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Old 06-26-2011, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Starting the Blaise (Ready For Grading.)

Grade for Starting the Blaise

Introduction [Good]:
The introduction was good, as it satisfied all of the necessities that an introduction must have. Both of the main characters were introduced properly. You also explained each character’s purpose in the story which helped the reader get a grip of what the characters are trying to accomplish throughout the story. Leonard was attempting to train Blaise to be a Pokémon Master, while Blaise simply wanted to learn more about Pokémon without the distractions of his school. Additionally, you introduced the conflict and the setting in an understandable manner.

Plot: [Good]
It was solid, for a Medium ranked Pokemon. It wasn’t the usual “kid walks into forest/desert/lake/cave and encounters a Pokemon” however the ending sort of brought me back to those stories (I’ll address this in a second). The thing that sets your story apart is the background you gave on your characters. This allowed the reader to fully understand the main goals of each character and what they intended to accomplish within the story. This is a very strong way to connect to the reader.

Additionally, your story had a legitimate conflict: Blaise couldn’t get the education he needed unless Leonard tutored him privately during the summer.

My main complaint with the plot was that the encounter with Sandile was pretty abrupt and didn’t seem to have anything to do with the story. I would have liked to see Sandile integrated throughout the story somehow, rather than it be a random encounter. I felt like just about any Pokemon could have been swapped in at the end and no one would have known a difference. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this method, however it doesn’t contribute positively toward the story either.

Your plot was indeed interesting, but I felt that the Pokemon you were attempting to capture needed to play a larger role in the story, since the ultimate purpose of writing this story was to catch the Sandile. (Besides the fact that you may just like to write stories. :P)

Grammar [Poor]:
Most of the grammatical problems existed in the way you worded things. I’ll address that in the next section. Besides the wording, there were a couple other grammatical issues that occurred more than once, which I’ll attempt to help you with, in this section.

Whist Blaise, when battling, was in his element, and could practically control the outcome, Blaise, when dealing with those that lost to his battling prowess, was like a ragdoll, unable to do anything.
I noticed that there were quite a few times where you made sentences much more complicated than they needed to be. In this example, you simply attempt to cram too much information into one sentence. Instead, you could reword it into two, maybe three sentences. Something like this…

- Blaise was in his element when he battled. He could practically control the outcome of each battle he participated in. When dealing with those that lost to his battling prowess, Blaise was as helpless as a ragdoll.

Don’t be afraid to be direct when describing things.

Leonard immediately jumped out of the car-he had a neighbor who had a Sandile. The Sandile ripped through another neighbor’s car with ease. He did not want his ride out of commission.
In this example, you need to be more specific. You talk about two completely different instances without giving clear warning. Something like this would make more sense…

- Leonard immediately jumped out of the car. He had recently had a neighbor whose car was trashed by a Sandile and he wasn’t about to let this Sandile wreck his own vehicle.

I’m not saying that this is the only way it can be changed, I’m only stressing that there needs to be more specificity in certain areas of the story.

Besides these, there were multiple misspellings such as “defiantly” being used instead of “definitely”, and “it’s” where “its” was needed. Remember that “it’s” is the contraction for “it is” and “its” is the possessive form of the word.

I felt as though at least half of these errors that could have been avoided with a mere proofread. Proofreading is a vital component of writing. When proofreading, it’s also a good idea to take a break between completing the story and reading it through. This gives you a fresh outlook on the story and helps when looking for grammatical errors. Another method to help correct grammar problems is copy/pasting your story into a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

Word Usage[Poor]:
To be very honest, this section was a major hindrance to the overall story. It seemed like you struggled a lot with the way you worded things. At some points in the story, there were parts that I had to read multiple times before I understood what you were trying to say. These kinds of issues can screw up stories with even the greatest plots. In this section, I’m going to try to give you some tips in making sentences flow better and help them make sense.

What Blaise did when battling was practically the reverse of what he could do now. Whist Blaise, when battling, was in his element, and could practically control the outcome, Blaise, when dealing with those that lost to his battling prowess, was like a ragdoll, unable to do anything. He was strong enough that he was capable of taking those beatings and being able to walk afterwards, but the spectacle was something out of hand for the teachers. They never saw who did it, Blaise was shoved on the ground face-down before he could tell who did it, and the students that did ran off before they could.
I’m going to take this sample sentence by sentence.

First sentence: The main issue here is the “now”. It’s confusing because not only is the “now” not explained, it’s also confusing because until the “now”, the sentence is written in past tense. Before you use words such as “there”, “here”, “then”, and “now”; you have to explain to the reader where the character is at that moment. It’s the same concept as using “he”, “she”, and “it”. If you were to start out the story referring to your character as “he”, then the reader wouldn’t know who you’re talking about. Another thing is that I would recommend that you try not to be dependent on to-be verbs (am, are, was, were, have, has, had, did, etc…). These can be another big cause of awkward sentences. All this in mind, the first sentence would look something like this…

- The way Blaise acted when he battled was practically reversed of how he acted outside of battle.

I talked about the second sentence earlier so I’ll move on.

Third Sentence: This is one of the sentences that confused me at first. I assume that you intended on alluding to the beatings in the second sentence, however I didn’t really come to that conclusion when I read it. Allusion is a hard thing to judge seeing as how different people take different information in different ways, so I won’t say that this is wrong. In my own opinion, there needed to be another sentence that introduced the beatings in a more direct fashion. You mentioned that he was weak, but you never hinted that the opposing battler actually beat him until you say “those beatings” as if it had already been introduced. Also, the “out of hand for the teachers” part should be “out of the teacher’s control”.

Fourth Sentence: This sentence is one in which too much was crammed into one sentence. In this case, it makes sense to spread out the information a bit in order to introduce the new information in a less-intimidating way.

- Neither Blaise, nor the teachers could tell who had committed the crime. Blaise was shoved on the ground, face-down, before he could tell who did it, and the students who did, ran off before the teachers could catch them.

Detail/Description [Great]:
One of the strengths of this story is the level of description. I felt as though I could clearly process and imagine each character and scene as if I were watching a movie, rather than reading a story. This is what writers should strive for when writing, and I believe you achieved that in this story.

There were a few points where the descriptions were kind of “listy”. By that I mean, “Jonny had blue eyes, brown hair, glasses, a baseball cap, sandals, a red shirt, jeans with holes in them, and a nose ring.” In the future, try revealing things about the character as the story progresses, rather than breaking the flow by inserting a list of adjectives. The above could be changed to something like, “The glasses that Jonny wore hid his bright, sapphire eyes. His brown hair was gently disturbed by a light breeze which cascaded over the valley as he walked along the dirt path….” In addition to describing the character, it also gives you a chance to describe the setting, and really whatever you want in a way that flows nicely.

There was one last thing that I’d like to recommend to you in future stories. Try not to use too many similes. There were parts where it seemed like everything being described was being described by using similes. A few every once in a while is great, as it adds diversity to the story. However, when you use too many, it becomes repetitive and it loses its appeal.

Battle [Borderline]:
Your battle had some good aspects and some not so good ones.

The positives were that you described the moves excellently. You didn’t just say “Togepi used Sweet Kiss and it made Sandile confused”. You described the execution of the move like you would have imagined it. Additionally, you used interesting moves such as Sweet Kiss and Metronome.

The one negative thing was that the battle was largely one-sided. The fact that a Togepi swept a Sandile without receiving a single hit was definitely unbelievable. Sandile is a powerful opponent compared to Togepi so I would have liked to see a more elaborate battle. In the future, try to make the battle seem less one-sided by at least letting each side get an attack in. The more suspense you can build within the battle, the better. :P

Length [Great]:
Microsoft Word actually counted 16,022 characters (since we do include spaces). This is a perfect length for a Medium Pokemon such as Sandile.

The Final Verdict:
Hopefully this grade was helpful to you and not just a long lecture. The only reason I was so hard in the grammar sections was because that was honestly the only flaw of the story. Once you get that down, your stories will be excellent. The more stories you write, the more natural your writing will become. Without further ado… Sandile Captured.

If you have any questions concerning your grade, feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to answer them. :)
Ask me to Ref if you see me online!
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