voices. Which, really, would be an interesting psychological phenomenon not often explored in fanfiction successfully (Because, really, who doesn't love synesthesia or general hallucinations?) and but probably not what you meant.
I worded it that way to be short, and to the point. And to act as alliteration with the previous sentence.

So… the ability is given to gym leaders, thus giving them an unfair advantage over challengers? O_o One would assume that all they needed in terms of strategy would be skill and enough knowledge of their Pokémon to control them in any given moment, not the ability to give orders before sending their Pokémon onto the battlefield.

I say this mostly because it's not really an element supported in canon, so it's probably something you added to the world to make it your own. While I don't object to that kind of practice (because it's an inherent happening within fanfiction), I'm just saying if it is, it might require some tweaking or a bit more thought. Otherwise, it feels like you just gave this ability to Blue to make your plot work, rather than to have him rely on skills most gym leaders canonically possess.

In other words, to be blunt, it just feels like a tool of convenience because you painted yourself into a corner with the fic situation, rather than something that would actually make sense in this world.
It's implied by the text that gym leaders have a purpose other than "handing out gym badges". They're basically the militia of the land, and guardians of... a secret. It's their job to be at an advantage. But that doesn't necessarily mean they use this tactic in gym-battles, which would be against the rules.

Also, as I told Bay above, the whole concept was inspired by canon: the canon of the manga, in Yellow's character. She's a natural empath and communicates via emotions with Pokemon, so I figured that technique could be emulated by science. (I believe Yellow also performed this trick on a Pokemon inside its Pokeball, so it's even further feasible)

Considering the fact that Blue is the current gym leader of Viridian City, you'll want to insert a "former" right before the phrase here. To avoid stating that Giovanni is the former leader of Team Rocket (unless you're going by GSC's timeline), it may help to rearrange the sentence and mention the part about Team Rocket first and the part about the Viridian City Gym last.
This part is a bit confusing, I admit. Giovanni is the former gym leader of Viridian City, and current leader of Team Rocket.

Giovanni stood up, walking forward a few feet then holding his arm out as if to prevent the seat he had just been sitting on.Second, "prevent" means "to stop (something) from doing (something)." Because of this, you'll actually want to specify what Giovanni is preventing the seat from doing. (Or, rather, rearrange things to state that he's preventing anyone else from sitting in it.)
That was a typo. I meant "present".

They started with Rhydon, Venusaur, and Charizard. All four charged at once,There's only three here.
Ah. You said you don't read other reviews or their responses, but above I said I'd re-written the entirety of the second part of the entry, so old sentences sometimes got spliced with new versions. The missing Pokemon was Blastoise.

Be very, very careful when proofreading. Sometimes, spell-check doesn't catch misspellings if they actually coincide with real words. For example, you mean to use the contraction "won't" here, but you end up using the verb "wont."
Wont is semi-archaic, so that's why I overlooked it. Thanks for the reminder; I sometimes debate if a comma is necessary and this'll help with that.

digging its paws into the ground in raw preparation.I'm not sure if preparation could actually be "raw."
I meant "raw" as a synonym for "carnal".

A "forward pass" is a term in American football; "forward, past" is a direction. Be very careful when it comes to wording like that.
lol. Your humour is subtle.

Because you're probably trying to describe the way something looks, describing it with touch imagery crosses a reader's metaphorical wires. In other words, they're trying to figure out what heat fading away in the distance looks like.

Not to mention it's not an image that makes particular sense. Heat doesn't really fade away the more you walk away from it unless it's produced by a fire. In other words, if you stare at the horizon, you're not going to perceive heat fading away.
I was being round-about in referring to heat mirages: heat in the distance looks like wisping gas.

Okay, going back to that question, Espeon is known to be the result of a happiness evolution. As in, in order for an Eevee to evolve into an Espeon, in canon, the Eevee needs to be incredibly close to the trainer. (We could debate about what sense this makes for wild Pokémon who are also the result of happiness evolutions – like Pikachu – but because there's no such thing as a wild Eevee, we can go off what the games state what happiness means to assume this is how Red's Eevee evolved.) Thus, to have an Espeon just say, "Oh, well, you're going to try this risky maneuver on my trainer, and bunches and bunches of things could possibly go wrong, but okay!" just doesn't really work because that Espeon is probably going to be incredibly loyal to its trainer. Blue is literally killing Red for a long period of time (as in, long enough to potentially cause brain damage), and there was a very real risk that Blue's plan could backfire. It's even described as a "gambit" right here. I really don't think Espeon would be okay with going through with this. In fact, according to the species' 'dex entries, given that they have precognitive abilities to sense a person's next move and protect its trainer from harm, if anything, this would mean that Espeon would have attacked Blue as soon as he thought of it because he would actually be doing some serious harm to Red.

The short of it is that you'll probably need to better explain why Espeon was completely fine with the idea of Blue killing Red. Keep in mind that Espeon is also Psychic (and the Pokémon of the exact champion who defeated Blue, not one of Blue's Pokémon to begin with), so it's not unlikely that it might be resistant to psychic "convincing" – aside from the fact that it's probably not receptive to Blue's thoughts right off the bat.
Espeon communicated with Blue via telepathy and knew the plan. It wasn't a betrayal or manipulation (I'm aware I use that word, but I didn't want to spoil the ending... That word is, in a way, retconned by the story itself later on with the big reveal).

I know Espeon may not want to betray Red, but risking his life was the lesser-of-two-evils when compared to the sure death by Giovanni. Both Blue and Espeon knew that Red would never back down, nor would he go along with the ruse (and even if he did then the coma-hypnosis wouldn't have worked effectively) so it was the only option.

In any case, Dr. Yueh was able to betray the Atreides in Dune despite psychological conditioning. I cannot believe any sentient creature is capable of absolute love. (Friendship-evolution Pokemon betraying their trainer is a great fic idea, btw)

So, I'm at the end, and to wrap it up, I'm going to give you a summary of the negatives as well as a few things I found positive.

First, the good news is that I do like the way you describe attacks. The battle was done clearly, with enough attention to detail to make me envision exactly what was happening. (I could, for example, almost hear the water sizzle on Arcanine's skin.) Moreover, it was suspenseful, with just the right pace to feel like an actual action scene – as in, something that doesn't linger on details but instead pushes forward to keep the adrenaline rush high.
I was actually loathing doing that part. I put it off for a whole day because I'm bad with action narrative and I thought it'd be even more difficult doing so with a Pokemon battle. So, that was my first ever attempt.

Likewise, the tone was well-done, and Giovanni's speech was spot-on for a charismatic former leader of a criminal organization. It almost made me want to join him, which is what made it almost believable that Blue acted as if he fell right into Giovanni's hands. (The only suspicion came from the fact that it was pretty quick for a decision, but then again, Blue also covers that nicely when he says he's tired of dealing with Red.) Thus, the climax with Blue giving Giovanni the equivalent of the finger before Teleporting away to revive Red came as a nice, unexpected twist.
The previous villain came off very badly, so I replaced it with Giovanni because I had more room with his character.

Now, the things you'll want to work on:

1. Grammar. It seems like the thing you have the most trouble with is commas. Commas were absent in places where they really should have been, and there were commas present in places where they weren't actually needed. Try to find a good comma guide via Google to get to know the comma rules.
Generally I used commas for a slight break, for emphasis of one part of a sentence over an other, or more. I have a strange way of speaking and thinking, and it comes out in my writing. I acknowledge much of my work could be written in a way better understood for others, but I think if honed it's a good quality for my style. (I just noticed I wrote "an other" rather than "another". The former felt better for some reason)

I will try reading aloud in the future to see if my comma-placement is terribly off.


2. On a separate note, wording. Yes, there were times when you said things that weren't actually necessary or seemed a bit vague or muddled in meaning. The beginning of the fic had a lot of this when you were trying to establish just the right tone and ended up trying to be poetic instead of conveying the main idea that the universe can be an ass hole. Try leaving your fic to cool for twenty-four hours after you finish writing it before proofreading. While you won't be able to fully adopt a reader's objective standpoint by leaving it alone for that long, you can get closer to shedding a writer's sense of bias towards his own work. That way, you'll be able to read your fic (preferably aloud) to see whether or not the wording will convey the exact meaning you want it to say. Yes, if the reader has to actually sit down and try to figure out what a line means, then it crosses the line from being literary art to something else.
That's what I do. I worked on this story from the moment I read the prompt until the deadline (I turned it in with five minutes to spare). I like letting stories sit and reading them later, so I can go from writer-mode to reader-mode.

There should be a level of poetic rhythm in your writing, otherwise you'll never excel at anything but the technical aspects. And technical writing does not make for a good read.

I don't mean to offend you with this part, of course, but I do have to remind you of what you yourself had said: writing is best when it's straight-to-the-point. Remember that no word should be wasted in a short story (in the ironic words of Poe), so similarly, you'll want to make absolutely sure you're very careful when you select your words and arrange them in order to avoid simply fluffing out the text or saying something when you could actually just say it even simpler. (Hemingway went the latter route, if I recall correctly: forgoing flowery prose for simple, straightforward writing.)
Yes, Poe overwrote. Beautifully, but overwritten and it can be disconcerting to a modern eye. I made a point of only writing what I had to, which ended up being a long story. (And I know the Hemingway story as well. He's my chief inspiration in blowing off technical writing and aspiring to be like Bradbury)

In all, it was an okay read. Some parts were good, but I was mostly tripped up by the other parts. The main point is that you can get better, but to do so, you'll need to be very careful in the future.

Good luck.
That final part is the most I could hope for from you. I appreciate it.


In terms of specific details, I don't really have anything to add that Valentine hasn't already said. ^^; But I can give you my general impression: overall, I felt it was very good, especially for something written in such a restrictive time period. I really enjoyed Giovanni's take on our existence, and your imagery was very satisfying. :3
Yeah, after Val I'm pretty satisfied as far as in-depth reviews, but I'd still appreciate thoughts on the piece, and especially questions. Thanks. :)

JX Valentine
September 4th, 2009, 12:59 PM
The stars and planets are crashing into the darkness in the same way people crash weddings: they're not supposed to be there.

Hmm. In that case, to avoid conjuring any confusing imagery, what do you think about synonyms like "invaded"?

By "deliver it" I mean the character says it, and actually does something about it. Anyone can say they're tired of something, but most people just go back to their abusive boyfriend.

In that case, it might be a good idea to elaborate a bit more on this idea. Just leaving it at "deliver it" leaves the reader wondering what you were trying to deliver.

Writers typically invent at least three new words for each novel they write.

When applied to their worlds, yes. For example, Lewis Carroll is notorious for doing this, but every word he invented simply adds to the fact that his world makes absolutely no sense. (Or, well, it does, but it reads like an opium trip. Which it probably was.) As Poe (ironically) said, no word should be wasted, and in a similar notion, a writer just doesn't create a word just because they can. They create a word that lends a meaning to their work.

Here, you have a word, but it's so close to the spelling of an existing word that it's just going to read as a typo to someone who's reading carefully, not as something new or different. Moreover, there's absolutely no reason why you couldn't simply use the actual word instead of something you made up, so it'll just look like you made a typo that you didn't bother to correct. Not to mention it defies the rules for creating an adverb anyway.

Also, since when is being poetic against writing?

When you sacrifice meaning for artistry. Lewis Carroll and Samuel Taylor Coleridge could get away with it for obvious reasons.

Basically, when you write and post something online, you're automatically writing for an audience. That means that when you write, you actually have to be clear to the average reader. Otherwise, what's the point of posting your work online if it's not actually meant to be read and understood by someone who comes along and finds your work?

Not to mention there's that point about creating something for the sake of creating instead of for the sake of lending any meaning to what you're doing.

So, yeah, your theme was pretty clear, but how you went about conveying it (i.e., your prose) wasn't always. Instead, it tended to take a round-about path, describing, for example, a nothingness swallowed by the universe several times over, when that nothingness really didn't add too much to the story except to provide a very long metaphor for something that could have been stated simply within the text. Not to mention there were finer details and thoughts in your story that weren't finished but really should have been or could have simply been better worded for clarity (like the "deliver it" line). So, it's not so much your overall theme that's the vague point. It's just, at times, the prose itself. You have interesting ideas, but one thing you should work on is getting them to meet the paper in a way that allows the reader to connect with it while still maintaining its own form of art. As in, art is great, but you can't forget that you're also trying to convey an idea to a reader. (I'm not asking you to dumb it down. I'm just asking you to remember that you and the reader don't think the same way. One of the challenges you should be facing as a writer is not to get the reader to accept your art but instead figuring out how to present your art to the reader in a way that they can see what you're saying. The path between the reader and reaching the meaning of a literary work should never be incomplete. Rather, the reader should be able to cross the gap and understand the writer and then appreciate the art the work presents.)

I don't see anyone complaining about Ray Bradbury's works.

Fahrenheit 451. Oh, yeah, they did. Ironically enough, it was about vagueness too.

Onward. On himself. On the world. Do I really need to specify something any reader can easily infer?

I think the reader can tell Blue is the odd man out easily enough.

The point is that it's grammatically incorrect, much like the above bit about how it's not "pressed his body on" but instead "pressed his body onward." While you might say that writers violate the laws of grammar all the time (which they actually don't unless it's absolutely necessary for the point of their story, like to convey a particular meaning or capture a character's voice), the fact is that grammar isn't meant to be something that anyone can break for no particular reason. It's the basic set of laws of the language you're using – things that exist in order to make your work easily readable. If your reader finds themselves stumbling when going through your prose, then it's no longer an experiment that works or something new and artsy. It is, instead, prose that needs to be improved.

Basically, imagine writing to be like a floor. If the grammar is good, the floor is newly waxed, and a child can slide on their socks from one end to the other and enjoy the trip they're taking. If there's errors, then the floor has nails sticking up out of its surface. The child's sock snags on a nail, and the kid flies face-first into a broken nose. As a writer on the internet, you need to know that your audience wants to come in and enjoy what you have to say, and the only way they can do that is by flying through your work smoothly. Likewise, you need to be conscious of your reader because they're the entire reason why you're posting your story. (Otherwise, why post if you don't want them to read?) That in mind, while known writers have been experimental, note that the successful experiments occur when the reader understands why something is written the way it is –because the change has a purpose or meaning for being there. (Great example of experimental writing: House of Leaves. The story sucks if you actually look past everything the author does for the sake of art, but every last bit that he does to the page – which is a lot – lends to an overall meaning that the story itself can't convey.)

Or, even simpler put, I'm a reader. My mind stopped at that (and the earlier sentence) because I realized there was something missing. Writing shouldn't make me do that. To add to that, as an experimental writer, you just have to know when an experiment is successful and when it isn't. A successful experiment is art; an unsuccessful one, something that shouldn't be repeated.

I apologize if this sounds confrontational. It's just that I've heard the "I did it for artistic reasons" so many times from people on FFNet that I almost want to raise E. E. Cummings from the dead, motion to him and say "he's the only one who can get away with doing this," and proceed to let his zombified corpse start a zombie invasion right then and there.

A time-lapse, character change, or setting change isn't necessary for a new scene.

Well, yeah, they are. Otherwise, there's nothing to separate one scene from the other, so there's no point in starting a new scene. Think of scene changes like those in a movie. If a character's in their bedroom, talking on the phone when they suddenly have a revelation, you don't fade to black and then fade back in to find that they've just stood up and walked to the door unless it's a comedy. Instead, you just link all of those bits together and cut to the next scene only when the door closes behind the character.

While you don't have to explain much of anything, you could simply say, "He got up and continued for awhile down the path."

I worded it that way to be short, and to the point. And to act as alliteration with the previous sentence.

It's not to the point when the sentence actually says something you didn't mean. (I included it in an edit, so I can understand if I didn't make my own point exactly clear, but I was saying this sentence says Blue can feel voices.)

Also, I'm actually curious. Alliteration as in matching up with "vibrations"? Because there's a lot between those two words, so I'm not sure if it works out.

It's implied by the text that gym leaders have a purpose other than "handing out gym badges".

Actually, as far as a reader can tell (just by what you give us), there's a group called the Old Guard, a bunch of other gym leaders tried and failed to find Red, and they've formed a secret club with each other. In fact, it's more implied that they're just a clique that shut out Blue because he's the inexperienced one. (Otherwise, why would they not let Blue in on something he's supposed to be a part of anyway?)

I meant "raw" as a synonym for "carnal".

I thought as much, and I'm not sure that preparation could be described as carnal or otherwise raw in any sense of the word. It's a contradiction, really. If that was intended, it's an interesting one. If it wasn't, then it's just that "preparation" (in this kind of context, at least) implies a steadiness of the mind and a glimmer of intelligence, whereas raw implies something baser.

I was being round-about in referring to heat mirages: heat in the distance looks like wisping gas.

Or it simply distorts what the viewer sees. From what I understand, it's usually this.

In any case, Dr. Yueh was able to betray the Atreides in Dune despite psychological conditioning. I cannot believe any sentient creature is capable of absolute love. (Friendship-evolution Pokemon betraying their trainer is a great fic idea, btw)

This is actually a good question that should be explored in better depth elsewhere, I think. (As in, while it's brought up in your fic, I don't think you have nearly enough space here to fully explore it if you ever chose to do so. If you want to explore it, by all means. It would be interesting to see your take on it.) On the one hand, it's a realistic view of the concept of human loyalty. On the other, Espeon exists in a universe where the major theme beat into the heads of everyone who passes through it is the power of friendship, and that's aside from the fact that Espeon is also not human (and possibly doesn't have a mind that functions the same way as a human).

However, either way, this brings into question the logic of timeframes. Did Blue and Espeon actually have enough time to connect and communicate on a psychic level? If so, did Blue actually have time to psychically explain his plan to Espeon and convince the Pokémon to go along with it? It seems like there wasn't much time between the moment Blue remembered Espeon was there and the one where he actually reveals himself, although it's possible that Blue could have relayed the plan sometime later. When is never made clear, and that part is vital to whether or not the plan would have logically worked.

I was actually loathing doing that part. I put it off for a whole day because I'm bad with action narrative and I thought it'd be even more difficult doing so with a Pokemon battle. So, that was my first ever attempt.

It really doesn't show, to tell you the truth, and it's the thing I liked best about the fic aside from the reveal.

That final part is the most I could hope for from you. I appreciate it.

You're welcome.

Redstar
September 4th, 2009, 04:10 PM
Hmm. In that case, to avoid conjuring any confusing imagery, what do you think about synonyms like "invaded"?
Well the planets and stars also crashed into the universe due to the Big Bang, which, I've heard, was a pretty big explosion. I think the word suits its purpose.

When applied to their worlds, yes. For example, Lewis Carroll is notorious for doing this, but every word he invented simply adds to the fact that his world makes absolutely no sense. (Or, well, it does, but it reads like an opium trip. Which it probably was.) As Poe (ironically) said, no word should be wasted, and in a similar notion, a writer just doesn't create a word just because they can. They create a word that lends a meaning to their work.

Here, you have a word, but it's so close to the spelling of an existing word that it's just going to read as a typo to someone who's reading carefully, not as something new or different. Moreover, there's absolutely no reason why you couldn't simply use the actual word instead of something you made up, so it'll just look like you made a typo that you didn't bother to correct. Not to mention it defies the rules for creating an adverb anyway.
My point still stands. I admit that using "infantiley" over "infantly" makes little sense considering they both have the same meaning, but to me I chose the former because it simply sounded better... And because the root word was "infantile", which is a word, while the root for "infantly" is "infant", which is farther removed from the feeling I was trying to create. In this case I'm going to have to say my choice was warranted.

Also, since when is being poetic against writing?When you sacrifice meaning for artistry. Lewis Carroll and Samuel Taylor Coleridge could get away with it for obvious reasons.

Basically, when you write and post something online, you're automatically writing for an audience. That means that when you write, you actually have to be clear to the average reader. Otherwise, what's the point of posting your work online if it's not actually meant to be read and understood by someone who comes along and finds your work?

Not to mention there's that point about creating something for the sake of creating instead of for the sake of lending any meaning to what you're doing.

So, yeah, your theme was pretty clear, but how you went about conveying it (i.e., your prose) wasn't always. Instead, it tended to take a round-about path, describing, for example, a nothingness swallowed by the universe several times over, when that nothingness really didn't add too much to the story except to provide a very long metaphor for something that could have been stated simply within the text. Not to mention there were finer details and thoughts in your story that weren't finished but really should have been or could have simply been better worded for clarity (like the "deliver it" line). So, it's not so much your overall theme that's the vague point. It's just, at times, the prose itself. You have interesting ideas, but one thing you should work on is getting them to meet the paper in a way that allows the reader to connect with it while still maintaining its own form of art. As in, art is great, but you can't forget that you're also trying to convey an idea to a reader. (I'm not asking you to dumb it down. I'm just asking you to remember that you and the reader don't think the same way. One of the challenges you should be facing as a writer is not to get the reader to accept your art but instead figuring out how to present your art to the reader in a way that they can see what you're saying. The path between the reader and reaching the meaning of a literary work should never be incomplete. Rather, the reader should be able to cross the gap and understand the writer and then appreciate the art the work presents.)
My opinion about writing is that it is only about the artistry. I'm not writing an English 101 book, so everything I do is an attempt at "the art". I'm a strong believer that readers are intelligent, creative people and can understand lines like "deliver it". My reading and writing comprehension was tested at above that of a college graduate when I was only in the sixth grade, so I'm confident that there are many others that can read Dune or a Bradbury work like I have. I'm confident the regulars of the Lounge can read well.

Fahrenheit 451. Oh, yeah, they did. Ironically enough, it was about vagueness too.
Where was this supposed criticism raised? I can't find anything negative about the book or him.

The point is that it's grammatically incorrect, much like the above bit about how it's not "pressed his body on" but instead "pressed his body onward." While you might say that writers violate the laws of grammar all the time (which they actually don't unless it's absolutely necessary for the point of their story, like to convey a particular meaning or capture a character's voice), the fact is that grammar isn't meant to be something that anyone can break for no particular reason. It's the basic set of laws of the language you're using – things that exist in order to make your work easily readable. If your reader finds themselves stumbling when going through your prose, then it's no longer an experiment that works or something new and artsy. It is, instead, prose that needs to be improved.

Basically, imagine writing to be like a floor. If the grammar is good, the floor is newly waxed, and a child can slide on their socks from one end to the other and enjoy the trip they're taking. If there's errors, then the floor has nails sticking up out of its surface. The child's sock snags on a nail, and the kid flies face-first into a broken nose. As a writer on the internet, you need to know that your audience wants to come in and enjoy what you have to say, and the only way they can do that is by flying through your work smoothly. Likewise, you need to be conscious of your reader because they're the entire reason why you're posting your story. (Otherwise, why post if you don't want them to read?) That in mind, while known writers have been experimental, note that the successful experiments occur when the reader understands why something is written the way it is –because the change has a purpose or meaning for being there. (Great example of experimental writing: House of Leaves. The story sucks if you actually look past everything the author does for the sake of art, but every last bit that he does to the page – which is a lot – lends to an overall meaning that the story itself can't convey.)

Or, even simpler put, I'm a reader. My mind stopped at that (and the earlier sentence) because I realized there was something missing. Writing shouldn't make me do that. To add to that, as an experimental writer, you just have to know when an experiment is successful and when it isn't. A successful experiment is art; an unsuccessful one, something that shouldn't be repeated.

I apologize if this sounds confrontational. It's just that I've heard the "I did it for artistic reasons" so many times from people on FFNet that I almost want to raise E. E. Cummings from the dead, motion to him and say "he's the only one who can get away with doing this," and proceed to let his zombified corpse start a zombie invasion right then and there.
I don't want you to get the wrong impression of me. I certainly do not believe in "artistic reasons" unless the writer is fully capable of expressing those reasons. I understand that my use of commas and grammar is anything but technically correct as per the American-English language, but I did explain that I actually speak and think the way I write. I don't think anyone was especially confused from anything in this piece other than blatant typos and the incidents when sentences were spliced during revision, so I don't find the issue to be too important.

But (and I mean this) I am fully aware that an accurate understanding of how language is used is necessary before even attempting "experimental, for the art" pieces. I may be mistaken and trapped in my personal perception and many of the readers actually were put off by my style of communication. I am just starting out college and have many classes lined up throughout my four years in a variety of writing subjects, including language itself, poetry, creative writing, etc. I want to be able to be a technical writer before I'm a prose writer, so I hope you can give me some leeway in understanding I can't provide that aspect to you in my writing until I've had it worked into me through hard practice.

Well, yeah, they are. Otherwise, there's nothing to separate one scene from the other, so there's no point in starting a new scene. Think of scene changes like those in a movie. If a character's in their bedroom, talking on the phone when they suddenly have a revelation, you don't fade to black and then fade back in to find that they've just stood up and walked to the door unless it's a comedy. Instead, you just link all of those bits together and cut to the next scene only when the door closes behind the character.

While you don't have to explain much of anything, you could simply say, "He got up and continued for awhile down the path."
Let me ask you this... Would that scene have been as powerful as it was if it was immediately followed with him getting up and the story continuing? I don't think it would be. I ended the scene there because a strong idea was communicated and I wanted to give the reader a break to take it in. When you're writing, you have to take into account the world/characters you're creating, and how your reader will interact with those creations. I feel writing should effect the reader as much as possible, so the way I arrange sentences, paragraphs, and scenes is just as important as what they contain.

An hour later he began to feel gentle vibrations in the walls. Thirty minutes more, voices in the airIt's not to the point when the sentence actually says something you didn't mean. (I included it in an edit, so I can understand if I didn't make my own point exactly clear, but I was saying this sentence says Blue can feel voices.)

Also, I'm actually curious. Alliteration as in matching up with "vibrations"? Because there's a lot between those two words, so I'm not sure if it works out.
Alliteration was probably the wrong choice... Repetition? I wanted the two sentences to be nearly the same, so they both began with a length of time, move into two concepts that are similar (vibrations and voices), and finish by saying "in the" object.

It's kinda needless prose in retrospect, but it works. I don't know of anyone that would take a sentence about Blue feeling the echoing of voices as vibrations in the air and turn it into him hallucinating.

Actually, as far as a reader can tell (just by what you give us), there's a group called the Old Guard, a bunch of other gym leaders tried and failed to find Red, and they've formed a secret club with each other. In fact, it's more implied that they're just a clique that shut out Blue because he's the inexperienced one. (Otherwise, why would they not let Blue in on something he's supposed to be a part of anyway?)
There isn't a group called the "Old Guard", that's just how Blue thinks of them. Because they're of an aged mentality. That label implied there needs to be a "new guard"... Guess who that might end up being?

They're not a clique, they're more of a secret society. They don't have to let Blue in on what their true purpose is, whether or not he proves himself, because they didn't choose to let him be a gym leader. The League did. There's different forces at play and they all have a hand in what the others do, if only partially.

Again, not sure how you took:

He wasn't even accepted as gym leader. There was much more to being a gym leader than handing out badges, yet he didn't know what that was. The Old Guard, the seven that had come before him and the eight in Johto, kept something from him. Blue quivered as the cold melted from his frame. And from anger.

His grandfather may not have known what secret the gym leaders held, but he did know far more than he told his grandson.(bolded for emphasis) to mean "they're a clique". Even in the context of the story, with Giovanni (note he was a former gym leader) talking about humans becoming gods, having control over three legendary Pokemon, and standing where Mew once lived, implies much more. You have to look at the whole picture and not just one aspect.

I thought as much, and I'm not sure that preparation could be described as carnal or otherwise raw in any sense of the word. It's a contradiction, really. If that was intended, it's an interesting one. If it wasn't, then it's just that "preparation" (in this kind of context, at least) implies a steadiness of the mind and a glimmer of intelligence, whereas raw implies something baser.
Dogs and other animals often fight, standing ready to lunge while growling. They're both prepared for what's to come as well as not really thinking about it. It's raw. It's carnal. It's supposed to be a contradiction.

However, either way, this brings into question the logic of timeframes. Did Blue and Espeon actually have enough time to connect and communicate on a psychic level? If so, did Blue actually have time to psychically explain his plan to Espeon and convince the Pokémon to go along with it? It seems like there wasn't much time between the moment Blue remembered Espeon was there and the one where he actually reveals himself, although it's possible that Blue could have relayed the plan sometime later. When is never made clear, and that part is vital to whether or not the plan would have logically worked.
Espeon read Blue's mind and got a feel of the plan via images and feelings. It wasn't really "explained". The whole process of how the plan was spread between the Pokemon was a web of concealment of telepathy as well as false Psychic signatures that involved Exeggutor, Alakazam, and Espeon acting in conjuntion with Blue. Usually it wouldn't have worked exactly right, but note that Giovanni isn't using his own Pokemon, nor is he a Psychic. The Mr. Mime and Kadabras aren't going to work at their peak anyhow, and even if they were they wouldn't be able to communicate to Giovanni well enough for him to act on it.

It's rather convoluted, so in this instance I guess all I can say is "willing suspension of disbelief".

It really doesn't show, to tell you the truth, and it's the thing I liked best about the fic aside from the reveal.
Well thanks. I liked nearly everything I wrote in there, but it was difficult holding back in explaining everything about that particular continuity. I'll get to do that later on, so anyone that cares, it's coming. :)

(Just a note, all the quotes that I don't respond to I agree with so it'd be pointless in responding. I assume the same of you.)

JX Valentine
September 4th, 2009, 09:25 PM
And because the root word was "infantile", which is a word, while the root for "infantly" is "infant", which is farther removed from the feeling I was trying to create.

Considering the point you were trying to make at that particular moment was to convey the image of Red looking like a helpless infant either way, it seems like you could have successfully arrived at the same place if you used the word that actually existed. (That is, to use the word that sounds like infant because it's derived from that word still conjures the image of Red groping uselessly towards his Poké Balls.)

I'm a strong believer that readers are intelligent, creative people and can understand lines like "deliver it".

In that case, what do you make of the fact that I didn't?

My reading and writing comprehension was tested at above that of a college graduate when I was only in the sixth grade, so I'm confident that there are many others that can read Dune or a Bradbury work like I have.

I see your credentials and raise you mine with a rambling paragraph in which I try to point out readers don't always meet author expectations.

Although I never really cared enough about my test results to know exactly what level I read at, I can safely say that, yes, I'm an intelligent person. After all, I've been repeatedly recommended for the gifted program, I know for a fact that I have a genius-level IQ, I've been inducted to the National Honors Society in high school at the earliest I could have possibly been inducted, I graduated with high honors, I'm currently attending a member of the Seven Sisters consortium for a degree in English language and literature, and I made the Dean's List at least once during that career. Likewise, I've read The Martian Chronicles and excerpts of the first of the Dune series. With all that in mind, I can safely say that what I've read of Bradbury was actually clear compared to some points here because Bradbury actually completed his thoughts.

While I understand that you have literary heroes (I do as well, in fact, although mine are more modern.), I urge you to do two things:

1. Please don't insult my intelligence by saying that you expect intelligent readers to understand what you've written in response to my comments saying that your prose is vague. If you didn't intend on insulting my intelligence, then apologies, but please don't keep saying that you expect the reader to understand X, Y, and Z when really, not all of them might. I'm a reader telling you I thought your prose was vague and your descriptions were convoluted or downright in violation to the rules of language, which you really must uphold if you actually want to be published nowadays. Yes, it's anal, but it's a fact. I want to work in publishing, so I've read up on the subject, talked about it to people (published poets and novelists as well as editors), and generally studied the industry far harder than I've actually studied half the things I'm learning in school. I know what copyeditors look for and what will get your manuscript sent back with not so much as a post-it note telling you why they won't publish your work. If you don't actually follow the basics for writing, and you're not actually a big name like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, they're not going to take you seriously. I say this to you because you're a very avid writer, and I assume you aspire to actually be a professional author someday. I'd hate to tell you this, if you do, but the publishing industry just doesn't work the way it did when Bradbury was writing.

(However, you're free to simply discuss what you meant and maybe try to convince the reviewer that what you were saying actually matches with the meaning you had in mind. Just don't assume your audience thinks the way you do. As I've said in my earlier response, one of the problems with writing online is that writers actually have to assume most of their audience doesn't think the same way they do – because most likely, this is true.)

2. Seriously, don't compare yourself to well-known published authors. That's like me going around saying my work is exactly like Orson Scott Card's or H.G. Wells's. It's... well, it's not, and not too many people would be happy with me if I actually said that. At the moment, you're a growing author who still needs to work out kinks in your writing. Emulating a published author is one thing, but if a reviewer comes along and says something just doesn't work, neither does attempting to avoid editing by pointing to a published author who probably actually did things completely differently on subtle levels.

On that note, under no circumstances did I see Bradbury do things like leave out articles because he felt the reader could understand that they should be there or create words simply because he felt like it or like the ones that exist but mean the same thing weren't enough to describe what he had in mind. In his better works (according to literary critics), he didn't write things like "deliver it" and leave the reader wondering what he delivered. He made vague references and allusions, sure, and that's most of what caused critics to call him vague. However, to do it in minor bits in what looks a lot like violations to the basic rules of a language? I don't think Bradbury ever did that. Likewise, in most of his works other than Fahrenheit 451, a reader could easily get the main point of a sentence because the word choice didn't leave them wondering exactly what he was trying to say.

In other words, I'm sorry if I sound confrontational again, but I really do hope you're not implying that I'm not by any means an intelligent reader.

I don't think anyone was especially confused from anything in this piece other than blatant typos and the incidents when sentences were spliced during revision, so I don't find the issue to be too important.

Erm, considering the fact that the only reviews you've gotten were from Bay (who, for some reason, didn't pick up on a number of grammatical errors that you didn't intend, like the commas bits), myself, and Citrinin (the latter of whom could be implied to be in agreement with me, considering he says he has nothing to say that I haven't already said), it can be considered that grammar is an important issue.

Let me ask you this... Would that scene have been as powerful as it was if it was immediately followed with him getting up and the story continuing?

My personal opinion? I think that's what you've already said right before that point, so yes. In fact, the scene break might be considered jarring to a reader in that you're actually breaking an action (the act of Blue getting up and continuing onward) in half. As a result, the reader is jolted out of the flow of the first scene by the mental equivalent of hitting a brick wall head-on, so the effect actually fades slightly as they wonder just where and when the next scene takes place, only to realize it was actually seconds after the first scene.

Alliteration was probably the wrong choice... Repetition? I wanted the two sentences to be nearly the same, so they both began with a length of time, move into two concepts that are similar (vibrations and voices), and finish by saying "in the" object.

Repetition, possibly.

Although, honest question. Was Blue actually feeling the voices, or was he hearing them? If it's the former, then this is no longer an issue.

It's kinda needless prose in retrospect, but it works. I don't know of anyone that would take a sentence about Blue feeling the echoing of voices as vibrations in the air and turn it into him hallucinating.

Synesthesia. Because you hear a voice, rather than actually feel it, the first reaction that a reader will get is wondering if there was a mistake on the author's part. The second reaction will probably be the reader wondering whether or not there's a crossing of neurological wires here due to stress or just some strange metaphor going on. The third reaction might be the idea that Blue can feel air vibrations, but this realization can only come as early as the moment you say Blue can feel vibrations caused by Psychic Pokémon. (Earlier vibrations can be interpreted as Blue feeling for the vibrations of something much larger within the cave.) You'll want to swing towards getting it on the first try, of course, but unless you're absolutely clear, you can't really predict what your reader will think first.

They're not a clique, they're more of a secret society.

Unfortunately, this wasn't entirely explained in the text. Because we're only given Blue's perspective of things, we end up seeing them as a clique that excludes him because of the way he thinks about them.

Again, not sure how you took:

(bolded for emphasis) to mean "they're a clique".

They're keeping something from him, but it's never stated what. As a result, because Blue regards this with what seems to be disgust, a reader (or, well, yours truly) ends up inferring that it's just a petty secret, a tradition among gym leaders that has nothing to do with a secret cabal. In fact, there wasn't anything to really imply that there was something big going on; it's canon that there's more to being a gym leader than handing out Pokémon, considering gym leaders have also been shown to be responsible for protecting their cities (individually) and helping trainers.

Even in the context of the story, with Giovanni (note he was a former gym leader) talking about humans becoming gods, having control over three legendary Pokemon, and standing where Mew once lived, implies much more.

It's Giovanni, leader of a criminal organization bent on taking over the world. It's also canon that criminal organizations tend to like using legendary Pokémon as a means of gaining godlike power. There's really nothing to stop me from automatically assuming that this was just another thing he was doing because he's the head of Team Rocket, rather than that this has something to do with the fact that he was a gym leader.

Well thanks. I liked nearly everything I wrote in there, but it was difficult holding back in explaining everything about that particular continuity. I'll get to do that later on, so anyone that cares, it's coming. :)

Looking forward to this, mostly because I do think you don't have enough room to expand on the points that we've been discussing, even if I did convince you to edit. A chapter fic really would do better justice to it. It would be interesting to see how the idea would be handled if given more space.

Redstar
September 4th, 2009, 11:01 PM
In that case, what do you make of the fact that I didn't?
You're too intelligent for your own good? You were reading from the perspective of an editor, so you were looking for things to bring up. I understand your concern, but in my mind the most that that particular line can be called out on is being overly-dramatic and possibly narm. Such lines aren't supposed to be analyzed for exact understanding.

I see your credentials and raise you mine with a rambling paragraph in which I try to point out readers don't always meet author expectations.

Although I never really cared enough about my test results to know exactly what level I read at, I can safely say that, yes, I'm an intelligent person. After all, I've been repeatedly recommended for the gifted program, I know for a fact that I have a genius-level IQ, I've been inducted to the National Honors Society in high school at the earliest I could have possibly been inducted, I graduated with high honors, I'm currently attending a member of the Seven Sisters consortium for a degree in English language and literature, and I made the Dean's List at least once during that career. Likewise, I've read The Martian Chronicles and excerpts of the first of the Dune series. With all that in mind, I can safely say that what I've read of Bradbury was actually clear compared to some points here because Bradbury actually completed his thoughts.

While I understand that you have literary heroes (I do as well, in fact, although mine are more modern.), I urge you to do two things:

1. Please don't insult my intelligence by saying that you expect intelligent readers to understand what you've written in response to my comments saying that your prose is vague. If you didn't intend on insulting my intelligence, then apologies, but please don't keep saying that you expect the reader to understand X, Y, and Z when really, not all of them might. I'm a reader telling you I thought your prose was vague and your descriptions were convoluted or downright in violation to the rules of language, which you really must uphold if you actually want to be published nowadays. Yes, it's anal, but it's a fact. I want to work in publishing, so I've read up on the subject, talked about it to people (published poets and novelists as well as editors), and generally studied the industry far harder than I've actually studied half the things I'm learning in school. I know what copyeditors look for and what will get your manuscript sent back with not so much as a post-it note telling you why they won't publish your work. If you don't actually follow the basics for writing, and you're not actually a big name like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, they're not going to take you seriously. I say this to you because you're a very avid writer, and I assume you aspire to actually be a professional author someday. I'd hate to tell you this, if you do, but the publishing industry just doesn't work the way it did when Bradbury was writing.

(However, you're free to simply discuss what you meant and maybe try to convince the reviewer that what you were saying actually matches with the meaning you had in mind. Just don't assume your audience thinks the way you do. As I've said in my earlier response, one of the problems with writing online is that writers actually have to assume most of their audience doesn't think the same way they do – because most likely, this is true.)
I wasn't meaning to imply you're not intelligent. As a writer, I want to write from my experience and my perspective, so logically speaking, my readers would probably be like me. I don't mean to say that I want to exclude everyone else, just I don't want to have to sacrifice too much of what I constitute my style just to cater to a broader audience. If anything I'm calling myself unintelligent for being unable to empathize your or the readers' perspective. That I will gladly work on.

To be honest, I would like to be published some day, though that's not my career choice. You're comparing apples and zucchinis here. What you're reading right now is an entry for an online fanfiction contest that I worked on for three days. Of course it's not going to be anywhere near publishing standards. It's not an excuse, since if you were to read any of my "novel" works, I'd fully expect such an in-depth analysis.

2. Seriously, don't compare yourself to well-known published authors. That's like me going around saying my work is exactly like Orson Scott Card's or H.G. Wells's. It's... well, it's not, and not too many people would be happy with me if I actually said that. At the moment, you're a growing author who still needs to work out kinks in your writing. Emulating a published author is one thing, but if a reviewer comes along and says something just doesn't work, neither does attempting to avoid editing by pointing to a published author who probably actually did things completely differently on subtle levels.
I'm not comparing myself to any writers. I'm simply stating what I've seen other writers do. I loathe the practice of emulating other writers and have a rant against the whole "How to write" books the industry peddles out. I would never, ever try to copy another writer's style.

I have been compared to Bradbury before, in terms of subject and style, but this was years before I ever read the guy. I personally don't see a similarity, but I do find great inspiration in his work.

(Thoughts on Dune?)

My personal opinion? I think that's what you've already said right before that point, so yes. In fact, the scene break might be considered jarring to a reader in that you're actually breaking an action (the act of Blue getting up and continuing onward) in half. As a result, the reader is jolted out of the flow of the first scene by the mental equivalent of hitting a brick wall head-on, so the effect actually fades slightly as they wonder just where and when the next scene takes place, only to realize it was actually seconds after the first scene.
Well it wasn't seconds later. It was 15-30 minutes later.

Although, honest question. Was Blue actually feeling the voices, or was he hearing them? If it's the former, then this is no longer an issue.
He felt the echo of the voices as vibrations in the air.

Unfortunately, this wasn't entirely explained in the text. Because we're only given Blue's perspective of things, we end up seeing them as a clique that excludes him because of the way he thinks about them.

They're keeping something from him, but it's never stated what. As a result, because Blue regards this with what seems to be disgust, a reader (or, well, yours truly) ends up inferring that it's just a petty secret, a tradition among gym leaders that has nothing to do with a secret cabal. In fact, there wasn't anything to really imply that there was something big going on; it's canon that there's more to being a gym leader than handing out Pokémon, considering gym leaders have also been shown to be responsible for protecting their cities (individually) and helping trainers.
They are more-or-less a clique as well as a secret society. They're excluding Blue for the exact reasons that he himself stated: for being the "Old Guard" (implying an old mentality). So you're right in that regard, but they also have a purpose I feel was hinted at well enough for a one-shot. (Reasons for that given below)

It's Giovanni, leader of a criminal organization bent on taking over the world. It's also canon that criminal organizations tend to like using legendary Pokémon as a means of gaining godlike power. There's really nothing to stop me from automatically assuming that this was just another thing he was doing because he's the head of Team Rocket, rather than that this has something to do with the fact that he was a gym leader.
I've never played any Pokemon game but Blue, so I was unaware a criminal organization had used a legendary Pokemon in that way. Blame my lack of experience with the current canon for that. I didn't realize people would overlook what I meant in favour for what they've already been exposed to. :\

Looking forward to this, mostly because I do think you don't have enough room to expand on the points that we've been discussing, even if I did convince you to edit. A chapter fic really would do better justice to it. It would be interesting to see how the idea would be handled if given more space.
Your repeated reviews and comments have really pounded into me on how vague the piece ended up being. I wish it wasn't that way, since the original draft had so much more information that I ultimately removed for two reasons: 1) It spoiled my fic to the point there would be no reason to write it, and, 2) It would have forced me to write much more in an attempt to explain the new information, resulting in a piece far too long to finish in time and would overwhelm the reader with that added information.

Leaving out so much is a flaw, yes, but it does in a way act as enticement to read my fic when it comes out to figure out wtf is going on (which is a lot).

I think the best way to look at this piece is as an alternate continuity to my fic. This is made clear if you realize that Giovanni has a different role and is not a villain, none of it takes place in Guyana (though it's mentioned) and, most surprisingly, Blue is not a character. The only things really intact are the same themes and feeling the story exudes. I hope I can re-capture both in chapter-form.