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Pokémon Song of Two Worlds

Pen

the cat is mightier than the pen
Staff
Here for Catnip Circle, reviewing the first chapter! Ah, so it's the human turned into a pokemon thing, but not PMD! I like the focus on establishing Vincent's life beforehand and the emphasis on his music, which I rarely see in pokefic. I think you could do more with this--his stage-fright overshadows my understanding of what draws him to music in the first place. It seems his father's death is partly wrapped up in it. Was his father a big classical music fan, then? Did Vincent start playing before or after his death?

The interaction with the orb had some nice creepy moments. I'm particularly baffled and intrigued by this idea that it's upgrading his office supplies? Very mysterious.

On the level of story structure, the main things that stood out to me were questions of POV and tone. There are several moments where I felt the intrusion of a distinctly snarky narrative voice that didn't really seem to resemble Vincent--the piano recital crack being one example (others in the line-by-line below.) The tone of the narration fluctuates a fair bit, and the interspersed fragments don't help with that. I'd recommend thinking about what POV you're aiming for--is it a tighter third with Vincent, or a more omniscient third by a narrator with a bit of personality--and make sure that the tone stays consistent throughout.

I'll echo the sentiment that you've got some tell not show going on, particularly with the depictions of anxiety. There's a lot of emphatic words used in the narration, but the lack of concrete details to ground the anxiety attacks lessens the impact. The bulk of the rest of my comments are more in line-by-line reaction format--I find it more helpful to discuss specific instances than to generalize too much!

The night was frigid and clear, only the city lights obscuring the stars above.
I get what you mean--light pollution, right?--but the wording of lights obscuring stars is a little odd. I'm also confused by the relation these two clauses have to each other. We're told the night is clear, but then we have this talk of obscuring.

Vincent, crumpled into a fetal position up against a wall. Not against the frigid night, but in fear.
Not sure why we get a sudden fragment here! The main effect it had on me was to jar me out of the flow of the story, which is not desirable in the second sentence. You've got something odd going on with your prepositions in "Not against the frigid night, but in fear." I'm not sure how "against" is being used here. Crumpled against the night? That doesn't really make sense. You could say, "Vincent lay crumpled in a fetal position against the wall. He shivered, not from the cold night, but from fear."

Tonight, his piano teacher had organized a recital for all his students to show off to their parents that he actually was doing his job. As an unfortunate byproduct, this meant Vincent would have to play in front of several strangers.
This is the first instance of what I'd call the snarky outside POV voice. I like this crack about the purpose of the recital being for the teacher to show he's doing his job, but it doesn't seem like a thought that's occurring to Vincent, as it would be in a close 3rd POV, but rather the observation of a narrator.

Reaching into his rented tux's breast pocket, he pulled out an orange bottle to read the label. He already knew its contents, but he read it anyway.
There's a bit of redundancy with being told he's going to read the label and then being told he reads the label. You could deal with that pretty easily by going, "Reaching into his rented tux's breast pocket, he pulled out an orange bottle. He already knew what the label said, but he read it anyway." It's a small thing, but once we're not being told why he's pulling it out of his jacket in the initial sentence, the second sentence becomes new information and so more interesting.

and even with thirty minutes left until his performance, he needed it now.
Had trouble parsing this. Is the idea that he should wait until right before his performance to take it, but he needs it now, thirty minutes early?

With his hand still in his jacket, he quickly came up for an excuse as non-suspicious as possible.
You're looking for either "came up with" or "searched for" I think. I'd recommend keeping an eye on your prepositions.

Peter, unconvinced, remained unmoving, towering over him. With an expectant gaze, he stuck out his hand.
There's a bit much going on here. You might want to consider what the most important information is. There's the sense of physical intimidation "towering over" and the idea that Peter doesn't believe him and is now going to act based on that information. I think "remained unmoving" is the least necessary bit, especially since the consequence of Peter being unconvinced is him sticking out his hand for the pills. One way to rephrase would be, "Peter towered over him, unconvinced. He stuck out his hand with an expectant gaze."

Vincent spent another moment trying to keep up the lie before letting himself deflate, cradling his right arm and leaning up against the wall.
I'm a bit curious what trying to keep up the lie looks like here. The lie was that he's cold, right? So does he try and force his teeth to chatter, or something?

Shoving his hand off, Vincent took a step away, forcing himself to face Peter.
The action was hard to visualize here. The way these phrases are all joined with commas implies that they're all part of the same overall action. I think you need a break in this, like "Vincent shoved his hand off and took a step away. He stared at the ground for a moment, breathing heavily, before he forced himself to look up at Peter."

a few seconds of silence hanging between them. "You're not broken."

Dense, silent air floated between them for an eternity,
You describe the silence between them twice here in quick succession. I'd recommend varying this up a bit. I think the second instance is the more impactful one!

"I don't have what you have, I don't get panic attacks, go through what you do, have to deal with what you do." He took a step forward, once again placing a hand on Vincent's shoulder. "But I've seen you deal with it before, I know you can."
This was an interesting, nuanced moment. His brother seems to be trying in his own way to be supportive, but he's keeping his brother from taking what I think is prescribed medication? You can see the good intentions, while also seeing this may not end well.

"I could get you to do anything for Pokémon cards," he jibed
Jibe seems a little strong for what Peter is saying here, which is clearly a fond remark. Perhaps "teased"?

A rather ambitious first piece, but it had significant sentimental value to him as it had been one of his father's favorites to play.
Ah, you mention the father dies later on--I like how you've worked the impact of that into a small detail like this.

Alone with his thoughts once more, Vincent took inventory of his mental state: scrutinized every thought, making sure not to dwell on any that were disturbing; accepting anxiety for what it was, nothing more than an emotion; keeping his breath at a steady rhythm, making sure he wouldn't hyperventilate.
Hm, I don't want to speak for other people's experiences, but "making sure not to dwell on any that were disturbing" is sort of--if you can do that, you're dealing fairly well with anxiety, and Vincent doesn't seem to be doing well. It would make more sense to me if he's either trying to focus on specific, positive thoughts, or focusing on not thinking at all, only breathing.

At the start, he could barely even read the bass clef, and moving both hands independently seemed like a pipe dream. But, through many frustrating nights of tedious practice, he had finally been able to perform the piece from beginning to end without stopping. Not devoid of mistakes, just not enough of them to warrant starting over.
Since music is clearly going to play an integral role in the fic, I feel like I want a bit more here, on the emotional side in addition to the technical side. Does he enjoy playing, practicing? Is he satisfied with being able to get to the end, or does he want more from himself? What aspects of music bring him pleasure?

Gingerly opening the door, he stepped lightly as he could to respect the pianist currently playing.
I like this detail--it's very concrete and shows he tries to respect other people's feelings even when feeling horrible himself, which is nice to see in a protagonist. You're missing an "as" before "lightly" though!

Vincent's gaze snapped up to meet his teacher's, time's fast passage surprising him.
This was a bit of a tell not show moment. Even a simple bit of internal monologue could substitute here. "Vincent's gaze snapped up to meet his teacher's. How had the time passed so quickly?"

With a deep breath in and out, he began to play the triplets that began the piece, his mind intensely focused in the beginning on every note, beat, and rhythm. Yet, as time went on, thoughts of panic began to seep through his defenses, slowly welling up more and more as time went on. He tried desperately to shake these thoughts out of his mind, to hold tight to the feeling of calm that he associated with music, but the harder he tried, the worse his anxiety became. He tried harder and harder to stop the anxiety, the fear, the panic, but this proved to be his mistake. Putting so much energy into his thoughts, his mind hadn't had enough to focus on the sonata, and his hands had ceased movement. For a moment he was so lost in thought that he didn't even notice he'd stopped playing. The instant he did, though, his mind went into full on panic.
This passage was a place I really wanted the experience to be shown, rather than told. What are these "thoughts of panic"? What does him trying harder and harder to stop the anxiety look like? Since this is taking place as he plays an instrument, some auditory details might be nice. Does he catch a jarring note? Sharp instead of a flat? etc which spirals him more?

devoid of rationality but filled with horror.
This was a striking phrase!

Vincent listened intently to the noises of the forest (birds singing, bugs buzzing, the wind rattling the branches of trees, even the occasional skittering of an animal) while walking a path he'd worn very well.
Hm, I found the parenthesis a bit jarring. They give this a very casual feel like, "you know, forest noises, the usual." I think an em dash would work better.

He walked in an attempt to forget last night, trying to edge the memory of his failure and panic from his psyche with very little success.
Maybe "dislodge" instead of "edge" here?

When it came to failure of any kind—be it his fault or not—he always went into a state of self-flagellation that lasted until he had thoroughly destroyed any and all self-worth in his system—a most effective and healthy coping mechanism.
The snarky outsider voice strikes again. The sarcasm really feels out of place here. It's just not the way Vincent seems to be thinking.

He didn't even try to blame his brother for not letting him take the meds that weren't his; he knew it was wrong.
So the meds weren't prescribed? This sentence almost implies to me that he got this medicine in some illicit way or took it from someone else.

He always felt at home in the forest. Never knew why.
The fragment makes the narrative voice switch to being a lot more casual and intimate, which is not the style it's been thus far.

Even as a kid, the lush green, huge trees, multitude of little creatures that inhabited it, all brought him some kind of peace.
Should be, "Even as a kid, the lush green, huge trees, and multitude of little creatures that inhabited it all brought him some kind of peace." Listing things takes an "and" before the final thing, and does not require a comma after.

Even still, he could remember the first time he'd retreated to the forest: the day he'd come home from the hospital and his father hadn't. His mother didn't even notice his frequent trips, too busy with her own grief.
Curious if his brother noticed! A detail like that would give me more of a sense of their relationship.

Because of this familiarity, he immediately noticed a white, round, blemishless stone that lay in the exact center of the clearing. As if waiting for him.
Again, don't think the fragment is serving you well here. It interrupts the flow of the sentence needlessly. Also, as a general rule, three adjectives in a row doesn't work so well--starts to feel like they're being piled on.

The more he looked at it, the less it made sense: despite being partially buried in the ground, not a speck of dirt remained when he lifted it up; it fit comfortably in his hand; seemed to shimmer when he held it up to the sun, yet didn't even remotely reflect the color of his shirt, almost seeming to produce its own. He rolled it around in his hand to find some mark or blemish but found none.
Some of the things mentioned in this paragraph doesn't see that odd. A stone that fits comfortably in your hand isn't strange. I'm not following this point about it not reflecting the color of his shirt? Why should it be? Shimmering in the sunlight also doesn't strike me as that strange. If you're going to devote a paragraph to listing out incongruous attributes, make sure all of them are truly incongruous. I'm also a bit confused about what this lack of blemish means. A lot of stone are completely white without markings. Is this point more about the texture or shape? Like that it's perfectly rounded, or perfectly smooth, such that it seems artificial?

He examined the stone, completely perplexed to what it was, where it came from, why it was there, all memories of last night long erased from his consciousness
"long erased from his consciousness" struck me as strange. Erased is a pretty strong statement. Are they really erased, or has he just forgotten about them for a bit? "long" also seems odd--he can't have been examining this stone for more than minutes.

He didn't know of anyone else that frequented this area, yet the stone had no natural qualities.
Uh, him not personally knowing anyone who frequents a (presumably public) forest is not really much of an argument?

Mind engrossed in the object, he couldn't stay in the comfort of the forest, so he forced himself to go back home where he had at least some equipment.
I think I get what you mean here, but it's a bit muddled. I think you need to make explicit the connection between him wanting to learn more about the stone and him having equipment back home. "He was reluctant to leave the comfort of the forest, but there was no way he could untangle the mystery of the stone without some equipment. He decided to head back home, the stone clasped in his hand."

Of course, he should have been at school as well, but he didn't care. One day wouldn't really have an effect on his grades.
He seems very blase about skipping school, which makes me think he does it frequently.

It had the density of hydrogen yet didn't need to be hundreds of degrees below zero to retain a solid form or burn his hand to touch, so it obviously couldn't be hydrogen.
I think Kintsugi mentioned this, but if the density is out of the ordinary, that would be a good thing to have noted in the incongruous traits passage, when he feels its weight.

When he walked into his unlit room, he noticed the stone really did emanate light. A very dull, barely visible glow inside ebbed in a manner similar to a heartbeat. His heartbeat. He placed it on his desk, and the pulse stopped the moment it lost contact with his hand, light changing from yellow to stark white.
I like the initial description in this. The glow fluctuating like a heartbeat is a creepy image. "His heartbeat" took me aback. Where's he getting that idea from? I think I need a bit more there.

Some light, tingle through his veins.
This was confusing. Some light tingled through his veins? Or are you adding on to the previous sentence?

Out of ideas, he decided to experiment with the energy hypothesis: if it produced energy, perhaps it would even accept it.
What exactly does "accepting energy" mean? Perhaps, "react to energy"? Accept almost sounds like he's personifying the stone, which could be a fun angle to play with!

This was a bad decision. Immediately, the light became so bright that it filled the room, nearly blinding him if he hadn't managed to shield his eyes just in time; a slight hum became a loud screech and the orb burst into two pieces, launching to opposite ends of his room. After the moment of terror passed, he checked to see if he'd sustained any damage.
I don't think you need "This was a bad decision." It interrupts what is a compelling action sequence. It's also more in the snarky outside narrator voice.

After seven flips of the light switch, he determined that some strange force had knocked out the power.
Some strange force such as blowing the fuse? You've portrayed Vincent as into science stuff with the measuring density and the forming "hypotheses" so it seems a little silly for him to attribute something that common to "strange force.'

He knew it was a bad idea. Didn't know how, but he knew that putting them back together could only make the situation worse. Felt it in his jellies. But, be it the reckless nature of a teenager, the absurd curiosity that had him pick up the stone to begin with, or some other third thing, he decided to put the orb back together.
The narrative tone in this feels very distinct from the rest of the story. "Felt it in his jellies" is a colorful phrase in a story that hasn't been idiomatic at all thus far. The line about "the reckless nature of a teenager" feels like it's coming from outside Vincent.

His desk that once held his computer, cluttered with schoolwork, gadgets and knick-knacks he'd managed to get for cheap at pawn shops had been replaced by a significantly nicer computer, a printer, and a stack of printer paper. All of his stuff had been replaced by office materials or emptiness.
Well that is seriously odd! He has the orb of home office improvement, it seems!

He tried to throw the fur off with his left hand to no avail as it continued spreading, carrying with it the intense pain.
I'm baffled by the image of "throwing the fur off his hand." is the idea that he thinks it's fur that's not attached to him? In that case I'd go with "brush off the fur" or "shake off the fur." Isolated hairs aren't something you can really throw.

Tears poured out of his eyes as the heat engulfed his body, melting his bones and shifting them into shapes entirely unfamiliar. He felt his body shrink, hands deform and lose the dexterity that made them human, devolving into paws, arms losing what little definition they had as they became little more than nubs that bent in the middle, shoulders shifting forward to better equip themselves for walking on all fours, his chest compressed and rearranged his torso into what vaguely resembled a trapezoid, hips shifting as his legs contract and disappear into nearly nothing, his feet rounding off into ovals, his toes melting from five to three, some obtrusion crunching its way out of his spine.
It does stretch my suspension of disbelief that he can feel things as specific as his torso becoming a trapezoid in the midst of incredible pain. It's a question of narrative voice again--this sounds like it's being described by someone else.

The perversion of his room in grayscale assaulted his vision.
Is it the greyscale that's assaulting him? or how the room has been perverted in some other way?

He was trapped in a fictional creature's body! Not just a fictional creature, but a baby! That couldn't be true! Sure, he was only on the early side of fourteen, but he wasn't a child! He was a teenager!
Felt odd to me that out of everything, that aspect he focuses on most is that he was turned into a so-called baby pokemon. Seems like there are slightly higher priority concerns here!
 

Adamhuarts

Mew specialist
Pronouns
He/Him
Partner
mew
It's been quite a while since I last read this story, but I've read the third chapter now for my catnip review.

Was kinda lost for a bit at the beginning because it's been months since I last read the first two chapters, but I got the gist of things thanks to your quick recap.

So far not much has happened in the third chapter from what I've seen, but some interesting things to note did happen. Like us now knowing whatever that orb did affecting different people in different ways. Chris is a telepath, Vince is a pichu and who knows what else happened. It does beg the question of how the orb ended up there for Vince to find and plug it into a wall socket for some reason. (excellent plan btw Vince. What's the worst that could've happened :p)

As always you did well on portraying Vince's anxiety ridden nature and also did a good job at conveying his feelings. I'm not sure about his brother and Alex though. I can't really tell how old they are supposed to be because I had the impression Peter was already an adult in the first chapter, but he acts like a teenager at best here. Could just be me not knowing how to read people well, so take that with a grain of salt.

The only major criticism I have for this chapter has less to do with the chapter's content, and more with how you structure your writing. You tend to have a habit of having the narration focus on a character in a paragraph, but have dialogue spoken by a completely different character in the same paragraph which is annoying to read through like in the below paragraph:

At least Peter defended him. "Look at the little guy, does he really look violent?" Vince resented the little guy epithet but ignored it. He continued poring over his friend's face (Alex made no response), only seeing breathing's rise and fall. "He doesn't have any temperature, heartbeat seems normal, color seems fine, he looks fine."
I couldn't tell whether Vincent was the one speaking or if it was Peter, and this issue is present throughout the chapter and dampens some of the reading experience.

That aside though, I think it was a decent chapter. The ending also raises questions and makes me interested to see what comes next after it. 👍
 

DeliriousAbsol

*Crazy Absol Noises*
Staff
Location
Behind a laptop, most likely with tea
Pronouns
She/Her
Here for the Catnip Circle! =D

That was an interesting opening chapter. Vincent's struggles definitely felt real, although I was a bit niggled with his brother at first as he tried to take his medicine away. Shortly after, his brother came across much more caring, and I appreciated that a lot. The characters definitely have back-story, which made them feel real.

As an unfortunate byproduct, this meant Vincent would have to play in front of several strangers. Just the thought made him shiver.
Totally relatable. I don't like performing either, it gives me serious anxiety.

I liked the description of his music learning. Having just started learning a musical instrument myself, I really liked the specific mention of the struggles of learning the bass cleff! Notes on bass music have different readings, and it's so confusing XD

without "help" seemed impossibility
I think this should be 'seemed an impossibilty'? Or 'seemed impossible'? Just wanted to point it out =)

Man that transformation though! That was so vividly described! I've toyed with the idea of evolution causing pain and discomfort when a creature's body is changed so drastically so suddenly, and this was top-notch! Also... a pretty neat way of describing the appearance of what he was turning into without info-dumping! =D Very nice.

You've left me on a cliff-hanger here, as I do want to know what happens to Vincent next. And whether that yellow orb is a light ball, which it certainly sounds like. I could be wrong. I'm also wondering if this is PMD, or if Vincent is going to become someone's pokemon... the mention of that office has me questioning things! Always good =D
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
Okay! I've read chapters 3-6, but I think I'll go over 3-4 in this one and write my thoughts on 5-6 as well as the story as a whole so far in another post later.

Chapter 3

The body was stiff and nearly motionless, only shaking and seizing every few minutes. To convince himself his friend still lived, Vince pressed a paw against him to feel the warmth. "You found him like this at school?"

"Yeah, collapsed, clutching his head," Alex confirmed.
I was confused on where this whole scene took place. I would imagine that Chris would be brought to the hospital after suffering whatever this is, but there's no mention of anything hospital-specific.

A shockwave blasted its way across the town, engulfing it and showing no signs of stopping at the city's limits. Buildings morphed, changed, or disappeared completely, and plenty of people were missing, with more gone than remained.
Breaking the orb caused this.
You want pluperfect instead of simple past in these (had blasted, had caused).

At least Peter defended him. "Look at the little guy, does he really look violent?" Vince resented the little guy epithet but ignored it. He continued poring over his friend's face (Alex made no response), only seeing breathing's rise and fall. "He doesn't have any temperature, heartbeat seems normal, color seems fine, he looks fine."
He'd just decided to blurt out the first words that came to mind when Chris interrupted. "No one else can understand you?" Vince's eyes popped open. He hadn't said that. He'd thought it. And Chris had heard it. Chris heard his thought. Chris could hear his thoughts. As if on cue, Chris's eyes mimicked Vince's. "Th-thought-you're thinking-thoughts?" he could barely get it out, bringing his hand back up to continue to rub his temple. "I can hear your thoughts, which just so happen to sound exactly like Vince's voice," he mumbled under his breath.
A pattern that seems to occur in the prose is that there are paragraphs where the active agent is both Vince and another character. This ends up being kind of hard to read sometimes, as we're not always sure which lines are Vince's and which are the other character's. I would suggest being more generous with line breaks so that a paragraph gets only one active agent. If there's ambiguity between two other characters, there's always room for a clarifying dialogue tag. An example:

At least Peter defended him: "Look at the little guy, does he really look violent?"

Vince resented the little guy epithet but ignored it. He continued poring over his friend's face, only seeing breathing's rise and fall.

"He doesn't have any temperature, heartbeat seems normal, color seems fine, he looks fine."
You can also see I left out the part in the parentheses. I'm generally not a fan of additions in parentheses, as the these additions are usually either irrelevant enough to make me wonder what was gained from their inclusion or important enough to make me wonder why they weren't proper sentences. I can see some usage cases for them, but typically they just seem like they overcomplicate the prose.

Alex stood up, leaning over to Peter and whispering, "Is he replying to stuff you haven't said yet?"
I thought about this line for a while and I still don't get what Alex is suggesting and why.

Chris dropped his left hand to leer at Alex. "What are you talking about? There's you, Chris, and V-" He gestured aggressively at each of the three until he got to Vince and deflated, face shifting from anger to abject confusion. "Vince?" He sat up to hold his head in his hands, giving elation just enough time to consume Vince.

Chris knew, Chris knew! "Yeah! It's me!" he shouted, hopping up and down. Chris acknowledged him by looking up with eyes wide and mouth agape.
I thought this part really deflated the conflict within chapter 2. Vincent spent a good amount of that chapter trying to remember and write his own name, but here he seems to have no reaction to having his name spoken - and remembering that it really is his name - at this part. I was left wanting a much more satisfying payoff, or really any payoff at all.

"Tommy can you see me?Can I help to cheer you?"
You're missing a space here (unless the song REALLY puts those two words close together).

The sun's rays fell through the forest canopy, dim orange light sprinkling through the shadows on the floor.
I was intrigued to get a new POV. I think it was a nice breather from Vince's rather claustrophobic psyche, too.

Chapter 4

The forest engulfed him. Trees, grass, everything towered over him as he dashed away, too terrified of the flame-tailed lizard chasing him even to breathe. Gasping, he struggled to keep his distance from the predator, flames and fear bearing down on him. Just as he passed the last tree before a clearing, a root ripped his paw out from under him, sending him tumbling into the ground. He screamed, shooting out every shock he could manage, horrified tears streaming from his eyes while a hand jerked him up.

He was done for. He knew it. The predator caught him. He'd be dead within a moment. But when he peaked his eyes open, he saw the charmander scurrying away below him. He looked up to see the human holding him: it was Peter. A bed replaced the forest floor and he hopped up onto his paws. His breath remained frantic while he scanned the area for the charmander, or any other predator, struggling to remember where he was.
I liked this scene a lot - Vince having nightmares of primitive nature makes sense. Although: *peeked?

The memory of his mother's voice bit his ears. "She, she doesn't," her voice screaming, "big yellow rat," echoed endlessly, "like me, like this."
This was kind of hard to parse. I think it'd be clearer if the mother's line was given in some other format like single quotes or italics or if it was given its own line entirely, for example like this:

The memory of his mother's voice bit his ears. "She, she doesn't..."

Her voice screaming, "big yellow rat," echoed endlessly.

"...like me, like this."
Since Chris was slumped over, Vince figured he could just walk down. He couldn't. The shirt shifted beneath him, sending him hurtling to the ground.
w a s t e d

Then, he felt her chuckle. "I always said you played those games too much." She held him back just enough for them to look at each other. "Now look at you!"
IT'S CAUSE YOU ALWAYS ON THAT DAMN PHONE

Real talk, though, this scene was really heartwarming, and it felt very cathartic to see Vince be proven so wrong on his anxieties. The playing is kind of fluff, but it's well-deserved fluff. We're happy to see Vince happy here after his relief.

The question didn't seem to phase Chris at all; he just shrugged. "Well, now that we know that orb caused it, I think we at least have a chance." He leaned back, resting on his hands. "In fact, I think I've got an idea."

"Really?!" Vince leapt up, eyes at least doubling in size. Before he could get too excited, though, that growing emptiness in his belly made its voice heard with a scandalous grumble. As if on cue, he heard a knock on the doorframe. He dashed over to meet the source. "Mom!"

She bent down to hold him, rub his cheeks, his head-fur, pet him. "Hey! It's getting late, so I'm gonna make supper. Any requests?"

Vince didn't hesitate to throw his arms up and shout, "Apples!"
The end to this scene feels kind of like mood whiplash to me with how casual it is. Ending it at "In fact, I think I've got an idea." instead would leave us on a strong line and keep to the tone better.

Ampaw dashed out from under her, turning back to check if she'd follow. She didn't. She stood, frozen. A few more spasms as the shocks coursed through her and she finally crumpled to the ground.
The dog's pronouns switch from "it" to "her" for just this paragraph, which seems kind of unnecessary. It also implies Ampaw took a peek at what was between the dog's legs, and that's just kind of a weird image to be giving in this scene.

---

General Thoughts

Chapter 3 was actually pretty short now that I look back on it. I think it's just the scene of Chris waking up and having his powers and Vince's identity revealed and then very quick snippets of Short Circuit and Ampaw. Ampaw I think is more justified in being short and at the end, since it's the first we get to see of him and it teases a new plot thread that Chapter 4 then fleshes out, but Short Circuit's part feels kind of disconnected. Maybe SC's part could be combined with the nightmare at the beginning of Chapter 4 somehow? They are both dream sequences. Maybe Vince bumps into SC in dreamspace and it's freaky, dunno. Your call.

I'm kind of mixed on the mind-meld element or whatever it was in Chapter 4. Chris telepathically understanding Vince already seemed a bit random, and while a mind-meld sort of exists in the same ballpark, it still struck me as kind of... well, random. Maybe there is a logic to it, but right now the logic seems only as specific "the orb causes weird things to happen".

I do have further thoughts on these two chapters and their pacing, but I think it's better left for the next post so that I can talk about what's out so far as a whole. Until then, see you around.
 

canisaries

voted most likely to be edgy
Location
the middle of nowhere
Pronouns
she/her
okay WHOA am I late with this but better late than never. Chapter 5 and 6 thoughts incoming.

Chapter 5

She slanted her brow. "Looks like you already know what you want." She opened the fridge as Vincent gleefully nodded. Soon as he could, he hopped onto it's second shelf, ignoring the cold and grabbing the plastic container that held his tasty treat. Before he could turn around and present it, however, he felt his mother grab him by the scruff and heard her scold, "No, Vince stop! Get out of there!" Panicked, he held the box as tight as he could as his mother dragged him out of the fridge. Once they were eye to eye, she saw what he held. She placed both him and his treat on the counter next to each other. "Apples again? Have you had anything else since yesterday?"
I really think this paragraph and a few others could do with some splitting. You get these twists and turns, but they feel like they lose their suddenness and rhythm when bunched together in the same section of text. This also has two agents in focus, Vince and his mom, which are pretty hard to split by as is, but maybe something like this could work:

She slanted her brow. "Looks like you already know what you want."

Vincent gleefully nodded as his mother opened the fridge. Soon as he could, he hopped onto its second shelf, ignoring the cold and grabbing the plastic container that held his tasty treat. Before he could turn around and present it, however, he felt his mother grab him by the scruff.

"No, Vince, stop! Get out of there!" he heard her scold. Panicked, he held the box as tight as he could as his mother dragged him out of the fridge. Once they were eye to eye, she saw what he held. She placed both him and his treat on the counter next to each other.

"Apples again? Have you had anything else since yesterday?"
Also, *its.

He mumbled drowsily in compliance, grabbing one from the cabinet and handing it to her. She pulled a scoop out of the bag and used it to pour a nice helping of Pi-Chew into the bowl.
I think you can shorten "used it to pour" to just "poured".

He instantly abandoned what was left in the bowl and gorged himself on the divine desert he so desired.

Despite being cold, the flavor remained just as divine.
"Divine" being used twice in such quick succession kind of takes the force out of the word. Also, *dessert.

She looked back down at Vince with that same bemused expression, a gentle hand approaching in a quest for chin scritches.
As the sentence before this has her chuckle, it's likely that you meant "amused" instead. "Bemused" actually means "confused". Which is what most people are when they find out about this.

Vince nodded aggressively and threw his paws over his eyes (in pseudo enthusiasm, of course).
"Pseudo" doesn't really sound right to me in this context - I'd use "feigned" instead, although it is pretty well implied without pointing it out.

Before Vince could even ask what it was, Chris held out a hoodie. Vince yanked it out of his hand, “Thank you!” and tried to put it on. He got the base over his head, poked his hands into the sleeves, but couldn’t get more than his ears through the neck. After some struggling, an extra tug to the front pulled it over his head and toppled him forward into the hand that helped. “Er, thanks.”
just wait till he meets two more pichus and they get a career in covering pop songs

He didn’t need to look to know it was Chris, about to toss a playful shock his way when the hands retreated just in time.
This phrasing kinda makes it sound like Chris was about to toss a playful shock.

As much as he wanted to curl into Chris’s hood and shut out the world, he couldn’t. Several other buildings had cars embedded in them, the smaller stores crumpling on top of them. It took Chris’s steady hand for Vince to realize he was shaking. “It’s okay. It’s not your fault.”
gonna be fun having that on your conscience haha oof

Vince had to clutch onto Chris as he spun around to watch a bloodied and bruised lizard with a violently burning tail fleeing and wincing at all the rocks pelting him in the back of the head. Close on the charmander’s heels flew an aerodactyl several times its size. It spewed rocks to the charmander’s left and right, the threat of another attack landing forcing him up against a wall.
Talking like this, even though he could barely understand the charmander, put Vince a little bit at ease. The image of it tearing him limb from limb for easy consumption felt that much further away.
There's inconsistency in the pronouns used for the charmander. I do get that "it" has an animalistic connotation to it, which would make sense in the second quote, but when the charmander's been a him for so long, it's more just confusing.

Finally, it spat a rock towards her before turning away and flying off, being sure to toss the charmander to the ground in its take off. “What is wrong with you?” Vince and Chris shouted in unison.
I would split these into different paragraph as the agent is definitely different.

I think I’ll be safe enough with Owen here to protect me.
truly this has been a Creation of Two Hands

Chris turned around, heading presumably back home. Once they’d walked a good distance, he glanced back. “Man, what a looker, right?” Vince tilted his head, looking down to do his best to look at Chris’s face from atop his head. Chris looked up at him, equally confused apparently. “Amber.” Vince’s eyes stayed blank. “Vince,” he shook his head in disbelief, “she was hot, right?”
i knew it, i knew chris was using vince as a chick magnet

Chapter 6

"Daddy." The very thought of the word still sent a chill down his spine, and he'd spoken it to a pikachu.
i aint sayin nothin

"She screamed because she rolled well." His mother then joined in on the laughter, while Vince and Chris shared a sigh of relief.
I will be frank and say that this conflict is really contrived and serves no real purpose. It wouldn't be so bad if she'd done something worth screaming about, like accidentally drop a plate, but screaming at a good roll reeeaaallly stretches my suspension of disbelief.

Sleep and he had become fast friends the past two days, so he'd had plenty of time to get used to talking to Short Circuit in his dreams.
I really would have liked to see this in action! There's plenty of opportunity there to build character and foreshadow future conflict.

Short Circuit's tone carried a careful and worried feeling.
This expression feels pretty clunky. Just saying "Short Circuit's tone was careful and worried" would be better, even if it has that dreaded be-verb.

"Why so early, though?" he asked, looking up with droopy eyes.

Chris chuckled, humor replaced by confusion when he realized Vince wasn't kidding. "Vince, it's almost mid-day."
*sweats in regularly-wakes-up-at-noon*

Vince's mom, silent observer up to this point, made her presence known. "Go where?" Vince hopped to his feet and scampered over to greet her. She knelt and pat his head, not breaking eye contact with Chris, still waiting for an answer.
While reading this story, something about the prose had rubbed me the wrong way, but I hadn't been able to put my finger on it until this particular point. Looking at this and many other exchanges, it feels like there's too much description for what character is doing what and when during conversations. I've also had this critique given to me in the past - I'd mechanically describe all the motions I saw the characters doing in my mind's eye without paying mind to whether it was meaningful enough to be pointed out so explicitly.

Writing is similar to visual art in the fact that detail is best used sparingly and where it matters. Drawing each individual strand of hair makes a hairdo look flat and homogenous, while only drawing a few in the right spots atop broader brushstrokes not only makes for a more dynamic drawing, but saves the artist's poor hands from all that work. And in writing, leaving out details also lets your readers focus more on the flow of the scene.

Don't be afraid of having conversations with minimal prose outside the dialogue - it's a lot lighter to read through. Dialogue itself can also contain well enough emotion to be compelling. You've utilized the emotion in dialogue plenty of times already (such as with Vince crying about his mother not liking him "like this"), so keep up the good work there and acknowledge that power.

He's not your father. He's Short Circuit's.
I'd put this in italics. It looks kind of odd without that right next to regular narration, considering the present tense and direct you.

When he got a look at the pikachu, head tilted in confusion, the same torrent of emotions from yesterday flooded his mind.
Whose head is tilted here is somewhat ambiguous to me.

General Thoughts

Let me say that of all the scenes in this story so far, I absolutely love the keyboard playing one from Chapter 5 the most. It flows so wonderfully, really viscerally getting across how Vince loves his art, and makes perfect sense in being an anchor to his former, human self. There is a real catharsis to how this nervous wreck can let his worries go and do what he loves. It also ties to the theme of music that this fic had somewhat forgotten in the chapters between this and the beginning save for the titles and song lyrics. There could be some in-story reminders in there to better keep that theme alive, imo: something as simple as Vince being relaxed by some some tunes on the radio could do.

One thing that confused me, though, was the pokéball at the end of Chapter 5. It seemed to come from nowhere, and I kept wondering who threw it up until Chapter 6 mentioned it was Chris. I reread the scene and still couldn't find a proper indication of it being Chris, so I think it could be more explicitly stated lest other readers make the same mistake as me and assume that it was some other person that decided to try to capture the pikachu they saw and then spend the start of Chapter 6 wondering why they didn't question who it was or look around at all.

In any case, I've felt like there's been much more intrigue in these chapters. Vince is struggling with the other entity merged into him, and especially so when this entity wants to be with their father, something Vince can't do due to memories too painful. The world and how it's changed is also shown in more detail, answering some questions that had risen in my mind in the previous chapters. It feels like the story is starting to get deeper, or more effectively utilize the elements it has going for it.

I know I said in the previous review that I'd have pointers on the overall structure of the story so far, but unfortunately it's been such a long and turbulent time since that I've forgotten the details. The gist, though, is that the slice-of-life pichu hijinks take up more than they should of this fic right now. There's a whole lot of interesting conflict that seem to just get put on pause for monopoly hour or what have you. I talked about fluff in my last review and how it isn't necessarily bad (it can be a deserved breather and/or make the characters appear more endearing and relatable), so I don't advocate for just axing it all, but shifting the focus from that to the conflicts of identity, trauma, change and all the intriguing elements you have here. Right now, it just seems every now and then that there are two different stories with two different tones and subjects squished together here, which makes the story feel kind of confused on what it's going for and what it wants to be. It's too heavy and complex to be simple pichu hijinks, but it's too light and vaguely paced to be a gripping psychological character study.

I can't give direct advice on what scenes to edit how and to move where to better the pacing and make the story more concise, but I can give the tip that making a table on each scene and its purpose can help in forming a better structure. You can mark down how important certain scenes are, how much they need to be specifically in the location they are, could they be made more concise or should they be expanded upon, are there scenes you could add to help the structure, etc. This trick is what I used for revising Hunter, Haunted, and it really weeded out the unnecessary scenes and got me thinking more about what each scene exists for and what their focus should be. It might work well for you as well, in case you want to go through with a large-scale revision like that. And I understand if you don't - it can be a lot of work and block you from writing further until it's done. You can also just focus on structuring the story better from this point onward. Everyone knows there are plenty of works that start off clumsy but become great further in.

That's all I have now. Feel free to hit me up on Discord if you wanna ask about or discuss any of this in real time, I'm basically always available there. Good luck with writing onward!
 
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