Authors Note: This is 2 years after the events of HG/SS, between the B/W and the B2/W2 arcs.
Chapter 1: Uprising
Valor Lakefront. Even though it's located a bit far from those populous cities that people get to visit, it's rather peaceful in nature. Some people that reside in this area are quite boastful when it comes to living in this fine area. Some that also live here tend to care of their Pokémon and have fun with them.
But it was one tranquil morning in the middle of April. In one of the hotels, there lay a brunette girl that slept peacefully in her comfy white bed. She snored so quietly as a whisper. Nearby her bed, one of the Poke Balls rolled around vigorously, until it ejected a luminous, icy glow. It reformed into a Vaporeon.
"Vap vap." she yapped in curiousity. She was daring to see of how this day may go.
She glanced through her window and looked at a flock of Starly and Swablu flying through the luminous sky. As she slowly crawled towards it, she looked at the sky, and saw the intense sun. She awed in curiosity, until it flashed her eyes.
"Vapor!" she shrilled in pain as she used her tailfin to wipe her eyes. Suddenly, she heard peaceful rumbles that penetrated her ears. She turned her head towards her master who held her red keychain, embedded with glistening crystals, in her arm.
She quickly jumped on her master's chest and rubbed her soft face with her nose. She felt that her face was like a soft cushion that you can lay on. But as soon as she tried rubbing her master's face, her brown eye slowly began to open.
Vaporeon stopped her rubbing and gazed at her master's blank eye. The whole room was instantly silent. Her master's face was frozen in shock.
"Yah!" she shrilled in a loud manner. She instantly rolled out of the bed and fell on her head on her white carpet, while Vaporeon ran out of her room.
"Owwww…." She got up and rubbed her silky head, "I swear that Aquarius will pay for trying to tamper me!"
She then sighed in relief as she walked to her big window. While she glanced at the Starly and Staraptor flying around as they chanted happily, she couldn't bear to think of what it was like for her to be in Johto once more where she was once with her childhood friends and family in Goldenrod City where she conquered to get the eight badges.
She thought, "It must be 2 years now… My mom and my dad must be worrying about how I am alone in Sinnoh… I need to step up my game towards being a good coordinator. I am Melissa… the Pokémon Coordinator….."
A while later, Melissa was in her living room, where she was frying up the juicy pancakes that awaited for her sensitive taste buds. As she was humming with her eyes closed, she felt a tug on her blue pants.
She glanced down and saw her troubled Luxio. Her Luxio purred in a painful way with her whimpering face. "What's the matter Libra?"
She purred painfully as she pounded on her tummy. Soon, she dropped the silver pan and rushed outside to the balcony, not even noticing of how her pancakes would be.
Outside on the balcony, Melissa was pouring the Poke food on the bowls for her 3 Pokemon. She ignored the soft breeze that swayed across the atmosphere. Even though it flows through her hair and white short sleeved shirt, she ignored as if it was nothing to worry.
"Here you go." She dropped the red shaped bowl towards her famished Luxio. As soon as she sucked in the smell of the scrumptious food, Libra ate and ate until there was nothing more. Then she fell down and fell asleep.
Melissa smiled as she looked at Libra, but glanced at Vulpes, her Vulpix. She slowly munched away the Poke food. Vulpes had a blank and fixed stare on the bowl as she continued to eat away the diminishing scraps.
"I wonder on where I can get a Fire Stone for Vulpes. I wish for her to be a Ninetales. But I guess that can wait for now….." Aquarius and Togetic faintly snored as they fell asleep from their heavy stomach.
They rested on the grassy mat with their legs close together. Melissa looked at the whole vicinity. She can't help but look at the whole trees that are displayed a bit far for her view as she saw Jumpuff and Mothim fly away.
Suddenly, a vibrating tone was roaring inside. Melissa's heart was racing as she rushed inside of her room and put the phone on her ear.
"Hello?" a familiar voice said out of the phone.
Sweat slithered through Melissa's skin as it barely dampened her clothing.
"Oh hey Mom!" Melissa happily hollered.
"Hey….. So I was wondering…. Did you get a dangerous boyfriend in the Sinnoh Region?"
Melissa was dumbstruck by that absurd response. She trembled as she placed the phone away from her ear. Her mouth was open as her face turned into a shocked expression.
Soon enough, she placed the phone close to her mouth, "Oh Mother! Why are you worrying about me huh! You should know that I am always in good behavior in Sinnoh, so I don't see on why you should worry about me huh!?" Melissa panted heavily and placed the phone close to her ear.
"Oh, sorry about that." her mother giggled, "So, I saw that you lost in the recent Pokemon Contest. You were in sixth place, and I was mad of how Jessie and her Roserade won! I will come to Sinnoh and teach you how to be a top notch Coordinator and tell of that Jessie of how I was #1 in my previous career!"
"No no mother… let's forget about that….." she carefully said, "living in Sinnoh for two years was a bit scary at first…."
She thought back when she was in the boat, all by herself with Aquarius that was an Eevee at the time. She seemed solemn as she glanced at her mother waving goodbye with her friends. She was unsure of how Sinnoh might be. She remembered seeing it on TV a week after she came back from the Pokemon League.
It showed the big Super Contest Hall and the elegant Pokemon and their performances, like a Piplup using Bubblebeam and froze the bubbles. They cracked and glimmering sparkles rained down which caused everyone to be amazed. Melissa was 12 at the time, and she realized her real goal; to become a #1 coordinator.
Back to this, she was in a daze when she was thinking back.
"Hello, you're still there?"
Melissa jumped instantly as her eyes were wide open. "Yes yes. Bye mother!"
"Wait, wait, I was about to tell you about—" the conversation was broken as she put the phone back. She released a troubled sigh. She noticed a charred smell that made its way to the whole room.
"Ehh….." she turned towards the stove and noticed the black smoke emitting out. Sweat was rapidly racing down as she shivered.
"No! My pancakes!" While she rushed to the stove, she turned it off and took the pan. She glanced at her crispy black pancakes that were like coal. Tears were running down and dripped to the ground. "No….. my pancakes are ruined!" She screamed as she glanced at the sleek, while ceiling.
A while later, Aquarius and Melissa were walking towards the Super Contest hall in the populous Hearthome City. Various chatter and other noises were making its way.
Various Pokémon like Houndour and Totodile would run around happily while their trainers would try to grab them. She felt the warm sky that was sending its rays to the whole town, which really irritated her a bit, except Aquarius, since she's a water type.
"Hey, I wonder of how populated the city is. Everyone would crawl around this amazing area at all times, non stop." she said to Aquarius.
She glanced at the various bystanders walking around with their Poffins and badges with their Pokémon. Then she noticed her friend from Sinnoh that was walking out of the Super Contest Hall.
"Hey Lisa!" Melissa yelled in amazement.
She looked up in response and glanced at Melissa and her Vaporeon. She slowly walked towards the two with her Poke Ball in her hand. "Oh, hey."
Melissa looked at Lisa's dismal face and her black hair that barely shrouds her green eyes. They all wondered on why she was sad for that particular moment as she was in front of the expansive Contest hall. "What's the matter?"
"You haven't heard? Remember Jessie that beat you a week back? She is #1 again, and she beat most of the contestants with Roserade all the time!"
Melissa and Aquarius glared at Lisa in a troubled way, shocked by what she said.
As soon as they were going to enter in the hall, Lisa said, "Wait!" They were alarmed as they turned towards her. "What is it?"
"For the upcoming Pokémon Contest, you need four Pokémon to enter!"
"What?" Melissa questioned in disbelief.
She rushed into the hall and ran to the receptionist. The people that were in the hall, including the receptionist were instantly grieved by the girl's sudden appearance.
"Four Pokemon to enter!? When was this!? I don't ever recall hearing this when I was here!"
"I'm sorry, but you should have remembered this the last time you entered. You can't enter until you get four Pokémon after the previous contest was over."
The bystanders glared at Melissa and the two since they were uneasy. As she walked back to her room in the night, Melissa jumped on her comfy bed and rolled all over it.
She thought, "What am I going to do? I don't have four Pokémon with me. I'd just do fine with two….." Then an idea popped in her head. She got up and sat on her bed, having a wide smile of her new idea that was generated in an instant.
"I can just catch a Pokémon!" She quickly grabbed one of her Poke Balls and ran out of the hotels to the dark outdoors. She raced into Route 229, trying to scour across the lands in search of a Pokémon with her bright flashlight. She glanced at the night sky that had glimmering stars. She awed as a shooting star was traveling its way until it disappeared.
As soon as she was trailing around, she heard a prickling sound that emanated through the whole route. She shivered in fear as she wondered on what's going on. A tear that rained down from her eye dried instantly from the warm temperature.
"I'm running out this place!" As she was quickly pacing away from the dark and ominous place, a long shadow quickly blocked her way back to her home. She instantly fell down and glanced at the creepy shadow that's coming from the dark bushes. Soon enough, a sticky white thread latched on her leg.
"No, this can't be….." she thought. She thought back of how Bug Pokemon would intimidate her as a kid. They had those big and blank eyes, those scary mouths that had pointy teeth, and those weird evolutions that are disgusting. She knew that this might be a Bug type, and she wanted to elude from its sticky grip.
She heard the prickling sound again, and it's nearby. She shivered more and more as sweat was erupting out of her skin. Her heart pounded and pounded as if it were going to explode. A dreaded pain was coursing through her body towards her sweat and her faint breath. "Oww…"
She slowly got up and was about to take out her Poke Ball, but the shrouded figure jumped on her chest. She was alarmed when she saw that it was a cute Spinarak that was blankly staring at her troubled face. It cuddled on her and had its fangs close to her that made Melissa intimidated.
Melissa emitted a loud shriek as she pushed the Spinarak. She shivered with her clenched arms on her face, afraid of this creepy crawler. Her Poke Ball rolled and released a luminous light that reformed into Aquarius.
"Oh….. I hate Bug Types…." Melissa thought, but she heard piercing cries coming out. She looked at Aquarius blasting a Water Gun attack, but the Spinarak quickly evaded it as the blast hits the trees that caused leaves to shower down.
As soon as Aquarius was going to blast another Water Gun, the Spinarak vanished from their sight. Aquarius was in shock and plunged to the tree. She tried to get up as she struggled on her feet, she panted and panted roughly while she tried to grasp on the little energy she has.
"No….. This can't be…" Melissa tried to look inside her bag for her Poke Balls, but she was grieved. She forgot to get them back from the hotel! She couldn't bear to watch this disturbing scene. Then the wild Spinarak fell from the tree while Aquarius wasn't even expecting this.
"Aquarius! Above you quick!" Melissa yelled. But when Aquarius stared at the Spinarak's fangs, it quickly pierced her back with its poisonous fangs. Poison seeped into her bloodstream that's slowly damaging her body.
"NOOOO!" Aquarius tried to get up, but she collapsed to the ground as she shivered. Melissa just returned her back to the Poke Ball and quickly tried running for her life.
"This can't be." she thought, "This can't be happening. Right now during the night while I'm trapped with this thing!?" She grabbed her chest tightly with her head down, but she felt the web on her leg pulling her back towards the Spinarak.
"No! No!" As she tried to grab on the grass to keep her safe, she was quickly being sucked back forcefully. She painfully breathed, wanting this madness to stop. Her silky brown hair was pulled back by the Spinarak as she was reached to it.
When Melissa glared at the Spinarak's blank face, she quickly bit her arm and red jacket. She couldn't believe that this was happening. In all of the times that she encountered a Bug Pokémon, she never expected for this monstrosity to happen.
She thought back on when she fought Bugsy. She had a Chikorita at the time, and she lost so many times against the Scyther that she thought of giving up. But with her determination, she finally defeated Bugsy and got the badge.
But with this, she never saw a Spinarak that fast and strong. She felt a crawling sensation all over her stomach as the Spinarak was close to her face. "No, get away! I don't want you to kill me!" She placed her soft arm in front of the Spinarak.
As the Spinarak was about to bite her, she remembered Melissa saying that she hates Bugs. The creature seemed solemn and released her from its grip. Melissa quickly eluded from that small threat in the dark and dangerous area.
Last edited by Quilava42; 6th January 2013 at 1:53 AM.
Sounds of shrilling hoots encircled around the whole dark route as Melissa tried to elude out of it. Sweat respired from her tender skin as she carried her sickened Aquarius as she vibrantly trembled. Melissa heard Aquarius' soft cries of pain that faintly echoed out of her mouth as she swished her sleek tail and feet around Melissa's chest.
Melissa didn't want to go through that pain again. Not again. A year back was when she finally gave up being a Pokémon Trainer. Yes she came to Sinnoh in order to reach that dream goal that she really desired out of her warm heart, but she still had that little burst of excitement that was coursing through her veins.
It was near Sunyshore City in the warm and sunny area when she just came back from that excruciating challenge at the Pokémon League. There were a lot of people that were enjoying the exquisite beach, but they weren't even wit A rogue trainer that had a Gabite brutally attacked her Eevee that was Aquarius. It viciously slashed her numerous times while Aquarius didn't have the chance to fight back.
Melissa was grieved of how she wanted her Eevee to be strong enough. She didn't know what to do. But when she lost, she was holding her worn out Aquarius that had her glistening eyes and mouth that was barely open.
"Eeee…" a crackling and faint sound howled out of Eevee's mouth while Melissa was trembling. The trainer released a devious grin out of his mouth while he crossed his arms as Gabite and the trainer trailed away from the sandy beach.
The clouds turned grim and dark as they gathered up together and blocked the bright sunlight that was giving the whole land warm pleasure. Soon it released pockets of rain as it barraged the whole land.
Melissa couldn't even bear the condition for her injured Eevee. A stream of tears slithered out of her eyes like a fast river current and touched her Eevee's cheek. She looked at the dismal looking sky and cried horribly loud as it echoed vibrantly to the whole gloomy land.
Now in the present time, Melissa dashed across the long route, evading the shrouding danger that might strike them. Soon enough, she tripped on a sturdy rock without knowing that it was here.
Her white and glistening dress and whole body collided in the prickly grass. She couldn't even stop her own fall since gravity is doing its job. Aquarius' weak body was released out of Melissa's arms as she rolled across the grassy field. She's unconscious, and she released sweat quickly out of her body.
Melissa slowly got up as she struggled and got on her legs. She noticed an irritable pain that was surging at her right knee. She quickly got her dress off of it and noticed a slight pint of blood that erupted out.
"No." said Melissa as she limped towards Aquarius. She was about to fall down as the pain attacked her again, but she ignored it and took a hold of Aquarius. Limping was a struggle for her as it lowered her ability to walk, and it slowed her down.
In the dark night at 1 A.M, she limped to Hearthome City with Aquarius on her arms. As she slowly touched the sleek door of the Pokémon Center, it quickly slid open. She walked into the Pokémon Center towards Nurse Joy who appears to look intrigued by her overall look.
"Hello Melissa, I see that you encountered trouble catching a Pokémon?" said Nurse Joy.
"How did you know?" Melissa blankly stared at Nurse Joy's cautious face.
"I can tell by your look and Aquarius' condition. Can I help recover her? And you can stay here for the night since it'll be dangerous for you to walk back."
Melissa released a sigh as she heaved her injured Pokémon to Nurse Joy's possession. She slowly walked into the resting room where other trainers rest in for the night and slept on the empty bed that awaited her.
As hours flew by, Melissa walked out of the resting room, healed up. She observed the long and pink hallway and it appeared to her as a long capsule chamber. As she walked into the Pokémon recovery room, she looked at Aquarius. She was on top of a white and circle table while she was just standing there with a striking gaze towards Melissa as her tail swished around.
"I see that Aquarius…." said Melissa as she was astonished for her Pokémon look, "She was waiting for me this whole time." As she walked away, Aquarius sprung out of the table and walked out of the Pokémon Center.
As she looked at the clear sky, Melissa thought, "I wonder how my day will be. I guess that it'll be a crazy day as always, right?" She smiled as she looked down. "Let's see."
As the hours roll by, Melissa and Lisa, her friend, was relaxing in the populous resort pool in Valor Lakefront in their flowery swimsuits. They sat on their mats with their legs in the warm and soothing water. The bright sun that released its glow allowed their light skins glisten.
Lisa, who was sitting at the right, turned to Melissa and her green swimsuit that had a red flower like pattern.
"So, my mom got a new job." said Lisa as she smiled.
Melissa's silky brown hair dropped from her shoulders as she quickly turned her head towards Lisa, but she can't help but notice of how her black hair contradicted her green eyes and light skin. Not to mention the blue swimsuit with Mudkip head patterns that contradicted her whole appearance.
"That's good. And I got in a predicament in the night."
Lisa was lost in thought, until she noticed that scrape on her knee. "That explains the scar right?"
Melissa trembled as she loathed for that Spinarak. It's the reason that all of this happened. For poisoning Aquarius. For injuring and frightening Melissa.
Melissa sucked in some air as she looked at Lisa. "So, as I tried to find a Pokémon, a Spinarak came in and tried to kill me and Aquarius."
"Wait, a Spinarak? I don't see how a Spinarak can kill you." said Lisa as she chuckled uncontrollably.
Melissa's cheeks lit up into a color of a cherry as she was being laughed at. "It's not funny! It poisoned Aquarius and it almost bit me! It was on my chest and it snuggled me so hard that I didn't have the time to resist! It trapped me in its web!"
Lisa was shocked by her loud outburst as she heard her seriousness. She turned around and had a dismal face when she heard this. "Oh. Sorry about that."
Soon enough, they heard echoes of water splashed across the pool, a soothing splash that was echoed out. They focused on Spike, Melissa's Togetic that was happily swimming towards her. Melissa's smile turned brighter as she thought back of how she got Spike as an egg in Johto.
When he hatched into a Togepi, he would always pop out of his Poke Ball at random occasions, but he's pretty sturdy and defensive. He was considered weak compared to Melissa's old team in Johto, but she trained Spike with Aries, her Chikorita, and Bubbles, her Azumarill non stop, every day. Melissa never gave up on Spike.
Spike jumped out of the pool as his presence was covering her master's view. "Wha.. what?" Melissa said in astonishment.
Spike plunged into Melissa's belly and rubbed his white and spiky head to the pillow he's desired. Melissa was irked as she had that disgusting facial expression. Spike's spiky head caused piercing discomforting pain to Melissa's body as it moved around.
"Ehhh….. could you not rub your spikes, they are hurting me." She lightly pushed her Togetic from her. Togetic's face soon became gloomy as tears leaked out of his eyes. Lisa had a stern grin at Melissa as she tightly grabbed on to her shoulder.
"What's the matter with you? Go apologize to your Togetic since you're so cold!" Lisa displayed her dreadful face that intimidated Melissa as her body trembled by her sudden reaction.
"Ok! Ok! I will, I. I promise!" said Melissa, but her voice was cracking like ice.
She lightly patted Spike's body that eased his pain away. He looked at her owner's sad face and brightly smiled at her with his mouth open.
A Sunshine form Cherrim with a silver pan that's full of Pecha Berries was slowly walking towards Lisa. Her small stature seemed unnoticeable, but her light yellow appearance and pink parts around her body seemed to get people's attention by the overall cute appearance.
Lisa and the others lost their attention and looked at the Cherrim as everything turned silent in an instant. Lisa instantly recognized Lilly, her Cherrim since she told her to collect Pecha Berries for a drink.
Lisa smiled as she tilted her head, letting her silky hair fall from her shoulders, "Lilly, you brought the Pecha Berries!" Lisa carefully grabbed the pan as everyone gathered around to gaze on the light Pecha Berries. Aquarius submerged from the water in water form quickly as she reformed back. She happily yapped as her tongue was revealed.
Later on that same spot, nothing has changed except that everyone was drinking the Pecha Berry drink. Melissa and the others felt the sweetness of that drink prickle their taste buds as it made their way into their bodies.
Lisa and Melissa fell down along with Aquarius and Lilly as they gazed at the bright and light sky. They looked at the thin clouds slowly trailing away from the sun that made them quite relieved to relax by themselves since rarely anyone was here in the afternoon. Starly flew by as they sang across the sky, letting their soothing songs encircle the whole vicinity.
Lisa can't help but wonder what has been flowing in her mind. She tilted her head beside Melissa who had a fixed and happy gaze at the sky. She thought of Melissa as beautiful and kind, also for her bright brown eyes and light brown hair. Also for her light skin and small lips that seemed glassy at least.
She remembered meeting her when they first met in the Contest Hall 2 years ago. They would argue and compete to see who was better. Lisa never gave up and always tried to make her Cherrim fashionable and cute, as Melissa only cared of what her Pokémon prefer and what suits them the most.
Lisa was blinded by how Pokémon Contests are supposed to work, until Melissa beat her in the final round with her Shinx against her Glameow. At the sunset, she was outside of the Contest Hall, having no signs of emotion. She just stood there for hours, until Melissa just ran and grabbed her hand.
Lisa turned towards her happy and teary face as her own face brightened us. She was shocked as her eyes were feeling like they were in pain. But Melissa closed her eyes and smiled as she said, "Let's be friends, forever. We will be screwed as one. We will fight as one. And that way, we both can reach our goals of being a coordinator.
Back to this, Lisa was still overwhelmed by how Melissa would be better than her just by that quote that was stitched into her confused heart. "Melissa…"
Melissa turned her head and looked at Lisa's eyes. They seemed to look like they were in pain and jealousy. "What Lisa? What seemed to bother you?"
Lisa has no thought of saying something in an instant with Melissa's face of confusion striking her view. Her face was heating up as her cheeked blushed brightly that caused sweat to erupt out quickly.
"Are you… Are you going to compete for that Pokémon Contest next week?"
Soon enough, a burst of laughter and infatuating chatter loudly echoed from the hotel rest spot. Lisa and Melissa quickly got up along with the Pokémon as they recognized that evil devious from somewhere.
A crowd of hypnotized men walked out as they cheered and try to touch an attractive woman. The woman's lips were bright as a cherry that could seduce even a man with a cold heart. Her blue eyes were light as the sky, along with her skin and illuminating skin. She wore a revealing swimsuit and a curvy figure that signified her as an attractive woman who was named Jessie.
A Roserade walked away from her towards Aquarius and Cherrim. Melissa walked towards the crowd seemingly angry and annoyed of her presence. Jessie cockily laughed until she saw Melissa's angry face.
Melissa couldn't stand Jessie and her prissy personality. Their families were once friends and got each other's back. They relied on another and competed for friendly competition. But Jessie's family became rich and exquisite. They were blinded by how Melissa's family worked hard to get the things they deserved, and they got the fame and money just by themselves.
Now Melissa really wanted to get it through Jessie's head.
"Jessie, why are you here?" she bluntly said.
Jessie couldn't take Melissa's teen appearance seriously as she laughed along with the men as she said, "You see, I heard that you live in this area. So I wanted to stop by and see of how you live. I seen your room and it looks so dirty and lacking beauty and extravagance. So I wanted you to fix up your act."
Melissa couldn't stand Melissa's seducing voice and what she prefers. Her room was neat and detailed correctly, so she doesn't know what she's talking about.
"Look, I don't see on how you think of beauty and glamour as your important qualities! And you should know on not to use your Pokémon for beauty and fame! Friendship and trust is what's important to them, and you should understand how they truly feel!" Melissa's voice reached very loud towards Jessie and the men's eardrums.
Roserade laughed as she looked at Aquarius's blank face and Togetic's babyish appearance. She posed in front of them while she had her legs crossed and her arms in front of them having a bright smile that irritated them.
When Jessie was loudly laughing with the men in front of Melissa, all of them heard their Pokémon bicker loudly by the minute. Melissa's heart skipped a beat as she sweated. She quickly grabbed her Poke Balls that were on her strap and returned her Pokémon.
Roserade glared at them as she skipped towards her master. Before they departed, Jessie laid her right eye at Melissa and said,
"Remember that our family is always at the top and you poor excuse of a family will never reach us. Keep that in mind."
Later in the night, Melissa walked into her room that appeared to look like a snowy area near Snowpoint City. She got back from being with Lisa and her mom at her house. As she trailed around her room, she noticed a trophy a year ago for being a contestant of the Sinnoh Pokémon League a year back.
She was slightly saddened as she looked at this that was her former occupation. Yes she went to Sinnoh to reach her dream, but she felt like competing for the Pokémon League just to train her Pokémon in order for them to be strong and strategic.
But a memory ringed in her head. It was when she was in Lisa's room as they watched TV about the upcoming Battle Competition. She was quite unsure and she still didn't have a complete decision. She head prickly sounds that encircled her room instantly. She was intimidated by that same cry that was there a day back in the dark and devious night of the dangerous Spinarak.
"Wha…" She thought for sure that the Spinarak must have followed her here, so she ran towards her window and noticed that there was nothing there besides Zubat and Noctowl flying at they were happily chanting. Melissa smiled as she was soothed by their cries and went to the bathroom.
Outside of the balcony, that same Spinarak resided outside Melissa's window. She was glad to see that Melissa didn't send out her Pokémon. The little creature wanted to get close to Melissa's presence and most of all, her hands. She craved for it, and she wanted to be with her so bad, since she was lonely of how her family is disappearing one by one without explanation.
Last edited by Quilava42; 6th January 2013 at 2:01 AM.
Sorry for the wait. And the eventual harshness of this review. Buuuut... yeah, there were a few issues.
...In fact, I wound up hitting the character limit, so this is actually split into two posts. Sorry!
Originally Posted by Quilava42
Valor Lakefront. Even though it's located a bit far from those populous cities that you get to visit, it's rather peaceful in nature. Some people that reside in this area are quite boastful when it comes to living in this fine area. Some that also live here tend to care of their Pokémon and have fun with them.
One of the most passed-along pieces of advice you'll hear when it comes to writing is "show, don't tell." What that means is that you should never simply tell a reader that a thing or a place (or a person or what-have-you) is a certain quality. You also have to describe that thing in detail so they can picture it clearly in their heads. This is because your reader isn't you, so if you give them qualities, that really doesn't mean anything to them. If you show them the object displaying those qualities, then the image becomes more powerful.
In this case, you tell us that Valor Lakefront is peaceful. That's a start, but what exactly is peaceful? Are there trainers having battles for fun? Are there Pokémon and people lounging about along the edge of the lake? Is the area actually desolate, so the peacefulness is less about "this is a place where you can have fun" and more "this place is miles from civilization"? Is the weather sunny and warm, or is it mild but sometimes cloudy? Just telling us that it's peaceful doesn't give us a good fix on this place, so we can't draw our own conclusions or visualize what you want us to picture.
This is especially important because this is the first paragraph, which is meant to hook your reader into your story. You don't want to make your readers feel as if something is missing in your narrative (as they would if you tell them that a place is a certain quality but don't give them any further details) because they'll end up thinking that that's going to tell them all they need to know about the rest of your work. (As in, they'll start to believe that your work is okay but falls short of being satisfying.)
But it was one tranquil morning in the middle of April.
This sentence seems rather out-of-place because it's not really contradicting anything (which is what "but" would indicate). Dropping the "but" still makes this part rather awkward because you go abruptly from talking about Valor Lakefront to talking about this girl's story. I'd say try to come up with a transition here. Extending the detail in the opening part (the one that describes the lakefront) might help by giving you more opportunities to link the peacefulness of the lake to this girl.
In one of the hotels, there lied one brunette girl that sleeps peacefully in her comfy, white bed.
Be very careful in the proofreading stages of your work. I say this because you bounce back and forth between present ("sleeps" as well as the other verbs before this sentence) and past tense ("snored" and the others in this paragraph), and that kind of thing can be worked out with a thorough proofreading.
Even then, there’s a few things that you might not catch on your own, and for those snags, you have two options. The first is working with a beta reader to help you sort them out; the second, if a beta isn’t available to you for some reason, is just memorizing the little details of the language.
For example, let’s talk about tricky conjugations. The past tense of "lie" (in the "to lie down" sense) is actually "lay." "Lied" is only used when referring to failing to tell the truth. If it helps you remember which is which, “lay” is related to the present-tense word “to lay,” which actually means “to place [something] down” or “to be placed down.”
Last grammatical nitpick that you might not be able to pick up with a thorough proofreading for now: who sleeps peacefully, not that sleeps peacefully. Always use "who" in reference to characters; use "that" in reference to inanimate objects.
She snored so quietly as a whisper.
I'm thinking you meant "she snored quietly," but you got the meaning tangled up in flowery prose here.
You're a pretty young author, though, and everyone goes through the "flowery prose is awesome" phase. For that reason, let me just say right now that if you can say things simply, it's better if you do. The more flowery (convoluted or even purple) your prose becomes, the more likely it will stick out in the worst way possible for your readers. At best, it will just look odd to a reader; at worst, it will force the reader to read over sentences a couple of times to grasp their meaning. Either way, it's bad news.
Besides, the power of your work doesn't really come from what words you choose to convey a message; it actually comes from what you have to say. Simplifying your prose (without insulting a reader's intelligence) allows you to focus more on your point, rather than how you get there.
Nearby her bed,
Near her bed. “Nearby” is an adverb (or an adjective), not a preposition. So it can’t really start off a prepositional phrase like this.
This may also be a good opportunity to add more detail to your scene. Right now, we've got a vague mental image of a girl (because we don't have any details about her) lying in a white-sheeted bed. We can't really mentally see what else is in the room, and for all we know, that ball is floating in mid-air.
If it helps, think of your work like a blank canvas. You, as an artist, have this really great image in mind. If you only give us sparse details, we can't get the full picture that's in your head. Of course, using too much paint or making your composition too busy is bad too, but you still need enough detail to help us get an idea of what you want us to see. A stick figure isn't going to help us see the Mona Lisa.
So whenever you read through a scene, look at it again and ask yourself this: if you drew a picture of it using the details you give us via your story, would it include all the details we need to get your ideas?
one of her Poke Balls rolled around vigorously,
Commas are tricky mistresses, but you don't need one here.
"Vap vap." she yapped.
They're also tricky mistresses when it comes to quotes. To make a long story short, do you see how you didn't capitalize "she" here? That's your signal that you need a comma at the end of the quote (i.e., right after the second "vap"), rather than a period. If you put a period, that signals the end of the sentence altogether, meaning whatever comes after it has to be capitalized (which, no, you don't want here).
The other rules are as follows for convenience sake:
Spoiler:- They get rather long.:
Before we get into them, let's label things. The part that says "he said," "she said," or something similar is known as a dialogue tag. (There's other names for it, but as I can't really remember off the top of my head, let's just say they usually involve the word "tag." That's because that's what it is -- a phrase that tags a quote with who's saying it and how they're speaking.) The rest can be called a quote.
If the quote comes after the dialogue tag…
The tag gets a comma to signal that it's attached to the quote. Example:
Mary said, "I'm going to the store. Do you want to come with me?"
If the dialogue tag comes between two sentences of a quote…
Then it depends on which quote you want to attach the tag to. If the first part of the quote is attached to the tag, then you may need a comma (if the first part doesn't end with an exclamation point or question mark) and a period to finish it off. If it's the second part that's attached to the tag, then you need a comma after the tag instead. You never use commas to surround a tag in this case; that would create a comma splice. Example:
"I'm going to the store," Mary said. "Do you want to come with me?"
"I'm going to the store." Mary asked, "Do you want to come with me?"
(Note the capitalization as well!)
If the tag interrupts a sentence…
Then commas all around! This is because commas signal that the thought is being continued; in this case, it's one sentence, plus the tag that goes with it. Example:
"I'm going," Mary said, "to the store."
If it's not even a tag…
Then punctuate it as if it's a sentence. Keep in mind that the difference between a tag and a non-tag is that a tag doesn't make sense on its own. Sure, "he said" is technically a full sentence, but it doesn't mean anything until it's attached to a quote. "His voice was loud," however, is a full thought because it doesn't need a quote to make sense. Example of a non-tag:
"I'm going to the store." Mary wasn't even looking at me when she spoke. "Do you want to come with me?"
It is rather confusing, but hopefully, that clears things up. If not, feel free to ask!
She glanced through her window and looked at a flock of Starly and Swablu flying through the luminous sky. As she slowly crawled towards it, she looked at the sky, and saw the intense sun.
The second sentence doesn’t need a comma. It's not a compound sentence. (You can tell by replacing the comma and "and" with a period. Notice how you get only one complete sentence as a result? Try doing that -- even mentally -- when you put commas into your writing.)
That aside, I feel like this is looping back in on itself. Wasn't she already looking at the sky when she was watching the Swablu and Starly? If so, you don't need to say it twice. Try to combine both sentences into one.
She awed in curiosity, until it flashed her eyes!
Like I said, flowery is not always a good way to tell a story. In this case, you can't really be "awed in curiosity." That would be rather redundant because to be awed is to be struck with wonder… which you already are in a way if you're curious. Besides, "awed" is normally used in conjunction with an object; it doesn't really have much meaning on its own. So you can be awed by the sky, but you can't really be awed, period. Unless you're smoking something. Or really drunk.
Beyond that, considering the sun's rather steady in terms of brightness (barring the Hoenn bit and clouds), I'm not sure if "flashed" is a good verb to have here. Besides, you don't want to give the perverts in the audience ideas anyway.
I would also like to suggest not using exclamation points unless you're getting into the mindset of a character. Just using them to convey suddenness tends to come off as rather cheesy to a reader.
"Vapor!" she shrilled in pain as she used her tailfin to wipe her eyes.
Tail fin is two words.
She turned her head towards her master that has her arm holding her red keychain that's embedded with crystals.
Do yourself a favor during your proofreading stage: read your work aloud. Maybe even mouth the words if you're in public. Just make sure you move your mouth as you proofread. The reason why I say this is because doing so helps minimize awkwardness in your prose by helping you feel or hear what you're writing. It slows you down and puts a more tangible spin on your paragraphs, so you know how everything fits together.
In this case, you start off by describing Vaporeon turning her head, but then you switch tenses ("has" is present tense) and promptly lose yourself in describing what I'm pretty sure is the master sleeping and holding a crystalized keychain. Even then, the description of the master's arm is rather awkward because the way you worded it implies that it's unusual for a human to have an arm, not to mention the arm doesn't hold things anyway (unless the keychain was in the crook of her elbow or actually embedded in her arm). The description of the keychain, meanwhile, is awkward no matter what you do with it because you have three different points to this sentence. Remember that a sentence is meant to convey one or two main ideas; everything you add to that sentence just adds to the main point you're trying to make with it. If you go into anything else (like the description of the master or the keychain), that tacks on another idea, which you should really shunt off into its own separate sentence. Otherwise, your point is just lost in a mire of detail.
She felt that her face was like a soft cushion that you can lay on.
Try to avoid using "you" in situations like this. Because I don't know about you, but I don't really go around lying on people's faces. I mean, to each their own, but that sounds mildly uncomfortable for both parties.
On a more serious note, it would probably be a good idea to rephrase this so that it's clear that "her" is referring to Vaporeon's master. I actually had to read this twice to realize you weren't actually just describing Vaporeon in more detail, just because of the pronoun pileup.
But as soon as she tried rubbing her master's face, her brown eye slowly began to open.
Similar problem here. Pronoun pileup leads to slight initial confusion over whose brown eye you're talking about.
"YAAAAHHHHHHHH!" she shrilled in a loud manner.
There's no such thing as shrilling in a quiet manner, so you don't really need to have that there.
"Owwww…." She got up and rubbed her silky head,
Great example of what I was describing earlier in the quote rules spoiler. In this case, do you notice that the part that says "she got up" and whatnot doesn't describe how this girl is speaking? That's how you know you're not dealing with a tag. Only use commas in cases where you are dealing with a tag.
"I swear that Aquarius will pay for trying to tamper me!"
Hold on. This needs mood music.
*gets up and plays Barry White*
Okay. We're good to go.
But seriously, it's possible to tamper with inanimate objects, but you don't really tamper with people unless you... um… yeah. Remember, being flowery is not always a good thing, and one of the reasons why is because there are sometimes alternate definitions to the words you're trying to use that, in the context that you're using them, make the scene rather unintentionally hilarious.
While she glanced at the Starly and Staraptor flying around as they chant happily,
Again, beware of tenses and wandering away from your main point. I would suggest rephrasing this so that you can assimilate "as they chant happily" into the rest of the clause without having to break your focus on the girl herself. As in, with that still in your story, you actually shift your focus from the girl to them in order to talk about what they're doing. If you said something like "she glanced at the happily chanting Starly and Staraptor," then you can keep the focus on the girl because you're talking about what she's seeing, not what they're doing. Make sense?
Also, what happened to the Swablu?
she couldn't bear to think of what it was like for her to be in Johto once more where she was once with her childhood friends and family in Goldenrod City where she conquered to get the eight badges.
I know Goldenrod City is big, but I'm pretty sure you can't earn eight badges within its limits.
(But yeah, this could stand to be multiple sentences, just because of the whole "it sort of looks like you lost your way here" bit.)
"It must be 2 years now…
Write out all numbers from zero to at least ten. People will argue with you about whether or not you should write out numbers up to and including one hundred (hint: if you want to do things the way published fiction authors would, you'd go all the way up to one hundred after all), but we can at least agree that a number as low as two should really be written out.
My mom and my dad must be worrying about how I am alone in Sinnoh… I need to step up my game towards being a good coordinator. I am Melissa… the Pokémon Coordinator….."
First and foremost, an ellipsis contains only three dots. Four if you want to include a period to end the sentence. It never includes five. (You may pause here to get all the Monty Python jokes out of your system.)
Second, I feel like this might be a bit unnatural. The girl speaks rather dramatically (flowery, convoluted phrasing + avoids using contractions), but she punctuates the whole thing with the slang term "step up my game." That phrase is something you'd hear more out of someone who speaks simply. Someone who would just say, "My mom and my dad must be worried that I'm alone here in Sinnoh." I'm not sure how you speak to your friends, but I know my friends would be rather confused if I spoke to them like Melissa does.
Third, I'm also pretty certain she doesn't need to remind herself what her name and occupation is, so right now, it feels like she's saying it to break the fourth wall (which is, contrary to what TVTropes will have you believe, not a good thing) to introduce herself to the readers. What I would suggest is draw out her dialogue a bit more. Maybe have her say something along the lines of, "After all, I am Melissa, the Pokémon Coordinator" as if it was something important to her to know right now. In other words, try to give her a reason for saying what her name and occupation is besides the fact that she needs to be introduced to the reader.
Fourth and finally, if she's a coordinator, why was she earning badges instead of ribbons? If she was earning both, why weren't ribbons mentioned when she was thinking about Goldenrod City? (Yes, Johto has ribbons as well; that's what May was earning in the anime. In any case, coordinators in other regions and in other canon -- Ruby in PokéSpec, the player in DP and RSE, and so forth -- earn ribbons and not badges for their efforts.)
where she was frying up the juicy pancakes that awaited for her sensitive taste buds.
Pancakes aren't juicy unless you do them wrong. Yes, even pancakes that contain fruit.
Besides that, flowery prose problem again. This time, "awaited" is completely off. Tastebuds can await pancakes (note the lack of "for"… and also that "tastebuds" is one word), but pancakes can't await tastebuds. Not unless you're describing particularly suicidal pancakes.
Question. Are you using the thesaurus to help you with your descriptions? If so, don't. At least, not on its own. That leads to many awkward situations. The reason why is because while a thesaurus is a great tool, it doesn't actually tell you what the word means. As a result, you encounter two problems. The first is that you could be missing connotations: a word could mean something different to experienced readers than what you think it actually means. (Take "tamper" as an example.) The second is that the thesaurus only gives you an approximate synonym; it doesn't give you a perfect synonym. What that means is that the words it gives you sort of mean the same but actually could mean something very, very different. It's like saying "mumble" and "hissed" mean the same thing. Technically, they do (in that they both mean "to speak quietly"), but they still don't mean the same thing.
That's why you should always use a dictionary in conjunction with a thesaurus in order to gain a better understanding of the language you're using… but really, you should probably avoid using a thesaurus whenever possible altogether.
While I'm here, I'd also like to point out that you shouldn't cook with your eyes closed. That's a great way to burn your food and an even better way to set something on fire.
"What's the matter Libra?"
First, I'd like to say you have a lion Pokémon and a zodiac naming theme, and you didn't name the lion Pokémon Leo. This earns you points unless it was unintentional.
Second, you'll need a comma after "matter" because this is direct address. Melissa is speaking directly to Libra by using her name, so you separate out Libra's name with the comma.
She purred painfully as she pounded on her tummy. Soon, she dropped the silver pan and rushed outside to the balcony, not even noticing of how her pancakes would be.
Reasons why you should always specify who's doing what #3: because pronoun confusion does things like make a lion Pokémon hold a silver pan.
But seriously, if it helps, imagine lines being drawn from your pronouns to the first noun (as in, actual name or other qualifier that indicates someone specific) before it. If the line doesn't connect with the correct character, you need to specify. In this case, it's clear that the subject of the first sentence is Libra because of Melissa's direct address (and because that's the way dialogue naturally progresses -- with a response from the other character after someone speaks), so all of the imaginary lines in these two sentences would be drawn back to Libra, not to Melissa. That creates a rather awkward situation because lions can't hold pans.
Outside on the balcony, Melissa was pouring the Poke food on the bowls for her 3 Pokémon.
Into the bowls for her three Pokémon. "On" means she's pouring, but the bowl isn't holding any of it.
Also, it might help the pacing of this scene if we could get a glimpse of where she pulled the bag from (or if there was anything between the moment she stood at the stove and the one where she’s on the balcony). Right now, it feels like this cut away in five seconds to her pouring the food.
She ignored the soft breeze that flows across the atmosphere. Even though it flows through her hair and white short sleeved shirt, she ignored as if it was nothing to worry.
Tense problems here again. Redundancy problems too, actually.
For the latter, just remember that you should never say things twice because things don’t really happen twice. For example, Melissa can't feel the same breeze more than once. She can only feel it as it's happening, and that's it. If you find yourself looping back on descriptions or points, try to combine sentences so that you only have to say things one time.
Yes, I know you're trying to give us a description of Melissa, but there's definitely ways to phrase that without looping back on yourself. For example, you could say, "She ignored the soft breeze that flowed across her white short-sleeved shirt and [insert description] hair." That cuts out some unnecessary details too. (Do we really need to know that the breeze is flowing through the atmosphere?)
the red shaped
Erm… red isn't a shape. ._.
Again, be very careful with proofreading.
Then she fell down and fell asleep.
Maybe consider a rephrasing here. Using the word "fell" twice so close together also creates a feeling of redundancy.
Melissa smiled as she looked at Libra, but she then glanced at her Vulpix that's named Vulpes.
Maybe “at her Vulpix named Vulpes”? Right now, it feels a little unnatural because you’re breaking the focus of your sentence again.
"I wonder on where
I wonder where. You don’t really wonder on anything.
I can get a Fire Stone for Vulpes. I wish for her to be a Ninetales. But I guess that can wait for now…..”
Ellipsis issue again.
Also, here’s another tip. Don’t have Melissa speak just to give us information. Remember that you should only have characters say things that a person would actually say aloud. For example, she would already know that she’s looking for a Fire Stone to get Vulpes to evolve; she doesn’t need to say it to herself. It’d be like you announcing everything you were doing all the time when you’re alone.
Sure, you’ll want to get some of that information across to a reader, but that’s where you’re going to have to be creative. You’ll want to figure out a way to convey that information either through a natural conversation or without having the characters tell us themselves. In this case, there’s a few ways you could do it. The easiest option would be to have Melissa look at Vulpes while the narration (i.e., the stuff outside the quotes) tells us that bit about Vulpes. For example, you could say something along the lines of, “Vulpes has been with her for a long while, but Melissa has never gotten the opportunity to evolve her. She just couldn’t find a Fire Stone.” That’s not the only way you can phrase things, of course, but it’s one way.
The other option is bringing in another character to engage in a conversation and coax that information out of her. You usually see that tactic being used to introduce a character, but for this story, you could have someone ask her what she’s up to or how Vulpes and her other Pokémon are to allow Melissa to respond with the bit about the Fire Stone.
There’s definitely a whole list of ways you can introduce information. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Aquarius and Togetic faintly snored as they fell asleep from their heavy stomach.
Stomachs unless they share one. Also, Togetic seems to have come out of nowhere. I would suggest introducing each Pokémon with the kind of care that you gave Aquarius. Alternatively, describe them briefly as you’re building the setting.
Melissa looked at the whole vicinity.
Try “scene,” not “vicinity.” Or a slightly better word than “vicinity,” in any case.
One of the trickier, vaguer things to watch out for in writing is connotations. What makes a writer’s work challenging is that every word has a certain tone to it. Like I said earlier with the thesaurus bit, sometimes, you’ll have words that technically mean the same according to the dictionary and everything, but they actually don’t work in the same situations. In this example, vicinity does mean “the nearby area,” it’s a far more formal word. It doesn’t work that well when you’re trying to describe a heartwarming scene like this one because the formality conveys a colder tone. It sounds more like you’re having a queen surveying her land or a police officer surveying a crime scene than a motherly trainer surveying the Pokémon she’s raising.
She can't help but look at the whole trees that are displayed a bit far for her view as she saw Jumpuff and Mothim fly away.
Flowery language again. In this case, one of the things to watch out for isn’t just a word that doesn’t quite fit the sentence. Rather, it’s an entire sentence structure. See, flowery language sounds unnatural the more you try to force it, and some writers tend to sacrifice sense and natural flow for a poetic quality.
What I mean is no one speaks like this. No one says that trees are displayed when they mean trees stood or grew. No one says “the whole trees” when they mean “every tree” or just “tree.” No one says “a bit far for her view” when they mean “in the distance.” There are just a lot of weird things going on in this sentence, and the solution to avoiding them is simply remembering that you should never, ever force your work to sound poetic or intelligent. The more you do, the more obvious it becomes, and the more obvious it becomes, the less sense you end up making because you start to focus more on sounding poetic than getting a point across.
That said, if written in a more natural way, I’m assuming this sentence would actually read, “She can’t help but look at the trees that stood in the distance as Jumpluff and Mothim flew away from them.” I have to say “assume” here because I’m not even sure if this captures the entire idea that you were trying to say, which is another risk in using flowery prose.
Suddenly, a vibrating tone was roaring inside. Melissa's heart was racing as she rushed inside of her room and put the phone on her ear.
What phone? (This detail was not mentioned earlier, so it’s rather odd to use “the” here.)
Also, while cell phones can be pretty loud, their ringtones don’t normally reach roaring levels. Same thing could be said for any other kind of phone, actually, although it’d be more true the more old school you got with your telephone technology.
"Hello?" a familiar voice said out of the phone.
I would suggest “on the other end of the line” or “on the other line.” It’s already apparent that the voice would be coming from the phone, as Melissa’s answering her call.
Sweat slides through Melissa's skin as it barely dampened her clothing.
Replace “as” with a comma and “and.” The reason why I make this suggestion is that the sweat can’t dampen her clothing until it slides out of her skin, so these two events can’t actually happen exactly simultaneously. (“As” usually connects actions that occur at the same time.)
"Oh hey Mom!" Melissa happily hollered.
Don’t forget the comma for direct address here as well.
Skipping over minor errors that I’ve already pointed out from here on out, like the ellipsis problem that occurs in the first line Melissa’s mom gets, a lot of the comma issues (mostly direct address), and some of the dialogue punctuation issues. (Please refer to the spoiler I provided earlier; there are definitely a lot of issues when it comes to dialogue, most of which I’m not pointing out from here onwards.)
"Oh Mother! Why are you worrying about me huh! You should know that I am always in behavior in Sinnoh, so I don't see on why you should worry about me huh!?”
Yikes. This comes off as rather pushy because “huh” is usually only repeated if you’re trying to be playful or if you’re angry with someone, and given the context, it just makes Melissa sound angry. As a result, this quote feels a little awkward because it looks like Melissa is flipping out pretty much out of nowhere.
Second, okay, I’ll be straightforward here. Is your first language English? I don’t mean to be rude by asking; I’m just inquiring because you have a very odd sentence structure here that only really happens when you have someone who’s struggling to piece together the language. This may also explain why a lot of your sentences were so odd earlier.
What I mean is that no one says, “I don’t see on why.” They say, “I don’t see why.” In fact, you use a lot of prepositions where there aren’t any needed at all. Out of all my experiences working with writers or people who were learning how the language works, that’s something I see mostly from foreigners.
If that’s the case, then I would highly, highly suggest being very active in your search for a beta. Don’t just go for any beta too. (I know that there are quite a few crappy ones on dA and FFNet.) Go for one who looks fluent in English and writes well themselves. The reason why I would suggest that kind of beta is because there’s a lot of nuances in the language that you will most likely not be able to work out without the guidance of someone who’s extremely familiar with the language. These nuances include everything from natural sentence structure to the connotations I was talking about earlier. While your fic isn’t exactly bad, it is pretty clear to me right now that you’re struggling a lot with the way you word things, but I think that by working closely with a beta, the quality of your work will improve dramatically.
That said, I’m only about halfway through the fic, and the review is already twice as long as the actual content of the story, just because I’m picking out all of the issues at once. I’m probably going to try toning it down to cover only new material and plot points, but yeah. You can tell that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done here.
"Oh, sorry about that." her mother giggled,
Great example of the dialogue punctuation issues, though. In this case, the part about her mother giggling isn’t actually a tag to begin with (because it’s not describing how the line is being spoken — rather, it’s describing an action she’s taking simultaneously), but even then, there would be issues. You don’t capitalize “her” despite ending the first part of the quote with a period, for example. If you wanted to attach the tag to the first part of the quote, then you’d have to switch the comma and the period here in order to signal that the quote and the tag are linked. (The first part of the quote is a complete sentence, so you need a period somewhere along the line.) If you wanted to attach the tag to the second part, then you’d have to capitalize “her.”
So, I saw that you lost in the recent Pokémon Contest.
Lost the recent Pokémon Contest. Same deal here as I’ve mentioned earlier. You use a lot of prepositions where one isn’t needed. This is also the last time I’m going to point one out for the sake of length, but there’s quite a few examples in this paragraph alone.
She thought back when she was in the boat, all by herself with Aquarius that was an Eevee at the time. She seemed solemn as she glanced at her mother waving goodbye with her friends. She was unsure of how Sinnoh might be. She remembered seeing it on TV a week after she came back from the Pokémon League.
While in some cases, starting a bunch of consecutive sentences with the same word can build tension, in this case, there’s not really any tension needed. See, the reason why it builds tension in those other cases is because the repeated first word creates a choppy, abrupt sound in a paragraph. Sentences that begin with the same word are usually short, and they’re usually so to the point that they sound like they’re being fired out of a machine gun.
It doesn’t do the same thing here. Here, we have a very repetitive feel, which in turn causes your prose to sound dry and halting. It’s harder to focus on what you’re trying to say because it feels like you’re creating a list, rather than telling a story naturally. Varying the openers for each sentence will allow the paragraph to relax a bit and flow the way you want it to.
like a Piplup using Bubblebeam and froze the bubbles. They cracked and glimmering sparkles rained down which caused everyone to be amazed.
Always make sure you have matching verbs when using structures like this. For example, “using” and “froze” don’t match in tense, and “cracked” and “glimmering” don’t either. That causes your work to become a little awkward to read. Try switching “froze” to “freezing” and “glimmering” to “glimmered.” That should ease up the awkwardness a little.
Melissa was 12 at the time, and she realized her real goal; to become a #1 coordinator.
Semicolons and colons are pretty tricky to keep straight, but if you remember that semicolons are generally only used in either lists (where items already have commas) or in compound sentences (in place of a comma and conjunction), you should be good to go. If it helps, just remember that the one you use for compound sentences has a comma and a dot in it.
In other words, what you need here is actually a colon ( : ). That’s the one that comes before lists or clarifications like these.
Back to this,
Back to what?
"Hello, you're still there?”
Separate these into two sentences because they’re actually complete thoughts.
Also, most people don’t say “you’re still there” as a question. If they use slang, it’s usually to chop off the “are” at the beginning of the question (so that what you have left is “You still there?”). Otherwise, people could use the full question (“Are you still there?”), but they don’t rearrange the noun and verb to shorten it.
Melissa jumped instantly as her eyes were wide open.
“Were” indicates a quality that already exists. In other words, remember what I said about using “as” to indicate actions that occur at the same time? Yeah, you can’t really have something happen right at the same moment as a “were” moment. “Were” already happened, meaning Melissa’s eyes were already wide when she jumped.
You can switch out “were” for an action verb, though, and then you can use “as” because you’re describing two actions she’s taking at the same time.
Yes yes. Bye mother!”
First and foremost, one thing you should keep in mind is that if you can replace words like “mother” with someone’s name, then you should capitalize it. For example, imagine using the word “Carol” in this sentence. Does it make sense? If so, then capitalize “mother.”
Second, that’s… rather abrupt. I’m not sure how you speak to your mother over the phone, but in this situation, she goes from zoning out to replying that she’s paying attention to attempting to hang up on her mother for no apparent reason. That’s a bit of a whiplash there, especially since there’s really nothing in this scene besides Melissa getting annoyed with her mother fussing over her that would indicate why she would need to hang up right then and there, especially while cutting her mother off mid-sentence. Moms get fussy, and hanging up on them without an explanation if you know yours can be overbearing tends to lead to an immediate second call from a very worried and slightly pissed mother. (I may know this from experience.)
Besides, even if she is a teen, she would at least try to say a little something else here. I mean, I know you give her a reason to hang up in a few seconds, but right now, Melissa doesn’t explain why she needs to hang up. Even if her reason is because she’s annoyed, it’s not really built up in a way that would make us understand that she is annoyed and that she has every reason to be.
Put it this way. The conversation so far has been:
1. Melissa picks up the phone.
2. Her mother starts the conversation as a mother usually would.
3. Melissa flips out for no apparent reason. (The “why should you be worrying about me” line.)
4. Her mother makes a comment about how she lost a contest.
5. Melissa zones out and thinks about how she came to realize she wanted to be a coordinator.
6. Suddenly, Melissa tries to hang up.
Maybe it is because point five just feels like it’s being forced into the story, but I feel like you’ve written parts of this conversation out of order. You give characters reasons to do things after they express some kind of emotion. For example, you have Melissa chew her mother out for worrying about her before her mother makes the comment about going to Sinnoh to teach Melissa how to be a top-notch coordinator. Sure, I would be pissed off too if my mom told me she was going to march into my life and tell me how to do my job because she can do better, but the problem is that that point in your scene comes after Melissa flips on her mom. Same thing with the hang up. I would panic and hang up on my mom if I accidentally set the kitchen on fire, but we don’t see Melissa doing that. We just see her failing to pay attention to her mother so we can be delivered some exposition, and then she tries to hang up without much of an explanation. No, “sorry, Mom, I have to go”? No, “this is a bad time for me; let’s talk later”? Not in this case. It’s just, “Yeah, I’m paying attention to you. ‘Kay! Bye!”
Sooooo… yeah. Conversations don’t quite work that way, but if this scene is rearranged a bit, that might straighten things out.
"Ehh….." she turned towards the stove and noticed the black smoke emitting out.
Emitting from it. Considering she didn’t put the pan in the oven, smoke can’t really be emitting out of the stove.
Also, I know I said something about Melissa’s complete lack of responsibility when it comes to cooking earlier, but I have to bring it up again. You really have to be trying to do something like this. I mean, sure, you can burn things while cooking, but who walks away from a stove to do something completely different while cooking pancakes? If this was a pot that had to simmer, that’d be one thing, but pancakes cook quickly. They’re not something you just put on the heat and forget about.
I bring this up because this sort of makes Melissa a little dumber than she should be. Like, nominee for the Darwin Awards dense. Sorry to say it like that, but just letting you know that may be something to be aware of with your character.
Of course, if you were trying to create someone who could possibly be a nominee for the Darwin Awards, that would be hilarious, and more power to you. But I’m pretty sure you probably weren’t.
Sweat was rapidly racing down.
The stove? Huh. You know, I think that’s something that would call for a priest, but I’m not completely sure if what works for bleeding walls would work here.
(Remember, read your story carefully before posting chapters to avoid triggering some particularly bizarre mental images.)
While she rushed to the stove, she turned it off and took the pan.
She turned off the stove before she actually reached it? Impressive.
(But seriously, “while” is the same thing as “as.” It’s only used to link together actions that happen at the exact same time. You can’t use it to link actions that would logically come before or after the ones you’re linking them to. In this case, Melissa has to reach the stove to turn it off and take the pan. She can’t perform both actions while working her way towards them.)
She glanced at her crispy black pancakes that were like coal.
Because you already describe the pancakes as being black, you don’t need to say they’re like coal. That’d be rather redundant.
Tears were running down
Her pancakes? Okay, yeah, that’s definitely demonic possession.
That being said, always remember to insert an object after verbs like these. Objects are the phrases that tell readers who or what the verb is being performed on. For example, in the sentence “Tears ran down Melissa’s face” (which is probably what you were going for here), the object would be “Melissa’s face.” That tells a reader what the tears are running on.
Believe it or not, this is actually not redundant; it’s clarification instead. As I’ve just demonstrated, leaving out an object creates strange mental images. Remember what I said earlier about drawing lines from pronouns to the first noun before them? It operates on a similar principle. See, the sentence right before this one describes the look of the pancakes, so that leads the reader to believe that the next sentence will describe Melissa’s burnt pancakes as well, just because it’s the natural chain of thought. However, it’s describing Melissa’s actions, but because there’s no object, it doesn’t read like that at first. It just reads as if you’re saying tears are running down the pancakes and dripping to the floor which… obviously doesn’t make much sense.
So yes. Objects are wonderful things.
at the sleek, while ceiling.
Ceilings aren’t normally sleek. It’s not streamlined, and people don’t normally make them glossy (because that would make many people very, very blind unhappy, given the closeness of a light source to the average kitchen ceiling). Just saying.
Last edited by JX Valentine; 7th January 2013 at 8:16 AM.
A while later, Aquarius and Melissa were walking towards the Super Contest hall in the populous Hearthome City. Various chatter and other noises were making its way.
So, wait. What was the point of the pancakes bit? You describe it briefly and then cut away to Melissa walking around Hearthome without a care in the world. It couldn’t have been comic relief because you described Melissa’s reaction to her pancakes (tears rolling onto the floor and everything) so dramatically you would think it was a character death. If it was meant to be funny, I would cut off the scene right about when Melissa notices the smoke, maybe while working in a short bit about how it was her pancakes that were burning. The scene after that just sounds, well, incredibly dramatic, like we’re about to go into an entire bit about how Melissa thinks she’s a terrible or useless person for burning pancakes or something.
If it was meant to show us something about Melissa’s character, while it sort of did (that she’s both melodramatic and a little on the will-set-herself-on-fire-one-day side of the intelligence spectrum), she doesn’t get fleshed out enough at that point to give us a sense of what we should be learning about her. It’s just a paragraph of her burning her pancakes, and all of a sudden, we’re in Hearthome. The pancakes aren’t even brought up. She doesn’t even make a comment about how she smells like she burnt something (because that smell sticks on you long after you mess up… which is something I also totally don’t know from experience or anything) or about how she’s hungry or anything. It’s just never mentioned again, and considering the fact that it read too dramatically to be funny and the fact that you don’t really go into her character that much, it doesn’t feel like it serves any purpose to the story whatsoever.
Various Pokémon like Houndour and Totodile would run around happily while their trainers would try to grab them.
Try to switch to action verbs, rather than using a form of passive voice. By saying “various Pokémon like Houndour and Totodile ran around happily while their trainers tried to grab them,” you create a stronger, more solid mental image. There’s no question of whether or not Pokémon and trainers are running around (questions which you create by adding in “would”). They were.
She felt the warm sky that was sending its rays to the whole town, which really irritated her a bit, except Aquarius, since she's a water type.
Why would Aquarius’s typing have any effect on whether or not she enjoys the sun?
Besides, if anything she should dislike sunlight because she’s a Water-type. After all, warm sun would dry her skin, and her powers do weaken in bright sunlight a la Sunny Day.
Hey, I wonder of how populated the city is. Everyone would crawl around this amazing area at all times, non stop.
I genuinely am not sure what you were trying to say here. Currently, my mental translator is rendering it as this:
“Hey! I wonder how many people are in this city! It looks like the kind of place where people would be out and about all the time!”
But like I said, I’m literally not sure here because the phrasing is all over the place. For one, that second sentence could mean what I think it means, but it could also mean, “Everyone is out and about right now, and it’s so crowded.” That explanation makes a bit more sense because having a high population does not mean your city will be crowded at insane hours of the morning. (Even New York City gets practically deserted at around 3 AM.) On the other hand, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Melissa did think that a high population means the city would be crowded all day, every day. (She did find a way to forget she was cooking pancakes, after all.) So that means that the explanation I offered in the quote above could actually be a viable one.
In other words, a rephrasing may be in order here.
Melissa looked at Lisa's dismal face and her black hair that barely shrouds her green eyes.
While it’s a good idea to link a character’s description with action, I feel like it could be done better at this point. Like a lot of things in this fic, it doesn’t feel natural here; rather, it feels as if you’re bringing it up just for the convenience of the reader.
Put it this way: Melissa wouldn’t be so concerned about Lisa’s black hair at this point. She would look at her green eyes, but it would be to read an expression, not to take in just the color of them. That’s a lot of the point of linking descriptions to actions: to minimize the amount of times you stop the narration to describe a character. As such, you’re limited to bringing up details a character would logically notice in a given situation. If your friend looked utterly devastated, would you take particular note of whether she was blonde, brunette, red-headed, or black-haired?
That kind of mindset might help you keep things natural, actually. Remembering to place yourself in your characters’ shoes will force you to take notice of what they’ll take notice of as well as think about what they would say or do in that situation, and it will help you shake the temptation of bringing up information just because you think we, the audience, need it.
That being said, if you need a place to put the details you pull out of this sentence, I could give you a tip by saying it was rather surprising that you didn’t describe Lisa at all when you mentioned that she was walking out of the contest hall.
”You haven't heard?
It’s more common to say, “Haven’t you heard?” On the other hand, this may also be preference too, but it does sound rather awkward as it is (because English prefers starting off its questions with verbs and question words, not with nouns or pronouns).
She is #1 again,
Spell out “number one.” Never ever use the pound sign (#) in writing unless you’re describing something that’s actually written down. It’s one of those symbols that are never used in writing otherwise — sort of like the at symbol or the ampersand.
Melissa and Aquarius glared at Lisa in a troubled way, shocked by what she said.
I feel like there’s a lot of redundancy going on in this sentence. You say that Melissa and Aquarius are glaring at Lisa in a troubled way (although I would suggest finding another word for “glare” and being a bit more descriptive about their expressions — another case of awkward wording combined with telling instead of showing), and then you say they’re shocked by the news. Except it would be clear that they’re shocked already thanks to how they’re staring at Lisa, so you don’t actually need to end the sentence by saying that.
As soon as they were going to enter in the hall, Lisa said, "Wait!" They were alarmed as they turned towards her. "What is it?”
These should be two paragraphs.
For the upcoming Pokémon Contest, you need four Pokémon to enter!
Lisa is devastated. Melissa is shocked by the news concerning Jessie. They’re friends, and they’re both well aware that the other is extremely troubled.
So the only thing Lisa has to say is that Melissa needs more Pokémon?
To give you an idea of why I feel like this is one of the most awkward parts of your story, this would be like what would happen if you got seriously injured, and when you get home, all your mother has to say to you is that dinner is ready. It’s just not natural. There would be a lot more reaction and interaction going on. Your mother would be worried when she sees you injured. You would feel bad about making her worry. There would be more of a conversation going on.
Right now, there’s just nothing between Lisa and Melissa. Lisa is devastated, but Melissa is more concerned about herself (to degrees that even egotists wouldn’t touch). Melissa is shocked by the news, but all Lisa has to say is some advice about the next contest. There’s not even that much emotion on both their parts for themselves, either. Lisa recovers from her angst long enough to give Melissa the news about how many Pokémon she needs, and Melissa looks shocked about Jessie for five seconds before wandering away. There’s no real emotion going on here.
That’s one of the bigger weak points of your fic, if I may say so bluntly. Sure, your grammar and wording needs more than a little work and is actually legitimately disruptive at times, but your characters are also rather one-dimensional because you don’t let them act naturally. It’s like you have this mental timeline that you want to get through — an outline of points that you want to touch in every chapter, and in the process of trying to hit every point, you rush through things like emotions and reactions. You start in on one point, but then you decide you’ve touched that point. So you force the characters forward, rather than wrapping up what you were doing with them. As a result, you have moments like these where characters should be reacting and interacting more but aren’t, or you have moments like the pancake incident, which apparently has no bearing whatsoever on the rest of the story and therefore sticks out in a bad way.
To that, I say ditch the outline. It’s tripping you up. Instead, ask yourself what the general point of this chapter is and give your characters enough breathing room to develop and react to things naturally. Otherwise, you’re going to focus too much on getting from Point A to Point B, so you’ll end up cutting out everything that keeps scenes from getting very awkward very quickly.
She rushed into the hall and ran to the receptionist. The people that were in the hall, including the receptionist were instantly grieved by the girl's sudden appearance.
Why? It’s not like they haven’t seen coordinators rushing into the hall before. This is Hearthome City’s contest hall, after all.
"I'm sorry, but you should have remembered this the last time you entered. You can't enter until you get four Pokémon after the previous contest was over.”
I’m trying to figure out exactly what the receptionist is trying to tell Melissa here. Was Melissa actually informed of this rule change? Was this (that the number of required Pokémon increases each contest) always a given in the contest world? Neither are brought up, so it feels like the receptionist is actually being unreasonable here. Melissa is clearly upset, and good customer service (which, yes, receptionists have to exercise too) involves being as clear and patient as possible. She should have explained clearly that the rule has already existed or was announced at some point, in part to put the metaphorical ball in Melissa’s court (because Melissa can’t blame the receptionist for forgetting/not reading the rules and important announcements) and in part to help Melissa to understand her situation completely.
Also, the second sentence is awkward anyway. I would suggest, “You can’t enter a contest after you’ve participated in one until you get four Pokémon,” but that’s still convoluted (and probably not what you meant anyway). It’s really that last part that’s throwing me off. Besides the fact that no one says “was over” when they mean “finished,” that clause is just hanging out there.
The bystanders glared at Melissa and the two since they were uneasy.
The two what? Genuinely confused there. I mean, you could be talking about Aquarius and the receptionist, but then again, why would you lump Aquarius with the receptionist and not Melissa?
Also, again, I highly doubt that the entire room would feel uneasy about a kid flipping out over the rules. People very likely do that all the time. It would be like stopping everything you’re doing and staring at someone making a scene in public. If a crowd is uneasy, not everyone will stop and stare. You might have a couple people, but everyone in the vicinity? Not really.
Besides, this is before another contest. Those other people most likely have something rather important to do — namely, prepare.
As she walked back to her room in the night,
I would suggest adding in a scene break or transitioning a bit better here. (It’d be great if you did both.) Right now, because you have “in the night” so late in the phrase, this actually reads as if you’re saying she walked out of the contest hall’s lobby and directly to her room with no span of time in between. Which gets hilarious because it gives readers the mental image of Melissa living in the contest hall, but you get the idea.
Melissa jumped on her comfy bed and rolled all over it.
Also a rather amusing mental image, but it sort of disagrees with her state of mind. When you have her rolling all over it, you give us the mental image that she’s rolling back and forth over it, rather than that she just rolls over and rests. As a result, she seems happy here, rather than depressed.
She thought, "What am I going to do? I don't have four Pokémon with me. I'd just do fine with two…..”
Melissa has Aquarius, Libra, Vulpes, and the randomly mentioned Togetic from earlier. That’s four Pokémon. What’s her problem here exactly?
Then an idea pops in her head.
Pops into her head. If it popped in her head, that would be significantly messier.
She got up and sat on her bed, having a wide smile.
Another awkward structure that you’ll probably want to check out (once you fix the tenses here). No one says “having a wide smile.” They might say that someone is smiling widely or that a wide smile spans/stretches/crosses/choose-your-verb-here across her face, but they don’t really say that someone is having a smile.
I can just catch a Pokémon!
My thoughts about Melissa’s intelligence still stands. Why wasn’t this her first thought? It seems like a pretty obvious solution, especially since she’s a coordinator. Granted, it’s okay for her to flip out over a rule change. That’s fine. It’s just that she waited until nighttime to think of the obvious solution here. Why didn’t she just say, “Well, if I can’t change the rule, I guess I’ll need another Pokémon”? Why did she spend so much time moping over the fact that she apparently didn’t have enough Pokémon to participate?
Before any of these questions get answered, I would just like to say that, no, this isn’t a display of characterization on Melissa’s part besides the entire “this girl will one day win a Darwin Award” bit I was talking about earlier. As I’ve said, she’s a coordinator. Coordinators and trainers are practically the same; catching Pokémon is therefore one of the most basic tasks in a coordinator’s job description. She should know that if she doesn’t have a full team to work with, she’ll need to fill it out instead of pout that she doesn’t have enough Pokémon. The fact that she apparently doesn’t at this point makes her seem bratty and, well, rather dense.
Which she could be, but I feel like “catch more Pokémon if I don’t have enough” is something that even Ash Ketchum would get. So if you actually wanted Melissa to be too dense or bratty to think about catching more Pokémon, just be warned that she’d look ridiculously so. Which, really, would be fine, but not that many writers actually intend on creating characters like that.
She quickly grabbed one of her Poke Balls and ran out of the hotels to the dark outdoors.
She ran out of multiple hotels? Impressive.
Also, something bothered me earlier, but now that you mentioned that she’s staying in a hotel, it bothers me even more. Why didn’t a smoke alarm go off when she burned her pancakes? I’m not sure if having a smoke alarm literally everywhere (including the kitchen) is just an American thing, but I know that when I accidentally set something on fire via cooking, half the neighborhood knows about it because of fire alarms.
Just asking because that would have meant that Melissa would have been aware that her pancakes were burning well before they turned charcoal-black. Which means that scene is actually even more pointless now that I think about it a bit more.
trying to scour across the lands
Scour the lands. No preposition. You can’t scour across the lands unless you have a Brillo pad and a lot of time on your hands.
in search of a Pokémon with her bright flashlight.
I would suggest moving “with her bright flashlight” elsewhere. Right now, you’re saying a Pokémon took her flashlight, and she’s looking for the one that has it.
She glanced at the night sky that had glimmering stars. She awed as a shooting star was traveling its way until it disappeared.
This detail, meanwhile, feels like it comes out of nowhere and has no bearing on the story. Put it this way: you’re talking about Melissa looking for Pokémon. Why is she shifting her attention to the night sky all of a sudden? Then, right after you have that shift happen, she’s suddenly back to focusing on her hunt. There’s no transition from one idea to the next. Melissa just forgets what she’s doing in a split second — in the space of a sentence — just so the story can bring up a different detail. It’s like what I said earlier about pacing (i.e., working as if you’re following an outline way too closely). Get your details across only when they would logically come up. Don’t bring them up just because you feel like we need to know. Fit everything into the net of your story with some kind of logic.
As soon as she was trailing around,
I’m assuming you mean “walking around,” but that doesn’t quite make sense anyway because she’s already walking around.
A tear that rained down from her eye dried instantly from the warm temperature.
She’s been traveling for how long? It just seems strange — even a little forced — to have her react to fear by crying. Sure, she might have a phobia towards bugs (which is understandable), but considering she hasn’t seen anything yet, it’s rather odd that she’s crying now. I mean, she’s a coordinator, someone who specializes in traveling and getting into some seriously weird stuff.
So this is a similar situation to the “why didn’t she think of catching Pokémon earlier” bit. In this case, the question is… why didn’t she send out a Pokémon? She’s a person whose chosen occupation throws her up against magical monsters on a daily basis. She’s supposed to be used to battling by then, and she’s supposed to be used to traveling on her own — maybe even staying outside at night. Why is she suddenly a shrinking violet who doesn’t know how to defend herself?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to make her afraid of something or to react with screaming and tears to the thing she’s phobic towards. Except that thing isn’t right in front of her, and given that she’s got experience in dealing with things on the road, it’s weird that she doesn’t do anything to defend herself.
I’m running out this place!
She’s a coordinator. Why is she running instead of sending out a Pokémon? She has at least three that will do.
As she was quickly pacing away from
I would drop “quickly pacing” and go with “running,” “bolting,” or any other word in that line. “Quickly pacing” implies that she’s not really moving fast enough… and that she’s going back and forth along a short distance, not actually trying to get away.
"No, this can't be….." she thought. She thought back of how Bug Pokémon would intimidate her as a kid.
Seriously, this is the kind of setup that earns someone a Darwin Award. No joking. She’s got Pokémon. Why didn’t she send one out before she was paralyzed with fear? (No, “she wasn’t thinking clearly” will not make sense. Like I said, she’s a trainer.)
She knew that this might be a Bug type, and she wanted to elude from its sticky grip.
Elude its sticky grip. The word “elude” actually means “to escape from,” so adding “from” here would actually be redundant.
She shivered more and more as sweat was erupting out of her skin.
Another reason why flowery prose is not a good idea: you’re likely to come up with very uncomfortable images. For example, skin erupting with sweat? Ew. People don’t normally sweat enough to turn their pores into miniature volcanoes.
Also, if she was so terrified of Bug-types, why doesn’t she just send out one of her Pokémon? Most of them can at least do neutral damage, and she has a Vulpix.
Her heart pounded and pounded as if it were going to explode. A dreaded pain was coursing through her body towards her sweat and her faint breath. "Oww…”
If you hurt just because you’re sweating with fear, you may actually be experiencing some kind of medical condition. Just sayin’.
She slowly got up and was about to take out her Poke Ball,
Better late than never, but why didn’t she do this earlier?
It cuddled on her and had its fangs next to her that made Melissa intimidated.
Very awkward wording here. I’m assuming you mean, “It cuddled her, and it bared its fangs. It made Melissa intimidated.” On the other hand, like a lot of other awkward sentences here, I’m not 100% sure that this is an exact translation of what you were trying to say here. It’s mostly the “had its fangs next to her” part that throws the sentence off (besides the fact that it looks like it should be in two separate sentences on top of everything else). Do you mean Spinarak was smiling? Baring its fangs as it usually does? Stroking her with her fangs? Biting her? What’s going on there?
Also, you really need to break off your relationship with prepositions. Not every verb (like “cuddled”) needs to have one right after it, and they’re cheating on you with nouns.
a luminous light
Actually redundant. One should hope that light is luminous, as the definition of “luminous” is “full of light.”
She looked at Aquarius blasting a Water Gun attack, but the Spinarak quickly evaded it as the blast hits the trees that caused leaves to shower down.
It’s okay to use multiple sentences to describe an attack.
Here’s a trick I like to offer people. Whenever you’re putting a thought down on paper, place a period after each clause you write. (Usually, I advise people to replace a comma and/or a conjunction with a period, but in your case, it looks like you need to replace the word “as” every so often.) If you end up with a full sentence somewhere along the way, chances are it should probably be made into a complete sentence.
On top of that, remember that every sentence needs to get up to two main ideas across. When you start shifting your focus from one thing to another, you need to start a new sentence to contain it. In this case, you have the following ideas:
1. Melissa looks at Aquarius and its Water Gun. (This can technically be split into two thoughts as well, but it’s fine either way.)
2. Spinarak evades the Water Gun.
So far, the focus of your sentence is on the Water Gun. That’s fine.
But wait! There’s more!
3. The blast hits trees instead.
4. The trees rain down leaves.
These ideas don’t focus on Aquarius’s Water Gun, even though you’re talking about the blast. Instead, they’re focusing on the trees, so you end up cramming together technically four ideas into one long run-on thought. You’ll need to decide either how to separate these ideas out, how to remove ideas that aren’t necessary (Do we really need to know that the trees rained down leaves?), or how to blend these ideas together in a way that makes it less obvious that your focus is shifting. Personally, I would suggest splitting up the sentence (if you absolutely must keep every detail), if only to give you practice singling out ideas in a sentence. You seem to have a few issues with that, so it would probably help you to look at the sentences you’re writing and ask yourself what the main ideas of it are. Make lists if you have to. If you go over two main ideas, take a good look at the way your sentence is written and consider rephrasing things.
As soon as Aquarius was going to blast
Try to avoid passive voice (a form of “to be” + a verb). It tends to be weaker than just using an action verb. In this case, you could easily say “Aquarius prepared another Water Gun” or “Aquarius prepared to blast another Water Gun,” and both options would actually be stronger than “was going to blast.”
Aquarius was in shock and plunged to the tree.
You can only plunge into things, and considering you want Aquarius to plunge into a tree, that sounds like it would hurt. Maybe consider replacing “plunge to” with a different phrase, such as “dove towards”?
Also, if you’re in shock, you’re stunned. That’s sort of what the definition of being in shock is. So it doesn’t really make sense for Aquarius to be in shock but then react anyway.
She tried to get up as she struggled on her feet,
Also a contradictory phrase. If she tried to get up, she’s not on her feet, yet you say she’s struggling on her feet. If you meant that she’s struggling onto her feet, then the phrase actually becomes redundant because “getting up” and “struggling onto her feet” mean the exact same thing.
she panted and panted roughly
Drop “and panted.” You really don’t need it.
while she tried to grasp on the little energy she has.
Grasp… what? Grasp her situation? Was this actually meant to say she was trying to stabilize herself on her feet despite her low energy? Was she trying to gauge her energy?
She forgot to get them back from the hotel!
It’s official. She’s worse than Ash.
She went out to catch a Pokémon, and she didn’t bring more than half her team with her? Seriously?
She couldn't bear to watch this disturbing scene.
Usually, this applies to an observer, not to someone actually in the scene. If you can’t bear to watch a scene you’re part of you’re, again, asking for a Darwin Award.
Then the wild Spinarak fell from the tree while Aquarius wasn't even expecting this.
It. “This” is actually a vaguer term.
Aquarius! Above you quick!”
Believe it or not, you’ll actually want an exclamation point between “you” and “quick.” This is because these are two different thoughts. In one, Melissa is telling Aquarius where to look; in the other, she’s commanding her to move.
Poison seeped into her bloodstream that's slowly damaging her body.
Her bloodstream is slowly damaging her body? (Simple rearranging is in order here. Remember to try the draw-a-line-to-the-nearest-noun trick that I described earlier.)
NOOOO!" Aquarius tried to get up,
Unless Aquarius is actually screaming here, you’ll want to separate these into two paragraphs.
Melissa just returned her back
Drop “back.” If you keep it, then you end up being redundant (because “return” means “to go back”). That and you’re also putting yourself at risk of creating another confusing phrase. (On the first read-through, it looks like Melissa is returning part of her body to the Poké Ball.)
to the Poke Ball and quickly tried running for her life.
Drop “quickly.” Since she’s running, one can assume she’s doing it quickly.
"This can't be." she thought, "This can't be happening. Right now during the night while I'm trapped with this thing!?" She grabbed her chest tightly with her head down, but she felt the web on her leg pulling her back towards the Spinarak.
One thing to note is that we’re not really given the impression that Melissa is being trapped until she tells us. You don’t give us the image of the web tripping her, of her leg being tethered to something, or of anything else that would indicate that her attempt at running quickly failed. You only give us that image after she realizes she’s trapped, and like some of the things I said earlier (right around when I went through the conversation she had with her mother), that’s… rather backwards.
grab on the grass
Onto the grass. You can’t grab on grass.
she was quickly being
Again, it would be far better if you went with an action verb instead of passive voice. Instead of saying “she was being sucked back,” why not say “the web sucked her back”? That creates a more lasting image in a reader’s mind. The reason why is because passive voice serves to describe something. In sentences with passive voice, the subject is being acted upon; the focus of the sentence, therefore, is just a description of whatever the subject is. Meanwhile, in sentences with active voice (i.e., an action verb), the subject is doing something, so it creates a more lasting image because the reader doesn’t imagine the subject sitting there and doing nothing. Rather, they imagine the subject doing something. Action generates more of an emotional impact, so in the end, you end up forging a stronger connection between the reader and the story (because the reader is emotionally invested in what’s going on) if you use active voice.
Her silky brown hair was pulled back by the Spinarak as she was reached to it.
…I’m not sure what that Spinarak is about to do to Melissa, but I’m pretty sure you’d have to consult a mod in order to have a rating high enough to cover it.
Seriously, though, like I said, there’s a time and a place for bringing up details. Bringing up the fact that a girl’s hair is being pulled back when she’s bound, dragged, and intimidated into incoherence is probably not the best decision you could make as a writer.
Spoiler:- “Tasteless triggery joke behind cut.”:
Unless you intended on implying that she’s about to be raped.
She thought back on when she fought Bugsy. She had a Chikorita at the time, and she lost so many times against the Scyther, that she thought of giving up. But with her determination, she finally defeated Bugsy and got the badge.
Like a lot of things I’ve pointed out, this is brought up and sort of brushed aside. The paragraph is brief, and you don’t really go into it after this point. It was just brought up as an example of her facing Bug-types (and winning, no less), not as a source of her fear of them or an example of what she did to overcome them. She doesn’t even really think about how this episode made her feel.
But more importantly, why is she thinking about that while she’s in a traumatizing situation? I mean, okay, I can imagine thinking about it to figure out how to overcome this situation, but you keep going back and forth between having her scared out of her gourd (meaning it wouldn’t make sense for her to think about anything but this moment) and being able to think rationally (meaning it doesn’t make sense for her to think about only this moment and how she could use it to figure something out). It just feels like it’s brought up just to give us backstory on Melissa, and it feels like that especially because you’ve put her in a situation where she shouldn’t be emotionally stable enough to reminisce.
as the Spinarak was close to her face.
Again, try dropping the passive voice and using the active voice here.
She placed her soft arm in front of the Spinarak.
Why do we need to know her arm is soft?
As the Spinarak was about to bite her,
And why is the Spinarak about to bite her? I mean, wild animals don’t normally just spring out of nowhere and attack. Granted, Pokémon tend to dogpile trainers for the sake of battling them, but they don’t really try to attack the trainer themselves unless said trainer did something to piss them off. Melissa just walked by, and that was it.
she remembered Melissa saying that she hates Bugs. The creature seemed solemn and released her from its grip.
First and foremost, you go back and forth about Spinarak’s gender. In the first sentence, you say she remembered, but in the second, you say its grip. Be consistent with everything you write, and that’s a piece of advice that doesn’t just apply to verb tenses. It also applies to pronouns; don’t decide to use a gendered pronoun (he or she) but then switch to a gender-neutral one (it) for no apparent reason.
Second, why is it only stopping when it remembered that Melissa said she hates bugs? Spinarak is right now about to bite a girl who’s undergoing a full-on panic attack. Wouldn’t Spinarak be clued into the fact that Melissa hates bugs just by how she’s reacting to it?
Melissa quickly eluded from that small threat in the dark and dangerous area.
She can’t be eluding if she’s not eluding something. The word “elude” always has an object.
Now for some overall thoughts.
At this point, I paused to read your profile. While I won’t scratch what I said earlier about what you should do if you’re ESL (as in, if English isn’t your first language), I would like to offer slightly more relevant advice for you. Read your work aloud. I know I said that already, but seriously, if you do it, you’ll be able to find a lot of awkward points. There’s a lot of weirdness going on in this fic in terms of sentence structure; you do a lot of things that people just do not do when writing in English. It’s incredibly disruptive because there are points where the awkwardness actually gets in the way of your readers’ ability to understand what’s going on in a scene. (Remember all the times when I stopped and asked you what you meant or the times when I had to rephrase sentences and say I wasn’t entirely certain that that’s an exact translation of what you intended? That shouldn’t happen for a reader… and it certainly shouldn’t happen as frequently as it did.) It’s on you as a writer to make sure your story is clean in terms of sentence structure and so forth before it goes out. That means proofreading carefully, weeding out the words that don’t mean what you want them to mean, rephrasing sentences so their meaning is clear, and so on.
With that said, I think you can tell one of your weak points is grammar. It really is. You have a lot of problems in this department, and like I just said, it’s sometimes disruptive. Sure, on the surface, your writing looks clean, but it’s also littered with run-on sentences, dialogue punctuation problems, tense inconsistencies, pronoun inconsistencies, and more. You really have to put forth more of an effort to proofread, and you’ll probably need to be more active in finding a beta (i.e., ask around for one) in order to help you clear out a lot of these errors.
Also, if you were trying to use flowery words or poetic structures, don’t. That’s a trap a lot of new writers (Yes, I know you say you’ve been writing for a year, but that’s still considered new.) stumble into, and it can lead to some pretty fantastic messes at worst. (At best, it just makes you look pretentious, which really is just as bad as being new.) That may be what trips you up in terms of wording as well. You use words that don’t fit the sentence you’re writing, and these words sound like they came fresh from the thesaurus. Try to rely on the vocabulary you’re familiar with while writing. If you want to expand your vocabulary, make friends with a dictionary, not a thesaurus.
As for the storyline, it’s… all over the place. Like I said earlier, it felt like you had this set of points in mind, and you were trying to force your story to go from Point A to Point B too quickly. As a result, you brought things up out of nowhere and then abruptly went to other subjects, so your story at times just sounded unnatural or felt like it had a lot of moments that were completely pointless to the plot. Slow down your pacing and remember to bring things up where they make sense. Focus more on the general plot of the chapter, not on what specific points you want to include in it. In other words, look at the bigger picture of your story, not at the smaller blips along its timeline.
Characterization tended to be a little cringe-worthy as well. Yes, I know this is a first chapter, but let’s look a bit closely at your characters.
You have three (or four — can’t quite tell if Togetic was actually supposed to be in this story in the first place) tame Pokémon who don’t really do much at all in the story anyway, so they don’t really count as characters. (Aquarius is the one closest to being a full character herself, but she’s more like the house cat that no one notices in the corner.)
Melissa’s mom is brought up briefly to serve as the stereotypical mom. She was almost an amusing character with her quip about boyfriends and how she’ll come to teach her daughter how to be a coordinator, but then Melissa hung up on her. Besides, most of her part of the scene was spent talking about Melissa’s past, so it felt like she was being drowned out anyway. Ergo, not much of a character.
Lisa had practically two lines, and we’ve already gone over in great detail how she doesn’t seem to react to anything that would normally require a reaction. If anything, she’s actually the weakest human character because she only seems to serve the purpose of telling us how many Pokémon Melissa needs and who she’ll be up against in the next contest.
Then, you have Melissa.
Oh goodness, Melissa.
Melissa, who cries enough tears to wet the floor over burnt pancakes. Melissa, who hangs up on her mother for no apparent reason. Melissa, who, despite being a trainer and a coordinator, doesn’t think to catch more Pokémon when she’s told she needs one more to compete in a contest. Melissa, who goes out in the middle of the night to catch a Pokémon and fails to bring any of the ones she already has except her Vaporeon (never mind, I presume, empty Poké Balls to use to capture anything anyway). Melissa, who doesn’t send out a Pokémon to protect her until one is trying to kill her. Melissa, who thinks about her battle against Bugsy right when she should be either too traumatized to think straight or too busy thinking up an escape plan to reminisce about her past.
Yeah, I don’t think this fic’s off to a good start in terms of characters. A lot of it really is your tendency to bring up details for the sake of bringing them up (rather than when it’s appropriate to do so), but really, it feels like you’ve made Melissa a little too dense. While it would be fascinating (read: hilarious) to watch a character who was actually dumber than half the regulars in the anime, I’m not sure if that’s actually what you intended. Moreover, the way it’s going, it could be more likely that she’ll end up annoying instead of amusing to watch. I’m serious when I say I actually had to stop as many times as I did and ask myself out loud why she didn’t just send out a Pokémon. It just feels like her character doesn’t make much sense.
These may seem like only parts of the plot, but the troubling thing is that these are very huge distractions as well. I’m not saying your fic is terrible. It’s got a lot of potential. Yes, I would like to read a fic about a dense, bratty coordinator who is forced to get over her fear of Spinarak. Yes, I would like to read a fic in which a cutesy Spinarak is teamed up with a coordinator who’s terrified of it. I just don’t think it’s there yet, and I think that you’ll need to buckle down and work on both your wording and your characterization in order to get your concepts to shine through.
In short, be careful when you proofread. Or use a beta. Whichever works (but preferably both).
This is why I'll take a break from writing for a while to get better. And yes, English is my first language, I don't see on how that's a problem. I was born in America. And in case, how should I write my sentences, since I have problems writing them. I mean, I can speak English, but I just can't write my sentences without them being forced? Well, thanks for pointing those out, because I realized that my writing is rather bad in terms.
Last edited by Quilava42; 7th January 2013 at 12:43 PM.
And yes, English is my first language, I don't see on how that's a problem.
I never said it was. I said that if English was your second language, then I would highly encourage you to get a beta because there's a lot of things you wouldn't be able to pick out on your own unless you've memorized them, which is something that native speakers have generally always done because they're surrounded by the language 24/7.
In your case, because you're a native speaker, there is a slight issue in that you seem to be making a lot of errors that native speakers wouldn't make. For example, it's rather unnatural to use prepositions the way you do. Even taking dialects and slang into consideration, no one says things like "I don't see on how." That's what struck me as curious about you and why I initially thought you weren't a native speaker -- because the kinds of errors you make simply aren't things that you hear or see native speakers make.
Is it bad? No. Is it fixable? Yes. How do you fix it? Same way a non-native speaker does. You get a beta, you proofread carefully, you read your work aloud, and you memorize the basics of the language. It's also a good idea to read a lot. Grab English textbooks. Find tutorials online. Read a lot of published work (fiction, nonfiction -- doesn't matter) and pay attention to how they do it. In order to stop writing forced sentences, you have to become more familiar with how the language works. So, yeah, you'll have to do your homework for that -- literally and figuratively.