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Thread: The Dark Core (One-Shot) (PG)

  1. #1
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    Default The Dark Core (One-Shot) (PG)

    This is my second one-shot.

    The Dark Core
    //////////////////////////////

    The night flowed over the city like an ocean, extinguishing the daylight and leaving behind only the light of the lamp posts, stars in the darkened city, guiding you along your path.

    One house was not dark. That house is where our story starts.

    //////////////////////////////

    "Mom! Guess what I found!" said the 7 year old, wiping his dirty hands on his jeans.
    "What is it, honey? his mother cautiously queried.
    "I found this cool old closet, and it's dark and dirty and- and- please come look! Please, mom, please?"
    "Okay, dear, I'll be there in a second! I just have to finish unpacking!" Maria sighed and looked up.

    The two had just arrived in the town of Dartmoor, and they were only now starting to set up camp, late at night. Their house was on the beachfront, which was a luxury, seeing as how Maria's speciality was battling with water-type Pokčmon.

    Maria glanced at the old, dusty family photo that she had in her hand and smiled. Her son, Jake, and her husband smiled alongside her in the faded picture. It was taken about three years ago, and Maria remembered those days fondly, the days before it happened- the days before he left. She was filled with anger from just looking at him, but then she looked at her son and, slowly, a smile came to her face. He was wearing the old Superman shirt.

    At the time that the photo was taken, Jake had been going through the classic Superman phase, making swooshing noises and running all over the place, causing trouble and leaving a mess in his wake.

    Maria sighed, and went off to look at her son's discovery.

    //////////////////////////////
    Three years before...
    //////////////////////////////

    "What do you mean by 'you're leaving'? Surely you can't mean it?"

    "I do, and I will," growled Jake's dad, "I can do what I want with myself and nothing, I repeat, nothing, at all will stop me."

    "Richard! Please! Think about Jake! He'll be devastated if you leave!" sobbed Maria, the tears gushing as if they were raindrops, falling softly to the ground below.

    "And I care why? He's not worth anything! He can't even win a Pokčmon contest, for goodness sakes!"

    "Daddy, why are you screaming?" inquired a small voice.

    Maria froze and turned to the carpeted stairway to see Jake standing there.

    "Jake, go upstairs. Your dad and I are having a discussion."

    "But... Daddy said I'm worth nothing... Mommy, why is he leaving?"

    "He's what?" Maria spun around, only to see Richard leaving.

    Richard stopped at the door and said to Maria: "Nothing. Nothing at all."

    That was the last time his family would ever hear him speak. He was found, lying spread-eagled in the snow. His eyes were open, even in death. It was like when he was alive- his eyes were open, but he couldn't see anything. The police report was as follows:

    Richard Wade Jacobs, 32, was found lying in the snow on 12/12/02. Cause of death has been confirmed as overuse of alcohol.

    That was all. He was only two lines long.

    //////////////////////////////
    Present Day
    //////////////////////////////

    Jake would never forget what he had heard. He was confused, being a little child, and he misunderstood that his father would only love him if he could conquer all of the Pokčmon contests in the world.

    //////////////////////////////
    7 years later...
    //////////////////////////////

    "And now, for our final challenger, Jake Jacobs of Dartmoor! Give him a hand, folks! If he wins this, he will be the first Coordinator to ever gain all of the existing Contest Ribbons!" Lucille, the announcer, belted this all out as the young man came on to the stage. "And not only that, he will have done it at the young age of fourteen! Can any of you hold a candle to that claim?"

    Jake gave a bow, then yelled out:

    "Lumo, go!"

    As the blue Lumineon, the stage erupted in bubble seals from the Pokeball.

    The crowd went wild, and Jake grinned.

    "Let's do this, Lumo! Use Rain Dance!"

    The fish formed a grey ball of clouds, then cannoned it up into the ceiling.

    "Now, use surf twice, once to each side!" ordered Jake confidently, a wild look in his eyes.

    As the rain poured down, Lum used Surf as ordered, and using its ability, Storm Drain, pulled the rain in towards itself and absorbed it.

    "Wow! What a beautiful appeal!" exclaimed Lucille. "Let's see what our judges think!"

    The three judges were giving Jake a standing ovation. All of them were shouting things like "Amazing! Stupendous! Absolutely breathtaking!"

    "Well, it's clear who's won this contest! Congrats, Jake!"

    //////////////////////////////

    Jake smiled as he put away his new, final ribbon. When he was young, he he'd started on a journey to complete every contest, due to what his father said, but now, he just did it for fun. He understood that it wasn't his fault, that he had had an abusive father, and he would never have loved him, even if he was alive. Even so, he felt almost fulfilled at his success.
    "Great job out there today, Lumo, that was truly astounding. You even exceeded my expectations!" Jake chuckled, shook his head, then, looked out the dark window, and went to sleep.

    //////////////////////////////
    The End
    //////////////////////////////

    Like always, please give me CC, and I hope this one was better than the ones before it! I know it was longer, at least!

    - Shymain

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    This is my second one-shot.

    The Dark Core
    //////////////////////////////

    The night flowed over the city like an ocean, extinguishing the daylight and leaving behind only the light of the lamp posts, stars in the darkened city, guiding you along your path.

    One house was not dark. That house is where our story starts.
    I love this opening. The way you start this story off is immediately gripping. Good move, fantastic writing. I'm already ready to dive into this story.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    "Mom! Guess what I found!" said the 7 year old, wiping his dirty hands on his jeans.
    "What is it, honey? his mother cautiously queried.
    "I found this cool old closet, and it's dark and dirty and- and- please come look! Please, mom, please?"
    "Okay, dear, I'll be there in a second! I just have to finish unpacking!" Maria sighed and looked up.
    This oddly reminds me of Narnia for some reason right now O.o ; Like Poke-Narnia lol.

    [QUOTE=Shymain;15485229]The two had just arrived in the town of Dartmoor, and they were only now starting to set up camp, late at night. Their house was on the beachfront, which was a luxury, seeing as how Maria's speciality was battling with water-type Pokčmon.[/quote

    Despite the misspelling of "specialty", I do like how you added that tiny detail about Maria's Water-type fascination and how their new home fits her lifestyle perfectly. It's much appreciated as it helps develop background so, despite the story being short, the characters still have some depth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    Maria glanced at the old, dusty family photo that she had in her hand and smiled. Her son, Jake, and her husband smiled alongside her in the faded picture. It was taken about three years ago, and Maria remembered those days fondly, the days before it happened- the days before he left. She was filled with anger from just looking at him, but then she looked at her son and, slowly, a smile came to her face. He was wearing the old Superman shirt.

    At the time that the photo was taken, Jake had been going through the classic Superman phase, making swooshing noises and running all over the place, causing trouble and leaving a mess in his wake.
    The blending of Pokemon & our own culture is evident and it's interesting to note how you added in "Superman" in a world that's so foreign to our own, I'm curious to see where this goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    Maria sighed, and went off to look at her son's discovery.

    //////////////////////////////
    Three years before...
    Damn it! Leaving us hanging hehe

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    "What do you mean by 'you're leaving'? Surely you can't mean it?"

    "I do, and I will," growled Jake's dad, "I can do what I want with myself and nothing, I repeat, nothing, at all will stop me."
    Not a big fan of the dialogue here. Characters like Jake's dad are really tough to write for, I know from experience, as they (like here) often turn out sounding extremely cartoony and way too animated to be taken seriously.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    "Richard! Please! Think about Jake! He'll be devastated if you leave!" sobbed Maria, the tears gushing as if they were raindrops, falling softly to the ground below.

    "And I care why? He's not worth anything! He can't even win a Pokčmon contest, for goodness sakes!"

    "Daddy, why are you screaming?" inquired a small voice.

    Maria froze and turned to the carpeted stairway to see Jake standing there.

    "Jake, go upstairs. Your dad and I are having a discussion."

    "But... Daddy said I'm worth nothing... Mommy, why is he leaving?"

    "He's what?" Maria spun around, only to see Richard leaving.

    Richard stopped at the door and said to Maria: "Nothing. Nothing at all."
    Again, this whole conversation felt a bit forced and unbelievable. I feel like the way he left and said "Nothing. Nothing at all." didn't make much sense in the context of what was going on. If she would have said, "He's doing what?", I feel like it would have made a bit more sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    That was the last time his family would ever hear him speak. He was found, lying spread-eagled in the snow. His eyes were open, even in death. It was like when he was alive- his eyes were open, but he couldn't see anything. The police report was as follows:

    Richard Wade Jacobs, 32, was found lying in the snow on 12/12/02. Cause of death has been confirmed as overuse of alcohol.

    That was all. He was only two lines long.
    I love the idea of this portion, but the execution was a little lacking as the whole 'He was only two lines long' reads a bit odd. Maybe something more dramatic like 'His life ended like that... summed up in two lines" or "His death was only worth two lines" or something to that affect, if you get what I'm saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    Jake would never forget what he had heard. He was confused, being a little child, and he misunderstood that his father would only love him if he could conquer all of the Pokčmon contests in the world.

    //////////////////////////////
    7 years later...
    The constant skipping around can be a bit jarring, but I do love the suspense here it's building up to. What did Jake find?! lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    "And now, for our final challenger, Jake Jacobs of Dartmoor! Give him a hand, folks! If he wins this, he will be the first Coordinator to ever gain all of the existing Contest Ribbons!" Lucille, the announcer, belted this all out as the young man came on to the stage. "And not only that, he will have done it at the young age of fourteen! Can any of you hold a candle to that claim?"
    I like how we see how much he's accomplished in the wake of his father's death... the man who died disappointed in his son, the son now trying to prove him wrong and maybe even in some odd way try and make daddy proud, it's a good story and even in the small space, you did a good job so far of developing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    As the blue Lumineon, the stage erupted in bubble seals from the Pokeball.
    I like the unorthodox choice of Lumineon as the first Pokemon we see Jake owning, just because you get your usual insert-starter-or-Pikachu-or-other-popular-Pokemon-here in most stories, especially one-shots, so it's good to see something quite unpopular under our star's command. It's an interesting choice, and it definitely works for his coordinator profession.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    "Let's do this, Lumo! Use Rain Dance!"

    The fish formed a grey ball of clouds, then cannoned it up into the ceiling.
    As shown in the opening lines, you're capable of better description than that! Let us know what's really going on, that's really weak dude.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    "Now, use surf twice, once to each side!" ordered Jake confidently, a wild look in his eyes.

    As the rain poured down, Lum used Surf as ordered, and using its ability, Storm Drain, pulled the rain in towards itself and absorbed it.

    "Wow! What a beautiful appeal!" exclaimed Lucille. "Let's see what our judges think!"
    Once again, the description here is weak. It was beautiful? How? We didn't get any descriptions on how Lum's Surf looked, we just hear Jake command Lum to do these things and then he apparently does them. Add onto it, give us more!

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    The three judges were giving Jake a standing ovation. All of them were shouting things like "Amazing! Stupendous! Absolutely breathtaking!"

    "Well, it's clear who's won this contest! Congrats, Jake!"
    But how? This whole segment was a bit poor, I liked the idea behind it, it just didn't seem like it was taken as far as it could have. If there was more description to Lum's appeal, it would have had more and better impact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shymain View Post
    Jake smiled as he put away his new, final ribbon. When he was young, he he'd started on a journey to complete every contest, due to what his father said, but now, he just did it for fun. He understood that it wasn't his fault, that he had had an abusive father, and he would never have loved him, even if he was alive. Even so, he felt almost fulfilled at his success.
    "Great job out there today, Lumo, that was truly astounding. You even exceeded my expectations!" Jake chuckled, shook his head, then, looked out the dark window, and went to sleep.
    I do like your input on what Jake's thinking here, and my theory was a bit wrong, and I do like that. However, was it Lum or Lumo? Typo

    Okay, overall, a nice oneshot. Not much else to say here. Loved the ideas and it started off strong, but the contest section was a bit weak. I think it was good overall though, I'd love to read more of your work
    X:

    OR:

  3. #3

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    Strictly personal preference, but I found the “//////////////////////////////” to be a pretty distracting transition, especially since it was used so often. I think it could be really beneficial to the story (which seems to have a somber tone, especially in the beginning, that’s hurt by the transitions) and your writing in general to try making some more natural transitions within the prose itself. A simple “meanwhile” or something similar can effectively change the setting in a far less disruptive manner.

    At some points, you actually write a transition but still use the “//////////////////////////////”. For example:

    One house was not dark. That house is where our story starts.

    //////////////////////////////
    You move the readers’ focus to the house, which would honestly be good enough to set up the next scene. If you absolutely feel these transitions help your writing, at least consider points like these, where they may not be necessary at all.

    The flashback/flashforward scenes are especially distracting. See, without a written transition, there’s a pretty big disconnect between scenes. One minute, Maria is following her son to see a cool closet, and then she’s suddenly remembering the painful night her husband left. You do describe her looking at the family portrait, but you never actually transition to her remembering vividly that night three years ago. If anything, I got the impression that the sight of her son made her choose to keep her mind off of her husband, but then she was thinking about him a couple paragraphs later. It all seemed like a way to let the readers know that Jake had a tragic background (which itself is okay, but letting it appear more naturally will make the whole thing seem much less contrived).

    That being said, I liked the arc the character Jake went through. It’s simple, but honest and sweet at the end. I have to admit, though, I’m not entirely sure what purpose the “present day” setting serves, other than that Maria looked at the family portrait, which could easily have been done in the “7 years later” setting with a few adjustments. For instance, placing Maria in the contest audience would allow you to explore her thoughts the way you did in the “present day,” while cutting out a potentially needless transition. I mean, I would say the fact that Jake is pretty much nailing all of his contests is a pretty believable trigger for Maria to think back on the day his father left.

    The contest portion was good, but a bit brief. It’s a triumphant moment for Jake (in more ways than one), but it feels like it’s passed over like just another contest. Some more vivid language might help this a little. I would think that a beauty contest of all things is a great excuse for being a little over-the-top in your descriptions. The appeal was described well, but it was a little dry. It didn’t feel as dazzling as the judges would have me believe.

    Jake’s emotions during his appeal could also be really effective. I know he says it’s not about his dad anymore, and that idea could be used to give the scene a punch. The fact that his happiness is purely his own, not attached to anyone else, lets the reader know that he’s moved on, and you won’t have to come right out and say it.

    If you are going to simply state it, however, I think it would beneficial for you to spend a little more time doing so. The last paragraph is very skimpy, especially when you consider the fact that it basically puts to rest (for the reader, anyway) Jake being troubled about his past. I’m sure it’s been a difficult road, and having Jake touch on that wouldn’t be a bad idea. He’s made a new friend in Lumo, a relationship that would speak volumes about how well he’s moved on if you gave us a few more details. You’ve told us that Jake has moved on, but I never really get to see that for myself.

    Overall, I think a little refinement would be really beneficial here. You’ve got the plot down, so now I think the descriptions and characters could use a little beefing up. It’s all laid out, and I feel like you’re almost there, but just a little more emotional detail, fleshing out of ideas, and more vivid descriptions could really strengthen the pretty solid little story you’ve got here.

  4. #4
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    Interesting story, especially since you tackled contests, which are very fun reads considering they focus more on the visuals rather than the action.

    The two reviews above pretty much got a lot of things I wanted to say, but I just wanted to reiterate one advice that would really help this piece: show, don't tell. You say that Lumineon lands a perfect appeal - why not show to the readers how this appeal went with some description? You say that Jake feels "almost fulfilled at his success" (which I don't get really; why almost fulfilled?) - why not show how Jake reacted into getting that final ribbon that would make him the first coordinator to get all the existing contest ribbons? You say that Maria is angered just by seeing her ex-husband - why not show how she tries to hide this anger when Jake enthusiastically approaches her about his discovery? As I said above, what's interesting about contests are the visuals of the appeals, so with tackling that, you really need to work on your description, making sure that it's showing rather than telling.

    And speaking of that discovery, am I the only one who was bothered not to know what that is? It could've functioned as a red herring or somethig, but being the first thing I'm introduced to I'm expected to at least know how that question is resolved. It becomes a bit annoying knowing that it didn't really have any bearing to the story as all, so I suggest either removing that bit or editing it so that it does something to the story.

    I agree with johno1995 about you having to work on your dialogue; right now it sounds pretty flat, especially for a scene that's jam-packed with emotion. Again, putting more description will help, you might also run the risk of the opposite extreme - that is, sounding too flowery that the emotions feel too cheesy and contrived. So make sure to find that balance between a lack and an overflow of emotion - right now you're in the former.

    And one other nitpick:

    That was all. He was only two lines long.
    Well it was only one line long XD Unless you're referring to the number of sentences.


    Again, I think it's an okay job, but your description needs some work. I agree with Imaginative Clockwork that your story's already pretty solid - with some fleshing out here and there, it can turn out to be a really good piece.


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