No-one knows exactly how the island came about. That was what she was told all the time whenever she asked about the island’s origins, or even the origins of Botanic Gardens, the place where she lived.
This island was a small island, known to many as the National Park. It was located south of the Orange Islands, and was one day discovered by one Joseph Farnsworth on a voyage of his. He was a rich man from a rich place, and had decided to develop the island into something fantastic, perhaps a nature reserve - no-one really found out what he was up to with the island’s development since he had apparently lost a lot of his fortune during a recession which had hit the entire Pokémon world during the island’s development. Joseph had to sell his plans to the Orange Island government, who developed the island into something completely different than Joseph had originally planned, perhaps - maybe they were complying with what he wanted to do. At any rate, the National Park was formed.
Rangers were hired to prevent the poaching of valuable materials and Pokémon who lived on the island, but as the National Park was opened, the objectives of their job were added to - they had to lead Trainers and regular visitors through the Park, as they requested entry in order to capture Pokémon who lived in the various areas.
It was in the National Park that a young, adventurous Petilil was to be caught.
I’ll taste the sky and feel alive again.
“Be careful, honey!” a mellifluous voice called out. It belonged to a creature of medium height, who had a large and beautiful red flower upon her head in full blossom. It had a golden filament with crimson anther, and it resembled a crown. She had kelly green, linear leaves protruding from underneath this flower-like crown, and underneath those, leaves which made up a structure which could almost have seemed similar to a human fringe, being a mossy kind of colour. She had a circular head, completely white in colour except for the eyes - they shone a radiant orange colour, which might have seemed to anyone else not to fit with the rest of its dainty body, but to many of the Pokémon and nature admirers, the orange eyes were what really set off the appearance of the Pokémon. She had leaf-like arms of the same colour as those underneath the flower, and leaf appendages which made a skirt-like formation from the creature’s mid-waist downwards, also the same vibrant green.
“I will - don’t worry!” a younger voice replied carelessly, the possessor moving her way swiftly through the long grass that seemed to be almost the same size as her. It felt prickly yet smooth along her body, and it swayed obediently out of her way as she flew past each strand, the smell of fresh flowers and wild grass invading her senses. This creature was undoubtedly the offspring of the first to speak, although she was not yet fully developed and at an earlier evolutionary stage. This Pokémon was a primarily minty colour and her body seemed rather bulbous - she did not have arms nor legs, but managed to get by with some strange locomotion which could not really be described. Around her neck seemed to be almost a collar of ivy-like growths, and out of her head had grown a few leaves which matched the colour of those growths around her neck.
They were both wandering around a very special place within the National Park, somewhere established at first for the safekeeping of the wild Pokémon who lived there, but eventually had grown to be something much more than that. The wild Pokémon had many offspring, so to counterbalance the rise in population, the idea that trainers could be taken through the Park was formed and thus Pokémon trainers came often to see what Pokémon were available for capture. The young Petilil had seen a few trainers pass by, but she had hidden from them as her mother instructed in order to not get captured. There had been a few close calls - there always were when an adventurous kind of being was involved - but she had ended up not being captured as her mother had protected her and whisked her away from the trainers who had almost taken her for their own.
That was not to say that the Petilil would not have liked being captured by a trainer - in fact, if she was captured she would have considered it a great honour and the start of a brand new adventure. However, it was her mother’s intervention that prevented her from being captured, and this made her annoyed with her mother quite a lot. Her mother must have thought of her as just an inexperienced youth and thus shouldn’t be captured by a trainer until she had been taught a lot, the Petilil supposed. She didn’t know how to argue back on the matter, so she simply went with what her mother told her to do - maybe she might become very upset if her daughter was to leave her by herself in the Gardens, but the Petilil yearned to see the outsides of the world and experience it with something or someone new - she hated the fact that her mother was the only one she could interact with in her life, the way that she was so overprotective and didn’t let her daughter experience anything unless she approved of it. The Petilil yearned to be free from her grasp.
She wanted to know how it was to have a friend - she had never had one, and had only learned the meaning of the word through her mother’s tuition. She wondered what it would be like to be outside of the Botanic Gardens - to experience weather other than warmth and sun. She wanted to know what it would be like to have rain fall down on her body, to see the first snow of winters and to feel the hard embrace of a sandstorm. She knew that she might be hurt, but she didn’t much care. She wanted to experience the world for herself instead of through her mother’s eyes and memories. She didn’t know exactly how she could escape from her mother, nor how she could convince her that this was the right thing to be done for the benefit of her daughter. The Petilil would have to make a plan of some kind, a plan that could help her get a trainer to capture her.
So it was. The Petilil decided that she would slip out at dawn one day, before her mother woke up. She’d walk around for a while, trying to see if there were any trainers roaming the Gardens at that time in the morning. If she did encounter a trainer, she’d jump in front of them to stop them from going any further. At that point, she could engage battle with them - hopefully they’d want her just as much as she’d want them, so they wouldn’t have any qualms with capturing her and keeping her as a companion and a Pokémon that they could train to be a great battler, because that was also something she wanted to be. She had never battled in her life, so maybe she’d innocently get her mother to teach her to battle before she set out on the quest to get herself captured - although she wanted a trainer, she wanted a real battle to impress the trainer and so she didn’t seem like she was giving herself up. Her plan would start as soon as she could fight to a good degree.
“Mother,” she called out, putting on her most innocuous voice. “I’ve always wondered something...”
“What would that be, Amarantha?” her mother replied, her voice not hiding her curiosity. She didn’t expect that her daughter could come up with ideas on her own.
“I’ve always wondered about how to battle.” At this point Amarantha, the cutely juvenile Petilil, stopped walking onwards through the grass, and turned to face her mother, her face telling a tale of a genuine lifetime want for this.
Upon seeing her daughter’s expression, the Liligant - otherwise known as Pomona - sighed in resignation. This was probably to be one of the things that she would let her daughter have. Perhaps it was because she subconsciously felt sorry that she controlled so much of her daughter’s life, or perhaps because it was part of her plans for tuition. “I can show you, dear. We can practise battling together, if that’s what you really want. In fact, we can start right now,” she told Amarantha. It was the least she could do for her as of yet untried daughter.
“I’ll back away from you a bit, and we can go through your different moves, damaging or otherwise. We’ll do this over several days, of course, but we may as well do a few right now,” Pomona explained, taking a few paces back from her daughter, who was seemingly bubbling with excitement - the first step towards a grand adventure had been achieved, and now the second step was already in progress! “First, we have Absorb. It’s a handy kind of move which allows you to gain health while sapping that of your opponent. As you get better, you’ll find that you perform more powerful variations of this move - these are known as Mega Drain, and then the most powerful is Giga Drain. But for now, Absorb - you have to think about your opponent’s vitality compared to your own. You imagine their vitality being sapped whilst yours grows better, and you try to pull with everything you have. If it works, you’ll notice that the opponent exudes a red light, and that red light will be drawn in by the leaves on the top of your head, absorbing the health of your opponent. You can attempt to perform the move on me - don’t worry about hurting me or anything, you won’t hurt me much. Plus, I can recover my own health easily.”
Here goes nothing, Amarantha thought to herself, trying to visualise how healthy her mother was. She glanced at the leaves - they were a bright green. She looked into her mother’s eyes - the sharp orange gave a picture of perfect alertness and health. She imagined the light draining somewhat from the eyes of her mother, the leaves dying a little bit - while somewhat depressing, she knew that this wouldn’t ever happen to her mother, no matter how powerful any attack was. She pictured the red light being drawn from her mother’s body, and her own body growing more powerful with the more red light she had drawn in. She felt she was ready to unleash the attack now that she had the image in her head, and thought of pulling something powerfully, drawing the energy in, making herself more healthy, more powerful. She tried and tried to get that pulling sensation that her mother described, but could not achieve the feeling. She breathed out heavily, disappointed that she had not achieved anything.
“Don’t worry, dear. Practise makes perfect. Try again when you feel ready,” her mother said encouragingly, nodding gently.
Amarantha took a deep breath inwards, almost being able to taste the grass and flowers, certainly smelling the freshness and ‘clear’ smell that the air had, producing a calming effect. Amarantha found that with the deep breathing, she could concentrate far more easily on her visualisations. She found herself picturing perfectly her and her mother standing there, the attack taking place as red light was drawn from her mother and the empowering effect that the move would have. Seeing it all, she attempted to get the sensation of pulling which her mother had described to her. With all she could muster, she attempted to recreate the feeling in her mind. With a sudden jerking feeling in her gut, she found that red light was released from the top of her head and shot towards her mother, impacting with her body and enveloping her in the same light. As she drained energy, she found that she felt very revitalised, as if she’d just woken up from a refreshing nap in the late afternoon and could stay awake for hours upon end, doing whatever she felt like.
Her mother looked okay when the red light had faded, however, and Amarantha was quite proud of what she had achieved.
I’ll forget the world that I knew.
Practise had ensued for the next few days after that, until Amarantha was quite competent in using her various moves in different ways. She and her mother sparred often, and although her mother won quite a lot of their battles, Amarantha won a few of her own as well as she had developed devious strategies in order to stop herself from being caught out by her mother’s clearly superior use of the moves that both could utilise in a battle. Additionally, Pomona had learned a few extra moves during her life, which allowed her to gain the upper hand during their battles. Amarantha herself remained unconcerned by this - she knew that she stood no real chance against her mother in a serious battle, but she comforted herself with the fact that she probably now stood a really good chance against anyone that was near to her own level of skill.
Now that she had been trained in battle, she decided that she would put her third step in action - escape from her mother in search of a trainer. So she did. She woke sometime before the sun had dawned upon the world one morning, when there were drips of dew rolling down the long blades of green green grass, contrasting with the massive midnight blue expanse hanging above her head. Amarantha opened her eyes gently that morning, still being rather sleepy and for the first few minutes of awakening, she had forgotten why today was special. However, when she remembered, she couldn’t help but smile inside and start tingling with the excitement that most get when they’re about to start something big, or when impending, great changes were to happen that day. She would be travelling away from the supervision of her mother to see what the world had to offer.
She would be sad, of course, to leave her mother by herself. Pomona would more than likely be upset without her daughter, but Amarantha hoped she would understand - maybe she should leave some kind of message? That would probably be the right thing to do. It’d be heartless of her to not explain why she was leaving, after all. However, since she couldn’t spell or write sentences very well, she decided to just write one word to summarise her departure from her mother. So, trampling down a section of grass underneath the lower part of her body, she grabbed handfuls of berries from the nearby shrubs and laid them down in various shapes - letters. Each of these letters counted towards a word. Standing back and admiring her handiwork, she decided to move on. After travelling a few yards, she looked back towards her mother, who had taught her everything she knew in this world. It would be hard to leave her.
She skipped through the grass with a cheerful disposition, wondering where exactly she could find a path - trainers usually stuck to paths, she had noticed. Perhaps they were insecure to the point that they didn’t go anywhere apart from predetermined paths so that they wouldn’t get lost or scared during their adventures. Amarantha was sure that she could show them how to be just as brave and adventurous as she was... as long as she knew where she was going. She found that the Botanic Gardens was a big place without her mother, but she didn’t really feel intimidated by the fact - she found it a rather interesting and invigorating idea, and this fuelled her onwards. How excited she was simply couldn’t be described with words - maybe it was something to do with the way that people do get excited when they stroll alone at night or in the early morning. It was something about the peace and quiet, the way everything was still but you were moving.
As she moved, she found that the sky was growing lighter as the sun rose up, and was startled to find that this was the first time she had ever watched the sun rose. Perhaps this change symbolised the new beginning that she was experiencing, the steps she was taking into her new world. She still moved swiftly onwards, although she was a bit noisy (“These silly youths!” muttered one of the nocturnal Pokémon. “They’re always awake when one should be settling down.”). She could only nod in reply to these mutterings, because she was not well-versed in manners when talking to anyone who was not of her own species or of her evolution’s species. She realised due to this awkward gesture that she did still have a lot to learn about the world, but she supposed it wasn’t her mother’s job to teach her any more - It never really was, Amarantha thought. A lot of these Pokémon have had to learn about life for themselves. They didn’t have guidance.
These thoughts indicated to herself that she was becoming more perceptive about the world all around her, from the highest parts of the sky to the lowest depths of the earth. Everything was so new to her that she felt she could never be bored by everything she saw - she could see many Pokémon who inhabited the Botanic Gardens. She even recognised a few that she had seen on journeys with her mother, but she had never been allowed to talk to. She wondered if any of them would recognise her if they were awake, but she didn’t ponder it for long as she moved on. Without realising it, she had came to a dusty path comprising mostly of rich brown dirt. On each side of the path were a set of trees with dark green foliage, bending to the slight breeze that had picked up when the sun had rose, bathing the Gardens in a bright light that would wake up the majority of the Pokémon at any moment, and then Amarantha wouldn’t feel alone - she’d have life buzzing on every side of her.
As she came to the end of the path, she found that the trees did not go further than that end, but rather it opened out into a grassy clearing, completely flat. A few metres on from Amarantha’s current position was a crystal-clear pool of water, which looked so extremely refreshing. She had never bathed by herself before, and she didn’t know if she should now - it would wake her up more than she already was, but she had sense that going in water by yourself was a bad idea. She knew that if she got a cramp or something, she could drown and no-one would notice until it was far too late. She looked around herself, wondering if she should go into the pool or not. She noticed that there were other Pokémon waking up now, and the ones who had woken up first in no way replicated her hesitancy to get into the pool. They all slunk towards the edge of the bank, and then eased themselves into the water, finding it to their liking and swimming around gently, as if to ease themselves into a state of being fully awake.
Amarantha, shy to and intimidated by the rest of the Pokémon who were swimming around, hung back from the pool until a cream-coloured creature noticed her and called her to it. She didn’t know what species it was, but found it to be benign. It struck up a conversation with her.
“Why’re you not getting in?” it asked her, tilting its head curiously. Amarantha examined its appearance. It had bristly fur all over its body which was arranged in alternating stripes of cream and a chocolate brown. Its head was the same chocolate brown as some of the stripes on its body, its muzzle rather jagged-looking and a shining wet black nose and a black band around its eyes, almost like a burglar’s mask. Its eyes were a hazel kind of colour and its tail was striped like its fur, only it feathered outwards more and looked far more spiky than its fur. Its forepaws were a creamy colour and its hind paws were brown - Amarantha wondered how a creature could be so striped. Its claws - three on each paw - didn’t look particularly threatening, but Amarantha thought not to mention this as she might offend the creature.
“I don’t know if I should. I don’t swim very well by myself, because I don’t have arms or legs like you do. Also, I’m a bit frightened of everyone - there are so many different Pokémon whose species I don’t know, and whose names I haven’t learned. My mother might be ashamed if I was to stay with strangers... but then again, I’m not with my mother any more,” she replied gently, not trying to disguise her meek outlook in any way.
“Hey, don’t worry. We’re all trying to be friends here, right? I’m sorry for not introducing myself - my name’s Blake, but my friends all call me Bandit - don’t ask me why. I’m a Zigzagoon, the pre-evolution of Linoone. I don’t know if you’ve heard of those species or not, but that’s what I am,” the creature explained. Amarantha had, in fact, heard of a lot of species, most of which lived in the Botanic Gardens, but her mother had never told her what these looked like or how they behaved. Amarantha decided to trust this Zigzagoon - if she couldn’t trust such a creature like him, who could she trust?
“My name is Amarantha, and I’m a Petilil. I escaped from my mother to go on an adventure and see if I can have a trainer. When do the trainers usually come to the Botanic Gardens?”
“Well, Amarantha - is it okay if I call you Am? I can’t be bothered saying all of that. Anyway, Am, the humans don’t come until the afternoon for the most part. You should just relax here until a trainer comes along in the afternoon - we can be friends, and you can get other friends too.”
Amarantha, although she had no mouth, was trying to smile. This was one of the best offers she’d ever got before. She’d never had anyone that she could call a friend.
But I swear I won’t forget you.
The afternoon sun was blazing down on the Gardens, and Amarantha was excited - Bandit had told her that the trainers would be arriving soon! She’d pick the first one that came along and see if they wanted her. If they did, then they were sure to start a battle with her. She went over everything she had learned at the hands of her mother about battling in her mind, reciting the instructions to herself over and over until she could say them backwards. She was practically leaning forwards in anticipation of the arrival of a trainer, any trainer that could take her on an adventure, or at least someone who’d give her a new lease of life and show her the outsides of the Gardens where she had spent all of her life - she was growing bored of the constant surroundings, really.
She perked up a little when she heard a voice - one that wasn’t speaking Pokémon language, yet she found she could understand it anyway. It didn’t sound like a creature’s voice either - at least, not a creature she had heard of or encountered in the Gardens. She wondered whether or not this would be one of the female humans or male humans, or what it would look like. A million questions and more buzzed in her mind simultaneously, but she found she didn’t want to ask anyone - she wanted to find out the answers herself, and the only way how was to interact with this human, get it to capture her or something like that. She felt like a lot of things in her life was drawing to a close, but a lot more was just around the corner.
The voice had gotten closer, and now Amarantha could see that the voice belonged to a human - it definitely did. She looked the oddity up and down, examining it fully. It seemed to be one of the female humans, from what Bandit had described to her earlier. She had dark brown hair, tied back with some absurd kind of material. It cascaded down her back messily, but the human didn’t seem to care. She was also wearing materials too - a dark grey kind of clothing with sleeves, which Bandit told her was called a jacket (the Zigzagoon stood by her side now, whispering things in her ears). It seemed to be made of some kind of prickly material, but not even Amarantha’s new friend could tell what the material was. It also wore a light green top underneath the jacket, as well as long sleeves that covered her legs and on her feet - they each had five growths coming out from them called toes - were some kind of black shoes, but they were open at the top (sandals, Bandit called them). Her face was unblemished and was devoid of lines, although her chin looked rather angular and sharp. Her nose was quite small, Amarantha regarding it as kind of cute, and her alizarin lips were curved in a smile. Her skin was a pink-white colour and her eyes were a deep blue, like some of the creatures Amarantha had became acquainted with.
Those eyes fell upon Amarantha, and she found herself staring straight back into the blue, almost challengingly. The human clapped enthusiastically, and squealed, “She’s a Petilil! So cute! I should capture it!”
“If you want to, Clara,” said another human, stepping to her side. This one was a human male, and was dressed for the outdoors, quite clearly - his hair was a feathery blue-black and his eyes had the same shade to them as the human female’s. His clothes consisted of a “tufts” blue cotton jumper and a pair of dark grey three-quarter-lengths. He wore shoes that matched those of the female’s, and Amarantha wondered if these two humans were courted together. She had heard of courting through her mother’s stories of the old days, when the human males would ask the human females to dance with them in a ballroom and things like that. Of course, back then, Amarantha didn’t believe in humans - but now that she had proof they existed, she started to form a few different ideas about them.
“Okay, then! I’ll catch her! She’ll make a nice addition to the team once she’s evolved,” the human female - Clara - said. She brought something from her pocket - it was a red and white sphere, and pressed a button in the middle. The sphere swelled up to the size of her palm, at which point she could barely hold it. She flung this strange sphere into the air - no cry, just a simplistic toss into the air. The sphere opened up in mid-air and released a white jet of light, and out of that formed a large creature which Amarantha didn’t recognise at first. Bandit skittered away from her, chattering to himself somewhat - this was her battle now, and it was about to begin. No regrets at this stage, only moving forward. She examined the creature - it was a tall, elegant Pokémon, with a pinkish-red growth protruding from its chest and a white cloak flowing all around it. It had shimmering red eyes and green colouration on its arms, on the underneath of its cloak and forming slick-looking “hair” of sorts.
Gardevoir, Amarantha thought. It’s a Psychic-type Pokémon. My mother always said they were good with mind thingies... I’ll have to make sure to avoid its attacks. It could hurt me.
“Okay, Gardevoir!” Clara called out, her voice taking on that assertive quality that trainers had when they battled. “Start off with a Thunder Wave, combined with a Will-o-Wisp. It’ll incapacitate her somewhat, but even when she’s slower, we can’t back down. We know that she could be a very good battler.”
I have no plans to be incapacitated at the moment. We know what to do, don’t we, Am? Amarantha thought. She watched warily as the Gardevoir whirled her arms around in a circle, starting to crackle with electricity, but Amarantha could see that there was fire building up, too. A ring of electricity was created, and it hung, suspended there, as the Gardevoir charged up another move, the fire spiralling down its arms and being released in small orbs, but they simply hung there, suspended around the ring of electricity. Obviously it wasn’t planning to release the attack until it saw that Amarantha was doing something, so she obliged. She reached out to the sun with her mind, trying to recreate a pushing sort of motion but without moving. She breathed outwards as she heaved towards the sky, and the dark leaves upon her head began to glow white. A beam of the white-coloured light was released into the sky, directly into the sun moments later. The sun started shining far more harshly, but it was the way that Amarantha liked battling.
The Gardevoir had shot off the attack as soon as the beams had hit the sun, but at this stage Amarantha had already gathered enough energy into her body and shot away from the attack at a blinding speed - she had satisfyingly achieved the effect of Chlorophyll, making her far faster in the sunlight. At this point, she inhaled deeply, as this was how she could concentrate the best. She did that same visualisation of the Gardevoir’s health being sapped as she had when practising with her mother - she had reached the level of being able to perform Mega Drain by now - and imagined herself gaining a benefit from Gardevoir’s loss. The Gardevoir was totally confused as to what the little creature was doing, but found that she should have produced countermeasures - or her trainer should have - as red light enveloped her and she felt energy being drained. The red light was drawn in by the leaves on Petilil’s head, and it was up to Clara to turn the tables. Amarantha was dominating at this stage, but that was about to end.
“Gardevoir, Psychic! Ensnare her so she can’t move.”
With this command, the Gardevoir’s eyes began to glow a purple colour, and this aura extended to the rest of its body until it was casting an eerie purple glow upon Amarantha. She decided to make a break from the Gardevoir, but found she couldn’t move. She also felt that she was floating into the air, which she was. She looked down towards the grass, and saw to her dislike that she hovered a few feet above it - she was a creature of the earth, not of the air, and disliked being up higher than she should have been. She also felt the Psychic attack draining her health somewhat, but also found that she couldn’t provide any counters to what was happening. Before she knew it, the Gardevoir had charged another ring of electricity and had fired it off. She found that it hit her body, and she could barely move at all now. The Psychic attack was released, but it made hardly any difference. Amarantha was now moving at a snail’s pace, and had been somewhat weakened by Psychic anyway.
“Good job, Gardevoir. Let’s end this.”
What happened next was all a blur to Amarantha, but she saw that she could barely defend herself, and gave up.
She was satisfied with her performance, so she closed her eyes for a well-deserved rest.
Her mother beheld the arrangement of the berries, and found that she didn’t mind. Perhaps her daughter going was for the best.
The berries spelt out ‘A-D-V-E-N-T-U-R-E’.
12th August 2011, 12:27 PM
Re: Amarantha's departure. [SWC]
Mine, mine, and a thousand times mine. Baha.
13th August 2011, 01:33 AM
Re: Amarantha's departure. [SWC]
Ah, so my first thoughts before reading this went along the lines of “lolol, Armarantha, I really should’ve let Scourge have this one.” And then I realized that most people wouldn’t get this and it’s really not my place to say that anyways, so I moved on. ANYWAYS, HERE GOES.
SECTION_TITLE: Introduction: Well, a good introduction is going to hook the reader in, segue to the rest of the story, and, well, introduce your characters and setting. So, your first sentence, which is probably the most important part of your introduction, ends up looking like this:
No-one knows exactly how the island came about.
Hmmm. So we have a mysterious island, and we’re not sure about its origins. This part confuses me a bit, mostly because most people don’t know how islands come about. It could be a volcanic one if it’s over a few undersea vents, in which case people might be wondering why it’s suddenly there (then again, most volcanic islands would take centuries to form entirely and have proper vegetation and whatnot), and such an island really wouldn’t be a great place for a National Park… then again, Mt. Deckbi would make so much more sense. Regardless, the point still kinda remains: most people don’t wonder how islands come into existence. They’re just sort of… there, you know? It’s an intriguing way to start off your story, pondering the island, and I think you were trying to go more for “how the island came to exist in its current state”? Either way, that would still be pretty wordy and would also reach its obvious conclusion when you tell us exactly how the island came to exist in its current state… in the next paragraph.
What I’m trying to say, really, is that your first sentence is both slightly confusing and contrasting with the rest of your introduction. Confusing in the sense that most people don’t wonder how islands come into existence, Pokémon or not. And contrasting in the sense that you have the Petilil wondering “how the island came about” and then you tell us, the reader, exactly how the island came about in the next sentence. It’s a bit misleading, in a sense, since what the reader knows now directly contrasts with what the main character knows. Techniques like that are all right in some situations (for instance, in your final sentence of the introduction, in which you foreshadow that the Petilil is to be caught), but it just feels strange here.
Speaking of the last sentence in your introduction, we can take a look at that too, since your introduction is rigidly defined by that convenient trio of asterisks. =D
It was in the National Park that a young, adventurous Petilil was to be caught.
Mmm, so I have some mixed feelings about this. The suspense that it creates is great, but it also kinda ruins the rest of the plot, you know? The reader knows from reading this sentence (and learning that Amarantha is a young and adventurous Petilil) that she’s going to end up getting captured in the end, and most likely by one of those trainers you mentioned earlier. Then again, the whole title kinda tells us that Amarantha is going to be departing/captured, so I guess you’re not really ruining anything there. However, you really should be careful with the foreshadowing that you’ve got going on here: the key is to have enough to get the reader antsy (and, if/when they end up looking back on the story, they can read your foreshadowing and think nice things about it like “gee, that was so wonderfully and subtly placed”), but you don’t want to be so heavy-handed with it that readers get the entire plot thrown in their faces before the story has even begun properly.
Despite all of the rambling and lambasting that’s in this section, though, your introduction is pretty reliable, especially for a Medium-ranked Pokémon. I do feel, though, that the entire history of the National Park was a bit unnecessary: the story focuses on Amarantha, and the point is that she doesn’t know how the Park came to be; why should the reader have to know? If the main character/person whom you’re following in omniscient third person doesn’t know about the Park, the reader doesn’t really need to, either. XD
Regardless, your introduction was solid. I do wish you could fix up the things I pointed out, to some degree—that might help to make it better, but you’ve got a good foundation going here. Iffy, but it’s getting pretty good. And there was much rejoicing.
Description: I can sum up your description and stuff in a single word:
Both because you actually used a word as purely awesome as mellifluous and also because your details are smooth and flow-y. You’re not being too heavy handed with the description, but you also do a pretty good job of describing your Pokémon, their emotions, and their attacks, rather than saying bland things like “this is a Petilil. It is sad. It used Absorb”. In fact, there’s honestly very little that I can say to help you out by means of description, because you’re doing pretty darn awesomely at it as is.
I will say, though, that you describe things in color (colour, lol), almost too much. Don’t get me wrong here—there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making vivid colors in your story and having a bright tapestry of pigments, but I’m more focused on the way you use the word “colour” a zillion times in the same paragraph. Said paragraph being one of the earlier ones, where you used it four or five times in rapid succession to the point that it’s distracting. You don’t actually need to say “colour” that many times—you can easily make the detail a lot less distracting by simply omitting that word. For instance, when you have
they shone a radiant orange colour
In a sentence that’s already mentioned colours once or twice before, you can just get rid of that extraneous word and make your description flow a lot smoother, so it’d read more like: they shone a radiant orange…
It might just be me, but that sentence flows a lot better without the word “colour” in it, because we can already assume that said “radiant orange” is a color and not, like, the fruit, right? Sometimes, having superfluous words is good, but in this case, it’s not bad to get rid of that redundancy.
It was something about the peace and quiet, the way everything was still but you were moving.
This could fit under grammar, too, I suppose… but that section is bloated enough already and it does fit under details, I swear. You can use the pronoun “you” in informal writing, if you (you, you, not general you) feel so inclined, but you’ve got to be careful. You use it as a descriptive element, but it gets a bit confusing in this context: there is no defined character designated to the second person case yet, and this occurs halfway in to the story and never comes back. After rereading it a few times, I can understand that you (you, you. XD) intend to use the word “you” as a general term, but it took a little while to sink in. I might be dense, but it’s never a bad idea to either omit the second person from your writing or use it more often than you use it now—basically, either commit to second person writing and use the general/direct “you”, or don’t mention it at all at the risk of creating confusion. In this story, you don’t use the second person at all (except for this instance), so I’d suggest just changing this example to the non-definite pronoun of “one” (everything was still but one was moving, although I find that to read a bit awkwardly), or just swap it to Amarantha: the way everything was still but Amarantha/she was still moving. Both situations would help eliminate the confusion that a random “you” creates, and it’d definitely make things a lot simpler, m’kay?
long blades of green green grass
Mmm, so I can’t be sure if that’s a typo or not. Normally, I wouldn’t flag typos and would only briefly mention them in passing, but one can actually use “green-green” as an adjective. Kinda. It’s a different sort of style, where you’re kind of describing things as the Petilil (who is a young child) would see them. Since your character (again, a young child; I should emphasize this. XD) isn’t really going to be thinking or speaking in prose, sometimes your narration shouldn’t be in heavy prose either, especially if it’s Amarantha who is thinking about said description. Therefore, it becomes perfectly logical for her to describe something as “green-green”, although I highly suggest you have that hyphen in there so that we know it’s intentional rather than a typo. M’kay? (inb4 this is a typo and I’m looking waaaay too far in to things.
Honestly, your description is great. It’s not so heavy-handed that your prose is painted purple, but you’ve definitely got enough of it. There’s always a fine line between too much and not enough, but you seem to have your details down, solid. AWESOME.
Plot: Cutting right to the chase here, where I try to sum up your plot in a sentence or two: “boy walks through forest, encounters Pokémon”… wait, no, it’s like that but backwards. So it’s more of a “Pokémon walks through forest, feels disheartened with her peaceful and sheltered life, decides to run away, encounters human, battles human, gets captured by human; mother mourns but is bittersweet—all children have to leave home at some point” sort of thing. Yeah, I definitely cheated with those semicolons, but whatever. The point is that your plot is a conundrum to describe. It’s simple enough, in theory, but it’s also the exact inverse of the typical trainer plot, as seen through the eyes of a Pokémon. You could go wrong in so many ways with this, and we’d be left with a pretty dry plot, but it’s the small things you do that make it so much better. The way that you went back to Pomona in regards to her daughter’s departure was really cute, and it made the story a lot more personal than just having a Petilil being all “screw this; I’m bored. *leaves*” sort of thing. It’s the little things that amount to a good, big plot; those small things that you have make this plot a lot better than the general concept (which isn’t lackluster either; don’t get me wrong).
Some of the things feel abrupt, though. I know that Pomona reassured her daughter that she’d be fine, but Amarantha doesn’t seem too fussed about unleashing possibly lethal force on her own mother for a training exercise, right? [/random]
Amarantha’s friendship with Bandit does feel a wee bit forced, though. Sure, the girl hasn’t talked to anyone but her mother, ever, but she’s calling him a friend after a simple conversation. That’s not a bad thing, but it seems a bit weird and borderline melodramatic the way that Amarantha phrases it:
if she couldn’t trust such a creature like him, who could she trust?
This sentence is good at building drama and stuff, but we have to remember that Amarantha is a sheltered kid—she’s not going to be mistrustful in life because she’s had no reason to doubt humanity yet, right? No one has betrayed her trust, so she shouldn’t have qualms giving away her trust. Remember that good characterization is key in a good plot, too: when your characters deviate from what their backstories would suggest, your plot gets plot holes that you’ll want to fix. So look out for them, okay?
One of the elements that kinda confused me, though, was the berries at the end. Okay, so they spelled “adventure”. Amarantha is too young to know how to write a complete sentence properly, and it’s probably a pain to do so with berries regardless, soo… adventure. It seems a bit out of place, like you’ve got this massive, glorious buildup to some really touching and poignant word, and we get… adventure. It’s a good word, and I think it somewhat captures the essence of what you’re trying to say, but the moment with the berries at the end could be so much more than what you have it as currently. You have a bunch of emotions going on in this scene at once, both from Pomona when she sees the berries and what Amarantha must have felt when she placed them, and there’s so much more you can have in a word other than “adventure”. It seems anti-climactic, like you’ve got this great hype to see an awesome movie and then it’s not so great (harrypotterandtheorderofthephoenix), or when your cheese-stuffed-crust pizza doesn’t have pepperoni on it. Um. What I’m trying to say is that while closing on Pomona’s discovery of the berries is a wonderful idea, it feels like a letdown for Amarantha’s last words to her mother to be… adventure, you know? Perhaps I’m not making sense there.
Continuing in that vein, though… the berries are awfully ambiguous. What would Amarantha have done if a hungry Pokémon ate the berries before she delivered her message? Like, Hansel and Gretel style or something? And, honestly, when Pomona saw a bunch of berries on the ground spelling “adventure”, how was she to assume that it was a last message from her daughter who had just run away? XD Perhaps if you had mentioned the berries earlier, in passing, (like having Amarantha and Pomona share one or have Amarantha say they’re her favorite) then we’d understand why Pomona recognizes these berries and nitpickers like me would stop worrying about this, right? XD
Besides the tl;dr with the berries, your plot is solid. It’s not spotless, but most stories aren’t, and you’re definitely set for a Medium capture here. The interesting thing about your plot is that it’s almost an exact inverse with a beginner trainer who decides to leave home and finds a Pokémon to capture, except in this case it’s a beginner Pokémon who decides to leave her habitat to find a trainer by whom to be captured, which makes it both original and not original at the same time… sort of. It’s leaning more towards original, which is great, so I think you’re mostly good there. This plot would probably work for some higher level captures, too, largely because you have the more personal aspects of Pomona and maybe even Bandit involved. Nice work.
Grammar/Dialogue: Decided to mash these in to one since you have very little dialogue to speak of. It’s not a bad thing to have little dialogue, but the two sections would have been pretty redundant separately, and this grade was bordering on mammoth as it is. On with the show.
I SEE WE HAVE A BRIT ON OUR HANDS.
I just wanted to say that in a grade somewhere. It’s not bad; I just gotta remember not to flag every time you say “colour”, because the rest of your grammar is pretty darn nice. On with the show again. XD
Like I mentioned earlier, you’ve got a pretty solid grasp of grammar. Commas, clauses, phrases, whatnot. Phew. That makes my job so much easier. However, like everyone, there are still a few things to fix before you reach enlightenment. The first few things I’m going to point out are purely stylistic, but you’ll want to note them for future times.
Rangers were hired to prevent the poaching of valuable materials and Pokémon
It seems like a good, well-structured sentence at first, if that’s what you’re thinking—technically, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, since you seem pretty solid on basic grammar, we can delve in to deeper concepts: for instance, active and passive voices. (As a side note, The Elements of Style didn’t even get passive voice correct for three of their four examples. BAHAHAHAHA.) Despite that, though, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. Hopefully I won’t screw it up when I explain it to you, right? In passive voice, the target of the action is actually the subject of the sentence, whereas in active voice, the target of the action is the object. It’s purely stylistic, largely in the fact that you change the emphasis of your sentence. In the example above, the emphasis is on the rangers, rather than on their employers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—perhaps you really want to focus on the rangers—but the key to the problem is that we don’t actually know who hired the rangers. We can presume that it’s the Orange Island League Government, but you’d really want to explain it: perhaps it’s actually a group of terrorists who hired the Rangers as part of a conspiracy? We don’t know. You can explain that by means of a prepositional phrase (“the Rangers were hired by the terrorists to kill everyone”), but that’s wordy and unnecessary, when you could just as easily say “the terrorists hired the Rangers to kill everyone”. When looking for passive voice (and hopefully killing it with fire), don’t make the same mistake that Strunk and White (hint: they wrote The Elements of Style). Conjugated “being” verbs (things like were, was, etc) do not instantly make a sentence passive. If you said “There were dead leaves on the ground”, that’s still an active sentence, because the “there” is “were”ing… if that made any sense at all. While words such as “be” and “get” are often flags for a passive sentence (in fact, I think almost all passive sentences involve conjugated forms of be/get… there are only a handful, and I can’t really think of any… uh… “That cut needs looking at”. YEAH), and they’re usually a good way to narrow down your search for passive voice. However, the most foolproof way in finding passive voice is to make sure that your subject is the one doing the verb. It might be tedious, but active voice is almost always preferred to passive voice (just not in that sentence. XD). AND YES. I TOTALLY USED THAT PARAGRAPH BEFORE. SUE ME.
I’ll taste the sky and feel alive again.
This is pretty mild and easily correctable, I think. I’m not going to quote all of the instances (all three of them, I know… XD) where you use first person, but I’m going to remind you to fix the tags on there. It’s pretty jarring to have the first sentence of the main body in your story as a first person narration, where the rest of it has an omniscient third person narrator. I’m pretty sure you meant that to be in italics (the second one is in italics, whereas the third comes out as an interesting hybrid between bold and italics that concludes with neither one’s being used), which would have been a nice touch. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what you were aiming for, so I’ll stop talking here and just remind you to fix up those tags. [i] and [*/i], and whatnot. ^.^
One of the things I’d like to briefly mention is your repetition. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you’ll repeat a verb often in the same paragraph.
the Petilil yearned to see the outsides of the world
The Petilil yearned to be free
“Yearned” is a good, powerful verb, but that also comes with a price: people can pick it out more easily, since it’s more foreign to them. Words like “was” and “were” can be used often in succession (although it’s not suggested, because then your story becomes boring) without people’s noticing, because that’s what we’re used to seeing. However, more “exotic” and varied verbs, such as “yearned” tend to stand out to readers more, and you’ll have problems using words like that in rapid succession, especially in such close proximity to one another (these examples were taken from sentences that were right next to each other). If you’re going to use verbs like “yearned” (which I highly suggest; however, you don’t seem to have a problem with using varied vocabulary), you may as well go the whole nine yards and use a bunch of them, right?
Here goes nothing, Amarantha thought to herself
The one real bit of dialogue that I address in this section, and it’s not technically dialogue. Wonderful. Anywho, when you’re using thoughts (or in other situations, telepathy), you’ll find it best to isolate your thoughts as if they were dialogue. I’m not suggesting the use of dialogue tags; that would get confusing, but you could do some other way. Most writers tend to use italics to connote thoughts, thereby allowing you to show that the thoughts are different from the rest of the sentence.
Remember that, like, words that aren’t spoken directly, you probably shouldn’t separate thoughts that aren’t thought directly, either. For instance, when you would rather say: He said that they were going to eat toast rather than He said that, “they were going to eat toast” (unless you’re directly quoting “him”, but that’s a different matter entirely)
You also would have:
<He thought that they were going to east toast> instead of <he thought that, they were going to eat toast> SMALL THINGS LIKE THAT.
These thoughts indicated to herself
Ahh, the case of the nasty reflexive pronoun. With said reflexive pronoun being the word “herself”. Before I hit the upper limits of “tl;dr” for this section, I’ll just point out really quickly: you’ll only use pronouns like “herself” if the subject of the sentence is doing the verb to himself/herself/itself. In the above example, the thoughts are the ones thinking, not Armarantha. You could have something like “She indicated these to herself” (although that sounds wordy and awkward), or you could have “These thoughts indicated to her”, but you can only have one or the other.
Best. Quote. Ever.
Okay, fine. Context.
] but my friends all call me Bandit - don’t ask me why
The above punctuation that I’ve quoted is a hyphen. What you’d want to use in most of these situations, however, is a dash: it’s actually two hyphens stuck together, which will either end up like this “—” if you have Microsoft Word or some other word program, or “--” if you don’t. Hyphens are reserved for connecting relate words and thoughts (cream-colored, stone-gray, etc), whereas you use dashes to juxtapose two different ideas or parts in a sentence, like in that second quote.
Last one, I promise.
Perhaps her daughter going was for the best.
Possessive. Before. Gerund. BAHAHAHA.
You’ve got parts of speech that are called “gerunds”. These words often end in “-ing” (although not always), and they are kinda like hybrids between nouns and verbs. They’ll always take the place of a noun in a sentence, but they have some verb-ish aspects to them, as well. In this instance, though, we’ll treat them as nouns in the sense that they have to be preceded by a possessive word. Baaaaaasically…
“going” is your gerund. “daughter”, being the noun that precedes the gerund (and also the only word in that sentence that can really become possessive and isn’t already) should be your possessive noun, and your sentence should look like: Perhaps her daughter’s going was for the best
BIG CHANGE. I KNOW. But look out for things like that.
You know, despite the massive-ness of this grammatical section, your grammar is actually spot-on. I found maybe two typos (one of which is the nefarious “green-green”), and the rest of your stuff was pretty good. A lot of the stuff I pointed out falls under the category of “things to look out for next time” and is mostly there so I can help you improve and whatnot… anywho, you’re definitely in the clear for your grammatical and dialogue stuff. Huzzah.
Length: You say 29,970; I say 29,913. Then again, my counter is almost always arguing with someone, but I think you counted that massive line of dashes between your heading and the body of the story (that gets me to 29,970, sooo… XD).
Regardless, Petilil is a Medium ranked Pokémon, and you’re suggested parameters are 10-20K. So, yeah, you’re definitely in the clear here. Your pacing is pretty decent, and I’m honestly glad that you had more character development than battling here, so kudos to you for that. Remind me again why this section exists?
Personal Feelings/Outcome: +9,000 respect for Amarantha, by the way. Cool plant, nice color, good song, although I’m not sure how many of those you had in mind when you had the name, namely because it means something like “not fading” and is a mythologically immortal plant… anywho, it ties in really nicely here. I spent ages trying to understand what Pomona means, but I just kinda gave up on that one. Regardless, your names were pretty cool. I’m not sure how symbolic you intended on getting, since Amarantha actually does fade away from the memory when she’s captured, but still… XD
Also, I had a Linoone named Bandit once. [/random]
Well, before I digress any further, I did like your story. The plot wasn’t enthralling, exactly, but it was good, and they way you told it made it cute. The italic/bold bits were really touching near the end, and you had it all wrapped up in a nice little story. Yum. Anyhow, verdict:
I probably made it too obvious. Suspense… suspense… suspense… well, anyways, that’s not working.
Your detail is awesome, your plot is solid, your introduction is pretty okay, and your grammar is good, too. Across the board, you’ve definitely got what it takes for a Medium capture. So I can gladly say…
You might want to keep some of the things I mentioned in mind in the future (for instance, my notes in the introduction and about plot holes are most important, and maybe active/passive voice) for your other stories… maybe… but you’re definitely okay here. A lot of this grade is more of general advice for future stories rather than immediate things that you’ll have to fix. As it is, I think you’re doing awesomely so far. Nice job. ^.^
13th August 2011, 01:34 AM
Re: Amarantha's departure. [SWC]
Graded then deleted for SWC. Huzzah. PM'ing a copy to Buoyysel now.