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Old February 27th, 2012 (6:59 PM).
Join Date: May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 21
Hey guys, I'm Milk, I decided after I took a nap today that I wanted to sit down and write this. So tell me what you think, I'm pretty sure I'm going to continue it and talk about Marcus' travels throughout Kanto and see how that goes. Opinions are always nice! Welp, here goes.

Bare Bones: A Trainer's Story

The wind was rushing him, whipping his brown hair around, his jacket was even being pushed back with the force of it all. But he didn't move, he just stood there, staring at the object in his hand. His hand gripped around it tighter than it was before as he examined every part of the sphere in his fingers. Today was the day wasn't it? He knew that this would be happening, the excitement had been building up for weeks and weeks and finally, Marcus stood with the device in his fingers.

And then he took his first step, the dirt being pushed further into the ground under his weight and he smiled. Marcus was a trainer, at eighteen years old he would set out on his journey to be the best in the Kanto Region and he would succeed, there was no way around that was there? He was the runt of the litter, five older brothers, each one had conquered Kanto and moved on to Johto, Hoenn, Unova, or Sinnoh, the names of the Thompson boys were known far and wide. But everyone thought that six years ago, when Gabriel left, that the Thompson's were finished. After all, the youngest one didn't want to leave home right away, instead he opted to stay and go to school, to pursue a realistic dream, people said that the drive to be a trainer wasn't there.

But now, Marcus finally took up the mantle of the Thompson children and was on his way. So he walked, and walked, and walked, finally leaving the town of Pallet and beginning his whole adventure. Then he saw it, the first wild Pokemon, a Pidgey, and Marcus gripped the ball in his hand even tighter. With one exaggerated motion of his arm he threw the Pokeball into the air and watched as the red light released a Pokemon. Time seemed to slow as Marcus thought if this was how his brother's felt the first time they saw their own Pokemon break free from their homes. Justin and Eevee, Damien and Vulpix, Lucas and Psyduck, Adrian and Abra, even Gabriel and Dratini.

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 it's hands it was clutching something, something that looked like a bone. And it's head, it wore a skull, Marcus quickly pulled out his PokeDex and scanned the creature: Cubone, the lonely Pokemon, it pines for the mother it will never see again. Seeing a likeness of its mother in the full moon, it cries. The stains on the skull the Pokémon wears are made by the tears it sheds. Marcus quickly switched over to what attacks the creature knows and let a swear escape his lips from under his breath.

He looked back to the Pokemon and saw that the Pidgey had fled but there was a Rattata close by. Marcus decided to look down at his Cubone and saw it looking up at him. It knew no real attacks, but no one said that improvisation was a completely useless tool to have. Marcus quietly moved closer to the Cubone and knelt down beside it, “Cubone, I want you to sneak up on that Rat and smack it over the head with your bone, if it comes to attack you, lower your head and charge it, got that?”

The answer that he was given from the Pokemon wasn't what he expected though, instead of following orders the Cubone lifted its club and gave Marcus a nice smack to the head. The boy reached up and grabbed where he was hit and stared at the Pokemon who then raised the weapon back once more. This time though, Marcus reached his hand out and caught the bone in his hand and stared at the creature. “Listen, I know you have no idea who I am, but I'm your trainer, from here on out we'll be a team and we're going to take the region by storm and show everyone that we're the best team out there. So, it's going to be a whole lot easier if you listen to me.” Marcus said in a hushed voice, hoping not to bother their target.

Finally the Pokemon turned around and started to drag it's bone with it as it moved towards the Rat pokemon. It lifted the weapon up and Marcus was sure that the battle would be over with Cubone's attack but to his dismay, the creature shouted its name before bringing down the bone. The Rat had better movements and quickly dodged the attack before coming in to tackle the Bone Pokemon. It was then that Cubone lowered its head and rushed forward, putting the weight of its body into its attack and even letting the force of the rat multiply the damage and when the instant was over, Rattata lay unconscious at the feet of his partner. Well, it worked out...kind of.
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Old February 27th, 2012 (8:26 PM).
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Age: 20
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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 makemymilk45 View Post
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 it's 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!
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Old February 27th, 2012 (9:22 PM).
Join Date: May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 21
Thank you for the criticisms Psyanic, I hope that this chapter was better, I was focusing on his motivations to become a trainer. The next chapter is already about halfway done since I thought the end paragraph was a good cutting point. To everyone reading this, I hope you stick with me through to the end of this fic and I hope you're enjoying reading this.

Chapter Two

The boy was knelt down, his hands wrapped in the purple fur of the rat that Cubone had just battled. His eyes were shifting back and forth, examining everything about the Pokemon, he had seen them before but he had never been this close and it interested him. Why was this something that people were interested in catching? He knew that school children liked them for whatever reason, but why? They weren't Dragons, they were just...rats. They had no special characteristics except for an oversized set of teeth that were just proven useless against Cubone's skull.

Marcus stood up and looked to his Cubone, lifting his hand to rub the spot where he was smacked in the head. It was sore, but that was to be expected, but what he didn't expect was that it happened in the first place. Why did the Pokemon attack him? Did his brothers have this issue or was Marcus just a dead beat trainer in the first place and Cubone sensed it? The boy ran his hand through his hair and just pulled out the Pokeball and looked down at the Cubone. “Alright, time to get in here.” He said before opening it and in an instant, Cubone was recalled into it. Marcus attached it to his belt and looked around, why did he decide that this was what he wanted in the first place?

He began to walk, feeling the tall grass rub against his knees through the holes that were in his jeans. He saw Pidgeys flying above him and he even saw a few more Rattata throughout the day but he didn't decide to battle any of them. He just kept thinking about whether or not he was really meant to be a trainer. Flashes of the past kept appearing his mind, from seeing his brothers leave with their starters to watching their battles on TV. But they all kept coming back to the days after the battles, when he went to the school and was asked an endless stream of questions. Why wasn't he a trainer? Where his brothers prodigies? What secrets did they have? Did they have any secret Pokemon no one knew about? After every battle these questions were asked to him. Sometimes there would be a slight variation, there'd be a few odd ball questions here and there too but all in all, it always worked its way back to why Marcus wasn't a trainer.

He never really could answer that question though, why wasn't he a trainer? It was in his blood wasn't it? Five of the six Thompson children were famous trainers but the sixth never responded to the call to become a trainer. But then one day, he was out looking for a job in Viridian City and he saw it all. The children who were walking around with Pokemon next to them, Charmanders, Squirtles, Bulbasaurs, Rattatas, Drowzees, all of the ones you can think of. They were battling and having fun and for some reason, even though he'd seen it many times before, Marcus wanted that. He wanted a partner that would listen to him, to trust him through thick and thin, he wanted to become a Pokemon Trainer.

That night he ended up talking to his brother Adrian about it on the phone and was given a lecture that he was older than the average trainer. He may be seen as a joke and people wouldn't take him seriously, he didn't have the childhood innocence some people thought was necessary to raise a proper team, and he would have wasted all the time that he was in school. Adrian went on and on about how Marcus should just stick to the world of nine to five jobs and leave training to his brothers but Marcus kept pleading with his brother. Eventually the two came to a deal, if Marcus wanted to be a trainer then he would have to do it the way that the Thompson boys did it. Each of them had been given a hand me down Pokemon, from their father or the brother who was closest in age. Marcus would have to call Gabriel and ask for a hand me down and then raise it to become a true trainer.

That night Marcus tried to call Gabriel at least a dozen times, he left voice mails, sent text messages, but each time he got no answer. This process was repeated day after day after day, for weeks. But then, this morning, his mother had woken him up and handed Marcus the Pokeball and told him to be safe. That was the only thing that his mother told him that morning before shipping him out of the house and onto this journey. But would Marcus really be able to do it?
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Old February 27th, 2012 (9:59 PM).
Join Date: May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 21
(Here's Chapter Three, I hope you guys enjoy it. Also, the criticism is heavily encouraged, anything I can do to make this better would be widely appreciated and I'd do my best to make the story even better for everyone.)

Chapter Three

Back in the present, the boy eventually Viridian City around nightfall, the lights of the homes around him were lighting up the path as he went to find the PokeCenter, he walked in and looked around at all of the trainers who were trying to talk to one another, about strategy, where to find certain Pokemon, and he even heard a few challenges. After awhile he was given a room and when he got in he grabbed his Pokeball off of his belt and let Cubone out. The foot tall Pokemon walked around and Marcus just watched it for a few minutes. Eventually he actually began to speak, “I don't know why you won't listen to me. I'm your trainer aren't I? You should be required to listen to me.” He said with annoyance filling his voice.

After looking at the Cubone for awhile longer he realized that he wasn't going to get any form of response so he laid down in the bed and went to sleep. Later in the night though, he woke up to hear something, it was like someone was tapping on glass. Marcus rubbed his eyes and looked at the window only to see a boy with a sly smirk on his lips and a head full of blonde hair. The blonde pointed down to the ground and then disappeared from the window. Marcus sighed and put Cubone in its Pokeball and walked outside to see the blonde boy standing next to a Fearow.

Hey Marcus, I see you've been given a Pokemon from Gabriel, how about I test you out?” The blonde spoke, his voice full of confidence and Marcus just stared at him, examining him. He smiling, his hair was now underneath of a baseball cap and his right hand was over a Pokeball on his belt.

Hey Damien...” Marcus was cut off by a Pokeball flying through the air. Quickly Damien's pokeball snapped open and a pile of pink goo appeared on the ground, it wasn't something that Marcus was thinking he'd see from Damien. A Ditto was on the ground in front of him and Marcus tilted his head before looking to his brother.

Come on now, if you're a trainer let's battle.” His brother shouted to him before Marcus sent out his Cubone and watched as the pink Pokemon changed into an exact replica of his Cubone.

Before Marcus had the chance to send out a set of commands his Cubone moved from his side and started to lift up the bone that it held. It rushed forward, gripping the large bone like a baseball bat and taking a swing at the copy. The copy responded in almost no time at all and lifted up its bone weapon and blocked the attack before breaking away and hitting his Cubone in the side with a large hit. Marcus was about to yell out a set of orders but once again, Cubone was already moving in to attack once again.

You know, you may actually win if your Pokemon had faith in you little brother. But instead it's fighting like a wild.” He heard his brother shout again before a stream of red light engulfed one of the Cubones and it was sucked back into a Pokeball in Damien's hand. Marcus just looked to Cubone, anger filling his body at his complete lack of control over it, but more so he was upset that his brother had seen how useless his dream of becoming a trainer would be.

Damien walked over to Marcus and put his hand on the boy's shoulder but Marcus quickly reached up and hit his hand away. He recalled Cubone to its Pokeball and walked towards the door to the PokeCenter. He didn't say a single word as he walked through the center and finally found the room that he was lodged in. Instead he let the Cubone out and just rolled over and went to sleep.

In his dreams he saw himself standing on a stage with thousands of people surrounding him in the stands, cameras were surrounding him and across from him stood Gabriel. This time, he sent out the Ditto and Marcus responded with a Scyther and the battle began. Gabriel took the lead early on but Marcus' orders were helping the Scyther make a comeback, but as Scyther was about to land a finishing blow, it changed. It shrunk down to a foot tall creature with a skull on its head and the Ditto quickly ended the battle with its bladed arms. Marcus heard his name getting booed all around and he woke up to look around the room.

Cubone was awake and swinging its bone around and looked up at Marcus for a brief second before looking away and returning to its practice. Marcus tilted his head as he watched the Pokemon move, why was it taking these swings, practicing for a battle of some sort when it didn't seem to want to listen to Marcus when battle time came. He just waited for awhile before he went to the restroom and came back minutes later. Cubone was nowhere to be found but its bone club was on the ground next to something else, the skull it wore on its head.

Marcus walked over and picked both of the skeleton pieces up and examined them, there were multiple chips out of the skull, the nose was even missing a decent sized chunk out of it. It had many stains, either from dirt or some other substance and the boy felt that Cubone had been in many fights before this. When he looked at the bone club he saw that there were numerous scratches and pieces missing out of the weapon. This just further backed up his theory and he put the weapons down before leaving the room to look for the Cubone.

While he was walking down the hall he heard trainer's talking about how they saw the Gym Leader the night before battling someone. A few people glanced at him as he stopped and listened to the conversation, they were talking about how the Leader was using a Ditto that was fighting a Cubone and the challenger couldn't even call out a decent chain of commands. Marcus felt his fists tighten as he overheard the story again and again as he walked through the Center looking for Cubone. Eventually he just returned to his room and saw the Pokemon taking practice swings in the center of the room again.

Marcus sat on the bed and looked at the Pokemon, just watching for about a half an hour before he finally spoke. “My name is Marcus, last night you fought against one of my brothers and his Pokemon.” Marcus watched as Cubone continued to ignore him but he began to speak again, “I want to beat him. All of them actually, they each have risen to become famed trainers, the one from last night is the Gym Leader here actually. And I think that one day I'll become strong enough to face him. But, I don't think that I can do that without your help, you've been in many more battles than I have and I know that, but I know about other trainer's and a fairly good idea of how this whole thing works. It's going to be a learning experience for us both and I'm not going to ask you to like it but I think we should work together in order to make both of us end up better in the end.

Marcus finished speaking and he looked to Cubone and saw that it was just standing in the middle of the room staring at him. The boy smiled as he put his hand out, “First things first, lets start training up and work our way to being able to take on the Gym in Pewter, maybe even add a few others to our team.” He said as he waited to see how Cubone would react. The Pokemon ended up walking forward and put both hands on the bone in its hands but instead of using it to hit the boy, it tapped the bone against Marcus' knuckles and walked away, continuing its training.

Maybe this could work out, or at least, maybe he could get Cubone to cooperate.
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Old February 28th, 2012 (11:07 AM).
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Ah, a hopeless underdog Trainer seeking to beat his personal rivals, all of whom are infinitely better than him. This could be interesting.

I'll begin, as I'm wont to do, by stating the major points that need work in the story and work down to the minor ones. Firstly, I have an issue with the structure. The chapters are so short that they don't really feel like chapters, and although plenty of significant things happen in them, you don't dedicate enough space to each point for it to hit home effectively. For instance, that battle with the Rattata? It's his first battle. It should be treated as such - as something worthy of at least a little more than the cursory description it got.

Chapter Two, where Marcus muses on why he's become a Trainer, is also something of a structural anomaly. Why is it placed where it is? It's strange that we have him and his Cubone fighting in the first chapter, acting as if you expect the reader to have a full grasp of the situation, when in fact there's been no set-up at all. For the full effect, we'd want there to be a sense of anticipation - and yet the part that would have helped build it is to be found in Chapter Two, after the fight. It just seems oddly laid-out to me.

Secondly, and perhaps because of the first thing, the chapters don't end strongly. I mean, you obviously have an instinctive sense of where to end a chapter - you end them on the right sort of event and tone - but the endings themselves aren't that well-expressed. A chapter ending ought to have more of a sense of finality to it, as well as a forward look to the next one. Let's take an example.

The Pokemon ended up walking forward and put both hands on the bone in its hands but instead of using it to hit the boy, it tapped the bone against Marcus' knuckles and walked away, continuing its training.

Maybe this could work out, or at least, maybe he could get Cubone to cooperate.
This is the perfect event to end on, but not the right sentence. If I were you, I'd end with a shorter, punchier statement that really catches Marcus' reaction and lets the reader know that something's definitely changed in their relationship. If you'll allow me, here's my suggestion:

The Pokemon ended up walking forward and put both hands on the bone in its hands but instead of using it to hit the boy, it tapped the bone against Marcus' knuckles and walked away, continuing its training.

Marcus stared after it, and gave a short, incredulous laugh. Maybe this could work out after all.
It doesn't have to be like that, but your chapter endings should leave us feeling both like 'Mmm, that was a good chapter' and like 'What? It's over already? But I wanted more!' at the same time.

OK, those were the big things I noticed. Now, I have some more minor points - easy to fix, and therefore good for making work better very quickly.

Where his brothers prodigies?
You mean 'were', not 'where'.

Hey Marcus, I see you've been given a Pokemon from Gabriel, how about I test you out?” The blonde spoke
OK, this is kind of strange. Why is the text bolded? I can't work it out. It shouldn't be. Also, you mean 'said' rather than 'spoke'; 'spoke' can't be used when someone actually says direct or indirect dialogue. You can only use it in the same way you'd say that someone 'stood'. For instance:

She spoke to the Jelly Bean Man.
But not:

"Hello," she spoke to the Jelly Bean Man.
In other words, 'spoke' cannot link to actual dialogue.

That night he ended up talking to his brother Adrian about it on the phone and was given a lecture that he was older than the average trainer. He may be seen as a joke and people wouldn't take him seriously, he didn't have the childhood innocence some people thought was necessary to raise a proper team, and he would have wasted all the time that he was in school.
Why is Adrian so nasty to him? I just don't get it. It's like he's grabbing at any excuse to stop Marcus from being a Trainer. Half of these aren't even real reasons - for example, why would people take him as a joke as an older Trainer? It'd seem to me to be a more sensible course of action to take, and therefore that people would be more wary of his strength. In addition, what's all this about 'childhood innocence' being necessary to raise a team? Why would anyone think that, ever? It just... doesn't make much sense. If you're going to state that only younger kids ever become Trainers, fine, but the reasons you've cited aren't the most believable. I'd make more of the whole 'you'll have wasted your time in school' bit, if I were you; that's the only strong point Adrian makes. Base his argument around that and it becomes a lot more believable.

Back in the present, the boy eventually Viridian City around nightfall
You're missing an 'arrived at' or something between 'eventually' and 'Viridian'.

Quickly Damien's pokeball snapped open and a pile of pink goo appeared on the ground, it wasn't something that Marcus was thinking he'd see from Damien.
Commas cannot join two complete sentences together like this. It's called a comma splice, and while some authors consistently get away with it because they happen to be John Updike and José Saramango, we mere ordinary writers have to respect the rules of the English language. You could either change the comma for a full stop and make it two sentences, or replace it with either a dash or a semicolon. I'd recommend the former - it'll read better.

Right. Now I feel very guilty about having essentially poured cold water all over your nice warm story - but I always think that if a story can be made better then it should be made better, and I hope I've managed to be more constructive than straight-out critical.

Anyway, good luck with this and I'll be sure to check back to see your progress!


For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click here.
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Old February 28th, 2012 (4:06 PM).
Join Date: May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 21
Chapter Four

Marcus stood in front of the window of his room in the Pokecenter and thought for awhile, where could he and go to become a better trainer? The boy’s eyes were drawn to a group of younger school children who were running off in the direction of a forest and he tilted his head. Viridian Forest, there were a lot of bugs there weren’t there? Bugs would be decent to battle against to get Cubone to level up a bit and help get him prepared for the battle against the Rock-types in Pewter. With that thought, the boy turned to look at Cubone and pulled out its pokeball. Quickly the Cubone was recalled and the boy had his bag packed with his legs moving closer to the Forest.

But he stopped, he wasn’t ready for this quite yet was he? Mentally he was sure that he could handle some bugs in the Forest, but what about poison, health, even Pokeballs, was he prepared with the items that he would need? The boy pulled his backpack off and looked in to see that it was completely empty. He swore under his breath and started to walk to the Market where he could start to purchase a few odds and ends, mainly potions, antidotes, and PokeBalls, that should be enough to get him through the forest. He eventually found it and walked inside to once again see a large amount of trainers. He wasn’t exactly sure why this all seemed to surprise him, he had come to Viridian numerous times in the past, but this was different, this time he was one of them, he wanted to be as excited and energetic as they were about their Pokemon.

Marcus walked through the Market and eventually grabbed a basket so that he could carry the things that he was purchasing. The boy walked down an aisle and found the medicine that he was here for, he grabbed about a half dozen potions and four antidotes before looking at everything else. He looked around and was surprised, not only did this place have Pokemon Potions, there were bottles of pills for trainer’s, even some diet food. He found his way to the area with the Pokeballs and was amazed as he looked around at the variety, regular, great, ultra, even some of the specialty balls. There was even one case that was blocked off behind some glass with a sticker attached. The boy leaned forward and read it, Kurt’s Pokeballs: The Best Pokeballs Straight From Johto!. He smirked and turned away after grabbing a handful of the items.

He made his way up to the counter and watched as his toll kept climbing before eventually stopping at quite a large amount. He listened as the cashier told him his total and he handed over the money before leaving the store. That had taken quite a bit out of his wallet and the boy wasn’t even sure that he would have enough but he’d just have to hope for the best. The thoughts of his potential failure kept ringing through his mind as he made his way towards the Forest, his eyes watching as Trainers all around him were battling with each other and even some wild pokemon. He smiled as his fingers went to the ball at his waist and gripped it, he could just let Cubone out right now and they could start working on the training and get ready for Pewter and the Gym Leader there.

But instead he held off and just looked around as he entered the forest and looked up to see that the trees were now blocking out the sky and the only light was a few rays of sunlight getting in through the leaves. The boy was amazed, he had always taken the high ways when he wanted to get around, this was the first time that he’d actually stepped foot into the Forest. So, he looked around and his eyes locked on a battle between a trainer using his Rattata against a giant snake. Marcus moved closer and pulled out his PokeDex in order to identify as an Ekans before quickly putting it away. His eyes went back to the battle and saw that the Rattata was fighting a losing battle against something that would more than likely want to eat it.

Marcus thought about sending out Cubone to help take out the snake but decided against it, he knew that if he were in this situation he’d want to see the battle out to the end without help, he wanted to prove that he could handle things on his own. So he watched as the Ekans jumped forward, its long purple figure flying through the air, its jaw opened wide as it bit into the Rat and then flung it away. Marcus turned his attention to the trainer and saw the beads of sweat dripping down his forehead and his jaw was hanging open. There was a bit of a sound from the boy but nothing that sounded anything similar to an order for his Pokemon. Was this what Marcus was like the night before when he had battled Damien?

Back in the battle, the Rat was barely able to stand after being tossed away and Marcus was wondering what would happen next. His answer came quickly as the snake approached the small purple Pokemon and opened its jaw wide. There was a look of hunger in the creatures eyes and it was intensifying. Marcus looked over to the Rat’s trainer and watched as he scrambled around to pull out a Pokeball and recall the Pokemon. But eventually the Rat was safe from the snake, however the trainer’s were the ones who were in danger now it seemed. The snake was angry that its meal was taken and started to approach the two.

Marcus was about to turn and bark an order to the trainer but saw that instead he had run away and it was now just Marcus and a hungry snake. The boy swore under his breath as he pulled out a Pokeball and threw it, but what happened wasn’t exactly what he had planned. Instead of throwing out Cubone’s Pokeball, it seemed that he tossed out one of the ones that he had recently purchased. He watched as it hit the snake and broke open, sending out a light and closing with the snake inside. However, Marcus wasn’t upset that he just seemingly wasted a Pokeball, instead his eyes were attached to the ball and watching as it tilted from one side to the other.

The suspense of if he would catch his first Pokemon was incredible, it felt like his stomach was curling in on itself and his heart was beating so rapidly he was sure that if his shirt was off you could see it pounding against his skin. His eyes wouldn’t move until he saw the ball stop moving back and forth and shine with a light indicating that it was shut. He smiled and lifted up the object and looked it over, this was what his new Ekans was in huh? That was interesting, but now that the moment had passed, he kept thinking about the mistake that he had made, the Pokeball that was thrown was supposed to be the one with Cubone in it so that he could have a proper battle.
He couldn’t let a mistake like that happen again, he needed to have a way of telling what Pokemon were which and which were empty so he didn’t capture a Pokemon that he just didn’t want. He sighed as he looked out at the rest of the trainer’s around the forest and laughed a little bit. Even with that mistake Viridian Forest was looking to be an interesting place where the boy would make his true steps as a trainer.
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Old February 28th, 2012 (4:11 PM).
Join Date: May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 21
Thank you very much for your comment Cutlerine, firstly I'd like to say I'm very excited that you read this since Snakewood was one of my favorite Hacks to play so you're somewhat of a celebrity in my mind.

Now, on to the comments, the second chapter was actually a response to trying to add more backstory to Marcus after Psy pointed out that there was really no way to understand why Marcus was set out to become a trainer. I ended up writing up that chapter with those thoughts in mind and spaced out just actually editing the story itself.

For the chapter endings, I will do my best to work on that weakness of mine.

The rest of the errors are generally typos, I tend to proofread my own things but I do it in such a haste that things escape me, I know I should look over them multiple times and I'll do my best to work on that. As for bolding the speaking parts, that's just something that my years of roleplaying writing style has on me.

But all in all, your comment is very constructive and I will do my best to properly make this fic flow and let everyone enjoy reading it.

As always, comments are appreciated.
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Old February 29th, 2012 (5:31 PM).
Join Date: May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 21
Chapter Five

Marcus yawned as he walked through the forest and he looked up above him to try and get at least a guess for what time it was. But it didn’t work out, the trees were blocking out any hope that he had for trying to use some form of survival skills. But either way, it felt like the boy had been up for days, maybe it was the stress from the whole Ekans attack thing or maybe he had actually been awake a lot longer than he had originally planned. The amount of trainers in the forest were dwindling, rather than seeing one every ten seconds he barely saw anyone. Maybe he wasn’t headed in the right direction to get to Pewter or maybe people were just giving up.

The boy wasn’t exactly sure so he decided to just keep walking and hopefully he’d either run into someone who could tell him where he was or he’d get out of here and to Pewter City. Marcus turned and looked over his shoulder, he felt eyes glaring at him. Not like you could actually feel that but in general, the boy felt like someone was following him. In an eerie forest, with no one around him, the boy was worried about it all. But he turned his head back and kept walking and searching for a way out of the forest. If he could get there then maybe he’d be able to compete for a Badge and then make his first official steps into the Pokemon League.

After what felt like half an hour, Marcus finally stopped moving all together and he looked around, the boy was getting tired and this looked like as good of a place as any to catch an hour or so of shut eye. He found a tree and sat down putting his back to it as he took in his surroundings. The tree’s here seemed to be closer to one another than they were back at the beginning of the forest, and the ground didn’t have a path to it anymore either. Instead you could see where Pokemon have pushed down the grass and a few trainer’s foot prints. The boy was pretty sure that he was lost and that he’d have to spend a few hours after he woke up finding his way back to the main path and maybe eventually he’d wind up in Pewter City.

After sitting with his back against the tree for awhile he finally drifted off into his dreams. But before he could reach the level of unconscious where he would be able to dream he was woken up. Instead of coming face to face with another trainer, Marcus’ eyes were right in front of a dog like creature. Its nose was right in Marcus’ face and he could feel the heat that was behind its breath. Not a normal warmth but an actual heat, as if there was fire in every breath. The dogs fur was as black as the night but there were accents of red on its underbelly and even a few parts of what seemed like bone sticking out here and there. The creature backed away and Marcus was able to see that there were two horns stickign out of its head and even what appeared to be a collar around its neck.

Marcus finally realized what he was face to face with, a Houndoom, the dark pokemon that was brought over by Johto trainers as Houndoor. Some trainer must have released it or one of its predecessors and they took up home here in the forest. The boy watched as smaller dogs appeared behind the Houndoom, some were the pre-evolved form known as Houndour and there were even some Poochyena and Mightyena mixed in with the group. Marcus’ eyes were brought back to the Houndoom though, it was the largest in the group, its horns bent far back on its head, and it seemed upset. The dog started to growl and took a step forward, moving closer to Marcus.

The boy didn’t know what to do so he did what he was sure any trainer would do. He gripped one of the Pokeballs on his waist and tossed it out, praying that this was more than just an empty Pokeball. He smiled when he saw the Cubone escape from the Pokeball and stare down the dog that was in front of it. The dog had easily three feet on the Cubone but instead of showing any fear, the skull topped Pokemon rushed forward, lifting its bone up and attempting to club at the dog. Each attack ended up missing, one by one the dog moved out of the way and showed that its speed was more than the level that Cubone had.

The battle didn’t last long, Cubone tried to strike the the hell hound but each time he was met with failure. The Houndoom didn’t even need to fight back against the small Pokemon, instead he just dodged and waited until the Cubone was overcome with fatigue. And then it happened, as if needing to show its dominance the dog lifted its head up and Marcus watched as flames escaped from the creature’s mouth, filling the air above it with the powerful fire. It brought its head down and started to use the attack on the Cubone, burning the small creature until it fainted.

With a howl the dog opened its mouth and brought it down to the Cubone and it seemed like it was trying to attack the unconscious Pokemon. Marcus was in shock, this is the second time that a pokemon had almost died since he got to the Forest. He pulled out the Cubone’s pokeball and recalled the creature before staring at the angry Houndoom. The boy was terrified, his heart was pounding so loud that he felt as if he could hear it, but he wouldn’t back down, his eyes were locked with the angry Pokemon and after a few drawn out moments the dog turned and led its pack away.

Marcus put his back to the tree and slid down it once again, he couldn’t go back to sleep now but everything was just so much. The world of a Pokemon trainer wasn’t what he thought it was. It wasn’t all glamorous battles and the Pokemon didn’t always listen to you. The world was a scary place and Marcus wasn’t sure whether or not he could make it in this lifestyle.
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Old February 29th, 2012 (7:12 PM).
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Join Date: May 2011
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Age: 20
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Back for more reviewing! Whoa there, buck-o. You've written a lot within a few days. When you post chapter by chapter, don't post a chapter every day. The new chapters don't let the readers really absorb all the information from preceding chapters. And I can tell you're not proofreading correctly. The thing with proofreading is, you can't write and edit on the same day. You can look over for spelling/grammar, but that's it. You cannot read your own work on the same day. It's impossible. You know why? Because you think it's fine as it is and you won't change a damn thing. Trust me, I'd know. This is a valuable skill: reading your own work and editing it. Whenever I write, I never edit until a day or two. That way, I'm more unfamiliar with it. Sure, I know what's going on but I can really look objectively at it. Being objective is also a big skill. Proofread a day or two after you've finished a chapter. That way, you let the chapter sink in and kind of float in the back of your mind. Do something else for a day, maybe work on the next chapter, but do not edit. Make sure your corrections are smooth. One way you can check that is by reading your stuff out loud. If you stumble on words when you read, change it. If something sounds awkward, change it. The revision process is a long one. It's the time where you revise everything you need to. If you think something's fine, more times than not, it's actually not. You have to be careful and also understand that things can change. Part of writing is "killing your own baby", to put it bluntly.

Also, you write so rapidly that you're forgetting to fix your other chapters. And that's a big thing. When you edit your chapters, it shows the readers that you care about the other chapters and that you took the time to sit down and re-read it and edit it, which you clearly didn't do. You're pretty much neglecting them. I gave myself an unspoken rule that I will edit my previous chapters to the best of my ability before I start moving forward. I think it's important to know your mistakes and work on not making the same mistakes. Cutlerine and I did make suggestions, and they apply most to what they're reviewing. Those previous chapters. It's best to use the feedback we use so that you can improve. I mean, sure you can apply those things to new chapters, but it's best to apply that knowledge to the chapters they're directed at. You're just using our reviews as standards for further chapters, which is fine in some ways, but in other cases, you just need to edit.

Your style is unraveling and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. However, that doesn't mean it's perfect. There a lot of problems. One significant one is that your writing is muddy. There is very limited dialogue, and even when you do have it, it doesn't sound human. Make sure things make sense. Logic is a big key, and if your character sounds like a robot when he's really all flesh and blood, it takes readers out of your story and they start wondering what's up with it. Dialogue contributes to that. Make it clean, human, etc. Anyway, you didn't have any dialogue in the last two chapters. Sure, at times you don't really need words because actions can speak for them. In some instances, however, I think there needs to be some. There's the scene with him catching an Ekans. He sees a trainer battling it, but he eventually runs off because his Rattata was about to be lunch. It took me a while to figure out that Marcus wasn't battling him. There's a lack of description there too. You just vaguely say what's at the scene and leave it at that.

Again, I hate repeating myself, but it seems like you didn't get what I said before. Word space and important actions. Cutlerline even mentioned it too, but you don't dedicate much description to big events. There's that battle with Damien which was so short and vague, I was kind of wondering what was the point. Actions. Are. Important. Repeat after me, actions are seriously important to my story and I will be sure to dedicate ample word space so that readers know what parts of my story are important and they'll know when to pay attention. I felt like almost every single paragraph was the same length, the same block, the same boring old paragraphs. It's boring when everything gets predictable and the sentence structures are practically identical. Mix it up, but keep the flow. Actions alone do not provide a good source of imagery for readers. Maybe put in a few filler sentences to establish some character, setting, and other things you might feel that's important. You just need some more.

The Houndoom thing was really weird and didn't make sense at all. They approach Marcus, who sends out his Cubone, then they fight for maybe three seconds, and then they leave. I'm wondering what the point of that was as well as the whole not making sense part. They stare at Marcus then leave... What? Are these mobster Pokemon or something? They'd rip his face off unless he started running or climbed up a tree. You want to prove that the life of a trainer is brutal, but you have yet to show me that. It seems really freaking easy the way Marcus is catching Pokemon on accident and preventing himself from being eaten. Make his life hell. Make him have a great challenge. Make him look down at the edge of a cliff, forced to jump, and he'd start to question why the hell he's doing this in the first place. Give him some more experiences. The emotional buildups... I'm just not feeling them. I don't think there are many at all. It's just Marcus is excited, he's depressed, he's excited again, he pissed his pants, then he's questioning himself. Again, it's a prose thing. You might want to check out the Writer's Lounge with the sticky threads. They have some nice links to helping out writers with prose problems.

And for now, this is all I can really give. So here's my bit of feedback. I honestly wanted to go more in-depth and raise a few more points, but I'm feeling so tired I want to curl into a ball and sleep. Work on your writing and keep on improving. Take your time though. Pacing in your story and how you write is a big thing.
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