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Vito Winstrate [one-shot]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dramatic Melody, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. This is a revision of a drabble I posted last year, which you can find here. It basically retains the format and premise of that drabble, but expands it and makes it a bit more complete IMO. Don't really have much else to say, but I hope you like it!

    All of the pieces of dialogue are taken directly from Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, but the footnotes are written by myself.

    Apparently, the new forums don't support superscripts in BBCode, so I had to make do with putting footnote markers like this: (1). I hope it doesn't bog down the format too much! If you want to read the fic in the format I envisioned it to be presented, here's a Google document with the proper format. I hope linking this is okay to preserve the format, but if it isn't allowed, I'll remove it.

    Vito Winstrate

    “You’re the first trainer I’ve seen deploy Pokemon with such mastery. But I should warn you—my son is stronger than you.(1) He even challenged the Pokemon League, I’ll have you know!(2)

    (1) No, his son is not stronger than you. In fact, he’s not stronger than a lot of people—I’ve lost so many battles the moment I stepped into Victory Road, and every loss only further proved my father wrong. Whoever you are, there’s a pretty solid chance that you’re stronger than me.

    (2) He hasn’t challenged the Pokemon League, I’ll have you know. He just told his family that he did, when the truth is that I haven’t seen the other end of Victory Road after weeks of training here. And how could I when all these trainers I battle are so much better than me?


    "When it comes to Pokemon battles, we're pretty passionate!(3)"

    (3) My mother isn’t wrong. When I was growing up, my family would challenge random trainers passing by to what was essentially a 5-on-1 battle, where the challenger would battle us consecutively without any chance to back out—unless they lose. It would be similar to the Elite Four challenge, and I would play the role of Champion, being the final battle they had to face. And that’s all the title of Champion will ever be to me—a role.


    "Mom is stronger than Dad.(4) I’m stronger than Mom.(5) And Grandma’s stronger than me!(6) But my big brother is even stronger than Grandma is!(7)

    (4) They always had little competitions to see who was stronger at battles, and nine times out of ten my mom would be victorious. It’s not surprising, really, when my mom was a gym trainer apprenticing under Gardenia in Sinnoh when she was young, while my dad didn’t even finish his badge quest.

    (5) My sister and I were both raised as battlers, and we never liked losing. So whenever I beat her in battle, she always gets a little jumpy. I guess we’re similar in more ways than one.

    (6) One person both my sister and I were okay with losing to was our grandma, although she wasn’t okay with us losing to her. She’d tell us stories about how, back in her day, she was only one victory away from being the Hoenn League Champion, and that she expects one of us to finally bring that title to the family.

    (7) And Steven Stone is stronger than me. And each member of the Elite Four is stronger than me. And this green-haired kid with an incredibly strong Mega Gallade is stronger than me. And this guy with white hair—or a white hat, I’m not sure—is stronger than me. And everyone I battled today is stronger than me. And yesterday, and the day before that...


    "There’s no question that you’re strong. But if you ever battle my grandson, you’ll end up crying in frustration.(8) He’s stronger than any other trainer we know!(9) My grandson must be challenging the Pokemon League Champion by now.(10) Knowing my grandson, he could be the Champion already!(11)

    (8) I’ve done that once, cry in frustration. I was staying in the Ever Grande Pokemon Center when a group of five trainers barged in. They reeked of overconfidence, and when they had their Pokemon healed up, they all said that the next time we see them, they would’ve all replaced the current Elite Four and Champion. That didn’t make me cry in frustration—what did was realizing how, only a few weeks ago, I was that kind of trainer. I was the one who was going to be Champion. I was the one who told the nurse that the next time she saw me, I was going to be the greatest Champion Hoenn’s ever seen. But here I am, weeks later, neither the Champion nor the greatest.

    (9) Grandma always told me I was the strongest trainer she’d ever known. Whenever I was with her, she told everyone she met that Vito Winstrate was the best trainer in the world. And I never doubted her—how could I? I always took that title to heart, and before I left for my journey, I told her that one day, I’ll be the strongest trainer in all of Hoenn. I don’t know when that day is, or if it’ll ever arrive, but I know that Grandma wouldn’t be telling anyone that I’m a strong trainer if she saw me now.

    (10) Am I even worthy of challenging the Champion at this point? Am I even worthy of challenging the Elite Four when I’ve become so weak? Am I even worthy of calling myself a Winstrate when all I’ve done is disappoint my family?

    (11) I’m never going to be Champion—not if I always lose, not if I can’t even get past Victory Road. Maybe I should just give up and go home. But what will my family say when they see me? What will Dad say about his weak son? What will Mom say if she finds out I lost all my passion? What will Vivi say if she finds out her older brother isn’t stronger than a lot of trainers in Hoenn? What will Grandma say if—if she finds out I failed the family? They don’t deserve that kind of disappointment. I don’t deserve their support.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    Chibi Pika and Venia Silente like this.
  2. Starlight Aurate

    Starlight Aurate Just a fallen star

    OUCH right in the feels. I definitely relate to this; I've been keeping secrets from my mom about my job situation ._.

    lol at the white hair/hat/whatever that even is. I know it's supposed to be a beanie, but the way it tufts out really looks like hair.

    Footnotes 4-7 are sweet, but also so sad. It's cute for him to describe his family battle situation, but I also definitely get the feel of his grandma's expectations on her grandchildren--regardless of whether they even want to live them out.

    I get that Vito has taken to heart his family's expectations, and how he played the role of "Champion" when battling against random trainers with his family, but I don't get a sense that it's his own dream. I don't really get a sense of what he himself wants, other than to make sure he doesn't disappoint his family. That's not a bad thing; it's a short one-shot based entirely off a few bits of dialogue, but it really adds to the sadness of his whole debacle in that all he wants is to make his family proud and he feels like he has completely failed them. And since all we know from the games is that his family expects him to be the best, we don't know how they would react to his perceived failure--whether they'll forgive him and receive him with love, or whether they'll disown him and tell him to do better and earn his place in the family.

    I like that you wrote this, as it brings to light the plight of a small character from the games whom many might overlook; a lot of players probably didn't realize that they saw Vito Winstrate when going through Victory Road (I know I definitely didn't on my first play-through). I love how you always add characterization to every little character from the games and really humanize everyone we see--it's a big reason why I liked your HOH One-Shots! And I've been itching for something 3rd-gen centered to read lately, so that's another reason I'm so glad ;P

    Nice to have you back, and good luck with everything!
    Dramatic Melody likes this.
  3. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    All good given the reason and all! And interesting we don't have those anymore... I will make enquires about the tags.

    I remember the character in question from the games, and was surprised when I made the connection between him and his family when playing. Good take on his failings and despondent nature imo! The structure was solid too - good contrast of each of the quotes of the family members with his own takes on them. It also reminded me of your Humans of Hoenn entries.

    I also laughed at the white hat/hair gag, heh.
    While the use of repetition I feel is fine in some instances (e.g. 'What will ___ say'), I feel here there's a bit too much overall with 'finds out' also happening three times, and 'don't deserve' twice at the end. It could use a bit of variation. Maybe for a bit more of a kick-in-the-teeth feel, you could consider separating the last sentence and have it as its own paragraph?

    Nice to see you around again!
    Dramatic Melody likes this.
  4. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    The title, the sole title is already reason enough to read this one, IMO. So yeah, decided to take a look.

    What can I say? Man have you chosen your subject well. This is a story about pieces of reality and of perception and of how someone perceives their own life. Introspection -the good or the bad- is not given much focus in fanfiction, and you here help in solving that issue.

    Events? Events are offscreen, all of them implied but at the same time set as foundational stones of the proximity with which the character narrates - and of which the reader is free to somehow feel at fault. Emotions? Emotions are all in the immediate past tense, held pressed against a present they can never thouch, a present that is not changing from them. We are our worst critics certainly but sometimes I wonder, how much of that is bias and how much of that is that simply put reality sucks? What, we thought the Pokémon universe was some sort of utopia with cute powerful monsters and kids that make it to professional sport by age 11? Think again: no matter the world, statistics rears its ugly head. We are only one in a long march and even with our best effort much of what we will be able to achieve in our lives is to say that we are the second best losers.

    And then there's the sense of self. Vito's family think highly of him. But he's looking always into the future, into what lies ahead as an obstacle, into the fight that is going to be lost tomorrow, into a static future, and seems unable or unwilling to look into the past as an evolving past, unwilling to see what has he surpassed and what has he left behind. I can't say that staying in a mountain cave environment for weeks is a healthy thing for the mind or the soul - it certainly is not for the body. I feel like the character has closed himself to lots of potential openings in his now half-hearted pursuit of "greatness"... maybe a weekend in Mossdeep would do nice?

    Vito needs a lot of hugs. He's unfortunately a very #relatable character... with how the world is going now. I can't really say that I like much this vision of the character but -but- it shows lots of promise. Lots of positive stuff that could be done with it, if it is us, the puppeteers, the readers, that don't give up. I'm picking Emerald again, for sure. Vito deserves our support. And I would probably recommend him to take a break and go to a softer route with more room, more sunlight and a completely different diversity in trainers and Pokémon. Mossdeep's beaches maybe? Those Pelipper are tricky, I mean don't they learn Protect? And more importantly, the marine breeze, the open room and the people who are looking at things higher than competition - higher as high as the stars literally!

    But man, continuing to bang your head against the same Trainers, in the same battle background, week after week, is not gonna make you better. At most it'll make you a specialist in losing, and you refuse to see that.

    Anyway... basically good approach to a story I have to say. The format is somewhat novel, the changes produced by the events are presented to the reader orderly and readily, that's good, the climax (of sorts) is set entirely offscreen yet we can get a very clear image of it, of everything else.

    Also, Vito: it's a hat. I'm betting ₽1500 that it's a hat.

    In another note, congratulations on posting both the format that you can use here and the format you as the author envision the story should have. Both formats readily accessible so far, and you have your readers informed so that how they experience the story is their choice. That teaches me a lesson or two, I have to say! I hope the link stays, at least I'll take the liberty to say that as both an archivist and as someone who has experience modding other communities, I expect it to stay and I would support efforts to help it stay here if there are issues somehow.
    Dramatic Melody likes this.
  5. Molag Bal

    Molag Bal It's evolution, baby.

    Heh. A great look at the insecurities of a young boy. I especially liked the fatalism implicit in some of his comments; for someone so young, he sure has cooked up a bleak worldview.

    I'd also like to point out to the poster above that virtually any Pokemon can learn Protect.
    Dramatic Melody likes this.
  6. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Nooooo, Dramatic Melody, why you gotta punch me in the heart again like that. D:

    I love how effectively this dives into Vito's feelings of inadequacy, especially in the face of how everyone in his family builds him up to be so great. It hits even harder because it takes every single positive thing said by all of his family members and tears them down one-by-one. I think my favorite footnote was #8. I don't know why, something about having him come right out and say he cried out of frustration just hurts. But #10 is also really telling, he says that he's disappointed his family, but he really hasn't because they don't even know! He's just assuming they are because he's really disappointed in himself, and projecting it onto them to reinforce it. While some of his statements are true (there's no real arguing with the fact that yes, he's lost a lot, and yes, a lot of trainers are better than him) the rest are all assumptions! Self-sabotaging assumptions designed to keep him down forever. We can only hope that something will wind up breaking the cycle and sending him home, because for as much shame as he'd feel from it, I think it's the only way that he'd find out that he's only making himself miserable.

  7. Aw, thank you for all the nice and helpful reviews everyone! :)

    Aw, I hope they aren't too bad! Although I can't say I haven't done the same...

    Thanks for the comments on those four footnotes! It was something I added in from the revision, and I thought it would be better to contextualize where Vito was coming from in terms of the expectations he's managing. Thankfully Vivi's dialogue was cooperative!

    And that's a great reading on him! He's definitely not seeing the whole picture in his current state, which contributes to his sadness and self-loathing. And I agree, if he admits his "failures" to his family it could really go one of two ways, considering how highly he's regarded by his family. (Or so he thinks!)

    Yeah, it was definitely a surprise! I don't think any minor NPC in previous games had the same dynamic going on, and after Vito there've been many more examples of NPCs referencing each other, so I'm glad he set the trend, sort of! And thanks for saying that! Vito's conversation was one of the first I wrote for HOH, so it's something I've wanted to expand for a long time!

    Thanks for the review, Starlight Aurate! I'll catch up on Drowning soon. :)

    That's great to hear! Let me know if they add the tags back so I can edit the story. :)

    Thank you! I was also really surprised that they did this, and pretty subtly too! Vito's such a prime candidate for creating a story out of since he has a lot of conflict going on already, so I'm glad you liked how I interpreted that conflict here! And thanks for the shoutout to HOH!

    Ah, noted on that last footnote! It was something I revised quite a bit since I was unsure on how to end this, so I'll make sure to tighten the language once I edit it.

    Thanks for the review, bobandbill! Hopefully I can catch up on what's been happening around here.

    Hah, didn't think the title would be a draw, but I'm glad it was! And thanks on your comment about Vito as a great subject, because he really is!

    And damn, I love these kinds of reviews, where reviewers point out things in my story that I didn't really realize! It's a really nice look into how these musings affect Vito and the realities of training, so thank you!

    Great reading on Vito. He's obviously flawed, but I'm really interested in how you read those flaws, and I can't help but agree with them! His self-esteem has hit rock bottom from all the losing, so I had a lot of fun drawing that lack of self-esteem out of him when writing his musings. And heh, I'm not sure if Mossdeep's the right city if he wants to face his fears, but then again it's much closer than Mauville...

    Also, can I ask what you meant by not liking this vision of Vito's character? Is it just the pessimism of it all or is there something I can improve on with my interpretation of his conflict?

    Thank you! I've always wanted to write a one-shot that uses footnotes, so writing this was pretty fulfilling! And interesting what you say about the climax happening offscreen - I actually see this one-shot as just pieces of what happens after that climax. (If I wanted to sound fancy I'd call it a "fragmented denouement" ahaha.) But I'm glad that also conveyed well to you!

    Thanks! I'm actually really interested in that thread you have in The Authors' Cafe about formatting in forums, but I don't really have much to say beyond self-promotion so ahaha. Fortunately bobandbill said the link is fine, so it'll be staying unless I get more word saying otherwise.

    Thank you so much for the review, Venia Silente! I really enjoyed your reading of the story. :)

    Ahaha, I'm so glad you three picked this up. It really is funny tbh, and I think I'll take every chance I'll get to reference it in anything I write! And Venia Silente: That's another thing he's gonna lose to, then. Oops.

    Thank you! I'm glad Vito's tone conveyed well for you, since it's something I really wanted to get right as it's what carries the story, after all. And hm, I didn't really think about his age going into this, but I imagine he's much older than Brendan/May seeing as his little sister is already battling. (And Ace Trainers do have older-looking sprites, so if I had to guess he's probably in his 20s?)

    And heh, I think Venia Silente was talking about how Pelipper have Protect when they're encountered in the wild! Thank you for the review, Molag Bal!

    Sorry :V

    Thanks for saying that, especially on the contrast between the dialogue and the footnotes! It's one of the main reasons why I chose this form for it, so I'm glad it conveyed well for you!

    Really interesting take on Footnote 10, too. That's definitely a shortcoming in Vito's part, since he's assuming a lot of things based on his own readings of his family's expectations and not what they actually think of the whole thing. "Self-sabotaging assumptions" is such a great way of putting it!

    Thanks for the review, Chibi Pika! :)
    Venia Silente likes this.

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