Thread: [Pokémon] Eyes of the Storm [Rated T]
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Old January 3rd, 2013 (2:24 PM).
Cutlerine Cutlerine is offline
Gone. May or may not return.
    Join Date: Mar 2010
    Location: The Misspelled Cyrpt
    Age: 24
    Nature: Impish
    Posts: 1,030
    Ave! Allow me to welcome you to the FF&W forum, since this is your first foray into fanfiction, and express my sincere hopes that you'll enjoy your time here. We of the writing community here are a friendly bunch, as long as you neither get us wet nor feed us after midnight.

    Anyway, pointless jokes aside, it's time to get down to the business of the review. First off, I'd like to talk about the concept, mostly with admiration. I don't claim to be particularly widely-read in terms of fanfiction, but I haven't seen a blind Trainer yet, and I'm looking forward to the opportunities that opens up: the interesting style that that necessitates, the completely different descriptions, the way the entire world is shifted slightly to one side to accommodate an alien viewpoint. However, I have a few reservations about the way that's carried out. As it stands, it almost feels like Ian being blind is a secondary component in the story, because it's as rich in visual description as if it were about a fully sighted character instead. There are parts where this trend is reversed, like this:

    The Pokémon must be seriously injured to have that much blood coating it
    or this:

    Ian’s fingers met with something hard, he trailed his hand down a bit more before realizing what it was he had brushed his hands over. Ian felt a lurch in his stomach; he had just touched the rapidash’s bone.
    and moments like these are actually much stronger than any of the more visually-oriented passages. It's exciting and it's different to see through Ian's eyes, to use a potentially problematic metaphor, and I think the difference between this being a good story - which it undoubtedly is - and a great one would be making greater use of the fantastic resource you've given yourself in a blind protagonist. It'd be wonderful to see it come to the fore a little - for instance, if we didn't already know the Rattata was shiny, it would have a powerful impact on the reader indeed to learn that it was so several chapters later, perhaps, when someone sighted mentions it. 'All that time, and we never knew...' they would think. And suchlike.

    OK, I'm getting a little carried away now, and I don't want to get too preachy, so I'll draw a line under that point and move on to my second overall point, which is a short one but which, knowing myself and my fondness for the sight of my own prose, I'll probably extend into some vast and rambling epic that meanders between legitimate literary criticism and something like Beowulf.

    The first couple of chapters don't really feel like full chapters, to be honest; they're really very short, especially compared to the third, which actually is of a length and consistency that leaves the reader feeling they've actually read a decent-length, partially-self-contained chunk of the story, as a chapter usually is. All right, so some stories have very short chapters, but not usually at the start; at the beginning, I feel it's important to get the ball rolling a bit more than you do. While the first chapter has its own impact for its own reasons (more of that anon), the second chapter feels like it could be merged with the third, to be honest, and not lose anything at all.

    I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say any more. Something about a warning about making your chapters too short for the amount of narrative they contain... yes, that was it. Each chapter should be as long as it takes to tell the part of the story it tells, it's true, but those parts should feel like reasonably substantial chunks of prose - at least at the start of the story, where you're trying to hook the reader so that you may later reel them in and gut them at your pleasure.

    Tl;dr: I'm commenting on your chapters and saying that while initially the story felt a little uncertain, it seems to be finding its feet now and I look forward to it improving still further in future.

    On to specifics! The devil's in the detail, after all (which strikes me as odd, given that another idiom states that God is also in the aforementioned detail; some etymological research is required here on my part, I think), and so onto Chapter One.

    Actually, before I get to Chapter One, I'd like to bring this to your attention:

    Cannon pokemon.
    Cannon Pokémon would be something like Blastoise, I imagine; the kind of canon you mean has only one 'n' in the middle.

    OK, now we're going to Chapter One.

    But you needed a trainer’s license to get a pokemon if you were under age
    The adjective underage is one word.

    He paused just long enough to grab the device hanging by the door, a series of plastic tubes all connected by an elastic band and folded neatly together.
    A brilliant moment, I have to say. There's a delicious sense of 'oh, no way' when he reaches for the cane, so kudos to you for that. It's interesting, unexpected and it sets the mind racing about what's going to come ahead. I would say that the realisation that Ian is blind, though, would be a splendid ending for the chapter, giving it a real punch and setting the reader up to expect great things ahead. As it is, it sits in the middle of the chapter as a strong point, but perhaps not as powerful as it might be. Again, this is just a matter of fine-tuning; it's good whether you move it or not, but it might work better at the end.

    “Did you hear they opened the road in the grassland back up to trainers? The pokerus outbreak has died down enough, should be getting more people around town again now that trainers can travel!’ Maggie said cheerfully, nodding her head, perky brown bun bobbing.
    Perhaps consider breaking that second sentence in Maggie's dialogue in half, replacing the comma with a full stop; it's a bit easier to read that way. Also, Pokérus = awesome, if handled correctly. I like the way you're taking little bits and pieces of the game mechanics and translating them into real-world concerns; it's interesting and looks set to be hugely entertaining. I've got some more to say about that in my notes to Chapter Three, as well, so I'll say no more for now.

    Actually, I'm thinking about the effects of Pokérus right now. A virus that causes vastly accelerated power growth in Pokémon is an interesting idea indeed - kind of like some weird kind of hyperbeneficent cancer. Even if that's not your take on it, I'd be interested to see where you go with it.

    All right, I really must move on. I've been doing this review for well over an hour now and I'm acutely aware that most of it has been spent rambling on about nothing at all. Must... pack in... more content...

    standing calmly on his porch, pack on his back, and calm like the wind before a storm.
    Simple over-repetition here. There are too many instances of the world 'calm' or 'calmly', too close together. There's another a sentence or two before these two, as well.

    On to Chapter Two! (As I write that, an image flashes through my mind: a man on horseback on top of a hill pointing forwards with his sword to lead his army to glory. I fear the cinema of my imagination is getting out of control.)

    it was quite the pity that the only human for miles that would’ve been able to appreciate it was blind.
    It scans better as 'quite a pity' and 'miles who would've', since usually people say 'It's a pity that' and refer to humans as 'who' rather than 'that'. Also, I'd stay away from contractions like 'would've' except in direct speech; they're a little too informal for written prose in most cases, and don't really fit with the rest of your writing style.

    the rapidash caught a few blades of grass on fire
    Either the grass caught on fire or the Rapidash set the grass on fire - but the Rapidash cannot have caught a few blades of grass on fire.

    Luckily it didn’t struggle anymore, whether it was through trust or exhaustion wasn’t clear, but either way Ian was safe for the time being.
    This is a comma splice, the illegal joining together of two complete sentences with a comma - a job that the humble comma, for all its many uses, can't fulfil. You either have to use a semicolon, which can join two related sentences together, or split it into two separate sentences.

    The Pokémon must be seriously injured to have that much blood coating it, perhaps he could help.
    This is another one. I haven't picked out every single one, but there are a few more dotted about here and there. I will try and have another look for them all at some point so I can point them out to you.

    I do have to wonder, incidentally, why the Rapidash ended up where it did. It fled the scene, then fled Ian to run back again - for reasons of convenience to the plot, of course, but I'm not sure if there's any reason beyond that. It's not a major problem, really, but I tend to think too much and so the idea came to mind.

    he abandoned using his cane to chase his way through the grasses.
    Chase is a transitive verb and, as such, requires an object. You can't use it without one, as you are doing here - so either you have to add the Rapidash as the object of the verb here, or exchange chase for another word.

    Also, grass is a mass noun: it's correct here to write that Ian ran through the grass, rather than through the grasses. You would only write grasses if he is running through multiple different types of grass. This mistake was made elsewhere, as well; it's something to be aware of.

    Chapter Three, then, and onto the home straight. If you're still reading, let me congratulate you on your stamina. A lesser writer would have given in by now.

    Ellipses only ever have three full stops in.

    There was a large circle of smoldering grass where the lightning had struck, a few tenacious little streaks of grass still abalaze. Ian had ended up on top of one of the grassland's gentle, sloping, hills, and below him lay a large area where the grass had been flattened and trampled to form a vaguely circular arena bordered by the taller grasses. In it stood several pokemon, clearly separated both by sight and sound into two distinct sides.

    On one side, a grizzled looking raticate crouched with fangs bared, ready to leap into action. Its fur hung off it in ragged patches, exposing various wounds, large in number but rather shallow looking. Around the raticate several electrikes lay in the dust gently moaning, only identifiable to Ian because a few of them happened to moan their name out, as many pokemon did. The smell of burning fur could be attributed to the raticate, as it had apparently barely dodged being hit by the deadly lightning that had scorched the earth around it, and its left side was charred a darkened brown. The rapidash lay behind it, not collapsed on his side like he'd been before, but legs curled under it. The flames along its body were small and weak, but it managed to hold its head up defiantly and glare.
    Very, very visual... I'm just saying. I made this point already, but this is to illustrate it: presented with this chunk of text, there's only one clue to tell us that the protagonist is blind, when there's a lot of interest to be generated (and fun to be had) in describing things a bit more aurally.

    Both raticate and rapidash were known for their uncanny ability to escape battles at a moments notice if they so wished, to the bane of trainers everywhere, so why stand and fight?
    Nice. I like Abilities, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of this sort of expansion on game mechanics in future chapters.

    As improbable as crossbreeding was in the wild, it had been proven in captivity to be possible so-
    1. That should be a long dash instead of a hyphen.
    2. The fact that you're bringing in the bizarre Egg Group system into this is indescribably awesome to me. I can't even explain why. All I can say is that I'm very excited about the possibility of finding out more about this later on.

    Hey, Rattata can learn Flame Wheel by breeding from Rapidash, right? This should be interesting.

    The nest was well hidden, there was no way it could see the rattatas but somehow the manectric’s eyes fell to the grasses.
    Another comma splice.

    The taller grasses had given way to the shorter, hardier grasses
    That grass/grasses confusion is rearing its head again.

    And... that's pretty much it! This is a good story, and I hope that my critique will help you to sharpen up the edges, tighten a few bolts and perform other mechanical metaphors with the end result of making it even better. Good luck with your future efforts, and I wish you all the best.


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