NaRe 2018 Day 2 (6)

Trainerfic that isn’t about walking up to the professor today!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12783484/1/At-Your-Bedside

Blocked! Same person as a previous one, actually. I wonder to what degree an author’s output determines blocking likelihood. People who produce a ton of oneshots are way more likely to encounter me and I’m way more likely to encounter another of their fics afterwards.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12783516/1/Chapters

[The girl disembarked her plane, looking around for the signs directing her to the gate leading to her connecting flight. She was halfway through with the journey, leaving from her home in Lumiose City, just arriving in Unova, waiting for her connection to take her to the Johto region. ]

This is really weird in terms of tense because thanks to “ing”, this is all happening at the same time. And while that’s most of what makes this confusing, given the other meaning of “journey”, it’s best to avoid it when the meaning is ambiguous and use “trip”. My first reading of this was that she’d planned her pokemon journey to involve only two regions for some reason. And “trip” fits better anyway because a journey is usually a bit longer and more involved than a connecting flight.

[The airport was full of people looking for ways to kill time, and every other gate seemed to have a pokemon battle taking place outside. A battle between a pidgeot and a swellow took place above the heads of the bystanders, children watching excitedly at gate thirteen.]

And this seems incredibly dangerous if the airports are designed anything like ours. Possibly they’re not – I’d think the pokeworld would prioritize people getting to battle constantly everywhere, so it makes sense they’d build with that in mind – but I can’t really picture how they’d manage to fit in enough space for pokemon battles that wouldn’t get near something important. Inside the building prevents people from moving, trashes the area and risks stray attacks hitting someone. Outside risks damaging the runway or getting in the way of a plane. Are there designated battling spaces by the gates? How big, what to they look like?

[She looked fairly inconspicuous. She wore charcoal leggings, denim shorts, brown fleece lined hiking boots, and a dark gray, zip-up hoodie. Her curly brown hair fell just to her collarbone with a pale pink baseball cap placed on her head with teal writing advertising the Alola region. A blue shoulder bag held her trainer’s supplies, laptop and pokeballs. A small green leather cross body purse held her cellphone, earbuds, money and identification.]

If the point is just that she looks inconspicuous, you really shouldn’t need this much detail unless you’re arguing for each piece to be part of a carefully crafted image. Also, how light are trainer supplies? Just a laptop in a shoulder bag is going to hurt if you’re carrying it long distances. Why doesn’t she have a proper backpack?

[ “You can give up now, if you want, but you’ll pay me double what we bet on,” the man said, a smirk dancing on his lips. ]

I realize the point here is that he’s an asshole, but it really doesn’t seem like declaring mid-battle that there’s new rules nobody agreed to is going to be legally enforceable. Not only should fourteen year olds battling for money understand this, but they’re surrounded by a crowd – why doesn’t somebody else point this out, if everyone’s so appalled by his behavior?

(Also…five hundred is not much. A thousand is five pokeballs worth. I’m guessing you’re treating this like dollars and not yen, but that doesn’t match up with the pricing of everything else in the games. If the kid cares at all about the poor little pokemon, he shouldn’t be stopped by hearing the price went up.)

[“This guy has been challenging whoever he thinks he can beat in battle, using his garchomp against them. He’s offering them ten thousand if they can beat him, but making them pay five hundred if they can’t. It’s emptying out some of the poor kid’s accounts.” ]

Really, most of this seems like it’s built around the assumption teenagers are helpless idiots who must be protected from such clever adult tricks as “explicitly showing your pokemon so everyone knows what they’re getting into followed by giving them special odds because it’s unlikely they’ll win”.

[“You wanna go against me? You give me five hundred if I win and I’ll give you ten thousand if you win. Sweet deal, right?” He let out a laugh, “I’m pretty good, though. I made it to the to the top ten in the Unova conference.”]

Dialogue is written as “Hello,” she said or “Hello!” she said, never “Hello.” She said or “Hello.” she said or “Hello,” She said or “Hello” she said. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb, which is a verb describing how the dialogue is said. (“Speak” is not a speech verb.) In that case it’s written as “Hello.” She grinned, never “Hello,” she grinned or “Hello,” She grinned or “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. 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 any other ones with thoughts.

Also seriously, if this is what he says and does, then it’s on the other person not to send out a barely trained pokemon with a massive type disadvantage.

There are two ways adults could bully weaker trainers. One is hustling them, pretending to be weaker than they really are to trick the kid into agreeing to a battle. The other is intimidating them into saying yes when they don’t want to. Standing in a public, highly trafficked area while boasting that he’s awesome at this and letting everyone get a good look at his pokemon and its abilities is neither of those.

If he’s supposed to be taking advantage of these kids, he should be pretending it’s a close fight. “Oh no, you almost got me! My garchomp is sooooo weak and easily beaten now! Why, I’m sure to lose to the next person!”

[ Ninetales here was my first pokemon. Got her as a vulpix when I was seven. Moved to Hoenn when I was eight, and got my starter when I was ten like everyone else, and did my journey in Sinnoh.”]

If you’re assuming everyone gets a starter even when they already have a pokemon, that means almost every team should feature one of the standard set.

[“You’re what, sixteen? Seveteen? That’s quite a bit of traveling for someone so young. You must worry your parents.”

This fired her up and she gave him a polite smile, attempting and successfully hiding her annoyance. “I’m actually twenty-one. I moved out a few years ago, moved to Lumiose City.”

The man just gave her a wicked smile, looking her up and down with a lustful gaze. “Twenty-one? So you’re legal, huh? Well then, how about I take you some place nice when I pummel your pretty little fox there. One on one sound good?”]

Sixteen is legal most places, with a number being lower – and given the pokeverse’s lack of concern about every other aspect of child safety, it seems unlikely they’ve got an exceptionally high age instead. In America, eighteen is the universal legal age for pornographic images, which is why eighteen = legal becomes shorthand, any of the actresses people are creeping on are not personally going to come to their house to fuck them but now nude photos won’t count as child porn. Also, if someone’s going to leer, they’re really not going to wait to find out the person’s legal before even thinking about sex. If he wants to stare at her because he finds her hot, he’s going to do it when he sees her.

[f I win you stop battling others that have no chance of beating you.]

This is even less enforceable than his bit about the money doubling. If she wants to stop him, the traditional way of beating all his pokemon so he has to stop for a while would work, as would draining his money so he doesn’t have ten thousand to offer up. And given he just bragged he loves dragon types in general and her first pokemon is ice/fairy… well, you seem to be presenting this like the one on one fight’s supposed to be tense, and it’s really not. This guy is fighting kids instead of trainers her age. His pokemon’s already been battling. She’s talking about doing her pokemon journey in past tense. She has a pokemon with an absurd type advantage. Tension would be if she put up a hundred thousand if she beats his whole team, because that we don’t know she can do.

…and indeed she just oneshot the poor garchomp, and then explains her pokemon’s way higher level and another pokemon’s a garchomp so she knows all about how they battle, just to pile on that she had every possible advantage here.

[He shook his head. “Y-you cheated! I didn’t know you were that powerful. There’s a little pachrisu on your shoulder for crying out loud!”]

This is stupid. If it was a pichu, then having an unevolved pokemon could mean something, but these are superpowered magical animals, size literally does not matter.

[Her heart started to race, eagerly anticipating the rush of battle, when he looked at her with those cold eyes that were so warm to everyone else. She didn’t know what she did wrong, but one look was enough to tell her. “You aren’t good enough. You will never be good enough. You don’t deserve to be here.” She had to run out of the room, fear consuming her, all because of that man’s stare. It was then she decided to leave, that she needed to move somewhere else.]

…a guy looks at her and she completely gives up? How the hell did she even get this far with her crippling inability to function? If you want a powerful trainer who can’t handle standing around letting people challenge her, why say she’s won championships? You could just say she trains a ton but almost never battles anyone.

[ If a kid came in and requested a battle she’d send pachirisu and leafeon out and would let the kid win, giving her pokemon a signal so they would “faint” letting the kid have their victory and bolster their confidence.]

This sounds condescending as hell, honestly. I mean, are we talking “kids” like the little preschoolers we see with pokemon in the games, or are we talking “kids” like that fourteen year old, who’d maybe have done a bit better at risk assessment without people hadn’t telling them that no really sweetie you’re the best and strongest ever, you’ll beat everybody no problem, and if anybody’s mean to you and doesn’t lose on cue just wait helplessly for an adult to swoop in to save you! And ironically it seems like instead of making them actually confident it’s going to foster the same impostor syndrome and locking up as she has in the long run where victories mean nothing to them but the slightest possibility of failure is so devastating you should just give up before it can happen.

Will this last bit turn into a proxy argument about concrit vs nice job sweetie on fanfic? We’ll find out!

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12783692/1/Gaming-Guardian

[Aaron Phantomweiss was a graduate student working for his Master’s in International Security at a school in Washington, DC. He was unlike his peers in that he would never be mistaken for an idealist. There was a saying in DC, “If you’ve been around for more than six weeks, you’re a local.” The city had such a high level of turnover as interns arrived and veterans and retirees left, that the statement held some genuine merit. Every year, hundreds of thousands if not millions of bright-eyed, recent college graduates flocked to the “Capital of the Free World” to “make the world a better place,” whatever that might mean. Aaron, for whatever reason, was far more realistic. Years of studying nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and the anarchy of the international community had jaded him somewhat. Nonetheless, Aaron found himself daydreaming of being someone special. Admittedly, for him, “someone special” usually meant someone who could influence US foreign policy directly.]

ooooookay so when people complain about self-inserts, it’s more than just that they can be overpowered. Indeed, that’s a more general problem and not one specific to the SI.

Look. He’s going to die and end up in the pokeworld. I realize that this is really important to you, and you probably have some great insider insights into the Washington DC thing, and in fact that could make for an entertaining background to a story that actually took place there. But what you’re doing here is opening with paragraph upon paragraph talking about yourself and your life that’s just establishing things that will not matter to the main story. Just because it’s true to your life doesn’t mean it needs to come up.

Next we have the extended chat period. Again, what purpose does this serve to the story? It’s basically you imagining yourself having this conversation, and that’s a lot more interesting for the person doing it and choosing their responses than it is for the people reading about it after the fact. It’s like how the standards for a good videogame story are not the same as a novel. Look at the piles of PMD fic that open with the quiz – many players enjoy getting to take it, not so many readers want to read somebody else taking it. The story isn’t better because you tack on a special destiny and a bunch of extra self-importance.

[“As for Giratina, she chose to identify as a female just to spite our little family; she always was the rebel,” Palkia chimed in, his voice rippling through the air like an ocean current.]

Ah, and casual sexism. Naturally every other genderless being just happens to figure male is fine and it’s not that /you’re/ being sexist, no, it’s just that /everyone else/ just so happened to /think/ they were male and they just had no choice but to agree, except for how Giratina didn’t, but the important thing is we all agree male is normal and of course the creature that creates the rest out of nothing is a “father” because it’s “fathers” that make brand new fully formed entities, while female is for evil weirdo rebel freaks just trying to be difficult.

[Ok, let’s see here… my highest score is ten, so assuming that’s about as high a score as a normal person can have… that makes five or six the average. ]

Well, that’s about as arrogant as it is a stupid interpretation of facts. This looks like it’s just going to keep getting rapidly worse, so I’m going to quit here.

Hey, it’s that gamer thing with the stats that came up in the comments a little while ago. Truly, this lives up to all the worst stereotypes of the community.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12783766/1/TPI-Characters-Short-Stories

Dialogue is written as “Hello,” she said or “Hello!” she said, never “Hello.” She said or “Hello.” she said or “Hello,” She said or “Hello” she said. The only exception to this is if the next sentence doesn’t contain a speech verb, which is a verb describing how the dialogue is said. (“Speak” is not a speech verb.) In that case it’s written as “Hello.” She grinned, never “Hello,” she grinned or “Hello,” She grinned or “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. 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 any other ones with thoughts.

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 – or used in place of one, like “mom” can be. Similar reasoning should be applied to any other words you’re thinking of capitalizing, like telephone or trainer. Or professor.

Also, it’s spelled “ninetales” not “ninetails”.

[“Yes Beauty, of course.” I silently reply. ]

Quotation marks are for spoken dialogue, not for silence.

[This will be easy, I’m fairly confident in out abilities.]

Proofreading is important.

[“The relic is back at home, safe.” Snow replies, “This mission was for us. You have no use in the tribe anymore, and we must eliminate you.”]

So, you need to do better at establishing the situation. We know two things about Whisper: Whisper runs out to do what they were told to do, and the other two ninetales hate them for unknown reasons. Given that the only thing that happens in this story is them getting betrayed, having some clue why it happened is necessary.

The thing about backstories is what works for a backstory doesn’t necessarily work for a story. If you have another story and add, “Hey, this character got kicked out of their tribe!” that’s fine. But if the entire thing is the character getting kicked out of their tribe, you need to make an actual story out of it. There needs to be characterization of everyone involved. There needs to be reasons for things to happen. There needs to be something more than just, “Hey, this character got kicked out of their tribe!” being told in a longer, time-wasting way. 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 any other ones with thoughts.

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 – or used in place of one, like “mom” can be. Similar reasoning should be applied to any other words you’re thinking of capitalizing, like telephone or trainer. Or professor.

Also, it’s spelled “ninetales” not “ninetails”.

[“Yes Beauty, of course.” I silently reply. ]

Quotation marks are for spoken dialogue, not for silence.

[This will be easy, I’m fairly confident in out abilities.]

Proofreading is important.

[“The relic is back at home, safe.” Snow replies, “This mission was for us. You have no use in the tribe anymore, and we must eliminate you.”]

So, you need to do better at establishing the situation. We know two things about Whisper: Whisper runs out to do what they were told to do, and the other two ninetales hate them for unknown reasons. Given that the only thing that happens in this story is them getting betrayed, having some clue why it happened is necessary.

The thing about backstories is what works for a backstory doesn’t necessarily work for a story. If you have another story then the backstory can be just, “Hey, this character got kicked out of their tribe! Okay, back to our actual story!” and that’s fine. But if the entire thing is the character getting kicked out of their tribe, you need to make an actual story out of it. There needs to be characterization of everyone involved. There needs to be reasons for things to happen. There needs to be something more than just, “Hey, this character got kicked out of their tribe!” being told in a longer, time-wasting way.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12783813/1/The-7

…I am really not sure what you were trying to do here, but whatever it was, it didn’t work. I’d really suggest finding a beta reader or someone you can talk to about writing.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12783928/1/Beyond-the-Adventure

[The bustling noise of people mulling about never appealed to me and I feel this new building will only ruin the tranquility of the pier.]

Piers are usually boat related. In a small town, the piers being unused more often than not could make sense, but tied to the part where it’s Goldenrod, I’d expect this to be in use. For that matter, if he can’t handle people bustling around, how has he managed to not take a long walk right off this pier already when he lives in the biggest city in the region?

[I was offered a Pokémon by Professor Oak when I was twelve years old to challenge the Pokémon League]

The professor of the region is Elm, if professors are tasked with handing out pokemon to everyone then they do it at ten to people who show up only and if it’s age whatever they don’t do it at all unless you live next door and they need you to do something for them.

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 – or used in place of one, like “mom” can be. Similar reasoning should be applied to any other words you’re thinking of capitalizing, like telephone or trainer. Or professor.

[Unfortunately, ever since my father died, my mother has been struggling to find her own job, so she needs me here to help make ends meet.]

In most interpretations of canon, being a pokemon trainer is free, so him leaving would mean she no longer had to spend money on him. Is his mother earning less than he is, so he’s supporting her? Is he earning more than enough to support himself so he’s not a burden, and she’s earning even more than that because seriously how can an adult be less employable than a twelve year old, but between the bother of them they somehow still don’t have enough money? Is the issue that they live in a one-room apartment and almost all their money goes to rent? You go on to say he doesn’t even make much money and it seems like it’s manual labor a twelve year old wouldn’t be able to do, so he must’ve had an even worse job back then.

[The man shrugs. “We had a malfunction this morning and this guy came through without a trade being initiated,” he explains. “We haven’t even opened yet and already we’re having problems. The computer’s data got corrupted, so we have no idea where it came from.”

I look down at the Pokémon. It looks back up at me. It is kind of cute, but if it came through the Global Trade Terminal, it must belong to someone, and since it came through without a trade being initiated, that someone did not get a Pokémon in return. Surely, the owner would want it back, right?

“Maybe I can help,” I say to the man. “Perhaps we can find its original owner and bring it back.”

The man shakes his head. “Good luck, kid,” he says. “This is the GLOBAL Trade Terminal. It connects trainers from around the world. It could have come from anywhere!”]

Yeah, but it probably came from whatever trainer is currently screaming at customer service about their missing pokemon.

[The man sighs. “You might as well keep it. It seems to like you anyway.”]

If the entire point of this is just to give him a random pokemon, think about reasons there’d be unattached pokemon wandering around. One is that someone abandoned it. He sees it, he offers it berries, it follows him home. This is a world where people get all their pets from random animals they meet, so it doesn’t require any stretch of imagination to explain why he’d decide to do this. Another, if you want someone chatting about screwups, is that there’s some situation where pokemon were lost for a while and many of them were never reclaimed by their original owners, and sometimes they run off and cause trouble.

If you really want it to have something to do with the GTS – maybe if your pokemon’s up for offer for more than a certain time period, they try to return it and when they did, the owner was gone. Something where it’s reasonable to assume the owner has no interest in retrieving the pokemon instead of just that the pokemon is temporarily labelless due to a screwup of theirs.

[ I watch it run for a bit as I think. “Perhaps Professor Oak will know. After all, he’s the Pokémon Professor! Let’s go, Jaws!”]

Oooooor he could just look it up himself.

It’d be one thing if he worked at the radio tower or otherwise had any reason why it’d be easy for him to chat with Oak, but instead he’s not even a trainer and has no connection with the guy, he just somehow keeps meeting him because Oak’s a canon character and you want to include the guy. This is all the weirder when he gets there to find out Oak just hired his mom to co-host – why not just establish they’re all connected through the radio tower at the start?

[For a moment, I did not answer. From the Hoenn region. I ponder this. How am I to find the original owner of this Mawile if it is from a completely different region?]

Why does he think he’s got to find the owner when the person in charge of trades was inexplicably sure nobody wants it?

[“Someone must have put it up for trade then. Well, if it was up for trade, certainly, the owner won’t miss it. ]

So everyone in the universe is 100% certain that once you offer a pokemon to trade, you don’t mind just losing it, except him, who’s 100% convinced it’s his personal responsibility to track down the individual.

And I guess the point of all of it is to force him to go adventuring, except…

[“Whaaa?!” I step back. “No no, I can’t leave here. Mother needs me. My job may not pay much, but it’s our only income.”

“Don’t worry, dear,” Mother says calmly. “My job here pays well enough. I’ll be all right on my own. Besides, you’re seventeen. It was only a matter of time before you went out on your own.” She smiles. “Go have an adventure!”]

…he didn’t need anything to force him on an adventure, he just needed his mom to get a new job, which she’d already got earlier, because he said repeatedly he wants to go but that was stopping him. Except at the same time he doesn’t, because all he does with his new pokemon is go to the gym and refuse to battle because he doesn’t want to.

In other words, this is just a huge muddle. He wanted to be a trainer, except he couldn’t, except he wasn’t that great when he gave it a shot and immediately gave up, then he gets a pokemon, but he and only he is sure it’s got a real owner so he has to find them, and for unrelated reasons he can go on the journey now and he wants to, except he also doesn’t want to have pokemon battles or raise pokemon. You really need to pick an option and go with it.

[the female shouts.]

Don’t refer to people as “the female”.

[ “Yeah, I’m pretty awesome!” he gloats. “This gym is cake. It’s just a bunch of girls!”

I grimace. “You know, it wasn’t all you,” I say.

The guy’s face gets stern. “What did you say?”

I repeat myself. “It wasn’t all you. Your Pokémon is the one doing most of the work. You just sit back and bark orders.” The guy growls, gripping his ball tightly. “Also, your remark about girls was uncalled for. She put up a good fight too. And isn’t the Gym Leader here a girl too?”]

…I guess the slight implication the guy didn’t value his pokemon enough by bragging was just way more important than him explicitly stating all girls suck at battle, and so needed to be said first. Maybe it does make sense the narration would call people “females” after all.

[Jaws looks over at me, then pulls out a small ball of rice out of… its butt? Where did it get that from? ]

? So you have that just keep happening, and I guess maybe it’s meant to be a mystery, but it seems more like a random nonsense power. It’s particularly jarring when you spent the first half of the fic on the subject of Jaws being hungry and wanting food, as if it didn’t have the power to pull whatever it wanted out of its ass.

[I open my eyes. “No,” I say again. “I do not deserve this badge.” I look down at Jaws. “I’m no trainer. I was clueless in that fight. Jaws here did all the work. He even appeared to know what he was doing and took the fight in his own hands. If anyone deserves this badge, it’s Jaws.”]

This is a surprise, and it’s nice to see he’s not a hypocrite.

On the other hand, it’s really the only thing that’s really different from usual that’s happened all chapter, and it seems pretty likely that the trajectory of the story is the usual route of him becoming a proper trainer who does deserve credit and gives orders and so forth, because, well, that’s the only route anyone ever writes and if you were going to completely buck tradition on it you’d probably say that outright.

And so we end for the night! I’ve been going way too slowly and am already falling behind.

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