Thread: Improving
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Old January 21st, 2012 (01:03 AM).
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Misheard Whisper
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Well, let me just pull out some excerpts from my first fanfic, which I happen to have a copy of right here. Actually, no I don't. I had to go find it. Ah well. Anyway, here's a snippet:

Quote originally posted by Absolutely not me. There's no way I wrote this.:
The sun beat down upon me harshly as I stood at one end of the sandy arena, waiting.

The noise of the crowd, roaring in anticipation, was loud in my ears as I stood, waiting.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys, girls and Pokémon!” boomed the announcer over the speakers. “It’s the one you’ve all been waiting for! The Grand Final of the Kanto League Championship!”

I felt my breathing intensify and my heart pounding in my chest. This was It. Capital I, It. After months and months of terrifically hard training, I had made it to the Grand Final.

I admit I was surprised to be here. I wasn’t sure my Pokémon and I could pull through, but I knew I had to have faith. In my Pokémon and in myself.
“Our first contender!” The announcer’s voice jarred me sharply out of my reverie. “From Saffron City, it’s Kenji!” I waved and smiled weakly at the crowd as my name was called. I was feeling decidedly nauseous.

“Aaaand, from Olivine City in Johto! Fresh from winning last year’s Silver Conference – ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Cassie!” The crowd cheered again, a lot louder than they had for me.

I squinted through the dust haze at my opponent. I couldn’t see much, but she looked about seventeen, her hair whipping around her face in the wind. She was confident. That much I could see.
That's the start of the fic, a oneshot for a contest. I had to write a 3v3 battle, and, well . . . ugh. Looking at it, there's not much wrong with it on the surface - that is to say, it's largely free of the errors that tend to plague beginning writers. My subsequent attempts at chaptered fics were the same, but oh hell, my style was just so darn wooden at that point. And that's where I think I've improved the most, to be honest. My writing's been relatively free of spelling and grammar errors for years, which is good. It's the actual tone of the story that's evolved the most - that and my ability to come up with a plot. For the life of me, I can't tell you how my first three (dropped) chapter fics were going to end, or even which direction they were going in. I just made it up as I went along. I still do that to a certain extent, but at least I keep some sort of plot in mind these days.

Comparing the actual battle scenes . . . guess which of these comes from my current fic and which came from that early abomination. It shouldn't be hard.

Quote originally posted by Fic 1:
Howling aggressively, Manectric charged up its electricity, a crackling aura of yellow energy building up around its body. With a final growl, it launched a sizzling stream of lightning towards its opponent.

Swanna took to the sky, leaping out of the way as Manectric's Thunderbolt attack zapped past.

“Again!” Ren said, causing Manectric to loose another bolt of lightning towards Swanna. Swanna was too fast for it, however, banking out of the way. We're never going to win from this distance, he thought. But Skyla has an advantage with Swanna's mobility. And why isn't she attacking? She must be sounding Manectric out, trying to work out how to deal with it. That means she's worried about it, which means I have a chance if I can figure this out quickly. Now what other moves might Swanna have?

Swanna dived straight towards Manectric, its graceful neck straight as an arrow. Skyla must have given some signal that he'd missed; he'd have to watch out for that in the future. Is that an Aerial Ace attack?

“Get out of the way, Manectric!” he ordered. It was too late. Swanna seemed to blur, its outline becoming indistinct, and a split second later, it disappeared from view entirely, crashing into Manectric as if it had been teleported and sending the Electric-type flying. Ren knew, however, that it had simply moved so quickly that it had disappeared from view. He remembered Winona using the same move in his battle against her to devastating effect. How did I beat her then?

The obvious way. “Manectric,” he said thoughtfully. “Do you remember when you were training with Zangoose in the quarry the other day? I want you to apply that here next time she tries that, okay?” Manectric barked assent, keeping its eyes fixed on Swanna. “Good. For now, let's go with Thunderbolt again. See if you can't get a little closer this time.”
Quote originally posted by Fic 2:
“Quick, Jolteon!” I cried desperately, “Use your Thunderbolt!” Jolteon charged up for a moment, glowing and sparking, and then poured 10,000 volts of electrical energy through Tyranitar. The big Rock type took a fair chunk of damage, but nothing like what Jolteon had.

“Come on, Tyranitar! One more Earthquake to finish it off!” came the order. I knew I had to think fast. If that attack made contact, Jolteon was toast! As Tyranitar prepared to launch its second Earthquake, it hit me.
“Jolteon! Get on top of Tyranitar!” It was our only chance. Jolteon understood. Using its speed and powerful hind legs, it raced towards Tyranitar, leapt into the air, and landed on the big Pokémon’s head. Tyranitar’s Earthquake couldn’t touch it! I celebrated inwardly.

Once the Earthquake was over, I cried, “Now jump down, Jolteon, and use Double Kick!” Jolteon did so with blinding speed, slamming both of its hind legs into Tyranitar’s body. Tyranitar stumbled and fell to one knee. I heard its Trainer shout something, but didn’t hear what. All of a sudden, I saw bright white light starting to gather in Tyranitar’s mouth. Uh-oh. The Hyper Beam. The all-or-nothing.

“Agility, Jolteon!” I commanded. I was starting to panic now. “Use your Agility to dodge it when it comes!”

Tyranitar fired. Jolteon leapt to the side with blinding speed. Yes! We had evaded it! I took advantage of the exhausted Tyranitar to order a Pin Missile attack. The glowing needles shot through the air, drilling into Tyranitar. The behemoth fell crashing to the ground.
Oh my. Of course, I'm still not 100% happy with how I write. That's part of the secret to improving, I guess: never be satisfied with what you can do; always believe you can get better.
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