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Old February 20th, 2012 (9:07 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
    Ah, more Pokémon zombie apocalypse. I've never been able to write a serious zombie apocalypse story; they always descend into madness after a while. I think perhaps the genre doesn't like me.

    Uh, where was I? OK. The review.

    This chapter isn't nearly as awkward as the first or the prologue, which I won't cover since bobandbill and I have already reviewed those between us. There's still a bit of it, but I've already made my point and I can see that there's been some improvement, so I won't repeat myself about it.

    Probably the only example of clumsiness that really stood out to me was this one:

    Her thick white coat is covered in shades of red and brown, while her deep blue ski pants are filled with enough holes to see another layer of clothing underneath.
    It's too much, too fast. When describing, bear two things in mind:

    1. Does the reader really need to know, or indeed care about knowing, every last detail of what you're describing?
    2. Avoid ramming all the details of the description into one sentence.

    Here, I think you've fallen foul of both of these. I don't really need to know that her coat is thick and white, or that she's wearing deep blue ski pants. The important bit is the 'covered in shades of red and brown' (a very oddly-worded phrase, by the way) and the 'holes' bit. Focus on that, cut down the unnecessary description, and if you really must tell us what colour Emily's clothes are, do so more slowly. We don't need to know all at once like that. Even just splitting this sentence in half and rephrasing each part slightly would make a massive difference.

    I just realised that I said I wouldn't go on about it and then did; there's glory for you, I suppose. Here's a couple of minor typos and suchlike:

    When the hoard attacked the lab
    You mean 'horde'. A hoard is very, very different.

    Her paw goes straight to mouth
    I think you're missing a 'my' here, between 'to' and 'mouth'.

    The dying grasses crunch under my feet
    You mean 'grass'. 'Grasses' would refer to multiple types of grass, since 'grass' itself is a mass noun. It's like saying 'wines' rather than 'wine'; you wouldn't say, 'He had a lot of wines in his cellar', you'd say, 'He had a lot of wine in his cellar'.

    Another thing, why is the grass dying when the other plants are doing so well? I quote:

    Now the intrusion of plants from the forest has shrunk it down to a small trail just a few meters across.
    They're obviously doing fine; why isn't the grass? Aside from anything else, grass is a pretty damn tough plant. The grass family is the most successful group of plants on the planet; they're (almost literally) everywhere. Besides, this is Sinnoh. I assume the grass that grows here can take the cold, since Sinnoh is a northerly sort of region. Actually, even regular grass can survive being buried under snow for a pretty long time, so I'd be very, very surprised if Sinnish grass couldn't.

    That's a very minor thing, but I thought about it way too much. I'm about to do the same thing again with regard to the 'holed up in the lab' plan.

    Why would anyone hole up in a building during a zombie apocalypse? Food isn't limitless, and neither is the supply of water; four years into an apocalypse, I assume the mains supply has cut out. You could live off tinned food and bottled drinks for a while, especially if you were in a supermarket - but in a laboratory? You'd barely be able to make it through a month, even if you were lucky.

    In addition to this, the dead won't die. Holing up somewhere would just bring the zombies to you, and they'd keep coming until you were dead. It's not like you could hide in a house and expect them to go away; they're mindless and therefore ridiculously persistent. Overall, then, the best policy in a mass revival/release of a zombie virus sort of scenario would be to keep moving, avoiding all towns (where the highest concentration of the dead will be; I imagine the countryside is far safer even than a smallish town like Sandgem) and gathering food and supplies from farms, trees and wild animals.

    I'm rambling now, so I ought to stop, but my point stands. How have they survived for four years in a laboratory? Unless you can come up with a plausible explanation, I'm forced to say it doesn't make that much sense to me.

    Huh. You can tell I've spent way too long thinking about this sort of thing, can't you? Anyway, I have one final thing to point out: you ended weakly again.

    Scout catches the Starly and holds her to the ground, awaiting my order.
    It doesn't feel like a chapter end. If you'd ended on the death blow itself, that would have been an excellent ending: it's a strong, powerful event, and there's a finality about killing someone that would have given the chapter a sense of being over. But ending on Scout catching the Starly... I don't know. I think it might've been better if you'd started the next chapter with that instead of mentioning it here.

    On an entirely different note:

    A long, brilliantly silver crowbar
    I hope this is the reference I think it is. Since you're bashing zombies with a crowbar, it must be, but life has taught me to be wary of assuming that people are referencing things.

    This isn't a bad story. It's a good read, and I like the whole wrecked, post-apocalyptic Sinnoh vibe you're building here. I haven't learned too much about Jay and Leo yet, so I'll withhold my opinions on them for now, but I'm pretty sure they're going to be fairly solid characters. Keep up the good work, and I'll be back in time to review future chapters.


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