Thread: [Pokémon] Story of Benki
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Old December 2nd, 2012 (09:16 AM).
psyanic's Avatar
There's Something About Lamps
Join Date: May 2011
Location: The USA
Age: 18
Gender: Female
Nature: Bold
EDIT: bobandbill beat me to the review by being in Australia, so some things I say may be redundant.

About the beta thing - PC has its own little Beta Corner you can check out if you need a beta, and you don't even need to go through the hassle of document transfers and what not. All you would need to do is send your beta the manuscript via a PM or e-mail or however you're communicating. isn't the only place with betas, and forums are usually pretty good with this sort of stuff.

Anyway, onto the story.

I found the game-mechanics incorporated into the story disjointing and weird, because in reality, I wouldn't go around and say, "I have more levels than you do," or, "I need to get more HP by eating some pizza." I mean, think about it. You go on about how Pokemon have 'HP' and 'levels' so I get that you're trying to follow the games, but is that really the way to go about telling a Pokemon story? Just think about it. I personally find it weird if a character says to another that they have a higher Attack stat, which could easily be translated to a character claiming they're physically stronger. I'd suggest mixing in the game mechanics into reality, just as I mentioned with the Attack stat. Generally speaking, Pokemon Centers refresh Pokemon or literally heal them after battle, so referring to constitution as HP, to me, sounds funny, and not in the 'ha-ha' way.

The story starts out in en media res, which is generally a solid opening if you want to get readers involved. After all, watching people fight is far more entertaining than watching people talk about their new iPhones. However, I found the battle itself weak. There are a number of odd things running around I'll get to later, but most prominently, you don't really describe things particularly well, which is practically a given when you use the first-person narrative. The battle scene read as command-attack-attack-command-attack-attack, etc. It was a bit predictable and bland. There wasn't much flavor to the course, a pizza without any cheese or tomato sauce. There are, however, many sentences that are simply straight attacks and lines of dialogue with the trainers shouting commands. However, what you should have focused on was Benki's view on the battle itself. Benki, obviously, was very excited in the battle, since you explicitly stated that, but his thoughts are conspicuously absent after you go on about 'adrenaline' and whatnot. Keep in mind that there are more to battles than just Pokemon hitting each other as hard as they can; think about why Pokemon battle and how they feel in that moment. It's a tense atmosphere, no matter how light the actual battle is, and it's brutal in many ways. A Pokemon's few, subsequently, would reflect a lot of chaos on confusion, since they're stuck right in the middle of a battle. Emotions run high. But all you've said was Benki was excited.

And the keyword was said. If you haven't heard of "show, don't tell" you just did. What it means is what the name implies: Show readers what's happening rather than telling them. Now, that can be tricky, but take this for example:
I like pie.
This statement is a bit bland, isn't it? It's just someone saying they like pie. So take a look at this:
Apple filling hid under the crust, but its presence was given away with a sweet aroma permeating throughout the kitchen - I stole a quick bite and remembered why I got into the pie business to begin with.
This statement is substantially longer (that's not an element of show, don't tell but this is simply an example), so I hope you can see that this sentence, in essence, is the same as above. It talks about someone liking pie. However, it doesn't tell you directly someone likes pie. The narrator describes the pie in such a way that you can tell they like pie. So with Benki, you want to show that's he's excited about the battle, not simply tell the readers.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I nodded and eagerly ran on the battlefield, adrenaline pumping through me.
Right here is just telling. 'Eagerly ran' is a dead giveaway along with adrenaline. Just remember that you want to show how Benki is excited.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I always loved this moment, the feeling of anticipation before I fought a powerful opponent.
Same as above. This is deep in "show, don't tell" territory.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I took aim at the Pokemon in front of me, and felt warm flames beginning to lick at my mouth.
Warm flames sounds funny. After all, fire is hot.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I opened my mouth, and shot out a long line of flames at the Pokemon, watching as it attempted to dodge, only to get it’s wing seared.
'It's' is the contraction for 'it is.' You want to use 'its' - that's the possessive form. This is seen throughout the story, so you really want to edit that. Also, how does the Pokemon attempt to dodge? I understand that it's a Crobat, so I personally think it should have been able to easily dodge the attack.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The Pokemon in question cried out in pain, though quickly regained it’s concentration.
The bolded is supposed to be a clause because you used 'though.' However, there is a lack of a subject, so you should probably put 'it' before 'quickly.'

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The Crobat crossed it’s arms, and a few seconds later wind was visibly gathering in an ‘x’ shape.
Crobat don't have arms; they have wings.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The Crobat fired at me, falling backwards a bit from the recoil.
Crobat are generally flying in battle, so 'falling backwards' nearly implies that it's actually falling rather than suffering from a recoil. Additionally, Air Slash isn't a particularly strong move, so I'm wondering where this recoil is coming from.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
“Benki! Dodge using Quick Attack!” Red shouted, and I obeyed.
Bolded is extraneous. The next sentence tells the readers that Benki obeys Red's orders, so there's no need to say that Benki obeyed.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I jumped in the air, the ‘x’ of wind grazing my hind legs, and became a blur of red and blue before landing a punch in my target’s stomach.
The bolded is weird to say in first-person. When I run, I personally don't go, "I'm a black and white blur running past people."

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
“Crobat, use Poison Fang before it attacks!” The trainer called, and the Crobat darted at me, it’s fangs glowing an ominous purple.
'The' needs to be lowercased, because you use a speech tag (called) after the dialogue, so it's part of the same sentence. Also, this should be in its own paragraph.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
“Benki! Use flamethrower again! Avoid the fangs!” I nodded, feeling the warm flames forming in my mouth.
Why is Benki nodding here? Does he really have time to do that? Crobat are fast, and it certainly won't be easy to dodge. Also, you use 'warm flames' again.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
“You did good Crobat! Take a rest!” It’s trainer called, and the Crobat turned red and shrunk into the red-and-white ball in the trainer’s hand.
Same case as above. Make this its own paragraph while you 'its' should be lowercased. And you don't need to say 'red-and-white ball' because it's perfectly acceptable to just say Poke Ball. This is a Pokemon forum after all, and readers don't need descriptions of a Poke Ball.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
Red and Crobat’s trainer walked over and shook hands, then began walking seperate ways, with the trainer heading to the Pokemon Center in Goldenrod City, which was south of us, while we walked north to National Park.
'Began walking' should just be 'walked' because it's a completed action.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I was always amazed at how he managed to pet me without being burned.
Not petting Benki on the flame-part comes to mind. Also, you literally answer this question later on, so I'm not sure what to make of this.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
“Beat ‘ya.” I said, earning me a light slap from Red. “Shut up. You cheated.” He responded, though he was still grinning.
You need to separate new speakers of dialogue by putting them onto separate paragraphs. It can get confusing if you don't. Also, does Red actually understand Benki? And why is Benki's dialogue italicized?

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I always loved coming here, with the relaxing music playing and the fountains.
Where is the music coming from? From an iPod connected to some speakers? An orchestra? Jukebox? Where?

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
It made me a bit said to know that the music here was going to be changed soon.
How does Benki know this?

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I sat at his feet obediently, watching as strangers went by, occasionally the younger ones coming to look at me.
'Obediently' implies that it was a command. The bolded clause is awkwardly worded.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
“He’s sooo cute~~!” The girl cooed, making me go a bit red.
So does Benki see himself blush? There's no way he can, unless there's some sort of mirror around. Also, just no to the squiggles and the three o's in 'so.' It makes the story seem unprofessional. That's just me, but eh. I don't like it.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
When we arrived in Ecruteak (after me and Red defeating several trainers on Route 36), we headed straight to the Pokemon Center.
Don't see the point of the apposition since it doesn't add to the story at all. Extraneous information.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I always hated coming here, because I was forced to return to my PokeBall. Reluctantly, I allowed myself to return.
These two sentences jump. There's a wide rift between them, and I can't help but wonder what's going on in the Pokemon Center.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The scenery changed from a sterile hospital to an endless green forest, which would be relaxing if it wasn't so claustrophobic.
Endless and claustrophobic don't mix together at all.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
Suddenly, the forest disappeared and was replaced by a big red plus sign, accompanied by a little ringtone. My bruises and scratches vanished, and I felt energetic.
Lack of description makes me wonder how Benki is healed and what's going on.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
He smiled, then walked into an area behind the Healing Counter, where several rooms where for travelers.
You used 'where' incorrectly in the second instance, and the clause itself reads as awkward, so I suggest you reword it.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
Red opened one of them, and I ran inside.
Can they really just barge into a random room like that? What if some people were in there?

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I crawled over to a window next to the bed, and watched as the lights in the city flickered on one by one, until the entire city was aglow with a nice yellowish glow, which was much more natural looking than the stark white light Fluorescent lights gave off.
A glow and glow are repetitive; use a different word in either case. Fluorescent isn't capitalized, because it's not proper.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I watched as people and their Pokemon began walking home, most of them from watching the sunset.
Wording is awkward again, mainly the sunset part.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
He gave me a look that said are you really that bored? then laid down on the bed.
Again, how does Benki see Red's expression if he's looking out the window? Or does he turn towards him? Anyway, the verb should be 'lay' not 'laid.' She lay down, not laid down, on the bed. Laid, in the past tense, is used for placing objects down, so it would be I laid down the infant in the crib.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I jumped off the windowsill and laid at the foot of the bed, and quickly fell into the clutches of sleep. Blackness enveloped me, and a blurry image began to form.. Oh crap. I’m dreaming.
Okay, when you dream, how do you know you're dreaming? Well, you don't unless you're a lucid dreamer, but you do know that you were dreaming after you wake up from it. Also, can you tell me when you fell asleep? Because I'd rather doubt it. You're not aware you're asleep.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
[I] “Go, Quilava!” The teen (who was not Red) commanded, thrusting out my Pokeball, which popped open.
'Thrusting out' gives me a really wacky mental image. Try 'threw my Pokeball.' Also, Pokeball and PokeBall are both used in this story, so use one form, one or the other, but not both.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I was shocked to know it was a water-type, to which I was weak against.
Obvious information is obvious. You don't need to say it, nor should you. If you want to include it, though, perhaps you should change it to reflect Benki's attitude, notably fear.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
‘Sorry’ I muttered.
This should be in its own paragraph. Also, is Benki actually saying this or not? If he is, it needs to be in quotation marks ("").

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
Thankfully, I didn’t break anything, though I was incredibly sore and feeling sick.
'Felt' not feeling.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
My flames were small, though sizzling off the remaining water on my skin. I got back up, although I was a bit wobbly on my feet.
These two sentences are way too similar in structure and word choice to be used next to each other. Mix it up a bit.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I woke up sweating, adrenaline pumping, rage and hurt and despair running through me, and a feeling of wanting to vomit.
More telling and not showing. Of course, some things don't need to be shown, but I think a some of this (adrenaline pumping, vomit) could be told and the other emotions expressed in a more subtle manner. To me, it just seems too direct.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
My flames began to shrink to their normal size, after flaring from the adrenaline rush.
You use adrenaline an awful lot and it's getting too noticeable if you catch my drift.

Also, can Benki feel the flames on his back? I'm just curious.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
I sighed again, then walked out of the room into another room father back in the Pokemon Center.
'Farther' not 'father.'

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The room was full of targets, and I began shooting assorted fire attacks at them, in an attempt to blow off steam.
No comma before a proposition, in this case 'in.'

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
It took about 30 minutes before Red woke up, and about a minute to find me (it took 5 seconds to realize I wasn’t there).
Numbers below a hundred are typically written out, so you would write out five instead of 5. However, the whole below hundred rule is a bit ambiguous, but you should, at the very least, write out numbers one through ten.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The entire wall had been scorched, though he was not in the least concerned about paying for it (a new wall was only ¥300).
300 is awfully cheap, since in the games that could buy you a three Poke Balls.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
A Pidgeot, an Eevee with spiky hair (he always managed to get it that way), a Poliwhirl, and a Scyther exploded out of the Pokeballs. All of them had nicknames, none of which I could remember.
I'm assuming Benki is Red's starter, so I find it weird that he doesn't know the other team members' names. They traveled together after all this time, and you're bound to learn names eventually.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
The Poliwhirl noticed, and looked at me with a small smirk. “What, do you think I’m gonna spray you? Besides, even though I have a slightly higher level than you, a Bubble attack wouldn’t do much damage, even if I have the type advantage.
...why is this italicized?

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
Poliwhirl was such a know-it-all, though he was right.
'Though' implies the beginning of a contrasting clause. 'And' seems more appropriate.

Quote originally posted by shadowpikachu0426:
Oh Mew, the Gym Leader uses Ghost types... I’m gonna die.
There is very little to support this claim, as all that's made clear is that Benki is afraid of Water-types.

I'm not too sure what to make of this story. There's a lot of things going on at once, most notably with Benki's odd dream, and the story itself starts out in a weird place, which I find delightful. However, I felt that some bits of the story felt clunky when they transitioned, happening in bits and pieces rather than flowing together as a whole. But maybe you did this on purpose - I'm not sure. In any case, I highly suggest that you read your story out loud before you post it so that you can proofread. Reading aloud will help you notice some things you wouldn't read mentally. There's something about hearing what you wrote that gets you to click in some instances. This should help out with any clunky prose or anything that just sounds awkward; if something's hard to read, chances are you can do something to make it easier and less of a strain to interpret.
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