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Song of the Small - OT Journey 'Fic Experiment - Rated G, for now

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Estuary, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Estuary

    Estuary єѕѕ-cнєw-єrry


    I'm Estuary, and I've been reading Pokemon 'fics for nearly a decade now. I only read OT (Original Trainer) 'fics, and I've noticed that good ones seem in short supply. The genre is riddled with cliches.

    This is an experiment.

    I would love feedback. First part is smaller than the others, but sort of a prologue.

    Song of the Small

    Glowing Again​

    Olivia winced as her grandmother tugged her hair into a mercilessly tight braid. The young girl- ten, at most- broke into a gentle smile, however, as she felt Minuet's tiny paw against her cheek. “Don't be nervous,” she whispered. “This is going to be our adventure. Our story.”

    The minccino's eyes widened anxiously, but she took a gulp of air and nodded stoically, distractedly picking the lint off of Olivia's heavy purple coat with tiny nimble paws.

    The sun had not yet begun to rise on the small cottage dotting the southern end of Route 217 near Snowpoint, and even if it had it would not make much difference. The snowy region was dimly lit even in the best of times. Olivia closed her eyes and breathed in. The familiar scent of the hearth and her grandmother's incense would be missed.

    She opened her eyes and gazed around the cozy wooden room. Woolen purple curtains covered every window, trapping in the heat, and nearly every bare space was covered in thick, colorful crocheted fabric. Every inch was soft, gentle. Bookshelves lined every wall so that you could not fit a finger between them, and each one was stuffed to the brim with books and nicknacks- figurines carved from wood and bone, beautiful rare stones glistening in the firelight, and palm-sized paintings upon the faces of seashells. Prizes and trinkets from the old woman's own story. There was not, however, a single photograph to be seen.

    Finishing the tightly woven braid, Olivia's grandmother finally spoke above the crackling of the hearth. “Don't forget, I'm merely lending them to you. Once you catch some decent pokemon of your own, you can send them right back. They're not meant to battle, these two,” she said in her stern, but beautiful, voice.

    Sonata, normally a chocolate-brown buneary, still showed the vestiges of winter in her unusually pale coat. She had been content to watch the flickering flames of the hearth, but at the old woman's words she bounced to her feet with alarming speed, ears flailing every which way. (Ah! I'm gonna be an awesome fighter! You just wait and see, Matha.)

    If she hadn't been listening for it, she might not have been able to hear Minuet's soft, timid voice. (Sonata, how can you be so confident? We've never been in a single battle. Not one.)

    The buneary flicked one long lop-ear back over her tiny shoulder as she boasted, (I used to fight the other kits in my litter all the time. And believe me, I rocked it.) As if to prove her point, she performed a back-handspring.

    The minccino had no response. The first sliver of dawn light fought its way through the curtains and the old woman Olivia called Nanny Matha took this as a sign to roll out a large piece of parchment that had enigmatically appeared on the kitchen table that morning.

    “This is a map of the region. It served me well during my time as a trainer, so take care of it. I want you to study it on the way there.”

    Olivia peered at the ancient map. The faded brown ink and dim light made it difficult to discern, but not nearly so bad as as the oodles of barely-legible notes jotted in nearly every free space. Most were notes on landmarks or drawings of pokemon, but others- written with a much heavier hand- were not suitable for polite company.

    “I see you had a bit of trouble around Union Cave.”

    Nanny's lined face hardened. “Never speak to me of that place again.”

    “Sorry, Nanny.”

    The narrow beam of sunlight graced Matha's eyes, setting her already golden eyes alight. She pulled her extraordinarily long black-and-white hair away from her pale face and neck in one smooth movement and spoke. “I've taught you as much as I could in the time that I was given, Olivia. The rest is up to you. Don't forget to stay in the light, and be kind to all things.”

    “Yes, Nanny,” she replied. As if on cue, Minuet and Sonata leapt into her arms. As an afterthought, she added, “I'll make you proud.”

    Her grandmother nodded, her mouth set into a line. She looked no less regal, or intimidating, than she had been in her (prime?) youth. “Good. It's time, then.”


    Obviously, Matha has quite a story of her own. I may write it, someday. Any kind of criticism is welcome, I do not consider myself a good writer and I'd like to change that.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  2. 3D992

    3D992 The Living Hologram

    It was a little jumpy to me (or maybe I'm just tired...) however I'm not a good editer. BTW: OT means Original Trainer. I'll stick around for more!
  3. Breezy

    Breezy Well-Known Member


    I'm not sure if you necessarily need the comma after "217." It creates an awkward pause. In a similar vein, your semicolon is too strong for this sentence; a comma would be better. (Note: semicolons are used to connected independent clauses that are roughly about the same topic.)

    This paragraph doesn't really make sense in terms of structure. You're talking about the description outside -- specifically the sun or lack thereof -- then jump to Olivia closing her eyes. I get that this paragraph is on the shorter side, but logically, I'm not sure why it should be clumped together.

    I see you're a fan of using "heavy, purple" as a descriptor. =P You might want to consider putting a comma between "heavy" and "purple" for the sake of clarity (what shade if "heavy purple" vs. "heavy, purple curtains" as two different adjectives). You tend to repeat your descriptors actually in a semi-small space. Above you described Minuet's as tiny a couple of times. Here you have "every inch" twice, once after the other.

    You also want to consider spreading description, specifically description pertaining to setting, throughout the story when its appropriate or interacted with and not in a huge clump. Reasons are because descriptive clumps tend to not interact with the story or its characters; therefore it is less memorable for your reader. Huge clumps of description tend to be bypassed by your readers as well.

    A bit repetitive.

    The of "you" is a bit awkward; it's like you're talking directly to the reader, which is a breaking the fourth wall a bit.

    There's no need to repeat the same descriptor for an item over and over again, especially since it's using pretty much the same words from before.

    Period instead of a comma.

    Not sure if the parentheses is an author's note of some sorts. If it is, try hard to stray away from that -- it snaps your reader out of the story. Depending on what you're going for, "prime" is along the lines of the peak of her strength/greatness. "Youth" is just young in terms of age.

    It's a decent setup. For the most part, you describe well and know how to describe for the most part; you just need to work/figure out how to describe the settings around your characters without diving into description clumps. Some of your descriptions of Matha seemed a bit biased, like "beautiful" and "regal" and "extraordinary" and got a little irritating for me -- I could tell you were trying to make her sound regal and this close-to-perfect being, so you might want to tone that back a bit.

    It's a little too early to judge for other things, like plot and character, but it sounds solid so far.
  4. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Like a lot of OT 'fic openings, this one suffers from the problem that nothing actually happens. Your trainer doesn't even manage to get out the door by the time the chapter's done! This reads more like a teaser than a prologue in its own right. I think you could skip to a more interesting starting point while working in the information you convey here later, and more efficiently as well.

    It's kind of weird that she's psyching the minccino up with "this is going to be our adventure, our story," when the plan is for her to send it back home almost immediately--a little adventure for the pokémon, mayhap, but not really an "our" kinda situation.

    I'm confused. Union Cave is in Johto, but Snowpoint's in Sinnoh. Is Olivia going to Johto for some reason, rather than traveling around her home region? If so, that's something actually interesting! You'd want to be telling us about that. If not, you need to factcheck your poké-geography.

    As Breezy pointed out above, you have some proofreading goofs. There are many small errors throughout, but nothing really systemic. Your prose is serviceable enough, but with a slight tendency to clumsy, forced diction--Breezy kind of touches on this by mentioning show-don't-tell gaffe words, but in general you reach a bit for your description by throwing in unnecessary words. You've got gratuitously flickering flames, "beautiful rare" stones, "thick colorful crocheted" fabric; you're cramming descriptive words in where you don't need them. I wouldn't worry too much, though; you're doing pretty well, and most of the issues are probably just going to have to get smoothed by practice.

    Ultimately there's not a lot to say because, well, not a lot has been said. This isn't near as formulaic as many OT openings, but it's not a whole lot of improvement in the interest factor. But no major problems; on the whole, promising.
  5. Estuary

    Estuary єѕѕ-cнєw-єrry

    3D992: Thank you! Fixed. Damn, I tried not to make it jumpy. I'll try to make it more cohesive.

    Breezy: Thank you so much! This is exactly what I was hoping for. And ugh! I did not mean to make Matha seem perfect at all. In fact, she is supposed to be very cold and intimidating. Or stoic and braced. I suppose I didn't pull that off well at all. Bah. Thank you so much for taking the time to review. Oh yeah, and the parenthesis: It was supposed to be from Olivia's point of view. There won't be much of it. Thank you!

    Negrek: Haha, that is exactly what I was trying to do- in terms that nothing happens in the first part. I have another OT 'fic in that very much happens during the first actual chapter, so I'm trying to make a different story- one which deliberately follows certain pitfalls that the usual trainer 'fic is often plagued with. Nevertheless, yes, I would not have done that otherwise. I was having a lot of trouble with this chapter (actually I just have a lot of trouble writing, period), so I sent it in a bit prematurely than I had intended- there was supposed to be more to this.

    Perhaps she isn't intending to give back the minccino?

    Yes! She is going to Johto. Her grandmother lived in Johto in her youth, so she wants her little granddaughter to begin her journey there, just like she did. I meant to hint at that, I'm glad you noticed.

    And good! I hate my choppy writing, but I'm such a visual person (I consider myself a much better artist than a writer) that I have a lot of trouble not over-describing things, because I can see it perfectly in my head. I hope to find a balance sometime. Thank you so much for reading!

    I'm so grateful for all the feedback! Much more than I had expected. I hope to improve!
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  6. Glover

    Glover Pain in Rocket side

    This is a placeholder post for later. I'm rather short on time to do a pick-through review, and have a lot of stories on my plate.

    I like what I see though, this si very promising, and the title is catchy. The First chapter could probably use a little more dramatic, hook to it, but you're not wrong in doing it this way. Not everyone needs to do the "Flock of Spearow" thing, Even going to the lab, picking out a Pokemon, getting the pokeballs, being signed in, is rather boring unless you introduce a rival character at the same time, so don't worry about it. If you do your pacing right, from Sinnoh to Johto and then on to Violet, (or will you be going a differen routesince you need a Portside city?) Is better spent with getting to know The Pokemon as battlers than big uproar yay-action type stories

    best of luck to you. A lot of OT fics have a hsbit of peetering out. I hope you stick with it! I'll try to get a proper review up for the next chapter, if I don't revisit this one.
  7. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Why would you deliberately emulate something you know is a bad idea?
  8. Estuary

    Estuary єѕѕ-cнєw-єrry

    Not exactly emulating? I wonder if parody authors get this same question. It's more like a writing exercise. I've actually never written a Pokemon 'fic which started with the 'typical' opening, despite writing them since I was about 9. So I'm trying a sort of experiment (obviously, the opening won't be the only 'experimental' part, but it will be the only deliberate cliche). In fact, I'm pretty sure I stated that this was an experimental 'fic inspired by the cliches of the genre in the very first post of the thread.

    Annoyingly, I really can't think of a way to fully explain without giving things away that I don't want to. You certainly don't have to read, though, my feelings won't be hurt and I'm not promising a mind-blowing read. I am very much writing this for myself in order to play with a certain idea, but by posting it I gain extremely valuable insights which help me to become a better author- plus I get the flattery of having someone read my 'fic.

    This is why.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  9. 3D992

    3D992 The Living Hologram

    I've reread the chapter and I like it much better (I'm not as tired as before and I can think straight). I 'll be on watch for chapter 2.
  10. jewellalw

    jewellalw Member

    I like it very much too
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012

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