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Thread: Under Control

  1. #1
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    Default Under Control

    I popped over to another Pokémon forum, where they were hosting a writing challenge in their fan fiction forum that involved writing a 100-1,000-word fic based on a prompt. The prompt, "under control," inspired me to finally write about some characters who really interest me, and whom I've already built something of a headcanon around. Thanks for stopping by, please enjoy!


    Under Control


    Caitlin focused on her breathing. Deep inhale, slow exhale. Deep inhale, slow exhale. It forced all of her thoughts and energy on this one thing, and it kept her mind blank.

    “We won! We did it, Seamitar!” The teen at the other end of the battlefield jumped for joy, tackling her Samurott in a hug. “We’re the first ones to beat Caitlin!” Despite his wounds, the great sea lion gave a happy roar.

    The words rang in her ears as she recalled her last Pokémon, echoing in her mind until it was naught but a din. The air around Caitlin started vibrating. Her heart started beating faster, her breathing was ragged, and her muscles were beginning to tense. The force inside of her which she worked so hard to suppress was pushing with renewed vigour. It pressed against her every fibre, threatening to explode and break free of her physical body like a beast from a cage.

    “Miau.” The Elite Four member felt a paw on her shoulder. She turned to look at Meowstic, the white feline’s ruby eyes shining. It is okay, they said. You are prepared for this.

    Am I? I lost. Caitlin had never before lost a battle in her career as an Elite. She felt helpless and weak. How could she control her powers if she couldn’t even defeat her challengers?

    Caitlin looked again at the victor. The girl was young, but it was clear from the way she handled herself during their battle that she was experienced, and had formed deep connections with each of her Pokémon. Throughout their battle she had encouraged them, cheered for them, congratulated and consoled them for every success and defeat. Her Pokémon were some of the strongest Caitlin had ever seen, and their raw determination to fight even until the end spoke volumes. They had clearly been through a great deal together to arrive at this point.

    Gazing into her Pokémon’s eyes, Caitlin considered her own journey with Meowstic. They had both fought every inch to control their powers, teaching each other, learning and growing to live with their burdens. In spite of it all, Caitlin had managed to train a formidable team of Pokémon. She reminded herself constantly that she had been invited to join the Unova Elites for a reason. Did this challenger’s success represent Caitlin’s weakness, or was it truly a testament to the girl’s strength?

    Cover your ears, came Meowstic’s soft reminder. Her words brought Caitlin back to the present, back to the scene of the girl and her Pokémon celebrating before her. She nodded and took a deep breath, recalling their training. Caitlin imagined two great, soft ears folding over the sides of her head, wrapping her in a warm embrace, soothing and quieting the wild energy inside. It took some time and concentration to quell the raw power burning inside her, but she could do it. As she focused, waves of calm slowly dimmed the whirlwind, and her heart stopped hammering in her chest. Her muscles started relaxing, and she managed to regain the rhythm of her breathing. The feeling of her powers attempting to break free did not go away - it never did - but now it was under control.

    Meowstic blinked at her. Good?

    Good. Caitlin found herself smiling. She turned to the girl, the one who had fought so hard to get here, and had succeeded. The victor and her Pokémon was watching expectantly.

    “The reason I came here in the first place was to encounter trainers like you. I invite you to be my opponent again in the future, if you wish. Now, go on ahead.”

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  2. #2
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    Hi there, Meowstic. Not surprised you chose that Pokemon. =p [I figured this was on pc given the author notes so I might just post this there as well.]

    It's an interesting view on Caitlin, the E4 member that was also in the BF (just not able to be battled iirc...). I do wonder why that power inside her is threatening to break when she lost... does it 'trigger' so to speak when she gets emotional? She also seemed somewhat insicure to myself, particularly from this bit:
    Am I? I lost. Caitlin had never before lost a battle in her career as an Elite. She felt helpless and weak. How could she control her powers if she couldn’t even defeat her challengers?
    This seems to imply that she's now been an E4 member for a while, and to be chosen she surely would have battled a lot, and hence likely have lost (besides, she never lost a battle _as an Elite_). So to suddenly have what seems like a panic attack and doubting she can control her powers when she loses finally now struck me as... well, interesting.

    The description was neat, such as when she imagined those giant ears in calming herself down. Were those inspired by Meowstic own ones?

    The first line confused me a bit:
    Caitlin focused on her breathing. Deep inhale, slow exhale. Deep inhale, slow exhale. It forced all of her thoughts and energy on this one thing, and it kept her mind blank.
    'It forced' - I assume you might mean the breathing, but then what is it forcing her thoughts and energy on, exactly? The power inside her?

    Neat flash fiction. =)

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  3. #3
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    (Like bobandbill, posting my review both here and on PC too, haha)

    “Miau.” The Elite Four member felt a paw on her shoulder. She turned to look at Meowstic, the white feline’s ruby eyes shining. It is okay, they said. You are prepared for this.
    The "they" felt a bit off as clearly male and female Meowstic have different colored furs (and other subtle features), so I think just the pronoun "she" would sound better.

    Overall, I enjoyed this flash fiction very much! Stories over how experienced trainers deal with losing always interested me as various gym leaders/elites/champions react to losing in different ways.

    Caitlin looked again at the victor. The girl was young, but it was clear from the way she handled herself during their battle that she was experienced, and had formed deep connections with each of her Pokémon. Throughout their battle she had encouraged them, cheered for them, congratulated and consoled them for every success and defeat. Her Pokémon were some of the strongest Caitlin had ever seen, and their raw determination to fight even until the end spoke volumes. They had clearly been through a great deal together to arrive at this point.

    Gazing into her Pokémon’s eyes, Caitlin considered her own journey with Meowstic. They had both fought every inch to control their powers, teaching each other, learning and growing to live with their burdens. In spite of it all, Caitlin had managed to train a formidable team of Pokémon. She reminded herself constantly that she had been invited to join the Unova Elites for a reason. Did this challenger’s success represent Caitlin’s weakness, or was it truly a testament to the girl’s strength?
    I do like how you first have Caitlin recognized what her challenger had been through to get to this point and then have her reflect what her and Meowstic been though too.

    I too thought the description of when Caitlin calms herself (the Meowstic ears) close to the end is a neat touch!


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  4. #4
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    Meant to reply to this a bit sooner, but since we're all just c/ping from here/PC, I figured there wasn't a huge rush, haha.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobandbill View Post
    Hi there, Meowstic. Not surprised you chose that Pokemon. =p [I figured this was on pc given the author notes so I might just post this there as well.]

    It's an interesting view on Caitlin, the E4 member that was also in the BF (just not able to be battled iirc...). I do wonder why that power inside her is threatening to break when she lost... does it 'trigger' so to speak when she gets emotional? She also seemed somewhat insicure to myself, particularly from this bit:
    This seems to imply that she's now been an E4 member for a while, and to be chosen she surely would have battled a lot, and hence likely have lost (besides, she never lost a battle _as an Elite_). So to suddenly have what seems like a panic attack and doubting she can control her powers when she loses finally now struck me as... well, interesting.

    The description was neat, such as when she imagined those giant ears in calming herself down. Were those inspired by Meowstic own ones?

    The first line confused me a bit:
    'It forced' - I assume you might mean the breathing, but then what is it forcing her thoughts and energy on, exactly? The power inside her?

    Neat flash fiction. =)
    Hehe, Meowstic is right up there as one of my all-time favourite Pokemon - does it show?

    Thank you, I’m glad you found it interesting! I do imagine that Caitlin struggles the most to control her powers whenever she gets emotional, especially frustrated or angry. Caitlin coming off as insecure was definitely intentional - she still doesn’t completely trust her ability to control her powers, which really hurts her self-esteem in other parts of her life. I think controlling her powers and Pokemon battling are also very closely linked for her.

    I tried to remain vague about how long she had been a member of the Elite Four (in part because I don’t have a realistic time frame in mind), but it hasn’t necessarily been a very long time, though I see why the word “career” would make it sound otherwise. I like to imagine that there’s something very different and very sobering about losing your first battle as a member of the Elite Four, though. Being offered a position as an Elite would really build up your ego, and unlike Gym Leaders or Frontier Brains, you’re not supposed to lose. (Aaaaand now I want to write fic of this.) While I personally don’t suffer from anxiety or anything like that, it doesn’t seem to go away easily, and I see that contributing to the uphill battle for Caitlin.

    Good catch! Yep, the giant ears are definitely inspired by Meowstic’s - in my headcanon, Caitlin gets an Espurr to help her control her powers, and the two wind up helping and teaching each other as they grow up. Someday I will write fic about this…

    Ah, I meant focusing on her breathing forces her to concentrate all of her mental energy on that, keeping her mind blank so she can remain calm. It’s a common tactic in managing your emotions, but perhaps I should clarify that.

    Thank you for your feedback! This was my first time writing flash fiction, and I’m glad it went well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bay View Post
    (Like bobandbill, posting my review both here and on PC too, haha)


    The "they" felt a bit off as clearly male and female Meowstic have different colored furs (and other subtle features), so I think just the pronoun "she" would sound better.

    Overall, I enjoyed this flash fiction very much! Stories over how experienced trainers deal with losing always interested me as various gym leaders/elites/champions react to losing in different ways.


    I do like how you first have Caitlin recognized what her challenger had been through to get to this point and then have her reflect what her and Meowstic been though too.

    I too thought the description of when Caitlin calms herself (the Meowstic ears) close to the end is a neat touch!
    Hey Bay, thanks for stopping by! The topic seems like an interesting one, especially since being a professional battler would be so integral to their identities. I’m also really interested by stories about Gym Leaders/E4/Champions, and I’d kinda like to explore them losing a little more, haha.

    I see what you mean - I wasn’t sure if the pronoun worked there; the “they” is supposed to refer to Meowstic’s eyes. Since her gender is only revealed a few paragraphs later, it does come across as somewhat vague. I think you had a good point on PC; something like:
    "Miau." Feeling a paw on her shoulder, the Elite Four member turned to look at Meowstic. It is okay, her ruby eyes seemed to say.
    - might be the best solution, though there's something about this arrangement of words I'm not 100% satisfied with.

    Thank you, I’m glad Caitlin’s reflection on their parallel journeys worked well - I needed to find a turning point that brings Caitlin to her senses, and it’s a relief to know that this worked with the plot. And I’m really thrilled that people picked up on the Meowstic ears!

    Thanks for your feedback!



    ~Psychic

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  5. #5
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    Meant to review this earlier, so it's convenient it got bumped...

    Anyway, there are a few little errors scattered about:

    It forced all of her thoughts and energy on this one thing, and it kept her mind blank.
    I'm guessing you meant "focused?"

    The words rang in her ears as she recalled her last Pokémon, echoing in her mind until it was naught but a din.
    The antecedent to "it" is still "the words"--should be "they were naught but a din."

    The Elite Four member felt a paw on her shoulder.
    How tall is meowstic? It seems like it'd be a little short to put a paw on Caitlin's shoulder...

    She turned to look at Meowstic, the white feline’s ruby eyes shining.
    This sentence is worded very strangely. I'm pretty sure there's a concrete grammatical issue here, but I don't know what it is. The relationship between the two clauses is funky... the subject doesn't really shift between the two of them, but the second clause just... doesn't really follow from the first? That's the best way I can think of to describe it.

    The girl was young, but it was clear from the way she handled herself during their battle that she was experienced, and had formed deep connections with each of her Pokémon.
    She turned to the girl, the one who had fought so hard to get here, and had succeeded.
    Don't need that second comma in either of these.

    The victor and her Pokémon was watching expectantly.
    *were

    Nitpicks aside, this is a cute little story. I don't really know much of anything about Caitlin, but a quick glance at Bulbapedia helped me get the gist of her history. I think you did a good job of hinting at the larger story behind the one shown here; I was obviously curious enough to go and look for more info.

    The bit at the end with the meowstic ears is definitely the strongest part of the piece. It's a very simple gesture that says a lot about Caitlin and Meowstic's relationship, and it strikes me as a wonderful attempt by a pokémon to help a human using techniques that work for it, even though their physiology isn't the same. Plus it's an adorable image, of course.

    I think that paragraph is much more effective than the one before it, which struck me as a little recap-ish. It's definitely going to be tricky to encapsulate Caitlin's struggles and eventual success in such a short space, but if you could find a few concrete details to encapsulate them, I think that part would be stronger. Like I said, you did a lovely job of saying a lot with a little with the meowstic ears, so you obviously have the chops.

    Anyway, like I said, this was an interesting piece on a character who doesn't get a lot of screen time. All in all, I think it's a great piece of flash fiction.

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  6. #6
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    She turned to look at Meowstic, the white feline’s ruby eyes shining. It is okay, they said. You are prepared for this.
    I'll admit: I also initially thought the "they" was in reference to the meowstic rather than the meowstic's eyes.

    Said kitty is a sweetie, btw. (No, hands. Not a "sweetoe". What are you even doing.) You had a limited amount of time and space to sell me on her closeness with her trainer, and you succeeded. I'll tell you right now: I didn't come into this thread knowing all that much about Caitlin, yet by the time I was done reading, I was curious about her. If I didn't know better, I think making me care about characters I hadn't given any real thought to before was your mission in life.
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