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Old November 13th, 2011 (1:00 AM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
Gone. May or may not return.
    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
    Age: 23
    Nature: Impish
    Posts: 1,030
    This is very interesting, actually. I have to admit, it didn't seem that way at the start, but once the outer narrative peeled away like so much orange skin and revealed the actual story itself, it very quickly became engaging. There was a nice calm beginning - in fact, it was almost too saccharine for my taste - and then, very abruptly and with no reason, you hit the reader over the head with the slaughter of Boreas' entire family. Narratively speaking, that's great, though of course it's a terrible tragedy (more so than you make it out to be, though I think I'll come back to that).

    There are, however, ways in which I think the story could be improved. First off, there's just a boring formatting thing: the text is tiny. I don't have a problem with that on a page, but on a computer screen it's really quite tiring for the eyes after a while.

    Secondly, battles. It may be your intention to play them down - the story certainly doesn't seem to be battle-focused at all - but they are, to put it bluntly, on the dull side of bland. The battle against the Plasma grunts, for instance:

    The male Purrloin rapidly charged Boreas, who tried to dodge, but the Purrloin was too fast and he received a painful scratch in his side. Boreas countered by Tackling the Purrloin, then was joined by Puppy who Tackled the Purrloin too.
    The Purrloin tried his best not to be surrounded by the two canines and to play them out against each other, but Boreas made sure to constantly outmanoeuvre him. The Purrloin just didn't stand a chance against two enemies, and quickly lost. The pokémon Octa and Oshy were battling also lost quickly.
    It reads more like a summary of a battle than an actual battle, and even if, as it seems to be, the story is more about Boreas' experiences than about battling, it's too short and too vague, and ends up leaving the reader feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Even given the limited number of attacks the Pokémon currently have, it would be nice to see some more specifics. Also, given the amount of characterisation you give each Pokémon, it seems odd that a lone Purrloin would attack a Lillipup and an Eevee without question. I mean, it's outnumbered, isn't it?

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that it feels like the personalities you work hard to build up on your characters fall away when they go into battle, and they become mindless fighting machines again. The only battle where this didn't happen, and consequently the most interesting one, was against that annoying Youngster-type, whose irksome words outlast his name in my memory. Boreas' personality didn't entirely disappear then, which I quite liked; there was some interaction between his mind and the battle, rather than it just being a series of actions.

    Oh yeah, and there was one specific bit that irritated me a bit:

    “So if 'tis like thee, my dear fellow, that that I shall be predilected to employ vocabulary with sesquipedalian loquaciousness, notwithstanding the availability of more comprehensible diminutive alternatives, I shall signify myself to possess all of these qualities? Or shall it just be anaspeptic, prasmotic, or even compunctuous of me to cause others extreme periconbobulations when they cannot comprehend me?”
    If Boreas has lived all his life in a burrow in the middle of a forest, I sincerely doubt he'd even have known any of those words existed, let alone what they meant. I get the joke, but it's kind of spoiled by the fact that it's impossible for him to make it.

    I really can't put it off any longer now, so I suppose I'll get right to it; 'it', in this case, being Boreas' late family. The issue is simply that he gets over them too fast. You haven't mentioned it specifically, but it seems to me that Boreas is fairly young - or at least, he is at the time of the main story. Someone of his age - or indeed, anyone with a heart in their chest and blood in their veins - shouldn't get over the wholesale butchery of their family that quickly. There were a couple of references to it at the beginning, but then it seemed to trail off, and stopped being mentioned at all. I loved it as an opening, don't get me wrong - but I really think it ought to have cast more of a shadow over future events.

    Having said all that and started to feel vaguely guilty about doing so, I would like to point out that I do like the story in general, and Octa in particular. Also, when I read the words 'Nurse Despair' it was all I could do to stop myself from shouting them really loudly in a samurai voice, because it seemed the right thing to do. I'm not sure if that warrants a mention here, but it was a positive reaction (I think), so I've included it anyway.

    Anyway, whatever directions you go in next with this story, I shall be waiting... and watching. Always watching.


    For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
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