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Tarnished Gold: The Story of Cynthia (R)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Sgeckledorf Spoongeblorb, May 22, 2011.

  1. Thank you, :[C]!

    You don't know how much these reviews mean to me, even if I sometimes have to beg for them!

    Also, your criticism is quite dead-on, and I'm seriously taking your suggestions into consideration. I'm definitely not overloading on shock value, however.

    (also, I do realize the battle scene was rushed, but I didn't want to drag the chapter on and on showing every single part of it, so I bent logic towards the favor of character development)
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  2. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    Normally, this isn't my cuppa. There's a whole list of other questionable kinks on my list, but pedophilia?

    On the other hand…

    SOUNDS GOOD TO ME! Let's do eet!

    One of the things I've got to learn myself sometime but will mention anyway is that readers can pick up on repetition the author might not be fully aware of. For example, you've already described the sea as, well, a sea earlier in this sentence, so ending this thought with the same word gives it a sense of repetitiveness. It might actually work simply to say "the light turquoise depths," considering the reader already knows that this is taking place in the ocean. That way, you can avoid beating them over the head with that thought too.

    Also, be wary of your sentence length. It's okay to end a sentence short, and sometimes, if you go on for a long while, the thought begins to feel like it's rambling. Take a look at how many times you use a comma and conjunction (and, specifically) here. The more you use it, the more complete thoughts you cram in before that period, so the sentence feels a little like it's forgetting what point it's trying to make.

    I'm also a little uncomfortable with the Micrrow because it took me a bit to realize they weren't canon Pokémon (like a mix of Japanese and English names – which sometimes happens if a gen is particularly new), so I'm keeping a sharp eye out on how they fit into the story. If they're just here to set the scene, that's probably gonna need a bigger rant.

    Yeah, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about, truth be told. You start off talking about the Hoppip lolling in the air and it gazing at the Micrrow. That's okay. Then, you talk about the sun reflecting on the Micrrow's bodies, which is also okay because that describes the peaceful sight Hoppip was checking out. But then you get onto the thought about Wailord blasting Hoppip into a thermal, and the sentence spirals from just talking about Hoppip looking at things to one about Hoppip sailing uncontrollably into a flock of Altaria and Swablu. It's a completely different thought at that point because it's no longer about Hoppip looking at something (or a description of what Hoppip sees) and suddenly about Hoppip sailing into something violent. You see what I mean?

    I'd suggest putting this in its own paragraph because technically, it's a line of dialogue.

    I do have to admit, I like the description of the violence here. It really sets up the kind of person Cynthia must be if her Pokémon work this efficiently and, uh, "support" each other by basically "putting other Pokémon out of their misery"… and then feed the results to each other. Not only that, but Roserade was particularly elegant here – smiling as she paralyzed Hoppip and continued to disembowel it. It's like the Pokémon themselves are sociopaths, creatures that not only live for killing but also think through each one, even the ones that just happen unexpectedly, calmly.

    I do have to agree with [Imaginative], though. While I could swallow the other transitions (i.e., the bits where you told us where and when a scene was taking place), this one seems unnecessary, especially when the first real paragraph of this scene says pretty much the exact same thing anyway.

    This would be called "kneeling."

    While [Imaginative] covered capitalization rules, allow me to run through punctuating dialogue.

    Basically, think of it like this: a line of dialogue normally has two different parts. The first part is the quote, which is the stuff you put in quotation marks. The second part is the dialogue tag, which is the part that describes who said the quote and how. (In other words, it's the he said/she said part.) Not everything is a dialogue tag. For example, everything in the above piece from "The woman" to "into place" is a complete sentence. Notice how there's nothing in it that indicates anyone is speaking? That means you need to separate it from the quote because it's not modifying it in any way. So, you should put a period there.

    Now, the part that is a dialogue tag is "She said calmly." Notice how it has said in that part? That means it's modifying (describing) the quote by showing the reader who said it and how. Now, looking at the end of the quote just before it, you'll notice that you put a comma after "sleep." That means that whatever comes after it is still technically part of the same sentence. Therefore, the dialogue tag that comes after it isn't its own, complete thought, so it should be treated as such. That means you shouldn't capitalize "she" because it's not a proper noun.

    Finally, when you go into a new part of a quote (as in, if you're going to be continuing on what the character says after the dialogue tag), you've got two choices. The first is treating it like it's part of the same sentence as the piece before the dialogue tag. The other is assuming it's a completely different sentence. To make things clearer, this is what I mean:

    Same sentence reads like this:
    You look so precious when you sleep, and you were such a good boy last night, so very cooperative.

    Different sentences reads like this:
    You look so precious when you sleep. And you were such a good boy last night, so very cooperative.

    In other words, to figure out which method you want to choose, take out the dialogue tag and just look at what's being said. If you want it to be read as two separate sentences, then you'll need to treat them as such. If you want them as one sentence, treat them as one.

    What I'm getting at is the comma at the end of the dialogue tag. With it in place, you're signaling to the reader that this line (i.e., what comes before and after the quote) is supposed to be read as one full sentence, which means that "and" shouldn't be capitalized. However, you also capitalize the A in "and," but this signals to the reader that these are two separate sentences, meaning that you need a period instead of a comma. So, it becomes a little fuzzy.

    I'm not quite sure if I'm getting the point across as successfully as I'd like, but let's just say that not everything in a dialogue paragraph should be punctuated with commas. If it's still a little fuzzy, this article outlines the rules and offers clear examples that should help you straighten things out.

    Commas. They're a *****.

    First of all, I want you to do me a favor and replace the first comma and the word "and" with a period. Then, I want you to read both separately, right up to the second comma. Notice how you don't get two separate sentences as a result? That indicates that you're not actually writing a compound sentence; rather, it's just a dependent clause that doesn't need a comma at all. Note that not all instances of a conjunction (and, but, or, for, nor, yet, so) require a comma before them.

    Second, replace the second comma with a period. Notice how you do get two separate sentences as a result? This indicates that you've created a comma splice, a type of run-on sentence where two independent thoughts are married improperly through a comma in much the same way as what would happen if you left two drunk college kids in a drive-in chapel in Las Vegas with a priest dressed as Elvis. It's not pretty. So, what you'll have to do is decide which way is best to treat this thought. You can use a semicolon or insert a conjunction if you want it to be a compound, or you can use a period if you just want to leave them as two separate thoughts. It's up to you, but either way, yes, punctuate.

    Whenever you have a number from zero to ninety-nine, you usually should spell them out instead of using numerals. There's exceptions (dates, times, addresses, ordinals), but most of the time, yes, spell them out.

    I do have to say, I like how you characterize Spiritomb here. The creepiness comes across pretty well thanks to the all-caps and bold abuse.

    That's one thing I have to say about your work, really. While the language needs a bit of a clean-up, the characterization and the description (if separated properly) are actually pretty good. It was really amusing to read about Dawn's thoughts about Barry and then see her get a little on the jealous side, and the entire scene with Barry transitioning from calm to "oh ****" during Cynthia's transformation was pulled off with the right kind of subtlety that made him seem very human. (As in, he didn't notice right away, and slowly but surely, he began to realize that something wasn't quite right. That kind of slow-paced realization seems very natural.)

    I don't know. Because you used "wrong" once already, that second time seems a little repetitive. On the other hand, she's eleven, and it's dialogue. So, it could just be something she would do, especially if she's not really paying attention to what was coming out of her mouth.

    This is one massive run-on sentence, which is why it was hard to grasp. As a result, the effect that you were probably trying to achieve (wowing us with how creepy and ethereal this transformation was) is slightly lost because it's difficult to pin-point what this sentence is actually trying to say. I would recommend separating all of these fragments into individual sentences.

    The image is amusing, but same story here. It could be even more hilarious if it wasn't a run-on.

    With conjunctions, the main thing you'll want to remember is that the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters, not spaces. For example, "couldn't" is actually "could not"; the apostrophe takes the place of the missing O.

    To put it extremely bluntly, it's a little awkward to have the narration tell us that the scene that's happening right now is at the exact same place and time as the one that happened just before it.

    I'm curious here. Did you mean "consciousness," or did you actually mean the part of a person that helps them differentiate between right and wrong?

    I feel like this could be in its own sentence, simply because it's actually rather confusing as to what's happening. Poking a hole or two? At first, I thought Cynthia decided to stab him for no apparent reason. Then, I started thinking she was actually playing with some of his orifices and maybe indulging in a little necrophilia. If it's the latter, it's hard to picture what she's actually doing because, for all we know, she could just be sticking her fingers in his mouth experimentally instead of actually messing with anything dirtier.

    Or she could be poking holes in the suitcase, which is what this is technically saying on a grammatical level. (As in, it's a misplaced modifier because it's actually associated with the first noun before it – i.e., "suitcase.")

    While I understand you're limited to using an iTouch, you'll want to be careful about proofreading nonetheless in order to avoid awkward spelling errors. For example: mouths. (There's also a point later on in the chapter where you use "knowning" instead of "knowing," "unavaliable" instead of "unavailable," and "dissapeared" instead of "disappeared.")

    I feel like this is rather awkward and unnecessary – almost patronizing to a reader. If you must use a height system that's universal, opt for something that's universal. As in, rather than give us exact heights, why not say "far out of reach for the girl" or something to that effect? Giving us height specifics actually gives us only a vague idea of how tall this shelf is because even those of us familiar with one type of system might not be able to conjure up an exact mental image of how tall three meters actually is. Then, giving us heights in a completely different measurement system comes off as the narration telling half of us that we're too dense to figure out how many feet fifteen feet actually is in the first place. :| So, either way, the narration ends up being slightly condescending.

    As a fun side note, fun fact: the average height for a story in a house is roughly eight feet tall. Ten to twelve feet is actually considered exceptionally high and comes equipped naturally with heating and cooling issues. The taller your ceiling, the colder it gets in that room. That's because all of the hot air rises to the top, far away from anything in that room, and on top of that, houses that have tall ceilings are usually older, meaning the heating system isn't exactly state-of-the-art, either. Assuming that heating technology in the Pokémon world is the same as in the real world, a tall-ceilinged building in the 1970s = COLD. And as for a fifteen-foot-tall ceiling, whoever designed that kind of house would automatically be an *** hole.

    Normally, I'm not the most PC person ever, but I feel like there's just a better descriptor than "retarded." Resorting to using that word makes your work feel a little on the unintentionally crude side, truth be told. As in, otherwise, it feels like your writing trying to give off an air of class and seriousness, but "retarded" is just a word a thirteen-year-old would use, not an experienced storyteller trying to put out a story with an air of class and seriousness.

    While this isn't the only time of the chapter where the narration seems to ramble off in different directions, this is one good example of what happens when it does. Right here, you go off on a tangent involving what can be done with Yache Berries (and not even what the woman does with them), but what matters more right now is that she's tending the garden and needs to come inside. It feels like this tidbit of information isn't necessary at all and detracts from the main point of the paragraph.

    I'm not sure if this is an issue produced by your iTouch or what, but this should have a capital letter and a period, given that it's a sentence. You're also missing a quotation mark at the beginning of the next quote.

    Also, because I'm intensely lazy, I thought the exact same thing as [Imaginative] when it came to the recapping of the battle. I mean, this is a champion-versus-Elite-Four battle, which means that it's very unlikely that they'd be able to take each other's Pokémon out in the space of a couple-minute conversation.

    Otherwise, the battle was pretty interesting, although thanks to the issues with run-ons, it felt like some of the descriptions were a bit unfocused. But you probably get the idea by now, and the short of it is that it's best to read over those paragraphs again and try to see where you can fit in several more periods.

    All time zones are abbreviated with three letters, not five. For anything involving Standard Time, this would usually take the first letter of the full name. Example: Eastern Standard is EST. Pacific Standard is PST. Mountain Standard is MST. In this case, it's likely that the abbreviation would simply be SST.

    Alternatively, if you want to use time zone abbreviations that can be understood worldwide, a better system would be simply stating the time in UTC, a system that merely counts hours offset from Greenwich Mean Time. For example, a place in EST is the same as a place in UTC-05:00, meaning it's five hours behind a place in GMT. Japan, meanwhile, is UTC+09:00, meaning it's nine hours ahead of GMT. In short, if you said 11:45 UTC+9:00, this is generally understood that the time zone is nine hours ahead of GMT.

    Of course, not everyone can remember time zones exactly, so a better idea would be to leave off time zone figures altogether.

    Overall, it wasn't as bad as this review makes it seem. Like I said, your characterization feels natural, and your plot is actually pretty cool. It's also clear that you pay plenty of attention to detail, so it's fairly easy to get into your world. Meanwhile, your descriptions set the mood pretty well and make each action that the characters take pack quite a punch.

    The downside, however, is that a lot of the time, you let yourself ramble. Some of that artistic description can be even more compelling and vivid if it didn't feel like your sentences careened from one point to another without much of an aim from period to period. Remember that each sentence needs to set out to start a goal, and once that goal (that fact that it's trying to get across) is achieved, you need to put down a period and move on. A lot of the effect you were trying to achieve was lost due to this, so I'm afraid that your story won't be as shocking and riveting as it really can be.

    Also, no matter what medium you use, you'll want to be careful about proofreading. Definitely look into punctuating and capitalizing dialogue as well as how to use commas because those were your two major issues.

    Once you clear both hurdles, you should be left with a pretty interesting story. I can't quite say it's outright shocking (although it may just be me), but I definitely see something here that could be fun to read.

    Good luck!
  3. Understood.

    Thank you for the notes on what I'm getting wrong!

    I'm going in and fixing everything that you and :[C] pointed out. It's time to beat this *****, time to beat it up good.
  4. ShadedSkies

    ShadedSkies Well-Known Member

    Alright, time to fulfill my end of the review exchange program.

    To make things fair I only read the first half of the first chapter (meaning the prologue), and so far it's not your average run-of-the-mill fanfiction. That is good.

    The problem is that you've already dissected a cute little Pokemon, which is a poor start. You seem to be going for shock value, and you'd have to get pretty morbid to top that!

    Also, because of non-existent character development and lacking description, it actually had no shock value. Had as much emotional impact as smashing a bug. Make the reader love every part of that Hoppip, THEN tear 'em off!
  5. Ah, I see.

    It seems I do have a very robotic way of describing violent things. I guess it's because they don't really shock me, but I assume others will be shocked.
  6. ShadedSkies

    ShadedSkies Well-Known Member

    Jump to Ghost's Story of Evolution's Gate if you want to see how I'd describe murder and maiming. If it shocks you, you might learn something from it.
  7. Dude, I don't think I'll be shocked. If anything, I'll be thoroughly amused. Possibly fapping.
  8. D. Scott

    D. Scott Well-Known Member

    ..O_O So..the poor thing was just- mutilated.. and fed to a Garchomp...

    The H should be a lowercase.

    The S should be lowercase in “She”, and the ending comma there should actually be a period, I believe. The dialogue section ended in a complete sentence, so- I wouldn't quote me on this, but I believe I'm right.

    “c” not “C”.

    Ending period after anyways should be a comma.

    Line one: after DAWN should be a comma. I see what you were going for here, but my inner grammar nazi needs to point out that this is technically incorrect.

    Third line: same situation.

    Fourth line: period after “it” needs to be a comma.

    The supersonic speeds belong to the species. Therefore, “species'”, with an apostrophe after the s.

    Things seem a little erratic right now: but I suppose I can give you the benefit of the doubt do to it being a prologue. Certainly an interesting twist, with the gore in the first scene and Cynthia's pedophilia...

    I'll read chapter one soon.
  9. I do **** up with the commas and dialouge, eh? Gotta go back and do those little edits.
  10. I decided to revise a few things:

    1) Chapter I and the Prolouge have different, less confusing endings.
    2) Dawn and Barry are now 13, Dawn being closer to 14, whilist Barry is closer to 12
    3) Chapter II is still in the works, but it'll be good. This will be a rather short fic, in comparison to some other people's works. You'll find out why soon enough.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011

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