Another Bad Dream (Ready for Grading)

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  1. #1
    Even Rocky had a Montage AlphaMouse's Avatar
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    Default Another Bad Dream (Ready for Grading)

    Pokémon being Captured: Lotad
    Characters: 7,348/5000

    "Come on, Tepig, we have to hurry or we won't be able to get to the Poké Mart before closing time," Sam said to his faithful partner as they walked along the dirt highway. The road looped around a forest and stopped by a Pokémart. The night before a storm had whipped past Sam and his Tepig, ruining his tent and his supplies. He had to buy at least a sleeping bag before night fell. His stomach growled in protest at the day's walk combined with no food since supper the night before. His partner, Tepig, walked beside him, his black snout occasionally sniffing the floor. Tepig, too, had not eaten since last night. He glanced at his watch. It was twenty to five. The Pokémart closed at five and it was still another twenty miles down the road.

    "Tepig, we've got to go through the forest or we won't make it to the Pokémart in time," he called to the small red Pokémon. Tepig ran up to him at the sound of his voice and followed him off the dirt road towards the trees. In many aspects Sam treated Tepig like a dog, letting him out of his Poké Ball to walk beside him and treating him like a pet.

    The forest was in a state of twilight and long shadows fell over the pair as they ventured through the pitch black woods. Around him Sam heard rustlings and turned around often to look for a pursuer, but there was never anyone there. Beside him Tepig offered a source of comfort, warmth and, most importantly, light. In the storm last night Sam had lost his torch when his backpack had been soaked, and if it weren't for Tepig he'd be unable to see anything. He tried to focus at the path ahead, willing the forest to end, for the Poké Mart to appear before him. But they just kept on walking.

    Sam glanced at his watch, turning on it's weak light. It was ten to five. Unless they could get to the Poké Mart soon he would have to rough it out for another night. He was so engrossed doing this that by the time he looked down at his foot it was already six inches deep in water. He cried out in shock and took a step back, dragging his sodden foot out of the puddle. Tepig's meagre light only illuminated a few yards out in front and he couldn't see how far the pond went out for.

    "Tepig, use Flamethrower to light up this pond," he ordered, clamping his hand over his mouth when he realised how loud he was being. The Fire Pig Pokémon shot a burst of flame, illuminating the pond. The word 'pond', Sam immediately realised, was an understatement. The brief glimpse of the body of water revealed its true magnitude. Before him lay a lake, at least five hundred metres in diameter, filled with algae and lilypads. Sam sighed in submission and knelt to the muddy floor. He looked into the water and saw his own face, long and bony, his grey eyes devoid of spirit. They weren't going to make it to the Poké Mart in time.

    Sam sat by the lake, watching the last remanants of daylight sink beneath the trees. He decided that the lake was the best place to make a camp for the night and started to make preparations. He cleared a space in the undergrowth untill only moss remained. He then gathered more of the blue-green moss until he had a layer a few milimetres thick between himself and the mud. Unfortunately, however, all the wood around the lake was soaked and useless for fires.

    "Come on, Tepig, let's find some firewood," he said to the Pokémon. Tepig's tail lit up, providing light with which Sam could search. They walked out of their makeshift camp, completely ignoring the small splash from behind them as a small figure left the water.

    Despite Tepig's light, the forest scared Sam at night. His skin crawled at tiny sounds, like the snapping of twigs, of the hooting of Noctowl in their nests. He kept on spinning around to check that there was no-one behind him. There never was. Slowly but surely he collected wood for a fire with Tepig and, once he'd decided that he'd got a large enough haul, decided to head back to camp. He turned around and started to follow Tepig's light. Suddenly a Murkrow swooped down, smacking Sam on the head. He fell to the ground, dazed, as Tepig shot a plume of flame at the offending Flying-type. As this happened all hell broke loose inside the forest. Bug Pokémon jumped out from burrows and nests, biting and scratching the pair. More Murkrow swept down like black thunderbolts, their beaks tearing skin and clothing. Sam struggled to his feet and grabbed one of the larger sticks of firewood, swinging it erratically over his head. Tepig shot Flamethrower after Flamethrower at the Bug types, keeping them just at bay. A stray flame from Tepig sent the wood into flames and he took down a Murkrow in one hit. At this the birds went wild, swooping down too quickly for Sam to manage. He felt a yellow beak slash across his chest, drawing blood. Beside him Tepig backed onto his leg, almost overwhelmed by the swarm of crawling creatures around him. He felt a blow to the back of the head. All went black.

    Daylight woke Sam up on his bed of moss. He looked down at his clothes. The green T-shirt was untorn, the tracksuit was intact. His body was free of marks from the Murkrow. Beside him Tepig breathed deeply in his sleep. He let out his breath. He had just been dreaming. He turned around towards the lake and found a lilypad lying on the shore. At second glance he realised that it wasn't a lilypad, but a Lotad. The Pokémon looked up at him to reveal its deep blue body, looked at him with his inquisitive eyes. At his feet lay a Pokémon. It was a Gastly, entirely made of purple-black gas. It had fainted as if it had been attacked by another Pokémon.

    "Hey little fella," Sam said, rising from the moss. "Was that Gastly giving us those bad dreams?" The Lotad looked at him and nodded. "Do you know how to get out of here?" he asked. Again the Lotad nodded. Nudging Tepig awake, Sam gathered his possessions and urged Lotad to show them how to get out of the forest. However, Lotad just leapt back into the water and swam back into the swarm of lilypads.

    "Hey wait!" Sam called. "I thought we had a promise!" He had hardly spoken, however, when Lotad reached the other lilypads. Bubbles rose from the surface, as if the Pokémon was talking to the plants. Suddenly the whole mass of lilypads moved, surging towards the shore. Sam realised that they also were not lilypads, but other Lotad. They stopped at the shore, waiting for Sam to do something. Then he figured it out.

    "They want us to ride on their backs," he muttered. He and Tepig climbed onto the herd of Lotad, lying flat on their bellies while being transported across the lake. The leaves had a silky quality to them and were very comfortable. Within a few minutes they reached the edge of the lake and the barge stopped. Sam crawled off the lilypads and onto the shore, muddying his hands in the process. Beside him Tepig leapt off and onto the bank.

    "I don't know how to thank you enough," he said, looking back to the Lotad gathered before him. One of the Water-types climbed out of the water. For some reason Sam could tell that it was the one who had first approached him. The Lotad squirted a jet of water at Tepig, sending the red Pokémon staggering back, his black ears dropping. Sam gave a laugh. "OK, I see how it is. Tepig, use Flamethrower at Lotad!" The Fire Pig Pokémon shot a jet of flame at his opponent, the fire engulfing it. Lotad, surprised, took a step back into the water. From there he made a ball of green light and fired it. The attack struck Tepig but barely had an effect. Tepig was a Fire type and Grass type attacks did little damage.

    "Tepig, use Flame Charge!" Sam commanded. Tepig engulfed itself in flame before running at Lotad. Lotad pushed off from the bank, drifting further into the Lake as Tepig charged in, getting stuck in the mud. From here Lotad made the offensive. His mouth rose from the water, firing a stream of bubbles at Tepig. Sam's partner was thrown in the air and fell back onto the river bank. Lotad, meanwhile, made no attempt to move back to shore. Luckily Flame Charge had raised Tepig's speed and he was able to dodge more BubbleBeam attacks that came from Lotad.

    "Tepig, jump onto Lotad's leaf and use Flamethrower from there," Sam ordered. Tepig made a run and leapt, managing to keep balance once he landed on Lotad's broad leaf. He then shot a jet of flame onto the leaf. Lotad burst from the water, depositing Tepig on the bank before landing there himself, his leaf singed.

    "Tepig, finish off with a Flare Blitz!" Tepig cloaked himself in blue fire and charged at Lotad. Simultaneously Lotad was enveloped in pink energy and jumped at Tepig. The two attacks clashed in the middle of the field, but at length Flare Blitz pushed Lotad's Zen Headbutt back. Lotad looked tired and was ready to be caught. Sam took a Poké Ball and threw it. It swallowed up Lotad and rolled on the ground, shaking until it stopped with a ping. Sam gave a whoop of victory before scooping up the ball and putting it in his bag.

    "Now, let's go to the Poké Mart."
    Last edited by AlphaMouse; 26th August 2012 at 09:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Head of Stories Princess Crow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Bad Dream (Ready for Grading)

    Sure, I'll claim this. I'll try to have the grade up as soon as possible!

  3. #3
    Head of Stories Princess Crow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Another Bad Dream (Ready for Grading)

    Sorry for the delay, school and homework really have been messing with my URPG time. That being said, without further ado, here is your grade!

    Introduction:

    Your introduction, like all introductions should, filled its purpose. We were given a glance into the world you were going to be telling your story in before you actually told the story, which makes a gradual entrance into the story even more crucial. Usually, I jump right into my 4 W’s to better elaborate on my viewpoint of your introduction, but I honestly think that that wouldn’t really convey what I’m trying to say in this context, so I’m instead going to drop that format and take a more casual approach to it.

    The introduction we’re given is a boy, Sam, who has had a rather misfortuned past day or so, is on the road to an unnamed town or city with his trusty companion, Tepig, always by his side. He is traveling through the forest and decides to stop for the night, which is just about where the introduction ends and the real plot begins. Generally, you did a nice job describing all that was going on, and I never was unable to visualize where the story was being taken. It makes the reading experience that much more unique and enjoyable, and I really liked how you took the extra step by making this.

    Plot:

    Here I was, expecting a typical ‘trainer wanders into forest, finds pokemon, and captures it’ kind of story. However, what you gave us was something that, at places, turned out to be something far from the average. Though I’m speaking for others, I’m fairly certain that a very realistic nightmare infested with demonic Murkrows is not what anybody was expecting. It was dark and interesting at the same time, and I was hanging onto the edge of my seat until he finally woke up.

    My only complaint about this section is the Gastly. You built this story up with your plot, you made me cling to the edge of my seat during the nightmare, but you sort of lost me on the Gastly. While Gastly has been known for giving people nightmares, and it seemed like the perfect candidate for the reasoning behind Sam’s bad night, but I just have to wonder: what happened to the Gastly? Why did it haunt Sam? Where did it go after it haunted Sam? Why was it in the forest in the first place? While I do realize that your story was being written for one of the easiest pokemon, and the plot isn’t always what comes first in these, I still found myself thinking about the Gastly even after I finished the reading. A simple, “Tepig fired a Flamethrower at it, which scared the ball of poisonous gas away,” could have made sense and would have resolved the issue entirely.

    Other than that, this plot worked well with your story. The nightmare might have seemed a little out of place, seeing as it didn’t really relate to the rest of the story, but it was still an interesting read, and I enjoyed almost everything about it.

    Climax:

    The resolution to Sam and Tepig’s issue of crossing the lake was short, sweet, and to the point. It only took them a devilish nightmare to be able to bond with the lily-pad duck, which then helped them get across the massive lake. For a story of this length, it didn’t seem particularly rushed, and the cooperation between the Lotads made me laugh, which definitely added another layer of interest to your story. The way the duo got across the lake was creative and effective, as I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it.

    The battle between the Lotad and Sam’s Tepig was balanced just about evenly, in my opinion. There wasn’t too much going on here, so it was easy to keep track of. It seemed to be realistic as well, with an even, constant back-and-forth dealing of the damage that didn’t seem too predictable. On a side-note, despite the fact that I believed this story’s battle to be realistic, I plugged the battle into the reffing calc and got the Lotad’s health at about negative 70%...

    Grammar/Conventions:

    You did really well here, which made it very easy for me to critique you on. You used spelling, capitalization, and many other grammatical tools correctly when many other stories of this rank use them incorrectly. That being said, while some of these errors didn’t have too much of a jarring effect on your story, there’s always room for improvement.

    The thing that I seemed to notice the most was the occasional forgotten comma. In parts of your story, you were really good at this, writing entire paragraphs with no errors. At other points, they occurred more often, though this is nothing to fret. Because it was a constant back and forth between the error and the correct usage, I’m unsure if you know how to correctly identify where to put these commas that you seem to be missing. As such, I’ll point it out to you, just in case.

    You seem to have commas that separate independent clauses down, as well as commas that separate fairly obvious non-essential phrases, such as speech tags. However, something that could be improved upon is the non-obvious non-essential phrases. At points in the story, you caught on to some of the harder ones. At other points, you skipped them without thinking twice about it. Trust me, you’re not the only one to struggle with this. I still have to re-read all of my stories before I post them to double-check this sort of thing.

    An easy way to identify a non-essential phrase is to simply take the phrase out and see how the rest of the sentence works. If the sentence could stand alone without the phrase, the phrase is non-essential. However, if the phrase makes the sentence grammatically incorrect and it can’t stand alone, the phrase is essential, meaning that it needs no comma to separate it. It can get a little confusing with conjunctions adding into play, but try to remember the rule that I said above, as it tends to apply to many circumstances.

    I’ll point out an example, since I’m having a rather hard time trying to explain it.

    In the storm last night Sam had lost his torch when his backpack had been soaked, and if it weren't for Tepig he'd be unable to see anything.
    There are two non-essential phrases in here, one in each independent clause. If I take each phrase out, the sentences are able to stand alone while still completing their intended function, so the phrase has to be non-essential. As such, we separate the non-essential phrase from the rest of the sentence with commas. Below is how it should be written:

    In the storm last night, Sam had lost his torch when his backpack had been soaked, and, if it weren't for Tepig, he'd be unable to see anything.
    Another, minor thing that I caught up on was mainly just simple mistakes that I know you already knew. Things like forgetting to start a new paragraph when speech starts, adding an extra comma when it shouldn't be there; simple things like that. You used them correctly throughout various other parts of the story, so it's just something that you should keep an eye out for when you're proofreading.

    Other than the occasional mistake, you did a wonderful job portraying the physical aspects of your story. From a grammatical standpoint, it was easy to read and made your story seem much more professional.

    Length:

    The minimum character requirement for a Lotad is 3,000 characters. You more than doubled that requirement with just a few hundred characters over 7,000. I like that you were able to do this without too much of your story seeming unneeded and filler. By putting the additional length commitment into your story, you also told me that you were writing this story for more than just the pokemon; you were writing this story for the sake of writing the story. This makes the reading experience all the more enjoyable when the reader realizes that his or her time isn’t being wasted.

    Results:

    You did a marvelous job with your story, so I’m going to say that Lotad is captured! The story was lots of fun to read, and it gave me a cool visual that really made your story successful. Your grammar and length sections were above and beyond what was expected of you, making the flow of the story much more even and progressed. As always, enjoy your pokemon, and I hope that you continue to write in the URPG story section!
    Last edited by Princess Crow; 23rd September 2012 at 03:51 PM.

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