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Thread: Felix

  1. #1
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    Default Felix

    A Pokemon-Centric one-shot of a shiny Pachirisu and his life.

    I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but...
    Trigger Warning: Fic deals with themes of suicide. You’ve been warned.

    Other than that, no other real warnings are needed. No strong language, no gore, no sexual themes, etc.



    Felix
    Felix was a lonely squirrel.

    It wasn't his fault. Not really. But he supposed he should be used to it by now. Besides his family, no one cared about him enough to spend time with him.

    Felix the Pachirisu was special. While most of his kind were a simple white coloring with a blue stripe running down their back and tail, Felix had the misfortune to be born with a pink stripe instead. It was not a simple pink, either; it was a vibrant magenta. It was a rare kind of genetic mutation that happened only once in a blue moon, though any Pachirisu with this mutation always had a pink stripe.

    Felix had never met another Pokemon like him. He knew more pink Pachirisu existed out there somewhere, but not anywhere nearby. If only I had been born a girl, he sometimes thought. Nobody would have a problem with me then. I'd probably even be super popular too. Oh, if only...

    This stripe, however, gave him issues when it came to socializing. He went to a park where many Pokemon his age spent their afternoons. It was a large clearing in the trees littered with several groups of Pokemon, all deeply entrenched in their own conversations. Felix wanted to be a part of that.

    He approached an Ambipom and introduced himself. But the monkey had just looked down at him and laughed. Then, Felix was pulled up by his tail and dropped on a table surrounded by large, intimidating Pokemon.

    "Check out what I found, guys!" the Ambipom announced to his fellow goons.

    "Woah, this one's pink! No way!" one of the surrounding Pokemon exclaimed.

    "This one is a guy..." said another, sounding like he was holding back his own laughter.

    "Nah, dudes, this kid can't be a guy. What kinda guy is that pink?" Ambipom asked, still amused. He grabbed Felix's tail again and held him just above the tabletop. Felix wanted to squirm, but it wouldn't do any good.

    "Well, hey, Alex over there is a pink dude," a goon offered.

    The Ambipom looked over at the Jigglypuff some distance away. "Hm, you're right!"

    Felix was panicking at the situation. "Why are you doing this? I just wanted to say hello!"

    The monkey raised his eyebrows, amused. "I dunno. There's just something about showing the losers their place that entertains me. Now, why don't you go hang out with those pink dudes where you belong?"

    A strong fling had Felix soaring across the field, and he rolled as he struck the ground. After coming to a stop, Felix stayed motionless for a time. Then, he shuddered and propped himself back up onto his feet again.

    Felix glanced over at the Jigglypuff and his surrounding groups of friends. Even from here, Felix could hear their flamboyant mannerisms. He didn't dare go over to them. Felix just wasn't like them.

    He tried talking to a group of girls. Girls like pink, right? Well, apparently, they didn't like pink on male Pokemon. They just laughed at him. The leader of their little troupe scoffed and suggested to her friends that they "leave this pink, gay thing and go somewhere else."

    Felix sat in the grass by himself. Why did they all do this? It's not my fault that my stripe is pink.

    He tried again and again. The nerds wouldn't talk to him. They were playing some game where they pretended to fight each other, rather than actually doing so. Felix had to ask what they were doing, and that alone earned their scorn. The girls stared with disgust every time he approached. He didn't dare talk to the Ambipom again. Though that didn't stop the monkey from going to Felix when he wasn't paying attention, grabbing him by the tail, and throwing him at tree trunk. Or a wall. Or into a stream.

    He learned quickly that he wasn't welcome at those groups at all. This animosity, however, started to spread. Felix could walk into any area with Pokemon and earn scornful gazes just by showing up. Eventually, he just stopped trying.

    Without a place to be on long afternoons, he spent his time in a special garden he had found near a precipice. Truth be told, it was less of a garden and more of a random collection of wild berry bushes, but Felix loved it all the same. If his kind wouldn't be his company, then the plants would have to do.

    Most days, he curled up under a Pecha Berry tree, absentmindedly snacking on its fruit. Without a sentient mind to talk to, he daydreamed his own adventures. He looked at the clearing and saw an epic battle of monstrous Pokemon fighting to the death, or sometimes an imaginative spatial flurry of lights.

    In his more depressive moments, he curled up by the cliff's edge instead. The river at its bottom had carved a path through the mountain several trees deep. It'd be a lethal fall. He would look at the rushing whitewater as it forced its way along.

    I wonder what it'd be like. To just let go. To just fall. To feel the wind in my fur, and humidity on my cheeks. Would it be over quickly?

    ...

    He never had the courage, nor the cowardice, to actually make the jump. Instead, he just stared at the flowing water. He'd let his mind wander until dusk, and then he'd head home.

    His family was supportive. He could talk to them. But they didn't truly understand. They didn't know what it was like. They were blue. His sister defended him as much as she could. It was bittersweet. It was nice that someone was standing up for him, but for that person to be his sister and his younger one at that... It definitely didn't help in the long run, and just gave his hecklers more ammunition.

    His mother was fine, of course. She doted on him like a mother does. She called him her "Shining Child,” referencing the slight sparkle that his pink stripe naturally displayed. His father, however, was different. Felix's father loved him, that much he knew. But the "Shining Child" could tell that his own father held reservations. He could see it in his eyes. He could see, deep down, that he was disappointed. Not necessarily at Felix himself, but for the color of his fur. He knew it wasn't the child's fault, but the feeling remained.

    That very fact also explained why Felix was almost never home. He was always at that grove. There, he could be alone, not because he had to be, but because he wanted to be.

    He did go into town on occasion, despite being generally unwelcome in any large group. Various small Pokemon ran shops there. There were also parks and gathering spots, but Felix had no use for them. He had already tried talking the Pokemon in there. But the shopkeepers were courteous enough - so long as Felix was there to spend some coin.

    During one of those trips into the market, Felix witnessed an amazing sight: standing over by the fruit stand was a female Pachirisu with a pink bow tied to her left ear. It bounced as she rooted through the fruit stand, looking for the perfect Berry to purchase. Felix snuck around the stalls to get a better look at this girl. She was blue, like all the others, but she seemed different somehow.

    He hid behind the walls of the market stall next to the Berry shop and spied on the newcomer. She was smaller than some of the others, though still the same age, roughly. But Felix was locked on her ponderous, deep-in-thought expression. Her brow was tilted upward slightly, and her mouth was barely opened as she studied the fruit. Disappointed in what she found, she left empty-handed. Soon, she vanished into the throng of people.

    The pink-striped Pachirisu looked into the crowd but couldn't spot her anymore. Who was that? he wondered.

    Disappointed, Felix left for his meadow. When he got close, he heard the sound of rustling in the clearing, so Felix hid as he approached it. Through the bushes, he could see a small Pachirisu hopping in place, attempting to reach a Pecha Berry hanging from a branch just a bit too high up. Felix's heart raced when he saw the girl in his garden. His new favorite person in his favorite place? Maybe things were looking up after all.

    The pink-striped squirrel hopped from the bushes and raced across the small, grassy field. Felix jumped just before reaching the girl, swiping the Pecha Berry like he had done so many times before. He landed on his feet and presented the pink berry, unharmed, to the girl.

    "Oh!" she let out, startled. "Um, thank you." She graciously took the Berry. "Oh, hey, I've seen you before. Felix, right?"

    The boy nodded with a big grin. "Yeah! And don't worry about the Berry, I do that kind of stuff all the time."

    "Do you come here a lot then? I just barely found this place today." She looked around the grove. "Oh! My name's Samantha, by the way."

    "Samantha... That's a pretty name. But yeah, I come here a lot. Like, a lot. I don't really have anywhere else to go." Felix looked at the ground for a moment. "Everyone sorta just hates me."

    The girl was silent for a moment and took a bite of her Pecha Berry. She contemplated the flavor for a moment. "Well, that can't be true. Someone has to like you."

    Felix shook his head. "Besides my family, I'm pretty sure everyone hates me. But don't worry about that; it's stupid. So, um, you like Pecha Berries, huh? I saw you at the fruit stand early looking through them."

    "Yeah, they're my favorite food. But I'm really picky about them. None of those were any good." She paused for a moment and raised an eyebrow at Felix. "I didn't see you at the fruit stand. Where were you?"

    Felix froze. Face warm, he replied, "I was, uh, hiding."

    "Why?"

    "Because... because... because... I was nervous," he stammered out.

    "Nervous? About what?"

    It was now or never. "Because I think you're... really cute... and... I think I like you." Felix couldn't believe what he was doing. All of this was a million miles out of his comfort zone, and his chest felt ready to explode.

    Samantha dropped her gaze to the bite in her Pecha Berry. She said nothing for what seemed like an eternity. Then, "You seem like a really sweet guy, Felix..."

    Felix's mind raced. Don't say it, don't say it, don't say it... He knew what word was coming. He could feel it. His heart trembled.

    "But... No, I'm sorry. I... I can't. Look, if someone were watching this right now, I'd be just as much of an outcast as you are! No, I couldn't handle that." Her face was rigid. Cold.

    The world slowed to a stop. Felix's mind refused to process the words he was hearing. His gaze fell to the blades of grass below him. "But-"

    Samantha stopped him. "Sorry, I have somewhere to be."

    Felix, still looking at the ground, listened as she ran off on all fours. She was gone. His gaze shifted to the Pecha Berry she had left behind.

    Really, though, what had he expected? No one liked him, he knew that. Why did he even try? Did he really think he'd be that lucky? He was a fool. He didn't know where he was going. He just wanted to leave.

    His life was a failure. No friends, no accomplishments, no money, no anything. I should have just stayed home my whole life. It'd have been just as effective. And he failed to befriend the only girl he had ever felt anything towards. It was foolish; they hadn't even met, really. But it was just another reminder that he was a nobody. She even said it. He was an outcast.

    ...

    That night, he stood at the edge of the cliff in his little garden. He looked out at the cloudy, nighttime sky. Not a single star shone, and the moon was even blocked by a thick layer of overcast. It was dark and dreary, something Felix thought was somewhat poetic.

    His heart beat furiously. His chest still hurt. His mind raced. He saw nothing but memories of living nightmares - his own recent past. Larger, bulkier Pokemon threw him into a wall; flocks of others laughed as they did so. Girls looked away as he walked by. Even socially awkward people made excuses to avoid talking to him.

    Voices spoke behind him, saying awful things about him - none of which were true. Soon, it became noise, senseless noise ringing in his ears. He couldn't hear anything but the noise, and he couldn't think of anything but the torment that was his life. He opened his eyes and, passed the hallucinations of dismay, he stared at the infinite darkness below.

    ...

    Felix was a lonely squirrel.

    So he asked eternity to keep him company.

    ...
    Last edited by Brutaka; 31st December 2014 at 2:06 AM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    He tried talking to a group of girls. Girls like pink, right? Well, apparently, they didn't like pink on male Pokemon. They just laughed at him. The leader of their little troupe scoffed and suggested to her friends that they "leave this pink, gay thing and go somewhere else."
    What? Even pokemon have gender roles? The dialogue you've constructed sounds distinctly human.ow... are all non-pink pokemon like this? I mean...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    He tried again and again. The nerds wouldn't talk to him. They were playing some game where they pretended to fight each other, rather than actually doing so.
    "Nerds" is a bit derogatory from Felix not knowing any of them, and this whole sentence almost seems kind of too... and it's starting to feel less and less like pokemon...


    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    It was nice that someone was standing up for him, but for that person to be his sister and his younger one at that... It definitely didn't help in the long run, and just gave his hecklers more ammunition.
    Well, she's someone to talk to, at least. And what does her being his sister have to do with it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    During one of those trips into the market, Felix witnessed an amazing sight: standing over by the fruit stand was a female Pachirisu with a pink bow tied to her left ear. It bounced as she rooted through the fruit stand, looking for the perfect Berry to purchase. Felix snuck around the stalls to get a better look at this girl. She was blue, like all the others, but she seemed different somehow.
    Amazing? Why? All his past experiences suggest that she'd be just another bully... and the next part just sounds like she's like a normal person who wants quality fruit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    His new favorite person in his favorite place?
    All he knows her by is that she looked concentrated while examining a piece of fruit... this all feels really sudden.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    The boy nodded with a big grin. "Yeah! And don't worry about the Berry, I do that kind of stuff all the time."
    Surprisingly not shy and withdrawn.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    "Samantha... That's a pretty name. But yeah, I come here a lot. Like, a lot. I don't really have anywhere else to go." Felix looked at the ground for a moment. "Everyone sorta just hates me."
    This just sounds unnatural...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    It was now or never. "Because I think you're... really cute... and... I think I like you." Felix couldn't believe what he was doing. All of this was a million miles out of his comfort zone, and his chest felt ready to explode.
    Oh my... he just saw her and fell in love? And she's supposed to accept it after he spied on her? And she rejects him because of his stripe color and not the fact that he literally just saw her a few minutes ago and decided to ask her out based on that?

    Everything seems too neat and smooth for the sorrows of Felix... people judge him for his fur color and not any of the other things he does, unrealistically. I think it would do more to exaggerate their negative views of what he says and does, instead of creating outright contempt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    His life was a failure. No friends, no accomplishments, no money, no anything. I should have just stayed home my whole life. It'd have been just as effective. And he failed to befriend the only girl he had ever felt anything towards. It was foolish; they hadn't even met, really. But it was just another reminder that he was a nobody. She even said it. He was an outcast.
    Uh, he gave up even before trying to make friends with the jigglypuff, his sister was there for him, and he wasn't trying to befriend the pachirisu, he was hoping for love and stalked her.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    Even socially awkward people made excuses to avoid talking to him.
    This is a bit of awkward wording... even people that he looks down on won't talk to him!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    Voices spoke behind him, saying awful things about him - none of which were true.
    So Felix... hasn't given up yet and started to believe that he is inherently bad, or are you trying to justify him or something? This close to the end, and I don't think it really fits here.

    Overall, it's pretty good, but with a few kinks that didn't allow me to enjoy it that much. I also got the sense that you everyone's hate was irrational and tried to justify Felix's actions a lot, but it ended up feeling unrealistic and, well, a bit overdramatic.

  3. #3
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    So I'll start off saying that I do appreciate criticism. I really do. I'd be nowhere if certain individuals hadn't stepped in and shown me the error of my ways during my early work.

    However, that being said, there are occasions when I simply don't agree with the commenter at all. And this is one of those cases.

    The reason that Pokemon in this fic sound 'human-like' is because my interpretation of Pokemon behavior follows from the PMD-verse. They don't necessarily sound human-like, they sound intelligent, or sentient. I mean, they have a whole town with a market and presumably an economy, and you're surprised that they have gender roles? But no, not all non-pink Pokemon are like that. However, peer pressure is quite a powerful thing, and if everyone else is hating on someone, it's incredibly likely that the rest will follow suit in some fashion.

    The term "nerd" isn't strictly derogative to me. I readily call myself a nerd. It makes for a good descriptor for a certain variety of people. Felix makes the point about the nerds not being willing to talk to him because nerds are stereotypically viewed as being beneath the populars, and in that case, are usually more welcome to people joining their group. These nerds, however, are a bit more exclusive than the stereotypical ones. This is mostly due to the small sample size of peers that Felix has. The smaller the group of individuals are, the more tightly knit they are, and the more tightly knit they are, the less inclined they are to welcome new members.

    I am almost surprised that someone actually questioned what would be wrong with a boy being defended by her younger sister. But think about gender roles. Men are supposed to be tough, they aren't supposed to need help. They're supposed to be the ones doing the saving. Girls are supposed to be the damsels. This isn't my opinion - these are the gender roles that have existed for decades. Any middle-school boy, let alone a teenage one, knows that you can't have a girl fighting your battles. There's almost nothing worse, in those years, to be defended by a girl. This very fact only worsens the others' opinions of Felix. They call him weak, and girly. In that respect, Felix has reservations about his sister. He knows she means well, but she tends to just make matters worse.

    And then we come to the interactions with Samantha. Samantha is one of the populars, not one of the b**chy ones, but one still concerned with her image. Felix falls pretty hard for her when he sees her even just the first time, something that does actually happen, albeit rarely. And it never turns out well. Samantha doesn't judge him based on his stripe though, and indeed she makes no mention of it. No, she refuses because of his social status. As she said, she'd become an outcast like him, and for one so reliant on her place in society, the thought was unthinkable. The interactions between Felix and Samantha are analogous to interactions that I myself had with a girl when I was in high school, albeit a caricatured version of them. Granted, I didn't go crazy over being rejected, but then again, I was never the depressive sort.

    Felix isn't shy or reserved in his dialogue, but then again, he never was. He desperately longs for social interaction with his peers, and as such, he wouldn't be shy. Perhaps he's a bit too open, but he doesn't have experience to where social boundaries lie. So he's awkward, too open, and too easily hurt by others. This also goes to explain why being alone bothers him so much, and eventually drives him to do what he does.

    He had no intentions of talking with the Jigglypuff, or his group, because a bully had suggested he do so as an insult. The group was flamboyant - more exactly, they were mostly homosexual. Which is all well and good, but Felix isn't that way. Felix is already being called "gay", and hanging out with them would only make matters worse.

    But even without all that, the pink stripe most certainly is enough for the bullies to heckle him for. I've seen it so. many. times. Bullies only need one thing latch onto, and they'll harass you for years about it. Whether it's the color of your fur (or skin), your weight, your vision, or what backpack you bring to school, it doesn't matter.

    Ideally, people wouldn't judge you for a single thing, or at all.

    Ideally, gender roles wouldn't exist.

    Ideally, you could be free to be yourself.

    Ideally, people wouldn't be pushed to off themselves so easily.

    But the world isn't ideal. And we all know that.

    Felix was inspired by a number of things, but the main ones are an RPG horror game (Misao), a novel by Cormack McCarthy (The Road), as well as my own past experiences.

    Misao set the tone, and drove me to actually write it. The Road contributed the symbolism. Anyone who's read it would know that it's nothing but symbolism, and this story follows suit. True, the symbolism here isn't quite as buried, but still. The story is making a statement about gender roles and bullying, so yes, it's powerful. Maybe it's a bit overbearing. But I haven't even read a news article about a suicide that wasn't.

    The behaviors of the girls and the bullies, as well as Felix, are heavily based on my own experiences in middle school and high school. I was lucky that I had at least one friend, but the two of us were not welcome anywhere in that school. So we hung out together, far from the rest of them. But I imagine that without a friend there to talk to... I might very well have ended up none too different than Felix here. So I find it incredibly odd that you would say that the reactions here are unrealistic. I lived them, and they're very common in small schools.

    Again, I'd like to stress, I don't mean to be offensive. I was just surprised by some of these reactions, especially after such uplifting opinions from my own beta-readers.

  4. #4
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    Well, I am obviously not one of your betas, but speaking as somebody who has both experienced bullying firsthand and helped others cope with it (Including a close friend who was bullied so badly she was left with permanent disabilities) I will wholeheartedly agree that you've set things up awfully black and white here. Unlike with the above reviewer, though, this was something that did bring down the whole story for me. I've experienced what kind of damage these sorts of things can cause and I've seen first hand how much worse it could have been; in short, bullying is never a topic I take lightly and that's why I might come off a bit harsh with what I am about to say. Since you mentioned parts of it were inspired by your own life, I'd also like to stress that I'm purely criticizing your story as you have presented it; not any background influences it might have had.

    To put it concisely, it felt like you were trying so hard to paint Felix in a sympathetic light that it ended up backfiring and I instead felt less and less sympathy for him as the story went on. As a result, what was clearly intended as a gripping emotional conclusion held no weight for me which made the whole message ring hollow. The biggest reason why rears its head right in the opening lines.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    Felix was a lonely squirrel.

    It wasn't his fault. Not really. But he supposed he should be used to it by now. Besides his family, no one cared about him enough to spend time with him.
    'It wasn't his fault'. This line really bothered me, not because he's thinking along these lines (Because that's something most victims of bullying go through) but because it feels like you keep trying to convince me that he's right. Yes, some people are going to single him out for being different and that is indeed not his fault. However, and this is a big however, the fact that he's lonely? That is something he most definitely has a hand in. First off, for wondering why people shun him for having a different color of fur, he doesn't even blink at passing an equally shallow judgment:

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    Felix glanced over at the Jigglypuff and his surrounding groups of friends. Even from here, Felix could hear their flamboyant mannerisms. He didn't dare go over to them. Felix just wasn't like them.
    So, based off one quick glance he thought Jigglypuff and his friends were acting a little fruity, so clearly that's a complete no-go? Those are some lofty standards for someone who claims to just want someone to talk to and that's a whole group of people he's shut out based entirely on his own preconceptions. For all he knows, they're straight as arrows and just happen to be in drama club. Textbook behavior for social outcasts, but definitely something he accomplished through his own attitude and not by virtue of his fur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    Without a place to be on long afternoons, he spent his time in a special garden he had found near a precipice. Truth be told, it was less of a garden and more of a random collection of wild berry bushes, but Felix loved it all the same. If his kind wouldn't be his company, then the plants would have to do.
    So by 'his kind' you aren't including his doting mother, his protective little sister, and his father who's trying to wrestle down his personal doubts so that he can be there for his son? Again, the only one driving a wedge into this relationship is Felix himself, and he is being a pretty terrible person about it by selfishly throwing away the efforts of his entire immediate family in the process rather than trying to put in even half the effort on his end as they have on theirs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    His family was supportive. He could talk to them. But they didn't truly understand. They didn't know what it was like. They were blue. His sister defended him as much as she could. It was bittersweet. It was nice that someone was standing up for him, but for that person to be his sister and his younger one at that... It definitely didn't help in the long run, and just gave his hecklers more ammunition.
    And this would be where the last traces of sympathy I had for this character pretty much evaporated. Pulling this 'you don't understand my pain' line on the people who have done their best to put up with and accommodate his selfish behavior is bad enough, but turning around and blaming your own social failings on a younger sibling who is trying their best to help the situation you are too much of a coward to even address takes a special kind of unpleasantness that I just can't relate to. Again, this is certainly a thing that people in these kinds of destructive spirals do, but that doesn't change the fact that it's an appallingly awful thing to do.


    I could keep going, but that really is what it boils down to. By focusing entirely on Felix's issues and reducing everyone else into the background, you create a tone that comes off as self-centered and dismissive of everybody else's concerns. Further, you hand-wave any thought of those concerns away as 'not his fault' even when the events you are describing clearly show Felix displaying those self-same failings in his own interactions (such as dismissing Jigglypuff & co off-hand based on social stigma, just like the girl later does to him). In short, much as he is being presented as a victim, Felix himself shows the mentality of a budding bully, lacking only sufficient power over somebody else to become precisely the same kind of bastard who's tormenting him. If this was what you were going for, that would definitely be a praiseworthy effort and if having such a moment himself was the triggering event that finally pushed him over the edge it would definitely have made for a strong and gripping emotional ending that would more than justify going for a theme as dark as suicide.

    Unfortunately, your ending lines seem to indicate that this not what you were going for, which raises the disturbing possibility that this whole subtext was unintentional on your part. That...makes it very hard for me to get on board with this story.

    You've done a good job of conveying the dark side of being in that kind of headspace where you feel the whole world is against you, and Felix's negative behaviors all fit very well with the kind of habits that victims of heavy bullying go through, but the story as you present it is so single-mindedly focused on Felix's issues and does so little to establish a side for him that's still trying to do right and trying to be an open, friendly person that I just cannot relate to him. Balance is extremely important in stories like this, both between dark and light and between the different perspectives, and unfortunately there's not much of either here. The perspective is entirely dark and entirely on Felix and treats his problems as the only ones that matter, and that creates a subtext of self-absorption that taints the whole. Show us how he relates to other people; show us that he recognizes and at least tries to appreciate emotions and issues other than his own, give him antagonists who are more than basic bully high school archetypes, and acknowledge when he legitimately messes up. An easy black and white world creates an easy out where the reader can blame some characters and absolve others; if you want your story to have lasting emotional impact, you need to take those easy answers and put them well out of your readers' reach so that they have to stop and think about the themes you bring up instead of just filing them away again.

    So yeah, on a whole, I'm not a big fan of the story as it stands. On a technical level your prose is good and conceptually this sort of story could go a lot of places, but you've taken up a lot of heavy themes and I don't feel you've handled them with as much forethought and consideration as they require to be effective. I'd recommend really taking a step back, sorting out precisely how you want your message to be and making sure that the story does not only tell us what you want it to tell but also shows it.
    Last edited by Creepychu; 30th December 2014 at 5:50 AM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    The reason that Pokemon in this fic sound 'human-like' is because my interpretation of Pokemon behavior follows from the PMD-verse. They don't necessarily sound human-like, they sound intelligent, or sentient. I mean, they have a whole town with a market and presumably an economy, and you're surprised that they have gender roles?
    Ah. I was referring more to the fact that this specific gender role was, quite recently, formed in humans, on a basis that isn't easily transferrable to the pokemon world, with its huge species and color diversity. The whole story, I've noticed, seems that it could be easily translated to a human story just by changing some names, which was what I was trying to get at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    Felix makes the point about the nerds not being willing to talk to him because nerds are stereotypically viewed as being beneath the populars, and in that case, are usually more welcome to people joining their group.
    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    I am almost surprised that someone actually questioned what would be wrong with a boy being defended by her younger sister. But think about gender roles. Men are supposed to be tough, they aren't supposed to need help. They're supposed to be the ones doing the saving. Girls are supposed to be the damsels. This isn't my opinion - these are the gender roles that have existed for decades. Any middle-school boy, let alone a teenage one, knows that you can't have a girl fighting your battles. There's almost nothing worse, in those years, to be defended by a girl. This very fact only worsens the others' opinions of Felix. They call him weak, and girly. In that respect, Felix has reservations about his sister. He knows she means well, but she tends to just make matters worse.
    Fanfiction is kind of an escapist thing for me, so I apologize in that my meaning was lost. Yes, there are stereotypes, and yes, there are gender roles, but I feel like you handled them as if they were truths rather than flaws. I understand now that Felix was an unreliable narrator, and that would seem like that to him, but the narrative did feel more objective than emotional to me.

    I'll admit that I have not had many experiences with direct bullies, and that I've been basing my statements on the unfairness of less direct people that were in my scope of view. All bullies are not equal, I guess, and I can't discuss it very well with you.

    Although I really don't believe that any story would be powerful just because it includes gender roles and bullying.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    The reason that Pokemon in this fic sound 'human-like' is because my interpretation of Pokemon behavior follows from the PMD-verse. They don't necessarily sound human-like, they sound intelligent, or sentient. I mean, they have a whole town with a market and presumably an economy, and you're surprised that they have gender roles? But no, not all non-pink Pokemon are like that. However, peer pressure is quite a powerful thing, and if everyone else is hating on someone, it's incredibly likely that the rest will follow suit in some fashion.
    I read the fic and agree with both of you on some areas. But the other reviewer didn't expand on his comments. Let's see if I can help. Anyway, nothing wrong with this comment. I know you and the WoJ are big PMD writers.

    The term "nerd" isn't strictly derogative to me. I readily call myself a nerd. It makes for a good descriptor for a certain variety of people. Felix makes the point about the nerds not being willing to talk to him because nerds are stereotypically viewed as being beneath the populars, and in that case, are usually more welcome to people joining their group. These nerds, however, are a bit more exclusive than the stereotypical ones. This is mostly due to the small sample size of peers that Felix has. The smaller the group of individuals are, the more tightly knit they are, and the more tightly knit they are, the less inclined they are to welcome new members.
    It might not be derogatory to you, but the fic isn't about you. It's about Felix. If Felix is an outcast, then it's more realistic for him to want to reach out to those "nerds" he brings down rather than insulting them. I know stereotypes exist and that gender roles exist, but you take a risk when you write about them. Did you INTEND to make Felix subtly suggest that "I want people to accept me but I don't want to accept other people who are in the same boat as I am"? That's what it comes off as. If you wanted him to be more sympathetic, you might want to change that.

    I am almost surprised that someone actually questioned what would be wrong with a boy being defended by her younger sister. But think about gender roles. Men are supposed to be tough, they aren't supposed to need help. They're supposed to be the ones doing the saving. Girls are supposed to be the damsels. This isn't my opinion - these are the gender roles that have existed for decades. Any middle-school boy, let alone a teenage one, knows that you can't have a girl fighting your battles. There's almost nothing worse, in those years, to be defended by a girl. This very fact only worsens the others' opinions of Felix. They call him weak, and girly. In that respect, Felix has reservations about his sister. He knows she means well, but she tends to just make matters worse.
    This is fine, but the problem I'm seeing is that your fic is a one-shot tackling a LOT of ideas. Here's a list of them: gender roles, adolescence, suicide, family, depression, bullying... And that's just off the top of my head. Oh, and you tried to include symbolism inspired by good old McCarthy. That takes a lot of work. Have you considered turning this into a longer work?

    I work at a crisis hotline, so I'll give you a tip in hopes that it gives you an idea. When we're on the phone with a suicidal patient and they mention they have supportive family like Felix does, we really, REALLY focus on that. ANY buffer that might keep them from going off the deep end is important. That little pet turtle that the suicidal person has? Yeah, we'll bring that up, too. Whatever it takes. I would have really liked to see you explore Felix's relationship with his family in regards to this. Your impact would have been so, so much more powerful if you showed that he had all this help, but was still overwhelmed anyway. Because, sadly, that happens.

    And then we come to the interactions with Samantha. Samantha is one of the populars, not one of the b**chy ones, but one still concerned with her image. Felix falls pretty hard for her when he sees her even just the first time, something that does actually happen, albeit rarely. And it never turns out well.
    Okay, true. The memory I got from reading that was pretty strong, so I can agree with you. But you missed a lot of potential on character development here. Basically Felix runs headfirst into a hopeless situation and then ends up killing himself over it, and for other reasons. What if he had been skeptical about telling Samantha he liked her, and then regretted that he said nothing, so he goes to her later and tries again? That would show that he's eager for a chance and has hope. Why doesn't Samantha blatantly point out "well, it's not your stripes, it's not you. It's everyone else." How would that have affected his self-esteem? Again, I think this warrants a longer fic.
    Felix isn't shy or reserved in his dialogue, but then again, he never was. He desperately longs for social interaction with his peers, and as such, he wouldn't be shy. Perhaps he's a bit too open, but he doesn't have experience to where social boundaries lie. So he's awkward, too open, and too easily hurt by others. This also goes to explain why being alone bothers him so much, and eventually drives him to do what he does.
    Let me stop you here to point out that your description of Felix and your review defense is almost as long as the fic itself. That's a sign that you might need to flesh out some things.
    He had no intentions of talking with the Jigglypuff, or his group, because a bully had suggested he do so as an insult. The group was flamboyant - more exactly, they were mostly homosexual. Which is all well and good, but Felix isn't that way. Felix is already being called "gay", and hanging out with them would only make matters worse.
    Piggy-backing off my previous comment... I don't remember you stating this in the fic. You shouldn't have to spell your reasoning out word by word to anyone but yourself, so that you can write to the best of your ability.
    Ideally, people wouldn't be pushed to off themselves so easily.
    Suicide is not an easy decision. It may seem like it, because sometimes people get depressed over insignificant things, but that just means they've been through so much, they don't know how to react any other way. At that point, decision making skills go out the window and so does reason, self-esteem, ambivalence, etc.
    Misao set the tone, and drove me to actually write it. The Road contributed the symbolism. Anyone who's read it would know that it's nothing but symbolism, and this story follows suit. True, the symbolism here isn't quite as buried, but still. The story is making a statement about gender roles and bullying, so yes, it's powerful. Maybe it's a bit overbearing. But I haven't even read a news article about a suicide that wasn't.
    The last few sections were the most powerful and written the rest, yeah, but I think if you expand on some things it could be better.
    I hope this helps. If not... Well, oops.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | the epitome of obscurity and innocence, combined |
    | letters 7/8 released 5/28/15 |


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving |
    | chapter 10 released 6/21/15 |


  7. #7
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    I guess I'm just terrible at implying things or whatever. All of my explanations are just expanded versions of lines already there, in a way that would be far to wordy for a fic intentionally designed to be hazy.

    -The narrator called the group "nerds", but Felix didn't. Felix tried to talk with them, but they sent him away - essentially for not being nerdy enough.
    --In-text: "The nerds wouldn't talk to him. They were playing some game where they pretended to fight each other, rather than actually doing so. Felix had to ask what they were doing, and that alone earned their scorn."

    And the part about the flamboyant group just seemed like common sense to me, but I suppose not after all. It follows from my own experience with bullies, and what to do and what not to do in order to avoid giving your bullies ammunition against you. I know this isn't about me, but who would honestly go over to the group that the bullies just suggested he go hang out with? Wouldn't that only make the bully's scorn worse!?

    But ultimately, the narrator is unreliable and biased to Felix, and this is intentional. That's why it feels self-centered, Creepychu. Depressive people are like that - I even asked one that's been through it just to make sure. (DP, I've had a steady dialogue with Meeker recently)

    And to answer your question, DP, this could never be a longer fic, at least not for me. I don't have the time, nor the desire for that. TTL and AVT are enough, and even then, I have two more planned. I meant this to be a one-shot, and no more. And yeah, it seems like a lot of topics, but they're all hand-in-hand topics anyway.


    Lastly, I appreciate the criticisms, I just wished I had been more ready for this kind of stuff. Still I thank Knightfall, SableVulpi, and JX Valentine for looking this over regardless - your support through all of these fics is much appreciated.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    I guess I'm just terrible at implying things or whatever. All of my explanations are just expanded versions of lines already there, in a way that would be far to wordy for a fic intentionally designed to be hazy.
    If it's intentionally designed to be hazy, then you're fine. Don't forget that you are allowed to disagree with us! Besides, readers can be at fault too. Sometimes we just don't read as closely as we should. Also, you don't know me well so you wouldn't know I take issues like suicide really seriously. :P I can be a bit picky/mean times.

    -The narrator called the group "nerds", but Felix didn't. Felix tried to talk with them, but they sent him away - essentially for not being nerdy enough.
    --In-text: "The nerds wouldn't talk to him. They were playing some game where they pretended to fight each other, rather than actually doing so. Felix had to ask what they were doing, and that alone earned their scorn."
    After realizing the narrator was meant to be unreliable and such, it made more sense.

    And the part about the flamboyant group just seemed like common sense to me, but I suppose not after all. It follows from my own experience with bullies, and what to do and what not to do in order to avoid giving your bullies ammunition against you. I know this isn't about me, but who would honestly go over to the group that the bullies just suggested he go hang out with? Wouldn't that only make the bully's scorn worse!?
    No, you're right. It would make it worse. It would be just an opportunity for Felix's personality to come in. If he DOESN'T do it, which he didn't, then it shows he cares about what these bullies say. That's what I got, and that's what I believe you were going for. If he had done it, though, it would have given more emphasis on his desperation to have friends. Also, it would have given him an air of confidence. I mean, it's hard to stick up to bullies like that. But I don't think you wanted Felix to have that confidence.

    But ultimately, the narrator is unreliable and biased to Felix, and this is intentional. That's why it feels self-centered, Creepychu. Depressive people are like that - I even asked one that's been through it just to make sure. (DP, I've had a steady dialogue with Meeker recently)
    I appreciate the efforts. And like I said, it makes more sense now that you mention the narrator.

    And to answer your question, DP, this could never be a longer fic, at least not for me. I don't have the time, nor the desire for that. TTL and AVT are enough, and even then, I have two more planned. I meant this to be a one-shot, and no more. And yeah, it seems like a lot of topics, but they're all hand-in-hand topics anyway.
    Fair enough. That's definitely your call, not mine.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | the epitome of obscurity and innocence, combined |
    | letters 7/8 released 5/28/15 |


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving |
    | chapter 10 released 6/21/15 |


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    And the part about the flamboyant group just seemed like common sense to me, but I suppose not after all. It follows from my own experience with bullies, and what to do and what not to do in order to avoid giving your bullies ammunition against you. I know this isn't about me, but who would honestly go over to the group that the bullies just suggested he go hang out with? Wouldn't that only make the bully's scorn worse!?
    Let me answer that one for you: I honestly hung out with team pink and I did not regret it. If bullies have their sights on you, you're equally giving them ammunition by jumping to their whims, but going against what they want and making some friends in the process at least has the satisfaction of 1) not being so damn lonely all the time and 2) making it a lot harder for them to do anything about it. Groups are harder to bully than individuals, and the moment I got that through my head was the moment they stopped getting leverage on me.

    That aside, the way you present it definitely sounds a lot more like 'I'm not going near them; they're different than me' than 'I'm afraid these people will bully me worse if I go there'. Yes, narration states that he doesn't dare to go over, but since you follow it up with 'Felix just wasn't like them' you create the impression that he doesn't go over not because he's afraid of giving bullies ammunition but because he's a bit of a xenophobe and isn't comfortable interacting with people too different from himself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    But ultimately, the narrator is unreliable and biased to Felix, and this is intentional. That's why it feels self-centered, Creepychu. Depressive people are like that - I even asked one that's been through it just to make sure. (DP, I've had a steady dialogue with Meeker recently)
    That is the negative side of depressive people and you did get that part accurate. I at least *hope* I managed to say that somewhere in there, if not well...there you go, you do indeed have the negative behaviors of depression down pat and good job on that.

    The problem here is that while you have the 'depressive' side down, you don't really have much of the person part of 'depressive person'. What I mean by that is that no depression I have ever seen (or experienced for that matter) is this clean-cut. Even heavily depressed people have moments of clarity and hope and they struggle to get them wherever they can and hold onto them when they do; with Felix I don't get that side of depression, mostly because aside from a brief moment with the girl, you've only elaborated on the downer side of his depression. As a result it feels like he tried once, it didn't work out and so he just gave up on everything which is definitely not how depression goes. There are plenty of opportunities where he could have those brighter or conflicted moments, particularly with his family, but you don't really seize on them and instead, again from the PoV of what is presented to me, you make it look as if he just wrote off his family off-hand and never even tried to make use of their support.

    So yeah, that's why I felt it came off lop-sided. It's nice to know that the subtext was intentional so points for that, because that is quite a good touch but I was hesitant to praise it until I made sure. However, it does leave me with the question of what you're really aiming for with this story. Okay so, heavy themes, what are you trying to say about them? Do you have some kind of viewpoint on depression that you want to bring across? Are you simply trying to paint a character portrait of a suicidal depressive? I'm a fan of biased narrators and I'm all for wanting to explore some heavier topics, but this story feels like it ends before it really gets to the exploration part. You spend a fair bit of time letting us see Felix being depressed, but you don't really show him struggling with his depression so much as he just slides straight down to the bottom. As a result, when you end with 'he asked eternity to keep him company' it does feel like he's just living up to the negative 'quitter' stereotype rather than like he's somebody who has legitimately exhausted his options and doesn't have any idea what to do with himself. As an allegory, it feels like it doesn't build up to much, as a character portrait, it's the portrait of a person who squandered away opportunities so many others in his position would give the world to have. Neither particularly appeals to me, unfortunately.

  10. #10
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    Right off the bat let me say this: I thought this was a good fic. I can see where some people are coming from with the story seeing very black and white, but from what I've noticed about people who are very depressed (I'll use how I was around 8th grade as an example), that's how some people in that situation, but not all, behave. I actually really liked that you went that route. Also, the fact that it was self-centered and biased really fits the context, because at the point where I'm guessing Felix is right now, he's turned completely inward towards himself. He isn't even aiming for sympathy anymore, which could easily make him seem unsympathetic. I think that takes guts to write someone like that.

    Finally, one quick note before my one nitpick:

    But... No, I'm sorry. I... I can't. Look, if someone were watching this right now, I'd be just as much of an outcast as you are! No, I couldn't handle that
    Dude, that one hit me right in the feels. And honestly, his thought process and reaction makes a lot of sense. Why? Because I've been rejected the exact same way. I'm not surprised he feels like crap afterwards. He bared his feelings for her, and she's like, "Nope, my friends would look at me funny, and I don't want that." It crushes you a bit inside

    But here's my nitpick. Sometimes, when a person's talking, they say more than they need to. For example:

    "I dunno. There's just something about showing the losers their place that entertains me so. Now, why don't you go hang out with those pink dudes over there where you belong?"
    Just a bit needlessly wordy. You don't need to put that last "so" in there, as it doesn't add anything to the sentence. Also, you don't need to have the phrase "over there" in the last sentence because you have a better destination in mind: "where you belong." Having "over there" is slightly redundant. There are more examples of this in the fic, but I can't remember them off the top of my head. My suggestion would be to read the dialog to yourself as you write to make sure it's something you could see yourself saying.

    But other than that, I liked this fic. You tackled some hard subjects the best you could, and I can only commend you for that. I hope the criticism you've gotten doesn't deter you from writing more fics like this, because, at least in my opinion, you've got something good here.
    Pokémon: Convergence

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    Next Chapter: Chapter 5

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    Mother of the Cave

    One-shot about an aggron watching over her den...until poachers appear and screw everything up.

    Next Chapter: N/A

    I'm still taking criticism for this story.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhalanxSigil View Post
    Right off the bat let me say this: I thought this was a good fic. I can see where some people are coming from with the story seeing very black and white, but from what I've noticed about people who are very depressed (I'll use how I was around 8th grade as an example), that's how some people in that situation, but not all, behave.
    Well, and Meeker agreed with me as well (he went through depression and got out of that), so yeah, thanks!

    Because I've been rejected the exact same way. I'm not surprised he feels like crap afterwards.
    Same here. Which is probably why I knew how to construct it.

    Just a bit needlessly wordy. You don't need to put that last "so" in there, as it doesn't add anything to the sentence. Also, you don't need to have the phrase "over there" in the last sentence because you have a better destination in mind: "where you belong." Having "over there" is slightly redundant.
    Yeah, and actually I was mulling over the line and most of the bully scene in my mind. The scene wasn't in the original draft, and I still think it looks off. I dunno. But that's definitely one of the problems.

    I hope the criticism you've gotten doesn't deter you from writing more fics like this, because, at least in my opinion, you've got something good here.
    Certainly not. I'm a fan of dark one shots, as you can see.

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