Need some advice...
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October 23rd, 2011 (11:17 PM).
King of the Rats
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Your Grandmother's Basement
1. I have a bias already... My story takes place in Sinnoh with Lucas, Barry, and my Protagonist (an OC). Anyways Barry is already shining like a star... Is it possible to make your rivals too glamorous therefore in the end when you beat them it just seems forced? (like the anime?) I mean maybe my OC won't ever beat Barry but if he does I just want to know, would that seem unrealistic since Barry is proving to be more competent than Yuki (my OC lol) and Lucas?
Please, don't take anything I say here personally, but more as a general opinion I have of Pokemon-related fan fiction.
First off, be absolutely certain you want to mix original characters and established characters. I'm not saying I doubt your writing ability, as I have never read anything you've written, but make sure you know what you are doing. I have seen mixing original and official characters work... twice. One was written in a unique dairy-like style, and it involved May and an OC developing a complicated relationship. The main reason it worked for me was the complication. If your OC is straightforward about everything and never has a conflicted emotion, you don't have a character.
But I'm getting off-topic. From my first impression, this sounds like a standard, Gary Stu author-insert journey fic. Reading on, though, it seems like you are aware of this potential issue. You even offer up that you may never have your protagonist actually defeat his rival. That's a good line of thinking to have.
Continuing what I was getting at before, you have to make your characters complex. That will be what you need to work on to make your ending plausible. You have to expose Barry's weaknesses to the reader, at least, if not to your protagonist. Also, in my personal opinion, there aren't enough small victories in fan fiction as a whole. As another example, I once read a fanfic that ended with the protagonist losing a major tournament to his idol, and then later winning a rematch in private, earning the respect of his hero, which was all he really wanted all along, not a title or trophy. What I'm getting at is that I've read a lot of fanfics, and the best ones usually don't have a happy or tragic ending. There's something I once heard: The best stories are written on middle ground. It's something that's stuck with me. Without power shifts, conflicting emotions and morals, and riding that line between tragedy and comedy, there is no excitement.
If you build up in a believable way, and have Yuki learn and grow, as well as make Barry a real, complicated person and not a faceless, infallible champion, then your story can end how you see fit. You shouldn't decide to do something just to avert a cliché. Play the battle out in your head, without deciding who you want to win. Play through every scenario, and assess all the potential outcomes. In the end, you should know what outcome would be the most entertaining, and that's what you write.
2. Gym battles. I know the anime pulls of winning with type disadvantages but I find it hard to write this, how can a Geodude withstand a mega drain from a grass type? How would I implement something to give the battles a nice feel while still making them last long enough to seem like gym battles?
Advantages and disadvantages should be an afterthought in creative writing.
"[...] the Bulbasaur quickly stood on its front legs, pointing its bulb at the seemingly distracted Geodude. A magical glow began filtering from the air into the tip of the bulb, suddenly releasing a green beam of energy towards the floating rock. The Geodude snapped back to attention and tried to avoid the attack, screeching as it made contact with its right arm. As the beam touched the rocky surface of the Geodude, it took on a red tint, which moved back towards its origin like blood pulsing through a vein. The tiny bit of stolen energy made a noticeable difference in both Pokemon, the Bulbasaur showing a newfound vitality, and the Geodude looking like it had taken a much more serious blow. If the attack had struck full-force, the rock Pokemon surely wouldn't stand a chance. [...]"
Now, of course, this paragraph isn't perfect, but you get the gist of what I was trying to show you. It's not like the games, where a mathematical equation that decides how hard an attack hits or if it even lands on the opponent, it's about two, living creatures with strategies and instincts and experience and motive.
3. In my 4th chapter it shows Lucas and Yuki battle Roark is that a thing you should avoid? Like two gym battles with the same gym leader or would the reader still keep interested if the battles are different? Like with Roark you know he is just going to attack attack but if the two challengers approach it differently does that make it readable?
If you think you can manage it, then by all means, go for it. Though, if you're not feeling up to such a task, then by all means, time-skip over one of the battles.
"[...] The boy tilted his hat up, and grabbed his first Pokeball.
"Rampardos is unable to continue! The winner of this battle, and the Coal Badge, Lucas!" yelled the announcer [...]"
...or something to that effect. Unending, repetitive battles are no fun to read. Though, I would definitely encourage showing both battles, but not consecutively. Have a little side-plot between them, or something. If you make them different enough that it doesn't feel like the same battle played over with a different name, then it's definitely the preferable solution.
4. The villainous team. I know you guys hate that the OC always seems to go after the team for no reason, well my OC has a reason to go after them in the first chapter an incident occurs kind of immediately pitting him against them and in future chapters Team Galactic plays a larger role as do legendaries. Now the question I am posing is this, if the OC somehow stumbles onto this huge evil plot and is thrust into a struggle involving legendaries is this inherently bad or is it the fact people make too obvious? My story by no means will end cookiecutter but so far the start feels a bit cookiecutter to me will people even give it a chance if it starts like this?
I have to say, I'm not a fan of villainous teams. I don't think I've ever actually read a story that does it well. It's so often a "been there, done that" feeling. Just the fact that it's a
bothers me. Don't arbitrarily make the local organized crime syndicate the antagonists. If you have a great, never-before-seen plot that
have Team Galactic behind it, then do it, but otherwise, I would avoid it like the plague. If another group of people or single person can be behind it, I would suggest taking that route. A faceless organization with 3 people of importance and dozens to hundreds of slaves to do their bidding... is surprisingly hard to make interesting. In my personal opinion, the second I think a fanfic is a cookie cutter journey story, I stop reading, and, sadly, I doubt I'm the only one. If you must use an evil team, don't reveal too much too fast. A bit of mystery can go a long way.
5. Pokemon battles, I feel like when people write out detailed descriptions of attacks it feels clunky and the flow doesn't well flow. So my question is is description of all attacks really necessary? I mean if someone is reading my fan fic they don't need detailed descriptions of anything Pokemon related right? So far the only thing I tried to describe in more detail was my OC because he is not a fixture of the series. Also following this same thought process is a lack of detail going to hurt my story? I am writing this fic, which I plan to be a series of about 6, to get this thing of a journey fic from starting trainer to end out of my head before I write my real fic.
You have to find the right level of detail. A lot of the time, I find the clunky battle problem is usually due to the uselessness of trainer dialogue during the battles. It's very awkward to have one trainer yell "Geodude, rock throw!" and the other "Bulbasaur, dodge it!" then have a four-paragraph description about how the Geodude throws a rock. To answer your question, yes. You need some level of description. Something resembling a battle transcript from a game would be a definite no-no. You could probably get away with a fairly short summary of the entire battle, rather than a blow-by-blow. If you can't think of a way to make battles interesting, then be sure to consider all the elements. Your battle isn't limited to four moves. Most Pokemon should know how to punch or kick or throw things. Not everything has to be an official attack. Make up your own moves if you think they make sense.
Detail is always your friend, though. Always. Just be sure to make those details fun to read.
Oh and before I forget feel free to give me tips like what you think I should avoid with this fic and what you'd actually want to see in a journey/OC trainer fic!
I think that it's hard to write a good journey fanfic. Though, it can defnitely be done well, even with nearly every cliché in the book. If you're a good writer, you can make anything work. A good writer can make you love a serial arsonist who murders babies as a hobby. It's not what your story is about, it's how well you can write it.
Good luck. Also good luck in reading this incredibly-long thing. Also sorry if it got less helpful near the end, I've been typing this on-and-off for about 2 hours.
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