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Old November 26th, 2014 (8:16 PM). Edited November 26th, 2014 by Scarlet Knight.
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Scarlet Knight Scarlet Knight is offline
Respect the Chemistry
     
    Join Date: Oct 2014
    Location: Nueva Jersey
    Age: 23
    Nature: Hasty
    Posts: 25
    Hi! My name Scarlet Knight and I'll be reviewing your story for this month's Reviewing Challenge. I'm gonna read it bit by bit and make comments as I go along, attempting my best to offer constructive criticism and highlight the good parts, with a few reactions here and there. Let's begin!

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    Rated E for Everyone!
    How nice!

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    Through Sapphire Skies: A New Journey


    Episode 1: Welcome Back, Ketchum
    Based on the title, I'm going to guess this is an AdvanceShipping story, but I could be wrong. I tried writing one a while back. But enough about me.

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    May smiled as she tied the red Poke Ball print bandanna crowning her brown hair. Here we go! I've made a name for myself as a coordinator, now to see if I can pull double duty as a trainer. she thought as she gently brushed a wisp of black hair from Max's face. Unlike Ash's messy mop of black hair and Brock's neatly slicked back brown spikes, Max's was neatly combed in a bowl-shaped cut, not unlike a Trainer's School student.

    She next admired the oval shaped emerald sandwiched between two layers of gold ivy inlaywork Brock wore, and the silver ring with a ruby set in a square and surrounded by an elegant diamond inlay that Ash wore. I wonder if those exist in Houen? she wondered.
    This is some good descriptive writing, and impressive vocabulary, but to be honest I'm already getting a bit bored. True, that's partly due to my attention span, but you're opening your entire story with a description of a bunch of characters I don't care about yet (that's right; just because they're canon characters, it doesn't mean I have to care about them; you have to make the reader care) as they're walking seemingly merrily to a town. Perhaps opening with dialogue could amp up the interest level.

    On another note, I thought Max's hair was green? And I'm hoping those unique sets of jewelry you mentioned for Brock and Ash play a role into the story, otherwise I don't see the point in mentioning them.

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    Littleroot didn't look too much different from her last journey
    This sounds funny. I would change it to "didn't look too differently".

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    May looked over and smiled at a boy wearing a white hood with a black Poke Ball design on it. "Oh, Brendan! I didn't see you there!"

    "Brendan, huh? "I'm--!" Ash started.

    "Dad has told me a lot about you, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town." Brendan grinned. "Hard to believe it's been three years since you defeated Team Magma and Team Aqua the first time..."

    "Well, I'm still traveling, and Brock is still learning yarns." Ash assured Brendan. "But two years ago, I started a band for the local battle of the bands--and we named it The Red Masters. A talent scout happened to be there, and the rest is history."

    "I've heard some of your songs, and they sound pretty cool." Brendan smiled. "A lot of critics think you play jazz, but I believe you have a sound all your own."

    "Well, I help Ash with the guitars, sing backup, and help with songwriting." May explained. "So I came to get a new Torchic for my attempt at the League, and ask your dad what to expect."

    "You've seen enough of the Contest Hall and want to try battling for a change...." Brendan mused.
    So it looks like this story is going to be in May's point of view. That's interesting, seeing as I was expecting it to be from Ash's. Making the gang a band is also different. Now, when you introduce Brendan into the scene, things get a little robotic. May runs into a friend she hasn't seen in a long time. Shouldn't they be catching up more? Instead, you're having the characters rush through a bunch of things for the sake of exposition. I get that you want to get this information out of the way, but it needs to come up organically in the conversation, otherwise it's distracting. Maybe you can flesh out this conversation, have Brendan invite them inside, asking the group if they need refreshments (it must have been a long trip).

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    A male scream got everyone's attention. "That sounds like Dad..." Brendan noted.
    Brendan should sound more worried. He comes across as dismissive over his dad being in danger. Also, how did they hear him when he's at Route 101 and they're at Littleroot Town?

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    "I have to do something!" May hurried over to a messenger bag laying in the grass, grabbed a Poke Ball, and heaved it in the direction of the Poochyena closest to the terrified professor.
    So if May has been a Pokemon Coordinator, then where are her Pokemon from then? What happened to her other Torchic? I hope this comes up at some point in your fic. Plausibility is a necessity.

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    Ash's voice singing Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... and Brock's voice singing Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... got her attention.
    Uh, those song titles are...different, haha. So either you're of Asian descent or you're really knowledgeable in their culture, which is pretty cool. Either way, you don't have to name specific songs, haha. And why would they sing two different songs at the same time? Also, I've noticed you're really into using ellipses (...) and they make for great dramatic and/or humorous effect, but overusing them diminishes their value.

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    "She looks like an old pro!" Max grinned as the Torchic fired another Ember, making the Poochyena faint. The other Poochyenas fled in panic, not wanting to engage two Mega Evolutions.
    Okay, so those rings and songs are related to Mega Evolution. Sadly, I'm not too familiar with Gen 6 so maybe it's not best to assume all of your readers know about Megas, meaning you'd have to explain it. I would definitely explain that Sceptile and Swampert are Mega evolving in this scene because I didn't get that until they reverted.

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    May motioned to Ash. "We need to have some kind of signal in case I need you guys' help..."
    "you" should be "your". Also, why won't a simple "help" suffice? Why does it have to be a foreign language?
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    "So which sounds nicer, May? Ayudarme, or Aiutare?
    I actually know a good deal of Spanish and the correct phrasing is "Ayuda me!"

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    I like Aiutare. May replied. "I doubt any bad guys around here know Italian!"
    But a so-called "bad guy" wouldn't be okay with their hostages yelling anything for the worry of being found by a threat. And why does May think a bad guy would attack her? Have they attacked her in the past? What would be the purpose of attacking her?

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    May nodded. "So if we come up against bed guys, you can help, but in the arena, no go--got it!"
    "bed" should be "bad".

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    "Way over in the Kalos region, there's a place known as the Tower of Mastery." Brock explained. "If you prove yourself, you earn a Mega Ring and awaken a special melody known as a Heart Song. Some trainers never choose to sing this song, but among those that do, no two trainers sing the same song. The only exceptions are if a Mega Ring is passed down or given away by its owner."
    Well I'm glad you explained this, and I'll accept it for now. But, as with other exposition in this chapter, you can flesh it out more. Tell readers about this trip, what it meant to these characters, how they learned about it, etc. Make us care about these interesting devices you've inserted into your story that seem to matter.

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    "Okay." May replied before the glint of joy in the Torchic's eyes gave her an idea.
    "Okay" should end with a comma, not a period.

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    "I can play that song on guitar." Brock grinned. "But it's a bit late for a sing along..."
    I was convinced this was all in the afternoon. If you're gonna specify the time, you should do it throughout the chapter.

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    "I'll go tell Mom you guys are coming!" With that, Brendan rushed out, just as the sun started to sink below the trees....
    It's the first chapter, so I was hoping it would have a more interesting conclusion.

    Overall, it definitely wasn't a bad read, and you certainly have a good sense of vocabulary. But I think the pros end there. The first chapter of anything should successfully introduce key characters and give them traits that make them memorable. Introductions are hard and rarely perfectly written, so I'm not too worried about the content at this point. But they only sense of conflict was Prof. Birch being harassed by a gang of Poochyena, and that was quickly absolved without any sense of reward. I think the best way to improve this chapter would be to add more backstory to the characters so that we can care about them. And give readers a better sense of where this story is headed. If there's gonna be bad guys in this fic, then drop hints of who and why. I can see some potential in this fic, but you're gonna have to keep it creative and meaningful.

    All the best,
    Scarlet Knight~
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