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Old July 15th, 2008 (8:49 PM).
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Originally Posted by dark lakitu View Post
Yeeaaahp...I never seem to do anything right here...x.x
To be perfectly blunt and straightforward with you, it probably seems that way because you're going about things with the wrong attitude. You're confrontational, and that doesn't bowl over well a lot of the times. As in, you're short with people (as I've seen with your reviews -- and have mentioned to you before), and that comes off as portraying yourself to be better than others. If you want to be a good writer or a good reviewer, the key isn't to see everyone else as incapable of producing work that's up to standards. It's working with them as equals, even if you really don't want to. If you're reviewing, that means assuming that your writer needs everything explained to them and, therefore, having the patience to explain things as much as possible. (Sometimes, this comes off as snarky, but the point isn't to tell them they're wrong so much as it is to tell them why and how they're wrong.) If you're a writer, that means taking any review you get with a polite "thank you" because they took the time to read your work. Yes, they may not produce the kinds of reviews you want, and it sounds like you're encouraging them to keep leaving one-liners. However, if you want a better review, the polite way to get one is by asking them. Engage in a conversation by responding directly to them. If you want one. It's not to outright insult their writing or reviewing style.

After all, it's like me coming right out and stating your reviews mean nothing or that you're illiterate. Saying those things don't make someone improve. It makes them want to quit.

And it doesn't hurt to cut the confrontational crap. If you want to be snarky, you should at least say something other than "this sucks." That means going into detail, as I've said before. If you're confrontational, all you're doing is ticking people off, which gets you into this kind of situation.

That said, my review is as follows.

Originally Posted by dark lakitu View Post
The strange, clear thing wraps around you, and the human lifts you up.
On the first comma: When you're writing two adjectives right next to each other, try to separate similar ones out. Both "strange" and "clear" describe the appearance of the "thing," so you'll want to separate them.

On the second comma: This is actually a compound sentence. Try replacing the "and" with a period, and you'll notice that you have two full sentences as a result. That's your cue to separate one clause from another with a comma when you go to put the "and" back in. Try this period test every time you insert a conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so) to see whether or not you're actually forming a compound.

[quote]Your parents can only watch with fear as you get taken away to a “boat” by the humans. You feel a strange tingling sensation and immediately fall asleep.[/FONT]

If this was actually a Magikarp being taken out of the wild, it should probably be noted that actual goldfish sold in pet stores are born on farms, with hundreds of other goldfish in the same pond. Most likely, they don't actually know which fish laid their egg, if the fish from the last generation are actually still alive.

Nitpick, I know. Just stating for the sake of realism.

The haunting stories your mother was telling you are true.
First off, how would the Magikarp's mother know about stories in the shop? I mean, if she's wild, she probably has never been in one.

Second, I feel that this sentence is a bit awkward anyway because of the overall subject – "stories." Grammatically, it's correct because "was" goes with "mother," but on the other hand, it also creates an inconsistent rhythm. But maybe that's just me.

You are stuck in a “fishop”
Be careful and proofread before you submit. First off, there's no period at the end of this sentence. Second, I looked it up, and as far as I know, there's no such thing as a "fishop." Do you mean a pet shop? A fish shop (although this conjures images of fish being sold to be eaten)?

Also, it's a bit difficult to grasp why this is so haunting. You don't really tell us much about the surroundings. Just that Magikarp is in a strange box that could very well be only big enough to fit it and that it's panicking. If you want to get your audience to sympathize, don't be afraid to throw in as much detail as possible to get them to see what you see.

hoping that there is a flaw in the strange, clear material you are kept in
I'm assuming Magikarp is in a tank, not the material used to make it. (As in, you may want to specify that it's a box-like confinement so you don't conjure strange images of a wrapped fish.)

Soon, you blend in to the area,
Into. Otherwise, you're doubling up on prepositions, which you should really avoid because prepositions need to be associated with a noun or verb, not another preposition.

even if none of the other Pokemon like you, or even talk to you.
Drop the comma. It actually serves no purpose in this sentence.

They spread rumours about you being a Pokemon from another world, an alien.
In the short few minutes since it's been there? Because that's pretty much what you're implying by introducing this so soon, without any sense of how much time is actually passing.

You know that your species only live for a few months and you have a lot of things in life that you haven’t done yet, such as finding a mate and evolving.
This is actually another compound sentence.

Also, I would replace "such as" with "like." "Such as" tends to sound harsh and like something from a textbook. You're trying to get your audience to feel for this Magikarp, so you want to go for something a bit softer.

You also start to hate your weak little self for being so weak and unable to do anything.
You really have to get into the mindset of your characters. Right now, you're telling us this story as if it's a cookbook. There's very little actual emotion in it, and emotion, ironically, comes from showing the character expressing themselves or showing the way the world reacts to the character, rather than telling the readers how the character feels. As in, if you show us how the main character acts or how the other characters react (either in dialogue or in actual individual actions) to the main character in specific detail, you're more likely to get us to care.

Think of it like this: If you tell us that a character is abused, it doesn't mean anything to us because we really don't see how. If you tell us that Character A walks up to Character B and, for no reason, punches him out, laughs at him, spits on him, and then calls him a rude name, then we'll be pissed at Character A and feel sorry for Character B. Likewise, if you show us that Magikarp is trying to jump out of the tank but can't because there's a lid, we're more likely to feel sorry for him, which is your goal here.

He picks you up with that strange smooth thing, a bag it’s called,
First off, it's the same deal as the first correction. Comma between "strange" and "smooth" to separate adjectives.

Second, you may want to put parentheses around "a bag, it's called" (note the added comma, given the fact that the phrase "a bag" is, in itself, a dependent clause placed before the main subject), simply because using commas creates a jerky feel, as if you're trying to blend three complete sentences into one. (If that makes sense.)

Third, usually, in a pet shop, they don't fish into the tank with a bag because that's heavily inaccurate for a tank that's filled with fish. A bag is floppy, and it's likely to get caught on tank decorations or other fish. Instead, they use a long-handled net (with stiff netting) to grab the particular fish a customer wants. They transfer the fish into a smaller box just big enough for one in order to transfer them to a bag (that they fill with oxygen) away from the tank.

In other words, it just pays to do research into what you're writing about for the sake of realism. It's odd to ask for realism in a Pokémon fic, but on the other hand, you're aiming for believability, too. You may have pet owners, like myself, who's seen the procedure countless times stop and go, "Wait. What?"

Some humans walk in and the menacing door chime rings.
Another compound sentence. Try the period test I mentioned at the beginning of the review.

It means certain death for one Pokemon.
This sounds a bit extreme. Considering the fact that a number of fish owners actually know how to take care of a fish, chances are, pet fish get better treatment than they do in the shop. In many cases, I've noticed that pet shop fish aren't entirely well taken care of. It's not entirely unusual to have one (or more) tank with a dead goldfish still floating in it, not to mention the fact that fish are often crammed into tanks way too small for them (given that you need ten gallons per goldfish, not only because they need the space but also because they produce a lot of toxic chemicals that can poison them if a lot of them are placed in a small area at one time). You'd expect pet shops to take better care of fish, but really, it's not as pretty as you might think.

goes up to the humans
Drop the "up." Again, you don't want to double up on prepositions like this. "Up" doesn't really describe the motion of walking. "To," however, does, given that it's followed by a noun ("humans").

You may want to replace "goes" with something that describes the way he walks as well. Using specific action verbs like "saunters" and "waltzes" and "shuffles" paints a better image than something as vague as "goes." You want that better image so your audience can get an idea of what that person is like.

You hope they are talking about the Goldeen they recently got.
Because there's more than one customer but only one shopkeeper, you're implying that the group is talking about the customers' Goldeen (because they're the only "they" in that sentence).

You hope they aren’t falling for this.
You seem very formal with your writing style (i.e. the avoidance of contractions), but you use a cliché "falling for this" right about now. As in, no one is actually falling, so it's actually just a slang term that seems out of place compared to the rest of the style. You may want to replace it with something like "believing this."

Also, you'll want to add another word after "this," partly to indicate what Magikarp is hoping they're not believing but also to color the Magikarp's opinions slightly. (While the narrator isn't the main character, the main character is the audience. Like you would in a first-person work, you want to open the readers' minds up to the mindset of the main character so they understand how they should be feeling if they were this Magikarp.)

That and the word "this" typically isn't one that should stand by itself.

Something in your mind snaps and you realise that you are just a tool for that wretched human to get some extra money.
Another compound.

The anger, stress and special food you’ve been eating
What special food? Another thing you could probably go into a bit more detail about.

Your gills melt away and lungs grow in their place
Gyarados actually have gills, though. Take a look at the sides of its head.

You soon grow extremely large
You've already stated that Gyarados has grown several times in this paragraph, so restating it just seems redundant.

You have evolved.
It's also not necessary to state this for essentially the same reason. The readers realize that the fish evolved, so stating it again at the end of this long description just feels redundant (and, for that matter, a little anticlimactic because you're stating the obvious).

You slither onto the “rode” as it crushes under your weight.
First off, "rode" is the past tense of the word "ride." What you mean here is "road."

Second, Gyarados are only a half ton heavy. To give you an idea of what this means, semis (You know, the tractor-trailer types, the really large ones?) tend to be several tons heavy. Also, roads are typically built to withstand several tons of pressure from hundreds of cars going across them daily. A single Gyarados wouldn't cause a road to crack by itself. If it Hyper Beamed the crap out of the road, then sure, that'd be a different story.

Alternatively, if this was Godzillados, maybe, but you've really made no indication that this Gyarados isn't much larger than the twenty-one-foot, garden-variety Gyarados.

A bunch of fools in cocky uniforms try to stop you with magical sparkly wands but you just push them aside.
1. Uniforms can't be cocky. Well, they could, but that'd be rather inappropriate for a police officer. In any case, you may want to tack the ending "-looking" onto the word "cocky" or go for another adjective altogether.

2. Another compound sentence.

a great chunk of stone disturbing nature.
I had to reread this a few times to understand what you meant. At first, I thought you meant to write the phrase "stone-disturbing nature" (as in, a nature that disturbed stones), but that didn't quite make sense. After that, I thought you might have wanted a comma after "stone" (to indicate that the stone disturbed nature), but then, I had to wonder about that as well. Given cliffs and the fact that birds, insects, and various other animals are capable of making their homes in walls, it doesn't seem like a wall would disturb nature. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't really do anything to disturb nature in the first place. Sure, it prevents certain elements from getting into human dwellings, but other than that, nature really doesn't care that it's there.

Overall, it was okay. Readable, albeit with some odd errors I'll touch one last time upon in a moment. The problem is, though, that you did this in second person, and you really didn't make too much of an effort to get your readers to connect with the main character. As I've said in the main part of the review, you want to provide not only details but also emotion to pull your reader into the mind of the Magikarp, or we won't really care about what happens to it. Oftentimes, I felt like the Magikarp was just suspended in a white room (because you don't describe much) and that you were feeding us readings of its emotions the way you would write a textbook. If you want to get us to care about your characters, you need to propel us into their minds and their worlds. The only way to do that is to sit down and really think things through.

I also felt like this was a bit rushed. You move quickly from one event to another, barely even letting the fish get used to his surroundings. The evolution felt like a deus ex machina, particularly because you pulled the part about the "special food" from nowhere and because everything past it felt like it happened in one fell swoop. As in, "People ran around scared, the end." That kind of ending. I just didn't feel for the Magikarp through the story, and I didn't feel overjoyed that it ran off to freedom at the end. I just felt that you were trying to get to the result without thinking too much about the way there.

As for grammatical errors, a proofreading stage is in order, as is a guide to commas. (OWL might explain things better than I can.) You just need to reread everything you write, preferably aloud, to pick out mistakes and odd wordings yourself.

In general, if you were writing with a deadline in mind, I can tell, and my advice to you is screw every deadline you ever get because if you keep them in mind, they'll screw you over. As crude as that sounds, what that basically means is you really shouldn't feel rushed to finish a piece. Instead, take your time and think things through. Do research. Get the details down. The last thing you want is to make something sound forced, and if you try to push yourself into writing an ending (or a story at all) because you want to get your story in before the deadline hits, it's going to sound forced.

You do have potential because you seem like the kind of writer who actually wants to work on his skills, but something you'll eventually learn is that you just have to slow down if you want to do it.
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Need some light reading?
Anima Ex Machina (Chapter 20 now available)
The Leaf Green Incident (SWC 2012 winner)
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