[SWC] Big Family Trouble
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October 8th, 2012 (3:03 PM).
It's "I Come Anon"
As promised, here are my quick thoughts on your entry:
There's a pretty fundamental issue that prevented your entry from getting a higher score, which is that the scope of your story is way bigger than it should be for a short story, much less a particularly short one. Big warning flags for this include sentences like "I battled gym leader, after gym leader..." Flying through events mid-paragraph like this really throw the reader for a loop, and it prevents them from getting sucked in. It reads more like a heavy abridgment than a proper story. Ending a short story with "to be continued" is also a big no-no. As it said in the rules, we were looking for completed one-shots, not chapters.
Aside from how abridged the whole thing is, there's also a matter of the exposition being too dense. The opening paragraph in particular contains a lot of information, most of which it would be much better to reveal gradually, if at all. The old axiom is "show, don't tell." For example, the main character tells us out of the blue that he and the gym leader are siblings, when it would be much more effective to have the knowledge revealed to the reader through events that are fully depicted in the narrative, such as a heartfelt conversation, or a letter found in a desk or something.
For the matter of relevance, while your story is certainly about a secret or two involving Zekrom and Eric's dad, it doesn't make much of an impact on the reader due to the things I've already discussed. It's introduced too abruptly, and nothing really gets done with it from there. There's no space for the reader to be intrigued by the secret because it all comes too much, too fast, and in too little detail.
My advice going forward is mainly for you to slow down with the pace of the story and the story-writing process. I understand that for the contest you were pressed for time, but this is still important. You want the narration to be less distanced from what is happening in the story: take things one event at a time, narrate them in full, and always keep in mind the logical progression between events. Also important is to proofread, especially to do so out loud and after taking a break following initial writing.
Those are my thoughts. Thank you for entering the contest, and I hope to see you participate next year. And remember, practice makes perfect, so keep writing!
P.S. There should be a new paragraph for each line of dialogue, and on forums you want paragraphs to be separated by a blank line for readability.
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Strange person who calls me strange names
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