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    Default Weak (One-Shot. Rated G)

    Well, it was my New Year’s resolution to finally work up the nerve to post a fanfic. And look! I managed to do this well before December 31. Disclaimer: I don’t own Pokémon or the characters from it used here. Rated G since I don’t think this gets any darker than the games do in terms of content and battles.

    Weak

    She was easily defeated. Munna's attacks were useless against her opponent's sandile. She refused, of course, when the man before her demanded she forfeit her pokémon. Stunned from the speed of her loss, she attempted to recall her pokémon on autopilot. The poké ball did not work. In a sudden moment of clarity, she realized the sandile's embargo somehow worked on Munna's round home as well. She grasped the injured psychic-type in her arms but found herself surrounded. Her defiant glare morphed into an expression of quiet desperation as her munna was torn from her grasp. The figures dressed in medieval costumes smirked, victorious. She was weak. She had lost. This wasn’t just a gym match. In real life, weakness had consequences.

    *

    “Hey, pay attention!” The younger girl’s voice snapped Bianca out of her memory’s hold.

    “S-sorry, Iris,” stuttered the blond girl. Bianca fumbled with her bag and pulled out a super potion to heal her musharna. Iris’s druddigon stretched her forelegs while she waited for her sparring partner to resume training.

    “You have to stop hesitating when the battle starts to go badly,” Iris said, “and try using some good support moves instead of just attacks. Musharna’s a defensive pokémon, so she does better when she tries to outmatch her opponents’ endurance, not their power.”

    “But, but you said I needed to become stronger,” Bianca protested.

    “Right,” said Iris.

    “So shouldn’t I focus on battle abilities like Cheren does?”

    “Defensive abilities are battle abilities,” insisted Iris. “Now try again.”

    "Do we really have time for this? I mean they're already –"

    "Yes. If you'll actually start battling."

    Bianca swallowed and clenched her fists. Impatient to get past the basics and onto real battling, she hoped to catch Iris off guard with a battle command.

    “Musharna, use return!” The round purple and pink creature charged forward, floating across the arena toward Iris’s dragon. Iris slapped her palm against her forehead. The blue dragon glared at the approaching musharna, paralyzing her with her gaze. In one swift motion the druddigon’s claws glittered ominously and she struck the immobile psychic-type with her sharp talons. Musharna shook as she fell to the ground, purple smoke sputtering toward the ceiling as the creature coughed.

    *

    “Weak trainers like you are an insult to ‘your’ pokémon’s powers. We’ll liberate the poor thing for its own good,” said the triumphant Team Plasma grunt as he turned, walking away with the struggling munna in his arms. Bianca was totally helpless to stop him. She dared not risk putting her other pokémon in the same peril.

    She ran, searching for a familiar, or at the very least friendly, face among the city’s cold, grey streets. She couldn't follow Munna as she was, not into the enemy's arms. She needed help. A passing man stepped aside without asking her what was wrong. A child younger than she was asked if she could help, but Bianca was too panicked to form coherent words and the young trainer left. The next street she entered was vacant. How could such a large city seem so empty? Every second she covered ground in her search for someone stronger was a second Munna was being taken farther in the other direction.

    As she passed the docks, her heart jumped a few beats. Hope in human form awaited her. A boy her age with dark hair and glasses stood talking with a girl with a long brown ponytail. She darted over to her friends, gasping for breath.

    *

    “Do you see how glare stopped Musharna from moving so Druddigon could hone her claws and attack with more force?” Iris asked, patting Druddigon’s red snout. The dragon growled in satisfaction. “That’s what you need to try with Musharna’s hyp –”

    “I can’t! I’m too weak. Everyone is stronger than me. Everyone.” Iris struggled to ignore the self-pity in the older girl’s voice.

    “Try using Musharna’s hypnosis to stop your opponent before attacking. And maybe teach her calm mind to increase her focus,” suggested the black-haired girl.

    “But attacking is –” Bianca started.

    “Not Musharna’s style,” Iris finished. She rubbed her temple and looked over to Drayden for backup. The older man was talking into his Xtransceiver at the far end of the gym. His brow furrowed as he listened to the voice on the other end.

    “He’s already there? Try to slow him down. Hilda just passed through here, so she should be there soon,” said the bearded man.

    Hilda and Cheren. They were strong. They were the ones who went with Burgh to confront Team Plasma and return her munna to her. Bianca had tried to be strong, too. She had fought seven gym leaders, but she had only won by the skin of her teeth. Both of them already had the Legend Badge as well, while she was still here, prompted by Iris to train with her after she failed to win the badge. She would never catch up to them.

    “Try again.” Iris’s voice indicated that her patience was wearing thin.

    “Why? Why are you so insistent on helping me?” asked Bianca.

    “Because I can’t let you stay weak.”

    “But not everyone can be strong.” Bianca hugged her musharna tightly before applying a full restore to her wounds. Musharna snuggled closer to her trainer to comfort her. Iris thought through her next words.

    “It is the truth that not everyone can be as strong as they want to be.” She bit her lip, considering the numerous ways her statement could be misconstrued. She decided to risk it and continued, “but it is also true that you cannot afford to be content with being weak. Even though sewaddle are generally weaker than unfezant, they will fight with all their strength to avoid being eaten because the situation demands it. This situation demands that you learn your strength as well. We will need you to be able to fight too if Alder and Hilda fail.”

    “What about Cheren? He’s stronger than me,” Bianca reminded Iris. Surely the dark-haired boy would be a better person to turn to than she would be.

    “Cheren . . . Cheren is struggling with understanding what strength is. He doesn’t get that it’s not about winning battles.”

    Iris looked to Drayden again, hoping her mentor would know the right words to describe this to Bianca. Cheren did not understand what it would mean for N to win. Not really. He could imagine, but Bianca knew. She and her musharna knew what losing meant. Why couldn’t Bianca realize this? She didn’t want to lose her musharna again, did she? Iris tried to wrap her head around what Bianca was thinking. The blond girl had continued her journey after her Pokémon was taken. She kept going even though she lost battles and even when her father wanted her to return home to safety. That was strength. She earned all seven of her badges. Didn’t Bianca see how she was insulting the leaders by claiming any trainer could beat them? Didn’t she see that she had impressed the others?

    “What? He’s already bested Grimsley and Shauntal?” Drayden swore under his breath. He lifted his voice and turned to Iris. “Two more and he faces Alder. How close is Hilda?”

    “I’m not getting a signal on her Xtransceiver, so she must still be inside Victory Road,” Iris responded after checking. Drayden relayed this information to Alder and reluctantly cut off the connection.

    “I’ll call the other Gym Leaders,” Bianca suggested. She dialed as she dashed to the side of the room. She had already reached Brycen’s number before Iris could reply.

    Iris shook her head. Bianca needed to learn how to use her own strength in case future battles couldn’t be evaded as easily as training.

    “Why are you so insistent on training her, Iris?” asked Drayden. He walked over to where Iris stood and watched the trainer in question punching in another number. “We were already planning on gathering the Gym Leaders.”

    “Because she needs to learn,” said Iris.

    “You can’t change another person’s nature. She isn’t a fighter. Her strength lies elsewhere.”

    “I know, but . . . I can’t let her stay weak. Even with all of us gathered, we might lose.”

    “Don’t be so pessimistic,” protested Drayden, chuckling softly. His expression darkened. “It’s not like adding one more trainer to our side will make a difference. If we go down, someone as inexperienced –”

    “That’s not what I mean. This isn’t about winning and losing battles,” interrupted Iris. She gave an apologetic look to Drayden for cutting him off, then continued when he nodded. “I feel she needs to know how to defend herself, so she can fight to protect the friendship she has with her Pokémon on her own if we fail. This isn’t about making her a battler, it’s about – it’s about helping her defend her own bond with her Pokémon so she doesn’t lose them again.”

    The two looked over to Bianca again and Iris shrugged.

    “Or maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment,” said Iris, her voice tired. Drayden laughed.

    “I think it’s that she just bugs you enough,” he said. He paused, and said more seriously, “I hope she finds her strength.”

        Spoiler:- Author’s notes:
    Last edited by Ememew; 29th October 2012 at 2:53 AM.

  2. #2

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    I know with some people, fighting isn't really their style hence their strength lies else where. I think that was pretty much protrayed pretty well here. Unfortunately, I am somewhat one of those people who think that strength is physical for the most part when in actuality it isn't. But anyway, I really did like how though she says she is weak, no one gave up on her and for the most part, no one should give up on anyone down on themselves.
    Sorry I dont have anything constructive to say but I wanted to pretty much say all in all that I like the portrayal.
    岩根雅明=♡

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    This is good. I like the flashbacks to Bianca's defeat at Team Plasma, especially the very vivid and sad imagery of Bianca running frightened to find help after Munna was stolen. And I really dig the relationship between Bianca and Iris (and, to a lesser degree, Iris and Drayden); it has a sense of realism and heart to it.

    What I will say, and trust me when I say you're not nearly the first person I've commented on about this, is that I generally hate omniscient narrator. I think a narration that shows the reader what everyone is thinking and feeling all the time is a little boring and removes a lot of the mystique of the story. I get that the writer thinks they are expanding the story by letting the reader know EVERYONE, but I feel it usually just limits the story by not letting the reader just know one character intimately. Not saying first-person is always the way to go, but I think third-person attached to someone is a superior option. But maybe that's just my flavor.

    The only other comment I had was this bit:

    “What about Cheren? He’s stronger than me,” Bianca reminded Iris. Surely the dark-haired boy would be a better person to turn to than her.

    “Cheren . . . Cheren is struggling with understanding what strength is. He doesn’t get that it’s not about winning battles.”

    Iris looked to Drayden again, hoping her mentor would know the right words to describe this to Bianca. Cheren did not understand what it would mean for N to win. Not really. He could imagine, but Bianca knew. She and her musharna knew what losing meant. Why couldn’t Bianca realize this? She didn’t want to lose her musharna again, did she? Iris tried to wrap her head around what Bianca was thinking. The blond girl had continued her journey after her Pokémon was taken. She kept going even though she lost battles and even when her father wanted her to return home to safety. That was strength. She earned all seven of her badges. Didn’t Bianca see how she was insulting the leaders by claiming any trainer could beat them? Didn’t she see that she had impressed the others?

    “What? He’s already bested Grimsley and Shauntal?” Drayden swore under his breath. “Two more and he faces Alder. How close is Hilda?”

    “I’m not getting a signal on her Xtransceiver, so she must still be inside Victory Road,” Iris responded after checking. Drayden relayed this information to Alder and reluctantly cut off the connection.

    “I’ll call the other Gym Leaders,” Bianca suggested. She had already reached Brycen’s number before Iris could reply.

    Iris shook her head. Bianca needed to learn how to use her own strength in case future battles couldn’t be evaded as easily as training.

    “Why are you so insistent on training her, Iris?” asked Drayden. He stood and watched the trainer in question punching in another number. “We were already planning on gathering the Gym Leaders.”

    “Because she needs to learn,” said Iris.
    Are Drayden and Iris talking right in front of Bianca? Did Iris walk away to talk to Drayden? I was a little confused and had to re-read that bit a couple of times. I'm assuming Iris walked away from training Biance to talk with Drayden, but I guess I don't know that for a fact. It's just a little unclear. (And while I'm on that section, the last line of the first paragraph should be "Surely the dark-haired boy would be a better person to turn to than she".

    Despite those two little critiques, I did still enjoy this. Like I said...there was some very nice character development and soul to this story. Hopefully we'll see more from you going forward.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Gothitelle K View Post
    I know with some people, fighting isn't really their style hence their strength lies elsewhere. I think that was pretty much portrayed pretty well here. Unfortunately, I am somewhat one of those people who think that strength is physical for the most part when in actuality it isn't. But anyway, I really did like how though she says she is weak, no one gave up on her and for the most part, no one should give up on anyone down on themselves.
    Yeah, I wanted to focus on Bianca’s strength of will – her choice to continue her journey despite hardships and her perception that she was a poor battler. Iris is trying to teach Bianca that strength isn’t about winning but rather about how a person is able to react to adverse situations and learn through his or her fears.

    Iris trains her in battling skills because she thinks Bianca might need them if Team Plasma manages to take over Unova, but the overall focus is on getting her to learn despite her (understandable) fears rather than allowing her to wallow in self-pity. Bianca might not want to be pushed into learning, but it’s a push she needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    This is good. I like the flashbacks to Bianca's defeat at Team Plasma, especially the very vivid and sad imagery of Bianca running frightened to find help after Munna was stolen. And I really dig the relationship between Bianca and Iris (and, to a lesser degree, Iris and Drayden); it has a sense of realism and heart to it.
    Thanks. I’m glad that part was as powerful as I hoped it would be. I think actually writing the scene that led Bianca to insist she was a weak trainer in the games helped be understand her character more. Glad you liked it.

    What I will say, and trust me when I say you're not nearly the first person I've commented on about this, is that I generally hate omniscient narrator. I think a narration that shows the reader what everyone is thinking and feeling all the time is a little boring and removes a lot of the mystique of the story. I get that the writer thinks they are expanding the story by letting the reader know EVERYONE, but I feel it usually just limits the story by not letting the reader just know one character intimately. Not saying first-person is always the way to go, but I think third-person attached to someone is a superior option. But maybe that's just my flavor.
    Ah, third-person-omniscient vs. third-person-limited. I tend to think of this as a stylistic choice, but I can see what you mean. Unfortunately I wanted to be clear with both Bianca’s reasons for seeing herself as weak and Iris’s reasons for pushing her to think otherwise. Hmm, I’ll have to think on how I can portray this through just one character’s point of view.

    The only other comment I had was this bit:



    Are Drayden and Iris talking right in front of Bianca? Did Iris walk away to talk to Drayden? I was a little confused and had to re-read that bit a couple of times. I'm assuming Iris walked away from training Biance to talk with Drayden, but I guess I don't know that for a fact. It's just a little unclear.
    Ah, that. I rewrote the ending to this, the scene in question included, about five times before I was satisfied. In one version I had Bianca go outside to make the calls (for some reason) and that was why the other two could have their conversation right there. I still had the idea of Bianca being the one to step away in mind when I wrote this version, but I forgot to make that clear in the actual text. Oops. I’ll go edit that. Thanks for catching it.
    (And while I'm on that section, the last line of the first paragraph should be "Surely the dark-haired boy would be a better person to turn to than she".
    You’re sure? *Looks up grammar rules.* The English language is weird sometimes. I’ll go fix that too when I make my edits.

    Despite those two little critiques, I did still enjoy this. Like I said...there was some very nice character development and soul to this story. Hopefully we'll see more from you going forward.
    Thanks again, and thanks for pointing out the faults. I’ll have to meditate on the third-person omniscient/limited thing a bit.
    Oh, look! I wrote a fanfic! Weak (One-Shot. Rated G). Can Iris convince Bianca that she can't just avoid her problems?

    And another one: Mischief (One-Shot. Rated G). A little fun for October.

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    I think if you wanted to do it as a one-shotone-scene/one-chapter story, you should just stick to one character and let her be the focus of the story. There wouldn't be anything wrong with just giving us an in-depth look at Bianca (or Iris). If you had designs on doing both of them, it might have been best to do a longer story (even if it's just two chapters and have each character narrate their own version of the scene). Whereas third-person omniscient is, yes, basically a style choice, I tend to think that it is a weaker one because (and maybe this is just me) when I read omniscient, I feel like I don't get immersed in the story because it's so jarring to be getting personal insight into different characters at once. Which is not to say omniscient doesn't have its uses. In a full-on, tongue-in-cheek, no-fourth-wall kind of story, omniscient can be used to generate humor. And, like any stylistic choice, if you are an extraordinary enough author, you can make any choice work (please don't take this to mean I DON'T think you are a good author; you clearly are, as this story is very entertaining and well-done. I just mean truly upper-echelon writers). I think, in a humanizing and character-driven story like this one, it would be better to do first-person or third-person attached and let the reader truly immerse themselves in one character.

    I don't mean to be too critical...I just wanted to explain why I said what I said. For some reason when I review things on here, I tend to focus heavily on narration. I really do think that this is a good story, and I can tell from your Author's Profile in the Cafe that you are a great writer with great ideas (if not great titles, heh). I look forward to anything else you contribute here.

    And yeah...that her/she thing. Most people get that wrong. It is weird. It's because we all get so lazy in our colloquial speech lives that we don't say things in whole sentences. So while that should actually be "Surely the dark-haired boy would be a better person to turn to than SHE WOULD BE.", no one actually speaks like that, so we just make it "her" and move on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I think if you wanted to do it as a one-shotone-scene/one-chapter story, you should just stick to one character and let her be the focus of the story. There wouldn't be anything wrong with just giving us an in-depth look at Bianca (or Iris). If you had designs on doing both of them, it might have been best to do a longer story (even if it's just two chapters and have each character narrate their own version of the scene). Whereas third-person omniscient is, yes, basically a style choice, I tend to think that it is a weaker one because (and maybe this is just me) when I read omniscient, I feel like I don't get immersed in the story because it's so jarring to be getting personal insight into different characters at once. Which is not to say omniscient doesn't have its uses. In a full-on, tongue-in-cheek, no-fourth-wall kind of story, omniscient can be used to generate humor. And, like any stylistic choice, if you are an extraordinary enough author, you can make any choice work (please don't take this to mean I DON'T think you are a good author; you clearly are, as this story is very entertaining and well-done. I just mean truly upper-echelon writers). I think, in a humanizing and character-driven story like this one, it would be better to do first-person or third-person attached and let the reader truly immerse themselves in one character.

    I don't mean to be too critical...I just wanted to explain why I said what I said. For some reason when I review things on here, I tend to focus heavily on narration. I really do think that this is a good story, and I can tell from your Author's Profile in the Cafe that you are a great writer with great ideas (if not great titles, heh). I look forward to anything else you contribute here.
    Yeah, titles and character names are always hard for me to decide on.

    I’m not trying to ignore your advice, honest! I’m just still stuck deciding whether it’d be better to dump Bianca’s flashbacks or Iris’s conversation with Drayden at the end, as I think both fall into place in the overall theme of the story. I’m hesitant about splitting it into a two-shot because it’s already short enough that I think telling the same scene from two different perspectives would just come off as redundant.
    Oh, look! I wrote a fanfic! Weak (One-Shot. Rated G). Can Iris convince Bianca that she can't just avoid her problems?

    And another one: Mischief (One-Shot. Rated G). A little fun for October.

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    Maybe the conversation at the end could be up on the chop and block but the flashbacks actually made the story stronger in my opinion.
    岩根雅明=♡

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    Look, I’m finally here!

    I thought this was quite interesting. There seemed to be a lot you wanted to say, and you didn’t give yourself very long to say it. Some very interesting bits did shine through for certain, like Iris' frustration with Bianca and Bianca’s unchanging mindset. A little more emphasis on official battles versus unofficial ones where the stakes are higher could have helped though, since it seemed you wanted to cover that.

    I also thought you picked an interesting time for this to take place. This is right before the climax of the games, after all, so I was a little surprised that instead of finding ways to prepare themselves, Iris was focused solely on training Bianca. I think the purpose for this was so Bianca would be able to fight if the Hilda and the rest lost, but it was a little unclear. Still, considering where N is at the time of the story, maybe you could make the atmosphere feel a little more charged, with a bit more of a sense of urgency.

    I liked how you showed their sparring, though, with Bianca not really listening to Iris' suggestions. I was a little disappointed we didn't get to see a real turning point or anything - her attitude seems to just remain the same.

    One interesting thing I found was a parallel between this and perhaps some personal frustration relating to something outside the games. The focus on strength and that there are different types of strength especially caught my eye and rung a few bells. I’m not sure if it was intentional or I’m the only one who noticed, but hey.

    Small things:
    The red-headed blue dragon glared at the approaching Musharna, paralyzing her with her gaze.
    All the colour description feels a little crammed in here, and the "red-headed" bit it sort of worded like you're talking about its hair. Find ways to incorporate description into action, like "the dragon's blood-read head glared" and "its blue body heaved with exertion." Also, going with the conventions you're using here, "Musharna" shouldn't be capitalized since you said "the."

    Bianca was totally helpless to stop him.
    Always remember: show, don't tell!

    Instead of just telling us this, show us through how Bianca acts and reacts (such as being anxious), as well as her thoughts and emotions if possible. It will help us get a better sense of her thought process, especially so we see how she reacts in moments like these.

    She darted to where her friends were, gasping for breath.
    You can simplify this to something like "She darted over to her friends" since you don’t need the “were.”

    Also in the paragraph, I would recommend adding a sentence about how alone and helpless she felt, maybe feeling like every person she passed turned away from her or something.

    The dragon made a satisfied growling noise.
    You can simplify this to something like "The dragon growled in satisfaction."


    Anyhow, I thought this was overall good. I had no problems with any of your stylistic choices or the story’s structure, and everything I brought up was small stuff that could easily be fixed. I found this to be an interesting character piece, giving us a little insight into both Iris and Bianca’s feelings and thoughts. I’d definitely like to see more in the future. :>

    ~Psychic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychic View Post
    Look, I’m finally here!
    Thanks!

    I thought this was quite interesting. There seemed to be a lot you wanted to say, and you didn’t give yourself very long to say it. Some very interesting bits did shine through for certain, like Iris' frustration with Bianca and Bianca’s unchanging mindset. A little more emphasis on official battles versus unofficial ones where the stakes are higher could have helped though, since it seemed you wanted to cover that.
    Hmm . . . I'll think about how to add that. I wasn't sure just how much of Bianca's flashback I should bring into the story.
    I also thought you picked an interesting time for this to take place. This is right before the climax of the games, after all, so I was a little surprised that instead of finding ways to prepare themselves, Iris was focused solely on training Bianca. I think the purpose for this was so Bianca would be able to fight if the Hilda and the rest lost, but it was a little unclear. Still, considering where N is at the time of the story, maybe you could make the atmosphere feel a little more charged, with a bit more of a sense of urgency.
    I see what you mean. I wrote this with the idea that Bianca attempted to challenge the Opilucid Gym for the badge and Iris decided it would be now-or-never for training her (since the player is the first to win the badge, but after you beat the game, Cheren's and Bianca's names are on the Gym statue, too, so Bianca's match was probably very last-minute).

    I'll see what I can do about increasing the tension, though.
    I liked how you showed their sparring, though, with Bianca not really listening to Iris' suggestions. I was a little disappointed we didn't get to see a real turning point or anything - her attitude seems to just remain the same.
    That's sort of from the games as well - Bianca's still talking about being weak even later on (if I'm remembering correctly, anyway).
    Small things:

    All the colour description feels a little crammed in here, and the "red-headed" bit it sort of worded like you're talking about its hair. Find ways to incorporate description into action, like "the dragon's blood-read head glared" and "its blue body heaved with exertion." Also, going with the conventions you're using here, "Musharna" shouldn't be capitalized since you said "the."
    I see what you mean about the description. Hmm . . . It might take a while to work out how to best incorporate that in better.

    Hehe, I guess that's to be expected. This was the first time I actually tried writing with species lower-case unless they were the actual name, so I guess I missed a spot. Will edit.
    Always remember: show, don't tell!

    Instead of just telling us this, show us through how Bianca acts and reacts (such as being anxious), as well as her thoughts and emotions if possible. It will help us get a better sense of her thought process, especially so we see how she reacts in moments like these.
    Another failing of my not being sure exactly how much of the flashback to include. I'll work on getting that part more detailed.
    You can simplify this to something like "She darted over to her friends" since you don’t need the “were.”


    You can simplify this to something like "The dragon growled in satisfaction."
    Now that you point those out, I agree that my wording was a bit clunky. Thanks.
    Anyhow, I thought this was overall good. I had no problems with any of your stylistic choices or the story’s structure, and everything I brought up was small stuff that could easily be fixed. I found this to be an interesting character piece, giving us a little insight into both Iris and Bianca’s feelings and thoughts. I’d definitely like to see more in the future. :>

    ~Psychic
    Then stick around in mid October!

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'll edit the easy stuff now and work on figuring how much to develop those flashbacks, etc.
    Last edited by Ememew; 7th October 2012 at 2:34 AM.
    Oh, look! I wrote a fanfic! Weak (One-Shot. Rated G). Can Iris convince Bianca that she can't just avoid her problems?

    And another one: Mischief (One-Shot. Rated G). A little fun for October.

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    Wow, this is good. It's a great description of what may have happened to Bianca, and it makes sense. You should keep going, and strip it of its one-shot status!

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