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Stories Write a story to catch Pokemon. A Grader will then decide if it catches or not.

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Old 07-10-2009, 05:02 PM
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Default And I Could Smell the Wildflowers [SWC]

So, I promised that I would enter something for this contest, since I’ve, like, blown off every other one. I kinda wrote this all in one sitting, and it’s pretty rushed, but I think it turned out okay. I was inspired by a book called ‘Everlost’. (which I never ended up finishing, because it got boring, hah) No, there’s no battle, and the Pokemon I am attempting to capture is only in, like, one sentence, but this is only because I feel like it fits the story better that way. First story where I didn’t meet the required characters, too.

And I Could Smell the Wildflowers

“When you go home, the very weight of your own absence is so unbearably heavy that you start to sink like a stone in water.” – Everlost, Neal Shusterman

I can still remember the smell of the wildflowers. Funny, isn’t it?

The sickly-sweet fragrance that would knot my insides and bring nausea to my lips was now the single lasting memory that I could cling to. No recognizable persona, place, or moment remained - Just the perfume that had now become a stench, a disease, a plague, a clawing entity that swarmed around my understanding. Taunting. Always taunting.

It isn’t with a heavy heart that I recite this tale of hillsides overgrown with the nameless flora, the hosts of the scourge. When no feeling remains, how can one remember in a way that would be deemed sorrowful? Emotion left with flesh, and flesh left with bone that withered and died beneath the earth. But an aura can never be removed, the aura of a once-living being that clings to a particular spot in fear of being whisked away by the winds of their demise.

The aura knows not sympathy, empathy… feeling. The aura just knows. It remembers. I remember.

The railroad was deplorable. A rickety compilation of dew-eaten timber and rusted steel tossed together in no particular design. It sprawled across the foothills that ran the perimeter of Littleroot Town, the only break in an otherwise gorgeous landscape of purple and white and yellow. The wildflowers ran rampant now, as winter’s fatal breath retreated across the mountains, pursued by the warm curtain of spring.

The choking scent of the flowers had long-seized the air, so thick I could taste the petals on my tongue, know the thousands of pollen-toting insects that had come to rest upon the buds. It was quite a feat in itself, for my countless fits of sneezing had blocked any sort of smell from my nostrils. The flowers were valiant, though, and they succeeded in piercing the shroud. That, I remember.

I’d left my schoolyard companions, as always, to venture across this field. It seemed oh-so-silly to trek along the path they took, which would undoubtedly add an hour to my homeward voyage. Despite the regular protests of “Lila, you’re going to dirty your dress!” – I’d like to imagine that they’d called me Lila, it was such a pretty name, though it wasn’t mine. My name. That, I do not remember – I’d waved them off and tumbled headlong into the blossoms.

My springtime garb wasn’t befitting of my adolescent frame, – an old, lacy dress of my mother’s, hemmed in faded lilac and stitched with satin – and thus billowed around my thighs, hindering my sprint. My hands were a permanent fixture at my waist, tugging futilely at the gown, as if such efforts would be fruitful in freeing my strides.

The weeds, hidden like a predator beneath a lush canopy of bloom in wait of its prey, reached up to snatch at my feet. I would flounder, yes, but I would never fall. In reminiscence of the day, I now have come to realize that their intentions were in no way tainted with wickedness. The weeds and my oversized dress and everything else I had, at the time, viewed as a hindrance, hadn’t meant harm, but had instead been a warning. A warning of what was to come. They’d tried to stop it. Mother Earth, in all her appalling malice, had tried to battle fate itself. She wouldn’t win.

I came upon the railroad with no idea that I would die here. The abandoned boxcar that had plagued the hillside with its presence for a decade or so did not whisper words of my doom. The towering oaks that shed an uncomfortable shade over the neglected track hadn’t urged me in their ancient voices to flee. And so I hurried forward, footsteps hushed against a carpet of pine needles.

The school day hadn’t bestowed upon me the ordinary exhaustion it would, and thus, like any twelve-year-old ¬– Twelve, wasn’t it? Maybe ten or eleven? – I felt adventure tug my body toward the boxcar. What was the harm in climbing through it instead of walking around? The railroad had been abandoned, after all.

It was of the old sort, born of the 1940s era, and it hadn’t lived an elegant life. The boxcar’s deep russet metal was hidden beneath thick jackets of white-orange rust, and the spaces that were visible donned the curly letters and offensive sketches of the latest generation’s graffiti. Vines snaked down from the treetops overhead and looped through holes in the top, while beneath, roots of the nearby trees took the wheels hostage in their strangling clutches.

It took little effort to hoist my body into the compartment. I cringed at the castles of dust that had constructed themselves sporadically over the floor. The boxcar had been gutted long ago of whatever cargo it had been hauling at the time of its desertion by the head engine. Several boxes stood against the wall in a dilapidated tower, their edges prominent with frayed jags of splinter. Their mouths were gaping, empty.

The dying sun’s rays touched hesitantly upon the walls, revealing in its orange swathe an ocean of scrawlings that matched the outside. The spray paint was faded to such an extent where the bulbous letters and ‘gang names’ were illegible. It was chipped as well; dwarf mountains of orange and purple collected beneath.

I suppose that if I had lingered for even a moment longer, my life would have been spared. If my human body had spent only a second more examining the ‘artwork’ of miscreants, I would have heard the train whistle, the roar of wheels tearing across the track that ran alongside the one the boxcar rested upon. I would have tasted the heavy savor of coal smoke in the air, would have had enough sense not to step foot into the path of the oncoming train.

But I didn’t linger, and fate won.

Even as I leapt down upon it from the innards of the boxcar, I didn’t realize that there was a second track. My feeble adolescent mind had adhered to the theory that it was part of that single track, the safe track, where the boxcar was. Where I wasn’t.

A train hadn’t run these tracks in over a decade. Why now? I wasn’t familiar with the smog that streamed ahead of it, born of the coal furnaces and busy shovels. The whistle wasn’t of the charming variety, but instead a rough, phlegm-throated shriek. It screamed profanities at me, bombarded me with a punch to the gut, a slap to the face.

The thunder of the rushing, spinning wheels, driven at top speed, was laughter. “Stupid girl,” the wheels laughed. An offensive guffaw, hurtful chortle.

The train hit me, and I slept for nine months.

- - - - -

He walks the stairs to her room without using the handrail. Should he fall, would there really be any repercussion? Death, maybe? Might death reunite the two - the discarded soul and the other left to wander among the living? Would death really be so bad?

Mr. Stone ignores the light switch, stumbles into the chamber that has been darkened not by night, but by absence. Moonlight that should have been soft and inviting comes hard and jagged through the window. It dances a dance of mockery upon her bed, falls upon the dresser and her countless framed pictures – distorts her face, sketches a mustache, a pair of fangs.

Enraged, the man flounders to the bed, shreds the pillows and the comforter in his steely grip, but the moonlight remains. The dastardly fiend that dares ridicule his daughter continues to seep in through the windows, to play across his rotund form.

“Give her back!” he screams in a bellow that shakes the foundation, head tossed to the heavens as if such a position might better his chances of the message reaching God’s ears. Visions play across his eyes – her corpse twisted and gnarled, torn by metal and crusted in soil. The dress, his beloved wife’s dress, ripped into a million little pieces, scattered on the wind. Himself, kneeling before the railroad, pounding the ground until his fists are dirtied in blood and imbedded with pebbles.

Tears streak his face now, hunt desperately for the edge of his chin. They drop into the darkness below – it matches his heart, doesn’t it? He wonders about things that he’s never given mind to before, and the tears come faster. The sadness spreads; an ache that seems so very unfathomable presses at his chest. He sputters twice, then regains himself.

She’s gone.

- - - - - - - - - -

But I’m not.

I tumble along in a darkness that isn’t quite uncomfortable, but unfamiliar in itself. I can’t think; my thoughts swirl and swirl, prance around my understanding. I can see them: the old boxcar, Mrs. Huckabee pointing eagerly at the blackboard, the dirt, blood. But I can’t seem to collect them; they swirl into my view, then leave, and I don’t remember them ever having been there, so when they come back around a second time, a third, fourth, they seem so new, so clear.

I relax into the blackness; it’s all I can do, really. I feel light, like a gas in the atmosphere, so light, in fact, that I can’t control my movement. I drift along on whatever path I’ve been thrown onto, watching my memories over and over as if they are a film playing before my eyes.

It isn’t within my understanding to guess how long I drift. Every moment seems like the first, over and over, again and again, and I enjoy them all the same. I know only the moment I exist in. Nothing else.

It all stops after what seems like only a moment in this comfortable, twisting vortex. And every second leading up to this pours over me, pounds my consciousness like a busy hammer. I struggle to arrange my thoughts, my memories, but they keep coming, harder and faster than ever.

Jason passing me a note in Chemistry. Abigail Jaworsky stealing my lunch. Walking through the wildflowers. Climbing into the boxcar. The train. Run! Don’t just stand there. Run! Move, you have to move!

And the vortex ends in a drain. It sucks my gas form down, down, and I can see a hospital room. I’m spinning, spinning faster and faster. My head slams into the walls of black. I can see a calendar on the wall, but can’t make enough sense of my situation to realize that it is marked ‘December’. I don’t realize that I’ve been drifting for nine months.

I’m losing control. I can see a lady, hunched in a bed, legs spread wide, enormous lump on her stomach. A man squats before her, hands pressed into the space between her legs. He’s muttering words of encouragement, but the drain is too loud to hear him – so very loud.

There’s a certain aura surrounding her, emanating from where the man’s hands are. It’s incredibly bright, blinding even, and I can’t help but look away. I’m sure the others don’t see it. They don’t seem bothered in the least.

The drain changes direction now, slurps me closer and closer to the blinding light. I begin to struggle. There’s something that tells me to stop. An instinctual sensation urges me to accept the light, to allow it to engulf me, and I know deep, deep down that it is right. It is wrong to fight; my soul chips away with every kick. I can feel it fracturing.

But I don’t stop. It feels like I am defying the gods, but I follow my own advice, comply with the words of my memories Move, you have to move! I move this time. I refuse to make the same mistake as before; I thrash, kick harder than I ever have before. It’s like I’m swimming in the thickest pudding in the densest ocean.

I’m moving away from the light, away from the hospital bed, and every kick becomes easier. The darkness is drawing upon me, and it begins to slowly inhale me once more. It is freezing, but I push myself into it, and I feel like I’m shedding all of my nerves, every feeling I’ve ever felt.

I turn one more time to gaze upon the hospital bed. The pregnant woman is sobbing uncontrollably. The light from between her legs has been extinguished, and the doctors and nurses rush about the room with a small, limp object. They thrust metal tools upon it, but its arms do not move, nor do its legs. The brilliant yellow aura is dwindling around it. It is barely a glow now.

I try to gasp; I feel responsible, and I want to reverse my direction. I swim frantically for the dying infant, but the darkness has taken a hold of me. I cry out a silent sob, and the aura around the stillborn goes out. And I fall into the darkness.


Last edited by Bryce; 07-12-2009 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: And I Could Smell the Wildflowers [SWC]

- - - - - - - - - -

He is in the supermarket when it happens.

Dejected eyes trace the floor tiles, absorbing the grime, the gum that has been trampled to such an extent that it exists now as part of the establishment. Had he bothered to look in the mirror this morning? He doesn’t remember, but a part of him, the nagging, optimistic part that he had always despised, tells him that gym shorts and a stained tank top are not proper attire in which to venture out in public.

Is it her hair – those fiery locks that lick her head in their devouring ferocity – that acts as a beacon to his attention? He thinks it might be her glowing skin, but doesn’t dwell on the thought as he saunters over to the anonymous redheaded woman. A spring has seized his step, and for a moment, just one moment, a twinkling in time, he forgets about his loss.

The woman is beautiful; her features are prominent. She looks as if she has a purpose, and he longs for his own purpose. He remembers his loss once more; it trickles back in at such speeds that he suspects anger from the feeling at having been abandoned for even a second.

Two children mill around her, adorable kids that make a pang split his heart. And he knows it is love.

- - - - - - - - - -

I awoke when the trees were bare, their branches having been stripped of any living foliage. In place of leaves, thick mounds of snow had taken residence, building and building until the branches themselves creaked out a word of warning. I remember nothing of the blackness, of the dead infant and the hospital room.

The wildflowers had gone. A sea of white, unmarred and sparkling under morning’s gaze, lapped against the forest and the railroad that marked its entrance. The russet and silver beams of the track were sheltered by a wisp of pristine crystal. The abandoned boxcar, which had hunkered in the same spot for a decade and had survived seven petitions for extraction, three blizzards, and a heat wave, had been removed.

I should have been cold. My skin rightfully should have reverted to a hue so white it was transparent. Bone-crushing shivers should have racked my body; my toes should have been blackened and crumbling by frostbite. Silver-blonde locks should have been dusted in a layer of fine snow. Verdant eyes should have wept from the cold. I should have been able to see my breath…

However, all of these things that should have been were not.

The cliché inquiry as to where I was did not enter my mind. I was near the railroad. I knew this. However, when had it snowed? It had been nearing the beginning of April when I’d walked home from school. Surely we had cleared the margin of error in weather possible for a snowstorm by then, right?

The groggy haze of slumber began to peel itself from my consciousness, and I tottered to my feet. I was surprised at how hard that act was. It wasn’t that my joints and bones were worn and exhausted. I just felt so… heavy.

The sky was painted a lovely splash of rose, and the sun was hidden somewhere behind the trees. Was it setting or rising? Had I slept through the night or perhaps only until the evening? Father must be starving; he certainly would be lost in a kitchen by himself.

With my thoughts on nothing but my suffering father, not the fact that it had snowed this much in a matter of hours or the disappearance of the boxcar or the oncoming train or the possibility that I was no longer living, I started home.

- - - - -

“You painted the house, Dad?”

My voice was a squeak in the frosty air, devoid of any sort of gurgle that one might experience after such a long sleep. I stood in the street, wrapped in the many folds of my mother’s dress – I wasn’t cold; it just felt right – and gazed wonderingly, quite shocked, at the humble little home.

The exterior, which had, just this morning, displayed an unsightly peeling green had been redone in an attractive cinnamon brilliance. The lawn that had been scraggly and heat-ruined was now lush and vibrant, frosted in a bed of snow. I peeked into the garage, expecting the disarray and a jumble of old items, only to find it well kept and housing two cars – Father’s beat-up Toyota and some rather expensive-looking black car that I could not name.

My breathing grew fast; my lungs labored to fill with the frigid air and feel the bite of the chill. But it didn’t come. My chest didn’t rise, didn’t fall, and the air remained tepid. What was happening to me?

Only then did I notice the Christmas decorations that had been placed neatly across the lawn and the cord of lights that had been strewn over the garage and the curtained windows. They blinked a jovial green and red, twinkling away as if the world felt such a happiness, such holiday cheer.

“What…” The word was lost in a quick breeze that swept across the street and the darkened houses. A rotund plastic Santa Claus glared at me from the lawn, my lawn, with eyes so threatening that I could only suspect it had been purchased in a Halloween shop. His pack of reindeer – what were their names again? – stood proudly beside him, reined in by a single rope that connected them all. Were their teeth supposed to be so jagged? Their eyes as malicious as Santa’s?

I strode from the street across the lawn, careful to avoid eye contact with the bizarre holiday figures. There was movement from somewhere behind the curtain of the window to my right, and I pressed my face against it, my stomach sinking when the glass did not confer a chill. I could see nothing through the lavish white curtains, and thus moved to the door.

I took a deep breath, -- could I really call it a breath? – and turned the knob.

The interior was more or less the same as I remembered it, with few variations here and there. The walls remained the same eggshell white that I remembered; the shag carpet led to the mahogany staircase and the two rooms off to the left, the kitchen and my father’s. But there was something wrong. Two sets of keys on the entrance hall’s table? A woman’s coat and two that were so small they could only belong to children? It was only Father and I living here… Was he having visitors?

And it was then that I heard the voices. I couldn’t determine the words they spoke, but they carried a warm tone. A laugh. My dad’s laugh. Contrary to expectation, it did not ease my worry, but only intensified the dread the now bubbled within my chest. I hadn’t heard him laugh in years… Not since Mother –

The sounds drifted from the kitchen, where bright yellow light spilled into the dark hallway. A woman’s voice. The clink of metal upon porcelain. Were they having breakfast? Why hadn’t my father come looking for me at some point in the night? Why hadn’t he called the police? Ordered a search through the city and through the forest and through the pastures of wildflowers?

I stepped carefully and deliberately toward the kitchen, my legs unwilling to go further. My fingers traced the walls as I made my way down the hallway, somehow drained of any eagerness to end this nightmare, this confusion. And when I looked into the kitchen, my heart – or whatever organ, entity, person, ghost, or god that kept me living, if that’s what I was – stopped.

The white-and-yellow-checkered tiling gleamed bright, something it hadn’t done in years. Marble countertops were swept clean and harbored dozens of little kitchen gadgets – a white toaster that steamed with the heat of cooking bread, a blender that looked mightily expensive, a coffee maker. A woman stood at the sink, bouncy red curls draped down her back. Her hands were at work in the basin, scrubbing at the first of many dirty dishes stacked at her left. She sported an immaculate gray power suit, and her long, tanned legs ended in a pair of glossy black high heels.

She turned, exposing her bright face. Teeth that could have been the model for a toothpaste company glinted in the overhead light. The woman’s cheeks was unmarred but for the laugh lines that curled around the edges of her lips. Dull, but somehow entrancing, eyes glistened as she said something to the man and two small children lounging at the kitchen table.

There, my father sat. His familiar lopsided haircut fell into his eyes, upon which the natural black hue battled with the representative of aging – gray. He had lost weight, that much I could tell. He was no longer corpulent and bulging out of his collared shirt and black slacks. Instead, his chest was quite rigid and his waist slimmer. Fat was not compiled beneath his jaw or cheeks, and one could actually detect his handsome features that had been hidden for so long.

Two children that I’d never seen before slumped in the two chairs to his right. One, a scraggly-headed boy whose face was overrun with freckles, dangled from his seat, leaning toward the floor. His hands clasped a piece of cooked bacon, which was dripping grease, and he wagged it tauntingly before the face of a scrawny Hippopotas.

The creature’s enormous snout was globular and perked up at the scent of food. Nostrils that could have inhaled the child’s arm right up to the shoulder flexed, and its mouth dropped open, a pink tongue falling lazily to the floor. The rest of its stout body sprawled over the ground, short arms wriggling wildly as it attempted to stand. The boy barked a harsh laugh, then gobbled the bacon, much to the dismay of his Pokemon.

The other was a girl who couldn’t have been older than five and had a fiery mane of red locks. A dotted bow bloomed from her head, matching the yellow dress that fit snugly around her tiny waist. I was reminded horribly of how mine didn’t fit. My guts were sent into a spasm.

The little girl ate her cereal silently, enormous eyes flicking around, taking in any and every movement in the room. Her eyes did not fall upon me.

I tried to step forward, but couldn’t. My breath caught in my throat, and my legs grew weak. “Dad…” I struggled to gasp, but was gagged by my own horror. My fingers gripped the doorframe, digging in with such force that surely should have drawn blood. But, of course, none came. Only fear and hurt spewed forth.

I suddenly felt awfully heavy; it was so very hard to keep my arms up, to keep my grip on the wall. Panicked eyes fell to the floor, an act that did nothing but increase the alarm tenfold. My shoes were gone, replaced by the carpet itself. Spindly white ankles grew from the floor, but I could still feel my feet, could still wriggle them. I climbed the wall, scratching fruitlessly at the air. I was sinking.

I finally managed to operate my mouth, shouting with all the force I could muster, “Dad!” The word rocketed from my lips, reverberated from the stairs, sprayed into the kitchen, where the happy family was enjoying breakfast. I wanted to cry, but no tears came. The sensation of moisture stung my cheeks, but no tears.

The floor was sucking me down, inhaling me. A second glance revealed that I was up to my knees, and moments later, my waist. “Dad, please! Help me!” I screamed again, and I was sure such an act would tear my throat. My arms became frantic, slamming against the walls, tearing at the carpet. Tufts of shag and splinters of the doorframe stuck under my nails, but I felt no pain.

The Hippopotas beneath the table shuddered, then looked up. Eyes became wide, and he stood, with great effort, upon those stubby little legs. He started in my direction, then stopped, gazed around as if to confirm that he was the only one that has heard the noise.

The Pokemon shuffled forward at a slow run, interest piqued. He’d heard me, and it was all I can do to shriek out again, to put out my arms as if to welcome the animal. It wasn’t within my knowledge that fable told of Pokemon being able to detect the dead, while humans could not. It never entered my mind, because I wasn’t dead. I wasn’t.

A snarl mounted the lips of the Pokemon, and my heart sank. It leapt forward, thrashing wildly as if to attack me, and its teeth closed over my arm in a vicious Crunch attack. I screamed out, used my free arm to beat the Hippopotas about the back. It was valiant in its effort, however, and shook me with force that I wouldn’t have expected from such a small creature.

I didn’t notice the baffled expressions of the family in the kitchen, didn’t hear their inquiries of, “Sparky, what are you doing?” and “What’s that beast up to now?” I was too busy fighting for my life, against the force that sucked me down into the earth and the Pokemon that was crushing my arm to pieces.

In the chaos, I wasn’t aware of the fact that I felt no pain. And part of me was glad of that fact. I would have only been more frantic if I knew that hurt wasn’t ripping through my flesh. I preferred to believe that I was dying here, being mauled by this vicious animal.

The woman moved in my direction, and for a moment I was convinced that she had come to rescue me. However, she turned toward the table instead, leaned down, and pecked my father on the cheek.

And that was it. All of the gravity in the earth tugged at that very instant, dragged me down into the floor. My arms closed over the Hippopotas, secured him within my grasp, and he came too.

I blinked at the cement that clogged my vision, followed immediately by grass, and then dirt. I struggled to cough, but soil filled my mouth, jammed into my nose. There was no taste, no smell, but it was there, and it disrupted all of my senses, threw me into darkness. The Pokemon howled within my clutches, but I didn’t release my grip.

I was sinking so quickly, so very quickly, and I heard the train. I saw the rushing steel machine, felt my limbs lock up, tasted the smog of the coal on my lips.

Fire burst into my vision, and I knew I was sinking to the middle of the earth, sinking to the core. It was God’s revenge, or Satan’s, or whatever force controlled my fate. I had stolen the life of an infant, had kept my spirit in an act of selfishness, had deprived another of the chance to live. He’d allowed me to see my family one last time, to feel the agony that came with being replaced, with being forgotten. I was being dragged to Hell, and I deserved it.

The heat struck me, blistered my skin, ripped into my chest, burned my hair into scraggly black weeds. I felt the heat. I actually felt something.

And I could smell the wildflowers.
- - - - - - - - - -

Target Pokemon:
Required Characters: 20,000 - 30,000
Included Characters: 28,000


Last edited by Bryce; 07-12-2009 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:24 AM
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Default Re: And I Could Smell the Wildflowers [SWC]

Kk, here you go.

Introduction: Yeah, this was pretty much the definition of an epic introduction. The quote snags attention right of the bat. Said quote is then followed up quite excellently with the actual introduction—it gives an idea of a character who is in a situation that is fascinating simply because you know it’s not everything, and not everything is nowhere near what you want to know.

In short, well-done. The language was handled well, the purpose of an introduction was fulfilled, and it was all done in such a way that the reader is not only interested and introduced, but actually enthusiastic about reading on. Continue to perform your introductions like this, ‘cause it’s an excellent way to do them.

One thing, though: the introduction didn't quite align with the plot because of the plot's lack of cohesion. I think it could, and could do so very well... but it doesn't at this point. That's more of a plot thing than an introduction thing, but eh.

Plot: This was where problems came to play.

Nothing seemed to... happen. It was all aligned in a manner that didn’t make much sense and caused quite a bit of confusion that wasn’t the “please keep bewildering me!” sort.

It’s about a girl who is hit by a train, comes back to life, then fades away again. That’s… not enough. We have very little why and how, which detracts seriously from the story. Although the presentation was enrapturing and emotional, that’s not all there is to a plot itself. It feels as if there’s no greater relevance. It just sort of happens, and then… the end. There wasn’t really character development—just a tragedy followed by a discovery—and there weren’t really situations, so much as a single occurrence. To me, it didn’t feel as if it had a purpose.

And beyond this, the Pokémon’s appearance had nothing to do with the plot whatsoever. That would not be particularly worrisome in most cases, but as a whole, in this particular case, it becomes problematic. Elucidation on even the Pokémon’s role would strengthen and build upon the plot.

I would imagine there is a plethora of ways to elaborate, but I honestly do not know enough about the story to recommend specifics seriously. It feels as if there is so much missing. How does the girl come to be the aura, exactly? Does this just happen when she fades away? What, specifically, triggers her disintegration? Although she doesn’t know them, more details provided on her condition would probably make things more solid—it doesn’t eradicate the fact that the plot still doesn’t feel… like a plot, really. The why and how is so very important.

Grammar: I noted some comma issues that weren’t so much… comma issues… as sentences structures you might want to consider reworking. They possessed, as far as I can decipher, no specific incorrect grammatical forms—it was merely the presentation that might have benefited from some reworking. To grab an example from the beginning….

No recognizable persona, place, or moment remained. Just the perfume that had now become a stench, a disease, a plague, a clawing entity that swarmed around my understanding, taunting, always taunting.
Okay. First off, I want to note that you use various artistic writing style forms here (and pretty much everywhere else) that I quite enjoyed. Your sentence structure tends to be slightly unorthodox, which is always nice to read. Kudos.

Now, for a structural blip you made a few times…. Technically, there should be a grammatical connection, rather than break, between “remained” and “just” to be “correct”, but it fits artistically (which is my main concern with grammar). Keep the grammar in mind and perhaps consider softening the breaks where connected clauses are broken apart—it could help a bit more with flow, although your flow is great as-is. And in 8/10 of the instances that this occurred, it seemed you were going for additional jolt in reading—it’s the other bits you should give a bit of consideration, so that they aren’t so much wavering between the feel of “deliberate” and “whoopsy”.

Take a peek at the “taunting, always taunting”. It’s connected onto the rest of the sentence a little too cleanly, with just a comma, considering the fact that it has a separate sort of feel. Also, with the list-iness preceding it, some breaking up (although not necessary) would certainly not be amiss. Perhaps an em-dash/semi-colon & rewording placed somewhere around there for emphasis upon one bit over the other, and an additional sense of isolation. The same goes for the beginning of that sentence, around where the list starts; punctuation other than a comma could add more effect to the reading. If you care to tinker in the future, this occurred in quite a few sentences—it’s really a stylistic thing, which is, obviously, entirely dependent upon the writer’s whims. Tinkering with the punctuation for emphasis could add additional nuances (although Lord knows you already add heaps with your word orders). It’s worthy of note, though, that this use of commas led to a few genuine errors—so watch out for that.

Well, you did fine here—I only mentioned what I did because your language is advanced, and more advanced is always a good thing.

Details: I liked these quite a lot. They were efficient, but without being brusque and artless—which is something efficiency in writing often brings. The images were painted with a flair that makes them feel slightly surreal, with a rich sort of vibrance. This was the strongest point of the piece—which probably isn’t a good thing, honestly, because although language and images are important, the story itself is moreso. Spend some more time looking over at that, in the case of this story.

Battle: Well. There was none. That doesn’t hold a particular weight with me, but in this situation, I don’t think it would have gone amiss. It would have certainly added a bit more… continuity of plot, at least. The battle is most certainly not the most important aspect of a URPG story, but there must be a certain strength to the entire story to pass, and the plot was considerably weak.

Length: Hm. It’s a bit short. Considering that, had a more solid plot been woven, it would likely have reached above the limit, this is questionable.

Verdict: This was a rather tough call, mainly because I didn’t know exactly how much weight should be given to certain aspects of the story in this situation. I’m going to say, though, Hippopotas not captured. A stronger feel of URPG-ness with the battle/capture would have tipped the scale in this situation, as the weakness in the intrinsically important element of a story (plot) made it difficult for the other elements to outweigh the lack.

:x Sorry it took so long to get this to you (taking the deadline into account); I’ll stay up ‘till three am doing a regrade if need be, so that you’re able to enter SWC.

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.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: And I Could Smell the Wildflowers [SWC]


Plot: It still wanders a bit, and the direction is a mite confused—but there definitely feels to be more of a reason behind the plot. The girl, who was supposed to be reincarnated as the baby, withheld her soul, I assume—that was not amazingly clear at the time, but it was there to puzzle out by the end (which you should watch… try not to let things like that go unexplained for so long unless you have a specific motive for doing so). The final scene was her punishment, she believes; whether this is true or not is left up to the reader. There’s definitely more cohesion, more of a point and purpose—not a huge amount, but still more. The events were given a root and a cause, which in turn gives a firmer sense of purpose.

The grader in me still feels just a little iffy on this—although strengthened, it’s still a little weak because of unanswered questions. Because of the concept and the original POV, it seems that the plot is difficult to pull into play. With all this considered, I think you’ve done with the plot what can be done with the plot, and done it well.

As for the battle’s integration… I do wonder why exactly the Pokémon bit her arm. I mean, it sensed her, but it didn’t appear to have a reason to attack her—and as I said, reasons are important. Reasons are what give characters motives, and what formulate the motives behind the motives; they are also the name that people give to occurrences they use as excuses and lies to rationalize there actions—and, really, so much more than that, especially in writing. You gave more reason, but also integrated additional happenings that lacked reasons. Be careful with that in the future, too.

If I were grading you on how well you present the plot, rather than the plot itself, I would have likely passed you no problem right off the bat—keep that in mind, as that’s the strength to your writing. It’s compelling. In the future, try to back that strength up with a more solid plot (which you did with these edits, despite a few lingering misgivings on my part). You could potentially have very powerful pieces of work. You just need to get that backbone of structure in a bit earlier on, and remember that answers are the most important part of a question.

Pass on this, I think.

Battle: Hey, it works. Not a battle in the technical sense of the term, but battles in the technical sense of the term are never quite as fun. It also lends a bit more leverage over the plot’s downfalls, which aren’t quite as prominent, but are still somewhat present at this point. I guess I might admonish you on the length, but I rather like it as is. Getting dragged into the floor with her was a nice touch. Pass.

Length: You bumped this up quite high, actually. No problems here.

Verdict: K, Hippopotas now captured. You can have the fat thing. XD As a whole, the plot still unsettles me slightly, but strengthening the other two questionable sections—in addition to the changes in the plot—made up for it. Just be careful with the direction of your plots.

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.
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