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Old July 29th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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JX Valentine
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Join Date: May 2004
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Okay, tip #1: Don't screw with the font. I know, it might seem anal, but sometimes, it's really hard to read. And after a long day at work and not enough sleep, tiny font = headache for people like me. So, I actually had to quote your post to read it properly.

Aside from the fact that you're trying to appeal to geezers as well as the young, you also don't know what forum style your readers are using. Dark background + tiny font = hard to read, for example. Or at least, in my experience, it seems to be.

But then again, I'm the geezer who said it's hard to read tiny font without getting a headache in the first place, so I don't know if my opinion's valid here.

Anyway, quoted review. If I point out a bunch of errors, it's out of love.

I'll bold and explain any grammatical errors along the way.

Originally Posted by Nikko.Ideator View Post
Prologue: The Night Before the Day.
1. Always, always, always run your work through a spell checker before you post it. Yes, this is a rough draft, but even if it's a preview, you should. A spell checker is your basic filter to catch your first layer of errors (like spelling "prologue" incorrectly). Of course, anything beyond that should be caught with rereading your work, but spell checking's a good start.

2. Capitalize all of the important words (every word except articles -- a, an, the -- or conjunctions) of a title. You started with "night" but left the rest alone. (Alternatively, if you're British, this rule doesn't apply to you, but you still have to be consistent and either leave everything lowercase or capitalize.)

Maxie Devon was lying awake, although he was supposed to be sleeping. The anticipation filled his body and put pressure on it as if it took a physical form.
The word "however" doesn't actually need to be here. It actually sounds a bit awkward, given the fact that you've already used its equivalent ("although") in the sentence before it. So, right now, you make it seem like you're contradicting the contradiction. Yes, that sounds confusing, which it is at first glance.

He kept attempting to close his eyes and drift off to sleep, but he simply could not. As he tried to go to sleep, he just could not, as much as he desired it.
First off, you don't need to use the word "on" after "kept." It's actually grammatically incorrect, given that the word doesn't actually mean anything in the sentence. ("On" is a preposition, but there is no prepositional phrase here.) Not only that, but the sentence just flows better if you omitted the word and just answered the question of "What did he keep doing?" with "attempting," if that makes sense.

Second, it's perfectly okay to use contractions in your writing. Avoiding them too often tends to make what you're saying sound stiff and pretentious when it comes to fanfiction, so just write in a casual manner.

Third, you already state that he couldn't sleep, so the entire second sentence of the above quote is completely unnecessary. State things only once and be done with it so you don't break the flow of the story by being redundant.

Tomorrow was the day he was allowed to become a licensed Pokemon trainer, or a person who captures Pokemon and trains them for battles with other Pokemon trainers.
First off, I'm not kidding about spell checking. It's a godsend, and you really should do it.

Second, the second comma (the one after "Pokémon") was taken out because it's not necessary. For a test, whenever you insert a comma before a conjunction (like "and"), replace the comma and the conjunction with a period. If both halves stand as their own sentences and make sense on their own, then you have a compound sentence. If not, leave the comma out because you're joining together an independent clause with a dependent one. (Note: This doesn't work with lists, but you're not actually listing anything here.)

Third, it's seriously not necessary to define what a Pokémon trainer is. Because this is a Pokémon fanfiction, it's a given that you're writing this for Pokémon fans. (Someone who wasn't a fan would logically not be interested in reading a fanfiction centering around a fandom they don't even care about.) So, they should already know what one is.

In general, if it's common knowledge in a fandom, you don't need to explain it.

He could remember when he was only six years old, he watched his brother on TV, fighting in the finals of the Galeor Tournament. You could see the fire in the eyes of both the trainers and their prized Pokemon.
Curiosity speaking, but why do you keep throwing font tags in the middle of sentences? It's jarring and hard to go through this.

Also, this is actually a run-on sentence. Notice how I put a period in the middle of the original, and it magically turned into two sentences that stand by themselves? If you can do that, then most likely, you need to either transform it into a compound sentence or insert a period.

Aside from that, don't ever use the word "you" in your story unless the entire thing uses second-person POV (or the point of view where the main character is "you"). The reason why is because it's jarring first of all, and second of all, no, we can't see. We can't be brought into your world like that. If you need to describe something, you've got to describe it to us as if you were there while we weren't (so that we can see what's going on).

Speaking about describing, at this point, I would like to mention the fact that we still don't know what Maxie looks like. (Incidentally, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the idea of third gen names being mashed together to create an OT's name, but that's just another tangent altogether.) This is bad because, well, we should know what the protagonist looks like or have a vague idea of such so we can envision what's going on without much of a problem.

His brother, Roy, was the first in fifteen years ever to defeat the region's champion, Darwin.
When you write a number from zero to ninety-nine, just write it out unless you're talking about time, dates, or addresses.

They say it was the most intense battle that has ever been witnessed.
Who says?

Also, I would suggest removing this comment or going into a bit more detail as to how it was intense. Maybe do a flashback to that day or have the prologue be it and the first chapter start on Maxie. In any case, this apparently is an important moment, and you spend only a sentence on it. That's not good if you want to grab our attentions.

Unfortunately, afterwards, his brother disappeared.
Comma after "unfortunately" because it's an introduction word.

He was simply gone. No trace of him was left behind. He looked at the clock on the night stand.
Tip: Paragraph breaks are your friends.
Reason: …Because right now, we think Roy's the one who's looking at that clock. (There's no indication that you've switched back to Maxie.)

It read "2:30 p.m."
Although the second period indicates that the abbreviation "P.M." is an abbreviation, a period like that also serves to end the sentence.

Which is to say, don't double up on ending punctuation marks, even periods if they'd occur one after another.

Suddenly, the light switched on, and Maxie rose from the covers, picking up his glasses and putting them on his face.
I would suggest putting the part about his glasses in a new sentence. That way, you don't overcrowd the act of Maxie rising with more verbs that don't further describe that act of rising.

"Maxie, honey. Are you still awake?"
Why wouldn't he be? P.M. = afternoon.

Also, whenever the speaker changes, start a new paragraph. So, right after the word "mother" and before Maxie's bit of dialogue, you should have a paragraph break.

"Yeah. I just can't stop thinking about tomorrow," Maxie said tiredly.
Alternatively, "wearily" for that last word. Either way, avoid the use of "in a ______ manner." It's tacky and wordy when what you really mean can be summed up in one adverb, if not the verb itself.

Also, in a quote, if the dialogue tag (the "he said" part) occurs after its dialogue partner, then the comma already serves as the period, which means you don't need a period and then a comma.

"Well, you sure don't want to show up tired, do you? You'll need your rest," said Maxie's mother.
Note the lack of capitals here. The reason why is because the sentence doesn't stop until the dialogue tag (or its dialogue partner, whichever comes last) does.

"I know. I know. I'm trying. I'll drift off at some point."

"I know you will, son. I know you will."

She walked outside, switched off the light, and closed the door behind her. Maxie finally calmed down and fell asleep.

"Tomorrow," he thought. "Tomorrow."
See what I mean about paragraph breaks?

Also, period goes inside the quotation marks. Same thing with a comma. No exceptions.

Overall, it's really hard to say what I think about this. Right now and right off the bat, I'll have to say you really need to work on your spelling and grammar. It's readable, but there's a lot of errors that could just be avoided if you proofread, including a spell check. This link also leads to a guide to commas that's easy to use and very simple. I suggest you go over it a couple of times because most of your errors in punctuation are just common comma errors.

In terms of storyline, you could use more detail. We don't know what Maxie looks like, for example, other than he wears glasses. It's okay to describe the basic features of your hero, like what color eyes he has as he stares into the darkness.

Additionally, you rush over important details, like this battle involving his older brother. A great way to pull readers in is to start with that first to get us excited about what we're about to read. That and it just sounds important because it's the last time many people saw this brother of his, but you only mention it in two sentences.

Otherwise, it feels like it might end up being a Generic OT Story, with the protagonist going on a journey to fulfill his Destiny (caps intended). Of course, I can't say because you haven't begun the story, but I will give a warning to the wise: OT stories have been done. While people still go after that kind of genre, if you want a lot of readers, you're going to want to pull a lot of punches that haven't already been seen yet and avoid the basic clichés. Read Thesis' guide to OT stories as well as other OT stories on this board and FFNet. Learn from them. They are your teachers, young padawan.

But overall, it's not bad for a first, but you've got to sit down and work out the kinks.
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