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Old 01-06-2010, 04:07 AM
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Default Re: Mirror, Mirror; Chapter Three [WWC]

Originally Posted by Scourge of Amaranth View Post
Mine. *slobbers on, just so no one will want to get near it*
I hate computer swaps.

Introduction: This was… interesting, as the first few ideas in the introduction had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Although they did serve to introduce the character and sketch out her personality, they left the reader with some kinda useless information about her. Sometimes, this works, but for a shorter story like this, “useless information” tends to remain useless information. The bits about Lance would have, personally, been better off not being the focus of a paragraph. Something more relevant to the plot—such as a better description of what these “perks to her job” entail that makes a vague reference to… special training places, perhaps. Almost everything in a story, especially a short story, should have a purpose, and I don’t recall the bits about Lance leading into anything relevant. They made me think that the majority of the story would be composed of Clair raving in jealousy of Lance, which didn’t happen at all. So… just consider that. It’s not necessary to your style, obviously, but red herring character development information can be easily worked into something that simultaneously adds to the plot and gives a stronger sense of character—and if it is relevant to both, it will often make more of a difference than a paragraph that is relevant to neither.

That said, this introduction did its technical job—it got me interested and sketched out the characters/situation. So pass.

Plot: This was altogether entertaining. Lazy person that I am, I didn’t actually completely read the first two chapters; this stood well enough on its own, however, that there wasn’t much of a problem. Anyway. The concept of this chapter itself was rather simple and straightforward, which is nice—and although not particularly unique in basic conception (sick person needs Pokémon-related medicine does tend to be a pretty common plot) your delivery and presentation were incredibly quirky, especially with the background and continuation of ideas/how everything connected. Definitely not something you see every day, and a good sort of rare—not the BY GOD, MY EYES, YOU MUST BE A MONSTER TO HAVE SUBJECTED ANOTHER HUMAN BEING TO THIS sort of way.

Your idea was solidly put together and solidly delivered. As a conclusive part of a larger piece, it served well. Well done, all around. The snippets of humor were subtle enough to snag my attention at times, and blatant enough to be absolutely hilarious at others. I’ll remember never to let a Chansey near my cauterizing gun? Gina and Draco’s interactions were entertaining, although I would have liked to have gotten a stronger sense of nuanced personality from them. For all these dying things, it was perhaps a bit glib—but the tone fit with the rest of the piece, on a whole, I would say, and… I can’t really fault the story for not taking itself seriously, as it did so very endearingly and efficiently, especially as there were grave moments in the humans’ reactions to the mangling of Golbat and Meringue. The image of Zubat finally gaining his sight, and then plummeting to his death was quite striking; as was the Pokémon deliberately hiding his eyes away, in contrast to the Zubat’s rampant desire to understand what “to see” means.

I must say, a bit of warning about the Corsola and Luvdiscs would have been nice. The convenience of the reef-building could be argued to be… irritating. Kinda a random phlebotonum-type feel to the situation. I suppose it’s… irrelevant, technically, but things like that unsettle me.

All in all, nice continuation, nice initial concept, nice conclusion…. You have a pretty darned nice plot, here, as I said. So pass.

Grammar: Pretty much good, here. You have some really funky semi-colon uses and do occasionally get redundant. For the latter—just be careful that you don’t say the same thing twice if it can be avoided. For the former…

Clair obeyed in silence; taking more interest in her surroundings than the orders she was given.
No semi-colon here. Semi-colons are used only as clarification to split lists that have confusing comma-inclusive structures within the individual sections (“The girl’s hair looked big, bigger than a bloated chicken on a southern buffet table, and perhaps closer to a stuffed turkey than a bloated chicken, southern buffet table or not; red in the way that maraschino cherries seem to think they’re red, in that they’re actually slightly pink…” et cetera) or… for splitting up complete clauses that have similar concept/ideas and therefore go together flow-wise (I had a dog; it was blue). Semi-colons can also be used on complete clauses with ellipsis (elimination of certain “unnecessary” words in a sentence for grammatical impact), but that’s… tricky and subjective.

You used semi-colons on incomplete clauses quite a bit. “Taking more interest in her surroundings that the orders she was given” doesn’t stand alone, so a semi-colon is not the best choice, or, really, correct. Comma would work better.

On another note, you have a particular sentence structure that you use a lot that goes subject, modifying appositive, direct object/action. Might want to think about deliberately swapping it out for more experimental structures, ‘r something. A lot of writers consider splitting a sentence directly after the subject to be a bad idea; it’s up to you to decide whether or not you agree with them, obviously, but it was something worth mentioning.

Details: I think… you had some pretty strong descriptive imagery occurring, here, but sacrificed a lot of impact that could have been created. Your style tends to keep description light, both writing-wise and emotion-wise, which can be an extremely effective style to sporadically mix in with heavier description. It can, provided the author is willing to darken the feel of the overall story, keep the reader on their toes and create a far more impactful reading experience. I definitely see you peeking some of this through your style in places; it could be made more powerful at points.

SEE... The former Zubat coughed, allowing more warm liquid to drizzle down the side of his open mouth. I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS TO SEE; ALL THESE WONDERFUL COLORS. THESE… THESE THINGS! I LIKE TO SEE. I LIKE…

Azul turned away, carefully tugging the yellowed bandages over his small, beady eyes. He didn't want to watch the Golbat drown in its own blood. The crinkled tail adorned with a sapphire orb wrapped around the water rabbit's body... as if it were offering some sort of protection.
You have some very powerful ideas here—one creature who has just gained his eyes, another who is deliberately blindfolding his own. The image of Golbat drowning in his blood is… poignant. But when it comes down to it, I have no idea what a Golbat drowning in its blood looks like. I mean, me, personally… I wouldn’t imagine that it’s a pleasant experience, and that much is shown through Azul’s disinclination to observe… but what is it that turned Azul off? Seems like a rather “well, DUH,” question—but at the same time, this is writing. Really amazing writing gives the reader a reason to feel something about whatever emotion the characters are feeling. It’s clear that you want this to be a rather horrific sight—but at the same time, you don’t want to give the readers a stomach-ache. It’s possible to go light-core on the gore, but still create a bit of a cringe. Show us legs that struggle through the air as the Golbat tries to right itself; show us wings whose very skeleton has shattered to pieces, ragged wings that fold in on themselves mid-bones, that flutter weakly, uselessly against the ground, growing sticky with their own blood. I’m sure, though, that that’s not how you want the readers to see it. Show us not just what it really looks like, but show us what you see when you look at it—or, for a bit more emotional immersion, what the characters observing it see when they look at it. If you wanted it to be funny, give details that make it funny. I mean, for all I know of the situation, Azul might have not wanted to watch Golbat drown in his own blood because the sight made him think of the time his grandmother spilled gumbo all over his little sister… and the thought made him giggle… so he covered his eyes to be politically correct.

This situation could also have given me a greater insight into Azul’s character. Remember grandma’s gumbo? Specific motives give greater involvement in the story. It could be the fact that… watching acquaintances die is uncomfortable. It could be the fact that Azul doesn’t like blood. It could be the fact that he finds infringing upon the Golbat’s death to be… rude, embarrassing to the dead, a slight, a shame. It could be the fact that he’s a coward and just plain can’t stand to watch. It could be all of these facts. Giving the characters a greater coherence of thought process—and, preferably, distinct differences in those thought processes—is part of detail, and very much part of a story.

I also want to mention word strength and choice, as it’ll help to organize some of your thoughts better…. Verb → Noun → Adjective…. Verbs, as the strongest part of speech, are crucial to building up powerful imagery. Never waste a verb. All words should be carefully chosen, of course—but it tends to be difficult to consistently ponder every single freaking word in a story. If you have to choose a focus, choose verbs. Next time you write something up, think about your verb choice carefully. Take the first sentence in the quote up there. “Coughed” is a pretty strong verb, although, as it’s… painfully dying after shattering its teeth on the ground… you might consider something along the line of “hacked” or “rasped.” “Allowing,” though, is the word you’ll want to look at most. It says… basically nothing. Doesn’t further the emotion, doesn’t strengthen the imagery, doesn’t provide word transition…. You could easily have removed it and connected the two bits with a semi-colon. OR, you could rearrange the sentence structure a bit and work in a more powerful word. “choking/gurgling on the warm liquid…”

And then, the adjective. Most of the time, in writing, an adjective is the equivalent of a useless verb in strength. If you’re gonna use them, make them good. “Open mouth,” like “allowing,” doesn’t make the situation more vivid. He’s talking. I don’t need to be told that his mouth is open. Tell me instead, perhaps, that the mouth is “gaping,” or, if you’re having the issue that I’m having right now and you can’t actually think of any buffed-up adjectives to work in the sentence as-is, describe something around the mouth… shattered teeth… whatever gives the impression you want the reader to have.

Point being, the technical aspect of writing is about words. The more you use the benefits the offer, the more easily you’ll be able to tell the reader what you want them to know.

Battle: Okay. First up. Exploding Corsola. That was... quite nicely done. XD It made me giggle. A lot. Taking advantage of the inherent traits of Pokémon and turning them into hilarious situations isn’t something that usually happens sensibly in URPG. Kudos there. Attacks were balanced, fighting was entertaining, move interactions were ingenuous…. It was a good length for a piece this size, although you probably could have gotten away with less. Everything here is good to go.

I already talked about strengthening your description; this extends to the battles, of course, so keep that in mind.

Length: ….You went out of the character range.

Verdict: What can I say? Your details came and went, but the plot delivered, the ideas were new, everything was entertaining…. The weaknesses came in giving the readers a greater degree of connection to the story, the characters, the emotions—which isn’t even necessarily a part of URPG grading, although it can be argued to be an aspect (or, rather, consequence) of description. It can similarly be argued to be merely an aspect of style, which URPG is not here to judge. The story told itself, and told itself well, in the way that it intended to tell itself. Good going. ^_^ Everything captured.

EmBreon is the maple syrup to my slightly undercooked crepe
{URPG Stats}--{ASB Stats}--{Fanfiction}
khajmer = biffle
yoface = broham

thegalleonman: (8:37:28 PM) How sad.
thegalleonman: (8:37:37 PM) I'm amused.

Last edited by Scourge of Amaranth; 01-11-2010 at 06:06 AM.
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