Bare Bones: A Trainer's Story
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February 27th, 2012 (8:26 PM).
Hello, Milk. I drank milk today. Actually, my brother was doing his homework on the dining table, because he's afraid of the dark, and he had a glass of milk, which I stole. It was kind of appetizing and filling, except he gave me a nice glare and a solid smack to my arm. All in all, it was worth it.
You have a catchy title and I really like where you got it from. Cubones are an interesting species. Their skulls always remind me of old Westerns, because usually cow skulls are half covered in sand in the desert just outside of a town. And... yeah you get the point.
Ah, legacy. There's always the question of legacy in trainers. It's like Dawn, ya know? She had to live up to her mother's expectations, which weren't very high at all. Her mother wanted her to have fun, so yeah. But it's still an interesting concept I think more writers should focus on. Trainers, battles, destiny, they always seem to be the only thing people really write about, so I'm glad to see this. He's a bit late to be a trainer, but who cares. I know this one writer who wrote an essay about why trainers shouldn't be so old, and at first I was a bit shocked. Then I decided it didn't really matter because it's fiction and it's backed by reason, not some silly non-sensical rambling about how older trainers would have the advantage and probably rape each other. The problem with the legacy though, in this story, is that you end up listing a lot. It does serve a good purpose in the prose at parts, but a few times it's just a bit unnecessary. I don't know, I'm probably being picky right now, but I don't like reading lists. It's awesome if you can get it to prove a point or something, but I guess Marcus and the pressure with watchful eyes on him as he journeys is enough to really set the tone.
Okay, onto some more specific things. There are some bits of fine description, and that kind of works. Your style compliments it, with some repetition here, nice little thingy here, yada yada. I did have a problem with the Poke Ball description. Listen, this is the world of Pokemon fanfiction. Everyone reading this will already know what a Poke Ball is and what one looks like. It really kills the flow when you start a pretty lengthy paragraph about a stupid ball. This is amplified when you start using every single word in the thesaurus so that you don't use Poke Ball, such as object, device, sphere, etc. The point of describing an object is actually to see how the characters view it. Think like this. From a Pokemon's view, a Poke Ball is their doom. They get taken away and are forced to fight other Pokemon, and they don't even benefit. On the other hand, there's Marcus. The world is at his fingertips, and the only thing is he has to take the first step in the woods. He has to do it. The Poke Ball is that key that sets him free. He is trapped in a block and that ball is the very thing that lets him loose and wild into the world. That's how you want to describe something in this case. Marcus has that excitement. "He had excitement" is a very weak description for such a big event. The Poke Ball is but a medium to describe the emotions Marcus feels, so describe it that way, not with your fancy pansy science junk. Save that for labs and experiments.
Now legacy and motivation. You have that legacy background in there, and that's interesting and all, but Marcus going on a journey is a bit farfetched. He first went to school to pursue a more tangible career, right? I mean, what made him go? Did some guys stick a knife to his throat and threaten him because they wanted to gamble on him winning? Or did Marcus' brothers die in a horrible train crash and after he attended their funeral, did he take a Poke Ball and packed his bag to honor their memory? See, Marcus's character is driven by his motivation and his personality. So far, there isn't much motivation other than Marcus has an awesome family. A glimpse into his normal life would be fantastic, and even better would be to include his call to adventure. Otherwise, it feels like there's something missing. I mean, the question will always remain, "what made him go?" Remember, motivation gives depth and depth is something you want. Characters with depth are dynamic and awesome, and you want readers to sympathize, identify, hate, whatever with your characters.
Alrighty, now for the action sequences. I'll even nitpick at the way Marcus walks and thinks! All in one little paragraph. Yeah, I'm kidding. It won't be one little paragraph. You got me there, Milk. So now you have Marcus walking out of Pallet to pursue some dream of his, or to live up to expectations. Whatever it is, he's curious and excited. He wants to compare himself to his brothers because that's what people do. You know, you compare height with other people. If everyone you knew was about 4ft tall, and you were 5ft, you'd think you were the tallest ever. You only know if you can compare it with something, otherwise you're lost. So that was a nice bit, but I feel like the prose failed as soon as you didn't start to explicate on his feelings. It's a big day. A really big day. He's throwing out his Pokemon, he's looking for some Pokemon, he's smiling, and he's walking. He's doing a lot and you compressed that all into a single paragraph. One teensy paragraph. The problem is you don't give enough word space to important events. See, word space gives readers a red flag. The paragraph sticks out like a sore thumb, "Hi! I'm an important part of this story so please read this or go away!" Dedicate word space. Take the time to add in some filler sentences, trust me those are so underrated. Fillers give a bit of time to set the pacing and let the sentences flow together into a nice liquid we call a story. You want to brew a perfect story, so you need the right time for brewing.
Let's take a look at how Marcus searches for some crappy Route 1 Pokemon. Yeah, they don't get love from me. I never use them except to fill up my PokeDex. Whatcha gonna do about it? I feel like there's something missing. What is that? Oh right, a setting. Sometimes you don't need a setting. At times, a setting is just a random place. A conversation can happen anywhere, whether it be at a coffee shop, a grocery store, a park, or even a morgue. Some settings can be anywhere, because it doesn't matter in terms of the plot. In this case, however, it is important. Not only is it a canon location, but it is also Marcus's first step into the real world of Pokemon. First impressions are a big deal. You judge things based on your first experiences, which are usually the whole experience. If the sun started shining and the birds started chirping, I think Marcus would believe his journey would be blessed and he'd skip down that dirt road through the meadows, glancing over at the trees in the distance to watch the Pidgey fly off in their flocks. A first catch is a big deal too. Describe it. Show how ordinary this Pidgey looked, or maybe how fat it was. Sure, he didn't catch it, but the same applies to the Rattata. It might have been scrawny. It might have a chipped tooth. Its eye could be missing. The possibilites are endless, so choose a door and walk through it and write down that experience. The readers want to know, trust me. You know how I know that? Because I want to know. Characters are judged based on their interactions with different situations. If Marcus was disgusted at how the Rattata was beat up, we could tell he's a snobby punk. If Marcus picked it up and caressed it and practically breast-fed it (ew...), then we can tell Marcus is just a freaking miracle worker.
Personally, I think PokeDex entries are really annoying and they seriously grind my gears. Yeah, grind my gears. Just like a clock. Readers would know what a Cubone is, if not they can look it up or something, and yeah. Keep it short and sweet. What's more important is its impression of Marcus. Something really odd about how it was introduced was that Marcus wasn't disgruntled, at least to it. He didn't try to warm up to it. When you room with someone, don't you want to introduce yourself? You want to get to know the person you're sharing a room with. The same goes here. That Cubone is probably stuck with Marcus for a long time, so he better start warming up to it. Cubone could look away nervously as Marcus leans down and puts out a hand to shake. It's also a good way to keep track of how well he puts up with Pokemon and the progression he has as a trainer. You did portray Cubone hitting him, but again, the description was a bit lacking. The trainer would think what a despicable Pokemon, and he would decide to head home and dump the Pokemon. This kind of repeats the other point, pace the action so that readers know it's important.
Originally Posted by
Everything seemed to catch up with him as he watched the red light take a solid form, the figure was barely a foot tall, in
hands it was clutching something, something that looked like a bone.
The bolded should be changed to "its", because the form you're using is the conjunction form of "it is". The one "its", which is the correct form, shows possession. Other than this, I don't think there are many other grammar/spelling mistakes so you're good so far in that department. You actually used the correct form later on, so my suggestion would be to proofread. If you did, do it again. Do it three times.
Okay, so that about concludes my review. I'm thirsty, I really could go for a glass of milk. Anyway, you're writing is all right, it just needs a bit of work. You know, describing things without being so scientific, and that's just the term I use. There are some wording things, like how lengthy actions should be and paragraphs, and this is for readers to know how important things are. So yeah, it's mainly a bit of prose. Oh yeah before I forget, your paragraphs seem to have one too many lines in between them. Space them out like mine, yours have two lines in between. It irks me when people space too much, and when they don't space at all. It has to be just right, but formatting is really simple. I'll keep on following this so continue writing and this will turn out to be a fine story, I'm sure of it!
Joined May 2011
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