Shipping Fanfiction Review Guide A guide with tips, questions to think about, and ideas for leaving great reviews.
Check the post below for The Reviewing Hall of Fame for examples of good reviews.
If you have any questions about this guide or reviewing, please PM me or ask here.
Reviewing is an important part of the fanfiction writing process and goes a long way to create a connection and a dialogue between readers and writers and to foster improvement. Unfortunately… readers don’t always take that step to review. I think a lot of the time they worry that they can’t think of anything worthwhile to say (beyond the spammy “Good fic! Write more!”) or they don’t know how to put into words their feelings about something. There is so much that you all have to say as readers that sometimes I think you just need the questions put out plain and simple and then you can give really awesome, impactful critique. So please give it a shot. Remember, if you read a fic, if you enjoy a fic, the writer of that fic will never know unless you say something. People put so much effort into these things and deserve to hear some feedback.
Things can get complicated and there’s a lot to analyze, but even if you don’t want to go too far beyond the surface, you can leave a great review if you just ask yourself these simple questions about the story…
The simple questions:
-What did you like about this fic? Why did you like those things?
-What did you dislike about this fic? Why did you dislike those things?
-What do you predict/hope will happen next?
Following a few easy tips can help you leave better reviews as well...
Tips for reviewing:
-Refer to the text.
Giving examples directly from the text gives the writer a more direct idea of what you’re talking about. In any case, given a mixed set of fics and a mixed set of reviews I should be able to tell which review goes with which fanfiction.
-Take notes while you’re reading.
I know it sounds silly, but I always keep a word document open when I read a fic to take down little notes. It helps me remember the things I wanted to say when I get to the end and it keeps my reactions to things fresh in my mind.
Saying something like “X needs to act more romantic” or something is fine, but even better is to get specific and say “It would be great if X and Y could have a conversation about their future, and then X could say…” This applies to characterization, plotting, description… actually, pretty much anything.
Well, a good text should make you ask questions. These questions aren’t always to interrogate the writer (though sometimes they might be), but questions that the piece raises to you. If the piece made you think, the writer would love to hear that.
If you think something could be improved, be polite about it. Writers put a lot of effort into their pieces and their work is very personal to them. It’s not quite the same as criticizing someone’s baby, but… well, just be gentle. Leave constructive criticism, not destructive criticism.
-Understand that the ultimate decisions are left to the writer.
Critique is great and all, but the writer may disagree with you. It’s their piece and their right to do so. That does not mean that they ‘can’t take criticism.’
-You do have something worthwhile to say!
So please, leave a review.
Now, if you want to go beyond that, there are plenty of elements that you can focus on when looking at a story. If you ask yourself all these questions… then your review might end up longer than the fic itself which, hey, isn’t necessarily a bad thing so if you want, you can just focus on what elements seem especially important to the fic you’re reading. Use these areas to help you generate ideas on what to ask yourself…
Elements to consider: Characterization, Plot, Description, Emotion, Pacing, Dialogue, Exposition, Style, Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation, and Growth.
-Do the characters behave in a believable way?
There’s always room for character interpretation, but the most important thing for believable fanfiction is having the characters act… well, like the characters. So you can isolate what actions/thoughts made you say “Ha! That’s so Ash!” or “Hmm… I can’t imagine that Ash would say that.” It’s awesome (but not necessary) if you can actually state precedent for this too, if you’re that amazing: “When Ash was at the BLANK gym in BLANK city he said BLANK which is very consistent/inconsistent with how you’re portraying him.”
-Do the characters interact with each other in a believable way?
Basically a reiteration of the last question, but from the interaction standpoint. This is very important in shippy fanfiction. If there’s actual interaction in the show, you can base your interpretation on that, if not, you have to extrapolate from what you know about the characters and their reactions to things.
-Is the characterization fair?
This is a question about turning characters from the show into stock characters… which none of us really want to do. If you feel like someone is demonizing a character and turning them into a 2D villain… that’s a problem. It’s also a problem if someone is only highlighting a character’s good traits and making them out to be an angel when they’re not. This is a question about what kind of balance the writer strikes.
-If there are original characters, are they well rounded? And do they fit well in the group of canon characters or do they seem out of place?
Most people read fanfiction to see their favorite characters in action, but original characters often pop up to become part of the supporting cast. It’s very important that these original characters flow well into the group and don’t stick out like a sore thumb, but it’s also important that they don’t become so bland that they’re just there to perform a function. How do you feel about the new characters brought into the mix? How are their introductions handled? What is their purpose in the story?
-Is there progression in the characters and their relationship?
Do the characters grow? Does their relationship grow? Or are they flat characters with flat relationships that go nowhere? Is the growth believable or does it seem sudden and out of nowhere?
-Does the plot make sense? Is it believable?
-Are there any plot-holes/continuity errors?
My favorite writer Terry Pratchett once said that there are no continuity errors, just alternate pasts. But he's Terry Pratchett. It’s best to keep our stories straight. If you see a logical issue, it’s worthwhile to point it out.
-Does it keep you in suspense?
This doesn’t necessarily have to be in the way of “Who’s the murderer?” but does the writer keep you wanting more?
-Is the plot interesting and new or is it clichéd?
New and creative situations are awesome for readers tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. Clichés are… well, they’re just something we all want to avoid. And this applies not only to plot, but to description (for example, how many times have you heard eyes described as “chocolate brown” or “sky blue” or “windows to the soul?” A lot. It’s gotten old.) But that doesn’t mean clichés are useless. A good writer can use a cliché and the expectations it brings and turn it on its head. So if you see a cliché, evaluate its use. Is it expected, or is it used in a whole new way?
-Is the description artful? Does it paint a picture in your mind?
-How does the description serve the story?
It might be very pretty, but was it just there to fill space? My old creative writing teacher always used to say never to do with your words what a camera can do better. So look for significance in the description. Does it advance the plot, provide symbolism, create mood, or communicate the psychological state of the characters? Or is it just… pretty?
-Is the description concrete?
Does the writer avoid plain abstractions like “It was hot in the car that day” and go for the more imagistic descriptions like “The air shimmered over the molten highway as the supposedly frigid air flowing out of my broken-down ’96 Jeep Cherokee’s vents dissipated pointlessly into the superheated oven of the black interior.” Pulling out descriptions that you liked is very helpful. Pulling out descriptions that could use some work is also helpful.
-Does the writer show you what the characters are feeling, or do they just tell you?
It’s that old ‘show, don’t tell’ rule and it can apply not only to character, but to plot, description and… pretty much everything. As a reader, aren’t you more likely to connect emotionally to a character when you see through their actions and their thoughts that they’re in love with another character than when the writer just tells you that “X loved Y?” Part of the enjoyment of reading is being able to make the interpretations. So when the writer tells instead of showing, it’s important to point that out, and important to suggest ways that they could show the sentiment more subtly than just stating it outright.
-Did you feel an emotional attachment to the characters?
How much do you care about them and their plight? It’s the writer’s job to make you care about them. If you don’t care, what could make you care? What actions could be added or taken out to make them more sympathetic?
-How do you feel about the characters/events unfolding?
-Did anything make you laugh? Did anything make you sad?
This is a very genre-specific question, but if it’s a drama (or has dramatic parts) are you feeling the drama or does it leave you cold? If it’s a comedy (or has comedic parts) did the jokes make you laugh or were they not funny? I know that, as a writer, I wish that I could watch all of my readers as they're reading and take notes every time they laugh or don’t laugh. …But I can’t do that. It’s probably for the best as that would be very creepy, but the next best thing is to hear what you felt like when you were reading certain parts.
-Is the pacing smooth?
This is basically about how events are ladled out. Does it seem like in one chapter NOTHING happens and then suddenly TOO MUCH happens? Does it start too slow or end too suddenly? Did something happen too fast or drag out for too long?
-How is the passage of time handled?
-Is the dialogue/action/exposition placed for maximum impact?
This is basically about finding the right rhythm and applies both to comedy and drama.
-Is the dialogue conversational?
Does it sound like a real conversation between people or does it come off fake-sounding?
-Relate back to character.
Do the characters talk like the characters do in the show/manga/game or has Ash suddenly developed an Irish brogue? (Alright, I kid. That wouldn’t actually happen. But everyone has their own unique ‘voice’ and vocabulary-set and when that’s off it can really take a chunk out of character believability. So evaluating how the dialogue flows is very important to characterization.)
-Do you as a reader have a clear idea of what’s going on?
Wait, why are we suddenly in Fargo? Did I skip a chapter or something? Who’s that guy? What’s he talking about? *weeps* I’M LOST!
If you’re lost and confused, that’s something the writer needs to know so that they can make things clearer.
-Is the exposition exciting and interestingly written or do you have the urge to skip it?
-Is the exposition well-integrated within the story?
Is it all situated in the beginning like a pitch for the story or is it all at the end when you’re already confused beyond belief? Does it relate well to the action, or does it just seem kind of randomly thrown in there?
-Is the word choice precise?
As Mark Twain said, “the difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between a lightning bug and the lightning.” If the words used to describe something in the story are just right, then that’s applaudable. If you think a different one could capture the situation better, then that’s worth noting.
-Is the vocabulary overwhelming, underwhelming, or just right?
Writing that sounds like it’s ingested a thesaurus doesn’t come off any better than writing that’s never even seen one. A writer is constantly trying to strike a balance with their vocabulary—so that it is neither too florid nor too plain. Your input can be really helpful in striking this balance.
-Is the text lively or static?
Does the writer use a string of action verbs to create a sense of movement in the piece or do they stick with boring old static verbs like am/are/were/is/was/be/become/became? Static verbs are unavoidable sometimes (See? I just used one.) But if you can think of a way to change the sentence so it’s more dynamic, that’s almost always better.
-Are the sentences rhythmic and pleasing to the ear?
Reading the fic, or at least parts of the fic, aloud can really help decide this question. Stumbling blocks are probably areas that need work.
-Is there a strong voice?
Voice is hugely important to how the reader relates to the work. It’s basically about the ‘narrator,’ whether it’s an omniscient one or an actual character, becoming a character and stamping its personality on what they write. If someone’s managed this, then they deserve a pat on the back. If they need help, feel free to make suggestions.
-Is there rhetorical flair and variety?
If you know what metaphor and conceit and synecdoche and personification and all those other hairy critters are, then your input can be extremely helpful. But this is basically about what artful techniques the writer uses in their text and you don’t need to know the vocab to pick those out and appreciate them.
-Does the writer show a strong grasp of the language and its principles?
This is both extremely important in that it’s expected and extremely unimportant in that it is… expected. If this is something that a writer is struggling with, then pointing it out and giving corrections can be very helpful because it’s hard to understand things that aren’t written with proper grammar/punctuation/spelling and it reflects poorly on writers if they don’t understand these principles.
That said, we all make typos and errors occasionally (I’m sure there are plenty in this), and while these things are important to point out so that they can be corrected… if critique begins and ends at these technical issues then it doesn’t give the author much of a chance to improve on the bigger things.
-How has the writer improved as the piece goes on/from his or her last piece?
Here it is! A collection of reviews that deserve praise for going above and beyond to give helpful, insightful, and encouraging feedback. This is also a good place to look for examples to help you to become a better reviewer. Remember: improving your skills as a reviewer means sharpening your eye to the writing process itself; so becoming a good reviewer also helps you to become a better writer. Let's all improve together!
If you see or receive a great review that you think deserves to be pinned up with the rest, drop me a PM and I'll check it out (we're a little scant now, so I'd appreciate the suggestions). If you see one of your reviews here and you'd like it to be removed, PM me and I will take care of it.
Reviews by Antithesis:
Spoiler:- Review from The Kingdom of Illusions by Skiyomi:
Pretty great so far, surprised to see it hasn't gotten too many replies yet. Unfortunately since you're quite a bit in it's hard to give too detailed a review simply because there's so much to cover. I personally never thought that much about the Mirage Kingdom and how much you could expand that universe, so the idea of setting it there was a nice move. Love the theme of Ash falling into a rut and being deadset against "growing up," for lack of a better word. Something I'm working on has a really similar theme so it's nice to see that people are starting to explore the potential he's got as a character. Hoping you cover some of the things that happened to him in the other regions, right now it's a little odd that he's gone so many places but is still (seemingly) exactly the same; he's done a little maturing each region, specifically Hoenn and Sinnoh, so having him be stuck at that mentality seems off.
The only real complaints I've got are with the antagonists, and even those are pretty minimal. Marcus is kind of a flat character at present, and on the flip side Molly is bordering on over the top. They're still new, though, so I'm guessing they will be fleshed out as this keeps going.
Side note: the three year old in me found it funny that this site censored "*** se *** se," especially considering the mascot of Pokemon said it.
Reviews by Dementuo:
Spoiler:- Review from Forsaken by Kutie Pie:
My review for the first few chapters:
Nice way to start it off. Definitely not what I expected from a Pokemon fic, but you still did good. Characters were well-defined, along with their personalities (some of them, anyways.) The setting gave true story a dark feel to it, something I always love to see. Even reading just the first page, I already got a sense of what could happen. And after the "Ragnarok" event, That changed drastically. The appearence of Arceus was expected, but not in such a manner, nor was the mortality of the Legendaries. That's really when the story got interesting for me. The story took on a life of its own, nearly imitating what would happen if any group of 33 people (8 females and 25 males) ended up stuck together in a dead world. And it was that very connection to reality that made this interesting story so, well... Interesting.
All in all, the first few chapters got me addicted to this thing. If I had to give it a rating on a scale of 1-10, I'd give this thing a 9.2/10. There's always something to improve on, and here, I'd recommend fusing slightly different word choice. I found some of the words you used to make a bit less sense than other words that could've been used.
Reviews by Encyclopika:
Spoiler:- Review from Forsaken by Kutie Pie:
Why aren't people reviewing this? :O
This is brilliant. There isn't any one particular thing I can say that I like most - it's simply inspiring. :3 I like how you personified each legendary, for instance. They all clearly have individual characteristics and personalities that fit them quite well. I also like your use of words and how easily everything flows and just...how you put in such raw emotion.
The feeding and healing bit in chapter 2 was one of my favorites, for example. I love how you get down to each detail, you really made it out to be sexy, and so necessary, that it was natural and not forced at all. It just happened that way. <3
I also enjoyed chapter 1, the most, as to be expected. It dragged me in right from the get go. I'm probably just one for catastrophe stories, but I like it a lot. I also just love legendary Pokemon, but there are a lot of reasons why I picked this up faster than other stories.
All in all - finish this one! Please. I'd love to know what happens next with Mewtwo and how their relationship blossoms further. Saying that, I like how you make it a bumpy road to ship - as to be expected with Mewtwo. Excellent work! It really is. ^^
If you do PM lists, you can throw me on it. Otherwise, I'll try and check back every so often.
Reviews by FormeEon:
Spoiler:- Review from Forsaken by Kutie Pie:
As my name may indicate, I take great pride in knowing all about the DNA alterations and different formes of Pokemon. *puffs out chest* Point is, with the way you wrote this, its obvious you did your research. Kudos to you! However I was slightly expecting Blaine to show up too, since he was thought to have helped with Team Rocket's project alongside Dr.Fuji.
Also I was not expecting for Mew to go on a rampage like Mewtwo originally did. That was not expected. Especially with all that rage she had... Hell hath no fury like the wrath of a woman scorned. Also, was this what happened right before Mew became full of emptyness and stopped eating? It seems like it because of how she acted at the end.
Bridget sounds worse than those doctors. I mean, Mew had the power to break out, with her kid. Gosh.
Amazing chapter. :3
Reviews by Jo-Jo:
Spoiler:- Review from Contest Tie by Encyclopika:
*sidles into thread feeling guilty for not having reviewed so far* Hey, Encyclopika! Wow, a Contestshipping fic that's good. There's hope for us yet. I really like the way this is going - you've managed to make it very close to the style of the anime, but at the same time it's tightly plotted and doesn't waste endless page space padding itself out with filler material. May and Drew are nicely IC, their bickering spats are cute and funny, and am I mistaken or was that a gigantic bout of UST in chapter 3? (At least, I think it was that ch...) There is one thing that always bothers me, though, and that's that the new Pokemon are a bit confusing to read about. In the anime, there are no problems with a load of new critters being dumped on us in the first few episodes of the series, because we can see them - visual information is much easier to process - but in a fic, all we have to go on is a description. I know there have been a couple of occasions, such as the battle in this latest chapter, where I found myself skimming through, because I'd just lost track of what all the different names were, which one belonged to which trainer, and so on. I'd recommend introducing the Pokemon slower, and giving each one a strikingly memorable debut so that they stick in people's minds. This isn't essential for the random one-shots, but it might be for any Pokemon that is going to appear regularly, such as the ones owned by Dona and Derek. Also, I know it's a radical change, but I wouldn't have given May and Drew new Pokemon right from the beginning of the fic. Catching new ones like Sawbura during the course of the fic is fine, but Flareitten and Icechik were a bit jarring. If their line-ups had to be added to, it might have been less confusing if you'd stuck with existing Pokemon.
Anyway, apart from that, I'm enjoying it all. I can't help wondering how things are going to work out with May and Drew both entering contests together - the rivalry element between them is one we haven't so far seen in any of the show's travelling groups. Update soon?
Spoiler:- Review from Try To Remember Me by Mix0r:
Chapter 2, eh? I'm reading. I'll also review every now and then - got a PM list?
Some people might complain about how cranky you're making Dawn; I like to amplify some traits of some characters to suit my needs so I agree with the artistic license you're taking there. (All shipping authors do this in a basic way simply by shipping any main character that isn't Brock.) Just be careful to show other sides of her as well. The last thing you want is to accidentally turn a protagonist into an antagonist. Fanfiction should have some flexibility, but it also needs to be fairly believable.
That said, having Dawn as a love rival for May is an interesting choice, but not necessarily a bad one. It'll be interesting to see how you make this rivalry culminate. On the other hand, I hope John doesn't become too much of a love rival for Ash! He seems kind of creepy.
I like the scene with Brock and Nurse Joy, that was really well written. And lucky Brock.
Oh, nice tension between Dawn and Ash at the end. You have a funny way of writing their interactions.
I want to know what happens to Ash when he wakes up now...
Well, after two days of constant reading, it's finally due for my review (huh, that rhymes [whoa, Rayquaza flashback...]). Keep in mind this is from a person who doesn't care all too much for shipping or bad language, so take some things with a pinch of salt.
Well, the most attractive piece in this fic is the well-planned, deep and consistent natures of the Legendary Pokemon. I love the way in which they all interact, even though some appear completely forgotten about until the more recent chapters (*Regigigas sags his head*). I've got to say Deoxys is my favourite, not for the sexism or bad language but for the beautiful sarcasm I can relate with (my favourite being 'I feel young again! (or something like that) after Arceus youngified them). For this reason I love the council, and, like Sidewinder said, you've pulled off the old rivalries really well, and added some aspects we were not aware of that were really creative (like Suicune being more mature than Entei - I wouldn't have seen that coming in a million years).
The religious references are superb and give lots of effect to the finality and drama of some scenes (mainly the one with Arceus). Everything checks out, and it sort of broadens my religious perspective.
I have never been a fan of shipping, nor am I now particuarly, but the detail, emotion and action in this fic were enough to keep me hooked. I admit I don't care much for the Mewshipping (although you have portrayed it great, it is not my cup of tea), I find the best parts are when all the Legendaries are interacting together, even if they are not portrayed as one may expect (is Latias just filled with salt-water?).
I love the Darkrai-Cresselia thing going on, it seems so nice and natural and only vaguely hinted at the beggining.
There are only a few, petite holes I've managed to pick, though correct me if I accidentally skimmed over the answer or missed something obvious, as I can sometimes skip the occasional paragraph when they are all similar in length.
First of, and this is just from memory, remember, there was a bit that said Latias went vigilante in her hometown to protect it from murderers, thieves, etc, but almost got killed, etc, by said murderers, until Latias was called. But surely something which can help build a magical boundary around an entire town, or a creature that can move at supersonic speeds can get out of any mortal danger (at that time, of course)? Sure, the Legendaries were weakened, but that much?!
As well as this, the POVs get moved around constantly and you sometimes forget to mention who the subject is, or we get a tad confused (which is understandable, with all the Legendaries). For example, when a few Lenendaries are talking it's a bit hard to remember who is talking with who (as, for example, it can go, in talking: Groudon and Kyogre to Groudon and Rayquaza to Rayquaza and Deoxys to Deoxys and Cresselia to Cresselia and Shamin... etc). Sorry I can't pinpoint any exact bits, as this thing is truly mahoosive.
In my opinion, I think that Mewtwo talks a bit much, to Mew, to Legion and even to Ho-oh. I mean, yeah, he does talk about important stuff, but paragraph after paragraph of him talking seems to stretch it slightly, especially when it is a proper discussion between two people. In normal conversations, no-one ever says so much at one time. Maybe you could put a great deal of it in his thoughts? That way, relevant information to the topic is carried over but the reader gets more info. Just a thought.
Legion is great... hey, not in that way! I mean he is well described and does in fact seem like a being of pure evil. The only problem I have with his is that he over-describes his plans (where, logically, Legion could have got Mew pregnant with Mewtwo without revealing he is possessing her, which would make a lot more sense in my books). For example, he rambles on constantly about world domination, etc, and while the plans are perfect, they just bolster Mewtwo's resolution not to get Mew pregnant. P.S, I love the way you switched from calling Legion-Mew from she to he after it became clear to Mewtwo that Mew was all gone, very subtle yet clever.
I love the whole apocalypse thing, and I think you described the earth's death beautifully (along with the pitiful, beautifully crafted attempts at saving people by the Legendaries) and extremely well. Too well, I might think, when in a few chapters later we learn an entire Pokemon centre survived, as well as lots of plants, a home (in the last chapter I think), etc. We learn that the Legendaries are the only Pokemon alive, too. However, when dead Pokemon are raised from the dead, we expect them all to be evil and possessed by demons, as the demons revived them after all, and the pokemon attacked the Legendaries. Why then, a chapter or two later, do we get a nice omanyte giving Mewtwo a vial and offering him moral support? Is there something I missed, or were fossil Pokemon exempt from all the death (considering they survived for so long, anyway)?
I love all the game and Anime references, and as far as I know, they all check out great.
Overall, this ust be one of the best pieces of fanfiction I've ever read (except from the [detailed] mewshipping which I find slightly disturbing), and I can't wait until we reach the breathtaking conclusion! Sorry if i pointed out problems that weren't problems, and I'll happily edit this when shown straight.
P.S OMG YOU KILLED HEATRAN!!! THE ONE WHO ATE THE ROPE!!! HOW DARE YOU?!? BLASGDFIO'L#~VKDX!?!?!?!
Instead of me giving a chapter by chapter review, I feel like my review would be best suited to highlight the parts I liked, disliked, etc. Your Fic is so vast that it would be hard for me to do a review part by part. Mainly becuase there are so many parts that I liked that it would take me several hours to put in everything I wanted to talk about. Since I started the first chapter, I pulled up a word document and jotted down points that I wanted to touch on. If this seems somewhat jumbled and skips around a bit, please forgive me. And FYI, this is the first shipping fic I've ever read. To be completely honest, I only had a vague idea of what shippings were before I started your fic. Anyway,
First stop, the characters. Holy ****. By far the most well written, deep, and emotionally driven ensemble of characters I've ever met. They are all so distinct, so different, that I had to read back several chapters to visit them again just so I could make sure I had a full understanding of them. From Latias's whining (and yes, I wanted to punch her in the face several times), to Deoxys inappropriate banter (Yes, he's my favorite), to Entei's awkward moments (The bowel movements were hilarious), to the Regi brothers interractions (Regirock having to have the PERFECT rocks was so good I read it three times). These characters are some of the best I've ever read in a Pokemon Fanfiction, actually, they are some of the best I've ever read anywhere, period. And the thing I really can't get over the most is that you had to make all of them so different. Over thirty of them were so unique that I wonder what it would be like if you were only working with two or three. These characters have blown my mind in more ways than I can count and you've done an amazing job developing them.
The council was another nice touch. Reminded me of a few stories I've read when they got together. Some in the circle bickering, others paying attention, and some even not paying attention at all. At first, it somewhat annoyed me that some of them were not taking the situation seriously. And once again when the world ended and the fights and joking were still going on. Then I realized that it didn't annoy me, I liked it. Some of these supposedly all powerful immortal beings behaved liked children, even cracking sex jokes. But it fit what they were so perfectly. If you look at it logically, it makes perfect sense. Here they are having been alive for so many centuries that they're reverted back to adolescent egotisim (Not all of course, Ho-Oh is a welcome example). What would you do if you were the size of a two story home, lived forever, and had god-like power? I'd screw around as much as possible. Why not? There would be no one who could oppose me. I see it sometimes in vampire novels. These immortal beings have everything, with the years ahead stretching further than they can see. So they become rock gods, *****s, drug addicts, entrapanuers, petty, vulgar, etc. Just because someone is old, wise, and powerful, doesnt mean that they're mental state is like that of a humbled monk. I think the petty rivalries between characters (Especially Groudon/Kyogre, Rayquaza/Deoxys) were perfect. The off handed mumbles about the other being stupid, or a dumb *** really worked well, and added to the happy parts of the story.
Next, the world being destroyed. When I was reading this, I really couldn't believe it. That was a bold move on your part, and not one that I see in very many books, Pokemon especially. 33 left alive, and nothing to do. It made sense for them to bury the bodies as well, I can't tell you how many postapocolyptic stories I've read where there are literally mountains of bodies everywhere, and the characters just seem to forget about it. I thought that Entei summed it up best in chapter 5 when he simply said, "This sucks"...It was perfect, and really made me laugh. I mean, what else is there to say? They failed to stop it (Not that they ever really could to begin with), everything is gone, and as much as it might annoy some of them, they're stuck together, and it blows. Destroying everything worked really well; I had my doubts but you pulled it off spectacuarly. Great work!
While I'm on the subject of the destruction, the most powerful moment in the entire story to me was when Mewtwo watched Viridian being demolished. When he was going on about all the disgusting secrets it had, and how it deserved to be destroyed really moved me in a big way. I've felt the same about other things in my own life that I would have no sympathy for if they were taken away. That was the moment your story really started speaking to me. I felt what he was thinking, and I could visualize all of it. Really touching scene, Great job!
Mew's forced pregnancy was another part that really shocked me in a good way. I haven't read alot of Fanfiction, but I'm sure this is the most twistedly real thing I've ever read in one. I could picture all of it. The intentions of the scientists, Mew's confusion, her rage, etc. The whole situation was obviously well thought out and prepared. I got almost blurry eyed when she lost the baby, and almost cheered at her righteous anger when she attacked the assembled scientists. I'm a man, so I can't ever really understand what its like to have that person growing in your womb for so long, getting so attatched, then having it taken away against your will. Especially when the person that was making the decision did it because of what they thought was right. Mew's reaction was justified, and logical, and one thing that bothered me is that she felt bad about it. I wouldnt, and I would have gone alot farther with the destruction than she had.
Legion scares the crap out of me. From Manaphy's lashing, to the forceful kissing, to his general psychotic and raving behavoir, everything was beautifully/frighteningly well done. When I see such a commanding character in books or movies, I always try and pay attention to the underlings. If they are truely afraid, then I know that I have a reason to be as well. And all the other demons with all their power, were completely terrified of him, which added to the realism, and made me want to flip on my nightlight lol. One thing I formed a theory about though, was Legion's seduction of Mewtwo. I believe you explained that he wanted Mewtwo to impregnate Mew so they would have babies for he and his demons to possess and rule with. My first thought when I read that he wanted Mewtwo to have sex with Mew though, was that if Mewtwo copulated with Mew while he was possessing her, the baby that would be born would have Legion already inside of it. In a way, taking his immortal soul into a new being so he would not have to possess anything anymore and he would just be a physical person. The only flaw to that though is that I think you wrote that he wanted to be just this entity so that he would stay immortal, and if he was born as a new being, he might become mortal. I'm sure that goes completely off of the path of what you were trying to say, but it was just a theory I had that was later corrected when you explained that he just wanted to possess the children. I guess what I'm saying is that your story has the VERY unique ability to get me stop reading and formulate my own ideas of where it is going to go. And believe me, I amused myself for several hours at work yesterday trying to wrap my head around Legion, different theories, plot, etc.
I really didn't hit all the points I wanted to, just because I dont have the required time it would take to jot down everything I liked so I hope this will suffice. You've done something really great here KP. This is an epic story, and I'm glad I took the time to read it. Before you started telling us that the Climax is coming, I started to think that it was. I dont want it to end, but it feels right that its coming. Great job again, and I'm really looking forward to the next chapter.
Spoiler:- Review from Don't Leave by Espeon 114x and InevitableFate210:
I could tell this was going to be dramatic right from reading the summary, which seems to conjure up the image of crashing waves as the narrator reads the description out. Kinda like a movie trailer. And the story doesn't disappoint on the drama-scale, definitely a lot going on here. You two've made use of some very strong emotional situations, and highlighted them well with the language you've used. Your transitions are especially dramatic, which is important to keep your reader hooked to the next section.
Let's see... comments that occured to me as I was reading the story:
Man, I'm really going to have to get used to the word 'blunette' as Dawn fans seem to like it.
You've got some good descriptions here, but I think occasionally you fall into the cliche pit. No worries though. We all fall into the cliche pit sometimes. The example that best comes to my mind is "chocolate-brown eyes" which is a very common description and the fact that you used it... four times, I think? Just makes it seem more overused. You can do so much more with a more out-of-the-way description, like I thought your "radiant happiness" describing Dawn and Ash's meeting was awesome. It wasn't cliche and it gave the perfect image... and more than image, the feeling as well... to communicate what you needed to communicate there. Perfect word-choice.
There are some things I don't think you need to spell out, like "Both Dawn and Ash had been very good friends. No one had been even half as close to either of them as they are to each other." I know you're using that to transition into Ash's feelings, but this is a sentiment which is much better shown than told. In fact, you've already shown it very well, so it doesn't need to be said directly like that.
I already mentioned your dramatic transitions, right? "Don't leave me. Don't leave..." is great. It conveys such longing and it's also a title-drop! Always nice.
I really liked the part where Ash unknowingly repeated what Dawn had said earlier. It's a really strong, yet subtle example of their closeness and compatibility.
That said, I do have some difficulty with some of Ash's actions. I just cannot see Ash ignoring Dawn, even if he was heartbroken and trying to avoid more heartbreak. That's just not the Ash I know. He confronts his problems head on and productively; treating everything almost like a Pokemon match. And he has this sort of hero's mentality that he can fix everything if he just keeps trying. Shutting Dawn out and giving up just doesn't seem like him to me, though I suppose you could argue that getting older has left him somewhat jaded - maybe he realized somewhere along the way in all those leagues that trying hard just isn't enough sometimes. But that change in his character would probably be worth explaining.
The part about him having trouble living another day without Dawn also rings false to me, and for about the same reasons. I know you're just trying to emphasize the strength of his feelings for Dawn, but it just makes me wonder where his never-give-up mentality went to.
Good Lord, Kenny's a creep in this! He may just be a young teenager, but I can't help picturing him with a toupee, twirling a bow-tie, and reeking of aftershave. I wonder what's next for him? Maybe growing a handlebar moustache and tying little old ladies to the railroad track?
“Fury at being so vulnerable arose in her and she angrily wiped at her face, cleaning the tears, sobs now beginning to overtake her. He didn't believe her... He didn't believe a single word she was saying, and the frustration of it had converted to these tears.” I like how Dawn reacts with frustration. I know that's how I react when I cry, and it makes her feelings seem all the more realized. She has a right to be angry if Ash Ketchum, Mister Naive himself, doesn't believe her when she's trying to pour her heart out to him.
I can't say I really understand Kenny's plan. If he wants Dawn then he'd be better off playing the compassionate friend card while secretly playing Ash and Dawn against each other. That way he wouldn't get found out and he could swoop in when it all fell apart. The only reaction he could really expect from Dawn after the ploy he uses here is for her to slap him upside the head. I guess his motive is just... spite?
Well, I look forward to seeing the exciting conclusion with the second half! You two've definitely ratcheted up the suspense as to what will happen next... though it does seem pretty clear that if the lovebirds could simply listen to each other for five minutes (and maybe if Kenny had an unfortunate 'accident' somewhere along the way) that a happy-ending is nigh. I hope you both don't mind my monster of a review, I just think it's a crime that this fic didn't get the feedback it deserved. Good luck in the second half!
Spoiler:- Review from Dual Typing by swampert55:
Well, I thought this was really cute. I think the best romance fics have elements of comedy in them.
I gotta admit, I enjoyed the first part of the story much more than the second part. There were a lot of great moments early on that established how Ash felt about May that were clear, but wonderfully understated. The fact that Ash went without sleep to watch May's festival match because they were in different time zones spoke volumes to his devotion to her. And the sly look from Pikachu followed by Ash modulating his tone was spot on. All these are great examples of showing and not telling.
I think a lot of this subtlety got lost when the Pokemon started talking. Not only that, but the fact that much of the focus is moved from Ash and May to them causes the fic also to lose some of the intimacy that would come from their more personal interactions. Instead the reader becomes much more of an outsider to the couple. And the feeling that the Pokemon are match-making a little too manipulatively I think weakens some of the strength the two had as a couple earlier in the piece.
Another thing that I noticed was the descriptions. There are a few examples of this, but the one that I first noticed was: "May, was wearing her usual outfit of a sleeveless orange shirt and dark blue cycling shorts, complemented by a green Poké Ball patterned bandanna that helped her brown hair maintain its inverted V shape." A lot of fanfics feel the need to include descriptions like this, and I've never really seen the point. Outfit/Physical descriptions of characters when the reader already knows what they look like/what they usual wear seem a little redundant. I'm not knocking descriptions in general, I just feel that if you changed your focus you could really jazz up some of your descriptions. Instead of trying to accurately convey the image as if you wanted someone to draw it, I think it's better to use description as an opportunity to highlight the psychology of the character and the feeling of the scene/person. Using words with strong connotations can help. In short, the best character descriptions describe the character internally as well as externally.
And I'd be really psyched to see how you could take up that challenge. It's obvious to me that you've got a good flow and have the ability to stamp your pieces with a lot of personality. This line really displays that:
"Pikachu thoroughly enjoyed the high-speed ferry ride, although it was obvious that his trainer didn’t, considering that his face had turned the colour of a Meganium and that he was now a more capable user of Sludge Bomb than his Muk."
Well-controlled use of language, subtle, and quite funny. It's a great sentence.
This is quite impressive for your first completed oneshot. I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future
Reviews by xxsweat_peax:
Spoiler:- Review from Treehouse Saga by Encyclopika:
Nice chapter...but it was a little bit too short. However, you know what they say..."quality over quantity". And this chapter definitely had quality. There were great information. I loved the ending mostly...with the woman talking about the island having its own mind and is like a living thing that chooses and picks what it wants. And then the thing with Drew and the flowers....how they don't wilt when he steps on it but does wilt and die when May steps on it...and now how that flower died when May touches it but is up and alive when Drew had it. It makes it so mysterious and gets us thinking "something is going on here....". So, that's great. I really loved how you wrote it and how you're leaving us some clues that just screams out what the heck is going on. It seems like the woman talking about the island as a living thing and what's going on with Drew and flowers are related.
Last edited by Encyclopika; 22nd May 2011 at 5:20 PM.