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Old 12-25-2011, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Starting the Blaise (Chapter 2, Ready for Grading)

Introduction:

Seeing as how this is a chapter series, I liked how you started things off with some good information about the main character. Beyond doing the mundane, generic detail, you had additional stuff and you varied the words.

Quote:
The greasy hair was probably the toughest grease in the world, able to take on a 24 hour shower-a-thon in the world's most powerful waterfall, and still be there. The eyes of hazel were powerful, and Leonard had to admire how much his moustache had grown, even if there wasn't a middle. He also liked his goatee.
This part of the second paragraph really jumped out at me because of the language you used. The waterfall provides a really good contrast of what you are trying to portray, and the part about the eyes speaks about the strong personality of Blaise.

Beyond that, the introduction wasnít particularly exciting, but you did manage to keep my attention by going into the next part about the mean Sandile. But that excitement about the first battle was negated as it was too short to provide much of an interest seeing as how they were Koíed by one attack.

By just extending the battle by perhaps a move or two, or by providing some emotionally aspect it would have been a good hook. The reader would have been drawn in, but as it is, I would say the interest is resting around the average level. Which is okay, but since this is a complex rank youíll want to step things up.

Now, the one thing that bothered me about the introduction is lack of scenic details. What I mean by this is that I do not know where the characters are. You open up with a mirror, which are usually indoors, but then move onto the car, which is outdoors. However, based on the car I can only guess the introduction is taking place outside, but you never clarify, nor do you provide any description of what this Ďsceneí looks like. The reader only has the car to provide the first image, and that is definitely not good,, especially for complex rank. You want a solid opening scene so that the reader has context of where everything is taking place, from there you can expand out with the other details.

The next thing that needs to be discussed is if you balanced the new chapter with that of the old one. This is very important because a previous chapter usually provides critical information that can be missing in a later installment. Although I was expecting the first chapter to play a role in this one, it really wasnít so. This chapter felt like a standalone tale with the same characters. While I didnít read the first chapter, the only thing that struck me as connecting to the first one were the opening sentence, and what Blaise looked like. Why Blaise is a concern Iíll address later on, you did pretty well. You have no problems here, so good job.

Plot:

Overall a decent enough layout for a complex mon. You had a few problems with structure and some other minor issues, but it was strong enough.

Okay, what I like specifically about this story is that you have the emotions and characters of people down. Even without the color-coded for dialogue, I felt it was easy to identify each person through the words chosen for each character. This adds depth and personality to characters and that is a must for stories of the complex rank.

Now, letís explore the meat of the plot. To be honest, you have a very simple layout with some Ďspecial featuresí thrown in to make the story more interesting. The layout goes something like this:

Main characters start out in a scene from the previous chapter, go to a will reading, someone gets shot during the reading, the pair head home, Blaise trains, team Plasma get revealed.

A layout so simple that I was a tad surprised that you managed to get the length needed, because I was surprised when the story ended because it felt so incomplete. What Iím getting as is that there was no real conclusion to the story. The story is clearly about the orbs, but you end the story not with something about the orbs, but by team plasma having a meeting. The meeting was about the orbs, but they seemed to haven taken a back seat as the focus switched more to Leonard. The fate and locations of the orbs were kept from the reader, and itís not clear what the next step in the story would be. In short, the story felt like you ended it at a bad spot, not enough things were explained or solved to warrant an ending outside of the needed length. This is a shame because I felt the story had merit and potential. The solution to this problem is simple, pick a better ending.

Which bring me to my next point about the ending. A story usually ends because of a few things: a cliff hanger, and a solution. This story contained neither of these factors and really left a bad taste in my mouth. One reason, as I already alluded to, is that the ending didnít make too much sense as a stopping point. The next two things are these: the POV switch, and the flood of information.

Both of those are tied together, so letís start with the POV switch. POV means point of view. Up until the end of the story, the entire tale is told through the eyes of Leonard and Blaise. These are the most important characters in the story so that is understandable. But the ending switches to that of Team Plasma, who only just appeared and only for a brief instance. While it seems that they intend to be a big part of the story for later installments, it felt odd because it was only one part of the story and at the very end. Now, what you did isnít wrong, but it goes against the motif of the story and feels akin to a speed bumb on freeway.

Which provides an excellent transition to the next part.

Quote:
But even Leonard would fall to the right bait...No, that didn't work last time. The last time, he had used Nate to lure Leonard out of his recluse, but Leonard already knew his ambitions, and like anything else, he was a step ahead...Leonard was the true puppetmaster behind the battle of Plasma Castle, if anything. [It was actually beneficial that Hilbert foiled him, for Hilbert unwittingly saved his life]...[Irony, that Hilbert saved his life, and he repaid the debit by first attacking him, then making him a disposable bank. He would have laughed if he wasn't so angry at the occasion]...His whole plan was rigged by that witty-yet-rowdy terrorist the instant his first decision was to focus on derailing his potential efforts. Irony again, but he wasn't pleased by it. He seethed in rage. But he was untouchable. [Had it been Leonard that summoned Reshiram, he would have fled outright.]

But Leonard did not, it was Hilbert. [Hilbert was a part of his plan ever since he heard of his son swearing that he saw a Snivy like a Trainer named Hilbert, but only as the backup should Nate fail-and he did]. [But he forgot his plan when N lost the battle of the twin Dragons, in the furious, all consuming wrath he was Intoxicated under, like if he drank too much red wine-]

...That time, before Team Plasma started out, when he and Leonard were in close contact, and he had been intoxicated on red wine when he walked into a part of the unfinished castle. He barely remembered it! Did he tell Leonard his plans then?! Did he tell Leonard anything that was supposed to be under the wraps of his mind?!
Not only did you just surprise the reader with all this text, it doesnít have any real bearing on the outcome of the story, and much of it doesnít make sense. For instance, in the first set of brackets, I find that section confusing because the subject isnít immediately clear. Did Hilbert foil Leonard or the Plasma leader? Maybe itís just me, but as I read those sentences I become even more confused because I know not of the events you are talking about, nor am I sure of what you are even trying to say. Besides that, all this was an information dump. As I said before, it felt like a block of useless text. If it had been removed from the story I feel that it wouldnít have been missed one bit. But if you want to keep the text I think it would work best if you actually spaced all the information throughout the story. A good spot is when Plasma first appears and Leonard can explain to Blaise some of the past events. The big benefit of using that approach is that the reader is gradually introduced to the information and they process the information easier.

The next part, and final, part I want to talk about concerning the structure of the story is also at the end. While it is actually two sections, Iím going to be calling them one. One of the parts in question is when Leonard take Blaise to go do some training.

Quote:
["You have never encountered a Pokemon battle with wild Pokemon before, right?] In it's natural habitat, territorial defenses on, you have never faced off against one wild Pokemon. Correct?" Leonard said.
Two problems here. The first part is in the bracket section. It looks as is youíre missing a word because you are talking about two different things here. A Pokemon encounter and a Pokemon battle, but those are crammed into one awkward sentence. The second part is that the sentence outside the first is almost a mirror image of the other. The second sentence is just redundant of the first. The solution is to simply delete one of the sentences or reword both.

The next part is that the battle section also felt out of tune with the rest of the story. Once again it didnít fit the motif of the story because it really made no sense being there. The only reason I can see it being there is that you wanted Blaise to be training, but you could have done something different, like a battle. But instead you just have him go in a field and come out with tougher and some new Pokemon. Not only is it unrealistic Pokemon wise, it is just filler text because it had no bearing on the story again. Even the Zorua isnít mentioned! The unrealistic part is how tough the Pokemon became and that Togepi evolved into Togetic in the same day. This is a Pokemon world, that means you have to follow the Pokemon rules. A Pokemon that needs to bond with a trainer doesnít do so in one day with a very good reason to do so.

Hereís something that bugged me as I was reading:

Quote:
"The last will and testimony of Hilbert Ivy..." Barlow began. "To Ms. Hilda Ivy, Mr. Cheren Halas, Professor Bianca Redwood, Mr. Nate Harmonia and Mr. Leonard Avalon Zyxino, I present to you all a piece of the group of Pokemon I called friends, so that none go homeless..."

Barlow cleared his throat and continued. "Ms. Hilda Ivy, my younger sister by eight years, I entrust to you my Serperior, my Meganium, my Blaziken, and the Legendary Pokemon Virizion, all of who took a liking to you as much as they did me."

Hilda broke into tears at the mention of this, as a belt with four Pokemon was pushed over to her.

"Mr. Cheren Halas, my friend ever since kindergarten, I entrust you with my Flygon, my Raichu, my Golurk, my Charizard, and the Legendary Pokemon Terrakion, as well as the Adamant Orb, in the hands of the Flygon, in hopes you continue your quest to become a great Pokemon trianer, and that your daughter strives to do likewise."

Cheren broke out a tear too, just one, as a belt with five was handed over.

"Mrs. Bianca Redwood, another friend since an early age, I entrust you with my Klingklang, my Archeops and the Legendary Pokemon Mew, in hopes that they will advance your research, aid you in time of need, and will inspire your daughter."

Bianca burst out sobbing, as a belt with three was put into her arms.

"Mr. Nate Harmonia, I have understood your back story, and I still am inspired to see that you still pursue the ideal to fight against Pokemon injustice. For this, you will be entrusted my Samurott, my Emboar, and the Legendary Pokemon Reshiram, the last of which will be holding the Lustrous orb. May you never cease to right wrongs."

Nate cried even harder, holding out his arms to receive his belt.
I understand that you were trying to convey the emotionally aspect of the touching moment, but you did the crying too many times. While you did vary the language (using tears, cried, and sobbing), that wasnít enough because it was the same thing repeatedly. A solution would to just remove the teary part. You already had a paragraph before highlighting the emotion, so you donít need another.

Thatís all I have to say about this section. While it was decent, you still have some problems that you would have to address if you choose to write more chapters or different stories.

Grammar:

Decent grammar overall. You had a few consistent errors which I pointed out below. Some problems were you spacing, and mis-capitalization. But the biggest problem in the story was that you attempted to have a lot of information in long sentences. While not incorrect, it is quite ugly to look at. Iím not going to mark you off much for these errors, but for your next story I would not like to see them.

Quote:
Leonard pulled out the Ultra Ball containing Scyez, and whipped it out. The madwoman-of-a-Lucario appeared with a flash of light, noticing the trouble now jumping out of [his] master's car, giggling.
- This should be Ďherí.

Quote:
"HOLY DRILBUR!" [H]e yelled. No less than five very mean-looking Sandile were making a meal of his car.
- This doesnít get capitalized. I spotted a few errors like this. You only use caps in speech dialogue in a few instances. But in this case, by using Ďyelledí you are continuing the sentence, whereas a period ends it.

Quote:
Torn to pieces by five hit-Sandile, though, was still insanely unlikely.
- This may be just me, but I donít get what you are trying to say in this sentence, specifically the Ďhití part is what throws me off.

Quote:
Blaise watched the scene. Normally, he'd bombard everybody here with question after question, but the seriousness of the situation had shut him up. That, and the confines of the room made him feel just a tinge nervous[...][Space]As if something was right behind him...
- Minor problem here, but I felt by using the Ď...í repeatedly you took away the connotation that goes with it. For lack of a better word on my part, connotation in this instance refers to the sense or emotion behind the usage. I think you are using it to create an air of suspense, but by using it so close, you actually dampen that. You also need a space after this too.

Quote:
Then Barlow came, holding what could easily be identified as the [W]ill.
- You donít need to capitalize Ďwillí.

Quote:
"Do anything in your power to hide them." Leonard said. "Destroy them if you must." He added.

"Now then...After that exciting bout of stuff, we've got to get to Undella Town. I guess flying there by Pokemon will be the way to go..."
- I see you are using color to represent each person speaking, so that may have been why you spaced this. However, the spacing is not needed.

Quote:
"Pokemon Trainers use [fly] all the time if they need to go somewhere quickly!" Leonard said.
- Fly needs to be capitalized because you are using it as the Pokemon attack, and all things Pokemon get caps.

Quote:
"Do not take off, be bluffing[,] do not go up, stay down, down is best, down is best, down is best[,] up is where you fall to death, don't go up, don't go-"
- Change these to periods instead of commas, otherwise itís a comma splice.

Quote:
It took hours to reach Undella town by flight[-][and] a whole day had they gone on a car.
Take away the space and just put a comma, furthermore, the and is not needed and can be removed.

Quote:
Blaise was suddenly lifted off his [feat], and was forced to make eye contact with a very-angry looking Leonard.
- Wrong word, read through your stuff carefully because I spotted a couple of words like this (and also misspelled).


Quote:
"The three orbs were created by ancient people in Sinnoh. Each one corresponds to a different part of the creational trio made by Arceus[-]Dialga has the Adamant, Palkia has the Lustrous, and Giratina has the Griseous."
- You really need spaces around this, you neglected spacing repeatedly and that annoyed me.

Hereís an example of a long sentence.

Quote:
Mr. Cheren Halas, my friend ever since kindergarten,[] I entrust you with my Flygon, my Raichu, my Golurk, my Charizard, and the Legendary Pokemon Terrakion[,] as well as the Adamant Orb[, in the hands of the Flygon,] in hopes you continue your quest to become a great Pokemon trianer, and that your daughter strives to do likewise."
Where I put the brackets those could have been periods. By using periods you make the paragraph look more clean and in some cases it can clarify what you are trying to portray. An example in this sentence are the brackets around the Flygon part, because I canít tell if you are trying to say Flygon hold the orb or something else. You a few of these throughout, and a couple in this section of the story. Try to remember that you donít need long sentence to make a point.

Detail:

You had some problems here. You were only missing a few things concerning detail: environment, Pokemon detail, and Blaise description. I already talked about the environment in the introduction, so I will not beat a dead horse. But, I was disappointed about the lack of detail on Blaise. The reader was never told what he looked like, and that is annoying considering the role he played in the story.

You already know what needs to be done, because you did perfectly fine or Leonard. You just need to do the same for Blaise. This same thing applies to others in the story. You never told the reader what anyone else looked like. My general rule of thumb is that if anyone has more than a passing sentence, you need you to have detail on them. I donít mean detail like Leonard received, just a simple sentence or two. This was especially need for Hilda Ivy, Cheren Halas, and Bianca Redwood are prime examples. Not to mention the Plasma leader.

As for environment, besides the beginning part, you could have put something in the end of where Plasma was. It would have created a good setting for the ominous tone, and because it provides context.

To be continued...
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Last edited by AmericanTreeFrog; 12-25-2011 at 10:19 PM.
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