Drive! vs. Sneasel

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    But a Shade of Darkness Fallen_Vanguard's Avatar
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    Default Drive! vs. Sneasel

    [Needs to be graded]

    The hour was 3:00 PM, I believe, when I took my first step into the knee deep snow. I wasn't bothered too much by the wet or cold, or by the white flakes that fell from the infinitely long, slate grey blanket above. Truthfully, I welcomed it. I had always been fond of the snow, for it was either that or beg to move to a southern city.

    Alas, I trudged onward through the deep snow, my heart beating a bit faster than usual. Just a few hours ago, I had received my first Pokemon, a Shinx I had named Kaname, along with my trainer's license. After clearing up some minor details with my parents, I finally had all that I needed to begin my journey as a trainer, which I hoped would end in nothing less than absolute glory and victory.

    A red and white ball known far and wide as a "Pokeball" was clipped to the black leather belt around my waist. This Pokeball, which contained Kaname, began to shake violently all of the sudden, so I paused and looked around quickly yet thoroughly. The most likely reason for the shaking hunch that Kaname wanted to get out and look around, but I didn't want to release him if there was any immeadiate danger. There was nothing I could see beyond the tall, snow cloaked trees that outlined the narrow path I was walking down, so I unclipped the Pokeball from my belt and pressed a white button that jutted out from the ball's center, clicking the Pokeball open.

    With a brilliant flash of white light following, the Pokeball opened up. When the light faded, a small, primarily blue furred mammalian Pokemon with large, golden eyes (much like my own), a black furred tail with a golden star shaped tip, large elliptical ears, and small paws materialized before my eyes. This was my Shinx, Kaname.

    Kaname looked around, then shivered and looked down at the snow he was slowly sinking into. His expression changed from a curious one to an alarmed one, and he whined as he tried to pull his paws out of the grasp of the settled snow. I chuckled and lowered down to as close to his eye level as I could get, without falling to a knee, and said: "Just relax, Kaname. This stuff is called snow, it cannot harm you,"

    "Shinx?" Kaname yipped. While I could not understand what he said, I managed to catch the gist of it by his tone and expression, and nodded in confirmation. Kaname relaxed after a few moments of staring at the snow, then returned to observing his surroundings. That was when I heard it.

    It was probably 3:23 PM now, as I had been walking for a good few minutes. Suddenly, Kaname's ears twitched, and his gaze flicked over to the left. I heard what he heard as well: rustling in the snowy bushes, but no crunching footsteps. It had to be a Pokemon, only they could step so lightly in the deep snow. I took a step towards the bush as slowly as I possibly could, making a soft yet audible crunch, then I widened my eyes in surprise as a black blur of motion rushed towards me, snatching my black and white backpack right off of me in an instant.

    Kaname's light blue fur bristled, and he let out a deep, threatening growl from the back of his throat as I turned on my heel to see my attacker. It was a short, bipedal mammal with two sharp, white claws on each paw, thin black fur, and a red feather jutting out from the back of one if it's ears. The Pokemon had three similar feathers of the same color and shape serving as tails above its rump. I had lived near Snowpoint enough to know that this was the Dark/Ice type Pokemon called "Sneasel". They were infamous for mischevious and even sadistic actions, and this one taking my backpack was a classic story of Sneasel pranks.

    "Mind giving that back?" I asked in a firm, nearly demanding tone. The Sneasel blinked, looked down at the backpack that it hooked its claws around, then grinned mischeviously and nodded. Why had I even bothered trying to talk sense with the cretin? Sneasel, along with most dark types, only responded well to violence/dominance. I would have to prove myself to the Sneasel if I wanted my backpack to be returned. So, I glanced at Kaname, but hesitated. Not only would this be our first battle, but Sneasel were deadly foes with their sharp claws and blinding speed. "Kaname...give it a shot and use Spark,"

    Kaname obeyed and focused. Within seconds, his fur sparked. Moments later, his body crackled loudly as he was enveloped in bright blue electricity, the heat generated from it melting the snow around and beneath his paws, forming a thin layer of steam. Kaname then dashed at the Sneasel as fast as he good, his speed lowered a bit due to the deepness of the snow. The Sneasel swiftly lashed a paw out at Kaname, who was forced to veer off course to evade and thus compromising his attack. Before I could give my Shinx another command, I cringed as the Sneasel kicked off the snow covered ground and rammed into Kaname's side shoulder first, forcing a pained yelp from the latter.

    "Kaname, get up quickly and try a Thunder Fang!" I ordered quickly, my voice cracking a bit from desperation. Kaname rolled onto his paws, chunks of snow clinging to his fur, and bared his small yet dangerously sharp fangs at the Sneasel. Kaname's fangs were instantly cloaked in blue electricity, and rather than sprinting at the Sneasel, Kaname kicked off the snow much like the Sneasel did earlier and lunged. The Sneasel smirked and forcefulyl backhanded Kaname across the cheek while the latter was still in mid-lunge. "Kaname!" I called out in shock as my Shinx was sent spinning through the air, rolling three feet across the ground, kicking up snow like splashed water. Damn it, this Sneasel was even tougher than I thought. Its reactions were lightning quick, and it had the advantage of being able to stay fast even in the snow.

    Kaname forced himself to his paws, which were not visible as the snow was up to his chest where he stood. The Shinx let out a weak yet defiant growl, but I knew it was but a farce. From what I had witnessed of him since I met him, Kaname had always been stubborn, Adamant even, and refused to quit no matter what the odds were. I suppose choosing when to give up was my role, then. I heaved a sigh and raised Kaname's Pokeball to return him: I'd rather lose the backpack than my starter Pokemon. The Sneasel seemed to know what I was about to do, and grinned triumphantly before crying out: "Sneasel, Snee, Snee!"

    What happened next couldn't be considered anything short of a miracle. I was just about to return Kaname to his Pokeball, my attention was drawn to the Sneasel when I heard it screech in pain. When I looked over at the weasel-like Pokemon and blinked when I saw several shards of ice embedded in its back. Where in the-?

    "Swi!" I looked over to my left now and saw a small Pokemon with shaggy brown fur and a small pink, pig-like nose. It had a few stripes of darker fur going down its back. This Pokemon was a Swinub, I knew that much. The Swinub's fur froze over, and with a burst of energy, it launched more shards at the Sneasel, but the Sneasel tossed my backpack aside and leapt to the side. Ice began to freeze over the fur on the Sneasel's arms, and it returned fire, its own Ice Shards shooting at the Swinub like bullets from a gun.

    The Swinub squealed in pain as the opposing shards buried themselves into its cranium, but it wasn't over. A black aura enveloped the Sneasel's claws as it darted towards the Swinub, the latter barely ducking to the left to dodge a lethal slash. The Swinub rammed its head into the Sneasel's left leg, the Sneasel hissing and digging its sharp claws into the Swinub's head in retaliation as it fell to a knee. I cringed, afraid for the safety of the Swinub as it struggled to break free from the lethal grip the Sneasel had on it, but thankfully, the Swinub shoved the Sneasel back and scurried to the right.

    Ice encased Swinub's fur just before it launched another flurry of ice shards at the Sneasel, but the latter leapt up into the air to dodge. I glanced at Kaname, then smirked. His breathing was back to normal, and his gaze was determined. We could nail the Sneasel, but we had to act fast!

    "Kaname, time to use Discharge!" I commanded. Kaname blinked, having long since caught his breath, but nodded, his body crackling with blue electricity before he launched multiple arcs of lightning in random directions. I leapt to the side, landing chest first into the freezing cold snow to avoid one of these renegade lightning bolts, but grinned happily when one of the bolts struck the Sneasel right in the back while it was still in mid-air.

    "Sneasel!" the Sneasel screeched in agony, its fur singing before it plummeted to the ground. I grinned and pumped a fist into the air before pushing myself to my feet. We had won our first wild encounter, yes!

    "Great work, Kaname," I said, kneeling down beside him to pat his head. Kaname smirked and purred happily, and I picked up my backpack, brushing snow off of it before slipping my arms throught the straps and putting it on again. Now it was time to give my thanks to the wild Swinub, which stood a few feet before me. "You too, thanks for helping out,"

    "Swinub," was the reply I received, its tone rather defiant. I blinked at the Swinub. Was it challenging me to a battle? Kaname snarled and hopped in front of me, and I smiled. He was raring to go, so I may as well let him have a shot.

    "All right, start things off with Bite," I commanded, my pulse racing from anticipation. Kaname bared his fangs before lunging forward, snapping his jaws down hard on the Swinub's back. The Swinub let out a cry of pain, then thrashed about, tossing Kaname off of it with surprising strength. Kaname yelped when he hit the snow, but rolled onto his paws immeadiately. Swinub inhaled, then exhaled a flurry of snowballs towards Kaname, but I was expecting an attack like that. "Dodge it, then Tackle!"

    Kaname didn't need to be told twice. He rolled to the side, evading a majority of the snowballs, and shook off the ones that did strike him. Kaname then broke into a sprint and slammed his shoulder into the Swinub's snout. The Swinub rolled backwards, and I knew it was time. I plucked a Pokeball from my belt, enlargened it, then chucked it at the injured Swinub. The ball struck the Swinub, adding further injury, then opened up, firing a harmless beam of red light at the Pokemon. The beam broke the Swinub's body down to nothing more than particles in a manner of seconds, absorbed the particles into the ball, which closed as soon as this process was complete. I watched, my heart pounding now as the Pokeball fell into the snow.

    It shook once...

    Then a second time...

    And of course, it shook a third time...would the Swinub be captured?
    Last edited by Fallen_Vanguard; 18th April 2010 at 04:53 PM.


    "Darkness flows like blood through your veins, forever and always"

  2. #2
    But a Shade of Darkness Fallen_Vanguard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drive! vs. Sneasel

    Spell checked and ready for grading.


    "Darkness flows like blood through your veins, forever and always"

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    Default Re: Drive! vs. Sneasel

    Claimed for Grading. :)

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    Default Re: Drive! vs. Sneasel

    Introduction:
    I was immediately drawn into this story because I am a winter person myself. However, my opinion of winter is good because I chose to accept the fact that my area always experiences the winter seasons, and that's not going to change anytime soon. In the same way, your character tolerates the snowy climate because his other option would be a hassle:

    I had always been fond of the snow, for it was either that or beg to move to a southern city.
    Though my disposition led me to continue reading, I felt that other readers who don't share my opinion might not be able to get into your story as much. While your introduction gave me enough details to be able to visualize the scene in which your story takes place, it lacks a strong, universal hook that gets the reader wanting to read more.

    Let's take a look at your first sentence:

    The hour was 3:00 PM, I believe, when I took my first step into the knee deep snow.
    The first step is metaphorical for the beginnings of an adventure, but many first stories introduce their characters as they just start out. It lacks the kind of impact that would make a reader think, "Wow, that's pretty cool! I should keep reading." That's the kind of statement you want out of your readers when they begin reading, because it means they find your story interesting and want to know more about what's going on. The introduction that you chose, while visually stimulating, comes across as quiet and not very action-oriented. It's not necessarily bad, but it's been done many times before.

    In future stories, I'd recommend involving the reader in the action immediately with a strong hook in the introduction. For example, in the case of this story, you could have thrown us right into the action by having the Sneasel take your character's bag before the story picks up, and start us off with your character giving chase, feet pounding through the otherwise still environment as the mischievous Pokemon bounds just out of reach through the straining, snow-covered boughs of the evergreens above. Something like this would make the readers want to continue reading because they would want to know how the Sneasel came to possess the bag, which you can explain later on in the story via a flashback or character dialogue if you deem it necessary.

    Plot:
    Having just received his first Pokemon, your character ventures out into the snow-covered unknown looking for adventure, or, as you put it, "nothing less than absolute glory and victory." His Shinx, Kaname, decides he wants some activity, and he discovers the wonders of snow. But they are not alone: a Sneasel bursts onto the scene not long after, and manages to get its hands on your character's bag. It's not giving it up without a fight, but it seems to have Kaname outmatched thanks to its agility and partial Ice typing. When it seems that the Sneasel has won, a Swinub joins the fight, leaving the Sneasel outnumbered. Kaname rejoins the fight soon after, and together with the Swinub, the Sneasel is defeated and the bag is recovered. Swinub isn't finished, though: now it wants to fight. You and Kaname oblige, and you attempt to capture the Swinub.

    This plot isn't too basic but it isn't too complex, which is a good match for a Pokemon in the Medium category, like Swinub. You introduced Sneasel through a problem that had to be resolved before the story ended:

    I took a step towards the bush as slowly as I possibly could, making a soft yet audible crunch, then I widened my eyes in surprise as a black blur of motion rushed towards me, snatching my black and white backpack right off of me in an instant.

    Kaname's light blue fur bristled, and he let out a deep, threatening growl from the back of his throat as I turned on my heel to see my attacker. It was a short, bipedal mammal with two sharp, white claws on each paw, thin black fur, and a red feather jutting out from the back of one if it's ears. The Pokemon had three similar feathers of the same color and shape serving as tails above its rump. I had lived near Snowpoint enough to know that this was the Dark/Ice type Pokemon called "Sneasel". They were infamous for mischevious and even sadistic actions, and this one taking my backpack was a classic story of Sneasel pranks.
    As you said, Sneasel are natural troublemakers, so this was a plausible way to bring some sort of conflict into the story.

    While Swinub's introduction into the story is very action-packed and implements some good imagery, you never really stated why exactly it would want to help you. Why would it put itself in harm's way with no potential reward for this action? This is something I like to call "author omnipotence", and it's done pretty often in stories. It wouldn't be an issue if this were a lower-category Pokemon; however, because we're in the Medium category, I felt that it might have been better if you gave Swinub a genuine reason to go after the Sneasel, other than the fact that you wanted to capture it.

    Dialogue:
    Other than issuing battle commands, there wasn't much dialogue in this story. This is understandable, since your character is the only English-speaking figure in this story, so I have no problems with it. I liked the exchange when Kaname was discovering snow in particular; while not much was said, it gave Kaname some character immediately after being introduced, showing his natural curiosity.

    Obviously, as you continue to write and more characters are introduced into your stories, make sure that you expand upon the dialogue. Also, make sure that this dialogue is pertinent to the story and the development of your characters. Describing a character to the reader will give them ideas about their personality, but making that personality known through dialogue will really drive home the point and make the characters more interesting.

    Grammar:
    I didn't find any problems with your grammar that wouldn't be nitpicking, so you're good to go in this section. Just make sure you watch your periods and commas; in a couple lines of dialogue, you placed the wrong mark:

    "Just relax, Kaname. This stuff is called snow, it cannot harm you,"

    "Kaname...give it a shot and use Spark,"
    Like I said, it's nitpicking, but it's worth keeping an eye out for in the future, I think.

    Detail and Description:
    Your details were very good throughout the story. You put a lot of effort into the surroundings, and because of it, I could see what was going on very easily.

    In particular, I liked your description of Kaname when he made his entrance:

    With a brilliant flash of white light following, the Pokeball opened up. When the light faded, a small, primarily blue furred mammalian Pokemon with large, golden eyes (much like my own), a black furred tail with a golden star shaped tip, large elliptical ears, and small paws materialized before my eyes. This was my Shinx, Kaname.
    If I didn't know what a Shinx was, I could get a pretty good idea from your description.

    I also enjoyed the part where Swinub first entered the battle:

    The Swinub's fur froze over, and with a burst of energy, it launched more shards at the Sneasel, but the Sneasel tossed my backpack aside and leapt to the side. Ice began to freeze over the fur on the Sneasel's arms, and it returned fire, its own Ice Shards shooting at the Swinub like bullets from a gun.

    The Swinub squealed in pain as the opposing shards buried themselves into its cranium, but it wasn't over. A black aura enveloped the Sneasel's claws as it darted towards the Swinub, the latter barely ducking to the left to dodge a lethal slash. The Swinub rammed its head into the Sneasel's left leg, the Sneasel hissing and digging its sharp claws into the Swinub's head in retaliation as it fell to a knee. I cringed, afraid for the safety of the Swinub as it struggled to break free from the lethal grip the Sneasel had on it, but thankfully, the Swinub shoved the Sneasel back and scurried to the right.

    Ice encased Swinub's fur just before it launched another flurry of ice shards at the Sneasel, but the latter leapt up into the air to dodge.
    The bullets simile was clever; I could imagine a Sneasel running through the snow, arm outstretched as it fired icy projectiles at its target machine-gun style. Their close-combat brawl was also done well.

    Through all of this, there's one person that I really didn't get much detail on: you! I know from the Shinx description that you have golden eyes, but other than that, you didn't describe what your character looked like. For all I know, you could be naked, and that would not be a good thing, considering your current environment. Make sure that you describe your own appearance so that I can better visualize you in these situations.

    A useful tip that I use myself to fit in appearances without making them feel forced in stories is to make the character's appearance the central feature of a certain part of the story. For example, in this case, you could have started the story just a bit earlier, showing your character dressing for the cold just before he took his first step out into the snow. This could have also worked with the hook that I told you about above, because you could place this description of appearance in the flashback that tells how the Sneasel got the bag.

    Battle:
    I felt that both of the battles in this story were good, though the first was easily better than the second, in my opinion. All of the attacks were described well, and I could visualize the action unfolding as each side took its turn.

    I would like to bring up that the second battle was a little short. While I understand that it was short because Swinub had already taken damage from the previous battle, it kind of made Kaname's strength look unbalanced based on the previous battle. When he was facing the Sneasel, Kaname was dominated in only a few moves and really didn't do much; when the Swinub joined in, he started hitting with every attack. This makes sense, since the Sneasel's attention was divided and it couldn't avoid both of the combatants. However, in the second battle, Kaname was able to not only attack twice, but also dodge an attack from a Pokemon that knew the environment as well as Sneasel, thanks to being an Ice-type. You mentioned that Kaname "rolled to the side"; wouldn't the snow that he was standing in somehow make it more difficult to perform this roll?

    In short, try to make sure that the power displayed by your Pokemon is constant from battle to battle if there are multiple battles in future installments. Kaname's bouncing back may have renewed his energy, but the first battle still had to have its toll on him.

    Length:
    Swinub is in the Medium category; the suggested length for Pokemon in this category is 10,000 to 20,000 characters. Your story is 10,712 characters; it's a little short, but it makes the cut.

    Outcome:
    Drum roll, please...

    ...

    ...Click!

    Gotcha! Swinub was caught!

    I can see that you have writing potential from this story. Just make sure that, in the future, you get the reader interested right from the get-go with a strong hook, you expand upon the dialogue a little, and you introduce the Pokemon that you want without making it feel forced like you did with Swinub in this one. It would also be a good idea to aim for the middle of the suggested length in the future, because hitting it just on the cusp like you did in this one makes the decision of the outcome a little more difficult for us.

    Enjoy your catch!

  5. #5
    But a Shade of Darkness Fallen_Vanguard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drive! vs. Sneasel

    Wow, thanks for the advice and the grading. Yay, Swinub!


    "Darkness flows like blood through your veins, forever and always"

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