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Psychic
11th June 2012, 1:36 AM
First-place winner of the Tall Tales, Fish Stories, and Whoppers One-Shot Contest (http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?563850-Tall-Tales-Fish-Stories-and-Whoppers-a-One-Shot-Contest!), the inspiration for this fic came from a simple phone call I received in my SoulSilver version. It made me think about the NPC at the other end of the line, and what started as a one-sided romance evolved into a character gaining proper agency. Many opportunities open up when you realize an entire world exists outside of the player. Enjoy.




Telephone Tales: The Motionless Journey of Youngster Ian


“You know, lately I’ve been wanting to battle you again...”

It’s really hard to ignore the quiver in my voice as I croak these words into the receiver. I just pray you don’t notice it at the other end of the line. I just pray you’re listening. I just pray that I didn’t just go right to voicemail – you’re always so quiet I can never quite tell.

I just pray you’ll actually stop by.


You probably don’t remember me. I like to hope you do, but everyone meets lots of trainers on their journey. There are always so many people to keep track of it’s hardly even worth trying. It’s easier to just identify everyone as a Bug Catcher or a Lass, after all; they all seem the same anyway. I would know – I’ve done it, too.

Me, I guess I was a Youngster when we first met. My name’s Ian. I grew up in Goldenrod City, and it’s still where I spend my time. I used to train with my friends on the southern city outskirts, goofing off, playing around, begging the Day Care Couple (of course we never learned their names) to let us play with the Pokémon staying there. We spent some great weekends and summers just lazing around like that, dreaming of travelling the world and becoming Pokémon Masters like so many other kids in Johto.

I’m the only one who still trains on Route 34. The rest of my friends got tired of trying to train their household pets years ago and forgot their previous goals of becoming master trainers. I’m the only one who’s still there. Ziggy and Ginger grew from a nervous little Diglett and untameable Mankey to confident, formidable creatures. When once we struggled to beat a wild Rattata, now we can take on just about any trainer in our way. Even Officer Keith is impressed.

It’s all because of you.


You couldn’t have started your journey long before that fateful battle. It was around sunset on a spring afternoon, the warmth leaving the air and our shadows becoming long. Mom had already called me to come home on my brand new Pokégear, which I had spent most of the day proudly showing off. It was hard to ignore the signs of a day’s end; my friends were all packing up, Pokémon disappearing in flashes of red light or hopping on shoulders, panting from a long day of play. Sammy’s arms were overflowing with scuffed-up Pokéballs, and he hurried off with the others, his bare knees covered in band-aids again. He threw me one last warning that Keith would think me a hooligan if he saw me hanging around after sundown. I thanked him, but Ginger was still hopping around excitedly after his last win and trying to chase Ziggy’s disappearing form as he popped up from the ground over and over. Still too energized to leave just yet, we lingered.

That’s when I saw you. You seemed exhausted, actually. It only occurred to me later that you had probably been on the road from Azalea Town for at least a day or two, constantly bombarded by bugs in the Ilex Forest and challenged by eager trainers like me on Route 34 without rest. At the time I didn’t think twice; I was always hungry for new challenges and fresh challengers, and that’s all you were. You didn’t shy away or back down from my challenge, your eyes instead glinting with determination. You seemed fearless, resolute, unwavering. Strong. I knew before you even sent out your first Pokémon that you would be tough to beat. That just made me want to try harder.

Your Pokémon were clearly tired, but they bore the same unyielding look you did. I watched them staring intently at Ziggy and Ginger, sizing them up before you gave the first command, each one quiet, confident. It was amazing to see, so much so I could hardly concentrate on the actual battle. I’d never met a trainer like you before.

You were unstoppable. Both Diglett and Mankey fell easily to your team. As they disappeared in flashes of red, I realized that this was the result I had expected. I’d never taken training all that seriously before, never really thought to put any effort real into it. But seeing you, standing tall, your faith entire in your Pokémon, silently cheering them on and wincing at their pain, your bond so incredibly tight, made me want to take it seriously. Your relationship with your Pokémon, your utter confidence and determination, made a lasting impression on this little kid.

“There are better trainers...” was all I could mumble after our battle as the realization hit. While our battle wasn’t especially epic or stunning, I realized that you were an adversary unlike the many I’d faced before. Never before had I met a trainer like you, one with such willpower and determination. I had a distinct feeling that you would move on from the city I called home to do great things, things I couldn’t fathom then, and I saw just what I could be if I made training more than just an after-school activity.

I handed you your winnings, and the only other thing I could think to do was give you my new Pokégear number. Aside from being a means for my mom to nag me, it was also advertised as a way to keep in contact with anyone, anywhere in the region. This would likely be the only means of ensuring I’d see you again someday, and though I didn’t realize it then, that was what I desperately wanted. Still, seeing you weren’t much of a talker, I didn’t have high hopes of making any idle chitchat. As you walked away, I realized I wasn’t sure what I had hoped to accomplish. I would likely never see you again. You had no real reason to return. Why would you ever come back? And if you did, what then?

And that’s when it clicked. Battling. I could apply myself, train Ziggy and Ginger properly the way you trained your Pokémon. Then challenge you to a rematch, to bring you back and show you my skills, which would surely impress you by then.

This seemed the perfect way to play it, I thought, placing your number at the top of my contacts list, and I looked forward to calling you. Not right away – I should give you some space, not look desperate, I reminded myself. But soon enough, I couldn’t help myself.

“Howdy, it’s Ian! How are you?” I’m speaking to you before I even know what I’m doing, because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I can’t stop now that you’ve actually picked up. “Hey, hey, listen up! A few days ago I was trying to catch a wild Drowzee. We went down to the wire, but it ended up getting away! I really should have had a bunch of Pokéballs ready, I know...” You don’t really answer and my mouth is running ahead of my brain and I’m ranting like an idiot and my face is red and I’m off the phone as quickly as I can and resist the urge to smack myself while Ginger plays with my hat and Ziggy stares at me like I’ve lost it. I almost throw my Pokégear to the floor in embarrassment.

After this, as if to cover up my blunder, we begin to commit threefold to our training regimen. Whereas once, Route 34 was just a spot to hang out on weekends, we now spend most days there, before school, after school, on weekends, holidays. I stop spending as much time with my friends, instead becoming closer to my Pokémon in a way I couldn’t be when they were merely pets I was taking out for some fresh air. They become my friends, too, partners who share in victories and defeats, who spend tireless days working and training. We come to understand one another better, not only in how we communicated, but how our actions and emotions sync up. Our ups and downs are now the same, and I know when they can keep trying and when it’s time to stop, even when they’re resistant. They’re caught up in the same drive that fuels me.

Finally, I make the call, I send the invitation in that quivering voice. I hope you’ll show. Hope against all hope that you haven’t forgotten about me, though you probably have. I wait. We train. The Diglett and Mankey know we’re waiting for something important, and it’s hard to stay determined. This time, they’re the ones taking care of me, keeping me focused. But you still linger at the back of my mind, and I burn with the desire to...what? Impress you? Amaze you? Defeat you? I don’t know. Ziggy stares at me pointedly and Ginger has my hat in his paws. He holds it out to me. Yes, eyes on the prize.

We keep training. I don’t want to say it out loud, but I’m losing hope. Every day I return home without seeing you feels like a day lost. All I can do is pray that maybe you’ll show up tomorrow. As the days pass, I distract myself by channeling that hope into our training. My Pokémon feel it, too, and the tension is rising each day. But the days still inch by, and Route 34 remains as uneventful as ever. We wait, we train, we wait.


My heart jumps into my throat that day I finally spot you coming down the road, somehow striking an impressive figure in the afternoon light, even though you’re not much bigger than me. I’d almost forgotten, it feels as if I’ve called you so long ago. But we’re ready. We’ve been ready for a long time.

“I’ve been waiting!” is all I say before we begin. I can’t think of anything else. I grin.

We lose. I realize I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed. We couldn’t take out a single one of your Pokémon. We’ve improved, but so have you. You’re still leagues ahead.

I decide to try to distinguish myself the best I can, make myself stand out from all your other battles, all the other wins you’ve surely earned, so I give you a berry along with the prize money. It’s just a Persim Berry that grows in our backyard at home, but as I think about it, I like to imagine that maybe it will turn the tide in a battle for you someday. Maybe it will make you think of me when you use it. I watch you go without a word, and hope you’ll come back again. Maybe when I call you next, you’ll remember that determined Youngster, and think to return.


I get bold. I call you, resisting the urge to hang up and flee. We wait, we train. We wait some more. We wait until we’re ready to give up. But you do eventually come. Adrenaline spikes. We battle. We don’t win. You say nothing. I give you a berry. You leave.

I call again.

Soon, it comes to feel like a game. I realized that you do come back, sometimes. I never know when, so we make sure to train near constantly, just in case you happen to stop by that day. We don’t leave unless we have to – I can’t afford to miss you. I can’t bear to think of you arriving at our meeting place with nobody to face, and perhaps think I’ve stopped caring. I can’t afford that.

You do go on to do amazing things, just as I had somehow expected. I hear about you on the radio. Your win at the Pokéathalon. You and the Elite Four Champion, together at the Lake of Rage. And when Goldenrod is under lockdown, who flies in, but you? Who chases out Team Rocket with hardly a thanks, but you? When I tell everyone at school that I have personally battled our city’s hero, nobody believes that my obsession with training has allowed me to meet a real celebrity. But that’s okay. As long as you’ll battle me again, I don’t really care.

And we do battle again. And again.

Our battles are still glaringly predictable; I come in energized, Ziggy and Ginger tensed and eager, but we fall quickly. I should realize this, see the pattern by now. But I can’t stop. The desire to see you again and show you how much better we’ve become keeps me going. Knowing you might be on your way fuels all of us. The mere thought of you being around the corner gives us that extra push when we’re tired and sore and ready to stop training altogether. Our battles always feel so short in comparison to the long expanses of time between your visits, but your appearances are the high points that make the wait worth it. We try our hardest, and then we wait again, the cycle repeating over and over. We soon discover there is something exciting even in the act of waiting, knowing you might be on your way that very moment.

I wear the Plain Badge we achieved on my shirt to remind us of what we can do. My old friends at school stare at it enviously, can’t believe I earned it. Sammy gets jealous when DJ Mary interviews me on-air about my conquest of the Gym, as if it’s some great accomplishment. But Whitney isn’t our greatest adversary by now, not the one we are trying to impress.


It happens. You’re back for the umpteenth time, we’re in the thick of the battle. Only this time, we’ve finally taken out all but one of your Pokémon, who is low on health and disoriented from confusion. Ziggy’s also suffering, struggling past his own exhaustion, but he knows one more clear hit and we’ll win.

That’s when you do it. Before I call out the final command, you pull out one of my Persim Berries, and all I can do is stare at that tiny little fruit before your Pokémon consumes it. With one last attack, it’s over. I’m returning an unconscious Ziggy to his Pokéball, shaking my head. We were close. So intensely close.

But as you approach me to shake my hand, I realize I’m okay with this. We just about reached our goal of defeating the greatest trainer we’ve ever known. And, almost ironically, we know you might not have been able to win without that berry. It feels like I’ve somehow helped you, like we did something, even if we didn’t create a lasting impression like the one you made on me. Maybe I’m still just Youngster Ian to you. Or maybe not. I don’t press you for answers.

You smile. I grin ruefully back.

We nearly reached our goal, but I realize that it wasn’t so huge of a goal. You’re not immortal or unbeatable – maybe nobody is. Everyone is only as good as how hard they work, how much they’re driven. You just need the right push.

I decide to set a new goal. I’m not sure what, yet. But I have a distinct, positive feeling, as Nurse Joy returns my grinning Pokémon, that it could be anything. Yep, anything. And we can probably do it.

“There are better trainers.” And I’m going to find them.





As mentioned, this was inspired by a phone call I received from Youngster Ian on my SoulSilver game when, for some reason, I got the impression from his brief dialogue that he really liked my protagonist, maybe even has a crush on her. I wanted to tackle what it's like being a stationary trainer interacting with the player character, and also the kind of development NPCs go through between your first battle with them and later rematches. Plus I see so few fics take advantage of the Pokégear’s many uses. Ian’s dialogue and Pokémon are the exact same as they are in-game - big thanks to bobandbill for helping me with that.

When I started writing this, I imagined a one-sided love story, but it became more than that, and the romance was essentially dropped. I had no idea how the story would end until I got to the ending and realized that the turning point was Ian realizing he could do anything. His new goal doesn’t necessarily have to be related to training, it just seemed like a good goal to start with (and it made for a good final line).

The player character’s gender is never specified for a more inclusive reading. Ian can be heterosexual, heterosocial, homosexual, homosocial, bisexual, asexual, whatever, depending on your reading. The point is that Ian is speaking to you both as the reader and the player, and no matter your gender, you inspired him.

Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think – this is literally the first fic I’ve finished in years. XD

~Psychic

Zibdas
11th June 2012, 1:50 AM
Wow, that was really great. I never gave it much thought; Ian's worries and doubts pretty much summed up my experience with all the NPCs in the game. But you brought them back around, breathed life into them, gave them a backstory and a frontstory, the works.
And to think it was all for a contest.

You should really reconsider finishing a fic sometime; you're clearly a great writer and I'd love to read it.

Dragonfree
11th June 2012, 3:13 AM
Very nicely done. Ian's star-eyed adoration of the player character is nicely portrayed and generally cute, and you did a good job with his first-person POV. The Persim Berry bringing it full circle and his realization at the end that he can grow past just endlessly waiting for you was also just sweet.

I didn't really read it as romantic at all - which I don't think is a problem, mind you; while going explicitly romantic could have resulted in a rushed love-at-first-sight kind of thing, it's instead a more believable deep admiration thing that could be interpreted as having a crush behind it or could not, without it affecting the impact of the story. (Now, Juggler Irwin, on the other hand, totally does have a crush on the player character. :P)

It's "Diglett" with two T's, though, and you shift tenses a bit in ways that aren't explainable by the recalled-memories format of the story, such as here:


This seemed the perfect way to play it, I thought, placing your number at the top of my contacts list, and I looked forward to calling you. Not right away – I should give you some space, not look desperate, I reminded myself. But soon enough, I couldn’t help myself.

“Howdy, it’s Ian! How are you?” I’m speaking to you before I even know what I’m doing, because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I can’t stop now that you’ve actually picked up. “Hey, hey, listen up! A few days ago I was trying to catch a wild Drowzee. We went down to the wire, but it ended up getting away! I really should have had a bunch of poke balls ready, I know...” you don’t really answer and my mouth is running ahead of my brain and I’m ranting like an idiot and my face is red and I’m off the phone as quickly as I can and resist the urge to smack myself while Ginger plays with my hat and Ziggy stares at me like I’ve lost it. I almost throw my Pokégear to the floor in embarrassment.

After this, as if to cover up my blunder, we began to commit threefold to our training regimen. Whereas once, Route 34 was just a spot to hang out on weekends, we now spent most days there, before school, after school, on weekends, holidays. I stopped spending as much time with my friends, instead becoming closer to my Pokémon in a way I couldn’t be when they were merely pets I was taking out for some fresh air. They became my friends, too, partners who shared in victories and defeats, who spent tireless days working and training. We came to understand one another better, not only in how we communicated, but how our actions and emotions synced up.
The first and third quoted paragraphs are both in past tense, but the second is in present tense, even though they're relating a chronological sequence of events. Ian can't be telling the story in real-time as he has the phone conversation with the player character, because then he goes on to describe his subsequent training regimen in past tense. It's a bit confusing; initially when you switched to present tense there I thought the story had just caught up with the present, which made it disorienting when you then went back to the past.

Otherwise, this is well done, tackling a fun subject in a human way that feels like a natural expansion upon the game's story. It's nice to see you doing some writing again; it's been a while. x3

Psychic
11th June 2012, 5:31 AM
Wow, that was really great. I never gave it much thought; Ian's worries and doubts pretty much summed up my experience with all the NPCs in the game. But you brought them back around, breathed life into them, gave them a backstory and a frontstory, the works.
And to think it was all for a contest.

You should really reconsider finishing a fic sometime; you're clearly a great writer and I'd love to read it.
Thank you. :> And yep - in all honesty, I didn't think about any NPCs twice before, but once I started I couldn't stop. I'm glad I was able to bring a random NPC to life for you, as that's one thing I really love doing in fic-writing. Happy to hear it was a success!

Haha, I actually started writing this story before that, but the contest is really what kicked me into gear and got me to finally finish it (and boy am I glad I did)! Thanks again - I do have another "Telephone Tale" in the works, so hopefully I'll get that out there...eventually.



Very nicely done. Ian's star-eyed adoration of the player character is nicely portrayed and generally cute, and you did a good job with his first-person POV. The Persim Berry bringing it full circle and his realization at the end that he can grow past just endlessly waiting for you was also just sweet.
I'm really glad to hear it, thank you! The Persim Berry was another piece I hadn't planned from the start, but I was glad that it actually went somewhere instead of it seeming like the player character just amasses them and never puts them to use. But yes, I really liked the idea of his relationship with the character not defining him. :>



I didn't really read it as romantic at all - which I don't think is a problem, mind you; while going explicitly romantic could have resulted in a rushed love-at-first-sight kind of thing, it's instead a more believable deep admiration thing that could be interpreted as having a crush behind it or could not, without it affecting the impact of the story. (Now, Juggler Irwin, on the other hand, totally does have a crush on the player character. :P)
I'm glad - one of the judges read romance in it, which surprised me a little, since it wasn't my intention by the end. Initially it was more of a "wow you're such a great trainer, your confidence is pretty hawt" or something, but it was nice to go beyond that. I really don't like romance for the sake of romance myself, but yeah, like I said, I don't mind readers interrupting it differently.

All right, now I totally have to read Juggler Irwin's dialogue so I can write another fic because I am le curious.



It's "Diglett" with two T's, though, and you shift tenses a bit in ways that aren't explainable by the recalled-memories format of the story

The first and third quoted paragraphs are both in past tense, but the second is in present tense, even though they're relating a chronological sequence of events. Ian can't be telling the story in real-time as he has the phone conversation with the player character, because then he goes on to describe his subsequent training regimen in past tense. It's a bit confusing; initially when you switched to present tense there I thought the story had just caught up with the present, which made it disorienting when you then went back to the past.

Otherwise, this is well done, tackling a fun subject in a human way that feels like a natural expansion upon the game's story. It's nice to see you doing some writing again; it's been a while. x3
I feel pretty silly for spelling a Pokemon's name wrong the entire fic, now. XD The tenses really gave me trouble, actually; I realized that it was all over the place in the first draft, and trying to figure out when the shift happened was tough. The middle paragraph you quoted was pretty much present-tense in order to make it feel more immediate (and make Ian's embarrassment more immediate). The silly part is that third paragraph was present tense initially, but I changed it for some reason, even though the paragraphs right before and after are present tense. Woops! I suppose the best way to fix that would be to just bring the paragraph on training to present, and then everything should be smooth sailing. Other than that....the point where it switches to present is admittedly a little arbitrary in itself, sort of.

Anyhow, thank you again! I'm glad it worked out feeling natural, and I will definitely-maybe try writing more! I forgot how much I miss it. <3

~Psychic

[Imaginative]:[Clockwork]
14th June 2012, 5:29 AM
What a great idea. In fact, I'm surprised there aren't more fics like this one spread around, since it's such a ripe topic for ideas. “Telephone Tales” made me think (and hope) that maybe you were planning on doing similar one-shots, which I would love to read.

Anyway, I thought your portrayal of Ian was perfect for the piece. It was really fun to get into a story you'd never be told in the games and get some perspective on what it's like for the NPCs, who become trainers but don't actually travel with their Pokémon. I was a little surprised when he said they tried their “damned hardest,” since I took Ian to not only be younger (although clearly maturing), but also on the more polite side, and this was really the only time he seemed to break that.


We keep training. I don’t want to say it out loud, but I’m losing hope. Every day I return home without seeing you feels like a day lost. All I can do is pray that maybe you’ll show up tomorrow. As the days pass, I distract myself by channeling that hope into our training. My Pokémon feel it, too, and the tension is rising each day.


My heart jumps into my throat when I finally see you coming down the road, somehow striking an impressive figure in the afternoon light, even though you’re not much bigger than me. I’d almost forgotten, it feels as if I’ve called you so long ago. But we’re ready. We’ve been ready for a long time.

Something about this feels like there's not much transition between the paragraphs. It seems like he's in the middle of his narrative and seeing the trainer (or me, in this case) interrupts that, and I don't think that's what you were going for. I think the rising tension sentence doesn't exactly feel like it's closing a section, while the “My heart jumps” part feels like it's continuing directly from whatever came before it, which (I think) you intended to be a pause in the story. Blah. I'm not sure if I'm describing this well, but basically, as I read it, I continued straight forward, instead of taking a momentary pause before jumping into the next section, whereas all of the other breaks had a more natural pause.

The Persim Berry was a great touch, and the perfect way to have Ian basically accomplish his goal, but in a way that left him hungering for more. I wish a little more time had been spent on the battle, so I could really feel his adrenaline rise and then immediately drop when he sees the berry, but that's really just a minor nitpick.

I always feel like criticizing even the tiniest of things makes it look like I didn't enjoy reading the work, but I liked this a whole lot. It was a great idea with great execution that was fun to read. I hope you'll post more of your work soon. :)

bobandbill
15th June 2012, 3:07 PM
I quite enjoyed this too, heh. Ian's character was well developed and a nice take on him imo, and I liked how you used those phone calls in setting him up. Always enjoy seeing small bits of the games added in as details in a story, so stuff like the Persim bery ending up being a significant part of the story made me smile. It ended nicely as well, but who will stand south of the Day Care now!?

Will agree with the above points on how I do feel the bit with the player character using the berry felt a bit rushed, and the gaps between scenes feeling a bit odd in only being bigger spacing between paragraphs, although the latter's more a presentation thing.

I just pray that I didn’t just go right to voicemail – you’re always so quiet I can never quite tell.

It’s easier to just identify everyone as a Bug Catcher or a Lass, after all; they all seem the same anyway. I would know – I’ve done it, too.Stuff like this I also liked, playing on the whole silent protagonist and reused sprites aspect of the games. =) (And out of context the thought of everyone as only one of those too is also amusing, haha).

Me, I guess I was a Youngster when we first met.I'm not too sure if 'Me,' is needed in this sentence; sounds a bit odd to me with it and unnecessary too.

I wear the Plain Badge we achieved on my shirt to remind us of what we can do. My friends at school stare at it enviously, can’t believe I managed to get it.The last sentence sounds odd around the comma there - could use a bit of rewording imo.

Nothing else to say besides to echo everyone else saying to write more, for you're doing it write right. =p

Azurne
15th June 2012, 6:18 PM
Aw, I thought this was adorable (with both romantic and non-romantic interpretations)~


Ziggy stares at me pointedly and Ginger has my hat in his paws.
I dunno why, but Ziggy and Ginger are actually part of the reason I like this so much. You've given them a lot of personality with just a couple lines, and it doesn't help that they both seem adorable. I'll take one of each! XD

The Persim berry was also a very nice touch even if you hadn't planned it from the beginning - it brought a little bit of closure to the story and probably wouldn't have had the same impact without it. I also liked the fact you had Ian come so close to defeating the player character, because I'm used to reading about the player character being treated like some holier-than-thou undefeatable hero. I was really surprised for half a second, haha.

Don't have anything to add in the way of constructive criticism though, sadly. You've a nice flowing style that's easy to read and enjoy. Oh, and I second the motion for you to start posting more fic. :D

Also, I'm sorry this is so short. ;^;

Psychic
29th June 2012, 10:27 PM
:[Clockwork];14687216']What a great idea. In fact, I'm surprised there aren't more fics like this one spread around, since it's such a ripe topic for ideas. “Telephone Tales” made me think (and hope) that maybe you were planning on doing similar one-shots, which I would love to read.

Anyway, I thought your portrayal of Ian was perfect for the piece. It was really fun to get into a story you'd never be told in the games and get some perspective on what it's like for the NPCs, who become trainers but don't actually travel with their Pokémon. I was a little surprised when he said they tried their “damned hardest,” since I took Ian to not only be younger (although clearly maturing), but also on the more polite side, and this was really the only time he seemed to break that.
Thank you so much! I do have one other idea for a “Telephone Tale” (which I had before I even started writing this), but we’ll see if I ever do get off my butt and finish it. XD

I’m glad to hear it! NPCs can really be quite fun, because you just have so much room to work, build their character and make up headcanon. It is different writing about trainers who don’t actually travel, but you also get to realize that they aren’t mutually exclusive, and then figure out how that works (and how they stay motivated in that case).

Regarding the “damned” bit, you make a good point and I’m unsure what I think. I like to think Ian is a little older and wiser at this point, but the curse isn’t really necessary, either, and can indeed work fine without it.


:[Clockwork];14687216']Something about this feels like there's not much transition between the paragraphs. It seems like he's in the middle of his narrative and seeing the trainer (or me, in this case) interrupts that, and I don't think that's what you were going for. I think the rising tension sentence doesn't exactly feel like it's closing a section, while the “My heart jumps” part feels like it's continuing directly from whatever came before it, which (I think) you intended to be a pause in the story. Blah. I'm not sure if I'm describing this well, but basically, as I read it, I continued straight forward, instead of taking a momentary pause before jumping into the next section, whereas all of the other breaks had a more natural pause.
I think I totally get what you mean, actually, in part because I had to quite consciously pad that bit out because the paragraph before the transition was even shorter in earlier drafts. The transition is meant to be an abrupt leap in time, but I suppose to make that happen I might need to draw out the previous section further? I’m not completely sure how to rectify this, so any suggestions would be awesome.


:[Clockwork];14687216']The Persim Berry was a great touch, and the perfect way to have Ian basically accomplish his goal, but in a way that left him hungering for more. I wish a little more time had been spent on the battle, so I could really feel his adrenaline rise and then immediately drop when he sees the berry, but that's really just a minor nitpick.

I always feel like criticizing even the tiniest of things makes it look like I didn't enjoy reading the work, but I liked this a whole lot. It was a great idea with great execution that was fun to read. I hope you'll post more of your work soon. :)
Thanks, haha – again, totally not intended from the start, but I liked it as a way of the player character somehow acknowledging and thus encouraging him. Drawing out the battle could help, though it’s hard to write a battle without naming any of one side’s Pokémon or attacks or anything. XD

Nononooooo, I love criticism and I know readers can enjoy while still seeing flaws, so no worries. Thanks again so much, and hopefully I’ll get something out in under five years!



I quite enjoyed this too, heh. Ian's character was well developed and a nice take on him imo, and I liked how you used those phone calls in setting him up. Always enjoy seeing small bits of the games added in as details in a story, so stuff like the Persim bery ending up being a significant part of the story made me smile. It ended nicely as well, but who will stand south of the Day Care now!?
Thanks, I’m really glad to hear it worked. I was actually hoping to use his phone dialogue a lot more (see all the notes I recorded on his different sets of dialogue), but it was hard enough fitting his Drowzee rant into the story. XD
And I say just make Sammy do it. Or maybe the Day Care Couple will have a kid someday.


Will agree with the above points on how I do feel the bit with the player character using the berry felt a bit rushed, and the gaps between scenes feeling a bit odd in only being bigger spacing between paragraphs, although the latter's more a presentation thing.
Little dashes and signs in the middle of a story are a bit of a peeve of mine, and I didn’t want the spaces to be too big and somehow be distracting. Plus I felt like too big a space = too big a time gap, which would have been bad for some reason. I am weird about this stuff, as you can tell. XD I may see about padding out that scene more since multiple people agree on it, though.


Stuff like this I also liked, playing on the whole silent protagonist and reused sprites aspect of the games. =) (And out of context the thought of everyone as only one of those too is also amusing, haha).
Yay, someone noticed! :D It was actually a fun challenge trying to figure out how Ian and the player character could interact without the player ever really speaking. (And that would be quite silly. XD Female Bug Catchers sound pretty adorable, after all, but once you get to male Lasses you start getting funny looks...)


I'm not too sure if 'Me,' is needed in this sentence; sounds a bit odd to me with it and unnecessary too.
The last sentence sounds odd around the comma there - could use a bit of rewording imo.

Nothing else to say besides to echo everyone else saying to write more, for you're doing it write right. =p
Hm, I could change that to “As for me.” And I did consider rewording the second sentence, but I rather liked it and just kind of hoped people would understand what he meant. XD I think I’ve found a decent rewrite of the last bit, at least.

Thanks again! If the Writing Club is still doing that challenges thing I might have to sign up to get stuff done. XD



Aw, I thought this was adorable (with both romantic and non-romantic interpretations)~

I dunno why, but Ziggy and Ginger are actually part of the reason I like this so much. You've given them a lot of personality with just a couple lines, and it doesn't help that they both seem adorable. I'll take one of each! XD

The Persim berry was also a very nice touch even if you hadn't planned it from the beginning - it brought a little bit of closure to the story and probably wouldn't have had the same impact without it. I also liked the fact you had Ian come so close to defeating the player character, because I'm used to reading about the player character being treated like some holier-than-thou undefeatable hero. I was really surprised for half a second, haha.
:3 Thank you, I’m glad it works either way!

I’m glad things worked out with Ziggy and Ginger! I wanted to make sure they got some screen-time and had some basic characterization, even if they weren’t a main focus in the story.

Thanks, I’m really glad I was able to include the berry at all! But yeah, the player is pretty darn hard to beat, and they don’t have to be unbeatable, but Ian probably wouldn’t be their greatest challenge, either. (Doesn’t help that Ian only has two Pokémon, haha.) But, as he says, nobody’s perfect, and everyone can slip up sometimes. =o


Don't have anything to add in the way of constructive criticism though, sadly. You've a nice flowing style that's easy to read and enjoy. Oh, and I second the motion for you to start posting more fic. :D

Also, I'm sorry this is so short. ;^;
Nah, no worries about the length– any feedback is good feedback! :D I shall try to write more...someday! Glad you enjoyed, and thanks again for stopping by!


~Psychic

JX Valentine
4th July 2012, 7:45 AM
Welp, I'm now going to stop whining that HGSS doesn't give you the option of deleting numbers from your Pokégear.

I have to say right off the bat that what I particularly love about this fic is how deep you get into a side character's mentality. It's not even just a side character: it's an NPC encounter. You're going off a handful of lines from this guy, yet you manage to create a fully realized personality.

…And how!

It's hard to say whether this guy is being heartwarming or outright creepy. Ian is clearly devoted to the protagonist on obsessive levels, but you also make it incredibly clear that he worships her as an idol or a god. So on one level, it's touching in that this kid is experiencing most likely unrequited love, and he's experiencing it intensely deeply. He means the protagonist no harm; he just admires them from afar to the point that they've become bigger and better icons than they might actually have been. I mean, sure, everything he says the protagonist did was true, but it's clear that he thinks of them as something superhuman – as a legend instead of a person.

On another hand, that's where the creepy bit comes in. He's fixated on the protagonist to levels where it affects his social life, and it looks like the hero is all he can think about. Maybe I'm reading too far into it, but it almost seems sad that Ian is dwelling on this person so much to the point where everything he does is just an effort to improve himself in order to impress the protagonist.

That's why I really like the ending. After all of those disappointments, he's not angry. He's not even driven remotely crazy when the protagonist defeats him after nearly getting knocked out. Everything becomes clear to him, and he's finally able to move on. So it ends up being satisfying to watch, just on the virtue that we're watching him grow, not descend into complete madness like an overdramatic cliché. That and that, honestly, is a far more hopeful note to end on, and it makes me feel good to have cheered for him throughout the fic.

Speaking of satisfying, although I sort of anticipated the use of the Persim Berry (at one point or another) in this fic thanks to knowing all too well about Chekhov's gun, I can't really think of any better use for it than in that single battle. It really highlights how far Ian had come and how important Ian is to the protagonist, regardless of whether or not they're aware of it. That part might actually be my favorite part of the fic, just because it really says so much in general. I mean, sure, that moment is important to Ian in particular – to convince him that all of his training wasn't exactly in vain – but it also says that the protagonist is only human, that NPCs are all important to them in their own right, that NPCs are their own people with their own potential that we don't get to see because of the constraints of the game, and I could keep going but won't.

In short, this was a really enjoyable read. I'm always a sucker for fics that take NPCs or less popular characters and give them a moment in the spotlight of their own, but this really does it fantastically, with plenty of heartwarming notes and bits to think about.

Bay
4th July 2012, 6:41 PM
So, I finally had time to read this. Like everyone else, thought this is quite clever of you having this story base around one of the NPCs. It was quite enjoyable reading Ian's development throughout this story.

Like Jax, I felt slightly uneasy with Ian being so obsessed that his social life is taking the back burner, but at least in the end he sets a new goal to himself. I too really like how he almost defeated the trainer and the Persim Berry at the end, although it would be nice the battle is shown for that suspense effect. I can understand why it would be slightly hard to write the battle if you don't want to reveal the trainer's name and gender, although you can maybe have Ian narrative it like "After you yelled out the next command, your Rapidash let out a spinning stream of flames at Ginger" or something similar. Not a great example, but showing it can be done. XD

Overall, great work and it's nice to see some writing from you! Looking forward to whatever else you'll be posting/writing next!