Thread: Forever Bonds
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Old January 4th, 2009, 09:19 AM
JX Valentine's Avatar
JX Valentine
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Join Date: May 2004
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As a note:

1. Sorry it took me so long to fill your request. Real life is a biter.
2. I know you said you're leaving until the end of the month, but I'm assuming you'll be back after that to read this. If I don't post now, it'd be thread necromancy.
3. For the above reason (the tail end of it, at least), the following review is only for the prologue. I don't really have time to get through all of your work right now, but I'll edit in more of my review later until someone else posts after me.

That said...


Quote:
An illustrious emerald, dragon Pokémon
You actually don't need the comma here. It just doesn't serve a purpose.

Quote:
formed inside the cavities of its orifice.
Reason why purple prose (i.e., overuse of the thesaurus) is not necessarily a good thing: because in some instances, it conjures up heavily odd images.

So, let's start with the word "cavities." While it means "hole" (and therefore, could mean "mouth"), the fact that it's plural and in reference to the mouth either implies that you're talking about multiple mouths or that you're talking about cavities in the teeth. It doesn't really hit on the idea of the energy forming in the mouth itself.

Additionally, "orifice." This literally means "hole in the surface of the body," so aside from the fact that the phrase is odd, it's also slightly redundant. (Yes, the orifice opens into the cavity, but it's still pretty much an overly flowery way of saying "mouth.")

Basically speaking, using purple prose (or flowery writing filled with adjectives and what might to the average reader be considered "academic" words) should really be avoided for a few simple reasons. First, you don't want your reader to be referring to a dictionary every other word. Now, I didn't, but there are some people in the teen age group (which you're aiming for, I presume) who may not have an extensive vocabulary beyond the way I'm writing to you now. Second, most authors who use purple prose fail to actually fully understand the connotations (and denotations) of the words they're using, resulting in an unintentionally awkward mental image for the reader. Third, the longer you go about saying something that can be summed up in a couple of words, the more your reader will be thinking, "Get on with it."

So, yes. The thesaurus should only really be used rarely in the writing process. Otherwise, simple is okay.

Quote:
intentions not to annihilate, but to defend.
You do this a few times throughout the work. That is, you have a sentence fragment, but instead of trying to make that fragment agree (or fit in) with the rest of the sentence, you just have it hanging like an incomplete thought (even for a fragment) at the end. For example, in this case, you want to say that the beam was intended not to annihilate but instead to defend. Instead, you have a very vague phrase that attempts to communicate that idea, but we have no idea what "intentions" is supposed to modify because it doesn't agree with anything. It seems like it's a verb, but there's really no subject here.

In other words, read your work aloud as you write to see if it makes sense to your ear. If it's awkward, chances are, it'll look awkward to a reader.

Quote:
A forceful ray raced toward its target like a brilliant, searing arrow.
Another reason why purple prose is not a good idea: you end up becoming redundant the more you're tempted to describe. For example, you say the beam has been shot off just a sentence ago, and here, you're describing the same action again.

Quote:
Unknown to the Pokémon, the projectile was traveling at more than two hundred miles per hour and it was the size of an undersized moon; seeming to have an extensive appendage of dust and ice with a flaring blue head that gives the impression to cross the velvety night sky-size as caustic and vicious.
First off, let's start with semicolons. There's two basic uses of the semicolon:

1. To separate two independent clauses (i.e., clauses that could stand on their own and make sense as complete sentences) that are closely related. As in, it's a replacement for a comma and conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) in a compound sentence if the two parts mean practically the same thing or better define one another, if that makes sense.

2. To separate items in a list of three or more if at least one of those items already has a comma in it. (Normally, you would use a comma to separate items, but if an item has a comma in it, you use the semicolon to avoid confusion.)

For simplicity's sake, don't use a semicolon unless your sentence falls under one or the other.

Second, again, purple prose. In this case, "caustic" means "sarcastic" or "capable of burning or corroding." Acidic. It doesn't really mean simply destructive. (In fact, to be blunt, I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to make it mean here. That's the other problem. You've got a fragment here, and it's difficult to tell what it's referring to or what it means because you're lacking in a subject and lose the reader in adjectives and nouns that paint odd pictures – like the part about "appendage of dust and ice.")

Quote:
with the indefinite object
Indefinite: Without a specific limit. Not clearly defined.

Given that you're talking about a solid object…

Buh?

Quote:
A strident and deafening roar
Another problem with purple prose: its tendency to overstate. As in, when one adjective is enough, purple prose tends to heap adjectives on, so the noun they're describing seems watery. To state things a bit simpler, basically, yes, there's such a thing as too many adjectives. One that details the aspects you want to focus on is usually enough. As in, you wouldn't want to say "big, gigantic, titanic" unless you want to overemphasize the fact that the object is large. Likewise, you wouldn't say multiple things about the sound because it's simply unnecessary. If you do, the sentence feels somewhat anticlimactic once you reach the noun because it feels like you're going over-the-top in attempting to describe only one thing about it.

The other problem is the fact that the adjectives you used are actually contradictory. "Strident" means "shrill" or "harsh-sounding." "Deafening" means "so loud you practically can't hear it because it's threatening to rupture your eardrums." You can't really have both at the same time for obvious reasons.

Quote:
desperately furious to slow
Considering the fact that I'd imagine Rayquaza would be more desperate than angry, I think it would be best to just use the adverb as the adjective and drop "furious" altogether. Flowery, as I've been trying to say with the bits about purple prose, is not always the right way to go.

Quote:
the incoming threat down, relentless bombardment.
Another bad thing about purple prose: It may result in the writer forgetting what the sentence was actually about. Prior to this point, you were talking about Rayquaza shooting off repeated attacks and that it was desperate to slow the threat down. The fragment at the end really has nothing to do with the rest of the sentence. (It seems to be a reference to the attack itself, not to the way Rayquaza feels and how that relates to its actions.)

Quote:
But, to no utter avail, efforts-tossed and shattered.
Again, poetic style is not always a good thing. Right here, you have a fairly awkward, fragmented sentence. I know you want to say "but it [the attack] was to no avail," but you not only stop short of saying it but also overemphasize the fact that its efforts are futile. I'm not sure why you chose to hyphenate "efforts tossed" either, considering the fact that it's clear from the presence of "and shattered" that you're gunning for two verbs modifying a noun here.

Quote:
was blasting the object dreadfully.
You may want "relentlessly" here. "Dreadfully" means "horribly." As in, "extremely unpleasant."

Quote:
It had a humanoid-like structure.
1. Drop the "-like." "Humanoid" means "human like," so to tack on another "-like" there is basically redundant.
2. I'd changed "structure" to "build." "Structure" tends to mean "layout, internal build" – basically, the way something holds together on an internal level. "Build" – in reference to the body – means "the way something looks."

Quote:
Grayish stripes intervening from the sides of its long,
Again, you use a gerund where you're supposed to be using the past tense. As in, right now, the tense you're using is not only present tense, but it's a present tense with a vague subject. You actually need another independent clause or a helping verb (such as "is") in order to have a verb with the "ing" suffix make sense. Instead, try using the present tense – "intervened."

Even then, I'm not quite sure what you mean here. "Intervene" means "to occur between" or "to interrupt (as an action)." It doesn't refer to a placement of multiple objects in space. Rather, it refers to multiple events in time.

Quote:
slender tentacles and to the rest of its lean body; the rear of its cranium had an elongated shape with orange and bluish-green streaks; a weird crystalline organ was centered in its chest, glowing faintly.
Run-on. Notice how each clause before and after the semicolons you're using are actually fully independent sentences. Because none of them are really related to one another (because they address different parts of a body), it would be best to split this up into multiple sentences.

Quote:
The emerald Pokémon glanced back at its cohort, its small yellow pupils sparked-an indication of immediate awareness.
Another run-on. Replace the comma with a period, and you'll see that you end up with two complete sentences. (This replacement of punctuation or conjunctions in order to check whether or not clauses can be separate sentences, by the way, is something I call "the period test." If I tell you to use the period test at any time after this, that's what I mean.)

Quote:
Like previously,
This part seems a bit awkward because you're trying to make a simile out of only an adverb (not a noun). I would suggest replacing "previously" with an actual noun in order to state what "like" is referring to.

Quote:
generating a beam like before,
Before what?

Quote:
Both of the attacks strike the entity
Be wary of what tense you're using. You've switched to present ("strike" instead of "struck") here.

Quote:
The combined energy formed a huge smog cloud around the large, cobalt-colored projectile.
In space?

(Smog = smoke and pollution. I was under the impression that this scene is occurring in space – considering the object hasn't started glowing red from friction – and the upper levels of the atmosphere, which means there's really nothing to create the pollution part of smog.)

Quote:
As if it had not been harmed in any way, shedding only inconsequential loss.
Fragment. You may want to consider revising to make this into a whole sentence.

Quote:
It was closing the gap from itself and the two Pokémon,
Between itself and the two Pokémon. If it was closing the gap from itself, that means it has a hole, but it's slowly recovering.

Quote:
but now; they noticed it had slowed down slightly.
Drop the semicolon in favor for a comma. See my note earlier about when you should and shouldn't use a semicolon.

Quote:
Their attacks had triumph
Triumphed. Otherwise, what you're using is an infinitive.

Quote:
but it still wasn’t enough to impede it.
Wasn't the whole point of their attack to slow it down or stop it? In that case, their attacks really didn't actually triumph at all.

Quote:
The dragon-like Pokémon bellowed vociferously again; it opens its mouth, and this time, a light-blue luminosity formed within its jaws.
Again, this is not only a switch of tense ("opens" being present, not past), but it's also a run-on. Notice how you've got essentially three independent clauses attempting to become one compound sentence here.

Quote:
It launched yet another beam; this time, the beam froze the obverse side of the object.
See, this is an instance in which you properly use a semicolon.

However, it would be nice if you described the attack and how it was freezing the object.

Quote:
It was now glistening due to the absolute frost, also as fragile as a glass.
Uh, you realize that when an object from space enters Earth's atmosphere, it begins to burn because of the friction caused by air resistance and the effects of gravity, right? So, unless this object is far enough out in space, there really shouldn't be frost as fragile as glass on it.

Quote:
The humanoid-like Pokémon looked bulkier than before; its shoulders reached the zenith of its head and its human-like appendages fused.
Another run-on, actually. The reason why is because everything after the semicolon is actually one compound sentence. You're just missing a comma after "head." Hence, separate and mark appropriately.

Quote:
bluish green
Hyphenate. This is actually trying to serve as one adjective.

Quote:
foremost ramparts failed.
Rampart = mound of earth serving as a defense.

Xanthine is amused by the mental images.

Quote:
As it did so, a large blue energy wave raced everywhere. Spreading like an unstoppable and an incurable disease…
Another option: Try replacing the period (after "everywhere") with a comma, considering the fragment at the end (which seems awkward by itself) modifies the blue energy. Also, drop the ellipsis in favor of a period. Because the scene continues, it feels like you're trailing off too soon.

Quote:
serenity, unanimity & peace.
An ampersand instead of the word "and"? Bad author.

Seriously, don't take shortcuts if you can help it. Write things out. There's exceptions, of course, but not with the word "and."

Quote:
Until the sapphire meteors crashed on the planet; it corrupted everything once it fell on Earth excluding the Pokémon.
Again, there's a semicolon here when there should be a comma.

Quote:
aided and hld the witnessed battles in the past;
1. Spell check before you submit. Held, not hld.

2. This fragment seems heavily unnecessary and awkward because the sentence before it stands complete, and this part doesn't seem to refer to anything in particular. Only add dependent clauses to a sentence when you want to modify an element within it. (As in, dependent clauses serve as adjectives or adverbs in a sense. They always go with a word in the independent clause, and it's always clear which one. Usually, it's the closest one to the comma, which means right now, this fragment is modifying "housed." Hence why I say it doesn't make sense.)

Quote:
tainted into a battles for each individuals own lives.
1. I'm just going to assume you can see what's wrong with the phrase "a battles."

2. Tainted = to contaminate. You can't really say "tainted into."

Quote:
Brunette, with a few others like himself,
Who?

No, seriously. It feels like you abruptly introduced a character without telling us anything about him – appearance, who he is, anything. We don't even know what kind of Pokémon we're looking at here.

Quote:
sought after to find a logical answer.
"Sought after a logical answer." Because "sought" means "to find," adding that phrase into this fragment is actually redundant.

Quote:
An immeasurable world-wide predicament for both the beings existing...
Wait, what?

No, seriously. What predicament? Which beings? What does this have to do with the sentence before it? What is this referring to?

Quote:
Brunette and his fellow Pokémon estranged their selves
Themselves. One word as well because this is meant to be one pronoun.

Quote:
He trusted his trainer with his existence; but once he observed what she & her kind were doing to theirs,
As a note, don't use a semicolon and a conjunction at the same time in a compound sentence. The semicolon functions as the entire comma-conjunction combo at the same time, so adding another conjunction is actually redundant.

Also, get rid of the ampersand.

Lastly, you may want to consider revising to introduce the trainer as well. Right now, we literally know nothing about Brunette except that he's a male Pokémon (of an undefined species) that's suddenly distrustful of his trainer. We know nothing about the trainer except she's a female human that's been corrupted. We don't even know what she's doing that's making Brunette suspicious, which means we're less likely to care about Brunette's plight because we really don't know what's going on. She may be denying him treats for all we know.

Quote:
A blur of time and the events passing them…
Again, you have a fragment that doesn't make sense in the context of the paragraph. Reread your work carefully to make absolutely sure that every sentence fits together in the tapestry of your story. A single sentence that's out of place will cause the flow of your story to be disrupted. In other words, it'll stick out, and it'll confuse the crap out of the reader.

Quote:
her fathers mind
You'll need an apostrophe in the word "fathers." The reason why is because leaving it out actually creates a plural, which means right now, you're saying Brunette's trainer has more than one father.

Quote:
clench their inquisitiveness.
To do what with an abstract noun?

(Clench = to hold tightly.)

Quote:
They returned-coming back
I think you're confusing the hyphen with the dash. A dash is actually a longer punctuation mark (usually two hyphens) separated from words by spaces.

Quote:
looking no less than the trainer he once loved and trusted;
This really doesn't make sense. You were talking about multiple people before the dash, and now, you're referring to only one. So, right off the bat, it doesn't agree with the numbers. Then, on top of that, you also have the problem of the words "no less." That phrase means "the same or more," not "less" or "no longer" (either of which I think you mean here).

Quote:
Really wrong.
Any particular reason why this is center-aligned?


Okay, for the overall review, I'm just going to say a few simple things:

1. Your main problem here is an abundance of purple prose and misused words. As I've said before, flowery prose is not the way to go (regardless of what Eragon says). It loses the reader, and it distracts both your audience and you from the meaning of the sentence. In many cases, I got the feeling that you were so focused on creating eloquent descriptions that you actually forgot what you were trying to say, which resulted in either odd images or chaotic narration with fragments that don't actually go anywhere.

Likewise, at some points, I got the feeling you were using a word processor's thesaurus a little too happily. There are a number of words here that don't actually mean what you want them to mean (but might share a word or two in the definition), which created an abundance of either odd mental images or lost thoughts. For example, the bit about ramparts, the use of caustic, et cetera. Basically, don't use a word unless you've looked it up in the dictionary first, and even then, I'd be wary of using it unless it's particularly familiar to you. Otherwise, you may confuse the crap out of a reader who knows what those words actually mean.

Basically, a reader comes to a work of literature to be entertained. While it's cool to learn new words now and then from a work that's harder than what one is used to, to overload a work with flowery words borrowed from the thesaurus and heavily detailed, "poetic" description doesn't actually make your work any more mature than anything else. Simple description – and a balance of it with action and everything else that's meant to be in a story – is actually what you should be aiming for in order to keep the reader's attention. That is, the longer you go on with descriptive words (as in, the more adjectives and flowery words you try to jam into a sentence), the more the reader forgets there's supposed to be something going on here. It simply disrupts the flow you're trying to create.

Ergo, avoid purple prose as much as possible.

2. The ending of the prologue seems rushed. While you were taking your time to detail the battle between Rayquaza, Deoxys, and a chunk of rock, you didn't tell us anything about Brunette and his trainer except vague bits. If you're going to go about weaving a detailed story in the first half of a chapter, it's best to do the same in the second half, especially if you're referring to the backstory (or story) of the main character.

3. Yes, there were numbers of sentence fragments, run-ons, and tense switches in this chapter. While a beta's good, you'll want to read over your work yourself as well. Do it aloud, and you'll be able to hear the way the words sound. Anything that sounds awkward to you most likely is awkward to a reader.

4. A guide to commas versus semicolons and an article on what the semicolon is. Please read over both carefully. You use the semicolon a lot throughout the prologue, and in only a handful of those times did you use it properly. Semicolons are like the words I mentioned above. They have their proper places, they shouldn't be overused, and they can very well disrupt the flow of your story if you don't know how they're used. (For example for the latter, the times when you actually created run-ons because the semicolon was trying to function as the comma-conjunction combination of a compound sentence… in a sentence that had a compound combination later on.)

So, basically, while you seem to have promise, your main issue is just being careful with what you're saying and how you're saying it. Read your work carefully before posting it, and don't let your writing run away from you.
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Last edited by JX Valentine; January 4th, 2009 at 09:24 AM.
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