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Thread: re: Through the Thunder and the Lightning

  1. #1
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    Default re: Through the Thunder and the Lightning

    This is a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon fan fic, and also a reboot of my original fic, Through the Thunder and the Lightning. I decided that it'd be easier just to wait a while and post a new thread entirely. The alternative would be to keep redoing ones in the original thread, and the cliffhangers would never fall in the same place. So this easier and better on the eyes. Okay, that's enough explanations.

    Ratings and Warnings
    -Cartoon Violence (Pokemon kind, not Tom & Jerry kind)
    -Mild Language (Salsa-mild kind, not... pepper-jack-cheese-mild kind)
    -Maybe Death (Playing-your-heartstrings-like-harp-kind, not Texas-chainsaw-massacre kind)
    -Ridiculous Warnings (comedian-kind, not warning-label-on-a-three-year-old's-pudding-cup kind)

    And the PM List is back! Although, if you were on the old one, you'll have to re-request to be put on it.

    PM List
    Meeker ; Cometstarlight ; JX Valentine ; Azurus ; Saph~ ;
    Shadow Lucario 50 ;

    Feel free to catch any mistakes I make, I'm not perfect. I'm just kidding, I'm freaking amazing. No really. I am. Shh.

    So here's the Prologue, and the new Chapter 1 should be up soon too, within a day or so. The Prologue hasn't changed much since the re: version that was put up on the in the last version, with the exception of about two lines in the middle.

    ~~~~~~~~
    Watching myself when I'm taking strides
    but here comes the moon
    and it feels and it feels like an informer
    quick, run away, hide before they see you
    you know it is all a glow

    -Tyrant, One Republic

    ~~~~~~~~

    Chapter 0
    Deadline

    The panting. The pounding. The stomping. The roaring.

    These were the only things that I could hear.

    What did this beast want with me? I was a nobody - just a small town teen, too scared of change to leave on Pokemon journey like the rest of my friends. I was just out for a walk under the moonlight, despite my mother’s warnings. She, much like the rest of the town, had superstitions that a monster would eat them if they were out at night. I guess the legends were true. I had always assumed they had been silly stories told by those with less knowledge of the world than us. However, silly stories don't chase you around the woods.

    There was nowhere to run. Directly ahead was a small cave that I could hide in. I knew that it probably wouldn’t save me, but I had something I needed to do before the beast got me.

    I heard the black monster begin to charge an attack. It was a clap of thunder like the ones that would roar high above Lacunosa Town in the stormy months. It wasn't a storm though. If only it was just a storm.

    And why was nobody around to help? While I knew that most of the townsfolk would be indoors by now, the forest was usually crawling with Rangers.

    I ran with all of my might and ducked into the small opening in the cliff side. The familiarity of the cave was comforting, despite the circumstances. I used to come here when I was small. It was a safe place - a haven from the school yard bullies who pestered me day in and day out. I never thought that it could become my grave.

    I crawled as far back into the cave as I could go, but the gouged out hole wasn't very deep. Another rumble of thunder sounded. The beast was getting closer.

    Swallowing my fear, I pulled out a pencil and the small sketch journal that I kept inside my jacket pocket and hurriedly opened it to the last page. It was the only page left blank. I had drawn on all the others. I knew I wasn’t going to make it out of here, so I thought that I might as well take care of one last promise in this world. She probably didn’t even remember what that promise was, but it didn’t matter. I remembered it. A friend had bought this for me on my last birthday. I vowed to her that I would fill every page of this book with meaningful memories and art. I told her I would finish it, even if it took my whole life. That was just before a car crash killed her. Ever since then, I had been holding off on from the last page. I wanted to save it for something important. I hadn’t taken into account the fact that my own deadline might be coming up faster than I had originally thought.

    The mouth of the cave was suddenly illuminated with the fury of a lightning bolt. I shielded my eyes with my arm and squinted away. When the blast dissipated, I seen that the mouth of the cave had been charred by the attack. I wasn't harmed, but I knew the electric beast wouldn’t miss a second time. I quickly tried to think of something to sketch for my last journal. Anything, really. It didn’t matter what; the journal just need to be finished. A white squirrel came to my mind's eye, and I quickly started drawing it. The Pokemon was a common sight in the trees of my hometown. It was reassuring and felt like home. It was a good last feeling to have.

    I heard a growl and then a sort of guttural laugh from outside the mouth of the cave. A quick glance revealed that the beast was looking me over with its massive red eye. The living nightmare was too large to fit in through the opening, but that didn’t matter. I hurriedly tried to finish my drawing, but my fear was now suppressing my will. My hand was shaking too much to draw anything comprehensible.

    I didn't want to die.

    There was another roar of thunder - so close and loud that it nearly burst my eardrums. Through the ringing left in my ears, I heard the crackling of electricity. It sounded like a short circuit.

    And suddenly everything went white.



    Author's Note:
    So in the new versions, there will be song lyrics before the chapters. I'll try to stay away from mainstream songs, but that's not always possible. Most of the time, I include them because it's kinda neat to show what song represents my mindset when writing that chapter. I include it before the Chapter title so that it feels apart from the main work and doesn't feel so awkward.

    That said, One Republic's Tyrant is probably TTL's overarching theme song. So whenever it appears at the top of a chapter, you know you're in for an important and fun ride.

    And I'd like to thank a few of my friends on here for looking it over and giving their opinions. It's much appreciated, and you all know who you are, you amazing people you.

    Well, what can I say? Chapter 1 is gonna be out soon, so stay tuned!
    Last edited by Brutaka; 3rd January 2014 at 12:41 PM.
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  2. #2
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    ~~~~~~~~
    About me, a blank sheet
    Accomplished, content with
    This life I will now live

    -Lost One’s Weeping, Neru

    ~~~~~~~~

    Chapter 1
    Rude Awakening

    "Ah!" I yelled, waking up with a jolt. It was... just a dream? I thought. No, it felt too real. Ugh, what happened again? I can't remember. I hate it when I don't remember dreams... Wait, where am I? And why am I laying down in the dirt?

    I put my hands down to push myself up and yelled again. "What the heck!?"

    They were like nubs. Instead of the hands I was so used to seeing, I had paws! Little, three-fingered paws, covered in white fur. I didn't have any arms either. I squirmed until I was sitting and noticed that my legs were gone as well. My feet, or rather, back paws, were simply stuck to my body. All of it was covered in the same smooth fur.

    I shut my eyes and put my hands - er, paws - on my forehead. Or I would have, had I been able to reach far enough. Stay calm, stay calm... It's just a dream. A nightmare. An awfully realistic nightmare. It has to be. Okay, okay, so since I know it's a dream, it should go away, right? I opened my eyes and saw that nothing had changed. Apparently not. But this has to be a dream. This doesn't just happen! I can't even remember how I got here. I can't even remember...

    My gaze went blank as I tried to remember where I was before. But I couldn't remember. I couldn't remember... anything. My eyes went wide as I swallowed nervously. My mind jumped to the word "amnesia". It was strange. I could remember what amnesia was but not where or when I learned that. I had all the knowledge, but not the experiences to explain where I learned it all from.

    The reality of both my amnesia and sudden transformation was too much for my mind to handle. My pulse started to race and I grew nauseous. Thoughts went in every direction and nothing inside of my head came together properly. But I couldn't afford to slip into a panic attack now. I took a deep breath, calmed myself down, and tried to think of a logical explanation for all this.

    No, no, it's okay. It's probably just part of this nightmare. I'm gonna wake up and be a human again and remember everything.... right? I sighed. Maybe if I ride this dream to the end, I'll wake up.

    I tried to stand up, but I found the process difficult. I used my small appendages to push myself barely an inch off the ground, but my head was just too heavy for that approach to work. Instead, I managed to throw my weight onto my back paws and straighten myself up.

    Despite how large and unwieldy my head felt, it was counter-balanced by something tugging on my lower back. I soon realized that I had control of a new appendage back there that felt weird to even have. I tried looking behind me while moving it forward, and I saw it. I had a tail. A huge, white, fluffy tail with a blue stripe running down it. There were three blue spiky tuffs of hair coming out the end of it where it curled in on itself. Huh. Well, that's neat I guess. No point in freaking out about anything now. The tail itself looked really familiar though. It belonged to a Pokemon, one that I knew very well. Oh, what's it called again? Pecky... Packy...Pachi... Oh, Pachirisu! That's what I am. Weird. Out of all of them, why that one?

    Rather than worry about what I had become for my stay in dreamland, I decided to look at my surroundings. It seems that I was in a forest and that I was standing on an old dirt path. Fog hung low to the ground, but it was too light to block my view. I couldn’t see very far, though, as while the fog was thin, the forest was not. The treetops blocked out much of the light, though the path was free of obstruction.

    I heard a rustle in one of the nearby trees. I turned to face it, wobbling slightly as I did so, but I could see nothing. I shrugged and attempted to walk along the forest path I had awoken on. I started off slow; my head still weighed me down. My tail kept me from falling forward, but it still felt like I was going to topple to the ground. It was when I tried to pick up speed that I did just that. My face hit the compact dirt, and my nose ached. After lying on the ground for a few moments, I sprung to my feet. I teetered a bit as balanced myself out. I wondered how real Pachirisus dealt with this.

    Then I had this overwhelming feeling that I was being watched. I could almost feel the fur in my tail prickle. I spun around quickly, nearly falling over as I did so, and in the canopy I saw a copper-colored blur rush behind a nearby tree trunk.

    "Hello?" I called out. Now having a good chance to hear myself, I noted that my voice didn't seem too off from what it felt like it should be. This was a little strange, considering I had a completely different form, but I chalked that up to the dream too. "Is... Is someone there?" Part of me found the act of calling out to a figment of my own dream ridiculous. Another part just wanted to go along with the dream.

    My pursuer poked her head out from behind the tree. I don't really know how I knew that this Pokemon was a female, but I did. Maybe it was in the eyes? She looked familiar as well. I couldn’t quite place the species name, but she was another squirrel Pokemon. We were different, though. This one had large, rounded ears on top of her head, and she had light yellow pouches on her cheeks. She looked almost as if she was wearing a hood or something, as her face was bordered by copper fur. The single paw that I could see was similarly colored. I met her gaze, but I couldn't read her expression. Even from here, I could tell there were many emotions - sadness, happiness, and anxiety - swirling in her brown eyes. It was then that I remembered what she was: a Pokemon named Emolga. But her coloring didn’t fit.

    I blinked. She was pretty. Well, that isn't entirely accurate. The few beams of light that filtered down past the canopy struck the fur on her arms, and it would sparkle like glitter powder. She was like the bright gem at the end of a god-forsaken cave, the light that pierced the darkness. She wasn't pretty. She was gorgeous.

    Get a hold of yourself, man! I lectured to myself. For goodness sakes, she's a squirrel! In a dream no less! I decided not to worry about it and try to suppress the strange feelings I had for an Emolga who probably wasn't real anyway.

    "Who are you? What are you doing here?" she asked. Her voice was also a little high but nothing out of the ordinary. Well, besides the fact that she was a talking Pokemon. I disregarded this because at the moment, so was I.

    Who am I? Huh. Who am I? I closed my eyes in concentration, trying to remember that simple fact. Fear resurfaced when I considered that I couldn’t even remember something so definitive to who I was. But then, much like a metaphorical light bulb turning on, the name flew out of the depths of my mind and out of my mouth. "Shane! My name is Shane, I think. And I honestly don't know what I'm doing here."

    "Shane? That's funny." She giggled. And then gasped and smiled. "Are you, like, a celebrity? Or, no, a prince! Royalty from a faraway land? Come to take me away from this small town and on an adventure?" She hopped down from her branch, using the webbing that stretched from her arms to her legs to slow her fall. She leaned against the tree trunk near her, closed her eyes, and smiled wistfully. "Wouldn't that be nice..."

    "I don't know who I am, really. I can't remember anything," I explained.

    Her eyes went wide, and she held both her paws up to her mouth in sympathetic surprise. "Oh no! Nothing? Like, amnesia? That's so sad!"

    "It might be, but I can't remember anything. So I don't know what I lost."

    “That’s... an interesting way to think about it.” She held a paw to her chin looked thoughtful. "But you say you're Shane, huh? So you remember that?"

    I nodded. "Yeah, but not much else."

    "Well, you gotta be famous then! Or royalty! Or just very special. Or, a shiny, I guess, but you're not shiny. I’m pretty sure they have pink stripes, not blue. And I dunno, but..." She trailed off and squinted at me. "You wouldn't look very good in pink."

    "Okay, but why would I have to be those things? I'm confused."

    "I would have thought you'd have at least remembered that. Names are sacred. 'Least that's what the Elder says. It’s only, like, kosher to give them out to those that are really special. Most royalty have them. Famous people too. Shiny Pokemon can have names too."

    "Shiny Pokemon?" I asked.

    "Wow, lost that too, huh? Basically, they're people whose color is different than the norm. So, like I said before, a shiny Pachirisu has pink fur wherever you have blue fur. It's pretty rare and the Pokemon who have this are usually quite popular because of it. Some people think it's good luck to see one, since it's basically a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

    My brow furrowed and I looked her up and down. "Wait... aren't you a shiny then?"

    "Yup!" She giggled. "Name's April! People have told me that I'm the only shiny Emolga on the continent! I dunno if that's true or not, but I don't care much. I'm the only shiny Pokemon around here anyways. Awesome, isn't it?" She winked at me.

    "And a little egotistical?" It probably wasn't the nicest thing I could say at the moment. But what was the worst that could happen? It might make a fictional character made at me, but I wasn't concerned about it. She did indeed become angry, though. Maybe a bit too much for the comment that was made.

    "Hey! I was just saying that it's nice to be known for something! I would hate to be some nobody, never remembered for anything! What kind of life is that?" She started pacing. "People always tell me 'Oh, April, you need to calm down' or 'Maybe you should be quieter.' Well, no! I want to be heard! I can't be... a no one! I'm gonna be someone! The best someone ever! And no stupid old person is gonna tell me to calm down! I'll calm down when I wanna calm down!" Suddenly, as if she remembered I was there, her expression softened. "Oh. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. Sometimes I just get all bottled up and I just... You hate me now, don't you?" She looked at me with her big eyes that quivered with a light coating of tears.

    "What? No, I don't hate you. The tantrum there kinda caught me off guard, but whatever."

    "I know, I'm sorry... It's just every time I meet someone, I end up making a big, stupid rant about stuff and they never want to talk to me again! You know!? You think they care about you, but then you start acting like yourself and they just back away slowly!" She paused mid-gesture and exhaled. "And I'm doing it again. Sorry... It's been a long day."

    "Hey, don't worry about it. I've had a weird day too. Woke up as a squirrel, spent the better half of a little while freaking out about it, and right now I'm pretty sure that this is all a dream." I shrugged nonchalantly.

    She gave me a sideways glance. "Okay... Um, what? No, seriously, what?"

    I chuckled. "I guess I should explain. I mean, I guess it's a little pointless, 'cause none of this exists anyway, but... All right, so I'm supposed to be a human, right? Well, when I woke up, I was this. Obviously, I freaked out. But then I realized that it was probably all a weird dream." I shrugged. "Might as well indulge my subconsciousness and go along with it, am I right?"

    She held her hands together and asked, "You... you think I'm a dream?" She was silent for a moment. "Well, I must be a really pretty dream, right?"

    I was taken aback. "U-uh, I guess, but-"

    "Good enough!" she interrupted. She grabbed my paw and dragged me along the road.

    "W-wait! Where are we going?" I found it difficult to keep it up, but she didn't force me too hard.

    "Salvage Springs!"

    "Where?"

    "My hometown! Come on! Hurry up!" She began walking even faster. April had relinquished her grip, but still I followed her. She was moving very fast, and keeping up gave me troubles.

    Even though I was completely focused on not falling over, I could hear a large amount of rustling in the bushes on either side of the path. The noise was accompanied by a heavy, looming sense of foreboding. It could have been due to heightened senses that came with being a Pachirisu, but I knew there was something tracking us. A lot of somethings.

    Nervously, I asked my new friend, “Hey, uh, April, do you-”

    She cut me off before I could finish. “Yes, I noticed that a while ago. They're not very quiet.” Her demeanor was serious now, replacing the fun and erratic nature she displayed up this point. “Get ready for a fight.”

    She stopped walking and peered at the bushes that were still shaking here and there. The pouches on her cheeks were lit up with small electric sparks that crackled audibly.

    “A fight!? I can’t fight! I can barely walk!” I was probably being too loud, but what did it matter? Maybe whatever fight that ensued may knock me out of this dream already.

    “Just... Just do what I do! And remember, Foggy Woods is a Mystery Dungeon, so whatever you do-” Before she could finish, our ambushers leapt from the leafy undergrowth.

    The Pokemon surrounded us and made any kind of escape impossible. There were roughly ten or eleven of them, though there were only a few different kinds. Dog and raccoon Pokemon growled at us while birds cawed from the air above.

    The first assailant, a small, brown bird, dive-bombed April. Electricity blossomed from her cheeks and gathered in her paw. Quickly, April pointed at the bird, tracking its approach expertly. With a loud “fwump”, the energy arced from her fingertip and struck the bird in its chest. The bolt lasted only for a moment, but a moment was all it took. The Pidgey was blasted backwards and hit the ground smoking.

    “Woah!” I exclaimed, thoroughly impressed. “How'd you learn to do that?”

    “Lots of practice!”

    She aimed her finger at a black wolf pup that was growling menacingly at her. The Poochyena charged at April, fangs bared. April smirked and a yellow lightning bolt connected with the opponent’s forehead. The dog, much like the Pidgey, was thrown backwards. It whimpered for a few moments before losing consciousness.

    April turned to wink at me. “It's just another thing to make myself a little more memorable.”

    My tail prickled, and I heard a growl behind me. I spun around just in time to get trampled by a spiky, brown raccoon. I really needed to get better at this sixth sense stuff. It held a paw on my chest, and it stared at me intently. I looked into its eyes, and a creeping dread fell over me. Its eyes were blank. The creature was obviously awake... but no one was home. Before I could do anything else though, the space around me lit up with blinding yellow. When I reopened my eyes, the Zigzagoon was gone. It and its fur were smoking several feet away from me.

    “Shane, you have to fight back! They’ll just knock you out if you don’t!”

    I looked over at April, who was already fighting another Zigzagoon. The raccoon was close, so April held it back by placing her paw on its head. Then she shoved it away and flipped backwards up into the air. Halfway into her descent, she threw out her wing flaps, which slowed her descent to almost a full stop. With a playful giggle, she shot the Zigzagoon down with a single lightning bolt. She fell to the ground gracefully and winked at me.

    “But I can’t! I don’t know what to do!”

    I threw myself out of the way of an incoming dive from a blue and red robin with a split tail. It croaked at me and charged faster this time. Knowing that I couldn't dodge it, I shut my eyes and braced for the attacked. At that moment though, my cheeks began to tingle, almost as if they were going numb. My whole body felt alive, but it was also a little uncomfortable. The bird rammed me over moments later, but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it should have. Once the tingling feeling dissipated, I opened my eyes to see that the Taillow was on the ground in a mass of burned feathers.

    “I knew you could do it, Shane! Why did you lie about not being able to attack?” April asked me, right before shooting another bird - this one gray and plump - to the ground.

    “I wasn’t lying! I have no idea how I did that! It just... happen-”

    The Poochyena that tackled me from the side evidently didn’t care to listen to my explanation. The attack threw me and my head landed painfully on a rock. I tried to get up, but the world spun before my eyes and I could hardly move. My vision began to darken. I could hear April's muffled cry yelling my name. She told me to stay awake and she looked terrified. I tried to keep my eyes open, but my lids finally dropped and I was out.



    Author's Note:
    Holy hell, so, personalities are.... way different! But I'm really trying to give the two of them - Shane and April - their own personalities that are really memorable. I can't even RP as Shane because I had no idea who he was as character, at least in the old TTL. And that's sad, considering he's the main protagonist. *sigh*

    Okay, so the opening song doesn't fit as well, but.... shh! It's hard to find songs that go with this! In any case, it's what I was listening to during the tail end of writing it. This is the one I was listening to, just in case you guys wanted to know. It's really good, even if it's hard to hear her.

    Again, thank you to my 3 reviewers, you guys are amazing, and I wouldn't be able to do this without you.

    Well, Chapter 2 is in the works, and I'll try my hardest to get that out as soon as possible.
    Last edited by Brutaka; 14th January 2014 at 8:48 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I can tell this is already much better than the original version in almost every aspect; and I liked the first one, mostly because I thought it was cute, even though I also thought it wasn't really that good and that it was lacking a lot of things. But the craftsmanship here is so obviously better, and you deserve praise for the revisions. The quick, terse style of Shane's narration feels much more natural and carefully done and it makes for a better read, as opposed to being too simple and short. It reflects his personality better. April is also much more rounded and nuanced and feels more like a real character rather just a crazy person; you toned down how strange she is, from what I could tell, which I think is a good thing.

    Anyway blahblahblah. I can't really find a thing to complain about, other than I don't really care for the battle scene at the end; it's still a little too much like the rest of the story, like terse and matter-of-fact. I know that's how he is, but I prefer some more complicated syntax and sentence structure during a battle sequence. That's just me though and probably other guys don't feel that way, so whatevs././././.

    anyway i liek ur storee kay bi nao

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by armaldo View Post
    I can tell this is already much better than the original version in almost every aspect; and I liked the first one, mostly because I thought it was cute, even though I also thought it wasn't really that good and that it was lacking a lot of things. But the craftsmanship here is so obviously better, and you deserve praise for the revisions.
    Well, I didnt win 2012's Most Improved Writer for nothing...
    Seriously though, thanks! And I'm glad all the hard work shows. I've been doing a lot of practicing and discussing with a lot of other writers, namely Knightfall, Shadow Lucario 50, SilentMemento, JX Valentine, and a few others. It also helps that I know somewhat where I'm going now. In the first version, I basically just bumbled around, and it showed.

    The quick, terse style of Shane's narration feels much more natural and carefully done and it makes for a better read, as opposed to being too simple and short. It reflects his personality better. April is also much more rounded and nuanced and feels more like a real character rather just a crazy person; you toned down how strange she is, from what I could tell, which I think is a good thing.
    Well, I basically tried to get both personalities as refined and defined as much as I could. At their core, Shane is logical, and not prone to letting his emotions run away with him. April, on the other hand, is a witty, somewhat insecure girl that hides her inner feelings with a mask of bounciness. Shane speaks more formally in most cases, though he is a teen. April talks casually, and more like what most teens sound like in their day to day speech.
    It is worth to note that one of my betas is in love with April as a character, while the other finds her behavior too unrealistic. *shrug*

    Anyway blahblahblah. I can't really find a thing to complain about, other than I don't really care for the battle scene at the end; it's still a little too much like the rest of the story, like terse and matter-of-fact. I know that's how he is, but I prefer some more complicated syntax and sentence structure during a battle sequence. That's just me though and probably other guys don't feel that way, so whatevs././././.
    Battle scenes are something that I've always had difficulty with, especially in ambush situations. There's only so many times that you can zap a bird before it gets dull, and so I compensate with the rhetoric. Unfortunately, since the same wording bleeds through into the rest of the story, it really doesnt make it up at all. Still, it's just practice, I suppose.

    anyway i liek ur storee kay bi nao
    k bi, c u l8tr
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  5. #5
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    Much improved over the last one, the battle scenes are better described and the characters are more, fleshed out? I dunno, they feel more real than before.

    Anyway, 2 errors. 1 is in the prologue where the word "need" should be "needed". and in chapter 1, one of the words "attacked" should be "attack"

    Other than that, it's all good, looking forward to the re-telling of the chapters.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azurus View Post
    Much improved over the last one, the battle scenes are better described and the characters are more, fleshed out? I dunno, they feel more real than before.

    Anyway, 2 errors. 1 is in the prologue where the word "need" should be "needed". and in chapter 1, one of the words "attacked" should be "attack"

    Other than that, it's all good, looking forward to the re-telling of the chapters.
    Where are you when my chapters are getting beta read D: Chapter 1 was sitting on the drive for, like, 4 months!
    Anyway, thanks! I put a lot of thought into these chapters as of late, and I think it really shows.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    The panting. The pounding. The stomping. The roaring.

    These were the only things that I could hear.

    What did this beast want with me? I was a nobody - just a small town teen, too scared of change to leave on Pokemon journey like the rest of my friends.
    I will freely admit that I don’t entirely remember how the original began, but I do remember that it wasn’t as strong as this. You start off on a dynamic note with a lovely bit of in medias res, but it’s not just in medias res. It’s short, choppy, punchy in medias res. It’s in medias res made up of action verbs that aren’t being applied to the main character (as in, the main character is not currently being beaten); it’s in medias res made up of action verbs that just barely describe a mysterious thing. So right off the bat, you catch a reader’s attention and hold it by making them ask a very basic question: what are we looking at? But that works here because you meant for us to be asking that.

    Also, I included the bit about how Shane didn’t want to start on a journey because it’s one thing I’ve always liked about his character. When it comes to Pokémon fics, most of the usual explanations for why an older character never went on a trainer’s journey typically fall under the following categories:

    1. The author says “screw canon” and decides that canon regions have laws that prohibit people from getting trainer’s licenses until they’re [insert age within the teen range here], usually because they don’t believe that ten-year-olds are responsible/because you can’t write shippy fics about ten-year-olds.
    2. The author creates a gritty region in which the minimum age for trainer’s licenses is [insert age within the teen range here] because this fan region is far more dangerous than canon ones.
    3. The trainer wants to stay behind and study Pokémon/complete courses at a Pokémon academy.

    Very rarely do you have reasons that stray from the above three, and it’s even rarer to find a character who never went on a journey purely because a pretty realistic character flaw (such as fear of change) prevents them from doing so. Just that tiny detail says so much about Shane, and it makes him feel a little more real before he even gets out of the gate. It also presents a pretty serious character flaw to a reader, so it already builds us up to expect fantastic things to happen to this character purely because a fear of change is a serious thing when you’re dealing with transformation and world-hopping (as you do in PMD fics).

    In other words, you’re not even a page in, and it’s pretty easy to see that this is off to a good start.

    I was just out for a walk under the moonlight, despite my mother’s warnings.
    It’s also strangely beautiful to see an older character still living with his mom. Yes, it’s pretty common for teens/young adults to live with their parents in the real world, but it’s not quite as common in the Pokémon world. As a result, there’s already the implication that Shane is a bit of a slacker, which is pretty much glorious.

    I always assumed
    Buuuut first grammar nitpick. You’ll need a “had” in here because this is pluperfect (meaning it takes place before the events of the story, which are told in past tense).

    they had been silly stories by those with less knowledge of the world than us.
    They had been silly stories told by, perhaps? Or maybe it’d be better to say “they had been silly stories that those with less knowledge of the world than us believed in.” It’s just a teensy bit awkward as it is.

    Although, silly stories
    You’ll probably want “however” here because “although” implies that this is supposed to be a sentence fragment when this actually pretty much stands on its own. (Yes, even if you intended on it being a fragment, it’s probably a bit stronger by itself.)

    There was nowhere to run, I knew.
    You’ll also probably want to drop “I knew” to prevent a slight redundant feel later on in the paragraph (with the sentence beginning with this same phrase).

    There was nowhere to run, I knew. I could hide in this cave ahead of me. I knew that it probably wouldn’t save me, but I had something I needed to do before the beast got me. I heard the black monster begin to charge an attack. It sounded as if the very air was being split. That clap of thunder I was so accustomed to hearing above Lacunosa Town in the stormy months. It wasn't a storm though. If only it was just a storm.
    All of this paragraph feels a bit choppy, but I really think that it would be stronger if you combined some of these sentences together or removed some bits. For example, the sentence about the clap of thunder doesn’t really function on its own because it’s a rather lengthy fragment. Moreover, while sentence fragments could heighten tension, you’ll usually want it to be very close to the ending of the sentence it’s linked to. In other words, if you could combine a fragment and the sentence before it into one long train of thought via a comma, then that fragment works well on its own. Unfortunately, the sentence before the thunder fragment doesn’t quite relate to it enough. In fact, it almost feels as if that sentence (about the air being split) describes the exact same thing as what the fragment is trying to convey (that this charging attack sounds exactly like thunder). And that, in short, is why it might be a good idea to drop the clap of thunder fragment or figure out how to combine it with the sentence before it.

    That’s not the only sentence that could use some tweaking, either. The entire beginning to this paragraph feels a bit off, although part of that might also have to do with the fact that you don’t really describe a cave before this character suddenly sees it. That and as soon as you finish describing that the character is heading towards the cave, you immediately jump to the thought about the beast attacking. So it feels like this paragraph is jumping from topic to topic, rather than sticking with one.

    And why was nobody around to help? I knew the residents of my own town were inside and would be of no help.
    The ending of the second sentence feels a bit repetitive, considering the fact that the question ends with “help.” It also feels like it contradicts the first sentence in this excerpt because you’re saying Shane already knows the answer to the question he just posed. You don’t get the explanation for why he’s posing it until a sentence later.

    So in other words, you could probably combine the second sentence in this excerpt with the sentence about rangers in order to tighten things up a bit more.

    I used to come here when I was small. It was a safe place - a haven from the school yard bullies who pestered me day in and day out. I never thought that it could become my grave.
    I was about to say something about how abrupt Shane’s recollections about this place were, but then I read the last sentence of this paragraph. I feel like that’s a great sentence to capture his thoughts, but at the same time, I’m torn because I still think that the recollections are a bit out-of-the-blue, you know?

    I knew I wasn’t going to make it out of here, so I thought that I might as well finish one last promise in this world.
    You know, I think I might have protested against this in the first version, but now I really like the fact that he just whips out his drawing pad and starts going at a last sketch. It’s like he’s saying, “God ****ing damn it, I’m screwed. I’m so screwed that I wish I could get completely ****-faced wasted right now, but because this cave doesn’t have a ****ing bar (and I’m most likely underage anyway), let’s just say **** everything and draw.”

    In other words, it’s probably the last thing most people would think of doing when they realize they’re going to die, but the way it’s presented this time around (or maybe just the idea of it now in general) is just so goddamn glorious that I can’t help but laugh and buy it completely.

    I told her I would finish it, even if it took my whole life. That was just before a car crash took her from this life.
    However, there is a little bit of a repetitive feel here with the whole “ending things on the same word” bit. (Basically, yeah. Beginning or ending consecutive sentences on the same word can sometimes generate an awkward, redundant feel because you’re repeating yourself so close together. Sometimes, doing this with consecutive paragraphs has the same effect. Either way, it’s really safer to vary things up just enough to avoid ending consecutive sentences or paragraphs on the same chord, so to speak.) You could actually resolve this instance pretty easily by swapping out “took her from this life” (which is a rather awkward way of putting things anyway) with a simple “killed her.”

    holding off from the last page.
    The expression’s actually “holding off on.” Weird, I know.

    I hadn’t taken into account that
    I keep reading this as “taken into account the fact that,” and it might be a bit stronger if it really did say that. What do you think?

    I seen that the mouth
    I’m writing this after I did a beta with you, so we’ve already discussed the whole saw/seen thing. Because of that, I feel just a little guilty about having to point it out here, but yeah, this should be “I saw that the mouth,” not “I seen that the mouth.”

    I tried to hurriedly finish
    Try shuffling this phrase so that it doesn’t split the infinitive. (Meaning, rephrase it to “I hurriedly tried to finish.”) While splitting an infinitive isn’t a major sin in most cases, in this case, it might actually strengthen this thought because you’re not putting as much distance between “tried” and what Shane was trying to do.

    I didn't want to die.
    And I appreciate the fact that this is in its own line. Much more emphasized that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    And why am I laying down in the dirt? I put my hands down to push myself up and yelled again. "What the heck!?" They were like nubs. Instead of the hands I was so used to seeing, I had paws! Little, three-fingered paws, covered in white fur. I didn't have any arms either. I squirmed until I was sitting and noticed that my legs were gone as well. My feet, or rather, back paws, were simply stuck to my body. All of it was covered in the same smooth fur.
    While Shane’s going through a lot at this point, I feel like this would actually be best split up into paragraphs. (I personally would advise at least three paragraph breaks here: one right after “dirt,” one after “yelled again,” and one after “heck.” However, you can also get away with putting just one after “heck.”) This is just because it feels like a lot of information is jumbled up into one giant paragraph, which slows down the narration a bit because all of that information ends up blended together, if that makes sense.

    Also, don’t Pachirisu have arms, just ones that are shorter than normal?

    I’ll give you the description of the back paws, though. They really are pretty much stuck onto a Pachirisu’s lower half.

    and seen that
    If it helps, a tip. “Seen” can only be written after “had,” so if you don’t use “had” in that sentence, you should be using “saw.”

    Language habits are pretty tough to break, though, so it’ll really take a lot of practice before you automatically write “saw” and “seen” in their appropriate places. So I really don’t blame you at all if it’s tough for you now. (Not to be condescending about it or anything.)

    I must of gotten amnesia.Or
    Oh, glorious, glorious grammarian’s dilemmas. See, the phrase is supposed to be “must have” because verbs like must need helping verbs (like “have”), not prepositions (like “of”). The confusion stems from the fact that a lot of people mishear the contraction “must’ve” as “must of.”

    HOWEVER! In character dialogue (including and especially thoughts), rules can sometimes be bent. So if Shane is actually, literally saying “must of,” you can actually keep it as-is. If, however, that’s you/the author making that mistake, then yep, it’s “must’ve,” not “must of.”

    Also, be careful about spacing. Add a space after “amnesia,” specifically after the period following it.

    something.[/i] It was strange,
    Probably could benefit from a paragraph break right after “something” to separate out Shane’s thoughts from his narration. Either way, though, you’re running into a comma splice, so you’ll need a period after “strange,” not a comma.

    it was terrifying, and Shane could feel himself slipping into another panic attack.
    Replace “Shane” with “I” to put yourself back into the right point of view.

    Also, if you do add in a paragraph break where my last note mentioned you could use one, you’ll need another paragraph break after “attack.”

    Lastly, it’d be interesting if you elaborated on the panic attack here. As I’ve told you in private about your other story, when it comes to evoking emotion, it’s a lot more effective to describe physical sensations instead of just straight-out saying, “This is what the character is feeling.” It’s because describing the physical effects of an emotion instead of just naming it is a variation of showing instead of telling. So in other words, it’s a lot more effective if you said that Shane’s breath quickened or that he couldn’t think straight than it is to just say that he could feel a panic attack come on. And that effectivity comes from the fact that readers can imagine those physical sensations and glean an emotion from them, but they can’t really read the phrase “panic attack” and imagine what it feels like to be Shane.

    Well, I might as well see where this dream takes me. If all these crazy thoughts haven’t snapped me out of it, I not sure what would. Short of smashing my face into a tree until I wake up, anyway. Maybe if I ride this dream to the end, I'll wake up.
    This thought could actually be pulled up and added to the paragraph before it. (You would have to move the paragraph break to after “I’ll wake up,” of course.)

    I tried to stand up, but I found the process difficult. I used my small appendages to push myself barely an inch off the ground, but my head was just too heavy for that approach to work. Instead, I managed to throw my weight onto my back paws and straighten myself up.
    It’s always fun to watch a transformed character struggle with manipulating their bodies, yet it’s very rarely a sight I get to see in PMD fics these days. So in short, I’m delighted to see that boy fail hilariously at lifting his head.

    Despite how large and unwieldy my head felt, it was counter-balanced by something tugging on my lower back. I soon realized that I had control of a new appendage back there that felt weird to even have.
    HUZZAH, TAILS!

    Huh. Well, that's neat I guess. No point in freaking out about anything now.
    omfg. I am so done.

    Not a bad done, of course. The Tumblr kind of done where I don’t even have GIFs that adequately express how I feel right now. Like, legit, not even loling at that line, but more like: “ *dead*”

    And it’s just because I’m not reading this as lazy or whatnot. I’m reading this as, “Welp. **** everything. I have a tail. Because why the **** not.”

    It would give this dream a lot more context.
    Oh, love, I think you gave up on context a long time ago.

    I have to say, though, it would be hilarious if there was more “why the **** not” in his reaction. Like, he just decided not to panic about having a tail, so why’s he worried about context, know what I mean?

    I couldn’t see very far though,
    Comma should go after “far” to close up the parenthetical here.

    The treetops blocked out much of the light on its way to the ground,
    Side tip? Simple is usually a good way to go. If you can say something in only a few words, that’s totally okay. For example, in this case, given that the light’s coming from the sun, of course it’d be going from the sky to the ground, so it isn’t really necessary to say that it’s being blocked on its way to the ground because the readers will take that as a given. Cutting out those extra words will help tighten up a sentence and make it feel less repetitive.

    I shrugged and attempted to at least walk along the forest path I had awoken on.
    Same thing here. “Attempted to at least walk” is a bit wordy and awkward, but simplifying it down to “attempting to walk” (which says basically the same thing) strengthens the overall structure here and makes the narration’s flow rather smooth. Meanwhile, because you describe that there is a path just a few lines earlier than this point, you don’t actually need to say “I had awoken on” unless Shane can immediately see multiple paths. In other words, if there’s only one path, the reader will know that it’s the same one he woke up on because he’s only now moving.

    I became used to it before long though.
    Comma after “long.” Also, how long? Seems rather rushed to have him struggle and then all of a sudden, in the next sentence, not struggle. I’d suggest adding a bit more transition here to smooth things out. Have him feel his body balance out as he’s walking or his movements become a little more confident.

    Also, paragraph break after this. You’re leading into his thoughts, which are pretty much a completely different subject from his struggles to get used to this.

    That's a scary thought. Being a Pokemon shouldn't come naturally. I mean, I guess if it's just a dream, it can make me feel however it wants, but... I suppose I should just enjoy this. I guess it's not everyday someone gets to feel what being a Pokemon is like, even if I have no prior memories to compare it to.
    Things start to feel a little bit forced here, I think. Basically, what’s happening is that every time Shane thinks, he brings up his lack of memories, but he never really gets into what that means for him or how that makes him feel. Does he feel any desperate need to find out who he is? Is he scrambling to find an answer right now? If not, why not? (No, “he thinks it’s just a dream” doesn’t quite work in this situation because he keeps on thinking about it, so clearly, it’s a bit of a concern. He just doesn’t really follow through on his thoughts.)

    That’s actually sort of the main issue I’m still having with this fic. Shane’s convinced that he’s in a dream, yes, but his reactions are brought up, discussed in a sentence, and pretty much brushed off again. And it would be fine to use the “he’s relaxed because he thinks he’s dreaming” explanation if Shane didn’t keep cycling through bringing up and then dismissing these issues basically every time he has a train of thought.

    Also, it just, in general, feels like the whole “transformed into a Pokémon, transported into another world, and wound up with amnesia” thing isn’t an actual issue here, even though it’d probably be a pretty big deal to anyone else. It feels like he’s not reacting at all to his situation, and while it was funny at first to see how nonchalant he was about it, by this point, it’s sort of clear that, no, actually, he was seriously saying it’s not a big deal.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that right now, it feels like Shane’s a bit wooden in terms of characterization, just because you’re not really letting him react to what’s happening to him. I hope that once he realizes that he’s not dreaming, he’ll get a bit more of a chance to react, but right now, he just doesn’t quite feel like a complex character because of this. And given that he’s the main character and the narrator, you’re going to need some complexity all up in here.

    Also? If he has no prior memories to compare his situation to, he probably won’t know whether or not knowing what a Pokémon feels like is a common thing. At this point, we’re not actually told he knows what he really is.

    considering he had a completely different form, but he chalked that up to the dream too.
    Mmph. I’m going to have to attend more beta sessions for your fic. You switch to third person in this part.

    I don't really know how I knew that this Pokemon was a female, be it instinct or something else,
    Drop the parenthetical in this sentence (“be it instinct or something else”). The reason why is because you basically say that in the main clause.

    She looked familiar as well, but I couldn’t quite place the species name. She was another squirrel Pokemon but not like me.
    Slight repetitive feel here too. Also, in the second sentence, you may need something to indicate a pause between “Pokemon” and “but.” You could always add in a comma and give the second half a subject and verb, or you could add a dash there. It just feels like it runs into itself as it is.

    large rounded ears
    Comma between large and rounded in order to separate adjectives.

    The single paw that I could see was also similarly colored.
    You don’t need “also” here because “similarly” means the same thing.

    Though her coloring didn’t fit.
    Switching “though” to “but” might actually allow this sentence to stand more on its own.

    and they would sparkle
    Tip: Replacing “they” with “it” will cause this clause to refer specifically to April’s fur, which in turn will clear up any confusion concerning whether “they” is standing in for the beams of light or April’s arms.

    a god-forsaken cave; the light that pierced the darkness.
    Use a comma here, not a semicolon. Semicolons don’t really work to connect dependent clauses to main ones.

    How can I go all mushy for animal? In a dream no less!
    Well, Shane, if we turn to our good friend Freud …

    Shane closed his eyes in concentration, trying to remember that simple fact. Fear resurfaced when he considered that he couldn’t even remember something so definitive to who he was. But then, much like a metaphorical light bulb turning on, the name flew out of the depths of his mind and out of his mouth.
    POV switch again. Simple pronoun reshuffling should clear this up. Alternatively, because you don’t really have another “he” in this chapter and probably no other Shanes in this story, you might get away with a find-and-replace if you’re careful about his introduction-to-April quote.

    "Okay, but why would I have to be those things? I'm confused." And why does any of this matter? You're just a figment of my imagination and all of this is essentially a hallucination.
    When you combine thoughts and quotes in the same paragraph like this, it gets to be a bit messy, so.

    Actually, come to think of it, there are a lot of thoughts flying around in this chapter, and in a lot of cases, you could probably get away with combining them with narration. Remember, you chose to tell this story from Shane’s point of view, and not all of his inner monologue needs to be conveyed in exact quotes. First person POV is the form in which you actually have a storyteller relating something that happened to them, so while they may attempt to capture the exact words of every speaker, their focus isn’t going to be so much on their inner monologue. That will be embodied by the narration because, for the most part, the narration is their inner monologue, just at a different point in time.

    In other words, the narration should be picking up a lot of the slack for Shane’s thoughts throughout this chapter, so you really, really shouldn’t rely on quoting his inner monologue so much.

    Basically, they're people
    Interesting that she calls them people, rather than Pokémon. Granted, probably Pokémon don’t call themselves that, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Very rarely do you have fics with Pokémon characters referring to each other as their people, but it adds a nice, tribal/primitive air to their societies.

    "Hey! I was just saying that it's nice to be known for something! I would hate to be some nobody, never remembered for anything! What kind of life is that?" She started pacing. "People always tell me 'Oh, April, you need to calm down' or 'Maybe you should be quieter.' Well, no! I want to be heard! I can't be... a no one! I'm gonna be someone! The best someone ever! And no stupid old person is gonna tell me to calm down! I'll calm down when I wanna calm down!" Suddenly, as if she remembered I was there, her expression softened. "Oh. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. Sometimes I just get all bottled up and I just... You hate me now, don't you?" She looked at me with her big eyes that quivered with a light coating of tears.
    But I will never not like April in general. She’s bubbly, she’s talkative, she’s a bit of a spitfire and a lot of a ditz, and who doesn’t love a goofy character whose entire motivation can be summed up with “GDI LOOK AT ME”?

    I end up making a big, stupid rant about stuff and they never want to talk to me again! You know!? You think they care about you, but then you start acting like yourself and they just back away slowly!
    Also, I love her because of this.

    GEE, APRIL. I WONDER WHY PEOPLE BACK AWAY SLOWLY.

    spent the better half of a little while
    Ngl. I lol’d over this phrasing.

    Because as I’d mentioned in that four-paragraph bit of hilarity, that’s pretty much it. *nods … before being shot*

    She held her hands together and asked, "You... you think I'm a dream?" She was silent for a moment. "Well, I must be a really pretty dream, right?"
    PRIORITIES, APRIL.

    No, but seriously, that flying squirrel, guys.

    "Good enough!" she interrupted.
    Seriously. That flying squirrel.

    even though I was mostly accustomed to my current awkwardly-balanced body.
    *head-tilt* The main issue I’ve got with this moment is the fact that the phrase “awkwardly-balanced” implies that Shane isn’t accustomed to it, so.

    She began walking even faster.
    Maybe moving this into the paragraph that follows it will smooth out the narration a bit. Also, this might suffer a bit from the repetition issue I brought up earlier in this review, so you may need to read this part aloud to see if it sounds awkward to you.

    In general, that’s a good proofreading technique to use if you don’t already use it. It won’t help with your seen/saw problem, but it will help with your POV and awkward wording issues by slowing you down and forcing you to listen to what you’re writing as well as read your work one word at a time. I’d highly suggest trying it out for the next chapter.

    She was moving very fast and keeping up
    Here’s an instance where it’s absolutely vital to have a comma in your compound sentence. Without it, this entire excerpt looks like you’re listing off things that April is doing, doesn’t it? (As in, it looks like it says she’s moving, and she’s keeping up.) That’s the way your sentence initially looks to a reader, so the rest of the sentence ends up getting a little messy to their eyes, requiring either a pause on their part or a reread. A comma stops them and separates out your thoughts by indicating clearly that these are two different independent clauses, not one long one.

    gave me troubles in this strange form. Even though I was completely focused on not falling over,
    This moment gets a bit messy precisely because of an earlier issue I’d brought up: the fact that Shane shrugged off the problems he was having with his transformation. See, having him be okay with this and getting used to how his body works so quickly has an unintended side effect, namely the fact that you can’t say a character isn’t used to something they’ve already gotten used to. In this case, Shane’s adapted to moving in his body. You’ve established that early on while he was walking, and you didn’t really indicate that he might have trouble moving a certain way. Moreover, by having him shrug off his problems early on, even to highlight the fact that he thinks he’s in a dream, you end up stopping short of setting up situations like these, where the transformation resurfaces and becomes an actual issue again. In short, Shane’s lack of reaction and lack of shown struggle early on causes this part of the scene to have no build-up, so it feels like he’s doubling back—or, in another sense, like you’re just bringing this up for the sake of bringing up a problem.

    I could hear a large amount of rustling in the bushes on either side of the path accompanied by a heavy, looming sense of foreboding.
    You can’t really hear a sense of foreboding, so you may need to rephrase the second half of this sentence. It might be a good idea to phrase this as, “I could hear a large amount of rustling in the bushes on either side of the path. It was accompanied by a heavy, looming sense of foreboding.” Or something to that effect.

    were light up
    Lit up. You’ll need a past-tense verb here.

    may knock him out of this dream already.
    Careful about the POVs here.

    There are so many of them! Man, how are we gonna get out of this? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter.
    This is definitely one of those instances I mentioned earlier concerning the use of first-person POV. As in, relying on quoting Shane’s inner monologue isn’t as effective as using the narration to describe what’s going on. We don’t know how many Pokémon are here (until a few sentences after this, which only makes this part feel more redundant), we don’t know what they’re doing besides circling the two, and we don’t know what they look like. It really would be more effective if you simply had the narration tell us that ten or eleven Pokémon of [insert description here] leapt out of the bushes and surrounded them, just because it puts your details in the right order, gives the reader a solid picture of what’s going on, and cuts down on unnecessary words.

    That’s the other thing, actually. When you have a character’s inner monologue run in a story, the reader isn’t picturing what that quote is describing. They’re picturing the character thinking. Or at least that’s the first mental image they have. That becomes a problem if the first mental image you want them to have is actually something completely different (in this case, the gang of Pokémon).

    Tl;dr, don’t rely on a character’s inner monologue to tell a story unless that’s the point.

    though there were only a few different kinds.
    Also, don’t be vague with your descriptions. If you tell us that there were only a few different kinds, you really should be prepared to describe what kinds in order to give the reader a more concrete mental image of this scene.

    took the air
    “Took to the air” is the phrase.

    and dive-bombed April. Quickly, she threw her arm out to point at the bird. The electricity blossomed from her cheeks and raced up her raised arm. With a loud “fwump”, the energy arced from her fingertip and struck the bird in its chest. The bolt lasted only for a moment, but a moment was all it took. The Pidgey was blasted backwards and hit the ground smoking.
    It’s not a bad attack description, actually. I can visualize exactly what’s going on, and it was definitely entertaining to envision Kentucky Fried Pidgey at the end there.

    If anything, my only crits are beware of the sentence-beginner repetition, and you may need to combine some sentences here because you’ve got a bit of a short, choppy feel going on. (Combining the sentence beginning with “quickly” with the sentence that immediately follows it might be one place where you can do that.)

    “Lot’s of practice!”
    Put this (and April’s quote at the end of the sentence) in its(/their) own paragraph(s). That’s because those are, again, different subjects (in both cases, what April is saying) than the entire part describing her attack.

    My tail prickled and I heard a growl behind me.
    Insert a comma after “prickled” to separate clauses in a compound sentence.

    If it helps, try replacing conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) with a period. If you get two complete sentences as a result, you’ll most likely need a comma. If at least one of those clauses isn’t a complete sentence, that’s when you don’t need a comma.

    It held a paw on my chest and it stared at me intently. I looked into its eyes and a creeping dread fell over me.
    Same thing with both of these sentences.

    Its eyes were blank.
    Well, that’s wonderfully creepy.

    It and its fur were smoking several feet away from me.
    Aaaaaand fantastic battle description. 8D

    “Shane, you have to fight back! They’ll just knock you out if you don’t!”
    Insert a paragraph break after this line to separate the description from April’s quote again.

    Halfway in her descent,
    Halfway into her descent.

    she threw out her wing flaps
    I’d probably add a comma after “flaps” here for a parenthetical.

    “But I can’t! I don’t know what to do!”
    Add another paragraph break after this point.

    It croaked at me and charged again. It was too fast this time for me to dodge.
    It’s especially important to try reading your battle scenes aloud. The reason why I say this is because the pacing of the prose for a battle scene needs to be perfect. Too many short sentences, and you end up with choppy, awkward prose that causes the action to feel like it’s slowed down. Too many long, complex sentences, and you run a risk of losing your point in a lot of text. By hearing what you’ve written, you’ll be able to test your prose yourself and figure out whether it’s too lengthy/poetic or too choppy for what you need.

    “I wasn’t lying! I have no idea how I did that! It just... happen-”
    Put this in its own paragraph. This one’s particularly important to do because you really want the Poochyena’s attack to be emphasized, and it will be if it starts off its own paragraph.

    I groaned and tried to get up, but the world spun before my eyes and I could hardly move.
    Believe it or not, this is a run-on. Replace each of the conjunctions with periods, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Notice how you end up with three complete sentences if you replace every single conjunction? In any given sentence, you can only have up to two clauses that can stand alone and still make sense. If you go over that limit, that’s what a run-on is.

    I could here
    Hear.


    Hokay, first thing’s first. I’m sorry, guys. I love the folks at the WoJ. You’re all fantastic people, and I’m really grateful to know each and every one of you.

    But yeah. Please, please, please be more careful when proofreading each others’ works.

    GRAMMAR NOTE ASIDE! Despite how many notes I had, I have to say this is a definite improvement over the last version. The prose is tighter (again, thoughts on grammar and syntax aside), and I’m pretty sure a lot more happened in this version than in the previous one.

    Moreover, I’m not sure why, but a lot of the issues I had with the last one aren’t really issues, even if you didn’t really change the things I actually took issue with. (That is a fantastically written sentence, I know, but bear with me.) For example, the entire “Shane whips out his drawing pad” part is just downright hilarious to me now, and it says a lot more about his character than I thought it did. In fact, that might just be the highlight of his character so far, just because he’s responding to extreme danger with the most nonchalant, “I literally just ran out of ****s to give” act one could possibly think of. And it’s amazing. Same thing with that one line about how he just straight-up gave up on freaking out about his situation because he went right over the line between caring and can’t even.

    However, I do have to say that it’s rather strange because in this case, characterization is both your strongest point and your weakest point. It’s your strongest point because Shane initially gets some pretty awesome character description. We can clearly see what kind of character he is in the prologue and what we can expect from him, and that continues through to the first half of the first chapter.

    Then, of course, you have April, who is this firecracker ditz who’s hard not to like. I even loved it when she got serious because you actually show us that she really does have a reason to be so confident (namely, that she is a pretty kickass fighter). And honestly? The build-up to that moment—the exact moment where she reveals that she totally knew they were being watched and immediately drops her bubbly persona for a more focused and disciplined one—was fantastic. It’s fantastic because you have her run her mouth about how beautiful she is. It’s fantastic because she’s rude and snippy and prone to both daydreams and failing at taking into consideration the reactions or feelings of the Pokémon around her. It’s fantastic because you build her up to be someone who’s just pretty and talkative, and then she turns around and one-shots pretty much every Pokémon that dives at her. She is just a cool character in general, and she works.

    Yet at the same time, Shane’s characterization in the second half of the first chapter is questionable at best. Like I said earlier, some of his reactions to his transformation are a bit wooden or are just completely nonexistent. While he is supposed to be the logical one and while he does think this is a dream, the absence of those reactions is very conspicuous, especially when you have him go on about how he’s not used to moving his body later on in the chapter. And of course, there is also the fact that you have him get used to being a Pachirisu but then double back and say that he’s not used to his body being that way, which you just can’t do. You can’t learn to walk and then suddenly not know how to walk.

    The plot pacing, meanwhile, is much better than it was last time. It feels like there’s something that’s happening, and although there are some issues with filler lines (namely all of those thoughts and that suddenly learning/doubling-back-on-learning thing Shane’s got going on), things feel a lot less abrupt than they were last time around. That and I actually liked the inclusion of the battle at the end of this chapter, just because it gives April a moment to introduce mystery dungeons to Shane while you introduce to us how battles in mystery dungeons work. In general, I felt like this was a good introduction chapter, but yeah, once those other issues are addressed or ironed out, it would be even better.

    Good luck on the rest of the revision!

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JX Valentine View Post
    I will freely admit that I don’t entirely remember how the original began, but I do remember that it wasn’t as strong as this. You start off on a dynamic note with a lovely bit of in medias res, but it’s not just in medias res. It’s short, choppy, punchy in medias res. It’s in medias res made up of action verbs that aren’t being applied to the main character (as in, the main character is not currently being beaten); it’s in medias res made up of action verbs that just barely describe a mysterious thing. So right off the bat, you catch a reader’s attention and hold it by making them ask a very basic question: what are we looking at? But that works here because you meant for us to be asking that.
    I'm a little embarrassed that I have to ask what in medias res is, as I've never seen it before a few days ago on your help with The Lost One's Weeping.

    Also, I included the bit about how Shane didn’t want to start on a journey because it’s one thing I’ve always liked about his character. When it comes to Pokémon fics, most of the usual explanations for why an older character never went on a trainer’s journey typically fall under the following categories:

    1. The author says “screw canon” and decides that canon regions have laws that prohibit people from getting trainer’s licenses until they’re [insert age within the teen range here], usually because they don’t believe that ten-year-olds are responsible/because you can’t write shippy fics about ten-year-olds.
    2. The author creates a gritty region in which the minimum age for trainer’s licenses is [insert age within the teen range here] because this fan region is far more dangerous than canon ones.
    3. The trainer wants to stay behind and study Pokémon/complete courses at a Pokémon academy.

    Very rarely do you have reasons that stray from the above three, and it’s even rarer to find a character who never went on a journey purely because a pretty realistic character flaw (such as fear of change) prevents them from doing so.
    I have to admit, at first it wasn't intentional. It was... a foolish idea stemmed from a little bit of self-insertion, as deadly as it is. I am the same way as Shane here, I don't like change one bit. I have since separated myself from his character, since that mainly just happened when I was first making him. And while I was fixing up his character, I kept the fear of change because...

    It also presents a pretty serious character flaw to a reader, so it already builds us up to expect fantastic things to happen to this character purely because a fear of change is a serious thing when you’re dealing with transformation and world-hopping (as you do in PMD fics).
    ...of this. A person afraid of change in a PMD story made me so giddy you would not believe.

    In other words, you’re not even a page in, and it’s pretty easy to see that this is off to a good start.
    All that for, what 3 lines? Awesome.

    It’s also strangely beautiful to see an older character still living with his mom. Yes, it’s pretty common for teens/young adults to live with their parents in the real world, but it’s not quite as common in the Pokémon world. As a result, there’s already the implication that Shane is a bit of a slacker, which is pretty much glorious.
    Well... Shane is afraid of change, remember? He isnt a slacker, he just doesnt want to go. D:

    Buuuut first grammar nitpick. You’ll need a “had” in here because this is pluperfect (meaning it takes place before the events of the story, which are told in past tense).
    They had been silly stories told by, perhaps? Or maybe it’d be better to say “they had been silly stories that those with less knowledge of the world than us believed in.” It’s just a teensy bit awkward as it is.
    You’ll probably want “however” here because “although” implies that this is supposed to be a sentence fragment when this actually pretty much stands on its own. (Yes, even if you intended on it being a fragment, it’s probably a bit stronger by itself.)
    You’ll also probably want to drop “I knew” to prevent a slight redundant feel later on in the paragraph (with the sentence beginning with this same phrase).
    I'm just wondering why nobody caught this when it was being beta'd. I had, like, six betas. Including you. XD

    All of this paragraph feels a bit choppy, but I really think that it would be stronger if you combined some of these sentences together or removed some bits. For example, the sentence about the clap of thunder doesn’t really function on its own because it’s a rather lengthy fragment. Moreover, while sentence fragments could heighten tension, you’ll usually want it to be very close to the ending of the sentence it’s linked to. In other words, if you could combine a fragment and the sentence before it into one long train of thought via a comma, then that fragment works well on its own. Unfortunately, the sentence before the thunder fragment doesn’t quite relate to it enough. In fact, it almost feels as if that sentence (about the air being split) describes the exact same thing as what the fragment is trying to convey (that this charging attack sounds exactly like thunder). And that, in short, is why it might be a good idea to drop the clap of thunder fragment or figure out how to combine it with the sentence before it.

    That’s not the only sentence that could use some tweaking, either. The entire beginning to this paragraph feels a bit off, although part of that might also have to do with the fact that you don’t really describe a cave before this character suddenly sees it. That and as soon as you finish describing that the character is heading towards the cave, you immediately jump to the thought about the beast attacking. So it feels like this paragraph is jumping from topic to topic, rather than sticking with one.
    The ending of the second sentence feels a bit repetitive, considering the fact that the question ends with “help.” It also feels like it contradicts the first sentence in this excerpt because you’re saying Shane already knows the answer to the question he just posed. You don’t get the explanation for why he’s posing it until a sentence later.

    So in other words, you could probably combine the second sentence in this excerpt with the sentence about rangers in order to tighten things up a bit more.
    Yeah, the Prologue was quite jumpy, I have to admit. I might see what I can do to fix it up, but I dont know if I want to change too much now that it's out unless it's a quick and easy fix... It's kinda already out there, ya know?

    I was about to say something about how abrupt Shane’s recollections about this place were, but then I read the last sentence of this paragraph. I feel like that’s a great sentence to capture his thoughts, but at the same time, I’m torn because I still think that the recollections are a bit out-of-the-blue, you know?
    Yeah, I get you. Despite this, I'll probably leave it alone for now.

    You know, I think I might have protested against this in the first version, but now I really like the fact that he just whips out his drawing pad and starts going at a last sketch. It’s like he’s saying, “God ****ing damn it, I’m screwed. I’m so screwed that I wish I could get completely ****-faced wasted right now, but because this cave doesn’t have a ****ing bar (and I’m most likely underage anyway), let’s just say **** everything and draw.”

    In other words, it’s probably the last thing most people would think of doing when they realize they’re going to die, but the way it’s presented this time around (or maybe just the idea of it now in general) is just so goddamn glorious that I can’t help but laugh and buy it completely.
    It's partly that. It's also partly wanting to finish that one thing he's been wanting to do. It's weird, and somewhat unrealistic, but it's him. So yeah.

    However, there is a little bit of a repetitive feel here with the whole “ending things on the same word” bit. (Basically, yeah. Beginning or ending consecutive sentences on the same word can sometimes generate an awkward, redundant feel because you’re repeating yourself so close together. Sometimes, doing this with consecutive paragraphs has the same effect. Either way, it’s really safer to vary things up just enough to avoid ending consecutive sentences or paragraphs on the same chord, so to speak.) You could actually resolve this instance pretty easily by swapping out “took her from this life” (which is a rather awkward way of putting things anyway) with a simple “killed her.”
    This is what happens when I read something and go back to add something following it. Whatever I just read is now inside my head, playing over, and then by some luck, it fits in at the end of that very sentence im writing. My brain is just like "Hey, that phrase? Yeah, put that there!"

    I'm ashamed I didnt catch that sooner, cuz I try to be on top of that.

    The expression’s actually “holding off on.” Weird, I know.
    >_>

    I keep reading this as “taken into account the fact that,” and it might be a bit stronger if it really did say that. What do you think?
    That actually matches my writing style better too. Huh.

    I’m writing this after I did a beta with you, so we’ve already discussed the whole saw/seen thing. Because of that, I feel just a little guilty about having to point it out here, but yeah, this should be “I saw that the mouth,” not “I seen that the mouth.”
    Still finding it funny that you missed this on your look-through. ;P

    Try shuffling this phrase so that it doesn’t split the infinitive. (Meaning, rephrase it to “I hurriedly tried to finish.”) While splitting an infinitive isn’t a major sin in most cases, in this case, it might actually strengthen this thought because you’re not putting as much distance between “tried” and what Shane was trying to do.
    No! Not a split infinitive! I've been pretty good with that ever since The Gift. And yet, here we are.

    While Shane’s going through a lot at this point, I feel like this would actually be best split up into paragraphs. (I personally would advise at least three paragraph breaks here: one right after “dirt,” one after “yelled again,” and one after “heck.” However, you can also get away with putting just one after “heck.”) This is just because it feels like a lot of information is jumbled up into one giant paragraph, which slows down the narration a bit because all of that information ends up blended together, if that makes sense.
    I had that thought but was reluctant to change it for whatever reason. I'll take a closer look at it though.

    Also, don’t Pachirisu have arms, just ones that are shorter than normal?
    Surprisingly not! Check my sig if you dont believe me. While some fanart have short arms drawn in to fit their scene better, all the official artwork displays Pachirisu as armless.

    Trust me, I have to research this stuff a lot considering how much I draw the little furball.

    Also, because of that... writing Shane doing much of anything is going to be a bit difficult. Might just sneakily forget about that said point and write him doing stuff anyways cuz, lol, what can you even with paws like that anyways?

    If it helps, a tip. “Seen” can only be written after “had,” so if you don’t use “had” in that sentence, you should be using “saw.”
    I know, I know, Im just bad at proofreading D:

    Oh, glorious, glorious grammarian’s dilemmas. See, the phrase is supposed to be “must have” because verbs like must need helping verbs (like “have”), not prepositions (like “of”). The confusion stems from the fact that a lot of people mishear the contraction “must’ve” as “must of.”

    HOWEVER! In character dialogue (including and especially thoughts), rules can sometimes be bent. So if Shane is actually, literally saying “must of,” you can actually keep it as-is. If, however, that’s you/the author making that mistake, then yep, it’s “must’ve,” not “must of.”
    The problem occurs when I, in real life, actually say "must of".
    But it doesnt make sense to have him also say it like that, since saying it the correct way delivers the same message and it isnt really pronounced differently. So even dialect doesnt really apply here. Cuz sure, Shane will slip a few teen expressions in his speech (though April will much more often), but there's no difference in how you say it, so it doesnt matter... you know?

    Also, be careful about spacing. Add a space after “amnesia,” specifically after the period following it.
    Oh wow, how did I let that one slip? My Word usually lights those up like a Christmas tree. Huh.

    Replace “Shane” with “I” to put yourself back into the right point of view.
    This is what happens when you switch between a lot of stories with different PoV's. This is in 1st, the role play was in 3rd, and The Lost One's Weeping is in 2nd. *sigh*

    Lastly, it’d be interesting if you elaborated on the panic attack here. As I’ve told you in private about your other story, when it comes to evoking emotion, it’s a lot more effective to describe physical sensations instead of just straight-out saying, “This is what the character is feeling.” It’s because describing the physical effects of an emotion instead of just naming it is a variation of showing instead of telling. So in other words, it’s a lot more effective if you said that Shane’s breath quickened or that he couldn’t think straight than it is to just say that he could feel a panic attack come on. And that effectivity comes from the fact that readers can imagine those physical sensations and glean an emotion from them, but they can’t really read the phrase “panic attack” and imagine what it feels like to be Shane.
    I love how deep you can get into these explanations, even though I know exactly what you're talking about and the only reason it didnt happen was because "lol, I forgot to".

    I guess it happens because when I write, I write like I'm writing for NaNo. Even on a normal basis, I just write stuff and only after a proofread does it come out as recognizable. Which is why some of the stuff you've looked at in beta was as bad as it was, I hadnt gone through and done an extensive proofread myself.

    However good or bad this habit is isn't important because that's just what happens. Even if I don't mean to, or if I try to go slower. It just happens.
    It’s always fun to watch a transformed character struggle with manipulating their bodies, yet it’s very rarely a sight I get to see in PMD fics these days. So in short, I’m delighted to see that boy fail hilariously at lifting his head.
    You can thank Knighty for that one. Cuz that scene very nearly didn't exist. And then where would we be?

    HUZZAH, TAILS!
    As we have established in private, "Tails are da shiz."

    omfg. I am so done.

    Not a bad done, of course. The Tumblr kind of done where I don’t even have GIFs that adequately express how I feel right now. Like, legit, not even loling at that line, but more like: “ *dead*”

    And it’s just because I’m not reading this as lazy or whatnot. I’m reading this as, “Welp. **** everything. I have a tail. Because why the **** not.”
    Dude, you woke up covered head to toe in white fur with a head bigger than your body. And thumbless. Do you know much that'd suck? The tail would so just be another thing on the pile. And a positive one at that.

    Because like I said, "Tails are da shiz".

    Oh, love, I think you gave up on context a long time ago.

    I have to say, though, it would be hilarious if there was more “why the **** not” in his reaction. Like, he just decided not to panic about having a tail, so why’s he worried about context, know what I mean?
    True, but hey, having something to compare it to would always be nice.

    Side tip? Simple is usually a good way to go. If you can say something in only a few words, that’s totally okay. For example, in this case, given that the light’s coming from the sun, of course it’d be going from the sky to the ground, so it isn’t really necessary to say that it’s being blocked on its way to the ground because the readers will take that as a given. Cutting out those extra words will help tighten up a sentence and make it feel less repetitive.
    Aw, but the imagery D:
    Okay...

    Same thing here. “Attempted to at least walk” is a bit wordy and awkward, but simplifying it down to “attempting to walk” (which says basically the same thing) strengthens the overall structure here and makes the narration’s flow rather smooth. Meanwhile, because you describe that there is a path just a few lines earlier than this point, you don’t actually need to say “I had awoken on” unless Shane can immediately see multiple paths. In other words, if there’s only one path, the reader will know that it’s the same one he woke up on because he’s only now moving.
    I'll agree with you on those though.

    Comma after “long.” Also, how long? Seems rather rushed to have him struggle and then all of a sudden, in the next sentence, not struggle. I’d suggest adding a bit more transition here to smooth things out. Have him feel his body balance out as he’s walking or his movements become a little more confident.
    That would be a good scene, I have to admit. I can see it in my head right now. Ooo, he just fell over. That one's an ego bruiser.... XD

    Things start to feel a little bit forced here, I think. Basically, what’s happening is that every time Shane thinks, he brings up his lack of memories, but he never really gets into what that means for him or how that makes him feel. Does he feel any desperate need to find out who he is? Is he scrambling to find an answer right now? If not, why not? (No, “he thinks it’s just a dream” doesn’t quite work in this situation because he keeps on thinking about it, so clearly, it’s a bit of a concern. He just doesn’t really follow through on his thoughts.)

    That’s actually sort of the main issue I’m still having with this fic. Shane’s convinced that he’s in a dream, yes, but his reactions are brought up, discussed in a sentence, and pretty much brushed off again. And it would be fine to use the “he’s relaxed because he thinks he’s dreaming” explanation if Shane didn’t keep cycling through bringing up and then dismissing these issues basically every time he has a train of thought.
    I guess my thought process on this one is that, in reality, his is freaking out about it. Every one of these things that would freak him out does for just a second, and he has to remind himself that this is a dream. He's hiding behind his denial, but that wall isn't as secure as he's letting on. We would see more of this in Chapter 2, where April smashes that denial apart and it all comes down like the Berlin Wall (/spoiler) and he can no longer hide behind it. That's when his inner freak out becomes outer freak out.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that right now, it feels like Shane’s a bit wooden in terms of characterization, just because you’re not really letting him react to what’s happening to him. I hope that once he realizes that he’s not dreaming, he’ll get a bit more of a chance to react, but right now, he just doesn’t quite feel like a complex character because of this. And given that he’s the main character and the narrator, you’re going to need some complexity all up in here.
    Well ****. I know Knighty and Snicob have both mentioned to me that the calm he has about him isn't really a good thing, and I should do something, but I guess I had no idea what to do about it. At this point in the reboot, I can easily go back and fix up reChapter 1 cuz it's right there, but I'm still not 100% sure on how to do actually do that. I've been thinking of a few things, and I can still go back and brainstorm, but it'll take me a while to figure something out.

    Because whatever happens, he isnt going to freak out about it in Ch1. While his denial isn't strong, he it is still there. And being the logic driven individual that he is, he needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this isnt really a dream. So yes, he would be a bit distant from whats going on, and be more "along for the ride" cuz he doesnt even think any of this is real yet. I mean, why should he care? Dreams always feel more realistic when you're inside of them, after all. And I'm sure having amnesia doesn't help matters, since he doesnt remember what dreaming is typically like. I'll respond to a question you probably have when I raise that point, since it'd probably be the same issue you make here:

    Also? If he has no prior memories to compare his situation to, he probably won’t know whether or not knowing what a Pokémon feels like is a common thing. At this point, we’re not actually told he knows what he really is.
    I like to imagine that he has what I sometimes like to call a "ghost memory" or an imprint of what it's like. It's like a fleeting feeling, thought, or knowledge of what something is like, but he doesnt remember the complexities of it if he focuses on it. He has the habits or instincts associated with knowing it, but he doesnt actually know it.

    For instance, while he doesnt know why being a Pokemon isn't a common thing, he does know this to be true. For another example, take romantic relationships (because this is going to be a big, BIG part of this story). While Shane himself doesnt remember any accounts of him being on a date, or witnessing other human relationships, he would still instinctually go about finding a date or acting around a romantic interest in the same way that he would, more or less, if he had all those memories. And he'd most certainly notice and be confused if he finds out that Pokemon romantic relations dont work that way.

    Mmph. I’m going to have to attend more beta sessions for your fic. You switch to third person in this part.
    Dammit.

    Well, Shane, if we turn to our good friend Freud …
    Im sad that I dont know this reference off the top of my head.

    Actually, come to think of it, there are a lot of thoughts flying around in this chapter, and in a lot of cases, you could probably get away with combining them with narration. Remember, you chose to tell this story from Shane’s point of view, and not all of his inner monologue needs to be conveyed in exact quotes. First person POV is the form in which you actually have a storyteller relating something that happened to them, so while they may attempt to capture the exact words of every speaker, their focus isn’t going to be so much on their inner monologue. That will be embodied by the narration because, for the most part, the narration is their inner monologue, just at a different point in time.

    In other words, the narration should be picking up a lot of the slack for Shane’s thoughts throughout this chapter, so you really, really shouldn’t rely on quoting his inner monologue so much.
    Knighty did say that Shane's thoughts were quite talkative.
    You know, I guess I keep forgetting that Shane is actually the narrator, as hard as that would be to do. I keep thinking that putting personal opinions into the text itself rather than in thoughts seemed unprofessional for a narrator to do... but Shane is the narrator, so... Oops? lol

    Interesting that she calls them people, rather than Pokémon. Granted, probably Pokémon don’t call themselves that, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Very rarely do you have fics with Pokémon characters referring to each other as their people, but it adds a nice, tribal/primitive air to their societies.
    I dont see how it adds a primitive air to anything. To me, "people" is just a grouping of sentient beings, not a grouping of humans.

    Also, the fact that neither of them are speaking English. You have to remember that. All these words are in PokeSpeech, and Shane's head is automatically and subconsciously translating everything for him. So we get that translation. So even if "people" should be used to mean a group of humans, Shane subconsciously considers it a group of his kind, and his head decided that the word was accurate because of this. Yay.

    And on another note, I always find it strange that Pokemon refer to Pokemon kind as Pokemon. It'd be like humans referring to other humans as humans. Like "Man, look at the humans!" Feels disjointed to me. Like the speaker isnt one of them.
    Despite this, I still let it slip now and again from habit. I should really watch that.

    But I will never not like April in general. She’s bubbly, she’s talkative, she’s a bit of a spitfire and a lot of a ditz, and who doesn’t love a goofy character whose entire motivation can be summed up with “GDI LOOK AT ME”?
    I dont see the ditz part of it as much as you do, but she's definitely the first 3. She's got sass too, if you remember my excerpt of Chapter 2 that I sent by PM.

    Also, I love her because of this.

    GEE, APRIL. I WONDER WHY PEOPLE BACK AWAY SLOWLY.
    SHE JUST WANTS TO BE HERSELF BUT NO ONE UNDERSTANDS.
    D:

    Ngl. I lol’d over this phrasing.

    Because as I’d mentioned in that four-paragraph bit of hilarity, that’s pretty much it. *nods … before being shot*
    I dont get it.

    PRIORITIES, APRIL.

    No, but seriously, that flying squirrel, guys.
    Seriously. That flying squirrel.
    I have to say, April is one of my favorite things about TTL.



    *head-tilt* The main issue I’ve got with this moment is the fact that the phrase “awkwardly-balanced” implies that Shane isn’t accustomed to it, so.
    Oh. I hadnt thought of it like that, but I suppose.

    Maybe moving this into the paragraph that follows it will smooth out the narration a bit. Also, this might suffer a bit from the repetition issue I brought up earlier in this review, so you may need to read this part aloud to see if it sounds awkward to you.

    In general, that’s a good proofreading technique to use if you don’t already use it. It won’t help with your seen/saw problem, but it will help with your POV and awkward wording issues by slowing you down and forcing you to listen to what you’re writing as well as read your work one word at a time. I’d highly suggest trying it out for the next chapter.
    I do try to read it aloud, although I tend to do a lot of my writing/proofreading at night when my roommate's asleep for reasons Im sure you understand. Reading it aloud might wake him up, and thats not very nice, is it?

    This moment gets a bit messy precisely because of an earlier issue I’d brought up: the fact that Shane shrugged off the problems he was having with his transformation. See, having him be okay with this and getting used to how his body works so quickly has an unintended side effect, namely the fact that you can’t say a character isn’t used to something they’ve already gotten used to. In this case, Shane’s adapted to moving in his body. You’ve established that early on while he was walking, and you didn’t really indicate that he might have trouble moving a certain way. Moreover, by having him shrug off his problems early on, even to highlight the fact that he thinks he’s in a dream, you end up stopping short of setting up situations like these, where the transformation resurfaces and becomes an actual issue again. In short, Shane’s lack of reaction and lack of shown struggle early on causes this part of the scene to have no build-up, so it feels like he’s doubling back—or, in another sense, like you’re just bringing this up for the sake of bringing up a problem.
    I guess what I meant was that he wasn't completely used to it, but he could move without falling over if he tried. Though I completely understand your point because that isnt what it made it seem like earlier, and I'll definitely go back to fix that.

    You can’t really hear a sense of foreboding, so you may need to rephrase the second half of this sentence. It might be a good idea to phrase this as, “I could hear a large amount of rustling in the bushes on either side of the path. It was accompanied by a heavy, looming sense of foreboding.” Or something to that effect.
    Ah, yes, I really should separate those clauses then, huh.

    This is definitely one of those instances I mentioned earlier concerning the use of first-person POV. As in, relying on quoting Shane’s inner monologue isn’t as effective as using the narration to describe what’s going on. We don’t know how many Pokémon are here (until a few sentences after this, which only makes this part feel more redundant), we don’t know what they’re doing besides circling the two, and we don’t know what they look like. It really would be more effective if you simply had the narration tell us that ten or eleven Pokémon of [insert description here] leapt out of the bushes and surrounded them, just because it puts your details in the right order, gives the reader a solid picture of what’s going on, and cuts down on unnecessary words.

    That’s the other thing, actually. When you have a character’s inner monologue run in a story, the reader isn’t picturing what that quote is describing. They’re picturing the character thinking. Or at least that’s the first mental image they have. That becomes a problem if the first mental image you want them to have is actually something completely different (in this case, the gang of Pokémon).

    Tl;dr, don’t rely on a character’s inner monologue to tell a story unless that’s the point.
    I think I just need to remember that this is 1st person PoV, and what that actually does entail, huh? That would certainly fix a few problems, haha.

    “Took to the air” is the phrase.
    Ah, old nemesis, "brain thinking faster than my hands can type on the keyboard", you strike again.

    It’s not a bad attack description, actually. I can visualize exactly what’s going on, and it was definitely entertaining to envision Kentucky Fried Pidgey at the end there.
    Yay. ^_^
    I felt a big need to describe this part particularly well because it's not how an Emolga typically attacks. Most electric types just sorta surround themselves with lighting and, I dunno, magically control it at the opponent or something.
    In this situation, I took a more dramatic approach with a touch more realism. Electricity isnt a beam, it's an arc that lasts for only a moment. Sure, it wouldnt realistically travel towards the bird who isnt grounded, but hey, Pokemon do that. So why not.

    If anything, my only crits are beware of the sentence-beginner repetition, and you may need to combine some sentences here because you’ve got a bit of a short, choppy feel going on. (Combining the sentence beginning with “quickly” with the sentence that immediately follows it might be one place where you can do that.)
    My battle scenes always end up choppy. I have no idea why.

    Well, that’s wonderfully creepy.
    Has do to with my headcanon for Mystery Dungeon's ferals. Which I will address in story! Cuz it has to do with why April was so worried about Shane when he conked out in the dungeon. And some stuff with dialogue between April and a friend in Chapter 2.

    Aaaaaand fantastic battle description. 8D
    *ZAP*



    It’s especially important to try reading your battle scenes aloud. The reason why I say this is because the pacing of the prose for a battle scene needs to be perfect. Too many short sentences, and you end up with choppy, awkward prose that causes the action to feel like it’s slowed down. Too many long, complex sentences, and you run a risk of losing your point in a lot of text. By hearing what you’ve written, you’ll be able to test your prose yourself and figure out whether it’s too lengthy/poetic or too choppy for what you need.
    Have I told how bad at battles I am? If I haven't yet, why the hell not? DX

    Put this in its own paragraph. This one’s particularly important to do because you really want the Poochyena’s attack to be emphasized, and it will be if it starts off its own paragraph.
    Thats a brilliant idea.

    Hokay, first thing’s first. I’m sorry, guys. I love the folks at the WoJ. You’re all fantastic people, and I’m really grateful to know each and every one of you.

    But yeah. Please, please, please be more careful when proofreading each others’ works.
    Hey, I already told you in VM, take your own advice, lol. You may not have quite gotten to the battle scene, but you dont really have much excuse for the Prologue, haha.

    GRAMMAR NOTE ASIDE! Despite how many notes I had, I have to say this is a definite improvement over the last version. The prose is tighter (again, thoughts on grammar and syntax aside), and I’m pretty sure a lot more happened in this version than in the previous one.
    Hm... Nope! Less happened in this one than the last one. How's that for ya?
    Just felt like more cuz it was more exciting than the last one. And the pacing's better.

    Moreover, I’m not sure why, but a lot of the issues I had with the last one aren’t really issues, even if you didn’t really change the things I actually took issue with. (That is a fantastically written sentence, I know, but bear with me.) For example, the entire “Shane whips out his drawing pad” part is just downright hilarious to me now, and it says a lot more about his character than I thought it did. In fact, that might just be the highlight of his character so far, just because he’s responding to extreme danger with the most nonchalant, “I literally just ran out of ****s to give” act one could possibly think of. And it’s amazing. Same thing with that one line about how he just straight-up gave up on freaking out about his situation because he went right over the line between caring and can’t even.
    Believe or not, that Prologue is the almost the same Prologue that I released for old rewrite of TTL back in June. I was going to just replace each chapter in the old thread with the new versions, but Chapter 1's cliffhanger didnt line up for any new readers. So that didnt work, lol. I say almost the same though. I added one sentence.

    However, I do have to say that it’s rather strange because in this case, characterization is both your strongest point and your weakest point.
    And I know exactly why, and I'll tell you in a sec.

    It’s your strongest point because Shane initially gets some pretty awesome character description. We can clearly see what kind of character he is in the prologue and what we can expect from him, and that continues through to the first half of the first chapter.

    Then, of course, you have April, who is this firecracker ditz who’s hard not to like. I even loved it when she got serious because you actually show us that she really does have a reason to be so confident (namely, that she is a pretty kickass fighter). And honestly? The build-up to that moment—the exact moment where she reveals that she totally knew they were being watched and immediately drops her bubbly persona for a more focused and disciplined one—was fantastic. It’s fantastic because you have her run her mouth about how beautiful she is. It’s fantastic because she’s rude and snippy and prone to both daydreams and failing at taking into consideration the reactions or feelings of the Pokémon around her. It’s fantastic because you build her up to be someone who’s just pretty and talkative, and then she turns around and one-shots pretty much every Pokémon that dives at her. She is just a cool character in general, and she works.

    Yet at the same time, Shane’s characterization in the second half of the first chapter is questionable at best. Like I said earlier, some of his reactions to his transformation are a bit wooden or are just completely nonexistent. While he is supposed to be the logical one and while he does think this is a dream, the absence of those reactions is very conspicuous, especially when you have him go on about how he’s not used to moving his body later on in the chapter. And of course, there is also the fact that you have him get used to being a Pachirisu but then double back and say that he’s not used to his body being that way, which you just can’t do. You can’t learn to walk and then suddenly not know how to walk.
    There's a reason why April's character is so much more successful than Shane's.

    April's back-story, motivations, and my own thoughts as to why she is the way she is could span several pages about many different topics. Much of her history and rationale also plays heavily on a lot of the world building I had to do for this story, including, but not limited to, the reasons for why only some Pokemon have names, how Pokemon relationships work, her friendly relationship with the Elder, why she lives by herself, and why rescue/exploration/salvage teams intrigue her so much. I can go on and on about her if we ever got into a discussion about it. Ask me any question about her and I already have an answer that probably goes several layers deep into her past. Sure, she's bubbly, rude, erratic, and fiery, but she's also just about the most thought-out character I've ever created in my entire history as a writer.

    Conversely, Shane's own biography... would barely span a few paragraphs.

    I understand how terrible this is because of the simple fact that Shane is the main character and our eyes in his world, but that's just the unfortunate truth. It's hard to come up with a defined personality that has reasons and motives behind them when they were literally just mind-wiped. He is, for all intents and purposes, a clean slate. And while some of his behavior bleeds through from his forgotten past, another large part of that is wiped away. In a way, he still has to figure out who he is. Not to mention the fact that he just doesnt care right now, because he still thinks he can wake up from this and not worry about any of it.

    So while he's a bit of a blank canvas right now, Chapters 2 - 4 will definitely fix that issue, as his entire rationale is broken to pieces and he has to deal with what happens rather quickly, whether he likes it or not. And then you have April, and his feelings for her. He has no idea why he likes this flying squirrel, and he tries to distance himself from those feelings. There's a lot that he doesn't understand and it all crashes down at once. The dam broke, so to speak, and in comes the flood. And it'll break him. Logic can only hold it off for so long, and then it becomes a thorn. Because then, you're limited in only believing what you think is possible. When the impossible starts to happen, your crutch falls to pieces.

    tl;dr Yes, Shane is a bit blank right now, but that only gives him room for delicious development.

    The plot pacing, meanwhile, is much better than it was last time. It feels like there’s something that’s happening, and although there are some issues with filler lines (namely all of those thoughts and that suddenly learning/doubling-back-on-learning thing Shane’s got going on), things feel a lot less abrupt than they were last time around. That and I actually liked the inclusion of the battle at the end of this chapter, just because it gives April a moment to introduce mystery dungeons to Shane while you introduce to us how battles in mystery dungeons work.
    Pacing was something that was very wrong in the original, so that was almost my entire focus this time around. My other main concern was that battle because the first one was terrible and so, so, so cliche. At least this one is a bonefide Monster House.
    Although it sucks that in this world, Monster Houses apparently exist in the opening dungeons. So metal.

    In general, I felt like this was a good introduction chapter, but yeah, once those other issues are addressed or ironed out, it would be even better.
    Isnt that the case for most things? XD

    Good luck on the rest of the revision!
    Thank you, Jax. Seriously. I always appreciate these review from you, which is why I always take them so well. This didn't even upset me, you know? I know some of your reviews make people miserable for a while after, but heck, I was happy through most of it. Cuz hey, you liked some of it, and that's good enough for me XD
    Last edited by Brutaka; 3rd January 2014 at 9:02 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Couple o’ notes! I’m probably not going to respond to all of this because that would be rather silly and hammer-on-the-head-ish, so!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutaka View Post
    I'm a little embarrassed that I have to ask what in medias res is, as I've never seen it before a few days ago on your help with The Lost One's Weeping.
    No worries! In medias res is an artistic technique in which an author starts a work in the middle of action instead of in the middle of exposition. So if you start a scene without giving a reader context, be it by plopping them down in the middle of a battle or in the middle of a chase scene or even in the middle of a conversation, that’s in medias res. If you, instead, start off with paragraphs describing a setting and giving a reader plenty of context to understand exactly what’s going on, then that is not in medias res.

    I have to admit, at first it wasn't intentional. It was... a foolish idea stemmed from a little bit of self-insertion, as deadly as it is. I am the same way as Shane here, I don't like change one bit. I have since separated myself from his character, since that mainly just happened when I was first making him. And while I was fixing up his character, I kept the fear of change because...

    ...of this. A person afraid of change in a PMD story made me so giddy you would not believe.
    Keep him like this, then. 8D

    And I agree. PMD fics involving humans changed into Pokémon are in part transformation fics, and one of the major points about transformation is change. So it’s definitely interesting to have a character who would address that by being afraid of that.

    Or at all, actually.

    It’s weird that there are quite a few PMD fics that don’t really address change. :/

    Well... Shane is afraid of change, remember? He isnt a slacker, he just doesnt want to go. D:
    EVEN BETTER.

    I'm just wondering why nobody caught this when it was being beta'd. I had, like, six betas. Including you. XD
    Probably because we had a crapton of notes. :P (No, but seriously, sorry for not catching all of these~!)

    It's partly that. It's also partly wanting to finish that one thing he's been wanting to do. It's weird, and somewhat unrealistic, but it's him. So yeah.
    It’s a good trait to have, but definitely encourage people to assume he just doesn’t give a **** anymore. :P *shot!*

    Surprisingly not! Check my sig if you dont believe me. While some fanart have short arms drawn in to fit their scene better, all the official artwork displays Pachirisu as armless.

    Trust me, I have to research this stuff a lot considering how much I draw the little furball.
    I’ll take your word for it. I’ve always kinda viewed those paws as being extremely stubby arms, but that works too (and is probably more in line with how Game Freak designs). XD

    Also, because of that... writing Shane doing much of anything is going to be a bit difficult. Might just sneakily forget about that said point and write him doing stuff anyways cuz, lol, what can you even with paws like that anyways?
    Huh. That’s an interesting question. How did the anime do this? *goes to check and fully expects migrating paws*

    I know, I know, Im just bad at proofreading D:
    *pats*

    The problem occurs when I, in real life, actually say "must of".
    But it doesnt make sense to have him also say it like that, since saying it the correct way delivers the same message and it isnt really pronounced differently. So even dialect doesnt really apply here. Cuz sure, Shane will slip a few teen expressions in his speech (though April will much more often), but there's no difference in how you say it, so it doesnt matter... you know?
    Pretty much, yep. About the only real difference is in adding a bit more depth to a character. Writing it “must’ve,” while meaning the same and sounding the same, actually portrays the speaker as being a little more intelligent, just because we see the way it’s written out and perceive that as how the speaker thinks that sentence is constructed. Meanwhile, writing it as “must of” causes the speaker to seem younger or less intelligent because we know that’s not the proper way of writing. It’s a little like writing out someone’s accent. We know that they actually mean “good,” but when you write is as “gud,” not only do you get a certain sound, but you also perceive it as implying something else about a speaker.

    Tl;dr, writing is weird, man. I’m just musing on it. *le nod* I honestly encourage you to write it as “must’ve” because my inner editor cringes at the sight of it, but I can see why someone would argue that they want to keep it as “must of.”

    Oh wow, how did I let that one slip? My Word usually lights those up like a Christmas tree. Huh.
    Yeah, same here. I didn’t really notice until I looked a little closer and realized that the spacing was slightly larger than normal.

    Seems like there’s a rash of that going on around the forums, though (considering I’ve pointed it out twice so far, I think), so idek. CHECK YOUR FORMATTING, KIDS!

    This is what happens when you switch between a lot of stories with different PoV's. This is in 1st, the role play was in 3rd, and The Lost One's Weeping is in 2nd. *sigh*
    XD Nice job.

    You’ll get used to it eventually, though. *pats*

    I love how deep you can get into these explanations, even though I know exactly what you're talking about and the only reason it didnt happen was because "lol, I forgot to".
    *le bow* I’m just very talkative.

    However good or bad this habit is isn't important because that's just what happens. Even if I don't mean to, or if I try to go slower. It just happens.
    Totally understand. Sometimes, you just want to hammer out a chapter and ask questions later. It might help—possibly, maybe—to proofread once before the betas tackle it, then proofread it again after.

    As we have established in private, "Tails are da shiz."
    Damn right.

    Dude, you woke up covered head to toe in white fur with a head bigger than your body. And thumbless. Do you know much that'd suck? The tail would so just be another thing on the pile. And a positive one at that.

    Because like I said, "Tails are da shiz".
    I … I admit I can’t argue with this statement. *kicks her own apparent fixation on tails in her own fics under her bed*

    They’re just so prehensile.

    That would be a good scene, I have to admit. I can see it in my head right now. Ooo, he just fell over. That one's an ego bruiser.... XD
    Exactly. 8D

    I guess my thought process on this one is that, in reality, his is freaking out about it. Every one of these things that would freak him out does for just a second, and he has to remind himself that this is a dream. He's hiding behind his denial, but that wall isn't as secure as he's letting on. We would see more of this in Chapter 2, where April smashes that denial apart and it all comes down like the Berlin Wall (/spoiler) and he can no longer hide behind it. That's when his inner freak out becomes outer freak out.
    Well, in that case …!

    On a serious note, though, this sounds interesting. It might help to emphasize his emotions just a tad more in order to make it very clear that he’s not dismissing these issues but rather denying them so hardcore right now. You could probably include a touch more talk about how he nearly feels like panicking but reminds himself over and over again mentally that it’s just a dream. Even just a sentence about how he’s going on and on in his head that it’s a dream might work to transition that apparent calm into actual denial.

    If it also helps …!

    Dreams always feel more realistic when you're inside of them, after all.
    You also panic in dreams. Think about any time you’ve had a nightmare. Because it felt so real, you can’t help but feel a little apprehensive, even if you’re asleep. Now, I’m not a lucid dreamer, so I can’t tell you for certain whether or not a lucid dreamer who has a nightmare would still feel panicked (and I can’t quite find out because reports of lucid dreaming normally involve giving control back to the dreamer, allowing them to dream whatever they want). But beyond that, you really do panic when you think you’re having a nightmare. That’s part of what makes a nightmare what it is, y’know?

    I like to imagine that he has what I sometimes like to call a "ghost memory" or an imprint of what it's like. It's like a fleeting feeling, thought, or knowledge of what something is like, but he doesnt remember the complexities of it if he focuses on it. He has the habits or instincts associated with knowing it, but he doesnt actually know it.

    For instance, while he doesnt know why being a Pokemon isn't a common thing, he does know this to be true. For another example, take romantic relationships (because this is going to be a big, BIG part of this story). While Shane himself doesnt remember any accounts of him being on a date, or witnessing other human relationships, he would still instinctually go about finding a date or acting around a romantic interest in the same way that he would, more or less, if he had all those memories. And he'd most certainly notice and be confused if he finds out that Pokemon romantic relations dont work that way.
    These are really interesting concepts, and it’d be interesting to include them a little more in the narration, just to help emphasize how Shane is feeling about his situation. *le nod*

    Im sad that I dont know this reference off the top of my head.
    Freud was one of the founding fathers of psychology, but what’s so funny about him is that he’s famous for describing the way our brains work when it comes to sex. He’s also responsible for theories about dreams and the subconscious, and these theories have included the idea that some of our “random” behaviors are really just signs of what we want subconsciously. (Hence “Freudian slip,” a term that refers to a slip of the tongue in which the speaker is actually voicing what’s on their mind. For example, if you see a woman topless and say “have a nice boob,” it’s because your mind is really focused on that instead of what you’re consciously trying to do.)

    In other words, bringing up our good friend Freud means that deep down, Shane’s thinking about visiting the Pokémon Day Care with April.

    I dont see how it adds a primitive air to anything. To me, "people" is just a grouping of sentient beings, not a grouping of humans.

    Also, the fact that neither of them are speaking English. You have to remember that. All these words are in PokeSpeech, and Shane's head is automatically and subconsciously translating everything for him. So we get that translation. So even if "people" should be used to mean a group of humans, Shane subconsciously considers it a group of his kind, and his head decided that the word was accurate because of this. Yay.
    True and interesting point. I guess what I was trying to say is people don’t normally refer to groups of others like them as, y’know, “my people” unless you’re trying to evoke a tribal feel. We tend to identify ourselves as what we literally are (in terms of race or identity), just because “people” tends to be vague and implies that the speaker has an “us and them” mentality. So seeing a Pokémon, which has clear definitions of categories thanks to species differences, use the term “people” feels a little interesting to me because we, as humans, use the term in very specific circumstances ourselves.

    But then again, as John Green said, to a cat, everything is a cat, just with varying sizes and levels of hairiness.

    I dont get it.
    I was referring to how abrupt emotions have been portrayed thus far. XD

    I do try to read it aloud, although I tend to do a lot of my writing/proofreading at night when my roommate's asleep for reasons Im sure you understand. Reading it aloud might wake him up, and thats not very nice, is it?
    Have you tried whispering softly? XD

    I think I just need to remember that this is 1st person PoV, and what that actually does entail, huh? That would certainly fix a few problems, haha.
    PRETTY MUCH.

    I felt a big need to describe this part particularly well because it's not how an Emolga typically attacks. Most electric types just sorta surround themselves with lighting and, I dunno, magically control it at the opponent or something.
    In this situation, I took a more dramatic approach with a touch more realism. Electricity isnt a beam, it's an arc that lasts for only a moment. Sure, it wouldnt realistically travel towards the bird who isnt grounded, but hey, Pokemon do that. So why not.
    *high fives* Hells yes, people who understand physics.

    My battle scenes always end up choppy. I have no idea why.
    Probably because you’re very prone to quick bursts as you write a battle scene, so you have to consciously switch to a non-quick-burst style.

    Has do to with my headcanon for Mystery Dungeon's ferals. Which I will address in story!
    WOOT.

    So, I’mma gonna hurry this along because I’ve hit five pages, and this is a bit lengthy for a review response response. But one last note!

    Thank you, Jax. Seriously. I always appreciate these review from you, which is why I always take them so well. This didn't even upset me, you know? I know some of your reviews make people miserable for a while after, but heck, I was happy through most of it. Cuz hey, you liked some of it, and that's good enough for me XD
    Aaaaaand this is why I will be back to review chapter two (besides the fact that the way you described it sounds very interesting). 8D Thank you as well, Bru! Always a pleasure to talk to you about your fic stuff.

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

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  10. #10
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    <------------>
    I'm distorted
    But I still want to breathe
    I'm dreaming
    The stuck, final words
    For you who I'm thinking of


    -Error, niki

    <------------>

    Chapter 2
    Shattered

    The first thing I was aware of as I slowly regained consciousness was a pulsing ache in the back of my head. It was dull, but consistent. The next thing I noticed was the quiet sound of someone breathing over me. From just that irregular, quivering breath, I could tell that they was distressed. A hand brushed by my ear and continued to lightly stroke the side of my face. The action raised my awareness because it didn't feel right. My ear felt too large and my cheek hadn't been as sensitive to the motion as I would have anticipated. Now fully awake, I ignored my pain and opened my eyes to see who was touching me.

    The sky was far too bright for my still-sensitive retinas to handle, so they didn’t stay open long. I heard a sharp inhalation, so I knew they must have noticed that. Blinking several times, my vision cleared and I saw a copper-colored Emolga staring back at me. April. Her upturned brow and slight, open-mouthed frown changed to relief as soon as our eyes locked.

    "You're awake! Arceus above, I was worried," she exclaimed. I winced as the noise assaulted my ears, aggravating my aching head.

    I sighed. "Yes, I'm awake." I stole a quick glance at the trees around us and frowned. "Or... still dreaming, apparently."

    April narrowed her gaze at me and shook her head softly. "Still on that, then? That's silly. Stop being silly. I won’t have crazy people for friends. Hmph!" She crossed her arms for emphasis.

    "I'm not crazy! People don't just go turning into other things. That's crazy! I'm obviously dreaming. There's no other way." It was becoming harder and harder to deny how real this whole situation felt. So a part of me wanted to believe the girl, but the mere fact that I was conversing with a squirrel - while also being a squirrel myself - made me question the validity of this apparent reality. I was either dreaming, hallucinating, or worse, but I'd be insane to call this real.

    "Shane, stop, please. You're not dreaming!" Her eyes quivered delicately before she shut them tightly and cried, "You're not dreaming because I'm real!"

    I froze. Guilt washed over me as soon as I saw a tear drop to the dirt. I hadn't fully realized until then that by insisting that this was dream, I was insinuating that April was just a figment of my imagination. There was no reason to believe that she still wasn't, but that generally wasn't the way to treat people. "April..."

    In a complete mood switch, her sad frown twisted into a snarl. Her eyes still showed signs of betrayal, furthering my feeling of guilt, but her body language was decidedly not that of a hurt animal. "Look, I get that it seems impossible to you, but this isn't a dream. I honestly don't give a flying Fearow what happened, okay? What matters is that you are a Pachirisu now. I don't know why or how, but I really don't care. All I know is that I'm taking your furry butt out of this Dungeon and into town even if I drag you by your tail! Got it?"

    "Uh, okay?" I shivered. She honestly terrified me. I'm sure she could kill me if she wanted to, judging from how easily she defeated that ambush. Knowing that April had flipped through every emotion under the sun within a such a small time frame did nothing to alleviate my concern. "Look, I'm sorry if I offended you, but I just can't believe that I'm really a Pokemon right now. That just doesn't happen. That can't happen."

    April scoffed. "Yeah, well, you are, and it did. So you better get used to it. Now come on."

    She grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet. The sudden movement and change in elevation made me nauseous, and I had to squeeze my eyes shut to keep from vomiting or falling over. A couple of deep breaths later, the feeling subsided, and I could continue. April was already several feet down the path by then. "Hey, wait up! I can't walk that fast!"

    "What a shame," she sneered disinterestedly. She didn't even turn around.

    I glared at the back of her head and walked after her. "I don't have to go with you, you know. I could go the other way."

    "But you're not going to. Now hurry up. We shouldn't be in a Mystery Dungeon past dark."

    Amber light filtered down through the canopy, and it was only a matter of time before night fell. I quickened my pace to the best of my ability. Why was I even following this girl? She seemed dangerous at best and absolutely insane at worst. She was right - I wasn't going to leave her. And I had no idea why.

    The trees and light fog thinned out the closer we came to leaving the forest. I caught up to April when she stopped at the end of the worn-out path. It was easy to see why; the path lead straight off of a cliff. In the canyon beyond sat a small village nestled between the rocks. It was in shadow thanks to the setting sun, but I could make out colorful splashes of paint over the various buildings. It was as if the whole town was comprised of forts made and decorated by children.

    April stared out at the city was a smile on her face. "That's Salvage Springs, my home town. It isn't the biggest city out there, but it is the only one that has me in it!"

    The arrogance gob-smacked me, and I gave her a look of incredulity. She peered at me through the corner of her eye and winked. She turned quickly, brushing my nose with the tip of her tail, and walked along the cliff's edge. I hesitated for a moment before continuing after her. This girl was nuts! If ever I had to believe that I wasn't dreaming, it'd be because I don't think I could ever conjure up such a person from even the farthest reaches of my mind. She was utterly unpredictable. Why was I still following her?

    The cliff had a rocky path sheared out of the side of it leading down into the gorge. "Normally, I would just fly down," April explained as she lead me down the decline. "But I guess I could stay on the ground for your sake."

    "Thanks... I think." I followed her, but I just didn't know what else to do anymore. I only hoped this dream would end eventually. It was lasting far too long. But it couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t be. I just had to keep reminding myself. “Where are we going anyway?”

    “Salvage Springs, duh. I just told you,” she said plainly.

    I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes at the back of her head. “April, I’m being serious here!”

    She shrugged. “So am I.”

    “Okay, fine. But is there a specific place in Salvage Springs that we’re going to? I assume we’re aren’t going to get there and just stand around.”

    “Of course not, that would be silly.”

    Convinced that I wasn’t going to get anything else out of her, I sighed and let the matter drop. It occurred to me that dreams don’t usually include travel time, but I quickly shut that thought out. Instead, I focused on a large, metal, arch-like structure that came into view as we turned the corner from the decline to the flat path leading into the village. The thing looked like it could barely support itself, considering it was made out of jumbled mess of scrap metal and poorly painted wood.

    As we came closer to it, I asked, "What is that? Why is there an arch made of junk in front of the town?"

    "It's not junk! It's stuff! Much different." She nodded as if to reinforce the idea.

    By that point, I was simply wondering why it was her of all possible characters that had to accompany me. "Okay... I'm just surprised that it's standing at all, honestly."

    "Don't stare at it too hard, or you might just change that."

    I squinted at her in disbelief. Not because of the statement, but because of her current disposition. "Are you just messing with me now? I swear nothing you've said since we left the forest has made any sense!"

    She giggled. "Yeah, pretty much. You’re just too fun!"

    "Thanks," I muttered sarcastically. "Not like I don't have enough to worry about."

    "You really shouldn't, you know. After all, this is just a dream, right?" She wiggled her fingers and spread her arms like she was creating an imaginary glitter rainbow of ridicule. "You could just... you know, wake up."

    "Trust me, if I could, I would have by now."

    "You know, I have an idea as to why that might be. It could be that - and this is just a theory - you're not dreaming!"

    She forcefully thumped me on the back of my head to punctuate her sentence, but it didn't agree with the wound I already had there from earlier. Pain exploded across my scalp, but I stifled a cry. Instead, I simply fell to the ground with my face contorted.

    "Oh! Shane! Arceus above, I'm so sorry! Bah! I'm so stupid!" She rushed over to my side and helped me to feet again. I grit my teeth and withstood the pain until it faded away to the point where I could think again.

    "Why... why did you do that?" I sputtered unhappily.

    "I didn't mean it! I swear! I just forgot! I... I... I..." she trailed off into quivering whimpers. I looked up to see her tearing up dramatically.

    "Woah, hold it together there. I'm fine." Awfully worried about some loon she found in a forest... I took a deep breath and set a modest smile on my face.

    She sniffled and smiled back at me. "I know.... Listen, when we get to Audino, don't tell her about this. Actually, don't tell anyone. Ever. Please?"

    "Yeah, sure. I don't know what the big deal is, but whatever."

    "I got a reputation to keep, okay? Sheesh. Now come on, we're almost there." She held my hand as we crossed the city's boundaries through the arch of precariously arranged scrap metal.

    The sky had mostly turned to deep blue and violet with the sun having fallen below the horizon a few minutes prior. The rapidly disintegrating sunset, the town's sparse torches, and the persistently bright half-moon were the only sources of light left. Through this darkness, it was still fairly easy to make everything out. Buildings lined either side of the main path that cut through town and kept going out of sight. They towered above us, which temporarily concerned me. Then I remembered that Pachirisu and Emolga are generally pretty small.

    I could identify moving shapes in the dark as other Pokemon, but I recognized the species of only a few of them. And there wasn't a single human around, from what I could tell. I wondered if there were any for miles, but that was another question for another time.

    April gestured at the structure she was leading me to. It was a comparatively small and primarily pink hut of sorts. "That's Audino's place. She runs a kind of family clinic in town."

    "The doctor's? What are we going there for?" I had a guess as to the answer, but there was something else I was curious about. Why did this girl care about what was essentially some random stranger?

    "For the hole in the back of your head, stupid. You can't have forgotten already." April peeked her head into the hut. It was well lit inside, but I couldn't see much from my perspective.

    I was going to respond, but I was preemptively interrupted by another female voice.

    "April!" the voice cheered happily. I moved to get a better look into the doorway and saw a happy, pink and cream-colored Pokemon that was several times larger than I was. Her large, bell-shaped ears were around my size on their own. Her height was momentarily intimidating until I reminded myself of how small I was. Nonetheless, I caught myself staring at a chair behind her that was as big as me. The table next to it was even bigger, so I could only see the bottom of the tabletop. The light in room seemed to emanate from somewhere up there. A faint popping noise seemed to indicate that there must of been some kind of large candle or torch on top.

    "Hey, Audino. I met a new friend in the forest. See?" April grabbed my paw and yanked me into the hut after her.

    "In the forest... Foggy Woods? And he's not... you know, crazy?" Audino looked concerned. I was reminded of the blank stare that the Zigzagoon gave me in what April called a "Mystery Dungeon". I still had to ask her about that later.

    April shrugged with a smirk. "Well, I dunno about the crazy part. But he isn't feral, duh."

    "I'm not crazy!" I insisted. I hoped I wasn't anyway.

    "Sure, and I'll believe you once you drop this dream thing." April ignored my glare.

    "Dream thing?" Audino asked curiously.

    "Poor fuzzball here thinks he's dreaming. I can't say I blame him, but it's getting kinda insane." The Emolga shook her head in mock sympathy.

    "I don't think I'm dreaming. I have to be!" Why didn't she get it?

    Audino apparently wanted to have a crack at it as well. "May I ask why?"

    Hesitantly, I explained to her everything that happened as far as I could remember. I left out my opinions of April, especially the strange attraction I noticed when I first saw her. I was still trying to forget that myself. Thankfully, Audino sat through it respectfully.

    When I finished, she said, "Well, I can tell you that if I were anyone else, I'd probably try to diagnose you for some sort of mental disorder. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. I don't think you're crazy, but I do think you're very confused. I'm not going to comment on the part about being human before. Who knows what kind of things some creatures in our world are capable of? But you have to realize that you aren't dreaming. It isn't healthy."

    "No, no, I have to be! I can't be a..." I shook my head and shut my eyes -anything to block out Audino's disappointed stare. It was getting harder to deny what these two were presenting as the obvious truth, but it couldn't possibly have been. They must of been lying... or ignorant or something! I couldn't... I couldn't...

    "Shane. You know this is real. You can't deny it much longer."

    Audino's voice cut through the whirlwind of thoughts circulating the inside of my head. The entire convoluted machinery of unfounded skepticism froze solid and immediately shattered. I stared at the ground for several moments without a single thought. I stared as one of my own tears hit the dirt below me and left a small, dark spot. It was soon joined by several other dark spots. When I found the will to move again, I looked up at Audino and April who both looked at me sympathetically.

    My heart beat rapidly in my throat, and I just couldn't take any of this anymore. I bolted out of the hut and into the night's embrace. The darkness and tears stinging in my eyes reduced me to near blindness, but I didn't care. I ran behind Audino's house and didn't look back. The pounding ache of the untreated wound on the back of my head served as a beacon of the painful truth.

    The space out here was empty besides earthy soil and a few bushes. In front of me was the wall of the canyon that towered above any of the town's buildings. I knew Foggy Woods was just up there, but the path up the rock face was too far away. Instead, I ran to the wall and sat at the base.

    It was true. It was all true. Who was I kidding? Only myself, apparently. Audino was right - I couldn't deny it. This didn't feel anything like a dream. How could I be so stupid? I was nothing but clown who could only fool himself. I really was a Pachirisu. It took me too long to accept that. But why had I been transformed? Was it some kind of accident? Was it a punishment? Or did I have something to do here that I just couldn’t remember? Being a squirrel with stubby arms was already bad enough, but not knowing why was even worse. I couldn't remember anything. My friends and family must surely be worried about me, but I couldn't even remember if I had friends or family to worry about me in the first place.

    I was alone. I didn't know anybody out here. I was lost. I was stranded as a different species in a world I didn't recognize. But ultimately, I was afraid.

    I didn't know anything about anything out here. I didn't why was I turned into a Pokemon or why I had become a Pachirisu of all things. I didn't know what this copper-furred Emolga wanted with me, or why she cared so much about a dysfunctional stranger. I didn't know how to act in this world. I didn't know what to eat. I didn't know what to say. I couldn't even work my own body properly. I knew nothing about my own lightning, and I was defenseless. I had nothing but a tsunami of questions, and I was afraid of drowning under its weight.

    I sat there at the base of the rocks with my tail instinctively and reluctantly curled around myself. My face was buried in its furry mass, and I was motionless save for my rhythmic and heavy breathing. I heard someone sit down to my right, but she didn't say anything. I knew who it was without even looking. It wasn't a guess either - I knew. And I didn't know why.

    But April didn't say a word. Instead, she reached over and laid a paw on my shoulder. She pulled me closer to her and just held me.

    And I cried.




        Spoiler:- Author's Note:
    Last edited by Brutaka; 26th June 2014 at 2:57 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Chapter 2

    Especially big thanks to SableVulpi for kicking my butt not once, but twice to get me to write this.
    You're welcome. And I will no doubt continue to bother you to get the next chapter done within a reasonable amount of time.

    But anyway, onto my actual review. This chapter amused me, I must say. I was able to see quite a bit of April's personality, which was quite startling at times. She's hit just about every single emotion within a chapter and that's quite astonishing. I'm not sure why she's able to swing through these moods so quickly, but it makes an interesting character nonetheless.

    Also, I really did like how you put Shane into this whole denial that he's a Pokemon. It helps explain why he was able to get through the situation with some ease. And then the moment that Audino's words finally got to him, he cracks and that is a saddening sight to see. I could tell that he really was trying to deny everything so he could stay sane. But now that this illusion is gone, he's pretty much broken and I just can't help but wonder how he's going to get over the whole situation.

    Awaiting your next chapter. I'm glad you finally updated.

    Credit to Brutaka for the epic banner and Haychel for the image on such banner.

  12. #12
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    Much improved again, but at this point I should stop comparing because the only similar things now are the names, and I like it.

    No errors of note, but I'm glad to be reading this.

    Onto specifics? I think the denial part was just a smidge too much, one too many lines, but the resolution is fine and I'll let it slide.

    I like April a little more this time around but Shane a bit less, but probably because he hasn't focused on anything else.

    Looking forward to another chapter, Bru.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
    -Azurus

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azurus View Post
    Much improved again, but at this point I should stop comparing because the only similar things now are the names, and I like it.
    The story is pretty much the same - the details are just different ^_^

    Onto specifics? I think the denial part was just a smidge too much, one too many lines, but the resolution is fine and I'll let it slide.
    Shane tries to distance himself from change as much as he can. Deep down, he's terrified of change. He'd be the kind of person who would delay getting his driver's license and in his younger years, he'd feared for the day that he'd have to learn to shave. He'd refuse to think about anything that might remind him of the fact that life is changing him, whether he wanted to go along with it or not. So in a situation like this, his head is so not thinking right - he's acting quite strangely. He's scared. He doesn't want to admit to himself that what happened actually did happen. But there's only so far you can take it.
    Shane's going to be a bit more grounded from here on out though.
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