As for the length of that paragraph, Sidewinder said the same thing, and I have to admit, I'm not seeing that. Actually, I purposely wrote a larger paragraph because I so often write short paragraphs that I feel like I could always embellish on. When I'm constantly writing short paragraphs, I feel like I have A.D.D. or something. Like "Why can't I find more to say here?" I feel like it's better writing if I can flesh out paragraphs, but if you don't want to read it, I'll see what I can do going forward.
More defending myself here (because, honestly dammit, I really liked this chapter), I don't see a problem here at all, and once again both you and Sidewinder said the same thing. The narration was attached to Sam, and Sam did not see or hear anything, so...suddenly someone was there. If the narrator mentioned that there was someone coming up behind Sam, that would take me out of the consistent narrator who is limited to just Sam. The only mistake I might have made, and I can tell I did by what you just said, is that Barry was BEHIND Sam, not in front of him. Sam passed the path, and Barry followed him from that point before finally surprising him. Perhaps I should have been more direct there. I mean, it follows: in real life, sometimes people sneak up on you, and you don't know they are there. And actually, surprise dialogue (I just made that term up) is something I have always done a lot of in my writing. Someone is unaware or lost in thought, and then--BAM!--someone's there.This seemed a little abrupt. There was poor transitioning here. At first Sam is thinking about Rowan, and then all of a sudden someone is in his way? You say shortly after that Sam was lost in his thoughts, but the tone of the piece doesn't really show any element of surprise or anything. A simple mention of "suddenly Sam heard footsteps or heard a voice" before the actual dialogue might have made it flow a little bit smoother.
I think, in my defense, this was a case of "Sam eating his omelette" wasn't going to further the plot in any meaningful way, so it was better just to say that it happened. I could have had a whole extra chapter of Sam waking up and eating breakfast, but at this point, I've established Sam and his relationship with Rowan, so where else could I go there other than shoe-horning something in that isn't needed there? I also feel like I meandered on enough just getting to THIS point (there were already two chapters of Sam sitting around talking to Rowan; a third felt extraneous). But still, it's honestly a duly noted point, and I will keep it in mind going forward.My biggest complaint about this chapter is that it almost readers like a summary. You really only tell what happens to Sam on the beginning of his journey here. I would have liked to see each scene fleshed out in more detail... It seemed as if you were breezing over supposedly non-important parts only to get to the important scenes (aka the ones involving the three lake pokemon). The scene with Barry was good but the rest made me want more. This can be really dangerous since you're going to lack any subplots and such, and therefore you'll be missing a lot of opportunities to flesh out your characters.
I covered this in my reply to diamondpearl, too. My premise is, you know, this is Sam Stark. Not Batman. I've never personally really noticed footprints when I've been out walking in the woods.I agree with diamondpearl that meet Barry was a little quick for my taste. An easier lead up like suspecting that someone was nearby, or seeing footprints, etc, would have been a little bit easier. To be completely honest, Barry kind of annoys me. His attitude is somewhat childish, which doesnt really match up with him being such a young assistant. Obviously he got to that point by being brilliant and good at his job, and from what you've made me think of Rowan, his age wouldnt really matter. But Rowan really does seem like he has a low tolerance for behavoir like this. It goes both ways though, as even though I don't like Barry, I quite liked the interractions he had with Sam.
As for Barry, yeah, he's kind of an impulsive jerk, but he is also, yes, very good at what he does. He's basically Barry from the D/P/Pl games, but a few years older and better at what he does. And the line you didn't like, that's basically my homage to what he actually says in the game. But not everyone's going to like every character, do I'll accept that. I think you'll like him more as the story goes on. But he IS a teenager.
This was longer, yes, and while I agree that previous chapters that were just a bit over 2 pages were probably two short, I tend to look at huge chapters in the same manner that you and diamondpearl noted that you looked at my single long paragraph here. I have always had a tendency towards shorter, quick-hitting chapters, and, like I mentioned with stretching out that one paragraph to give myself exercise in doing so, I could probably stand to lengthen my chapters a tad. I just feel like chapters that are more than 5 or 6 pages are a bit tedious to read. Though, granted, short chapters read better when the whole story is put together and read worse when being posted chapter-by-chapter. Something else to keep in mind as I go on.I liked the length of this chapter better as well. I didn't put it in a word processor to measure it up against previous chapters, but it read really well. I'm still wanting more though when it comes to length. I want to have so much in the chapter that I have to stop and take notes as I'm reading instead of being able to remember my points as I read. If that makes sense.