Badlands

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  1. #1
    Beware the dark side Marius's Avatar
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    Default Badlands



    Trainers walk through the Badlands all the time. The reason for their trek is simple: It's the only way to get to the next city, win the next badge, yada yada yada. They would probably explore alternative routes if they knew that the Badlands were rife with bandits, many of them right under their feet. These were the Pokémon of the Badlands, and they detested that humans could be found in their home.

    Trapinch was jolted out of his thoughts by his friend Gible. Gible was Trapinch's best friend, and had been the one who found him and took him in after he was abandoned by his mother. "We have another one!" He hissed excitedly. He poked his head out of the burrow to steal a look at the trainer and then added, "I think it's the one who caught my brother!"

    Dugtrio stuck his heads up from a lower burrow and joined the conversation. "Gible, you think every trainer is the one who caught your brother." He said in his odd triple voice.

    Gible growled in frustration, banging his blue shark head against the dirt wall. "It's not my fault they all look alike. I just want to see my brother again! Is that so much to ask?"

    A sleepy, but undeniably feminine voice came from the back of the burrow. "What are we talking about?" Slugma asked as she slithered forward to join the meeting. Slugma was the only girl in their group, but it didn't show. The spunky fire snail acted just like one of the guys.

    "We have a trainer up top, Gible thinks it might be the one who took his brother, and now that you're here we're just waiting on Graveler." Trapinch explained quickly. He popped his big orange head out of the hole, but the trainer was still pretty close.

    Slugma sighed. "Maybe we should just go without him. He ate a lot yesterday. He could be sleeping all day." Graveler was lazy, but he had the most powerful Rollout of any of them. He was usually the first attacker, stunning the trainer long enough for Slugma to trap him in a ring of fire.

    Trapinch nodded. "Good point. If he isn't here and the trainer starts to leave, we take the hit." Gible and Dugtrio nodded in assent, but Dugtrio poked his heads up to check the trainer's position and came back with some alarming news.

    "He's moving away! It's now or never." Dugtrio yelped, which sounded quite strange in his triple voice.

    Gible jumped in shock, hitting his head on the burrow roof. "Okay, let's do it! You guys know what to do, right? We don't need Graveler." He received nods from his fellow Pokémon and beaconed them up to the surface. "Let's go!"

    Trapinch immediately dove into his tunnel, burrowing to get to the right position under the Trainer. His job was to bite the ankles with his large jaws and send the trainer down. Dugtrio was tunneling alongside him. Dugtrio's job was to pop up, knock the trainer's Poké Balls loose, and then disappear.

    The temperature in the tunnel suddenly rose, and Trapinch knew that Slugma had started her job. They were right on schedule. He reached the spot marked by Slugma's circle of fire and nodded to Dugtrio. The pair shot out of the ground simultaneously, and Trapinch bit down on the Trainer's ankle, drawing blood. He stumbled and fell hard on the desert ground, scratching his face on the stones. His left hand just barely missed the fire surrounding him. Trapinch looked around worriedly for Dugtrio and realized they had misjudged. Slugma's circle of fire was smaller then usual, and Dugtrio had come up on the wrong side. He wouldn't be able to complete his job in, Trapinch realized. Even as he was thinking this, the trainer had pulled a Poké Ball from his belt and thrown it at Trapinch.

    Trapinch experienced the most uncomfortable sensation, as though his body was folding in on itself, compressing down to a single point, as if gravity was coming at him from all sides... And then it was gone. He was in the Badlands... But all of the familiar landmarks were gone. And his friends were gone. He was all alone... Trapinch had a horrible flashback to the last time he was all alone. It was the time he was abandoned by his mother... He started breathing hard, sweat rolling down his face, backing away from the empty vision of his home.

    And then the Poké Ball opened. Trapinch found himself sprawled on the floor of a human building. He was panting, his heart racing from what he had seen inside the Poké Ball. He heard a voice from somewhere above him, ringing in his ears. It made his head hurt, but he took the effort to focus and hear what the human was saying to another human, this one with pink hair.

    "...found a gang of Pokémon out in the Badlands, all different species. It looked like they were fighting or something. I caught this guy, but he doesn't look too good. The pink-haired human frowned.

    "Oh dear. How many Pokémon were there? I have had other trainers come in and complain about the same thing." She said.

    He frowned. "Let's see. There was this little Trapinch, a Slugma, and a Dugtrio. I think that's all."

    Trapinch sighed in relief internally. Graveler hadn't gone on that mission, and Gible's job happened later. Two of his friends were safe. But he wasn't, he realized, panic beginning to rise in his throat again. He was now a slave to the human, possibly for the rest of his life. He accidentally let out a low whimper.

    The pink-haired human looked concerned. "I'd have to do more tests to be sure, but it appears your new Trapinch has a condition we call PCD, or Post-Capture Depression. It is common in Pokémon who value their lives in the wild, and probably have family and friends there." She patted the young trainer on the back. "I can't promise he'll grow out of it."

    The trainer looked at Trapinch with worried eyes. He didn't want to be responsible for giving the little guy a sad life. "I'll let him go." He eventually said. The Pokémon would be much happier in the wild, he knew, and he wouldn't be responsible for ruining its life.

    Trapinch was pulled into the Poké Ball again, but didn't protest this time. He was too drained and upset, and he missed his friends. And then he was in the Badlands again, and he wished with all his heart that his friends were there with him. Then there was a flash of light, and all of a sudden... They were!

    Trapinch gasped as he saw Gible run up to him, ecstatic that he wasn't gone forever like Gible's poor brother. He shook his head to make sure he wasn't dreaming, but this was real, and Slugma, Graveler, and Dugtrio were coming now, too. Trapinch felt his big-toothed mouth curl into a smile. He was home. He could only barely remember why, but he was glad that the trainer had cared enough to let him go.

    His smile faded as he turned away from his friends to look at the trainer. He had cared enough to let him go... Trapinch suddenly felt a sickening sense of being torn in two. The trainer had cared about him... But he needed his friends. Suddenly a lightbulb appeared over his head and he turned back to his friends.

    "Let's go with him." This statement was met with the predictable amount of alarmed head-shakes and Gible exclaiming, "But we just got you back!"

    Trapinch waited until they had quieted down. "Listen, do you really think we're going to live like this forever? Just attacking trainers, over and over? I know you guys think of them as heartless beasts invading our territory, but that's not what they are." He cast a worried glance over his shoulder, seeing that the trainer was getting farther and farther away. He was running out of time. "Listen, this human cares. He cared enough to bring me back here to you guys, and I don't know if I could continue our old way of life knowing humans can be good. So I'd like to go with him, see the world. But I can't go without you guys. So please, trust me on this one?"

    His friends were silent as they thought for a long time. Finally, Gible stepped forward. "Bro, I'd follow you anywhere. And who knows, maybe I'll find my brother while we're adventuring." Trapinch smiled and hugged his best friend, but waited for the others' verdict.

    Slugma was next. "Frankly, I'm bored of this place. I'd love to go see the world." She admitted, slithering over to side with Trapinch and Gible.

    Graveler and Dugtrio took their time. Trapinch grew increasingly frantic as the boy got further and further away. Eventually, though, they both agreed to leave on the grounds that there wasn't anything left for them here.

    Trapinch lead them in a frantic chase to catch up the boy. When they finally did catch him, Trapinch head-butted his leg gently, and pointed at the Pokémon with him, then at the boy. The boy seemed to get the point, because a smile bigger then the sun spread across his face...

    "...and that's how we met Will." The Flygon finished. The Golem, Magcargo, Garchomp, and Dugtrio nodded in assent. The baby Slugma, Magcargo's daughter, giggled and yelped.

    "And remember, baby," Magcargo told her daughter, "He still has no idea it was him we were attacking in the first place."
    URPG Floaroma Gym Leader!

  2. #2
    NSFA Not Safe For Adults's Avatar
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    Default Re: Badlands

    Claimed. Will post grade soon.

  3. #3
    NSFA Not Safe For Adults's Avatar
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    Default Re: Badlands

    Introduction:

    The story begins with a description of the Badlands, a place where Pokemon attack trainers instead of the other way around. It’s good, as it sets up the story well and introduces all the main characters, but I will say that it lacks some impact. Still, because this story is so short, I think this kind of introduction works well. A lot of writers (not necessarily graders) say that stories need to hook the reader in the first three words with some sort of action-packed phrase or something. Personally, I think slower paced openings also have their merits, but it’s a criticism to keep in mind, and it’s an easy way to gain favor with readers.

    Description:

    You definitely have some skill with this. I’m not sure how much experience you have with writing or even if this is your first URPG story, but either way I think you have a lot of potential. I loved how you described the voices of Slugma and Dugtrio, as I never realized how strange it would be to hear three heads talking in unison.

    My suggestion for the future is to add more descriptions than you think you need. The ones you have are perfect, all you need to do is add more of them. I would suggest focusing on describing the character’s appearances and the setting more before tackling anything more complicated. That being said, you did describe those things, it’s just that you could go farther with it. Don’t worry about going into purple prose territory, as we graders would much prefer you to go overboard on the descriptions rather than be sparse with them.

    Another thing is showing vs. telling a situation. It only happened a few times in the story, but overall we prefer being shown an action or a personality trait of a character than being told what it is. The one that really struck me in your story was the line,
    The spunky fire snail acted just like one of the guys.
    Although it kind of made sense to say this because you didn’t have much time to characterize each of the Pokemon, it still felt like it could have been omitted entirely, or shown through her dialogue.

    Other than that, I think you are definitely on the path to greatness with this.

    Grammar:

    You did fairly well with this, the main thing I noticed were errors with quotation marks. Just remember that when a sentence continues after a piece of dialogue, such as in this sentence:
    "We have a trainer up top, Gible thinks it might be the one who took his brother, and now that you're here we're just waiting on Graveler." Trapinch explained quickly.
    you need to connect the dialogue and the explanation of the dialogue together with a comma instead of a period. That would look like this:
    "We have a trainer up top, Gible thinks it might be the one who took his brother, and now that you're here we're just waiting on Graveler," Trapinch explained quickly.
    Another example: this
    "I'll let him go." He eventually said.
    should be changed to this
    "I'll let him go," he eventually said.
    Notice the lack of capitalization after the quotation marks, due to the sentence continuing.

    Other little thing I noticed was:
    The reason for their trek is simple: It's the only way to get to the next city, win the next badge, yada yada yada.
    should be:
    The reason for their trek is simple: it's the only way to get to the next city, win the next badge, yada yada yada.
    I wasn’t sure if that was a typo or not, but basically you don’t capitalize the word that comes after a colon since the sentence is continuing.

    Length:

    Always include the character count of your story! I guess I could technically do it myself, but graders are lazy and we prefer if you guys do it. So I’m not entirely sure if this story was long enough, but I’m just going to assume it is.

    Plot/Overall:

    The story was short and sweet, and I appreciated the way events unfolded. You could have put more emphasis on the Trapinch’s or Gible’s backstory, but honestly I think it worked out better the way you did it. To be honest, although there are things I could fault you with in terms of plot, this story just hit me the right way. I liked the way you handled it and I liked that it was kept relatively simple. The pacing also felt just right with this, and I think if you had divulged too much on certain details that pace would have been ruined.

    In future stories however, I recommend challenging yourself with a more complex plotline, more descriptions, and more dynamic characters, since we only got a tiny glimpse into the ones in this story. Basically, flesh things out more and you’ll be golden.

    Now onto what you really want to hear: Trapinch captured! I thought this story was a good enough effort to snag him, but if you don’t fix the things I told you about I can’t guarantee that you’ll always get these captures, even if you continue to go for medium mons. I think you are at the level where you can improve drastically even after writing just one or two stories, so keep writing! We’d love to see more of your work around here.

    EDIT: Also I forgot to mention this, but I loved how you included Post-Capture Depression. Such a great concept.
    Last edited by Not Safe For Adults; 19th January 2014 at 04:42 PM.

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