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Old February 15th, 2012, 05:34 AM
miltankRancher's Avatar
miltankRancher
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Join Date: May 2010
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Sorry if this took so long to come up. Well, here it is. I present you...

Battlefield.
A One-Shot, Christmas Fic

The war was going on for almost four years now. Between the KJS Alliance, composed of the armies of Kanto, Johto, and Sinnoh, and the Hoenn-Unova Alliance, not one side has turned the tide in favor of them. They are stuck in a stalemate the higher echelons have not foreseen from the very start. The tide is just a single unmovable wall between the two sides. Hoenn-Unova may have the technology needed for their win, but KJS is a formidable force due to their sheer number. The minor regions have deliberately stayed out of war, saying that the war has nothing to do with them, which of course was right. The real reason of fighting had been the attack of the airship nicknamed “The Hawk” to the KS Arcanine, a submarine owned by the Kanto region to further conduct experiments regarding fossils. “The Hawk” was deployed by Unova’s newly-elected president, Yami Tamazuki, a bloodthirsty general. He believed that Unova is the most superior region, and demanded that the four regions bow down to them. Hoenn immediately conformed to his request, their president, Allan Quake, a close friend of Yami. However, the three remaining regions refused. Because of this refusal, Tamazuki sent “The Hawk” to sink the submarine. And the rest followed by. Kanto immediately mobilized its forces against the Unova army, Johto and Sinnoh backed Kanto up, while Hoenn supplied Unova with a steady stream of soldiers. For four years they had been firing guns, sending Pokémon out, at each other. With no ceasefire.

Major Gray Moe is sick of it. He was recruited by the Unova army during the second year of the war. At first he was hesitant, but the words of Tamazuki, to all Unova citizens, moved him. If he would not fight, they would lose. And if they lose, the world would change. Looking back, he did not know why he thought like that once. He could have avoided being a part of this pointless war, but he didn’t. And now was too late to change his mind. He and his trusty Arcanine would be marked as deserters and they would be shot without a moment’s hesitation.

Gray was deployed in the Sinnoh warzone. He, being a Major, was assigned to lead a small squad of soldiers named as the Second Alpha Troop. There were seven of them, including Gray himself. Since its construction, S.A.T luckily had not lost a member. Gray was fond of his team mates. Each of them were trainers themselves, until they were recruited in the army. The oldest, Jerry Tim, is already thirty-one, living with his wife in Striaton City, and the youngest, young Spinza, is a traveling trainer originating from Driftveil. Loki and Laxa Mishimaru were twins apparently capable of defeating the elite four on their own. Big Papa, whose name he hasn’t told yet, is twenty five, and is very huge. And the last member is the mysterious Coal Humbard and was a Sinnoh-born kid, until his family moved to Opelucid City in Unova. The seven of them is in charge of the Snowpoint Fort, a Unovan fortress in the city of the once grand Snowpoint, along with four other troops. To their south is a vast expanse of no-man’s land. This is where battles usually start. Far away, S.A.T could see a KJS outlook. Ever since they set camp here, KJS had sent rains of shells onto them. Men have fallen even at the first wave of attack; though none at S.A.T. Gray was glad he managed to keep his comrades alive. And now, Hoenn-Unova is returning fire. Even with the snow falling, and Christmas fast approaching, there has been no armistice declared. “The men have to continue firing, lest they die,” a blood thirsty general once said. And fire they did. Gray’s arms were already numb from firings shells onto the KJS camp. The soldier’s Pokémon were not yet to help; they are reserved for the close combat section. Arcanine is standing silently beside him.

“KJS Alliance stopped fire!” Big Papa shouted. He was atop the watchtower with a binocular in hand. His Ambipom is sitting on the ground beneath him. “I repeat! The KJS had stopped fire, and oh, wait!” Big Papa gasped. “Hundreds moving towards this direction! Get your Pokémon ready, guys. This is the close combat!” Big Papa slid down the pole and hustled his Ambipom. Jerry called out his Heracross, Spinza had his Hydreigon out, the twins sent out an Electivire and a Rhyperior, and Coal sent out his Walrein. The other guys from the other Alpha Troops got theirs ready. Their firing stopped, and all tensed for the moment when the KJS strike again. Everybody is nervous, because they might die any moment from now. And they could not do anything about it. They were conscripted, and cannot simply run away. The KJS were approaching quickly. Gray could make out individual figures already and some Pokémon walking with them. He noticed an odd thing. Their rifles were slung behind their backs and everybody seemed to be smiling. Gray looked at his fellow majors. They also looked puzzled. They could not bring themselves to shoot at Pokémon trainers who are not firing at them. This situation is more difficult than the warfare. It is easy to shoot at people shooting at them; those were enemies. But these. They are not enemies, they are fellow trainers. And Gray finds it hard to shoot them. The KJS alliance stopped a hundred yards from them. With a megaphone, one of them spoke.

“I am Colonel Pontsky of the KJS Alliance. I am here to let you know that the clock has struck twelve midnight. It is the 25th of December already. We are here to wish you a merry Christmas. Feel free to shoot us down if you want,” the Colonel said. He brought his rifle to the ground, and his men followed. Now, Gray is confused. These people used to be their enemy, and now they are greeting them a merry Christmas. He saw his co-major from the Third Alpha Troop bring his machine gun down. He calmed his Lucario down also. Gray just followed suit.

“Ceasefire!” Gray shouted. His men cheered, and yells could also be heard from the other side. Both sides rushed to each other, and like long-lost brothers, hugged. Laughed. Drank beer. Their Pokémon were also playing with one another. The no-man’s land became a festival. Gray found the Colonel talking amiably with Big Papa. “Hello Colonel.”

“Hello. And you are?”

“I am Major Gray Moe of the Second Alpha Troops.”

“Nice meeting you Major.”

“What brought you to make peace with us?”

“Not permanently Major. Tomorrow, we resume fighting. I have no orders to stop firing, but I am a human. And so are my soldiers,” he said, waving his hand to the massive groups of soldiers. A group started singing “Delibird’s Delivery” in a fun tone. Pontsky grinned. “It is Christmas time, and I am a devout Christian. I have a soft heart. I do not want any of my boys dying on Christmas day. And I know you don’t want either. That is why I need to stop the fighting temporarily.”

“Will it be harder to fight tomorrow, especially now everybody’s acquainted with everybody?”

“You are a smart one Sergeant. All I can say is we are fighting a pointless war,” the Colonel simply said. “Now just enjoy the day.” Throughout the whole day, both sides celebrated as if no war is going on. They shared their rations, their beers, their stories. Gray sat with one group of KJS alliance where he discovered that several soldiers are even older than Jerry himself. Many had sons and wives and girlfriends waiting for them. They all had one thing in common. Everybody wanted the war to stop. Gray restored his hope on humanity, and lost on the government.

When the clock struck eleven pm the other day, Pontsky gathered all his men. So did Gray and all the other Sergeants. “It had been a nice day celebrating with you guys,” Pontsky said. His men cheered. “Merry Christmas.” The cheer went out again. Several men were crying, knowing that in a few hours they would fire again their guns at each other. The war lost all its reason altogether.

“Merry Christmas Colonel,” Gray said. He and his troops, along with the alpha Troops went back to their trenches. So did Pontsky and the KJS. When the 26th of December struck, a red flare went up from the KJS alliance.

The firing resumed.
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  #2    
Old February 15th, 2012, 02:56 PM
Cutlerine
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Ah, the story that came just after mine! Not reviewing it would seem a crime; I always love to see the other entries in a contest.

Now, the story's premise isn't too bad. You have the warring nations, locked into endless warfare and completely unable to reconcile with each other; then they're united by the magic of Christmas, and then the fighting starts again. It's a lot like the 1914 Christmas truces during the First World War, which is where I suspect the idea came from. A fair few people know the story, but that's not important; what's important is what you do with it.

This is where we run into the problems - two of them, to be exact. Right these two wrongs and this will be a great story. The first is that the story reads like a plan for a novel. Look at this, for instance:

Quote:
The war was going on for almost four years now. Between the KJS Alliance, composed of the armies of Kanto, Johto, and Sinnoh, and the Hoenn-Unova Alliance, not one side has turned the tide in favor of them. They are stuck in a stalemate the higher echelons have not foreseen from the very start. The tide is just a single unmovable wall between the two sides. Hoenn-Unova may have the technology needed for their win, but KJS is a formidable force due to their sheer number. The minor regions have deliberately stayed out of war, saying that the war has nothing to do with them, which of course was right. The real reason of fighting had been the attack of the airship nicknamed “The Hawk” to the KS Arcanine, a submarine owned by the Kanto region to further conduct experiments regarding fossils. “The Hawk” was deployed by Unova’s newly-elected president, Yami Tamazuki, a bloodthirsty general. He believed that Unova is the most superior region, and demanded that the four regions bow down to them. Hoenn immediately conformed to his request, their president, Allan Quake, a close friend of Yami. However, the three remaining regions refused. Because of this refusal, Tamazuki sent “The Hawk” to sink the submarine. And the rest followed by. Kanto immediately mobilized its forces against the Unova army, Johto and Sinnoh backed Kanto up, while Hoenn supplied Unova with a steady stream of soldiers. For four years they had been firing guns, sending Pokémon out, at each other. With no ceasefire.
Whoa. That is a lot of information for a first paragraph; it's like a history lesson rather than the opening of a short story. To me, it feels like you're planning out the backstory for a longer story here - an impression that isn't helped when you spend a long paragraph dealing with the names and backstories of all the soldiers in the unit (which is a completely unnecessary level of detail for such a short story) and then tell the entirety of the main action in roughly the same number of words.

There are two ways to get around this. Either you could make this story longer, building on this as a plan and creating a strong novella or something, or you could cut out the unnecessary detail and focus on creating the atmosphere of a war-weary soldiers' encampment, then the unexpected joy of the ceasefire, followed by the return of the war. In other words, get rid of everything that you don't need to tell the story and focus on the people, on their feelings - in short, on all the stuff that makes a narrative into a good story.

Of course, there's the option you intended this to read like a report or something, but in that case the latter half doesn't fit the style. Either way, something's a little out of joint here.

That's problem number one, and it's the big one. Problem number two is something much less important, but still one to consider: why is this set in Sinnoh?

There's no appreciable reason that this story has to be a Pokémon fanfiction. It would make just as much sense if it actually were set in 1914 - in fact, it's almost like the canon-centric elements have been tacked on. That paragraph where you list all the Pokémon the soldiers send out? That's the only bit that really requires this to be set in the Pokémon world. You could just as easily set it in the real world, or a different canon, or a completely different world... well, you get the point. I think that if you're not actually using the Pokémon canon for some real and identifiable reason, then you might want to rethink the idea of using it.

Like I said, those are the two main problems. There are a couple of occasions where the prose comes across as a bit wooden, but I think that's mainly due to the infodump of the earlier paragraphs. You also wander from tense to tense a little - I noticed one bit here:

Quote:
Now, Gray is confused. These people used to be their enemy, and now they are greeting them a merry Christmas. He saw his co-major from the Third Alpha Troop bring his machine gun down.
You briefly dip into the present tense and then back to the perfect again; I'd strongly advise sticking with one all the way through, and probably the latter in this case.

But that's about it. It's a solid idea, and you clearly have some knowledge of how to write - but I think the actual story itself, the words on the page and the way you arrange them, needs further development. I'd be interested to see how it turns out if you do choose to do this, and I hope I've managed to be helpful rather than annoying.

F.A.B.
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