[12] The Other Pokereviews, Part 73

Today we have a wild Enos! The story is actually decently written otherwise, but still so awkward.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12659103/1/Excel-Academy-SYOC

You should separate your author notes with a horizontal line; otherwise, they look like part of the story.

You wouldn’t capitalize animal or mouse or dragon, so you shouldn’t capitalize words like pokemon or pikachu or charizard. The only time you should capitalize it is if you’re using it as the pokemon’s name, ie, Ash’s pikachu is called Pikachu. This is because you only capitalize when it’s a proper noun, which are the names of places or things. Similar reasoning should be applied to any other words you’re thinking of capitalizing, like telephone or trainer. Or professor. Before you message me about this, please look at fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/55376155/1/Capitalization-Thread to make sure your argument hasn’t already been addressed.

SYOC fic is fraught with issues and obstacles. I don’t actually recommend doing it at all, but if you want to, you should read this thread to be aware of the most common pitfalls: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/142912324/1/Stop-Asking-For-OCs

[They blend in seamlessly with the indigo ceiling and only stand out against the vibrant magenta wisps that color the fading sky.]

The rest of the story is in past tense, so this should be as well.

[His normal bright hazel orbs]

You don’t want to refer to eyes as “orbs”, trust me. It sounds absolutely ridiculous.

[Yeah, I know mom.]

When a title (such as “mom” or “dad”) is used in place of a name, it’s capitalized like one.

[He nodded, “Okay mom.”]

When narration doesn’t describe how dialogue is said, it’s a separate sentence and is punctuated accordingly. So this should be [He nodded. “Okay Mom.”]

[-Excel Academy-]

This is an odd scene break. Generally, it works better for scene breaks to be pure symbols so they are less distracting.

[He stared up at the bumpy why ceiling – his eyes still cloudy from having just woken up.]

I believe you want “white” here. You also want a comma, not a dash – dashes are for asides or independent clauses.

This kid does not sound or act like a fourteen-year-old at all. I’m actually a little concerned about how perfectly he behaves. He’s like a robot.

[“Mumble?” the professor questioned.]

“Questioned” is what police do; it’s a synonym for “interrogated”, not “asked”.

So. As an intro chapter for an original trainer story, this works okay. However, according to your summary, what this story is really about is the academy, and we haven’t even seen it yet. To submit appropriate characters for this, we need to know what the academy is like. Why do people want to go there, as opposed to another academy or going on a journey like most kids in canon? What do the students do there? What are the challenges and advantages of living there? What is the culture of the student and faculty body? Is this going to be a lighthearted slice-of-life story, or is there some deeper plot going on we should try to engage with? These are very important questions, and without answers, getting characters you want will come completely down to luck.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12658888/1/A-Different-Life

This belongs in the Anime world. Find your story under “Manage Stories” and select it from the dropdown menu that says “World: Any” in the “Category” section. If you have difficulties or objections, take it to this thread: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/165132256/1/World-Tags

[Pov: Aurea Juniper]

You don’t need to label POVs when they’re obvious from context.

You’re formatting dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part IS considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. (“Speak” is also not a speech verb.) Furthermore, if you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s [“Hi,” she said. “This is it.”] not [“Hi,” she said, “this is it.”] or [“Hi,” she said “this is it.”] And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”] The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking out loud, which is confusing to the reader.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12659045/1/Ash-Reborn-Light-Side

This belongs in the Anime world. Find your story under “Manage Stories” and select it from the dropdown menu that says “World: Any” in the “Category” section. If you have difficulties or objections, take it to this thread: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/165132256/1/World-Tags

Non-story chapters are banned. Put this in an author’s note, your profile, or a forum post.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12659688/1/To-become-the-Very-Besy-Kanto-Arc

This belongs in the Anime world. Find your story under “Manage Stories” and select it from the dropdown menu that says “World: Any” in the “Category” section. If you have difficulties or objections, take it to this thread: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/165132256/1/World-Tags

[A smarter Ash]

Ash’s stupidity is inherent to his character. If you want to write about an OC, just write about an OC, don’t insist they’re wearing Ash’s skin as a suit.

You’re formatting dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part IS considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. (“Speak” is also not a speech verb.) Furthermore, if you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s [“Hi,” she said. “This is it.”] not [“Hi,” she said, “this is it.”] or [“Hi,” she said “this is it.”] And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”] The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking out loud, which is confusing to the reader.

This is a mess. Stop capitalizing random words. You need a beta reader. Start looking here: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/42724996/1/Beta-Signup

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12659935/1/Ash-s-unique-journey

Your title isn’t fully capitalized.

This belongs in the Anime world. Find your story under “Manage Stories” and select it from the dropdown menu that says “World: Any” in the “Category” section. If you have difficulties or objections, take it to this thread: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/165132256/1/World-Tags

[Smarter/aura/phychic ash]

If you want to write about an OC, just write about an OC, don’t insist they’re wearing Ash’s skin as a suit.

Don’t post until you have a story.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12660512/1/Starro-Gotta-Catch-Em-All

This belongs in the Anime world. Find your story under “Manage Stories” and select it from the dropdown menu that says “World: Any” in the “Category” section. If you have difficulties or objections, take it to this thread: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/165132256/1/World-Tags

You wouldn’t capitalize animal or mouse or dragon, so you shouldn’t capitalize words like pokemon or pikachu or charizard. The only time you should capitalize it is if you’re using it as the pokemon’s name, ie, Ash’s pikachu is called Pikachu. This is because you only capitalize when it’s a proper noun, which are the names of places or things. Similar reasoning should be applied to any other words you’re thinking of capitalizing, like telephone or trainer. Or professor. Before you message me about this, please look at fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/55376155/1/Capitalization-Thread to make sure your argument hasn’t already been addressed.

You’re formatting dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part IS considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. (“Speak” is also not a speech verb.) Furthermore, if you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s [“Hi,” she said. “This is it.”] not [“Hi,” she said, “this is it.”] or [“Hi,” she said “this is it.”] And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”] The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking out loud, which is confusing to the reader.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12662722/1/Fractured

Non-story chapters are banned on this site.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12662722/2/Fractured

[Attempting to fight the flow of fate will result in assured death. However, some think fate is keeping them back. Some think they are invincible. Some are foolish enough to think they played the higher power. Some, are just that determined to make a point. Some, are just stupidly lucky.]

Uh, cool, but what’s the story actually about? Only giving the reader a vague, abstract summary open to many interpretations is very frustrating.

[The soft, quiet breeze sweep along the cement station as a loud, steel train rolled up and stopped.]

The rest of the sentence is in past tense, so “sweep” should be as well. Keep your tenses consistent.

[the towns name. Anville Town.]

Missing apostrophe. You also want a colon there, not a period.

[On that train was a particular fifth-teen-year-old boy.]

You want “fifteen”, not “fifth-teen”. Are you not a native speaker? Regardless, this many mistakes so soon is a sign you need a beta reader. Start looking here: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/42724996/1/Beta-Signup

[You doing ok?]

It’s written “okay”, four letters. It is not an abbreviation for something else, nor is it pronounced ook, therefore it should never be written as OK, Ok, O.K. or ok.

You’re formatting dialogue incorrectly. Dialogue is written as [“Hello,” she said] or [“Hello!” she said], never [“Hello.” She said] or [“Hello”, she said] or [“Hello” she said]. This is because dialogue and speech tags are considered to be part of the same sentence, so they have to flow together. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb. In that case, the second part IS considered a separate sentence, so it’s written as [“Hello.” She grinned], never [“Hello,” she grinned]. Note that something isn’t a speech verb just because it’s a sound you make with your mouth, so generally stuff like “laughed” or “giggled” is in the second category. (“Speak” is also not a speech verb.) Furthermore, if you’re breaking up two complete sentences it’s [“Hi,” she said. “This is it.”] not [“Hi,” she said, “this is it.”] or [“Hi,” she said “this is it.”] And if you’re breaking up a sentence in the middle, it’s [“Hi. This,” she said, “is it.”] The same punctuation and capitalization rules apply to thoughts, except you don’t use quotation marks (or single quotes) with thoughts. This is because quotation marks for thoughts make it look like your characters are talking out loud, which is confusing to the reader.

[Inside on his dining room table was a large box. Seemingly 12 1/4″ x 12 1/4″ x 6″.]

It’s generally a good idea to avoid such technical specifications; most people cannot readily translate numbers to physical appearance. It’s easier to just say “it was a large box”. (Also, a foot square is not a very large box.)

[He mentally shuddered]

This phrase always sounds so silly to me. Why mentally, why not physically? Wouldn’t that be a better way to show how freaked out he is? If he can control himself enough to not shudder, he’s not that scared.

[“What is all this stuff grandpa?”]

When a title (such as “mom” or “grandpa”) is used in place of a name, it’s capitalized like one.

[*the line was cut*]

This isn’t a comic book or screenplay. You can describe actions normally.

Why can’t he take the injured pokemon to a pokemon center?

[That son. Is a Keledo.]

It’s “Keldeo”. Also, so wait, is it a unique creature or just one of a rare species? The games sure seem to imply the Musketeers are unique individuals.

[As much as he wanted money, that legendary had a purpose in this world. More than humans who live a collective 100 years at most while legendary Pokemon where immortal. Protecting people like them.]

How does he know this? (And the maximum human lifespan is actually around 120.)

Also, like… so what, if it wasn’t anything special, he’d have sold it into slavery without a second thought? There should be a moral consideration, not one of “it’s more useful to humanity free”.

[He will need to Pokemon before we-]

What?

While I’m pleased that things are happening, this is a pretty cliché setup, right down to the parents being ridiculously over-the-top evil caricatures. Also, you really, really need a beta reader.

[no hidden abilities]

See, the thing about this is that sometimes hidden abilities make for better stories. It’s not very productive to put a blanket ban on things; anything can be done well. Mary Sues aren’t going to be any less terrible just because you forced them away from one overpowered thing.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12665521/1/A-New-Beginning

This belongs in the Anime world. Find your story under “Manage Stories” and select it from the dropdown menu that says “World: Any” in the “Category” section. If you have difficulties or objections, take it to this thread: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/165132256/1/World-Tags

You should separate your author notes with a horizontal line; otherwise, they look like part of the story.

You don’t need to label POVs when they’re obvious from context.

Not using paragraphs makes me not want to read your story.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12665631/1/Pokemon-Revolution

Ah… you might want to change your title. There’s a popular fic by the same name.

Non-story chapters are banned on this site. If you want to gauge reader interest, do a poll on a forum.

Even what little you have is completely incoherent. You need a beta reader. Start looking here: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/42724996/1/Beta-Signup

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12660699/1/A-Blond-Ray-of-Sunshine

[A young Trainer’s badge collecting journey to the Indigo Plateau with his Pokémon best friend is an easygoing affair, until he begins to discover he possesses extraordinary powers.]

And those powers are…? Summaries need to tell us more than just the genre. What’s your plot?

You wouldn’t capitalize animal or mouse or dragon, so you shouldn’t capitalize words like pokemon or pikachu or charizard. The only time you should capitalize it is if you’re using it as the pokemon’s name, ie, Ash’s pikachu is called Pikachu. This is because you only capitalize when it’s a proper noun, which are the names of places or things. Similar reasoning should be applied to any other words you’re thinking of capitalizing, like telephone or trainer. Or professor. Before you message me about this, please look at fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/55376155/1/Capitalization-Thread to make sure your argument hasn’t already been addressed.

[the sounds of thousands of people, Pokémon, and cars]

So pokemon aren’t people?

[Away from the cars and the noise of the city, small suburban neighborhoods dotted the quieter outskirts. On the otherwise uneventful day in the suburbs, a young boy with blond hair neatly cut into bangs emerged from one of the many two-story homes. He grinned from ear to ear, his bright hair shimmering in the sun like a blond ray of sunshine. In his blue polo shirt and shorts, he proudly pulled at the straps of his backpack topped with a large sleeping bag. His brown eyes sparkled with excitement — and some nervousness. He, like countless other young people, was about to set out on his journey as a Trainer in the hopes of becoming a Pokémon Master.]

The description here feels a bit forced. That said, it’s a lot better than what I usually see, and I can’t think of a better way to get this information across off the top of my head. Maybe look at some published books (not YA, they tend to have a lot of problems with this) and see what description intros work for you.

[The impending cold of winter had his mother pensive about her boy heading off into the world alone.]

This is rapidly approaching purple prose. Not every sentence needs to be told in the most sophisticated words.

[Over a year had passed since that fateful day he left home on his journey.]

So was it necessary to show that day? I don’t think it was. Everyone reading this is already intimately familiar with how the journey structure works, and you didn’t introduce anything unusual in your intro. Nobody would have been confused if you’d just started here, but it would have helped get the story rolling faster. This thread has more explanation: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/142411850/1/First-Chapters

[Some time afterward, Antoshi realized he was able to understand and speak to Fireball — as well as all Pokémon he encountered on his journey.]

Hoo boy. You’ve just opened a can of worms I don’t think you’re prepared for.

This isn’t like your typical shonen story where the protagonist’s buddies are equal partners and make the same sacrifices as him. If pokemon can talk, pokemon have human-level intelligence and are people. If pokemon are people, the entire training system becomes unnecessary and treating them like pets becomes slavery. (Even here – why doesn’t Fireball have a name of his own, if pokemon are social creatures?) If Antoshi knows this and does nothing, he is a monster. N may have been fed false information, but at least he took a moral stance on this instead of pretending it didn’t exist. I strongly recommend reading this: fanfiction (d o t) net/topic/11834/142476358/1/Pokemon-Intelligence

[“It’s hot out here,” Fireball complained.]

Being on fire is literally Fireball’s natural state.

[“Can’t do it, Fireball,” the boy calmly replied whilst looking in the distance for something. “We know there’s a sailor named Sean at the Route 19 Marina who ferries Trainers between Fuchsia and Cinnabar Island. He only shows up once a week so we can’t miss this opportunity.”]

[…]

[Antoshi’s eyes initially lit up with excitement at the prospect of a battle, but his expression quickly shifted to nervousness. He looked to the marina in the far distance. He and Fireball needed to find that sailor before the boat left. He clenched his fist and turned back to the younger Trainer with a confident nod.

“All right, let’s do it!” Antoshi replied with an enthused grin.]

So Antoshi can jeopardize the mission for his own amusement, but Fireball can’t?

[Fireball took a deep breath of his own, roaring as a massive jet of fire burst from his mouth. The female Trainer watched in shock as her Corsola took the entire brunt of the attack. Once the flames fizzled out, Corsola was left scorched. It groaned weakly before falling onto its side, twitching. The young girl was incredulous.

“But- . . . b-but how?! My Corsola had two type advantages over Fire!”

“Fireball and I have been training almost nonstop for over a year,” Antoshi replied, patting his friend on the shoulder just as Fireball to extinguish the flames on his back. “He’s accumulated a lot of strength over that time. You have to factor in experience into the mix as well.”]

Ah, it’s rare to see people acknowledge this. However, the way you’ve done it feels incredibly artificial, like you’ve just directly transplanted the game mechanics. Unless you’re taking the interpretation that pokemon are magic spirits or something that literally just get stronger over time, there should be a bit more to this. Maybe experienced pokemon know how to hit weak spots, or have greater control over their powers and can use a more concentrated jet. This is the better option in general, because just watching pokemon hit each other without any greater strategy or curveballs is really boring.

[Antoshi and Fireball shuffled as quickly as they could down the sandy sidewalk, avoiding people as they passed — which was harder for the larger Fireball.]

How is Fireball not burning everyone who bumps into him?

This is a lot more detailed than most trainer fic, but I’m still not entirely clear what the story is about. I presume this is going to be more than just a badge quest because you skipped most of the journey, but you’ve given no indication of what that might be. Remember that your first chapter is your opportunity to hook your reader. You don’t need to put all your cards on the table, but it should be a fair representation of the story as a whole that readers can use to gauge whether or not it’s something they want to read.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12660699/2/A-Blond-Ray-of-Sunshine

[Then, he casually placed the whole treat — cone and all — into his, loudly crunching on it.]

Looks like you dropped a word here.

[At that point, some of the other Trainers on board had begun hearing Antoshi conversing and laughing. Some of them stared at the boy, finding him seemingly crazy for talking to his Pokémon — let alone keeping it out of its Poké Ball all the time.

Antoshi had initially kept Fireball in a Poké Ball. After a while of having no one else to accompany him on lonely roads, he began to take Fireball out of his Poké Ball more and more until eventually Fireball became his constant traveling companion.]

Okay, I think I’ve figured out why this feels off to me.

Taken on its own, this story is pretty good. The characters have a nice dynamic and Fireball is a fully realized person. If this was, like, a Disney fairytale – a low fantasy adventure about a plucky kid and his talking animal companion – there’d be no issue.

But adding pokemon to the mix introduces more complications. People can treat animals pretty badly in real life, but it’s not normal, acceptable behavior to take them from their homes, stuff them in stasis capsules, and make them fight for our entertainment while we take all the credit. Trainers have so much power over their pokemon while pokemon get so little in exchange. Even if Antoshi is walking the walk on this (and even then, he only let Fireball out in the first place for selfish reasons), this makes it clear that other trainers are not. In the setting you’ve established (all pokemon can talk), pokemon are people and Antoshi knows this. But the average trainer is not treating them like people – you don’t keep people in stasis capsules and only release them when they can be useful to you, you don’t feed people kibble, you don’t expect people you consider friends to jump at every order you bark.

It’s understandable that you want the benefits of a talking pokemon companion without derailing your plot with this can of worms, but it’s still very awkward as it is. You could sidestep this issue just by having trainers be more considerate of their pokemon than we’re used to – just removing pokeballs would go a long way, really. But constantly drawing attention to the fact that treating pokemon like people is weird fringe behavior just underscores how awkward and unfair this system is – as does every time you say “people and pokemon”. Fireball may have lucked out with a nice trainer, but what about everyone else?

2 Comments

  1. CrazyEd says:
    Today we have a wild Enos! The story is actually decently written otherwise, but still so awkward.

    A wild what?




    0

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