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Kleinchen
September 3rd, 2009, 05:06 PM
Hello, all! n.n This is my entry for the Get-Together's Small Writing Contest, based on the prompt of "time". I write a lot of short stories so this oneshot was not particularly difficult, and although I did not place, I am still rather proud of this piece and quite content with my score of 23/30. c:

I was not too certain at first of the prompt, and to be honest I was quite intimidated. But I love writing and it had been a while since I had entered a contest, so I figured, why the heck not? x3

Personally I love symbolism and such, so my stories tend to be fraught with it. But if I were to explain all of it I'm sure you would be quite bored, so you can look for most of it yourself. n.n I would like to say this though; that with this oneshot I tried to illustrate, first and foremost, the inconsistency of time -- how sometimes events lasting mere seconds can go on for a lifetime, how years can pass by in a blur, and ultimately how a life goes by as quickly and silently as a raindrop falls into the ocean. This is the theme that I tried to make most apparent in my story, so I hope that it is apparent to you. n.n

I am quite open to any and all criticisms, and I would also dearly like to see whatever the judges have to say. C:

So, without further ado, here is my little fic about a girl and her partner trying to find their place in the world. Please enjoy "The Winds of Time". c:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Winds of Time


She was nine years old when Starman came into her life. She could dimly remember the very words her brother spoke as he placed the Pokeball in her tiny hands.

“Now, Meredith,” he had said, “I'm going to be leaving on another journey today. But I don't want you to feel left out... So I got you something to remember me by.”

“Again?” she had murmured as she held the Pokeball, but it was hard to feel sad – this would be her first Pokemon.

“Open it,” he had replied simply – she could not remember his features clearly but she remembered he was smiling. She did not need any further encouragement – she opened the Pokeball. A tiny, fluffy Pidgey, nestled in soft down, peeped up at her with wide, creamy brown eyes. It shook its head and gave a little flap of its wings, and she smiled broadly.

“He's yours,” her brother had said, “You can name him whatever you want, and next year, you can start your journey with him.”

“Starman,” she had whispered in awe, no hesitation in her voice, “Nice to meet you... Starman.”

Time passed. She and Starman played together every day, climbing trees and chasing each other around Sprout Tower, or the wilderness around their small home in Violet City.


And then she turned ten years old. Following in the footsteps of her brother, she set out on her Pokemon journey, Starman soaring along beside her.

From the very first battle, Starman never let her down. Even when they lost, Meredith's eyes filled with tears of pride – how could they not, with a Pokemon that fought so bravely, so valiantly?

She caught more Pokemon, all of which she loved very much, but Starman was always the nearest to her heart. When he evolved into a Pidgeotto, maybe a month into their journey, she nearly cried with tears of joy. Much later, when he was enveloped in that mysterious light and burst forth as a Pidgeot, she wept with them.


She was twelve. The day she received that frantic phone call from her mother – the day her brother was in The Accident – Starman flew her home, all the way back to Violet City, as she cried silently on his back. He stood next to her at his funeral, a strong pillar of support. Though he did not know her brother, he knew she had loved him, and so his feathered head was bowed in reverence.

When her brother had given her Starman, he had not known how true he had been when he christened the little Pidgey as a gift of remembrance. That was the last time she saw him alive.

She remained in Violet with her family for a month, in the house of her childhood, where the only memories of her brother remained. Her other Pokemon grew restless, but Starman waited patiently for her to get back on her feet. He gave her all the time, all the space she needed, and when the day came that she was ready to move on, he was ready to take her there, his wings as strong and steady as ever.


Time passed. Meredith gained more Badges, trained herself and her team rigorously. When the Pokemon League Tournament began, she entered. She was thirteen.

Meredith won only twice before she was soundly defeated by a Trainer much older, much stronger than herself. That night she wept bitter tears of despair and loathing, her Pokeballs strewn about her hotel room, along with her Badges, worthless now, and much of her other belongings. Only Starman stood before her, watching her silently, sadly.

“We will never be strong enough,” she cried, “The Pokemon League's not for babies – but that's all I am – you're stuck with a stupid baby Trainer, Starman...!” He enveloped her with his wings as she sank to the floor, her body heaving with sobs. The night, her tears, seemed to go on forever, but Starman stood through it all, a sentinel against the flow of time.

They stayed until the Tournament was over, until a Champion had been crowned. Then, Meredith climbed atop his back and they soared away, with no destination, no course, only the gray-blue sky above them.

“We can start again,” Meredith had whispered as he neared the clouds, “We can start over, become stronger. We have all the time in the world...”


That night, they landed in a little town in Kanto – the home region of the newly-appointed Pokemon Champion. The next morning, she released all of her Pokemon – all of them save for Starman, her partner, her closest friend. They started training from the basics, only this time it was a more refined training. Rather than just fight, they developed strategies, counters, maneuvers to deal with any feasible situation – and suddenly strength became not a status but a journey in itself.


Time passed this way. She was fourteen, then fifteen.

She gained more Badges, but at a slower, surer, more dedicated pace. Starman soared next to her through it all.


She challenged the Pokemon League again when the Tournament began. She made it to the fifth round of preliminary matches before losing, and this time it was not a crushing defeat but a heated battle, won by the narrowest margin, both teams having given their best. This time she did not cry for her loss, but beamed proudly for their progress, for her team's strength, and above all, Starman's courage and tenacity. He had fought the hardest for her, until the very end. As they waited in the Pokemon Center, she held his battered body close and whispered, “I love you.”

She was sixteen.


Again they remained just long enough to see a new Champion crowned, then quietly set out again. It had been a long time since Meredith had been home. They stopped in Violet City for a little while, to rest. Time passed. A little while turned into a month, then two.


It was time to move on again.

“Where to?” she asked quietly, “Starman?”

Wherever she went, he would follow. Wherever she pointed, he would go.

She smiled at him. Gently he rested his feathery head against hers for a moment – a moment that seemed to last years, centuries, forever.

“Let's go,” Meredith whispered.

She climbed onto his back, and with a flap of his wings, he ascended into the skies. Together they soared among the clouds, riding the winds of time.

Bay Alexison
September 3rd, 2009, 05:37 PM
Well, here are my individual scores and the review. Hope this is of help to you. :)

Grammar:9/10
At least to me, you don’t have too much problem with this. However, there’s on part I was confused.

Much later, when he was enveloped in that mysterious light and burst forth as a Pidgeot, she wept with them.
Maybe it’s just me, but not sure what you’re trying to say here. ^^; Perhaps reword it?

Literary Elements (plot, setting, characterization, etc.): 7/10
Nice to see how Meredith and Starman had grown and overcome obstacles all these years. I can tell the two really cared for each other and both of them went through a lot. They also have good chemistry together, the two supporting one another whenever one of them is feeling down. My favorite is when Meredith got upset over her lost during the Kanto League battles and Starman came to support her in his own way.

I do like this a lot, but I feel you rushed it a bit. I know you’re trying to just highlight the most important events show how both Meredith and Starman have grown, but you could have slow down the piece a bit and expand more on the emotions and character development. Take this part for example:

Meredith won only twice before she was soundly defeated by a Trainer much older, much stronger than herself. That night she wept bitter tears of despair and loathing, her Pokeballs strewn about her hotel room, along with her Badges, worthless now, and much of her other belongings. Only Starman stood before her, watching her silently, sadly.

“We will never be strong enough,” she cried, “The Pokemon League's not for babies – but that's all I am – you're stuck with a stupid baby Trainer, Starman...!” He enveloped her with his wings as she sank to the floor, her body heaving with sobs. The night, her tears, seemed to go on forever, but Starman stood through it all, a sentinel against the flow of time.

They stayed until the Tournament was over, until a Champion had been crowned. Then, Meredith climbed atop his back and they soared away, with no destination, no course, only the gray-blue sky above them.

“We can start again,” Meredith had whispered as he neared the clouds, “We can start over, become stronger. We have all the time in the world...”
The part where Meredith was outraged of her lost I thought you did well as you show how upset she her, throwing her pokeballs and crying. I already said how this is my favorite part. :) However, You then immediately have her think about starting over and become stronger. While I do like she has developed that mentality, you could have take the time to develop the gap between her upset and then her willing to start over again. Expand that by maybe putting how she realizes she can always try again and she doesn’t have to rush it.

Now, it’s not bad you retold most of the events and have some scenes expanded here and there. I actually this way would work for a story like this. However, the parts where you do expand you could have put more emotional depth to it. Hope I explained this okay. ^^;

Also, seems after the funeral Meredith forgot about her brother, or at least he wasn’t mentioned again after that. I would like to see that Meredith stills remember him.

Prompt:7/10
I like what you have here. Both Meredith and Startman has come from a long way from beginners to doing well in Johto. However, like I mentioned in the Literary Elements section, you rushed some scenes a bit and you could have both more emotional depth in them. You did well relating the events to time, though.

Overall Score:23/30

Kleinchen
September 3rd, 2009, 08:37 PM
Thank you very much! Looking back now, I think you're right about rushing some of the parts a little too much. I may go back and rewrite this since now I don't have a three-day time limit and can take the time to expand what needs to be expanded, and if I do I will definitely take your suggestions to heart. I appreciate the advice very much. C:

And, yes, the lack of memories of her brother after his death is entirely an oversight on my part. Another thing I will address if I rewrite. x3 And the grammatical confusion you pointed out -- it was meant to be in conjunction with how she "nearly cried" when Starman first evolved, so when he evolved again she really did cry. Sorry for the confusion -- some things sound better in my brain than they do on paper, I suppose. 8D;

Overall you have been very helpful, and I am glad you enjoyed my little oneshot. That means a lot to me. n.n

Astinus
September 3rd, 2009, 09:06 PM
Yours was one of the entries I have a review for, so here it is.

Grammar:

“He's yours,” her brother had said, “You can name him whatever you want, and next year, you can start your journey with him.”
Just because you have a dialogue tag in the middle of the dialogue, doesn't mean that it's surrounded by commas on both sides. The comma after “said” could be a full stop.

Same for:

“Starman,” she had whispered in awe, no hesitation in her voice, “Nice to meet you... Starman.”

“We will never be strong enough,” she cried, “The Pokemon League's not for babies – but that's all I am – you're stuck with a stupid baby Trainer, Starman...!”

“We can start again,” Meredith had whispered as he neared the clouds, “We can start over, become stronger. We have all the time in the world...”

“Where to?” she asked quietly, “Starman?”

The night, her tears, seemed to go on forever, but Starman stood through it all, a sentinel against the flow of time.
Here, you have an unnecessary comma after “tears”, and I'll assume you meant “that” for “the night”.

She remained Violet with her family for a month,
She remained Violet? You're missing an “in” after “remained”.

Other than those, you're clean with grammar. The time you took to comb over this because of your broken keyboard shows.

Grammar score: 9/10

Literary elements:

Plot:

I've seen this before: a trainer has one trusted Pokemon that is a special reminder of a family member who's dead/missing, and the trainer loses the League challenge their first time in. So they go into training, and even though they lose again, they're happy because of the progress they made.

It's been seen before, and this really didn't have anything different to make it stand out from the others. Unfortunately, I've read this plot many times before, and yours just sounded the same.

Description:

This helped saved your score here. You had some good description of Meredith's and Starman's feelings throughout the piece, and seeing the Pokemon being remembered in stories is always good. You have description of what's important.

Characterization:

Starman is your strongest character in this story, to me. His loyalty to his trainer is very apparent in this, the way that he stands beside her, and helps her through it all.

I would have liked to have seen more about Meredith's feelings about her brother's death and how that made her want to try and win the Pokemon League. Instead of having the two being unrelated.

Literary elements score: 6/10

Use of Prompt:

Time wasn't an integral part of this. Except for the length of time there was when Meredith first received Starman, and to the present day. So it's there.

Use of Prompt score: 6/10

Contest score: 21/30

But you are a good writer. (Really, with the exception of the plot, there wasn't a thing wrong with the story. I mean, take away the ten points for the prompt score, and you would have gotten a 16/20.) So I hope that this isn't the only story you'll write, since I would enjoy seeing more from you.

Redstar
September 4th, 2009, 09:38 PM
This is probably going to sound lame, but until the very end of the story I thought Starman was a Pokemon/person/being other than Pidgey. ._.

You didn't make it particularly clear that the Pidgey was named Starman, and the name doesn't fit that particular Pokemon perfectly, so I just assumed it was an imaginary or supernatural friend. I also couldn't help but think of the 1984 movie, Starman, starring Jeff Bridges as the titular alien. Luckily I had the Star Child of 2001 to balance out that odd feeling.

It was a good story. It didn't need to be any longer than you wrote it, and doing so would probably be more harm than good. Unfortunately Astinus was right in that many of the things that occured were cliches typical of Pokemon fics, but at least they were the lesser-used, good cliches. Use of those suggest creativity that you only need to sharpen a little to get a real gem, so you're very close to being a great storyteller.

My only suggestion is you used the word "had" way too much. After a certain point the reader realizes that the entire story is a reminiscion, so constant reminders that it's the past are unecessary and pull the reader out of the "memory". I would also reccomend you explore other ways of saying "Time passed". That particular phrase can be used once or twice, but if it's used any more than that than it's considered a cop-out. There's literally so many ways to get across the message that time has moved forward other than simply saying that.

Mostly I enjoyed the feeling of melancholy present in the story. It was simple, yet carried a strong message. That's something I like seeing in any writing. Keep it up and you'll get somewhere.

Kleinchen
September 4th, 2009, 10:33 PM
Much thanks to both of you! n.n

@Astinus: a few responses to your comments... First, the grammatical thing -- it has been my understanding that you can go both ways with either a comma or a period when breaking a dialogue up into two parts ("this is an example," he said, "blah blah blah." VS "this is also an example," he said. "blah blah blah."), and my personal preference is using a comma... So unless I have been mistaken all these years of my life, I think I will stick with that. n.n;

The night, her tears, seemed to go on forever, but Starman stood through it all, a sentinel against the flow of time.Here, you have an unnecessary comma after “tears”, and I'll assume you meant “that” for “the night”.Ah... what I meant here is that BOTH the night and her tears seemed to go on forever. Sorry, my writing style tends to be a little out of the norm, because most of what I read is older, classical literature and modern, progressive, almost stream-of-consciousness pieces, so my writing tends to be a bit of a mixture of the two, and this sentence is a result of that. Again, an instance of something sounding better in my brain than on paper; my apologies. x3;

And, yes, I did miss the "in" in "remained in Violet"... I caught that shortly after submitting it and was kicking myself the entire time for it. x3;;

As for the literary elements part, you are quite right in everything you said. I'll take that advice to heart. n.n

And as for the prompt usage, I suppose this is another instance of "sounded good to me" happening... I felt as though the whole story revolved around time, but the execution of my initial ideas may not have been sufficient. I'll try harder next time. x3

Thanks very much for your review. c:


@Redstar: lol! um, well... I think I made it fairly clear that Starman was a Pidgey... From the beginning when she named him, and also the point where it basically said "Starman evolved into a Pidgeotto, yay", but I apologize for the lack of clarity. x3;

I was trying to create a repetitive feel with the whole "Time passed" thing, but I see your point. I'll be sure to fix it. x3

Thanks for the praise, I appreciate it. n.n Your advice was sound as well and I will definitely take it to heart. Thank you very much! c:

Redstar
September 4th, 2009, 10:51 PM
@Redstar: lol! um, well... I think I made it fairly clear that Starman was a Pidgey... From the beginning when she named him, and also the point where it basically said "Starman evolved into a Pidgeotto, yay", but I apologize for the lack of clarity. x3;
You actually said "he evolved" and didn't specify the name, but reading back it is pretty obvious. The first few paragraphs were still slightly unclear, so after that point it was basically a combination of my initial perception and me simply not paying attention. Generally you need to be very, very clear with the introductory paragraphs because those are when the reader is first introduced to the world and formulate their opinion on it. Anything not perfectly clear will hold until corrected.

A good example of this was a writing workshop where some people had to read a science fiction book, and the beginning described "dinosaur cars". Most of the science fiction oldies thought they were genetically-altered lizards used for transport, but the sci-fi newbies new it was obvious as a metaphor saying the cars were large, bulky, and slow-moving. The point is you shouldn't introduce such vague words and concepts until after you've suitably introduced your world, otherwise the readers are bound to be confused.

I was trying to create a repetitive feel with the whole "Time passed" thing, but I see your point. I'll be sure to fix it. x3
Repetition works best when in close proximity, or when mirrored. You could start all four paragraphs in a row with "Time passed", and that would work, or you could use variations of "dust" over and over again in a single paragraph, but when they're paragraphs apart it wont constitute as repetition. It'll be repetitiveness.

Thanks for the praise, I appreciate it. n.n Your advice was sound as well and I will definitely take it to heart. Thank you very much! c:
No problem. I like Surskit, so I felt you deserved it.