Thread: Elusive Goals
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Old October 22nd, 2008 (8:27 PM). Edited October 18th, 2016 by Rukario.
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JX Valentine JX Valentine is offline
Your aquatic overlord
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: Harassing Bill
    Age: 30
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    Apologies for being a couple days late with this one. As per your request, I'll try to be as blunt as possible, but if I go overboard, apologies in advance.

    The rising sun bathed the city and the homonym,
    While homonym literally means "same name," its actual definition is "words that are spelled the same but have different meanings." I would suggest, then, to rephrase this by using any of the following solutions:

    1. Leaving the word out altogether. You haven't given us the name of either place yet, so you can get away with it.

    2. Use the word "eponymous" if you're trying to say that the city got its name from the forest. Basically speaking, the word refers to something that lends its name to something else. For example, the Pokémon franchise features eponymous creatures.

    3. Use the word "namesake." Same thing as #2 but easier to spell.

    Off the top of my head, I can't think of a way to say that the forest got its name from the city without proposing to rearrange the order of the locations so that you mention the forest first. Sorry.

    It took a while for a left hand to appear from beneath the mattress,

    I would highly, highly suggest thinking carefully about what you're saying. Maybe use a dictionary every so often if you're uncertain as to what a word means exactly. A mattress is the part you sleep on – the pad of coils, foam, et cetera to support your body while you sleep. Blankets and sheets go on top of that, and if you're under it, you're most likely dead because you suffocated (which may explain why you're describing this character as a body, rather than as a figure). Or you happen to be weird and are sleeping under the bed.

    until it retrieved the golden handset, before it could ring for the sixth time.
    Prepositional phrases don't usually have commas before them.

    It's eight AM in the morning and you have requested to be awakened this early.”
    Let me introduce you to a little trick I like to call the period trick. Whenever you're writing a sentence that includes a conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so), put a period where the conjunction is. If what you have left are two separate sentences, then you're trying to make a compound, which means you need a comma to separate the two independent clauses.

    Such is the case here, which is why I'm bringing up the period trick.

    A low grumbling was heard, as the young raised his other hand and started messing with his curly blue hair.
    Move the comma here to after "curly." Prepositions don't need commas before them, but adjectives that describe similar aspects (such as, in this case, appearance) do.

    “Thanks... awww,” he greeted, as he managed to catch a yawn, “... sorry, I guess-- any messages?”

    “No messages, Mr. Mezze.”

    “Yeah... I see...”

    “However, VIP Services wants us to remind you, that a pickup van is to arrive at nine A.M., to pick you, Sir.”
    Note the paragraph breaks I inserted between each line of dialogue. Even if it is dialogue, you still need a blank line of space between them because they're separate paragraphs. That way, it's easy to read and be able to tell who's saying what.

    Also, lots of commas in that last sentence that don't serve any function whatsoever. In fact, only the first comma (which separates an introduction word) and the last one (for direct address) really should be here. The others aren't needed.

    What? No, seriously. I don't know what you're trying to say here.

    about 1.85 meters tall, brown-tanned skin and a tatoo in his right shoulder,
    First off, you don't get a tattoo in a body part. You get it on. Otherwise, there's really no sense in getting a tattoo because you wouldn't be able to see it.

    Also, brown-tanned is actually fairly redundant because tanned skin is brown.

    Seriously, though, don't do description like this. It sounds a lot like you're smacking the reader in the face with irrelevant information, which breaks the narration and gives the story a choppy feel. (As in, it feels like you're stopping the story just to describe one little detail. In some cases, it works, but for physical description, it really doesn't unless you really want to draw attention to a specific detail – and even then, doing so tends to give that detail a comical feeling, like how in the show Pete and Pete, attention is always drawn to Pete's tattoo of a woman because it's just that ridiculous.) For example, knowing exactly how many meters tall he is sounds a bit like an entry out of a scientific textbook. Just saying "tall" will actually suffice. Also, introduce the fact that he's tan-skinned so that it seems relevant. For example, you could say the blankets fell off him to reveal his dark, tan body. That way, it won't break the narration.

    complete with the opening of light maroon eyes,
    Maroon is actually a dark red color, not a light one.

    Unless you mean light for being maroon.

    standard-size envelope marked with a single, beautifully designed letter engraved «R» into the seal.
    I'm guessing you mean "letter <> engraved into the seal," not the other way around.

    “I forgot... the meeting is today...”,
    Comma goes inside the quotation marks if it's being used to end a quote. (It's always inside if you're going by American grammar, but in general, if it's serving as the ending mark of punctuation to the sentence inside the quote or if it's separating the quote from the dialogue tag, it goes inside.) However, for ellipses, you don't need any other mark of punctuation at all. An ellipsis indicates that the sentence trails off into nothingness.

    Also, I would recommend italicizing thoughts instead of putting them in quotation marks. Having quotation marks around them causes the reader to think it's being spoken aloud, whereas a sentence in italics generally means that it's internal monologue.

    “Oh... yes, thanks for the call. I will require no further assistance for the rest of my stay” he said.
    Comma after "stay." You're trying to indicate that it's the end of a spoken sentence but will be continuing into a dialogue tag. If you leave it as is, this is like leaving a sentence without a period at the end.

    cut off just as the auricular pushed against the phone hook.
    Because "auricular" means "pertaining to the ear" (as in, it's usually an anatomy word), at first, I thought you were saying someone's ear got shoved against a phone hook. It took a few more read-throughs to understand that you actually meant that the handset was replaced (or perhaps that the receiver pressed against the phone hook, given that that's usually the orientation a phone is in).

    As a note, just because it sounds fancy does not mean that the word is the best one for the job. Look up words like "auricular" before using them to be absolutely sure you know what you're saying.

    “What is it?” he yelled. “Is there a problem? Hello---!”
    “Sorry, Mr. Mezze,” said the woman, caught by surprise, “but... well, a message had just arrived for you.”
    Wait, what? O_o Usually, when a phone is pressed against the phone hook, that means that the party hung up.

    He felt embarrassed and a little disappointed; not that he wanted a damsel to be in peril, but that was not exactly the point.
    Replace the semicolon with a dash. A dash indicates a parenthetical (or a statement that doesn't necessarily have to be in the sentence for it to make sense but is for clarification). A semicolon, however, is a connector of a different sort, usually to indicate a compound sentence.

    Also, drop the comma. Doing the period test here reveals that the part after the conjunction isn't a sentence (meaning you can't do a compound here).

    “What's that about?,” he inquired.
    A comma is not required in dialogue if you've already got another mark of punctuation. Commas represent periods (if they're not literally serving as commas). They don't replace question marks or exclamation points, and you can't have both marks in the same sentence.

    Darius smiled to himself, and replied with a simple thank you.
    Same thing here. Try the period test, and you'll see that only the first half is its own sentence. So, no comma is needed here.

    Then he swiftly hung up
    However, a comma is needed here because "then" is an introduction word.

    taking directly to the shower, while leering back to the envelope in the nightstand.
    I'm guessing you mean "going" instead of "taking." You can't really "take directly" to anything.

    Also, no comma here. It serves no purpose.

    consisting in
    Consisting of.

    an asparagus t-shirt,
    See, the problem with purple prose is that if you use the wrong word, it just turns out unintentionally funny. For example, right now, I'm imagining either a shirt in a disgusting shade of green or a shirt made out of asparagus. I'm inclined to lean towards the latter.

    He walked the corridor
    Walked down. Usually, motion words like "walked" need a preposition to indicate a direction.

    a yellow coloured
    Yellow-colored. They're actually serving as one adjective, so they're, in a sense, one word. Hence the hyphen.

    rises her head
    Raises. Lifts would be better, actually. Either way, to rise implies that the object is doing it itself (which, because of the presence of a subject doing the lifting, the head is not).

    Also, did you just switch from past tense to future tense? Don't. Maintain one tense throughout the entire work to create a sense of consistency. Warp time, and you'll confuse the reader.

    But the one trait that brands this creature and all of her species
    All the members of her species. Otherwise, you're pretty much opening this to an "all what?" sort of question.

    This was the species of Pokémon called Rapidash.
    First off, you switched tenses again.

    Second, to be anal, Rapidash aren't the only Pokémon with flaming manes. (*motions to Ponyta – as well as the Cyndaquil line and Chimchar line, given the definition of the word "mane"*) That and they usually don't have emerald eyes.

    Darius gets close to the female Rapidash and hugs her, holding her muzzle, his hands and his body impervious to the flames, a mystical attribute of this species that allows their individuals' mane to burn anything and anyone, except those they deem trustworthy.
    Run-on right about here. Insert a period right after the word "flames." Notice how you get two sentences as a result? You'll want to be careful about that so as not to merge too much information into one sentence.

    Here, the human who has cared for and raised her ever since he remembered.
    You may want to rephrase this into a complete sentence. Even with the sentence before it, this just sounds awkward and incomplete.

    but she already has plenty.
    Even with the present tense, I get the feeling you're trying to do past-tense here because the word "has" implies she's currently surrounded by food. (Granted, for a Rapidash in a field, this is true, but still.)

    Also, grabbed the food from where? I get the feeling that at this point, you're just half-assing the description so we're only getting a brief glance at what's happening.

    he produces a spherical, bicoloured object from his belt, called a poké ball.
    Given that this is a Pokémon fanfiction, we can infer what the object is. It would probably be better to replace "bi-colored" with "red-and-white" in order to describe the object clearly without having to name it and insult our intelligence as fans.

    “We have serious business

    adding bright
    Brightness? Given the fact that "bright" is an adjective, you can't really use it as a noun.

    I'm not quite sure how a Pokémon would add brightness to the beam anyway. Canonically, the beam just looks about the same when it's drawing in Pokémon as it does when it's seeking them.

    Darius hooks back the pokéball
    Hooks the Poké Ball back onto his belt. It sounds awkward otherwise.

    Word of the wise: Always reread your work aloud after you write it to hear if it makes complete sense.

    Also, a lesson in consistency: If you're going to capitalize the word "Pokémon" and Pokémon species' names when they're used as common nouns, you need to capitalize items (such as "Poké Ball") as well. Likewise, decide if the word "Poké Ball" is one word or two. (Hint: In canon, it's two.) The reason why is for the sake of consistency. As in, everything's formatted the same to establish a grammatical rule in your work. In other words, it just makes sense if you do.

    the staffers of the Stables.
    The staff of the stables, with no capital letters. "Staffers" is actually slang as far as I know, and "stables" isn't a proper noun unless it's the actual name of the specific place.

    including a recommendation letter from the Manager herself,
    I'm not quite sure why you're randomly capitalizing words, but please don't. Unless they're actual names or particularly special titles, they're common nouns and shouldn't be capitalized.

    Also, I get the feeling that Darius is heading down the Stu lane. So far, he's got a special Rapidash (apparently, judging by the odd colors), he's tall and handsome, and he's randomly gotten a recommendation letter for seemingly no apparent reason. Normally, odd colors, beauty, and achievement aren't much, but together – and with no explanation – it seems a little off here.

    handles his butler
    The dirty mind has just burst out laughing. Why? Because to handle a male means you're giving him a hand job. For the sake of keeping the rest of this review PG-13, I'll tell you in private what exactly that means if you really don't know.

    That said, another case of "wrong word, wrong time." You mean handed (or, given the tense, hands) here. Again, look up your words before you use them to avoid odd mental images.

    His definition of “power”, however, based on the ability to sit down and enjoy the results of his actions, always made him outstanding among the crowd.
    I'd like for you to reread this sentence aloud to understand this explanation. Notice how the abundance of parentheses (phrases that don't necessarily need to be in the sentence – you get the idea from the dash comment earlier) make this a bit awkward? If it's not clear enough, with the presence of "however," you're leading the reader to believe that the main part of the sentence is, "His definition of 'power' based on the ability to sit down and enjoy the results of his actions." Notice that that doesn't actually make sense. You'll want to rephrase this sentence, then, to make it make sense and sound slightly less awkward in general.

    He has always been caring about his family and Pokémon, he enjoys his job ever since he was a child, and he is considered to be a righteous, gentle and sympathetic person.
    I would recommend just splitting this up into multiple sentences because right now, it just sounds like a run-on or a list of various things that have nothing to do with one another. (It's like saying, "I'm going to the store to buy eggs, a house, and my husband." You could, but you probably really don't want to.)

    Most other people regard “power” as something they can use to make their own way in the world, no matter who is crushed under their heels, and they won't hesitate to use money, politics or even Pokémon to achieve their goals.
    Be careful about generalization. You don't want to say that most people in general feel that way because it covers your audience and/or characters you've never introduced. Instead, restrict it to Darius' world: rather than say "most other people," say "most other people Darius knew."

    That's why it surprised him so much when he was contacted, three months ago, by a man in black, wearing a cap, at the outside of Celadon Gym, and offered to become part of something...
    I think I'll give you that guide to commas at the end of this review. There's a lot of them here, and in reality, none of them should exist.

    as he hops stairs down

    A man dressing in lab coat
    Dressed in a lab coat. Even if it's present tense, he put on the lab coat in the past and is therefore dressed in it.

    Also, yes, you need the article (the word "a") here to indicate that there's only one.

    he walks the leaf-patterned
    Walks across.

    Overall Review

    As you can probably tell, my first and foremost comment is that your use of language is a pretty big problem here. I can tell English is probably not your first language without even being told anything about you because there are a lot of instances where you mix up word order, use the wrong word, or miss phrases common to someone whose first language is English. If you're not, then sorry about insulting you. If I hit the nail on the head, then I highly, highly recommend you get yourself a beta reader who's both patient and well-versed in the English language (and preferably your native one to understand where your train of thought is going) before you go any further. If you keep up these kinds of oddities in further chapters, it will definitely be difficult to take your work seriously, and in some places, it will actually be difficult to understand what you're trying to say.

    For that matter, do not use fancy words for the sake of sounding like advanced literature. If you use a word you're not familiar with, you're more likely to say something unintentionally amusing, such as the problem An-chan and I have pointed out about the first sentence. Either that, or you will have a very confused reader, as I've pointed out about the use of the word "auricular."

    Furthermore concerning word choice, choose a time period and stick to it. If you're going to start off the fanfiction in past tense, stay in the past tense. Don't just switch to present tense as soon as the scene ends. This is confusing and generally not grammatically correct.

    Also, as for the bit about commas, the comma is a tricky mark of punctuation that's often misused, so no, you're not the first person I've ever handed this guide to. However, OWL at Purdue (.pdf) has a handy guide to commas that lists the eleven basic rules you'll need to know about when to use commas (as well as the four rules of when not to use them) along with examples. Read it and keep it as your Bible because there's a lot of comma oddities throughout the entirety of this work.

    In terms of the actual writing, I felt it was a fairly slow beginning. The description leaned a little towards purple prose – the kind of writing when the adjectives become so flowery that the reader ends up focusing on them instead of the image. (The asparagus moment, for example.) At times, you neglect to describe what's happening but spend a bit more time than necessary on physical details. (For example, you spend a paragraph describing the Rapidash, but you only give a sentence to Darius receiving the recommendation letter.)

    For the latter reason, I feel as if your characters aren't quite as developed. You have Darius, who seeks power but defines it by some almost Buddhist philosophy, who's exceptional and well-loved by his Rapidash, and who seems to charm the people around him (like everyone at the stables). I'm inclined to see him as a Stu because you're essentially putting him on a pedestal above everyone else, leaving basically no characterization for the people around him. In other words, I already feel as if I'm looking at a god instead of a human.

    Of course, this is also the first chapter, so it's difficult to say whether or not he's actually a developed character. It just seems as if you're constantly highlighting his good qualities without giving him a chance to either prove to us that he has them or showing us much in the way of a personality. (As in, you tell us that he's exceptional, but all we've seen him do is walk around, answer a phone, and possibly man-handle a butler. You imply that he's kind through his treatment of his Rapidash, but even then, that's to highlight the fact that he's a great trainer who has gained the trust of his Pokémon.)

    In all, I just feel like you first need to work on your language. Work out the kinks (and get a beta to read over your work and iron out the oddities), and you're already ironing out most of the problem I've found with this installment. After that, work on your characterization. It seems like a lot of this so far is about Darius, so you really need to focus on building him a personality. Give personalities to the people around him, too. It never hurts, and it'll help you keep Darius developed if you keep developed characters (or at least characters with unique personalities) around him.

    Good luck with further installments.
    Professional ninja. May or may not actually be back. Here for the snark and banter at most.

    Need some light reading?
    Anima Ex Machina (Chapter 20 now available)
    The Leaf Green Incident (SWC 2012 winner)
    Braid (Creepypasta apparently)
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