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Review Game!

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by Wings, May 9, 2018.

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  1. Wings

    Static
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    Hi! So for those of you who saw this post in the Creative Zone (@Barandofl @Laserdragon14 @BraviaryScout @StOwl and @Nova Ozuka!), you already know this is a review game.
    Here are the rules:

    1. You post an excerpt from your story/work that must be longer than 10 words, but less than 5,000 (poems are welcome too!) inside a spoiler.
    2. BUT...before you post your own writing, you must review the person directly above you with helpful, specific critique. Make sure you let the person know their strengths and their weaknesses, and what exactly you notice in their writing (figurative language? Grammar issues? Flowing sentence structure?)
    3. When you post your excerpt, provide some context if it's from the middle of your story. Also provide details on your concerns about your writing!

    Here's an example:

    Context: A flashback where Sol, a boy who studied abroad in Unova, reflects on how he met his best friend Piper.
    Concerns: I'm mostly worried about whether or not this flashback seems boring or not. I also want to know if it makes sense--sometimes I rush the pacing of a story too much, and end up leaving out essential details.
    Sol could still remember the first day he’d met Piper.

    It had been his first week at Striaton Academy, a private pokémon school for the elite. Several students had only made it in on account of the heaping sums of money in their bank accounts, while others knew a friend who knew a friend who knew the dean of admissions, using their status to weasel their way into the academy.

    Sol considered himself a mixture of the two categories, though he hadn’t known it at the time. There was a third category of students, entirely independent of the first two, where he had thought he belonged.

    They were the students admitted for their competency.

    Piper had been one such student, who took multiple entrance exams to prove her aptitude. Not only had she passed the written exams, she had also passed the practical battle tests with flying colors. After careful consideration, the dean of admissions had allowed Piper and a few other middle class candidates to attend Striaton Academy.

    Sol, on the other hand, had hardly any battling experience. His Alolan accent had intrigued several other students at first, as did his financial status, but once they had discovered his weakness, battle classes became a nightmare.

    “What’s the point of having so much money, if you can’t even hold your own against a patrat?” they’d ask. “Why would anyone even bother keeping a pokémon who can’t battle?”

    Several students had no problem with him in the hallways, but once practical battle came around, they avoided him like he was a zubat in a cave. That was, until Piper had come along.

    Practical battle class had just ended, sending a stream of sweaty students down the halls. Sol had stood next to his locker, keeping an eye out to make sure his pokémon didn’t wander too far.

    “Hey, what’s this boy’s name?” Piper had trotted up to him in her unkempt uniform, splattered with dirt from a particularly intense terrain class, kneeling down to pet his only pokémon, a rockruff. “He looks super cool!” Most rockruff bore mild brown coats and clear blue eyes, but Sol’s rockruff had donned sleek blue fur.

    “His name is Rocky.”

    “Why don’t you ever use him in battles?” Piper had tilted her head curiously, standing so she could dust off her skirt. “Oh. Are you one of those trainers?” Worry had pooled in her dark eyes. “I knew there were some trainers who only kept pokémon like these as lapdogs, but...”

    “He’s not a lapdog,” Sol had said quietly, gently steering Rocky away from the girl with his foot. “He can’t battle.”

    “I’m sorry. What happened? Do you need to take him to a pokémon center?”

    “He’s been inbred to get this color. I adopted him from a rescue shelter not so long ago.” A strained pause followed, before Sol followed up with: “He’s got a couple health defects in his lungs, so he can’t battle.”

    “I’m sorry.” The repeated apology had seemed genuine that time, as Piper had gazed at him with determined eyes. “Still, that doesn’t change the fact that you need a battling pokémon, does it? And especially at this school—come on, I’ll catch you something temporary during lunch break!”

    Lunch break is only a half-hour away. Sol had scooped Rocky into his arms, clutching the panting pokémon tight to his chest. I think I can stand to make a new friend for the next thirty minutes.

    Piper turned out not to be his friend for thirty minutes, but for four years. She had been the only reason he passed practical battling with a B minus, even though she was two years younger. Now, the fact that she was moving to Alola filled Sol with joy to the point where he felt he would burst if he had to wait any longer to show her around the region. It was his turn to make Piper feel welcome.
     
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  2. Nova Ozuka

    Nova Ozuka Collector

    Florus
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    @Wings: I'm no expert so sorry if I'm not much help, but I'm not really seeing anything wrong with it other than what Pokémon Piper caught for Sol is left unmentioned, but I'm sure it will be mentioned elsewhere, which will be fine. It does seem a little short though, but it works. Sure as heck beats it basically dragging on forever, speaking of my own experiences with writing.

    That being said, I suppose my turn is next. What I'm posting here is an unfinished chapter for Pokémon Resonance. My main concern is that I'm stuck and it's unfinished, which makes me worry that I will never finish the story as I've been stuck here longer than I can remember.

    Zero has the ability to understand Pokémon as will as detect their emotions, as a result I keep the Pokémon lines translated. Shade and Zephyr both escaped from a lab that experimented on them. Finally, Rio, Zero's Riolu possesses an ability I call Trance due to having played part way through Final Fantasy Explorers. Trance is a reaction that takes place when Rio is exposed to a Pokémon similar to a Shadow Pokémon. When Trance occurs, he temporarily evolves into Lucario, but loses control over his actions and his body basically just moves on its own. I think that should be enough context, so...

    Zero and Co finally set foot at the entrance of Union Cave. There, Zero tied an Escape Rope onto the signpost and kept the rest coiled around his arm. “Alright, we’re all set. If we get lost, we can double back to our rope as long as we stick together,” he told Cia, Shade, and Kalea as the rest of the Pokémon were safely in their Pokéballs.

    “Then let’s get moving,” Kalea responded. Zero took Cia’s hand and walked into the cave with her with Shade and Kalea following close behind. Zero frowned at the darkness ahead. He couldn’t really see too far in front of him.

    “Hey, Shade, take the lead from here. You can see better than we can,” he told the Umbreon. “Come to think of it, you’ve been through here once already, Kalea. Think you can lead us through to Azalea Town?” he then asked the Alolan girl.

    “It took me a whole day to get through here. We’ll just get lost if I lead,” she replied.

    “I think we’ll get lost anyway. After all, you’re the only one out of us who has been through here,” Zero pointed out as they followed Shade into the cave.

    “Fair point, but what made you choose to go through here to Azalea Town?” Kalea asked.

    “It was this or pass through Goldenrod twice. I don’t want to take my chances in Goldenrod More than once, and I’m thinking of just flying over Ekruteak once I have the Olivine and Cianwood Gym Badges,” Zero explained. “Of course by the time I’m ready for my seventh badge, I’ll probably be ready to take on Charlemagne head on.”

    “Sounds like a good plan,” Kalea nodded.

    “So, I already told you my story. What’s yours?” Zero asked.

    “It’s not much, but I grew up in the city on Melemele Island. Then one morning, while I was on the beach, I found a Z-Ring in the water. My eleventh birthday was coming up, so I decided right then and there to take the Island Challenge. After I got Kaihana and Roto, I took on my first trial. So far all of the trials have been pretty interesting. You’ll have to try the Island Challenge if you come to Alola,” Kalea told Zero.

    “I’ll think about it after I finish my Johto Gym Battles,” Zero replied.

    “About that, what made you pick Johto over Kanto? I mean, New Bark Town is pretty close to the border,” Kalea pointed out.

    “Unfortunately, it’s too dangerous to cross the border for inexperienced trainers,” Zero mentioned.

    “(Funny, Zephyr and I didn’t seem to have any trouble. But then again, we were probably at least half way across it to begin with, and it did involve getting capture by Charlemagne,)” Shade commented.

    “Oh yeah, I suppose trashing that lab will come before any trip to Alola too. Can’t have the people that did this to you to keep doing whatever they want, now can we?” Zero asked. Shade shook his head.

    “Grooooooar!”

    “What the heck was that?” Zero asked.

    “(That roar belongs to an Onix. I remember it from when I was with Carol back in Kanto,)” Shade answered.

    “An Onix?” Zero questioned.

    “Bzzzt! Thatzzzt my cue!” Roto exclaimed as he displayed Onix’s data on his Pokédex screen. “Onix, the Rock Snake Pokémon. Onix tunnels under the ground at over 50 miles per hour, which causes tremors. It’s stone body becomes hard as diamond as it grows.”

    “Almost 29 feet? That’s massive!” Zero commented.

    “Uhh maybe we should turn around,” Kalea suggested nervously.

    “Nah, between Rose, Liefa, River, Kaihana, and Rio we can take it easily,” Zero pointed out. Then a high-pitched howl came from within the cave.

    “That was a Rockruff!” Kaihana exclaimed in recognition. Roto promptly switched Pokédex pages.

    “Rockruff, the Puppy Pokémon. Rockruff are known for their exceptional sense of smell and will never forget an odor it has smelled even only once. They are considered a good Pokémon for beginners because of their friendliness, but they grow violent and aggressive as they mature. They rub the rocks against others as a sign of affection,” Roto explained.

    “One must have followed my family here from Alola,” Kalea deduced.

    “Whatever the case, it must be in trouble. Come on!” Zero told everyone. They began running through the cave, the sounds of battle reaching their ears as they approached. They arrived in time to see the Rockruff crash to the ground with a yelp.

    “(W-Why are you doing this?)” the Rockruff asked her attacker. As the Onix towered over the Puppy Pokémon, Zero felt something very familiar and very wrong about that Onix as he reached for Rio’s Heal Ball.

    “That’s enough!”

    “Ursula, use Brick Break!”

    Just as Zero had called out to gain the Onix’s attention, an Ursaring of all things leapt toward the Onix’s head with a glowing fist. As Ursula punched the Onix in the side of its jaw, it fell over. The Ursaring’s trainer was a boy older than Zero with spiky red hair, green eyes, a yellow vest and a blue headband. He wore strange machine on his left arm. “Go, Pokéball!”

    Much to Zero’s horror, the boy had chosen to throw a Pokéball at the Onix. Much to the boy’s surprise, Shade had bolted into the ball’s path and caught it with his mouth.

    “Hey, control your Umbreon!” the boy shouted.

    “Excuse me? First, Shade isn’t my Umbreon, and second, we were just about to handle this when you barged in!” Zero shot back.

    “Guys?” Kalea tried to get their attention.

    “I’ll have you know that you are interfering with international police business!” the boy pointed out.

    “Guys!” Kalea tried again.

    “Oh please. Even if you are with the international police, which I doubt, I’ve been involved in this a lot longer than you!” Zero spat.

    “GROOOOOOAR!”

    Now, obviously the roar at the end means the Onix recovered. I'm struggling to figure out what exactly I should write next. Basically, what needs to happen regarding the Onix is that Zero lets Rio out of his ball so Trance can trigger, and also a cave-in occurs during the incident, causing the group to get separated. I was going to just have him whip out Rio's ball immediately in responce to the Onix, but I worry that it might come off as rushed. Plus, I got stuck right after that too.

    10 points if you can figure out the identity of Ursula's Trainer.
     
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  3. Wings

    Static
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    Hi! Sorry this response is a bit late, I’ve been catching up on a lot of schoolwork since I’ve been sick the past week.

    I really like what you’ve written so far. For your current excerpt, I’d recommend cutting out dialogue tags unless they reveal something about your character’s personality.

    For example, “he barked”, “he snapped,” would reveal something about the temperament of each character, but “told” or “asked” doesn’t do much. Instead, you can replace those dialogue tags with an action. You made a good example of this when you wrote:

    “Guys!” Kalea tried to get their attention.

    This could be taken to the next step by showing how Kalea tries to get their attention, such as:

    “Guys!” Kalea glanced back and forth between the trainers, waving her hand in front of Zero’s face.

    Or something like that, whatever suits your character! That’s the only suggestion I have for your current excerpt. The story itself feels exciting and like it’s going somewhere, so from here, I’d recommend:

    Option a) The trainers face the Onix together. This option allows for a Pokémon battle scene, which would help reveal the new character’s ability in battle.

    Option b) The trainers run. I like this option because it moves the story forward, and the trainers can regroup at the end to catch up on what happened.

    I really hope this helped!! Now the next person can post an excerpt :)
     
  4. Talarc

    Talarc Swimmer

    Muro
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    Is this thread still active?
     
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  5. Nova Ozuka

    Nova Ozuka Collector

    Florus
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    Honestly? I've been waiting someone else to post here to post again, since wings hadn't posted an excerpt or gotten back to me when I asked if I should just go again.
     
  6. Talarc

    Talarc Swimmer

    Muro
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    Well if you've got an excerpt that you wanted feedback on, then I'm happy to do that. I was hoping to get some feedback on a recent piece of writing myself, hence why I stopped by here.
     
  7. Nova Ozuka

    Nova Ozuka Collector

    Florus
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    Finally found it! I started working on this project, but I couldn't remember where it was saved. Naturally, I worked on it more once I found it. This story takes place during Pokémon Resonance, and is fittingly titled Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Dissonance. The story starts off following Ashelyn as she tries to adapt to life as a Mareep after being turned into a Pokémon and her travels with a human-hating Treecko named Lin, who also came from the same world as Ashe but was already a Pokémon to begin with.

    I think my main concern is that I'm not quite sure how I want them to meet the third member of their group yet, an energetic Charmander named Haruto. I've got the where and why, but not the how.
    It was just a typical night in Unova for Ashelyn. Though unlike most nights, Ashe’s parents were having a hayride. She was enjoying the nighttime autumn air as she rode on a trailer filled with hay, which was being hauled by a tractor. All was well.

    …Or at least it was until they hit a bump in the road. With a gasp, Ashe fell backwards off the trailer toward a slope at the edge of a creek.
    ______________________________

    Ashe woke up to the sensation of something dragging her across the ground as she lay on her stomach. What she was being dragged by wasn’t clear to her as she felt nothing on her legs, and nothing else made sense given the direction her body was moving, yet she felt the hands of the creature that was pulling her.

    She opened her eyes as she tried to get up, but when she tried standing on her own two feet; she fell over.

    “Whoa now,” a voice said. Whoever it belonged to probably thought that Ashe was trying to free herself, but that was step 2.

    Step 1 was standing on her own two feet, but that oddly didn’t seem possible. Instead she opted to prop herself up onto her knees with her arms. As she did this, the creature holding her let go.

    “I’m glad to see you’ve finally woken up,” the voice sounded again before the creature-a Treecko, Ashe amended mentally as she remembered her cousin from Hoenn bringing one with him during one of his visits-stepped into view. “Now I can find out who I’m dealing with here,” the Treecko spoke.

    A-A talking Treecko? Ashe thought in surprise. “Who are you, and why were you dragging me?” she asked.

    “I go by Lin. I found you out cold, so I started dragging you to the nearest town,” the Treecko explained.

    “My name’s Ashelyn, but everyone calls me Ashe,” Ashe replied. The Treecko grimaced.

    “Ugh. A human name,” Lin grumbled in distaste.

    “The last thing I remember is falling off a trailer when it hit a bump, and now I’m here,” Ashe explained.

    “…A trailer? Ashe, where do you live?” Lin asked.

    “Um… I live near a farm,” Ashe answered, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. Lin fell silent as begin to pace back and forth. Just as she was about to ask what was wrong, she noticed the end of a tail on the ground. “…Lin, is there a Mareep behind me somewhere?” Ashe asked, snapping Lin from his thoughts.

    “Hm? No, you’re the only Mareep here,” Lin responded. Hearing this, Ashe looked herself over.

    I-I’m a Mareep?! …That explains a lot actually. Lin isn’t a talking Treecko. I just understand him because I’m a Pokémon now, but is that why I’m speaking in full sentences now? Ashe wondered. “Huh, so I am,” she said mostly to herself. “Where are we anyway?”

    “We’re on the Sand Continent and extremely far from home,” Lin answered. Ashe’s eyes widened.

    “Wait so… we’re not in Unova?!” Ashe gasped.

    “Nope, and we’re not in Kalos either. I thought there was no way back home, but now that you’re here, I know that there has to be some sort of way back home,” Lin replied. “Although, I’m not sure I want to go back to our world even if I could. The noticeable lack of humans in this one suits me just find. It’s just… Well there’s sand everywhere. I can’t make enough money to go to one of the other continents by myself.”

    So Lin doesn’t like humans. That much was clear, but Ashe could ask about it later. There was something else to focus on. “You think we can get back home if we tried?” she asked.

    “No idea how we can. We probably won’t, especially not by ourselves. I’m struggling just to fend for myself, so you can imagine how it would go if I were to look for a way home,” Lin explained.

    He said probably, but that only means it must be a long shot, not impossible, Ashelyn thought. “Well there might be a way back if we ask around. There’s just two problems. The first is we don’t know who to ask.”

    “And the other is that we can’t just go around telling people about being from another world,” Lin finished. “But if I had to guess on who to ask, I would say one of the guilds, but the nearest one would take us to the other side of the continent, and we’d have to cross the ocean for the rest.”

    “I’d say the closest guild is probably best. Traveling across the ocean might be expensive,” Ashe suggested.

    “We would need to find someone to travel with. Being farm raised, you probably don’t have much fighting experience,” Lin pointed out. “Can you walk?”

    “Not very well, I think,” Ashe admitted. It wasn’t like the former human had much experience walking on four legs. She carefully lifted herself onto her four legs. “Right, lead the way to the nearest town.”
    Now the plan from here is to move on to their arrival at Sahra Town, the first place you visit when you go to the Sand Continent in PSMD. I'm just not sure about how they end up meeting Haruto.
     
  8. Talarc

    Talarc Swimmer

    Muro
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    For the record, I have no experience with PMD games after Gates to Infinity, though I don’t believe that has gotten in the way.

    Overall, it seems like a perfectly decent opening. Lin is the stronger of the two characters so far and I feel like you’ve been fairly clear when showing his personality and traits. His reaction to Ashe’s ‘human’ name was a good way to showcase what I’m assuming will be a big part of his character.

    Ashe is weaker at the moment. She seems to react rather weakly to the whole being turned into a pokémon business – not “happens all the time” level, but she still accepts what’s happening rather easily. If she’s just good at not outwardly reacting to shocking developments, then maybe you could show it through her inner monologue instead. Relatedly, I don’t feel like the opening section in Unova really had a purpose. It seems better to start a PMD story when the protagonist wakes up as a pokémon – unless, of course, you want to establish details about the person they were before that will play a part in the story going forwards.

    I did like the part where Ashe reflects on her unfamiliarity with walking on four legs and I hope you continue to include small difficulties like this for her in the story.

    I’m not really getting much of a sense of location either. It was only when Lin mentioned that they’re on the Sand Continent that I learned that they were surrounded by sand. I’d have thought that this very different kind of scenery would be among the first things Ashe would notice upon regaining consciousness – she’d certainly see it before realising she’d turned into a mareep! Try to avoid over-relying on the reader’s familiarity with game locations.

    The plot seems to be set up nicely and it’s interesting to have a partner who also came from the ‘other’ world but was already a pokémon then. I have to wonder how long a partnership between Ashe and Lin can last though since it looks like Lin most likely won’t share Ashe’s goal of returning to the other world. Something to think about when their shared goal of getting to the nearest guild is complete, if you haven’t already.

    As far as introducing Haruto is concerned, it’s difficult for me to give much advice because you haven’t told me much about the character. If you’ve already got the ‘where’ and ‘why’, then perhaps you could have them meet in a way that shows off a core part of Haruto’s personality. If they’re energetic, then maybe they end up crashing into Ashe and Lin as they’re trying to enter a building (a bit cliched, but you get the idea). I’m not sure if there’s anything more I can really do to help here.

    Now it's my turn. Fortunately, you don't need much context here: this is intended to be a short section introducing one of the characters in the rewrite of my main fic, so all the information you need should be in the excerpt itself...

    Livvi Weston was humming cheerfully as she lay on her bed. Clutched in her hand was a small card bearing her name, picture and trainer ID number. It was shiny and brand new - it had arrived in the post earlier that very day. She couldn’t stop touching it, enjoying the sensation of new plastic on her fingertips.

    “It’s finally arrived!” she said gleefully. “Take a look, Evoro!” She held the card out to the disinterested eevee sat on her pillow.

    Evoro opened one eye, then closed it and turned his face away from her. He started carefully grooming himself.

    “Are you still cross with me?” Livvi asked. “I tried to persuade Daddy to get you a Luxury Ball, but he said that the Friend Ball was even more special - he got it shipped in specially from Johto…” She reached out to pat the eevee’s head.

    He growled at her and shifted away out of her reach.

    Livvi giggled. “Oh, Evoro! You’re so silly sometimes!” She got off the bed and walked over towards her desk. Tomorrow morning, she’d be setting off on her adventures at last! She was going to travel the Kanto region and see everything it had in store for her. There were so many amazing places that she’d never seen before - it was going to be so much fun!

    She couldn’t stop herself from smiling as she glanced down at her bag. Her parents had bought it for her earlier in the week. Top of the range: it had a compact design but comfortably fit all of the things Livvi would need on her travels inside. Wind and rainproof, it also had padded straps that would stop it cutting into her shoulders and extra ones that would clip into place across her chest and waist to help spread the weight and keep her back from hurting.

    She couldn’t wait to use it tomorrow!

    “Livvi! Come down - it’s time for dinner!”

    Hearing her mother’s voice from downstairs, Livvi pulled herself back to reality and headed for the door. She paused to wave at Evoro, who ignored her, before going downstairs.

    As she reached the doorway to the dining room, she stuck her head through before immediately jerking it back again. After a couple of silent seconds passed, she cautiously looked through the door again.

    “Where are Lallo and Tessa?” she asked suspiciously, glancing around as she joined her parents at the dinner table. Her older sister's squirtle normally never missed a chance to blast her with a jet of cold water whenever they crossed paths.

    “Did you forget?” Her father gave her an amused look. “Tessa set off with her team this morning - said she wanted to get on the road before all the new trainers start.”

    “Oh, of course!” Livvi’s face brightened and she started digging in.

    “Still, I’m a little disappointed in her.” Livvi’s mother frowned. “I told her that I was hoping she’d look out for you when you started your journey…”

    “No way!” Livvi exclaimed. “She’d spend all her time bullying me!”

    “Well, it’s just, you know, you’re not really used to travelling,” her mother replied.

    Livvi pouted and looked across at her parents with sulky eyes. “You’re saying that I should just stay at home?”

    “Not at all, sweetie!” her father quickly assured her. “I’m sure you’ll have a great time!”

    This satisfied Livvi and she happily returned to eating her dinner. The topic of conversation turned to more mundane things - her parents recounting their days at work, plans to see family members later in the summer, and a little bit about the fantastic end-of-year school report that Livvi had brought home the previous day.

    “I’m going to go up and get ready for bed now,” Livvi said as she finished her meal. She stood up and left the room to drop off her plate in the kitchen.

    “You spoil her too much,” her mother said quietly, shooting a disapproving look at her husband. “How much did that Friend Ball cost?”

    “I know, I know,” he replied, a guilty smile on his face as he avoided answering her question. “It’s just hard to say ‘no’ to that face. Besides, you do it too.”

    “W-well, only a little,” she said quickly. “Not as much as you do.” She lowered her voice as Livvi passed by in the hall and started climbing the stairs. “I just hope that she’ll be alright out on the road by herself. Why did we have to live so close to Viridian Forest?”

    “Well, this is what she wants, isn’t it?” Livvi’s father smiled, taking his wife’s hand. “It’s hard to accept, but she’s growing up.”

    “But she’s not grown up yet,” Livvi’s mother replied with a sigh. Her gaze fell on the family picture hanging on the wall and lingered on her two daughters, both grinning widely for the camera. “Neither of them are, really.”

    What's most important to me is that all of the core information is getting across through the characters' words, actions and possessions etc. Obviously, if anything is unclear or there are things that don't make sense, then I want to hear about it!
     
    #8 Oct 9, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  9. Nova Ozuka

    Nova Ozuka Collector

    Florus
    (Ivysaur)
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    @Talarc Well, it seems obvious enough that Livvi is a new trainer. Evoro seems like he's going to be difficult with her early on. Her sister seems like she's going to be her rival. I failed to notice that she was going to be travelling all over Kanto despite 4 things pointing to it: Evoro, Tessa's Squirtle, the mention of Viridian Forest near the end, and Kanto being stated outright a few paragraphs in.

    I just failed to notice it until rereading a few times, but that's probably just me. It seems clear enough if you pay attention. Going by Evoro's Pokéball, it looks like you're possibly setting him up to evolve into Espeon or Umbreon.

    As for my next excerpt. It's basically the same, but I went back added some more detail, and I left out the beginning part this time since I hadn't changed it any. I also added more while I was waiting for the review. There isn't really any new context, except that it take place some time after Super, which I merely neglected to mention before.

    My smallest concerns are if I should've bothered trying to name the Scizor and Froslass from Explorers. Froslass may not even appear, and Scizor won't be seen much anyway. I don't think I have any major concerns though aas I think I've figured out how I wanted to introduce Haruto and just haven't gotten around to writing it.

    Ashe woke up to the sensation of something dragging her across the ground as she lay on her stomach. What she was being dragged by wasn’t clear to her as she felt nothing on her legs, and nothing else made sense given the direction her body was moving, yet she felt the hands of the creature that was pulling her. The second thing she was aware of was that it was very hot.

    She opened her eyes as she tried to get up, but when she tried standing on her own two feet; she fell over.

    “Whoa now,” a voice said. Whoever it belonged to probably thought that Ashe was trying to free herself, but that was step 2.

    Step 1 was standing on her own two feet, but that oddly didn’t seem possible. Instead she opted to prop herself up onto her knees with her arms. As she did this, the creature holding her let go.

    “I’m glad to see you’ve finally woken up,” the voice sounded again before the creature-a Treecko, Ashe amended mentally as she remembered her cousin from Hoenn bringing one with him during one of his visits-stepped into view with a small satchel. “Now I can find out who I’m dealing with here,” the Treecko spoke.

    A-A talking Treecko? Ashe thought in surprise. “Who are you, and why were you dragging me?” she asked.

    “I go by Lin. I found you out cold, so I started dragging you to the nearest town,” the Treecko explained.

    “My name’s Ashelyn, but everyone calls me Ashe,” Ashe replied. The Treecko grimaced.

    “Ugh. A human name,” Lin grumbled in distaste.

    “The last thing I remember is falling off a trailer when it hit a bump, and now I’m here,” Ashe explained.

    “…A trailer? Ashe, where do you live?” Lin asked.

    “Um… I live near a farm,” Ashe answered, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. Lin fell silent as begin to pace back and forth. Just as she was about to ask what was wrong, she noticed the end of a tail on the ground… and what was with all of the sand? “…Lin, is there a Mareep behind me somewhere?” Ashe asked, snapping Lin from his thoughts.

    “Hm? No, you’re the only Mareep here,” Lin responded. Hearing this, Ashe looked herself over.

    I-I’m a Mareep?! …That explains a lot actually. Lin isn’t a talking Treecko. I just understand him because I’m a Pokémon now, but is that why I’m speaking in full sentences now? Ashe wondered. “Huh, so I am,” she said mostly to herself. “Where are we anyway?”

    “We’re on the Sand Continent and extremely far from home,” Lin answered. Ashe’s eyes widened.

    “Wait so… we’re not in Unova?!” Ashe gasped. Unova at least had a desert, so it was at least within the realm of possibility to end up in the desert without any memory as to how she ended up there. She was still feeling a little groggy, so she hadn’t even realized the change of scenery at first.

    “Nope, and we’re not in Kalos either. I thought there was no way back home, but now that you’re here, I know that there has to be some sort of way back home,” Lin replied. “Although, I’m not sure I want to go back to our world even if I could. The noticeable lack of humans in this one suits me just fine. It’s just… Well there’s sand everywhere. I can’t make enough money to go to one of the other continents by myself.”

    So Lin doesn’t like humans. That much was clear. Ashe could ask about it later. It was fortunate that she hadn’t reacted outwardly the same most people would to being turned into a Pokémon. She would have to avoid revealing that part for now, but there was something else to focus on. “You think we can get back home if we tried?” she asked.

    “No idea how we can. We probably won’t, especially not by ourselves. I’m struggling just to fend for myself, so you can imagine how it would go if I were to look for a way home,” Lin explained.

    He said probably, but that only means it must be a long shot, not impossible,
    Ashelyn thought. “Well there might be a way back if we ask around. There are just two problems. The first is we don’t know who to ask.”

    “And the other is that we can’t just go around telling people about being from another world,” Lin finished. “But if I had to guess on who to ask, I would say one of the guilds, but the nearest one would take us to the other side of the continent, and we’d have to cross the ocean for the rest.”

    “I’d say the closest guild is probably best. Traveling across the ocean might be expensive,” Ashe suggested.

    “We would need to find someone to travel with. Being farm raised, you probably don’t have much fighting experience,” Lin pointed out. “Can you walk?”

    “Not very well, I think,” Ashe admitted. It wasn’t like the former human had much experience walking on four legs. She carefully lifted herself onto her four legs. “Right, lead the way to the nearest town.”
    _____________________________________________​

    The two Pokémon had arrived at Sahra Town after a few hours. Ashe was overcome come amazement and surprise. It was a town in the desert, but populated entirely by Pokémon. She had never seen anything like it before.

    “Yeah, I was in awe when I saw my first town in this world too,” Lin said as he observed Ashe’s awestruck expression.

    “I was expecting Pokémon that live without humans to be more wild,” Ashe admitted.

    “Oh, don’t get me wrong, this world has its fair share of wild Pokémon, but they mostly live in ever changing areas known as Mystery Dungeons,” Lin explained.

    “I guess we’re bound to go through one before we reach the guild.”

    “Which is why we’re looking for someone to help use get there. We find someone, make it to the guild, and form a 3 mon team. You’ll need more than just me to watch your back after all,” Lin pointed out.

    “Well, aren’t you a fresh face,” a white winged Pokémon said as she landed. She stood taller than Ashe and Lin, even if Ashe could stand on her back legs with Lin standing on her shoulders and had blue and red accents on her body. “What brings a Mareep to the Sand Continent?”

    “We’re looking to join the guild, and we’re kind of stranded here,” Lin explained to the newcomer.

    “Ah, so you washed up on the shores then. I suppose I could fly you there if you want,” the white Pokémon offered.

    “I’m afraid we won’t be able to do much as a team just yet. Ashe here isn’t any good at fighting or exploring yet, and I can’t exactly watch her back all the time. We need a third if we want to earn our keep,” Lin elaborated. The white Pokémon grimaced.

    “I’m afraid that makes it tricky to keep my offer open. It’s very unlikely that anyone you can find to go with you will be light enough for me to carry with both of you,” she pointed out.

    “Maybe we could find a Flying Type that’s interested?” Ashe suggested.

    “If that doesn’t go well today, I can check back tomorrow,” the white Pokémon offered.

    “We’re broke and can barely afford more than a few apples. If we don’t set out today, we may be forced to steal food, and we all know what happens after that,” Lin pointed out.

    “Dear me, this is a sticky situation. I suppose the best I can offer is to send for an escort team,” the white Pokémon said as she put her wing tip to her mouth. “Unfortunately, it’s a two day trip to the Radiance Guild from Sahra Town and vice versa.”

    “So the best they could do is meet us halfway,” Ashe noted.

    “Make it happen. Better to go on foot so Ashe can have some practice than to be completely unprepared when we join the guild,” Lin responded.

    “Alright, I’ll get the best escorts I can for desert travel that we have to offer at the Radiance Guild,” the white Pokémon announced. She then flapped her wings as she took off. “I wish you luck!” she called down as she flew overhead.

    “You should wait in the café and try to cool off. I’ll lead you there before finding a recruit,” Lin suggested.

    “I appreciate it. My wool makes the desert heat unbearable,” Ashe responded. She paused for a moment. “Maybe one of the Pokémon in town can sheer some of it off. It would make it harder to fight since I won’t be able to store as much electricity, but being in a desert region…”

    “Your Electric Type moves won’t be very effective to most things found in the Mystery Dungeons anyway,” Lin agreed.

    And so Ashe followed Lin to the café. When she set foot inside, she was surprised to see how much it looked like one from the world she came from. Granted, it appeared more old-fashioned than the ones she was used to. Working the counter was a large brown Pokémon.

    “Hello, welcome to Café Connection,” she greeted upon noticing Lin and Ashe, who walked up to the counter. Lin pulled some gold coins from his satchel with a symbol carved into them, which Ashe recognized from her world, and placed them on the counter.

    “Something cold to drink for my Mareep friend, please,” Lin ordered.

    So that’s what the money here looks like, Ashe noted. Wait, we’re friends already? We barely know anything about each other. Then again I GUESS we do need to stick together anyway, being from the same world and all.

    “I’ll see what I can find,” the brown Pokémon said as she took the coins. She then began scanning the shelf behind her. Lin then walked Ashe to one of the tables.

    “I’ll meet you back here before nightfall. Rest up here until I get back,” he told Ashe.

    “Right. While you’re looking for someone to travel with us, I’ll see if I can find someone to sheer off some of my wool.” After Lin left the café, Ashe looked around the room. The only thing more surprising than seeing so many Pokémon in Sahra Town was seeing so many Pokémon she was unfamiliar with in one place. Eventually she spotted a tall metallic Pokémon. “Hey you! The red Bug-Type! Can you come over here for a second?” she called over.

    The Pokémon was indeed a bug like Pokémon, but with a red metallic body. He had yellow eyes and three spikes atop his head. He also had pincers at end of his arms. “What is it?” he asked.

    “Are your pincers sharp?” Ashe asked.

    “Uh, yeah? Why?” the Pokémon responded nervously.

    “Do you think you could sheer off some of my wool for me? I need to travel to the guild, and my wool makes desert travel difficult,” Ashe requested.

    “I can try, but why the guild on the Sand Continent?” the bug asked.

    “I washed up here and don’t have a way to the others,” Ashe answered. “Just give me a few moments to try and discharge the electricity stored in my wool first,” she warned. Growing up near her grandparents’ farm, she knew a lot about Mareep and other Pokémon common to farms, like where Mareep store and generate their electricity.

    Right, I haven’t been a Mareep long, so I shouldn’t have much electricity stored… Just have to concentrate,
    she reflected. Within a few moments, electricity arced around her body. A few moments later, it stopped. “Okay, I think that’s all of it. Whenever you’re ready,” she told the red Pokémon.

    “Are you sure that’s all? You don’t look like you’ve done much fighting, and you’re much too old to have just hatched from an egg,” the bug pointed out before reaching out with his pincers.

    “I’m sure. Just make sure to leave some wool,” Ashe responded. The red bug carefully dug into Ashe’s wool with his pincers and began clipping.

    “Do you have a name?” he asked.

    “You can call me Ashe.”

    “I’m the explorer Scizor.”

    “Explorer? So you’ve been to the guild?” Ashe asked.

    “Kid, it would be easier to list all of the places I haven’t been than the places I have been,” Scizor pointed out. “I’m usually hanging around my friend Frosslass on the Mist Continent, but I heard of a new Mystery Dungeon here on the Sand Continent. Anyway, yes, I’ve been to the Radiance Guild.”

    “Think you can escort me and my friend there?” Ashe asked.

    “Sorry, but I can only take you halfway,” Scizor said.

    “That’s okay, we have an escort team meeting us half way,” Ashe replied.

    “When do we leave?” Scizor asked.

    “Today. My friend is off recruiting a third member for the team we’re forming, but he should be back before nightfall,” Ashe answered.

    “Got a name for your Exploration Team yet?” Scizor asked.

    “Not yet. Why?”

    “Well if you don’t pick one out before registering at a guild, they’ll assign one to you,” Scizor warned. Ashe didn’t seem to think of it as a warning, but more of a convenience. “I think I’m done. What do you think?” Ashe gave herself a once over. The majority of her wool having been sheered away revealed some more of the blue fur it covered. Her wool now seemed to be just a few inches thick.

    “Much better. Thanks,” Ashe asked. A small gray version of the Pokémon at the counter walked over with a cup.

    “Here’s your order,” she said.

    “Thanks,” Ashe responded as the cup was placed on the table. Its contents were a greenish blue liquid. “So bitter!” she coughed upon sipping some through the straw.

    “It must have some Rawst Berry juice. Rawst Berries cure burns and its juices have a cooling effect. So it’s a popular drink ingredient out here, and the same goes for Duran Berry juice, which have the same cooling effects without the healing properties,” Scizor explained.

    “I’ve tried a Rawst Berry before, but I’ve never had anything with a bitter flavor this strong,” Ashe commented.

    “I’d say it definitely has Duran Berry juice too,” Scizor amended.

    Okay… Ashe thought she drank her smoothie. Or at least it tasted like one. What the heck was this very bitter drink? Let’s think about my situation. I’m in a world that I know next to nothing about, full of Pokémon without humans. There are Mystery Dungeons probably everywhere. I’m a four-legged Pokémon with no experience walking on four legs. I’m in a desert region, which is hot and have a lot of rock and ground types, and I’m a Mareep, which are electric-types known for their wool. I don’t have a way home yet.

    I turned into a Pokémon I know plenty about. I can learn more about this world while I’m here. I can speak with Pokémon, something that probably no human from my world can say they’ve done before. Oh, and the disability I had in my world? It just doesn’t seem to exist. I mean sure, I’m still having issues expressing myself and I’m still kind of socially awkward, but those can work themselves out.

    Is it because I’m a Pokémon now? Would I turn back into a human if I go home? …Do I really want to go back home-back to just not being like everyone else-just to see my friends and family, or do I want to stay here and be at least somewhat average? Ashe found herself wondering as she reflected on everything so far. Lin and I came from another world… maybe there are others who came from our world? If there are, we should look for them and help them, even if we decide to stay.

    …How long will I have to hide being a human from Lin?

    _________________________________________________________​

    Lin strolled through Sahra Town to the Kecleon Shop. “Welcome!” the Kecleon greeted.

    “Don’t you have any apples in stock?” Lin asked.

    “I’m sorry, but we don’t. You know how scarce they are on the Sand Continent,” the Kecleon replied. “They certainly don’t keep too well out here, and nobody has sold me any today.”

    “Scarce my tail. Every time I come, you almost always seem to have nothing but TMs. Yet, every time I end up in a Mystery Dungeon, I always see at least one apple even here on the Sand Continent,” Lin pointed out. “I know you have apples, and I certainly have enough money to buy some, but I can’t get any food if nobody sells it to me.” The Kecleon sighed.

    “Fine, if you need apples I have some, but they aren’t very fresh,” he replied.

    “How much for four?”

    “Hm… Tell you what, I’ll sell you four for 60 Poké,” Kecleon offered.

    “Deal.”

    Unbeknownst to Lin, an orange figure was watching him from a distance. “Wasn’t he one of the two Pokémon I saw hanging around with Dayo?” he asked himself. He wanted to greet the Togekiss earlier, but he was busy trying to get supplies. Now that I think about it, do I have enough to get me to the guild? he reflected. Nah, not unless I go through a dungeon to get more. Not sure I can do that alone.

    He thought back to when he had lost sight of the Treecko and the Mareep as they entered the café. …Oh, maybe those two are gearing up for a trip too. I should ask, but maybe I should check to see if the café got any mail for me first, he decided.
     
  10. Talarc

    Talarc Swimmer

    Muro
    (Whismur)
    Level 9
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Posts:
    58
    PokéPoints:
    ₽564.4
    First up, I'm really sorry it's taken me so long to get around to reviewing this. It's been a busy couple of months for me...

    I've read your latest extract and have put my thoughts below (inside a spoiler tag to save space).

    I feel like you addressed a number of the issues I brought up in my last review. Cutting straight to Ashe waking up in the PMD world immediately throws the reader into the world as well, which is good. I also appreciate you adding Ashe noticing her surroundings pretty quickly, though I still feel like she'd have spotted all the sand long before seeing her own tail.

    One of the more glaring issues for me was Ashe's disability. I had to double-check, but I did indeed say in my previous response that it's okay to include Ashe's life before being transformed into a pokémon if it's to provide something important about her character, such as something like this. It took me until the following section to work out why Ashe was talking about speaking in full sentences close to the start:

    [Oh, and the disability I had in my world? It just doesn’t seem to exist. I mean sure, I’m still having issues expressing myself and I’m still kind of socially awkward, but those can work themselves out.]

    At the same time, if her disability from her time as a human is gone, then I don’t really see how it’s relevant to the story. This strikes me as more of a ‘sweet, don’t have to worry about that anymore’ rather than a ‘this is really weird and how am I going to get used to it?’.

    Later on, you have Ashe needing to discharge her electricity before being sheared by Scizor:

    [Within a few moments, electricity arced around her body. A few moments later, it stopped.]

    I’m deeply disappointed that nothing interesting or exciting happened while Ashe tried to discharge her electricity for the first time. Reading about someone who knows so much about mareep that she can even handle the bodily functions of her completely different body with no trouble isn’t anywhere near as interesting as Ashe accidentally shocking herself and Scizor instead. Ashe being a human who is now a mareep is a golden opportunity for the kind of slip ups that are next to impossible for a character who was born a mareep.

    Furthermore, it sets a worrying precedent: that Ashe will be able to overcome most challenges that come her way with relative ease.

    As far as introducing the third team member is concerned, the whole "Oh, I wonder if those two pokémon are going on a trip too," thing felt a little too convenient for me. I'm not even sure why it's a big deal that Ashe and Lin find a third team member before reaching the guild. Perhaps it would be better to hold off introducing the third team member until later, giving you more time to develop Ashe and Lin's relationship.

    Lin is still pretty awesome, though the scene when he orders Ashe a drink at the cafe left me with way more questions than I was expecting. I also feel like he's a little bit more inconsistent in this version.

    There are a number of other technical issues that I'm not going to list here for the sake of saving space. If you want me to add the full breakdown, then feel free to ask and I'll add them under a different spoiler tag to keep things contained.

    Thanks for reading the extract I posted last time. I have another, similar one this time, but focusing on a different protagonist and establishing his character. There's not much more context I really need to add. Please feel free to really tear into it - if there are any issues, no matter how small, then I want to hear about them!


    Richard Winter was laying on his bed, the only light coming from the crack beneath his bedroom door. He wasn’t asleep, nor was he trying to be.

    He’d made sure he was up here, lights out, just before the doorbell had rung. He hadn’t known for certain if it would ring. A part of him was relieved that it had, though he’d quickly forgotten that.

    There was a sudden hammering on the door.

    ‘Riiiiiiichaaaaaaaaaard!’ came the voice of his little sister, Amy. ‘Mum said to come down!’ When there was no response, she added: ‘Adam’s here!’

    Richard already knew that - why couldn’t his family take the hint that he didn’t want to deal with this right now? He hadn’t wanted to deal with it the last three times that Adam had come over in the past week either.

    He stayed silent, covering his ears and rolling to face away from the door as the loud hammering continued.

    Finally, Amy let out a sigh and ran back to the stairs and called down, ‘He’s not listening, Mum!’

    Their mother sighed and walked back over to the front door. ‘Sorry - looks like he’s not coming out again,’ she said apologetically to the boy stood in the doorway.

    ‘Ah, don’t worry,’ Adam replied, mostly managing to hide his disappointment. ‘If he doesn’t feel up to it, then I won’t force him. I did really miss having him around last year though…’

    ‘You set off tomorrow, right?’

    ‘Yeah. It’s always best to be off on the first day of the season so you’ve got as much time as possible.’

    ‘Look, I know that things have been...difficult since last year,” Richard and Amy’s mum said. “But I want you to know that he doesn’t hate you. He just doesn’t know how to talk to you…”

    ‘Yeah,” Adam sighed. “Sorry for bothering you this late, Angela.”

    ‘You’re always welcome here, Adam. Stay safe on your journey.’

    Angela shut the door hastily as the visitor left and let out another sigh. A flash of anger crossing her face, she stormed upstairs and hammered her fist against her son’s door.

    ‘Richard! Why don’t you start facing him yourself instead of leaving it to me!’

    There was no response from inside the room.

    ‘Fine! Be that way!’ Angela snapped before storming away again.

    Inside the room, Richard let out a sigh of his own.

    Had it already been a year? They were back at the start of the league season once more. He’d been dreading tomorrow for months now, wondering how everyone would react. Tomorrow was the day that everyone would set off on their adventures with their pokémon, after all. And he wouldn’t be joining them.

    He was probably the only one in his class not going. It had been the same last year too. His own siblings, all clamouring to go on adventures with pokémon themselves, had been angry at him for not going when he could. And it had been all everyone had talked about during the first week back at school after last year’s season. Richard Winter: the boy who stayed at home.

    Though the gossip had moved on, the memories stuck with Richard even now. He wondered if he’d have to go through the whole thing again in the autumn.

    He glanced sadly at the prominent poster on the wall by his bed. The muscular, worn faces of Elite Four member, Bruno, and his machamp, Strongarm, gazed back with a steely determination. There was no way that someone like him, Richard Winter, could ever hope to become someone like that. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to travel with his old friend, the one who had just arrived against all odds to once again invite him to travel together - it was that he didn’t deserve to.

    Thinking about it was painful, so Richard turned his attention away again. It was going to be a long summer again and there wouldn’t be many people to hang out with. What should he do with all his time?

    Well, it wasn’t like pokémon trainers were the only people in the world. As he’d found out last year, there were always other things that he could do...
     
  11. Nova Ozuka

    Nova Ozuka Collector

    Florus
    (Ivysaur)
    Level 26
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Posts:
    291
    PokéPoints:
    ₽291.7
    @Talrac Right, first, addressing your points made...
    I should point out that Lin hates humans, not Pokémon with human names, and Ashe never told him about being human. Him being disgusted with her name isn't really enough for him to treat her with the same contempt he would treat a human, so he isn't really that inconsistent.

    I should also point out that while her disability is gone, social skills will still be more of an acquired trait for Ashe. Just because it's gone doesn't mean she can't still be socially awkward or highly lacking on social skills. Sure, becoming sociable will be easier for her now, but it will still be something she would have to learn to do. Also the lack of said disability, something that can be inferred as something she might've been born with, is still very much something to get used to.

    My main reason for bringing up that she had one in the story though is that it helps mess with her motives

    While on the subject of Ashe, just because she could plausibly discharge her electricity doesn't mean she has even the slightest clue as to how to fight as a Mareep. There's also the fact that where they are is literally called the Sand Continent, which would be a horrible place for most Electric Types (Mareep especially) to travel to as Steel, Rock, and Ground Types can be expected with higher encounter rates, with the potential for Fire and Grass-Types as well.

    I don't know how much truth there is to that, but I just know that it can't be a very easy beginning for Ashe.

    I admit though, the thought of her accidentally using Charge instead of discharging her electricity amuses me slightly.

    As for Haruto the Charmander, his introduction would be too difficult for me otherwise as I was having a hard enough time thinking of how I could do so. As for why he is needed: Lin is most likely not experienced enough to guard Ashe as they travel by themselves, and Ashe, while familiar with Mareep, is still not used to being one. Even if escorted successfully to the guild, can they possibly pull their own weight as a team on their own? No.

    All of that being said, it would be kind of hard for me to write Lin and Ashe as an effective team without a third member when faced with multiple enemies in a Mystery Dungeon. I should also mention that I just left that first part out this time because I hadn't changed it at all.

    Now that I've finished with that wall of text... Let's get to the next piece of literature. Firstly, I wasn't aware Winter could be a last name, but I have no room to speak on that front, and there's nothing wrong with that anyway. Overall, I don't see much wrong.

    The first impression I got was that Richard didn't like Adam or something, though going further in, it does not quite appear to be that way.
    This makes it appear that Richard either feels that he doesn't deserve to travel with Adam, or that Adam doesn't deserve to travel with him. It leans mostly to the former, but you might want to make it a little more clear here just to be safe. The second thing I can note is that either Richard can't or doesn't want to become a Pokémon Trainer, but the reason for this hasn't been mentioned. This is fine as long as it gets brought up later on. Everyone else can feel free to chip in here if they think they see something else.

    I've got one final excerpt from PMDD before it cuts to the second group, this being pretty much the end of the first chapter picking up after. My main concern is once again Haruto. I'm intending him to be very energetic, so I'm concerned with if I made him energetic enough. My second concern is whether or not I should make it longer than I did, and it is already longer than it was originally, much to Ashe's embarrassment. My third concern is if I should give them a second chapter before cutting to the second group.

    It's less than 1000 words, so it won't take long to go through all of it.
    “So what makes you want to join a guild?” Scizor asked, snapping Ashe from her thoughts.

    “I want to see what other worlds might be out there, and if anyone would have any clues about other worlds, it might be one of the guilds,” Ashe answered. It wasn’t the exact truth, as that would probably get her labeled as crazy or insane. This would instead suggest wanting to find out if there are other worlds and how to travel to them.

    “Well I wouldn’t know much about that, but I would say that you’re on the right track,” Scizor pointed out.

    “Oh wow!” Ashe and Scizor turned their attention to the new speaker. It was an orange lizard Pokémon with a flame coming out of his tail, and he was running up to the table. Like Lin, this Charmander seemed to be carrying a brown satchel. “Aren’t you the explorer Scizor?” he asked.

    “Looks like you’ve got a fan,” Ashe commented.

    “This certainly does happen sometimes,” Scizor admitted.

    “Wait a minute,” the Fire-Type said as he studied Ashe for a moment. “Aren’t you the Mareep that was talking to Dayo earlier?”

    “Who’s Dayo?” Ashe asked.

    “You’re telling me that you were talking to a member of Team Radiance, and you didn’t know who she was?” the orange Pokémon asked in disbelief.

    “It’s not like she introduced herself,” Ashe pointed out. I guess I can assume that Team Radiance heads the guild they share their name with, she noted.

    “Anyway, Ashe here was planning on going to the Radiance Guild, and I agreed to bring her halfway since I was going to head that way anyways,” Scizor explained.

    “You’re going to the guild?” the Fire-Type asked.

    “That’s right, my Treecko friend and I are looking to form an Exploration Team and join the guild,” Ashe replied.

    “Awesome! Count me in!” Ashe was taken aback by the orange Pokémon’s enthusiasm.

    I didn’t even invite him yet! …But I guess Lin would appreciate the help, Ashe noted. “You’ll have to take it up with Lin first. He was the one who left to look for a new teammate,” she pointed out.

    “That Treecko you were with, right? I’ll go tell him right away,” the reptile responded.

    “Well that was easy,” Ashe commented as she watched the Fire-Type run through the doorway. “I have to worry how the three of us will get along, seeing as how Lin and I only just met, and that guy…” Scizor chuckled.

    “Yeah, he’s going to be a handful, that’s for sure,” he agreed.

    And then there’s the fact that I’m a former human, and Lin doesn’t seem to like humans at all, Ashe reflected. I have no clue how to tell him. Heck, there’s probably no right way to bring that up to a human-hating Pokémon.

    “Are you alright?” Scizor asked, stopping in the middle of carefully shearing Ashe and snapping her from her thoughts once more. “You seem kind of agitated.”

    “How could you tell?” Ashe asked.

    “You were kind of sparking,” Scizor pointed out.

    “Oops. I guess I didn’t quite discharge myself after all…” Ashe said, blushing from embarrassment. “I guess I’m just nervous.”

    “I can understand that. In fact, any would-be explorer going out for the first time should feel nervous,” Scizor pointed out, with a nod of agreement. “Although I should point out that discharging your electricity would be easier if you used Thundershock. If anything, what you did earlier looked like Charge.”

    “That’s…” Ashe cringed. “Yeah, I don’t think I could’ve done much worse. And I don’t really know any Moves… except for Charge apparently.”

    “Now THAT is odd, but not as odd as what little electricity you have for not knowing how do anything but use Charge,” Scizor pointed out.

    “That’s… something I’d prefer not to talk about,” the former human replied.

    “Well I suppose its no business of mine. I’m almost done anyway,” Scizor stated.
    Yes, I just used Scizor as a means of getting Haruto to interact with Ashe. It seemed more reasonable to me than to just have him talk to Lin or Ashe ordinarily.
     
  12. Talarc

    Talarc Swimmer

    Muro
    (Whismur)
    Level 9
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    First up, to address what you've written in response to my feedback:
    [I should point out that Lin hates humans, not Pokémon with human names, and Ashe never told him about being human. Him being disgusted with her name isn't really enough for him to treat her with the same contempt he would treat a human, so he isn't really that inconsistent.]

    Sorry for not being clear. What I saw as an inconsistency in Lin was that he spends a lot of time early on in the excerpt talking about how difficult the situation is because they don’t have much money but still need to get to the guild, yet later on he seems to be very free with his supposedly limited money (leaving himself open to being ripped off at the café and being very clear that he has the money to buy the apples Kecleon is clearly hoarding).

    [I should also point out that while her disability is gone, social skills will still be more of an acquired trait for Ashe. Just because it's gone doesn't mean she can't still be socially awkward or highly lacking on social skills. Sure, becoming sociable will be easier for her now, but it will still be something she would have to learn to do. Also the lack of said disability, something that can be inferred as something she might've been born with, is still very much something to get used to.

    My main reason for bringing up that she had one in the story though is that it helps mess with her motives]

    As long as you’ve got a plan to make it relevant to the story. It would be worth seeing if there are ways to make it clearer in the opening what kind of impact it’s going to have though. I’ve seen stories before where the author gives the main character an impeding trait that doesn't actually impede them just because it’s one that they also have.

    I’m not suggesting that this is what you’re doing, but when the disability doesn’t appear to have a meaningful impact in the first chapter it makes it hard to distinguish from a story where the protagonist has an impeding trait solely to make them more of a self-insert.

    [While on the subject of Ashe, just because she could plausibly discharge her electricity doesn't mean she has even the slightest clue as to how to fight as a Mareep.]

    My issue isn’t so much that I think it’s implausible as that it’s not as entertaining. As I said before, it would have been more entertaining to read about Ashe accidentally electrocuting herself and Scizor than everything just going swimmingly.

    To be clear, you don’t have to force Ashe to confront the difficulties of adapting to being a mareep in the first chapter if you want to focus on other things (and having her initially struggle with walking on all fours is a good way of showing the smaller, more inconsequential obstacles she has to overcome). The issue is that, in my view, you skipped over a good opportunity to showcase the kind of difficulties that she might face.

    You may have heard the saying ‘actions speak louder than words’. You might assure me that Ashe will face real obstacles and challenges later on, but my confidence will be in what you’ve written rather than what you tell me.

    Please understand that I’m not suggesting you’re being misleading or that I don’t believe what you say. I’m just trying to show you that it’s important the story’s opening reflects what it’ll be like later on. People will generally assume that you’re starting as you mean to go on.

    [There's also the fact that where they are is literally called the Sand Continent, which would be a horrible place for most Electric Types (Mareep especially) to travel to as Steel, Rock, and Ground Types can be expected with higher encounter rates, with the potential for Fire and Grass-Types as well.]

    This is a good line of thinking and it should work out well as long as you incorporate the unique difficulties Ashe would face in these circumstances that a normal mareep wouldn’t.

    [As for Haruto the Charmander, his introduction would be too difficult for me otherwise as I was having a hard enough time thinking of how I could do so. As for why he is needed: Lin is most likely not experienced enough to guard Ashe as they travel by themselves, and Ashe, while familiar with Mareep, is still not used to being one. Even if escorted successfully to the guild, can they possibly pull their own weight as a team on their own? No.]

    Okay, well if I were to write this then it would probably look like this: Ashe and Lin accept the offer to be flown to the guild (by a togekiss? You never did say what pokémon it was, so I have to guess). Once at the guild, they realise they’re in over their heads and need to find a third member. While advertising for a new member, they run into Haruto, who wants to join the guild as well and asks to join the team. I simply don’t see why Ashe and Lin need to be escorted through the mystery dungeons when it would be safer, quicker, and cheaper to simply fly straight to the guild.

    [I should also mention that I just left that first part out this time because I hadn't changed it at all.]

    That’s fine, but I would recommend using it to establish the difficulties Ashe faced as a human with her disability and to demonstrate its limitations. This will make it easier for the disability being gone and the changes that introduces have more weight in the reader’s mind.


    Thanks for your feedback on my excerpt.

    [This makes it appear that Richard either feels that he doesn't deserve to travel with Adam, or that Adam doesn't deserve to travel with him. It leans mostly to the former, but you might want to make it a little more clear here just to be safe.]

    That’s right - the issue is that Richard feels that he doesn’t deserve to travel with Adam. Thanks for letting me know it’s a little unclear - I’ll look into ways to make it more obvious to the reader.

    [The second thing I can note is that either Richard can't or doesn't want to become a Pokémon Trainer, but the reason for this hasn't been mentioned. This is fine as long as it gets brought up later on.]

    It’ll get brought up later on, but I don’t think there’s any harm in putting more information into the introduction. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll have a think about how much and what to add.

    As for your last excerpt...

    First up, Ashe and Scizor discussing some of obstacles Ashe is facing was good and I’m sure it’ll make for some good writing when they come into play when in the mystery dungeons.

    As far as Haruto is concerned, I think you could make him come over as more energetic by describing more about him. Maybe he’s talking really quickly and it’s harder to follow him, or you could describe his body language more - is he constantly fidgeting or moving around? Adding in some small details like these would get over the image you have of him, I think.

    Length seems fine to me. I don’t think it needs to be any longer, unless you can think of any other key areas of character development you want to show in the first chapter.

    As for whether or not there should be a second chapter with this group, I think it depends on how much of a role the second group will have. If the second group will have as much ‘screen time’ as the Ashe, Lin and Haruto, then it’s probably worth jumping straight to them for the second chapter. If the focus will be much more on the first group, then it might be better to spend an extra chapter establishing them.

    The only other thing I’d say (and I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, sorry if I have) is that a lot of the dialogue feels a bit like they’re reading from a video game script instead of speaking naturally.

    My final piece of writing is (surprise, surprise) the third and last of my character introductions. Once again, please feel free to really tear it apart.

    ‘Is it true you got your trainer’s license, James?’

    Yes, but everyone in my class go their trainer’s licenses today too.

    ‘You already picked your pokémon, right? I bet you could tell which one would be the strongest, right?’

    How would I know that? How would any kid know that?

    ‘I heard the champion, Blue Oak, offered to make him his apprentice!’

    Why would you believe that? All he did was congratulate me once.

    ‘...Top of the class almost since he transferred here. He’s one of the best, most hard-working students I’ve ever taught! He’ll make an excellent pokémon trainer.’

    I just like the lessons. I don’t try hard, I just know the answers because it interests me.

    ‘Dare I say this talented young man may one day be our future champion?’

    Please stop…

    ‘You’re so modest! You don’t need to put yourself down all the time!’

    Just stop!

    ‘Must be nice, having everyone fawn over you all the time.’

    The voices and unspoken responses echoing around James Burton’s head vanished at the sound of the last, real one. He stopped staring down at the pavement and looked up. He didn’t need to see the scruffy uniform and untidy hair to know who that voice belonged to.

    ‘What do you want, Dean?’ he asked through gritted teeth, a jolt of anger surging through him.

    ‘This is my route home from school too,’ Dean Pickering replied, glowering at him. ‘Thought I’d say “hi”.’

    ‘Getting worried now that I can beat you at pokémon battling as well?’

    ‘Everyone else might think you’re hot stuff, James, but I don’t,’ Dean said with a scowl. ‘This time, I’m going to bring you down once and for all! Maybe everyone’ll stop worshipping the ground you walk on then?’

    ‘Bring it on!’ James called angrily.

    ‘You better watch out, James,’ Dean said, a smug grin on his face. ‘Being top of the class in pokémon studies means nothing out in the wild!’

    The two boys bickered and glared at each other until they finally reached a fork in the narrow road and, mercifully, they had to walk in opposite directions.

    James let out a sigh as he felt the fiery anger subside. Instead, his insides started twisting uncomfortably. Dean was the only one who James lorded his reputation over, the only one seemed to see James for who he really was. And he was right.

    It was that same difficult issue that he’d been grappling with for over a year now. Pokémon studies had always come easy to him. He memorised pokémon species and their characteristics easily, always came top in every test and was always praised by the pokémon studies teacher. His other teachers must have been disappointed that he didn’t perform nearly as well in their subjects, but they never said a word. It was all praise. Always praise.

    He could distinctly remember when he’d suddenly stopped enjoying the praise and attention: the first time that the pokémon studies teacher had favourably compared him to Blue Oak, recently crowned champion of the Kanto region. Blue was a genius strategist and had a knack for finding powerful pokémon well-suited to his battle style. It wasn't a comparison someone would make lightly.

    Not long after that, to James’s horror, this very same Blue Oak had, while visiting his alma mater, publically congratulated him on being top of his class. He was sure that the pokémon studies teacher had played a part in that.

    Suddenly, there were new expectations and wild rumours. All anyone could talk about was what a fantastic trainer he was going to become. Some of the younger kids in Pallet Town had even asked for his autograph in anticipation of his expected victory at the Kanto League. People were whispering that he was going to be taken on as Blue’s apprentice even though he and James had barely spoken and the champion hadn’t been back to Pallet Town ever since.

    His pokémon studies teacher had pulled some strings and arranged for him to be allowed to pick one of the rare pokémon that the renowned Professor Oak was raising in his lab in Pallet Town as his first partner. ‘Wow, I wish I could have one of Professor Oak’s pokémon when I start my journey!’ his peers had said, congratulating him on being given such an amazing choice.

    James had privately scoffed a little at this. Though he had no regrets about the pokémon now earmarked for him, to say that it had been his choice when that eager and confident charmander hadn’t left his side the entire time he was there was a little inaccurate. It had been their only meeting before they were due to set off on the journey that everyone else was anticipating so much.

    ...He’d arrived home.

    ‘I’m back!’ he called as he pushed open the front door.

    ‘Welcome back,’ his mother replied, coming to meet him. ‘How was the last day of school? Are you getting excited?’

    ‘Hmm,’ James said. He looked around. ‘Where’s Dad? I thought that both of you had taken the day off today?’

    ‘He’s taking the others to their swimming lesson,” his mother replied. ‘I wanted to help finish packing your bag for tomorrow instead.’

    ‘Thanks,’ James said, pulling off his shoes and stepping forwards.

    ‘Come here.’ His mother pulled him into her arms. ‘I’m sure everything will be fine and you’ll have a wonderful time. But no matter what happens, you can always come home. We’ll be proud of you no matter what.’

    ‘Thanks, Mum,’ James said stiffly.

    Her saying that just made him feel worse though. No matter what she said, there was no way she wouldn’t be disappointed if he failed everyone’s expectations.

    In a small town that had so recently tasted Kanto League glory, the night before the start of the league season was one of stress and pressure.
     
  13. Momo Kisaragi

    Riolu
    (Riolu)
    Level 2
    Joined:
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    Big Nugget ★★★★★Dragon Fang ★★★★Icy Rock ★★★
    This should be fun okay!

    First things first, very well written!
    The introduction to the character was very well done and you really made us get a good grip on his personality and life situation right now.

    We got to see what anyone just meeting this person would see and a little more.
    Starting off with all the things people were saying and having his internal responses was very clever.
    It showed someone who didn't exactly agree with what they were saying and wanted to speak up but at the same time doesn't really have the courage to (at least that's what I saw).

    But the argument with dean, small as it was, really showed that other side of james, the part of him that sort of likes the attention.
    Dean from what I can see will end up being a very good rival who should probably teach James a few things (I think James will teach him a few things too).
    As writer's we tend to just write and sometimes we forget that the reader doesn't know our character inside out like we do and then the reader will be like "Wait? What's going on?" (something I am very guilty of) but the way you've written it, makes it very clear that while you probably could tell us everything about the character head to toe down to what his favourite flavour of chips is you remember that the reader won't know all of this and try to focus on teaching the reader about your character at a pace that makes sense.

    That was everything good (I like to work like this) so lets move onto some weaknesses.
    For me personally I feel it's a bit too much tell and a lot less show.
    That is partially personal preference by the way since as a reader I just don't like long paragraphs where the reader is being told a bunch of stuff by the narrator (unless it's in first person but that's not important).

    I feel like certain things you've said could be shown better than told.
    Example:
    James called angrily, it's not particularly bad at all and a reader most times will just read passed this perfectly fine, especially when their already immersed but you can get a lot more of the rivalry out if the word used are different.

    Something like called is okay but makes it sound a little weak, kinda like he doesn't honestly care too much, but if he's truly angry or even just annoyed at Dean then a word like shouted, or yelled or something along those lines may work better and instead of telling us he's angry you could write something like.

    'Bring it on!' James shouted, with spite in his voice.

    Or something like that (it just came to me as I was writing this so it's not fully formed as a thought yet). The word spite will usually show up when someone is either angry or jealous and it's pretty clear from what we've read that James isn't jealous of Dean but he's angry so being spiteful makes sense.

    See we're not outright saying he's angry, there are a lot of body language cues you could use as well to describe emotion, body cues are a lot easier to use in third person since omniscient narrator person will notice things that a first person character wouldn't.

    Let's face it if James himself was narrating then he wouldn't notice the spite in his voice (I feel like a lot of what I'm saying applies to myself as well).

    Anyway, that's most of what I could notice. It did feel a little like I wasn't getting his feelings but then it's like one in the morning for me so that could just be me!

    Okay now that long mess of a spoiler is done, (I have never tried so hard to review something) I'll give you some context.

    First not a Pokémon thing...
    Second the actual story.
    Okay so five of my characters are going to a place called the house of hope, it's a building filled with spirit element magic and inside is a sorceress named Kira, who was sealed there long ago for attempting to murder someone in it.

    Her seal is weakening so Serena, Darrien, Cairo, Ani and Cameryn have been tasked to go there and guard her till the deities can make a new seal.
    Why them? Because Serena is a spirit element (super rare in my book) but can't fight for the life of her. So Darrien and Cameryn came along to protect her Darrien's younger brother Cairo won't let him go too far away and Ani was the one Kira tried to murder. (long story)

    Oh and Kira is already causing a disruption in magic so Taro (Cameryn and Darrien's home) is suffering a lot of 'natural' disasters. If they don't prevent her from escaping this town could be destroyed.
    Nike is a cat that belongs to Cairo. Rollo is a dragon whose friends with Darrien, and Darrien has an hold on-
    Darrien has a curse that sometimes turns him evil and it's getting stronger so his personality is being changed a little.
    That's everything I think, if you do have anything you want me to clarify let me know! Feel free to tear this apart!
    Ani

    So, it seemed Serena had been unsuccessful in convincing Darrien to reveal his little secret.

    I want to say that perhaps it is for the best but then again…why do I get the strangest feeling that this decision of his will not end well?

    “Ani? You seem distracted” Cairo asked as we continued walking the next day.

    “I suppose I am Cairo, this is all…a little overwhelming I must admit” Cairo laughed.
    “I’m not surprised” he joked “it’s not every day you get trapped in time!”

    He looked ahead at a huge row of trees, signifying we were re-entering the forest. He looked behind us then back at the forest ahead.
    “Ani, those trees up ahead, they look different from the ones we were in before” upon closer inspection he was correct.

    “Good observation Cairo.” He smiled, pleased with himself.
    “Does that mean it’s not the same forest”
    “I do not think…” I didn’t finish my sentence. As we neared the edge of this clearing I noticed flowers progressively appearing. More and more of them.

    Very pale blue, with almost white specks. They were familiar.
    “Actually, Serena! Darrien! Cameryn!” I called raising my voice for the teens to hear.
    “What’s up?” Cameryn asked folding her arms.
    “Something wrong?” Serena added, Darrien just looked at me silently.

    “I don’t think we should enter just yet, if my memory serves me right that is the last step before the house of hope”
    “What? Seriously?” Cameryn gasped “no way we’re almost there”

    “Yes well, I’m not surprised. It was never intended to be remote.”
    “What makes you so sure?” Serena asked curiously.
    “These flowers, they bloomed everywhere just around the house of hope, I’ve never seen them anywhere else”

    Serena lent down to look at them.
    “True, I’ve not seen these either” Cameryn nodded.

    “Don’t be so shocked. Those are pretty rare flowers. They only grow in places with even temperatures. So colder places like Cartio or Zaross won’t get them and there’s no way they’ll pop up in Yanrie or Miral”

    She blinked at everyone’s confused expressions.
    “Joeri likes flowers, he always finds an excuse to bring them up to me” she shrugged “I guess I just absorbed the information”

    “Well we’ve rested enough though. We should hurry up” Darrien commented speaking up. Seeing my expression however he raised an eyebrow and added “unless there’s something you haven’t mentioned yet?”

    “Well…this forest. Did not exist when I was last here however…in the books Cairo lent me to read I remember coming across something about the house of hope” Cairo clicked his fingers understanding.

    “I know what you mean, the one that talks about a forest surrounding it”
    “Exactly, the forest is said to be magical. From what I read there is evidence enough to believe that it was created as a test”
    “A test?” Darrien echoed “for what?”

    “To prevent those of evil will into the house of hope, or even near it. It is called the forest of deception” Serena smiled nodding.

    “The forest that deceives those who wander in, the setting of many of my favourite stories! My stories always say that only courageous people can make it through the horrors the forest will inflict” she started to blush “I mean that’s what I’ve read anyway”

    Cameryn lightly punched her laughing.
    “Stories won’t always have a place in reality Serena. But who knows? It has to be called that for a reason”

    Darrien turned and looked towards it.
    “Well, we’ll proceed with caution then. But we shouldn’t just wait, Kira could escape and we need to stop that”
    “I don’t know Darrien” Cameryn commented “as long as she can’t manipulate any earth elements she can’t be released.”

    He looked back at her with a slight glare in his eyes.
    “Do you actually want Kira to hurt Taro?” he asked with venom in his voice. Rollo flew off of Darrien's shoulder ducking his head into Serena's satchel. He seemed nervous now.

    “No of course not! I just think-”
    “Think what you like” he hissed “I don’t care. I’ll do what I know is right. You guys stay here if you like, but I’m going ahead” he started to walk away and Serena grabbed his arm insistently.

    “Darrien! I understand but I really think Cameryn is right! We should wait! Come up with a plan, who knows what could happen in there!” Darrien was silent for a moment before he ripped his arm out of her grip.

    I couldn’t help but gasp, his eyes glared at her viciously and when she tried to grab him again he pushed her to the ground.
    “What did I tell you before Serena?! Stay away!” he turned angrily and left.

    I shook my head.
    “I will go after him, it is not safe to go in there alone. Hopefully I can change his mind” Cameryn shook her head.

    “No, not yet. This is a good time to talk. I’ve been waiting for a chance to”

    Cameryn spotted Cairo sitting down with Nike holding out a ball of string for him to play with so she lowered her voice a little.
    “You two, you guys have noticed how he was acting right? You noticed his behaviour. Something is really wrong guys. I hate to say it, I really do. But I think Joeri might’ve been right”

    “About what?” Serena asked with confusion, though the look on her face said that she had an idea.
    “Darrien told me” I explained “Joeri believes that…Darrien is turning evil, dark”
    “Yeah, not like he wants to believe that. But there’s not much else I can think of. I put it down to him being depressed but…It doesn’t work. His aggression, his attitude. Even if he was depressed, which I don’t doubt is the case, he would never yell at Cairo.”

    Serena nodded.
    “Yeah, he doesn’t ever treat Cairo like that” she added.
    “And he never has, even as a kid. He would rather die than hurt Cairo” Cameryn looked towards the forest.

    “Okay, I believe now that we are on the same page we should follow him. If what Joeri said was true then Darrien is turning evil, therefore by extension he shouldn’t be able to enter the house of hope. That will solve this, once and for all” Serena bounced a little.

    “I know he’ll be able to, sorry Cameryn I just don’t believe it” Cameryn shrugged.
    “Can’t force you too”

    We followed the way Darrien went and Cairo started to walk closer to me.
    “Ani, do you mind if we stick together till we find my big brother?”
    “Of course not”

    Cairo was shaking a little as we neared the foggy forest.
    “I don’t want to get lost” I understood completely, this forest didn’t look particular inviting.

    I silently prayed to the deities that Darrien hadn’t gotten lost in here.

    We walked for a while together. The fog was thin so we could see but only barely.
    “I don’t like this” Cameryn mumbled “something about this place…really puts me off”

    “I agree” I replied “I don’t like it either, I imagine that Lady Spirit isn’t exactly happy that it exists either” Cairo shivered and looked at Cameryn worriedly.
    “Cameryn” he mumbled.

    She looked at him with a smile.
    “Yeah?”
    “Cameryn…the fogs getting thicker. It’s harder to see…” Serena nodded looking around.
    “He’s right, I can’t see very much at all”

    Cameryn decided to take the lead before there was no lead to see.
    “Okay, follow me! There must be a clearing somewhere where we can wait out the fog” she started to walk and we followed as best we could.

    The fog grew even more, at this point we walked in silence to make sure we could hear where everyone was walking.
    “Keep walking forward guys!” Cameryn called making sure her voice was clear.

    I did as I was asked then…a few minutes later I realised I could only hear myself.
    “Cameryn?” I asked, no response.

    “Cairo? Serena?” I tried but nothing.

    I’d become separated from them…now I would have to try to find my way…alone.

     
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  14. LadySmugleaf

    LadySmugleaf Insert Witty Title Here

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    Ok, so I read the story before your information and the part with Darrien was fairly easy to deduce. Overall, I think there is too much dialogue and not enough description, especially since it ́s written as first person. Think show, don ́t tell- don ́t tell me the moon is shining, show me the light glinting off the glass. Also, you want to use more punctuation. *Hi,* she smiled. *What ́s up?*
    I think you have a good start, even if is it the middle of the story, and I hope you continue to write .

    Not a Pokémon story- since I haven ́t updated Greyscale on LV. This story is called *Oncoming Storm* and it was my novel for NaNoWriMo 2018. I haven ́t written alot, but I have big plans for this story.

    Oncoming Storm is story of a nation embroiled in religious traditions- traditions which have been followed since their founding. We follow the story of Erimentha, a girl raised in the Capitol. When her best friend goes missing, Erimentha finds herself deep in a conspiracy that would shake the very foundations of her nation.
    “Erimentha!”

    Eriementha perked up when she heard her father, Hector’s voice. “Coming!” she called back, grabbing her sandals and running through the curtains of her room and into the room across the hall. Hector looked up from in front of the mirror, tying his bright golden hipscarf.

    “Are you ready? We need to be meeting the rest of the tribe very soon,” he asked, glancing over towards her. Erimetha slipped into her sandals, crisscrossing the straps around her exposed part of her calves. She tied them off, slipping a bead through the remaining length of the straps, sitting against the knot. She repeated it to the other strap.

    “Don’t forget your head scarf, again,” Hestia reminded her from the bed. She put down the book and looked towards the rest of her small family. “We have traditions for a reason.”

    Erimentha grumbled as she went back to her room, pulling the pale scarf from her dresser top. She put it on, wrapping it around the crown of her head and her hair several times before securing it with a broach in the shape of a stylized sun.

    Erimentha stared at her mirror, admiring how her skin stuck out from the brightly colored clothing. She twirled, watching as her clothing barely lifted. “Now I’m ready,” she declared to herself as her father poked his head through the curtain.

    “Time to leave, before Our Lady comes,” he announced and Erimentha nodded, joining him as they traveled down the hall and to the balcony. Hector spread out his wings and Erimentha stepped back into the hall as he tucked the parcel of fruit and fine linen under his arm as he took off. Erimentha called for the wind, feeling it flow under her own wings as she ran and leapt off the balcony. Her wings snapped out and caught the breeze as she drifted downwards before flapping thrice to meet her father.

    He glanced over his shoulder at her and Erimentha grinned back at him, already aware of the lecture she would receive on the marrow. Erimentha turned to look ahead, staring at the temple towering before them. The white stone walls were decked out in bright ribbons and cloth flowers, the first rays glinting off the uncovered stone. “I see the first rays! We’re going to be late!” Erimentha called out. She flapped her wings and closed her eyes, calling forth the wind to carry her, missing Hector’s mumbled. “I said that fifteen minutes ago.”

    Erimentha tucked her wings against her back and angled herself into a dive, heading down towards the temple. “Wheee!!!” she laughed as the wind whipped against her body. The ground grew closer and closer by the second. Erimentha closed her eyes and snapped her wings open to break her dive. Erimentha ignored the strain of her wings as she broke her fall. She forced herself to flap through the discomfort to maintain her lift. “Alright, now time to lower yourself,” she muttered, slowing down her flaps and landing gracefully on her toes. “And done!” she said triumphantly. She turned her head as Hector landed beside her, a stern look on his face.

    “For the love of our Lady and the Moon above, don’t do that again,” he admonished her, pulling her into a hug. Erimentha froze, not expecting it. “I don’t need you to injure your wings as well, pulling off those crazy stunts.”

    “Sorry Father,” Erimentha murmured as he broke the hug and guided her to face the temple.

    “Now come along, we have to deliver our offering and our prayers before we join the celebrations,” Hector began walking towards the temple and Erimentha followed him, joining the throngs of people walking up the temple steps. As she kept beside her father, Erimentha scanned the crowd for Helena.

    “I’m going to be meeting Helena for the celebration,” she told Hector as began the ascend up the stairs. He nodded as she continued. “We arranged to meet in front of the temple just before the peak. And then, we’ll join the procession.”

    Hector nodded. “Just keep in mind that she’ll have to join her family for the end procession, as you should.” he unwrapped the parcel as they reached the top of the stairs and began to be ushered into the temple. “Here, your mother packed you an apple for your offering.”

    Erimethia accepted the golden apple, staring at the rich decorations on the temple pillars. She pressed closer to Hector as not to get lost in the crowds of people milling around, wearing all different shades of yellow, orange and red with a few pinks spread out. She tore her eyes away to stare at the statue of the Goddess. She was adored with a flower crown and a mantle made of richly dyed silk. Erimentha stared at the smile carved into her stone face and smiled back, feeling peaceful and welcomed.

    The people in front of them stood up and walked to the right, as Hector and Erimentha walked up to the altar. Eusebios smiled as they approached him. “Good morn to you,” he greeted them. Hector gave an incline of his head.

    “We give these for an offering- linen my wife weaved with her own two hands and an apple from my family's orchards,” he said, handing over the cloth and Erimentha handed over the apple. Eusebios accepted them and placed them on the altar.

    “Pray and may the Goddess bless you for your faith,” he invited. Erimentha knelt on the cushion. Her head bent as she prayed for her mother’s health and for Helena to be grained wisdom and strength.

    She peeked out of the corner of her eye to see her father still in deep prayer, his mouth twitching every now and then as he suppilcated before the Goddess. Erimentha watched him, not wanting to get up before him. She peeked up at the goddess, her arms spread out, welcoming all to pray. Erimentha wondered how she would look in the flesh- dark skinned like the her people or paledskinned like outsiders. Her hair would be a rich red and her robes would be a dazzling rainbow colored.

    “Have you finished?” Hector inquired, breaking Erimentha out of her thoughts. Embarrassed that she was caught, Erimentha nodded and followed her father out of the temple. She stepped out of the temple and gazed at the rays of light emerging from behind the mountains around them. She smiled as music began to swell from the crowd around them, the words lost in the clamor of worship to the sunrise.
     
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