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Thread: Training scenes in Pokemon fics

  1. #1
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    Default Training scenes in Pokemon fics

    So I was writing, and something came into my mind as I was going.

    When it comes to stories where the traditional Pokemon formula is featured in at least some regard, of what importance are scenes depicting training? Must these always be depicted fully from beginning to end, or can they be trimmed down?

    Now, I'm not suggesting eliminating the element of training, because that is an important part of the context. What I'm talking about is, for example, a scene in which two trainers spar with each other for practice with no significant impact on the plot. Is it necessary to fully depict that entire battle, or can it be cut down to just what needs to be seen?

    My thinking personally right now is that it would depend upon the specific instance. If the training was literally just basic warm-up exercises with no larger impact on the plot, it could be trimmed down, but if something important - a new move, an evolution, a new strategy, anything important- happens, it needs to be shown directly.

    I want to hear your opinions on this subject. I have a feeling I might not be approaching this in the best way.

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    Writing is always about showing only what's necessary. Training montages, "practice battles," and so on can almost always be disposed of; they are very rarely relevant to the plot or characters. Evolutions, captures, new moves, and so on, are not inherently character- or plot-relevant and rarely require being actually portrayed "onscreen," so to speak. Even things like gym battles and suchlike are skippable, if there's not going to be anything interesting about them outside of "badge get."

    Fortunately for people who like writing or reading battles, the battle structure provides an excellent way to introduce characters and can be used to serve the plot in a variety of ways; while you could have a trainer 'fic entirely with battles conducted entirely offscreen, they are generally useful to the standard journeyfic plot structure, so the average writer would probably be making a dodgier decision not to include them than the other way around. But if you're wondering whether you need to have a battle or training session in which your charizard learns blast burn or whatever solely because oh no, people might be confused if it starts using that later on and it hasn't been introduced earlier, you can (and generally should imo) do without it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
    Writing is always about showing only what's necessary. Training montages, "practice battles," and so on can almost always be disposed of; they are very rarely relevant to the plot or characters. Evolutions, captures, new moves, and so on, are not inherently character- or plot-relevant and rarely require being actually portrayed "onscreen," so to speak. Even things like gym battles and suchlike are skippable, if there's not going to be anything interesting about them outside of "badge get."

    Fortunately for people who like writing or reading battles, the battle structure provides an excellent way to introduce characters and can be used to serve the plot in a variety of ways; while you could have a trainer 'fic entirely with battles conducted entirely offscreen, they are generally useful to the standard journeyfic plot structure, so the average writer would probably be making a dodgier decision not to include them than the other way around. But if you're wondering whether you need to have a battle or training session in which your charizard learns blast burn or whatever solely because oh no, people might be confused if it starts using that later on and it hasn't been introduced earlier, you can (and generally should imo) do without it.
    I agree with your basic premise but not to the same extent. Take, for example, your instance of Charizard being shown learning Blast Burn versus it simply coming up. I think that if you have something like that come up without any foreshadowing or explanation, you run the risk of it coming out looking like a deus ex machina at worst and a plot contrivance at best.

    Just my opinion, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    So I was writing, and something came into my mind as I was going.

    When it comes to stories where the traditional Pokemon formula is featured in at least some regard, of what importance are scenes depicting training? Must these always be depicted fully from beginning to end, or can they be trimmed down?

    Now, I'm not suggesting eliminating the element of training, because that is an important part of the context. What I'm talking about is, for example, a scene in which two trainers spar with each other for practice with no significant impact on the plot. Is it necessary to fully depict that entire battle, or can it be cut down to just what needs to be seen?

    My thinking personally right now is that it would depend upon the specific instance. If the training was literally just basic warm-up exercises with no larger impact on the plot, it could be trimmed down, but if something important - a new move, an evolution, a new strategy, anything important- happens, it needs to be shown directly.

    I want to hear your opinions on this subject. I have a feeling I might not be approaching this in the best way.
    Sure, I think that a lot of battles are important - testing out new Pokémon, rivals, learning a new move/evolution and gym battles of course you're all going to want to include. For me I like a level of realism so I'd rather the writer mention several "off-screen" battles, rather than the trainer reaching the league and only having battled 10 people or something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    I agree with your basic premise but not to the same extent. Take, for example, your instance of Charizard being shown learning Blast Burn versus it simply coming up. I think that if you have something like that come up without any foreshadowing or explanation, you run the risk of it coming out looking like a deus ex machina at worst and a plot contrivance at best.
    Well, naturally you don't want to make the fact the Charizard knows Blast Burn come up for the first time when it suddenly saves the main character during the climax of the story, but having it used or simply mentioned at some earlier, less important point does the job just as well as inserting a scene wherein they train to teach it Blast Burn. If the moment it learns Blast Burn really isn't actually an interesting moment for the plot or characters (which it might be, of course), it's probably better left out.

    I tend to actually like scenes that just involve fun character interaction or show interesting characters generally doing something interestingly different from what we've seen them doing before, even if they definitely could be cut without leaving a discernible hole behind, so I'd only personally complain if the scene is simply grossly uninteresting or if the ratio of such scenes to stuff that matters were truly obscene. (Which happens, mind you: if you insert a training scene every time your Pokémon learn moves and there's nothing to make any of them interestingly different from the last, or include dozens of trivial battles that just amount to a sequence of move descriptions, it's simply boring.) But if you're at any point thinking, "Oh, do I have to include this scene of battling/training/etc.?", you almost definitely don't, and the fact you're even thinking about it in those terms generally means it wouldn't be interesting. There is no type of general trainer fic event X where any scene that includes X must be in the story. It's easy when you're starting out to think certain things have to be in there as a matter of holy principle, regardless of whether they would in fact serve any purpose for this particular story, but ultimately that's not the case.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 4th November 2012 at 3:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfree View Post
    Well, naturally you don't want to make the fact the Charizard knows Blast Burn come up for the first time when it suddenly saves the main character during the climax of the story, but having it used or simply mentioned at some earlier, less important point does the job just as well as inserting a scene wherein they train to teach it Blast Burn. If the moment it learns Blast Burn really isn't actually an interesting moment for the plot or characters (which it might be, of course), it's probably better left out.

    I tend to actually like scenes that just involve fun character interaction or show interesting characters generally doing something interestingly different from what we've seen them doing before, even if they definitely could be cut without leaving a discernible hole behind, so I'd only personally complain if the scene is simply grossly uninteresting or if the ratio of such scenes to stuff that matters were truly obscene. (Which happens, mind you: if you insert a training scene every time your Pokémon learn moves and there's nothing to make any of them interestingly different from the last, or include dozens of trivial battles that just amount to a sequence of move descriptions, it's simply boring.) But if you're at any point thinking, "Oh, do I have to include this scene of battling/training/etc.?", you almost definitely don't, and the fact you're even thinking about it in those terms generally means it wouldn't be interesting. There is no type of general trainer fic event X where any scene that includes X must be in the story. It's easy when you're starting out to think certain things have to be in there as a matter of holy principle, regardless of whether they would in fact serve any purpose for this particular story, but ultimately that's not the case.
    These are wise words, I think.

    Actually, I think you've given just the answer I was looking for - you've summed up everything I feel about this subject in much better words than I could.

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    I think the importance of the battle is a main factor. Plot-changing battles must be fully in-depth, fun or character expressing battles must be at least somewhat detailed (moves used, reactions, etc) but level grinding can be captured in a few sentences.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaldaver View Post
    I think the importance of the battle is a main factor. Plot-changing battles must be fully in-depth, fun or character expressing battles must be at least somewhat detailed (moves used, reactions, etc) but level grinding can be captured in a few sentences.
    To be honest, the level system in the game mechanics really bugs me, mostly because it's a bit unrealistic. I would say that training should be mentioned in detail if it was important to the plot, or if something of interest was going to happen while "training". Battles can be skipped if it isn't important to the plot. But really, it's all up to the writer to decide on what is omitted. Personally, I would just see every detail as practice for me (even if it could be omitted, no such thing as too much practice.)

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