A Night to Remember [Ready for Grading]

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  1. #1
    Against All Odds ultra's Avatar
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    Default A Night to Remember [Ready for Grading]

    It was twilight when I met him...

    In a dusty route in the south of Johto lived a tree some say was the home of a rare pokemon. The tree's dark branches hung low, kissing the ground as it met, laden with dormant bug types, sleeping as if they never had to wake up. The route itself, during the day, was often visited by hikers on-route to Azalea Town always looking for a battle. But at night it was almost barren, lost in the mystery of the night.

    I was wearing my usual attire: a coal black hoodie with navy blue tracksuit bottoms and a pokemon trainer belt wrapped round my waist. My long raven black hair poked slightly out of the hood and fell softly onto my breast. I knew at once when I saw him that he was what I was looking for. At first I thought it was an illusion, the night playing tricks on me but no, he really was there. Everything about him was fascinating: His piercing eyes stared into my soul and he took my breath away when he made the simplest of noises. I'd heard about him from a friend. They knew a friend who knew a friend whose brother had seen him before sunrise. There had been tales of a pokemon which came from both the earth and the sky but now seemed no longer an urban myth and something believable. I grew intrigued into what the pokemon might look like, how the pokemon acts and how I’d be able to catch it.

    So every night for about 3 months, I'd travel down to try and meet him on the same route at twilight. It was about a 15 minute cycle ride each way from Azalea Town. I'm not allowed to go out at night but ever since I heard about him, I had to see him one way or another. I'd wait, sitting on the same patch of grass facing the tree hoping that it was not a rumour. Finally, today he appeared for me when I was least expecting it.

    I immediately pulled out my orange pokedex. I flipped up the screen and held it towards the target pokemon. The screen flashed to life, “Gligar. The flyscorpion pokemon. It glides as if sliding. It startles foes by clamping on their faces, then jabs with its poison stinger.”

    “So Gligar is its name,” I said to myself putting my pokedex into my tracksuit bottoms pocket. Gligar just stared with its tongue rudely stuck out and claws folded, “this Gligar must have some attitude problem. Clamping faces isn’t a very attractive quality.”

    Gligar was roosting on the peak of the tree, somehow not disturbing the bug pokemon. It was a small purple Zubat-like creature with blue wings coming out off it. However, it still remained larger than the Espeon I had trained. I approached the Gligar cautiously. Although to me it seemed amazing, from what my PokeDex said it specialises in poisonous attacks.

    “Hey Gligar,” I called out, I made sure I wasn’t loud enough to wake any sleeping pokemon but loud enough for Gligar to hear me. Gligar seemed to be calm, perching peacefully on the top of the tree. It didn’t seem to respond.

    “I know, I’ll give him some of these,” I thought, reaching into my hoodie pocket and pulling out a bag of coloured pokemon treats. Gligar’s eyes and big ears perked up at the sight of this and slowly fluttered it’s way down the tree. Keeping a cautious eye at all times and always avoiding the sleeping bug pokemon. It stopped at the base of the tree and slowly scuttled it’s way forward watching to see if there were any tricks. I undid the bag and poured the little pellets onto my hand. Gligar eventually arrived. I made no sudden movements to make Gligar feel comfortable and knelt down slowly offering the treats to him. Quick as a flash, Gligar launched forwards to nuzzle into the treats making me drop them onto the floor. Gligar greedily scoffed into them, scrounging around on the floor to see if it had missed any out, it’s long tongue grazing the earth below.

    Gligar seemed to be unaware of my existence, as suddenly I was standing behind him. It occurred to me that this was it, my chance to capture the rare pokemon. Imagine the look on my friends’ faces if I turned up for school with a rare new pokemon. I giggled silently at the thought and revealed my concealed pokemon belt. Attached to it were four pokeballs. Three spare balls for catching and one ball containing my Espeon. I unclipped one of the spare balls and braced myself waiting for the perfect time to throw, poised in the usual attacking stance. Gligar was completely occupied and was happily tucking into the bait. I threw the ball…

    At the point of contact, Gligar’s tail quickly swung in reaction, smashing the pokeball in two. However, Gligar remained calm as if nothing had just happened quietly lickling up the sticky residue left on the ground. “How odd,” I thought admiring Gligar’s strength, “Maybe I’ll have to weaken it first”. I laid my hand on my furthest pokeball and sprang backward to have enough room to release my pokemon. I brought my hood down and got into battle stance. Gligar continued licking.

    “Go! Espeon!” I exclaimed, releasing the small psychic type from it’s ball. Espeon stood proud, it’s circular red gem glinting in the moonlight. Gligar stopped licking. Either it had finished or sensed something was up, I had a feeling it was the latter. Gligar swooped round and faced Espeon in its battle position. It flapped it’s wings and rose high in the air.

    “It’s waiting for us to take the first move, Espeon use Future sight!”

    Espeon acknowledged and closed it’s eyes and readied the attack. The red gem in Espeon’s forehead glowed for a second and then stopped. Gligar picked up his speed and swooped fiercly at Espeon and slashed at it with it’s claws, but his accuracy was not enough for Espeon dodged out the way just in time leaving Gligar crashing into the grass behind it.

    “Espeon now use Psybeam!”

    The psychic pokemon’s eyes suddenly crossed together and she released a purple beam of energy emerged from her gem. It forcefully slammed into Gligar dealing a large amount of damage. The purple bat recovered quickly, looking more menacing than before. I had almost lost my chance to becoming a friend with it, but I badly needed to capture Gligar so I kept battling. Gligar flew backwards and screeched loudly at Espeon, the harsh noise shattering it’s physical defences.

    “Espeon don’t let it attack you directly!” I yelled, now not caring whether I awoke sleeping bug pokemon or not.

    Already dazed from the screech, Espeon could not react in time when Gligar swooped down and delivered it’s poison sting knocking Espeon off her feet. It didn’t do much damage but with the poison it delivered, Espeon was still hurt and found difficulty getting back up. Suddenly, future sight kicked in and Gligar fell to the ground it’s body hid in the tall grass. I quickly ran to where he fell and grabbed my second spare pokeball off my belt and tossed it towards the collapsed pokemon. Again, Gligar’s tail reacted and the pokeball was smashed to pieces. Wearily, Gligar batted his wings together and rose into battle stance once more. I was just about to call out another move for Espeon but Gligar fled and stole into the night.

    I stood in the field for a second, lamenting my failed attempts to catch the rare pokemon but Espeon had already started running off towards where Gligar flew. I slowly wiped the sweat off of my forehead. Who was I fooling? Trying to weaken pokemon brutally, that may be how my friends caught their pokemon but by treating Espeon with respect, she remained loyal and we’ve been best friends ever since. But now even Espeon had run off, because she knew my intent was to weaken Gligar and that malice must’ve been reflected off me. I took my hoodie off and left it by my bike which was lying in the middle of the grass, revealing my black tank top.

    “Gligar… don’t go,” I whispered.

    Then I chased after Espeon and into the night.

    *

    As the sun started to raise, light began to show through the cracks between the trees, giving more visible surroundings. I could just about make out the path ahead of me, although vague and lost in the mass of brambles and nettles. I had almost completely lost sight of Espeon, chasing a small purple blob in the horizon. After what seemed about half a kilometre of running, I finally caught up with Espeon. She was lying next to one of the many tall oak trees, very weak from poison.

    “Espeon!!” I called out, “Espeon are you okay?”

    Espeon was clearly unable to move in this state. It’s tail had completely lowered and the bright red light from her gym was fading fast. Her dreary eyes opening and closing like someone about to drift off to sleep. I’d seen Espeon poisoned before but not like this, it was if mentally she’d lost faith in me, and I don’t blame her for that. Suddenly, there was a shrill cry in the distance.

    “Don’t worry Espeon, we’ll find you an antidote soon, first we have to help another friend”

    I didn’t put Espeon back in her pokeball as the fresh air might do her good. I picked up the small pokemon and cradled her in my arms. Then I continued to run north towards where the cry had come from.

    I came out onto a clearance, I recognised the place as Azalea Forest. The bright sky made the bug pokemon visible hiding away in the grass and the trees and noises from nincadas and kricketots abused the environment. Espeon still lay weak in my arms just barely grasping hold of consciousness. Right in the centre, I saw a large bug pokemon attacking Gligar and ramming into him. Gligar was still going strong but his stamina had weakened harshly since my last fight with him. I recognised the pokemon Gligar was fighting from a photo Bugsy had. It was the rare bug-fighting pokemon Heracross. His body was a murky blue colour with strong shell-like skin and the move he was using must’ve been the signature Megahorn. Although, being type advantage against the bug and the fighting, Heracross clearly had the upper hand and Gligar couldn’t get a strong enough flying move in to take it out.

    “Hey, stop harming my friend!” I yelled fiercely at the Heracross.

    Gligar turned towards me and smiled weakly as if he understood what I was saying and hobbled away from Heracross. Heracross on the other hand, had locked his horn towards me, lowered his head like a bull about to charge. Before I could think, Heracross had already started charging towards me. He was smaller than me but by the amount of power its Megahorn had against Gligar, I wasn’t going to survive this. I looked down at Espeon; her breathing patterns have started slowing down her body cold to touch. I kept her close to me and closed my eyes.

    “I’m sorry…”

    There was a loud crash and I felt dust fly up and hit me in the face. I still had my eyes tightly shut, disallowing any light to enter. Strangely enough, I also still hadn’t been hit into by Heracross even though he was running at me at full speed. Maybe it wasn’t me he was targeting?

    “Espeon? Espeon where are you?” For the first time, my voice sounded worried. If I lost Espeon aswell, then I would’ve risked not only Espeons faith in me but her life aswell.

    My arms felt weightless, Espeon must’ve been hit out of my arms when the dust hit me in the face. I quickly opened my eyes and rapidly searched around for Espeon. The nincadas had quieted down and Heracross had gone. When I turned around, Gligar was there hovering panting over something. I couldn’t quite make out what he was looking at, I slowly walked around the hovering bat pokemon and looked down. Espeon was sat on the ground happily munching into some pecha berries.

    “Of course!” I thought, smiling to myself, “Pecha berries have the healing qualities.
    Gligar must’ve picked them up on the way to Azalea Forest!”

    Gligar turned towards me happy and enthusiastic; it was amazing due to the amount of damage he took to remain that way. While I had my eyes closed Gligar must’ve finally used a flying type move on Heracross and took him down, and then went to aid Espeon as quick as possible seeing how weak she was. I fell down on the grass exhausted and sat up straight to look at the two pokemon. Espeon’s tail began to rise, she looked as ecstatic as ever. Gligar approached me and hugged my leg slowly nudging its body up and down and nestling his head on my belt.

    “Ah Gligar don’t do that, if you do that then-”

    The third and final spare pokeball fell off my belt and activated shooting a blue beam at Gligar and absorbing him into the pokeball. My eyes grew wide, this was it. Gligar finally accepted the pokeball. But I didn’t know whether the pokeball was accepting him. Espeon stopped eating and looked at the red and white ball wiggling first left, then right, then left again…


    Pokemon:Gligar
    Required length:10000
    Length:12514

  2. #2
    noble roar Buoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Night to Remember [Ready for Grading]

    Heyo. I'll claim this. ^_^
    Expect your grade soon.

  3. #3
    noble roar Buoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Night to Remember [Ready for Grading]

    Introduction: Okay, here we go. The first thing I noticed when trying to read your introduction is that I couldn't discern what exactly your introduction was. It could have been the first paragraph, the first and second or whatever... usually, you should split your introduction up from the rest of the story - you could put it in italics or use dashes/asterixes to separate it from the rest of the story, simply so we can see what the introduction is without having to work it out for ourselves. Anyhoo, continuing on: your 'introduction' (I assumed it was the first sentence/first two paragraphs) was a good pull for a reader into your story. However, what may deter a reader from reading further in your story is grammatical errors, which can frustrate a reader seeing as it ruins the flow of a story nearly every single time a sentence looks wrong.

    Going on from that, you've certainly suggested the outlines of what the story's going to be about - seeing this mythical Pokémon (and of course capturing it!). You've also introduced your character to an extent, but only through her(?) appearance; the setting of the story is also well-introduced, so we have an idea of where this is all happening: southern Johto on a dusty route, seemingly close to Azalea Town. For further introductions, focus on making the introduction conspicuous, and if you're introducing a character, don't just include his/her appearance.

    Plot: It's slightly different from your average 'Jim-walks-into-forest-and-gets-Pokémon' (apart from the fact it takes place firstly on a dusty route). Usually this might work for Easiest/Simple, but for Medium you need to have a slightly more original plot, which I can see you've been trying to work with here. Personally, I find the story kind of uninteresting because it seems to be the thing that you've seen a million times so it stops becoming so new to you. Anyway, I didn't feel any kind of adventure, tension or excitement within the story generally, and that's what you should be aiming to do, really - make the reader feel with a good plot that at least has a redeeming quality as far as plot goes, such as a very unique character or a fantastic battle. However, seeing as this is your first story, I feel that I should be lenient with you because I'm such a lovely nice person like that; although, after you've finished your first story and the like, graders are generally harder on you afterwards.

    In any case, I'm only here to give you advice on your story. In general, the story seemed kind of jumpy and didn't flow altogether smoothly - in fact, there was one point when you described Gligar appearing, yet in the next paragraph he had "finally appeared", as well as that day when he appeared being "today", despite you having written the chase lasting until the next morning and the next day, so even if it was written in a diary or whatever, it shouldn't have been described as "today". Highly confusing on the whole, and confusing things aren't really good for your story - at least, not confusing things that are made through actual errors within your story.

    Again, it was only in the third paragraph that Gligar was finally spotted, and you described three months in a single paragraph - perhaps to add some sense of disappointment and longing in the story, you could have described a few failed attempts at trying to get to see Gligar. As well as giving your story some more realism, it also gives you a longer story - the amount of characters in a story is not entirely important, but it's good to be cushioned because a borderline character count could make the difference in some stories. Also, I found something confusing - they met at twilight, and he ran away somewhere along there as well... but when the main character starts running after her Espeon, the sun is rising after you've skipped through a lot of it. Twilight to dawn is a long time to be running. Also, here's a few questions you could have answered in your story: why was the main character not expecting Gligar's appearance? Why would Gligar flee? How could the characters have ran for the whole night? Why would a Heracross choose to attack Gligar randomly? How did Espeon get poisoned? Sure, if you think these things shouldn't be explained until later on, then that's fine - but a bit of foreshadowing never goes amiss in a story.

    Grammar/spelling: I noted a good many spelling errors in your story that you could have easily spotted had you used a spell-checking word processor or something similar. Spelling errors can stick out like a sore thumb to the literate reader, so you need to avoid simple typos and the like. Going on from spelling errors, you seemingly had a bit of confusion as to homophones - most notably it's and its. A quick breakdown: it's = it is, describing the actual it and its appearance; its = a possessive pronoun, describing what belongs to this it. Look out for errors like that, and if you ever get confused, all you have to remember is that it's means it is. Simple, really. ;D

    Continuing on, there are some capitalisation issues concerning Pokémon-related things. Pokémon-related things are, for the most part, proper nouns, so you would be better off capitalising words such as 'Pokémon', 'Pokédex' and others. Inconsistencies can stick out to a reader and it also detracts from the general appearance of your story.

    You also have a problem with dialogue and addressing issues, as well as comma placement. Quick run-through of dialogue: if someone is described as speaking the actual words you've written, you use a comma, but if someone is performing an action but not described as speaking the words, then we use a full stop. Where it goes in a sentence depends on where you put the speech - before or after the description of speaking/action. Example:

    Correct:
    “Gligar… don’t go,” I whispered.
    The character is whispering - a speaking verb, thus we use a comma.

    Incorrect:
    The screen flashed to life. “Gligar. The flyscorpion pokemon. It glides as if sliding. It startles foes by clamping on their faces, then jabs with its poison stinger.”
    The screen flashing is not a speaking verb, thus we use a full stop before opening speech.
    Secondly, if you are addressing someone in speech, you put a comma before/after their name, depending on where the name of this thing is in the speech. Example:

    "Go, Espeon!"

    "Gligar, don't leave."
    Thirdly, comma placement - you seem to put commas in the wrong places in parts of your story, although I guess I shouldn't demand perfection. It's hard to explain, but here's an easy way to check if a sentence sounds OK - read the sentence out loud to yourself (or even in your head does the trick). Where you find yourself automatically pausing goes a comma usually. The method isn't foolproof, but it can work well enough. If part of a sentence can't stand on its own as a sentence by itself, then you should join it to a different sentence by a comma, otherwise we get fragments and the like. We'll use your Pokédex entry for an example:

    I immediately pulled out my orange pokedex. I flipped up the screen and held it towards the target pokemon. The screen flashed to life, “Gligar. The flyscorpion pokemon. It glides as if sliding. It startles foes by clamping on their faces, then jabs with its poison stinger.”
    "Gligar" and "The Flyscorpion Pokémon" cannot stand by themselves as sentences, and thus are fragments. A sentence needs a subject and a verb, but you could simply join the two together with a colon. "Gligar: the Flyscorpion Pokémon" is much better than what you have.
    You seem to have that problem in a few different places, where instead of commas or periods, a colon would do better. In your story, colons should be placed due to apposition; apposition is when two things (usually nouns) are placed side by side in order for the latter to modify or define the former, as shown above. Read up more about colons, clauses and commas. Google is a good resource to find explanations about their usages.

    Detail/description: You seemed to describe things at a level suitable for a Medium capture, although a bit more fleshing out may have been in order, perhaps. I won't go too hard here, because description is one of the hardest things to grasp in a story, as well as balancing the amount of description included. Too much can stopper up the action, but too little can make your story seem bland and inanimate. While you've described some things, you miss out on others - this can come across as laziness in some graders' books, but I do realise how hard it is to try and remember describing a lot of things that you think that everyone else would know the appearance of simply because you do. You just have to keep it in your mind to flesh out everything a tiny bit. If you don't - well, I suppose you should just read over your story and see where things might need a little dash of detail here and there.

    All in all, though, I'm actually very happy with your description of things in the story, especially the Pokémon - many people wouldn't describe a Pokémon simply because they know that everyone else knows what one looks like. However, despite what something looks like being popular knowledge, perhaps you should just pretend you're writing for someone who doesn't know anything about Pokémon.

    Battle: The two battles are not brilliantly written, but they are sufficient for a lower-level capture such as you've written for. I like how you've had the characters anticipating the battle for a long while, but it was disappointing, really. Espeon attacked a few times and then Gligar ran away, prompting the chase that led them to the fight versus Heracross. Vs. Heracross wasn't a great fight either, but then again it is substantial enough to allow you a capture... however, I can't help feeling that the battle of Heracross was thrown into the story for no particular reason other than to boost up the character count a little - yeah, of course, it gave the main character an opportunity to show her desire for friendship with the Gligar, but I guess it was kind of disappointing as well, all things considered. Nevermind, though, as this is your first story. Just concentrate on pointers given and you'll be fine!

    Length: 12,589 characters is good enough (my character count thing appears to have given more characters than yours has, but it's not that big of a difference). However, it is closer to the lower value than it is to the top, which while not an overly bad thing, is not too good either. It's nice to have that little cushion in case everything else was borderline and the like.

    Outcome: The introduction/plot was OK overall, with a few mistakes here and there. The grammar was quite bad, to be honest. The description was probably the best part of your story, while the battles (while not being the most important part to any story) were disappointing according to me. However, since this is your first story for the URPG I'll give you a few plus points. The story was borderline and I probably would have failed it had it not been your first, but I'm going to say Gligar is captured, with the hope you'll take everything I've said on board and work harder in your next story.

    Have fun with the flyinggroundbatscorpionthing.
    Last edited by Buoy; 23rd August 2011 at 04:14 PM.

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