A Boy and his Growlithe
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Thread: A Boy and his Growlithe

  1. #1

    Default A Boy and his Growlithe

    Target: Lotad (Simple, 5-10k)
    7164 chars

    (The title isn't theft, it's an homage :P)

    A pair of figures jogged down the dusty trail, laboring in the sweltering heat. The taller of the two had blonde hair that flashed in the sunlight, and a shirt that matched the cloudless sky; the smaller had four legs, orange fur, and black stripes on its back. Together they paced themselves, panting and sweating on the windless day.

    Together, they were headed for Sweetwater Lake, fed by mountain streams so it stayed cool even in the dead of summer. It was becoming a ritual for Evan and his Growlithe, Legend, to jog there at least twice a week to stay in shape. The trail to get there was more than a mile, however, and they usually wore themselves out just getting there.

    The blackberry bushes on the side of the road, normally overflowing with juicy fruit, had dried up under the drought; everyone in Springrose City hoped they would return in the fall, but unless the weather changed soon, they didn’t have much of a chance to. A few Nidoran, both male and female, took what shelter they could find under the bare bushes, ignoring the pair as they went by; Evan knew they were suffering just as much as the plants, and didn’t want to overtax them with battles.

    After half an hour had gone by, the pair finally caught sight of the vast blue lake. It was larger than the city nearby, normally, which didn’t say much; but with the drought, it was beginning to shrink. A band of old mud ringed the lake, drying for the first time in decades, and the normal pier that allowed diving now ended in three feet of water. The two carefully walked over the treacherous ground, finally reaching their goal of clear, cold water to splash in.

    Growlithe, being a fire-type, never went very deep; Evan knew he could swim fairly well, but that he didn’t like to do so. Evan himself had no such compunctions, however, and practiced his backstroke, never going too far from the shore.

    The two began to hear a loud, distant buzzing noise from the trees that ringed the lake; Evan thought he recognized it as bug Pokémon shedding a cocoon, but had never heard what sounded like so many of them. The volume increased steadily, and he began to see flickers of motion among the bare trees.

    He swam back to where Growlithe was splashing in a puddle. “Legend, you may want to keep an eye out – sounds like a bunch of something are hatching, and fresh-hatched bug Pokémon tend to be hungry.”

    They moved closer to the pier, hoping that whatever was making the noise would pass them by. As they crouched among the supports, reeds, and lily pads near the dock, the noise changed; it became higher pitched, much like the sound of insect wings in flight.

    Suddenly, from the trees came a massive swarm of yellow- and black-striped Pokémon; Evan had never seen so many Beedril together at once. They started moving over the lake, but more were appearing; they reached the halfway point with no end in sight, and kept growing wider.

    Evan knew they were in trouble when a few peeled off from the swarm to come investigate. “Legend, be ready to use your Flamethrower attack, but let’s hope you don’t need to.” More and more began to follow the inquisitive few, and Evan’s hopes fell. They were already under the most defensible position in sight, and Growlithe couldn’t keep them from coming under both sides of the pier.

    Evan thought furiously. He knew better than to try and stay underwater; the Beedril would simply wait above the surface until they needed air. Growlithe could probably turn some of the lake to steam to conceal them, but that would dissipate quickly; it was already too late for that tactic. And there was no way that they could outrun them, but Legend would quickly tire if he had to defend full-time at full power.

    The situation looked hopeless, and Growlithe was already beginning to blast gouts of fire at the oncoming swarm; though a few were burned, more were ready to take their place. One of the lily pads rose a few inches from the water, revealing a swimming Lotad; it shot a blast of water at one of the Beedril that had gotten around Legend, knocking it into the water.

    The majority of the swarm was still moving over the lake; Evan thought that if they could swim to the far end, they might have a fighting chance. He knew, however, that his Growlithe couldn’t swim and fend off the swarm at the same time. Struck suddenly by an idea, he asked the Lotad if it was willing to help them escape; it nodded, blasting another Beedril, but this time with a cloud of bubbles that popped against Beedril, knocking it askew enough to reconsider lunch.

    “Legend, if you hop on Lotad’s pad, he can swim to the other side of the lake, and you can keep up the defense!”

    The Growlithe barked in assent and leapt several feet to land squarely on the pad. Lotad began slowly swimming across the calm water, Evan keeping pace with a backstroke beside it. Legend barked, spun, and flamed; every time he leapt, another Beedril fell smoking to the water, or veered off to rejoin the main swarm.

    They reached the halfway point after what seemed to be forever; Lotad wasn’t a very swift swimmer to begin with, and with the burden that needed a stable platform, it slowed him down even further. Growlithe was beginning to tire, Evan could see; each burst of flame seemed smaller than the last. Again, he began to lose hope that they’d see the end of it; at least the Lotad would be protected from the poison stingers.

    The buzzing of wings began to diminish; Evan looked at the trees to see the last few Beedril trickling out of the woods. “Legend, keep it up! I can see the last of them now!”

    The puppy Pokémon growled as it nodded, and began blasting with renewed vigor. They had made it three quarters of the way across the lake; Evan wasn’t sure what they’d do when they got there, but the end of the swarm was just passing the halfway point in the lake. All that remained were the stragglers, but Legend was clearly exhausted; an oncoming Beedril took the full brunt of a flame attack and flew through, nearly unscathed. Lotad saved the day again, spinning quickly and releasing another blast of bubbles that hit the Beedril in the face at the last second.

    “Legend, just one more attack – hit the surface of the water and make a cloud of steam to hide us!”

    Growlithe did as commanded, and a small cloud of hot steam shielded the trio from view; the remaining stragglers, faced with being left behind by the swarm, buzzed back to the main horde in annoyance. Evan’s arms ached from the strain of swimming; Growlithe lay down on Lotad’s pad, who swam the rest of the way to shore, where the boy and dog collapsed.

    They laid there panting for several minutes, Lotad trying to aid them by spraying a fine mist of cool lake water in the air over them.

    “Legend, you did a great job out there. You saved both our lives. Thank you. And you,” Evan said, turning to Lotad, “Without you we would have been sunk. Thank you too.”

    Lotad grinned, pleased with itself. Growlithe simply panted some more on the bank.

    “You know, Lotad, we made a great team back there. What do you say to joining up with us to go see the world?”


    (In case it wasn't obvious, trying to get a Lotad)
    Last edited by evanfardreamer; 23rd April 2010 at 10:43 AM.
    Evan F's Stats

    Long Live the Ghost Dojo!

  2. #2

    Default Re: A Boy and his Growlithe

    Claimed for Grading. :)

  3. #3

    Default Re: A Boy and his Growlithe

    Introduction:
    A pair of figures jogged down the dusty trail, laboring in the sweltering heat.
    While most of the introduction sections I've written so far make mention to the creative use of hooks to draw the readers in, I felt that the bold section of the above quote was a particularly strong one, especially for a first story. It made me wonder, "Why are they laboring? Why is it so hot?" It definitely drew me into the story, so good job with this.

    I'd like to let you know, however, that there are stronger hooks out there that could fit into your situation. For example, if was given a situation much like yours, where the area the story takes place in is being plagued by a seemingly-unending drought, I'd add another hook line on the end of that first sentence to really seal the deal and keep your readers interested. Something like this would do nicely:

    A pair of figures jogged down the dusty trail, laboring in the sweltering heat. Though their endurance was spent and thoughts of simply giving up were sounding better by the minute, they continued on, unwilling to show even an ounce of defeat.
    Following this strong introduction, you could then get into describing the appearances of the main characters.

    It's something to think about as you continue to write and your captures become more difficult; however, for a first story, I think that your given introduction was very good.

    Plot:
    A boy and his Puppy Pokemon are jogging towards a lake on a dusty trail. Despite the drought that settled over their hometown, they are unwilling to forgo their ritual of swimming in the nearby lake. Once they get there, they proceed with their activity of swimming in the lake to cool off; however, not far off, a nest of Beedrill is hatching from their unevolved pupa forms. Inquisitive and hungry, they decide to make lunch out of our heroes, to their chagrin. With the help of a Lotad that was swimming in the lake, they fend off their attackers, and make it to the other side of the lake, where the flesh-eating bees decide to stop chasing them. Evan then asks the Lotad to join his team.

    Not bad, considering your target Pokemon. It's more complicated than the typical "Kid walks into an area, Kid is attacked by Pokemon, wild Pokemon saves him, Kid asks wild Pokemon to join him", thanks to the details that you gave about the characters and the environment in which they live.

    However, there are a couple of things that go unanswered in the story. While they really didn't affect the outcome thanks to your target Pokemon, I think they're worth bringing up in case you ever decide to do something like this again.

    For one, why are the Beedrill depicted as man-eaters? Typically, when a Beedrill attacks a person, they are doing so because that person entered into the Beedrill's territory. While this may have been the case in your story, the way in which you described the Beedrill made me feel otherwise. This line from Evan sealed the deal for me:

    “Legend, you may want to keep an eye out – sounds like a bunch of something are hatching, and fresh-hatched bug Pokémon tend to be hungry.
    While it is an interesting take on Beedrill's behavior, it kind of took away from some of the realism that the story had - something that I thought was very helpful and interesting about this piece. Like I said, though, it didn't affect the outcome; I was just surprised by it, and figured it would be a good idea to point it out to you.

    The second thing I noticed is a common mistake in stories with the backdrop that you used, especially in first stories, so it's not a big deal that you made that mistake. The thing is, the wild Lotad really didn't have a reason to help you, other than the fact that it would eventually be asked to join your party. I like to call this "author omnipotence", because it skips out on an explanation in favor of simply referring to all Pokemon as valorous, human-friendly creatures that, in the end, want to be captured. Considering the actions of the Beedrill and the fact that wild Pokemon may resist capture in any depiction of the Pokemon series, this is most likely not the case.

    For your story, this is a simple fix: you could have stated that a Beedrill was getting dangerously close to the Lotad beforehand, and the Lotad defended itself by blasting it away. Because there's strength in numbers, the Lotad then decided to team up with you temporarily to increase its chances of survival.

    Like I said, not something that affected you this time, but it's something to watch out for in more difficult captures.

    Dialogue:
    There wasn't too much speaking here, which is understandable, since Evan is the only English-speaking character here. However, I found that the way you worded the orders he was giving to Legend added to the increasing desperation of the trio's situation:

    “Legend, keep it up! I can see the last of them now!”

    “Legend, just one more attack – hit the surface of the water and make a cloud of steam to hide us!”
    The fact that Legend's vigor was renewed after the first quote there shows that Evan and Legend already have a strong bond. This gave them character, which helped me to connect with them better overall.

    As you probably know, when going for something more difficult, expanding on your dialogue is very helpful. With a good amount of dialogue, the personalities of your characters will show through, and the readers will be able to connect better to them and your story. This is something that Graders look for, so it's something that you'll definitely want to practice for later.

    Grammar:
    I didn't find any grammatical errors in here, so you're good to go in this section. Good job with the semicolon use, by the way; knowing when to use one is something that the Graders look for. You used it on several occasions in your first story correctly, and that was helpful for both the flow of the story and the outcome.

    Detail and Description:
    The taller of the two had blonde hair that flashed in the sunlight, and a shirt that matched the cloudless sky; the smaller had four legs, orange fur, and black stripes on its back. Together they paced themselves, panting and sweating on the windless day.
    Seeing as how Evan is going for a swim in the lake, I'm inclined to believe that he's wearing swim trunks; however, I still have to ask: is he wearing pants? O.o

    Other than this little goof-up, I quite enjoyed the details that you provided. I always had a clear picture of what was going on in the story thanks to the details you provided. In particular, the description of the effects of the drought on the environment was very well done:

    The blackberry bushes on the side of the road, normally overflowing with juicy fruit, had dried up under the drought; everyone in Springrose City hoped they would return in the fall, but unless the weather changed soon, they didn’t have much of a chance to. A few Nidoran, both male and female, took what shelter they could find under the bare bushes, ignoring the pair as they went by; Evan knew they were suffering just as much as the plants, and didn’t want to overtax them with battles.

    After half an hour had gone by, the pair finally caught sight of the vast blue lake. It was larger than the city nearby, normally, which didn’t say much; but with the drought, it was beginning to shrink. A band of old mud ringed the lake, drying for the first time in decades, and the normal pier that allowed diving now ended in three feet of water. The two carefully walked over the treacherous ground, finally reaching their goal of clear, cold water to splash in.
    It helped reinforce just how detrimental the drought was on Evan and Legend's surroundings, and added to the realism of the piece, which, like I said, was a strong point in your story.

    I'd also like to say that the angle you took with Legend is interesting and not done very often, from what I've seen. The fact that he's a Fire-type makes most people stray away from having Growlithe in water; however, seeing as how he is a dog, it would make sense that he could swim, even if his elemental affinities prevented him from swimming out into the lake for long. It's a different take on Growlithe that I thought was an excellent addition to the story.

    Something worth mentioning about Evan's strategy to get away from the Beedrill:

    They moved closer to the pier, hoping that whatever was making the noise would pass them by. As they crouched among the supports, reeds, and lily pads near the dock, the noise changed; it became higher pitched, much like the sound of insect wings in flight.
    As soon as I saw the word "reeds", I knew that there would have been a much simpler solution than the one Evan took: recall Legend into his Poke Ball, and use a reed to breathe underwater until the Beedrill left him alone. At the time you gave this detail, the Beedrill had yet to become inquisitive and stray towards them, so even if they saw the reed, they probably wouldn't think anything of it, and they would have flown away harmlessly. Reed breathing is not just something you see on television, either: hired mercenaries in feudal Japan used to use this technique to wait until nightfall in the place where their target was to be assassinated.

    But honestly, though Evan would've looked like a ninja if he used a reed to avoid the Beedrill, I liked your iteration better overall, so it didn't affect the story's outcome.

    Battle:
    Fending off a swarm of Beedrill is nothing new, as it's seen in the anime on several occasions. However, the teamwork that you incorporated into the story to better allow Legend to blast the aggressive bees was a strong point in the story. It makes the outcome of this story all the sweeter, I think.

    Length:
    Lotad is in the Simple category; the suggested length for Pokemon in this category is 5,000 to 10,000 characters. Your story is 7,164 characters; this is right about the middle, which is generally where you want to aim. Good job!

    Outcome:
    Drum roll, please...

    ...

    The Lotad nodded its approval.

    Gotcha! Lotad was caught!

    For a first story, this was very well written. I can tell that you have a lot of potential as a writer, and will be looking forward to seeing your future endeavors.

    Which reminds me - you have another story already written. One of the Graders will get to that soon enough, unless you want to enter into the Newbie Competition. If that's the case, put "Do Not Grade" in the title of your other story until entries into the competition close on May 5th. One of us will then get to Grading your other story.

    Enjoy your catch!

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