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  #76    
Old December 14th, 2013 (04:47 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Maruno:
Posting to confirm my entry. It's the first thing I've written for ages, so we'll see how it goes.

This makes mine the sixth entry (seventh if you count TD's "The Lonely Waffle").
I got it!

"The Lonely Waffle" was disqualified for being too perfect. We all know it would have won, so to give everyone a fighting chance, we're not going to be scoring it.
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  #77    
Old December 14th, 2013 (05:46 PM).
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I got your entry, Maruno!
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  #78    
Old December 14th, 2013 (06:55 PM).
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And have my confirmation post too of the above. And my axe!
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  #79    
Old December 15th, 2013 (03:44 PM). Edited December 16th, 2013 by Nolafus.
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The entry time is now closed! Please stay tuned for when I announce the results!

Edit: I just got all four of my wisdom teeth removed and I'm pretty doped up on drugs right now, so the results might take a little longer than what they normally should. Just thought I should let you know in case you were wondering why it was taking so long.
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  #80    
Old December 18th, 2013 (09:12 PM). Edited December 18th, 2013 by Phantom.
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Ah, that sucks. Do we have an ETA on when the judging will be done?
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  #81    
Old December 18th, 2013 (10:15 PM).
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I haven't even started reading anything yet. I will starting Friday, and I'll probably be done either that day or the following. That's only if I do quick read-throughs and don't share my full thoughts about the stories. If everyone's fine with waiting a little longer, I have three days off next week from work (25th, 26th, 27th) and will be done with what's keeping me busy this week. That means that I can really focus on getting the best reviews for each entry.

Don't know about the others. That's where I stand.
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Old December 18th, 2013 (10:49 PM).
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I've read through most of them and made a few quotes of each of those too. Reviews aren't yet started, but I know what I want to say so that's something.
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  #83    
Old December 18th, 2013 (11:04 PM).
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christmas is a pretty hectic time for a lot of people, so I don't think there's any rush
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  #84    
Old December 18th, 2013 (11:57 PM).
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Though I do think that before the 25th would be a good thing, since it is a 'winter writing' competition, and Christmas is a prompt, might be cool to have them readable on the forums by then.
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  #85    
Old December 19th, 2013 (08:47 AM).
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I don't want to rush the judges at all, so I would rather have the results until after Christmas so that way with all the Holiday rush and all that right now, it's better to feel less pressure afterwards.
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Old December 19th, 2013 (11:34 AM).
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I'm starting to come off my pain meds, so I'll be sure to start reading entries sometime soon. Sorry for not starting sooner, but I doubt you wanted feedback like this:
Quote originally posted by Drugged up Slayr231:
It wsa beutifull!1! Teh endin maed me crt!one1 Thsi wins alskdjfnvlbjeal!
And yes, this was actually taken from my comments from when I tried to review one of the stories.
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  #87    
Old December 19th, 2013 (04:37 PM).
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They key word is that you tried! :D
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  #88    
Old December 19th, 2013 (08:43 PM).
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Actually, Slayr, that would have been quite entertaining.

I request that review.
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  #89    
Old December 27th, 2013 (10:55 PM).
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Giving an update just in case anyone was wondering how things were going.

I finished my reviews and scoring, sending them off to Slayr. Both bobandbill and Slayr have to finish their reviews.
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Old December 28th, 2013 (12:57 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Astinus:
Giving an update just in case anyone was wondering how things were going.

I finished my reviews and scoring, sending them off to Slayr. Both bobandbill and Slayr have to finish their reviews.
Oooo, I'm excited.

Good to hear, I was wondering for a while there. But I heard you guys were all super busy, real life and all that.
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Old December 28th, 2013 (02:53 AM).
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Yeah, the last thing my relatives are going to do is let me have some time to myself, but the last of my relatives left today so I'm almost done. Don't worry!

I would just like to thank you guys for being so patient. You guys are awesome for that.
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Old December 28th, 2013 (03:14 AM).
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I can have them done tonight too (mostly looking over for the most part). Tomorrow at worst.
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Old December 28th, 2013 (05:07 PM).
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The Results!

Before we get to who places where, I would just like to take the time to thank you guys for your participation and patience. The judging took a lot longer than I expected, and you guys were really patient with us. For that, I thank you.

The other thing I would like to say is that the quality of these fics were outstanding. Every entry more then exceeded my expectations on how these were going to turn out and it's only because you guys put so much effort into these stories that this turned into a real competition. Now that the results are out, why not head on over to the main section, post your story, and read some of the other entries once they're posted? From the entire judging panel of Astinus, Bobandbill, and me, we would like to thank you guys for your time and participation. Now let's get to the results!

In 6th place!:


Axeliira: Dear Luna
Slayr231 - 21/30
Astinus - 23/30
Bobandbill - 20/30

Total: 64/90

More in-depth feedback:
Spoiler:
Slayr231:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 6/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 7/10
Relevance to Prompt: 8/10
Total: 21/30

Okay, a nice love story about moving on and unexpected surprises. Although, I felt like this story was rushed. I think the word count really hurt this story and I hope that you will take the time once this is done to expand on it because it is a nice story. It just required a lot more than 2,000 words to accomplish what you were trying to get across.

There were also a lot of mistakes when it comes to grammar and the plot itself. I’m not going to point out all the instances because this is just a small review and not on the main forum (hint, hint), but the biggest mistake was this:
Quote:
Defeating Bugsy was a piece of cake.
I believe you mean Burgh, seeing as Terence is traveling through Unova.

A lot of the mistakes could have been picked out with a simple proofread a day or two after you wrote it. It will help tremendously with these sort of things and is totally worth it.

All in all, not a bad story. Although, I think you got a little ambitious with what you wanted to get across. I would highly recommend proofreading it, adding more to the story now that the word count isn’t in affect, and post it in the main story for all to see.

Astinus:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 7/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 7/10
Relevance to Prompt: 9/10
Total: 23/30

I'm rather upset because I feel the word limit hurt this story. It seems like there's more to Terence and Luna's story, and more time could have been given to building up their relationship before the journey (to understand just what Luna meant to Terence so readers see why he's in love with this girl that strongly), how Terence moves on in his life after worrying for months over this girl he's in love with, and how their meeting afterward went.

Or maybe I'm just a sap over these kinds of stories.

So I'm hoping that maybe, after reading through the reviews, you can extend this a little more without having to worry about staying under a particular word count or under a short deadline.

Mechanics-wise, there were quite a few issues throughout the piece. There were compound sentences, where sentences that should have been split were merged into one sentence. I think quite a bit of these issues would have been caught by a quick read-through before submission, especially in cases like this one that made me pause:

Quote:
Defeating Bugsy was a piece of cake.
Since Terence is fighting through Unova, I don't think he'd be fighting Bugsy.

The story of this I do like, but as I said, the rushed quality to the writing hurt it . If there was more time devoted to the relationship, that would have helped the story. Also, maybe just a little bit more of the two Eevee being included to further parallel the two characters, to show more how important these two critters were to the trainers, since asking what Luna's Eevee evolved into was the last bit of communication Terence had with Luna.

I do commend you on not having Luna's Eevee evolve into Umbreon.

You have the basis for a good story in here. It just needs the time to develop and grow more.

Bobandbill:
Spoiler:

Spelling and Grammar: 6/10
Characterization, Plot, and Description: 6/10
Relevance to Prompt: 8/10
Total: 20/30

You had an interesting beginning to the story. Nice slow reveal of details to keep the story moving. And I liked the general premise of the story too. There were some particularly nice touches too - such as both of them having Eevee, with Terence's having the odd cameo every now and again (although I don't feel its evolution in the end had added too much to the story's main plot). And it did well with the theme of loneliness without being in the norm of the sort of stories I would expect for that.

The first of my two main complaints is that it may have been overdone, in the sense that the protagonist's lust for Luna seemed too full on, too stalker-ish due to the amount of description going on about how great she was, and how emotional he was over her. Maybe cutting down on that would have helped the character be more reasonable, as well as shorten the story (as you did mention you went a bit over). Some of it felt unnecessary, or at least did not add much more to the story given how much his feelings for her were established.

My second qualm was with the ending, as it felt rushed somewhat. The large time skip and sudden happy resolution did seem somewhat left field and left a few too many questions unanswered (namely, why did she stop responding and only showed up now?)

Quote:
But we do not know what to evolve it into....at least I don't even know myself.
Nitpick - not sure if 'it' is the right word for one to use about their own first Pokémon - a gendered word (he/she) would fit better imo.

Quote:
She had black hair, always on a pony tail, and that's because she's constantly working. Not labor work, but she's hands-on into everything. She had green eyes, had semi-dark skin that seemed like she tanned herself every day.
This was somewhat repetitive - She had ___, She had ___. The description was a bit listy (although understandable in this case), but nonetheless twice like that in three sentences is a bit much, and makes it sound more like a, well, list, than a story. It interrupts the story pace in a way.

The last sentence is also a run-on. Fixable by having an 'and' in place of 'had' (...green eyes and semi-dark skin...).

Quote:
My parents thought that Luna may be a mysterious stranger who may plan to take my Eevee, more so a Team Rocket grunt. There were reports of grunts using the internet to steal their Pokemon. It's too hard to convince them, even showing them her picture won't do a thing.
The same with the last sentence - it's a run-on. A comma doesn't quite work in linking up those two parts (generally, a comma is used, for instance, before names/nicknames, to separate adjectives, for listing objects, or to go before one of the 'fanboys' - for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). A semi colon or new sentence works better here.
Quote:
I had completed the third gym, my Eevee is starting to show some signs of evolution but won't tell when she'd evolve.
Same here. I think here a new sentence works best (...third gym. My Eevee is...).

Quote:
Defeating Bugsy was a piece of cake.
I think you mixed up things - he was in Unova, not Johto.
Quote:
My Tranquill was a little overleveled but I cannot risk him to get shocked by Elesa's Zebstrika for the billionth time.
I'm not so sure how levels (or at least the idea of something being 'overlevelled') translated too well in a story like this, to be honest...
Quote:
I finished in the top 8, losing to a younger trainer with an uber-leveled Pikachu and an Emboar.
Same here, with uber-leveled. Nitpicky, I suppose, and maybe subjective, but it doesn't sound quite right.
Quote:
As I opened the door firmly, the first I saw was a little boy, wearing a red cap, a blue coat, sweatpants and snow boots.
An example of describing too much - what he wears doesn't actually add to the story here, so you could have gone without this description.

Overall I did enjoy it - it just needs some tidying up. Hopefully these comments shall help!


In 5th place!:

Mister Oshawott: Christmas for Mr. Cellophane
Slayr231 - 25/30
Astinus - 23/30
Bobandbill - 23/30

Total: 71/90

More in-depth feedback:
Spoiler:

Slayr231:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 7/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 8/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 25/30

I really liked this story, it made me smile. I thought it captured the essence of Christmas very well and I like how you incorporated things from our world, like Frank Sinatra, and put them in the pokemon world. It’s a neat thing that doesn’t happen often in fanfics.

There were some issues with grammar here and there. Not a whole lot, but there were some misused words every once in a while. Just try to remember which version of your/you’re, there/their/they’re, and all those kinds of words you want to use and it should help a lot. None of us can catch everything, but just keep these things in mind while you write and that should solve most of the problems.

Plot wise, I liked it, even if it is a bit clichéd. I would have liked to see more of the backstory and a little more emotion in why he hates Christmas. I mean, I can see why he doesn’t like Christmas, but I just can’t quite see why he hates it. I think the word count played a major role with this. Even so, I thought it flowed well and wasn’t rushed. One thing I was surprised about was how well you wrote the big realization about what Christmas was all about. I thought you did a very good job with that section and I really enjoyed it. Overall, a good story, but it needs a bit more with the backstory.

Astinus:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 6/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 7/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 23/30

And that was the day his heart grew three sizes too big!

A cute, simple—if somewhat clichéd—story about someone finding the true meaning of Christmas after dealing with their hardship of life.

Starting right off, there were quite a few grammar issues here. You seem to have a problem with homophones, where you used “your” when you meant “you're” or “it's” when you meant “its.” The trick to remembering which one of those you want is by using the full two words in place of the word you're confused on. For instance: “You are welcome” makes sense, while “your welcome” doesn't because you're looking for “you're” to contract “you are.”

Plot-wise, as I said, the story's been done before. There's always a Christmas story about an older person who learns the true meaning of the holiday by helping out those less fortunate than him. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more about why Blaine hates Christmas so much. This means just a little more about how badly he wanted a Pokémon, but couldn't get one because of his father leaving Kanto and his mother becoming sick. Have Blaine focus a little more on these thoughts as much as he did on meeting and helping the poor woman and her daughter on the side of the road.

(I'm asking if this was another unfortunate case of the word limit causing issues.)

It's a Christmas story that just needs a little grammatical help.

Bobandbill:
Spoiler:

Spelling and Grammar: 7/10
Characterization, Plot, and Description: 7/10
Relevance to Prompt: 9/10
Total: 23/30

I start by saying your title reminded me of this song.

And really, I'd say that character in the movie - if you ever saw it, I do not know - isn't a bad comparison to make of the main character in your fic, come to think of it. A guy who's not often seen, but one who still tries (tried?) to help someone out.

Overall? I quite liked the story. Nice description (the young girl for instance was rather cute, as was the Arcanine), a charming ending, and fitted well with the prompt. It did seem to work out a bit too well for my mind - how everything lined up so nicely (e.g. it's even fine for her to go home with him because the husband left years ago, seemingly too conveniently), although I suppose that comes with the challenge of making a story in the intended word limit. And a few small inconsistencies - for example:
Quote:
There it was, the absolute most perfect Poke’doll on the wall.
Here you went with the accented e, but then didn't use it for Pokéball. (As a side note, with presentation it's best to go for é rather than 'e - it just looks better. There's a few ways to create it). But all in all this was a solid entry.
Quote:
was surprisingly dark for a company that took pride in making it’s employee’s work practically year round,
This was a typo you made a few times - it's means it is, rather than something indication possession (its).
Quote:
“Don’t be rude to our guests, Blaine.” he replied sternly.
This was another consistent error. Here you would want to use something in place of the full stop in the dialogue - e.g. a comma (...Blaine," he replied sternly.). This is because what follows the dialogue is part of the same sentence rather than being an independent sentence. Note that you could use other punctuation like ! or ? in such cases (...Blaine!" he shouted) - just not full stops unless the sentence actually stops at the end of the dialogue (...Blaine." He walked out of the room.)
So for example, the following case:
Quote:
“It’s all in the spirit of the season sir.” he replied.
should also use a comma in place of the full stop. (Also, a comma before 'sir', as the person is being addressed by this title.)
Quote:
“That’s correct ma’am.” I replied, tears welling into her eyes.
And the same here. There's other examples, as mentioned.
Quote:
“Your welcome, I guess.”
You are welcome.
Quote:
“Who ready for some Christmas ham?” my mother called from the Kitchen, bursting through the door.
There's no need for kitchen to be capitalised - kitchen will do, as it isn't a proper noun.

I was also a bit unsure about the presentation you used on the Thirty Years Ago, etc, by using the quote boxes. Not bad necessarily, just... unusual to see. That said, the story could have done well without them in my opinion - best to convey time skips or flash backs within the story without breaking the pace by announcing them, in my opinion.

Overall, good job with this entry. I hope the characters get on well.


In 4th place!:

Kiddinq: How the Pokemon Stole Christmas
Slayr231 - 27/30
Astinus - 28/30
Bobandbill - 21/30

Total: 76/90

More in-depth feedback:
Spoiler:

Slayr231:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 9/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 8/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 27/30

It rhymes! :D

I really liked this little tale. A pokemon version of the Grinch! I’m a sucker for the “and they lived happily ever after” type endings, and I really liked how this one closed. The story flowed well, everything was explained clearly with no glaring errors, and it did make me smile. A wonderful poem for all pokefans to enjoy during the holidays.

As much as I did like it, I do have one main critique. There were some lined that seemed to stumble and thus ruin the flow of the poem and how it came across. There’s this whole syllable counting flow stuff with poems, especially for those that rhyme, that I’m not familiar with so I’m afraid I can’t help you out much in that sense. Even if I’m not familiar with it, it’s easy to pick and there were a lot of lines that seemed to be missing or had too many syllables. There were also a couple mistakes here and there, but I’ll mention that when you post this in the main section (hint, hint).

All in all, a neat poem. I really liked the charm that the rhyming brought to the table and the story itself is adorable. It just needs a little work with how the poem is worded at times.

Astinus:
Spoiler:
Grammar: 9/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 28/30

It's a cute little poem all about how Garbordor can find the true meaning of Christmas once it's shown some kindness. And it's been a long while since I reviewed a poem, so I'm kind of rusty.

Your rhyming scheme changed through the poem. You started with four lines rhyming together before moving onto the next set of four rhymes, but later on in the poem, you went with two rhyming lines together. The change was kind of jarring because poems typically have a pattern, and just when I was getting into the counting of rhymes one way, it switched to a different way.

Also, your rhythm seemed kind of...off in lines. A beat would get started, but a line would extend longer than it should or be shorter than it should be, and the beat gets thrown off. To me, it seems like you were more focused on getting the rhymes in than making sure the poem flowed.

But it is a little homage to How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Nikki, if she wasn't named, would have become “Cindy Loo Who” in my review.

Quote:
An Aspear berry, then said, ‘Let’s go meet my brother’.
This line had a grammar issue, where you used single quotation marks and had the ending punctuation outside the closing one. Every other instance you had double quotation marks and kept the ending punctuation inside the closing quote.

Bobandbill:
Spoiler:
Spelling and Grammar: 7/10
Characterization, Plot, and Description: 6/10
Relevance to Prompt: 8/10
Total: 21/30

A Pokemon version of The Grinch who Stole Christmas! Not a bad basis, certainly, and it did seem to have some Pokemon charm in it as well. It was also sweet with its ending, and the choice of Pokémon was fitting.. Kudos for taking on the challenge of a long rhyming poem as well!

I feel my main issues with the story were that it didn't differentiate itself enough from The Grinch format, and that the resolution didn't quite feel realistic or sensible enough. It was a bit much of a surprise that Tony was fine with accepting the Garbobor like that, given it had gone and stolen their stuff. I suppose it fits the theme of Christmas and love and so forth, but it would have been more satisfying and believable if there had been a different manner to the Pokemon gaining acceptance despite its actions.

Quote:
In the vast world of Pokemon, each trainer knows
That when it is time for Christmas, it’s also time for the snows.
I'm not too sure, but I think 'the snow' is the more oft-used term. I suppose this has to work given you have knows about though (unless you changed it to 'each trainer would know).

As said, you did a good job in keeping up the rhyming scheme throughout. At times though a pair of sentences didn't quite match up in length/syllables, or just the sound. For instance:
Quote:
To the edge of the town his walk brought him,
With no lights left on in the town, the scene was rather grim.
The inclusion of 'rather' I felt here extended the second line a bit too much, and 'the town' a second time is also repetitive. If you changed the second line to 'With no lights left, the scene was grim', I feel it would have worked better in partnering the first line.

Quote:
He cleaned out the food,
His actions were slowly bettering his mood.
Similarly here, although I feel the first line is too short now compared to the second one, rather than the latter being too long. It doesn't quite sound right, or quite matched when you read it out loud
Quote:
The Pokemon felt a new sense of Pride.
I think it is better to go with an uncapitalised pride.

Overall though I did enjoy the story, and it was a nice entry for the competition.


In 3rd place!:

Vociferocity: DIY Christmas (Presents not Included)
Slayr231 - 27/30
Astinus - 27/30
Bobandbill - 27/30

Total: 81/90

More in-depth feedback:
Spoiler:

Slayr231:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 8/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 27/30

What? You can’t end it there! I wanted to see everyone’s reaction! D:

Still, a very nice story. It’s not often we actually get to see the pokemon interacting with each other like this, and I must say it’s quite refreshing actually. I thought the characters were great, a few parts made me chuckle, and I really liked the way you made them interact with each other. It added a charm to the story that really makes it unique.

There were a couple grammar mistakes here and there. Nothing too major, an extra comma here, a run-on sentence there, etc. the kinds of things that are very difficult to catch by yourself, so it’s nothing to sweat over.

The story flowed, and was polished. I didn’t notice any glaring errors and the story really had a charm. I really wanted Illumise to just slug Volbeat in the face and tell him to listen to her. Okay, maybe that’s a little too violent, but the characters is what made this story pop. Plus Linoone is one of my favorite pokemon, so you can’t really go wrong with that.

Astinus:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 8/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 27/30

How adorable!

It was cute to see all the different Pokémon come together to create Christmas for their trainers. They all weren't used to each other, but they worked together and listened to each other. Even Duskull with his quiet nature.

There were a few issues with grammar. A few sentences dragged on a bit longer than they should, and you could have split these into smaller sentences. This didn't hurt your story too badly, though. It's just something to watch out for.

Honestly, I think this is one of the few stories that wasn't hurt too badly by the word limit. There was just enough to get the story across, and it ended in the right place. You could have added a scene where the Pokémon worked through their differences getting the items together (like the scene with Volbeat and Illumise deciding on the presents) to show how this experience changed them, but it was no big loss not to have it in there.

And at least now everyone can have a Christmas in that Pokémon Center.

Bobandbill:
Spoiler:

Spelling and Grammar: 8/10
Characterization, Plot, and Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 27/30

Although I cannot speak for the other judges, this was my favourite entry and the highest scoring from myself, so have some personal congratulations. :p

This fitted the prompt themes (or well, one of them) the best out of all the entries, I felt - both using the theme of Christmas and manipulating it for the story itself quite nicely. I also really enjoyed the characters - that was the highlight of the story, I felt. From the bored nurse to, well, all of the Pokemon trying to help out despite their differences, it was great. I sort of wish there wasn't a word limit just to see more interactions between the Pokémon, haha. (And truth be told a bit of an urge to pick up an old fic idea of mine involving the sort too...) But yes - great characters, portrayed well despite each of their short screentime allocated - I daresay that's a sign of doing it right.

The description was solid throughout - nothing too overdone to distract from the story itself, which was too my liking. The plot is a bit simplistic, but it does as I say fit well with the theme, and it was carried decently too. Maybe a smoother transition between the second-last and last scenes is a nitpick I would make in regards to it.

But the ending itself was spot on in its delivery in my opinion. Just the right moment.
Quote:
The trainers had gone to bed early, Christmas Eve just another night when there was nothing to make it special, and Joy decided it was time to follow suit.
Perhaps it would have been better having this as two sentences (...to bed early. Christmas Eve...). That's a matter of opinion though as you can read it as one go given she's listing points. That doesn't excuse the missing 'was' after 'Christmas Eve' however. ;p
Quote:
Illumise's blue cheeks flushed darker, but she carefully ignored him, an awkward silence filling the stairwell.
This read somewhat oddly. I think a reword could be in order.
Quote:
Linoone was positive that the other trainer could already see Winston, nothing about the girl had implied that she had any kind of vision impairment, but she understood the rest of what he'd said.
A touch of a run-on sentence here. Again, two sentences would have imo been better (...see Winston. Nothing about the...).

Well done!


In 1st place, we have a tie!:

PhantomX0990: Invisible
Slayr231 - 29/30
Astinus - 30/30
Bobandbill - 24/30

Total: 83/90

More in-depth feedback:
Spoiler:

Slayr231
Spoiler:

Grammar: 10/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 29/30

A story about a neat perspective that no one really thinks about. I like it. I think writing this off of personal experience really added a layer of depth to the story that you can only get from that experience.

I didn’t see any grammar mistakes when picking through it, so that’s always a big plus and can often say a lot about the story itself, which it does.

The story flows, it’s polished, and there’s no plot holes to fuss over. I especially liked how down to Earth this felt. There wasn’t exactly a tension with the story, and yet I felt compelled to read on. The ending wasn’t this big flashy ending where they lived happily ever after, and yet it was satisfying. You have a unique combination of these ingredients that’s incredibly hard to pull off, yet here it is. The only critique that I have is that there’s not really much emphasis on Nick. I feel like it was really important, but I didn’t quite get the feel that I think I was supposed to get. Still, poor Nick.

Astinus:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 10/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 10/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 30/30

A story has to be good when the ending makes me pause and reflect on things.

It's interesting that this story takes place around Christmastime, when the efforts of charity seem to double. (How often was “let's help the homeless people” the lesson of the day for family shows?) Despite this story taking place around Christmas, the homeless in this story are still left on their own with nothing, still invisible.

I particularly liked how real this felt, which makes sense given that it's based on your own life. Particularly the ending with Rodger and Bill, when they ask about Nick. Something most likely happened to the kid, and now he's lost to the three who last knew him.

Right now, I really can't think of much more to say about this story other than: You wrote an incredible story.

Bobandbill:
Spoiler:

Spelling and Grammar: 8/10
Characterization, Plot, and Description: 8/10
Relevance to Prompt: 8/10
Total: 24/30

This was a curious story. I rather liked the ending, I have to say - it did make me pause a moment, think 'what-oooooh'. So kudos on achieving what was I take it your aim with it.

Generally it was solid all over. It certainly felt real given your use of real world places (and experiences? Oh my). I felt that it did lack a little bit extra in places, however. This is being nitpicky, but then such is the nature of contests. =p It did fit the Christmas motif, but I don't feel it took full advantage of that idea, and had the time of year differed slightly it wouldn't have affected the story quite as much, imo. It also fits loneliness, but again not 'quite' to the extent that I would award more points for that.

The main character was interesting enough to read about, but not as engaging as he might have or could have been, and I felt that there hadn't been quite enough foreshadowing in the lead up to the twist. (However on that note, was there any intention behind the name of 'Nick', given the Christmas setting and last few lines?)
Quote:
especially downtown where the skyscrapers created wind tunnels that were like to blow you halfway down the block.
likely, perhaps?
Quote:
It stood probably fifty feet tall and was decorated for bear.
I was a bit confused by this line - unless you mean decorated for a bear/for bears...?
Quote:
A little boy was being dragged along by his mother, his little face was skewed in anger and his mother’s stern.
I think this would have been better as two separate sentences, as in its current state reads like a run-on sentence.
Quote:
Rodger was an old mechanic that had lost his job in the recession, his wife divorced him and his family ditched him when he lost everything. Bill was Vietnam vet who loved to tell his war stories and rant about how the government was screwing him over.
The same here with the first sentence. The second is missing an 'a' before 'Vietnam vet'.

Despite those minor things though, in relation to this:
Quote:
Hope you like it.
I certainly did. =)


Maruno: The Spirit of Christmas
Slayr231 - 27/30
Astinus - 30/30
Bobandbill - 26/30

Total - 83/90

More in-depth feedback:
Spoiler:

Slayr231:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 10/10
Plot, Characterization, Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 8/10
Total: 27/30

This is the most unique story out of the bunch, that’s for sure. XD

Although I see where Christmas and all that came into play, I didn’t feel like it was the main focus of the piece. I felt like it was more brain washing than anything else, but Christmas did still play a big role, so I can see where you were heading with this.

I have to say, I like how out of the box this was. This is definitely the most unique story submitted for this. I like unique and crazy ideas, so it’s a plus from me. Alien santa hats taking over people during Christmas? Now that’s a new one.

There weren’t any grammar mistakes that I could find, and that’s always a plus. Often times, you can tell how good a story is by the grammar, and that holds true here.

When I first saw that you entered, I was most curious about your writing style and how you would handle it. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that you were doing a lot of things right that a lot of people struggle with early on. The story itself fit together nicely. It didn’t feel rushed and one thing that I thought you did excellently was your ability to withhold information. You didn’t tell us from the beginning that something was amiss, you showed us, and that’s where I feel like the strength in this story lies. With the description and the amount of information that’s withheld until the very end. A nice job indeed.

Astinus:
Spoiler:

Grammar: 10/10
Plot, Description, Characterization: 10/10
Relevance to Prompt: 10/10
Total: 30/30

I was looking forward to seeing your writing. And a part of me wasn't surprised by the Lovecraftian horrors that you produced.

Your description of the decorations was great, and I could see everything in my mind's eye. Jonathan's living room seemed quite cozy and inviting...until the hat started to attack. That's when a smile crossed my face, because this story amused me.

No major issues that I could see. I would like to know more about these tentacled creatures, like where they came from and why Christmas is so important to them. And if there are any creatures like them for other holidays. (Ones wearing rabbit ears? Or carrying around hearts?)

Bobandbill:
Spoiler:

Spelling and Grammar: 8/10
Characterization, Plot, and Description: 9/10
Relevance to Prompt: 9/10
Total: 26/30

A close second from my own judging. It was an amusing and darker take on the prompt theme, haha. And given a silly theory I came up with that also had to do with hats, this appealed to me all the more!

The general writing style was pleasing to read. Maybe a touch disjointed right at the end - the ending was nice, but the transition to the final paragraph was a touch off for me, and Jonathon's reaction to seeing his friend did seem a little bit lacking too. That aside, it was a nice subversion of the theme. Amusing - yet creepy - concept, and it entertained throughout. The description served its purpose well - although maybe the talk of the decorations initially felt a bit much to me, when I saw why it was so a few paragraphs later it certainly made sense and warranted it.

Quote:
There just hadn't been time for them to redecorate, and he hadn't heard any movement while he was brewing up. A chill ran down his spine, and at that moment he saw a movement.
'movement' twice in two sentences is a touch repetitive - maybe another word to replace one of them would have worked better.
Quote:
He had to move. He had to escape. His legs felt like concrete. He thumped his thigh, once then twice, and his legs were legs again. He darted around the hat and sprinted to the front door and outside.
Although I can agree with the usage of this to quicken the pace of the story, it seemed a bit too many of the sentences started with He or His in this section. A couple have been changed with that pace increase maintained (e.g. 'He had to move. Had to escape.').
Quote:
There's a hat and... it's..."
Maybe can be put down to the fact Jonathon is distracted, but I think he was trying to talk about the hat itself - so its, rather than it's.
Quote:
"Nonsense!" Pete marched over and thrust an arm around Jonathan's shoulders. "You've got time for a quick brandy, at least. Come on in."

Jonathan was marched inside,
Same deal here - 'marched' being the offending word to appear twice in quick succession.
Quote:
It was suddenly cold again, but there was no time to worry about that.
Nitpick - he was cold again, because it was already stated earlier the outdoors was cold, he had just been inside of late.

In closing, I felt this was a not-nice story that will scare many off mince pies and Christmas decorations. Well done. =p
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Old December 28th, 2013 (09:03 PM).
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Cool! Thanks guys! And good job other entries! I really excited to read your stuff, I'm going to get posting it now!
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Old December 28th, 2013 (10:08 PM).
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omg, third :D!!! congrats to the winners, I can't wait to read your stories! & I hope everyone else posts their stories as well, I really want to read what we all came up with :)
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Old December 28th, 2013 (11:53 PM).
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Hum, a tie. (I only knew the final results from reading this!). To be fair, it was pretty close, and in fact, in terms of overall quality from all entries I wager this is the strongest set I've seen (both for cases when I was a judge, and an entrant). That's pretty darn good.

So congrats to you all (and particularly the winners =p), and I hope our reviews were of use. Do post your entries so everyone else can check them out!
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Old December 29th, 2013 (01:27 AM).
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oh yeah, I forgot to say: thank you so much to the judges for such in-depth and useful feedback! it's super useful, and also super cool, to know what you guys thought of our fics (speaking for everyone, deal with it :3)
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Old December 29th, 2013 (02:10 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Vociferocity:
oh yeah, I forgot to say: thank you so much to the judges for such in-depth and useful feedback! it's super useful, and also super cool, to know what you guys thought of our fics (speaking for everyone, deal with it :3)
No problem, hopefully it makes more sense why the judging took so long. If we took this long to just give out numbers, then there would be a problem.

I think it was funny how Vociferocity's fic received the exact same score in all categories from all the judges. It was completely incidental, and a bit funny at that.
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Old December 29th, 2013 (02:54 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Slayr231:
I think it was funny how Vociferocity's fic received the exact same score in all categories from all the judges. It was completely incidental, and a bit funny at that.
I wasn't the best, but I was the most consistent!
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Old December 29th, 2013 (04:10 AM).
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I just can't believe we all beat out "The Lonely Waffle", I mean. Just, wow.
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