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POPULAR: The Samples Thread

The acest of trainers
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Have you ever had an idea for a story, something that's grabbed a hold of you with such force you just have to write it down before you lose it? Have you started writing a story or a chapter that has been in your head for years and you are so happy to finally write it out? Have you then reached a point in writing either of these where you just hit a wall and can't go any further, or there's something not quite right and you aren't sure what that is?

This thread is the new home for posting any short or incomplete works, or even snippets from larger pieces, that you need some advice on before you think it is ready for publication. This could be a first draft of a first chapter or a scene from the latest chapter of your story you just can't get your head around. Post it here, and your fellow writers and readers will be on hand to give you the advice you need, and maybe point out some other potential issues before they get any further.

I ask that, if you the latest post in the thread is someone else's sample and no one has commented on it, don't post your own one without commenting on theirs first. And remember to be considerate and constructive in your feedback :)

Please remember to post any relevant content warnings with your sample (See Rulebook and Information Hub for how these work). If you don't want to comment on a sample because of content warnings, please say so while posting your own.
 
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I'll go first!

This is a snippet I just wrote for the latest chapter of A Sine of Things to Come.

Hid it in the spoiler, just in case of spoilers.

A little alarm suddenly went off in Peter's head, catching his full internal attention. A key social opportunity had arrived, demanding him to act swiftly upon it, yet the imperative of it was against every fiber of his meticulous, cautious being. The feelings that sprung up in the moment were the same as if a ticking time bomb were dropped right in front of him, and he was volunteered by himself to disarm it. Frankly he'd prefer his chances with an actual bomb: those had wires, Peter Sine was comfortable with wires...

Nope, this was getting ridiculous, just take it or leave it. So Peter mentally kicked himself over the edge, and hoped he wouldn't regret it.

“Say, Helena, I'm going to enter a tournament in a couple weeks with Jolteon,” he began as he fidgeted, trying not to look at Helena herself while he cut the red wire, “would you like to come with me, to the tournament I mean?”

Well, it was out of the bag now. All Peter could do for this agonizing moment was hope that the bomb didn't suddenly detonate in his face. In so doing, the terrified young man mentally braced himself for the variety of soft, polite, roundabout phrases that would all equate to a 'no' or a boom–
 
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A touch on the juvenile side, I think. I wouldn't think twice if I were reading about a sixteen year old trainer - that's a lot of trepidation for a well-balanced adult. Has Peter shown any particular interest in Helena before now? I don't remember seeing anything in previous chapters
 
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Agreed that it seems a bit melodramatic for what we've seen of Peter so far. In terms of the writing style, it seems a bit wordy and full of adjectives - a bit of trimming would not only cut the melodrama, but also make the passage feel less clunky. If there was something specific you were looking to get critique on that we didn't mention, do let us know!

Passage from the next chapter of LaON, in which I also feel my writing is clunky and a bit over-detailed. Thoughts?

As usual, I jump the gun. I name the venipede Kephi, inspired by a word belonging to an outdated language that my history of psychology class discussed earlier this year. No Sinnohan translation of the word exists, but in short, it means happy—the kind of happy that has people acting so delirious you’d think a drowzee put them under a trance.

I thought, you know, maybe it’d be smart to start off on an upbeat note with the venipede. But when I relay all this information to him, his first response is, “What the fuck? Sounds super girly. You got any food around here, at least?”

“Okay…” I say, taken aback for more reasons than I can count. “Do you, uh, like spaghetti? I know how to make that, and actually, Kephi rhymes with spaghetti. If you’re ever in the middle of an existential crisis, just remember that important fact.”

He glowers at me, a similar expression of curiosity plastered on his face. “Whatever,” he replies, then slinks off to the kitchen by himself.

To reach the kitchen from my bedroom, you have to go down the hallway to your left. If you pass the wall that looks empty save for a collection of pin holes we were supposed to use to hang new family photos forever ago, you’ll reach the kitchen. I’ve relayed these directions to Kephi several times—who knew a bug could eat so much—but it seems he’s keen on tuning me out already. I see him backtrack past my door a lot. If I dare acknowledge his presence, he hisses and leaves a trail of slime behind him to spite me.

Needless to say, Kephi the venipede doesn’t live up to his name. He’s downright grumpy. With the hump on his back and the narrow slits of his eyes, he reminds me of old men who make a point of displaying how bitter life is any chance they get.
 
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@chaos_Leader: I have to follow the pack on this one. Firstly, the choice of dialogue for asking Helena out - it is a tad cliche, and sort of comes out of nowhere. I think if there was perhaps some sort of discussion or something first before jumping to that, or perhaps an acknowledgement of how it sounds, it could work, but on its own it just doesn't work. I also think the first two sentences come across as too formal, and that's partly why the dialogue stands out a bit as it doesn't mesh with "imperative", "full internal attention" and "key social opportunity". I think some more casual or relaxed language here could really help.

@diamondpearl876: It is a decent paragraph - much less clunky or existential than the first two chapters :p I think the first bit is a bit too detailed, or at least worded in such a way it feels a bit much, and that the description of the kitchen could be a bit smoother and shorter. Asides from that, I think it works.
 
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A touch on the juvenile side, I think. I wouldn't think twice if I were reading about a sixteen year old trainer - that's a lot of trepidation for a well-balanced adult. Has Peter shown any particular interest in Helena before now? I don't remember seeing anything in previous chapters
Agreed that it seems a bit melodramatic for what we've seen of Peter so far. In terms of the writing style, it seems a bit wordy and full of adjectives - a bit of trimming would not only cut the melodrama, but also make the passage feel less clunky. If there was something specific you were looking to get critique on that we didn't mention, do let us know!
@chaos_Leader: I have to follow the pack on this one. Firstly, the choice of dialogue for asking Helena out - it is a tad cliche, and sort of comes out of nowhere. I think if there was perhaps some sort of discussion or something first before jumping to that, or perhaps an acknowledgement of how it sounds, it could work, but on its own it just doesn't work. I also think the first two sentences come across as too formal, and that's partly why the dialogue stands out a bit as it doesn't mesh with "imperative", "full internal attention" and "key social opportunity". I think some more casual or relaxed language here could really help.
The responses have actually been pretty helpful. In a more specific vein: yes, Peter's trepidation is weird and unusual, but it is part of who he is. He's a careful, detail-oriented expert in his field, and here is something most people take for granted, yet makes him feel like a bumbling amateur when he tries to deal with it. He's led a fairly solitary life for the most part, usually avoiding relationships or the like that make him feel like a fool, so he is a bit clumsy at intimacy, but he knows it, and he's kind of ashamed at himself for it.

So in this particular instance, I'm trying to convey that whole sense of awkwardness. I'll definitely work on the wordiness (even as I was writing it, I admit it felt like I might be pushing it). Still, writing self-aware awkwardness is, well, awkward. It's why I brought it here to be scrutinized.

Additionally, for a little context, the passage I posted here comes at the tail end of a scene between the two of them working on Pokémon training methods. I definitely want it to feel like it should work, even if it is awkward for the character himself.

Passage from the next chapter of LaON, in which I also feel my writing is clunky and a bit over-detailed. Thoughts?

As usual, I jump the gun. I name the venipede Kephi, inspired by a word belonging to an outdated language that my history of psychology class discussed earlier this year. No Sinnohan translation of the word exists, but in short, it means happy—the kind of happy that has people acting so delirious you’d think a drowzee put them under a trance.

I thought, you know, maybe it’d be smart to start off on an upbeat note with the venipede. But when I relay all this information to him, his first response is, “What the fuck? Sounds super girly. You got any food around here, at least?”

“Okay…” I say, taken aback for more reasons than I can count. “Do you, uh, like spaghetti? I know how to make that, and actually, Kephi rhymes with spaghetti. If you’re ever in the middle of an existential crisis, just remember that important fact.”

He glowers at me, a similar expression of curiosity plastered on his face. “Whatever,” he replies, then slinks off to the kitchen by himself.

To reach the kitchen from my bedroom, you have to go down the hallway to your left. If you pass the wall that looks empty save for a collection of pin holes we were supposed to use to hang new family photos forever ago, you’ll reach the kitchen. I’ve relayed these directions to Kephi several times—who knew a bug could eat so much—but it seems he’s keen on tuning me out already. I see him backtrack past my door a lot. If I dare acknowledge his presence, he hisses and leaves a trail of slime behind him to spite me.

Needless to say, Kephi the venipede doesn’t live up to his name. He’s downright grumpy. With the hump on his back and the narrow slits of his eyes, he reminds me of old men who make a point of displaying how bitter life is any chance they get.
Two things come out at me and make me ask "is it really necessary?"

1) The second to last paragraph almost seems like it isn't necessary at all. Most of what the reader ought to know about Kephi had been conveyed in previous passages, and giving specific directions to the kitchen seems to me, as you suspected, to be a bit clunky and over-detailed.

2)" No Sinnohan translation of the word exists, but in short, it means happy" it's a minor thing, but it tripped me up enough that it distracted quite a bit. It's how it says no Sinnohan translation of the word (which I'm guessing is the main language), and then a translation is provided. It's such an easy fix to say "no precise translation exists, but..." and then a longer, more detailed, more snarky in-character translation like you've given us. Yes it's a minor thing, but it had an effect.

Hope this helps!
 
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The responses have actually been pretty helpful. In a more specific vein: yes, Peter's trepidation is weird and unusual, but it is part of who he is. He's a careful, detail-oriented expert in his field, and here is something most people take for granted, yet makes him feel like a bumbling amateur when he tries to deal with it. He's led a fairly solitary life for the most part, usually avoiding relationships or the like that make him feel like a fool, so he is a bit clumsy at intimacy, but he knows it, and he's kind of ashamed at himself for it.
I had a feeling you'd say something like that. And yeah, that's fine as it goes, but I still think the way he expresses it is a bit juvenile. There are two ways you could go about it, as I see it (Bearing in mind, to be fair, that I've only seen an extract without the full context) - 1) The internal dialogue is wry, so Peter is internally making fun of himself. 2) Reword the internal dialogue so it's more grown-up but leave the external hesitancy, roughly like:

'He was never very good at this. Ok. Right. Even teenage boys manage it, for heaven's sake. Damnit. Except he'd never done this as a teenage boy. There ought to be some sort of manual, with a troubleshooting section and perhaps a helpline.

This wasn't getting him anywhere. Stop being ridiculous Peter, and get on with it.'
 
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@chaos_Leader: I appreciated the purposeful awkwardness of it, but I still think the dialogue itself just feels a bit cliche and unnatural. I think if Peter acknowledged that fact, it would work, but it just feels jarring the way it is currently there. If Peter thinks it is awkward (ie "Was that even how people ask each other out?" or something like that), it would help that side of the exchange came across more than how it currently stands.

I have my only little snippet to share. It's from the revised first chapter of Galactic I'm working on, and it's my intro for Professor Rowan. I've decided to write him as a bit of an aloof, carefree professor who enjoys a drink and a party a bit more than researching. He strikes me as a bit of a silverfox with that beard - a much strudier jaw than Oak :p

I was just wondering if this bit is just too much or not quite right.

It was noon when Professor Richard Rowan finally arrived as his laboratory. He was the only one out and about, the rest of Sandgem quiet in the post-New Year haze. Rowan was relieved by the barrenness of the streets. If anyone saw him in his current state, he dreaded to what they’d think of him; his grey-white hair was crumpled and messy, there were crumbs in his bushy beard, his shirt, the same shiny blue shirt he’d worn to last night’s festivities, was hanging out of his pants, his reddened eyes were hidden behind sunglasses despite the feeble winter light.

Right now, Rowan didn’t look nor feel like one of the world’s most respected and admired Pokémon researchers. He looked like a drunken vagrant and had a headache and smell to match. If it wasn’t Registration Day, Rowan would have stayed home and slept it off, but here he was, fumbling to get his keys in the door to open his lab, hoping that the hopeful trainers were too excited to pay him any attention.

Rowan finally got the right key in and flung open the door. Sensor lights flickered on as he stepped inside, basking him in a blinding artificial glow that made him wince. “You stupid old man,” Rowan growled, throwing his jacket and briefcase onto the desk as he hobbled into the lab. “What the hell were you thinking?”

He didn’t feel bad for celebrating the New Year – why shouldn’t he? He was alive, he had survived another year unscathed, that was always worth celebrating The same couldn’t be said for his colleagues – Oak, Birch, Elm, they had certainly all aged considerably in the last two years. Rowan had spent much of the last year on edge, waiting for karma to catch up with him and plague him with the same horrors that had afflicted his friends and their homes, but it had never arrived. Sinnoh was safe, no hint of burgeoning criminal empires or environmental terrorists threatening to destabilise it. Rowan had felt a great sense of relief yesterday, and when the drinks had started flowing at Karen, his next door neighbour’s house, it had been hard to say no.

“Ah, Karen.” Rowan chuckled to himself as he sank into the nearest chair. He regretted overindulging, letting the atmosphere and his good mood get the better of him, but Karen… he certainly didn’t regret that.

Still, it was a risk he shouldn’t take again. Rowan was getting too relaxed down here. It was a peaceful life, living beside the ocean in a small town of barely three hundred for much of the year. It was easy to forget about his professional duties, his international reputation – juniors in his field looked up to him for advice, while many of his peers still clambered for his latest research. Rowan doubted the research community would take it too kindly if they thought he spent his free time drinking excessively and cavorting with middle-aged divorcees.
 
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I'm always cautious about writing out an accent, usually because I get annoyed when an author makes their characters completely unreadable if they happen to have a Scottish accent. But it's also fun to try. I gave it a go, trying to mimic a Yorkshire accent for a minor character:

Before the waitress could get far, Andrea asked, "Excuse me, do you happen to know when the ghost of Mill Street is supposed to appear?"

"Ghost o' Mill Street?" the waitress asked as she rolled up her sleeve and checked her watch. "Righ' abou' now, give or take a few minutes. Why? You expe'in' to see 'im?"

She looked out into the road briefly, then returned her attention to the waitress. "Hoping, more than expecting."

The waitress rolled her eyes. "Bloody touris's..." she mumbled softly. "The ghost of Mill Street ain't real, ya know. 's a myth. Made up. Pure bollocks."

"You sound quite certain," Kimberly remarked.

The waitress leaned on the table and took a moment to peer at each of them before saying, "I been workin' this bloody shift for eight long years, ain't seen no bloomin' ghosts yet." She stood upright again and smiled in a disingenuous manner. "Now, you need anything, anything at all, you let me know. Enjoy." With that said, the waitress excused herself from the table.

"Well! That was quite rude. She is not getting a generous tip."

"I can't blame her for getting annoyed easily. Eight years of people asking that question would break even a saint's patience."

That's not totally unreadable, is it? Feels natural and easy to understand to me, but that might be because I know exactly what the waitress is saying.
 
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Enter the Brit-in-residence with associated higher education.

As a Brit I reckon the transliteration's pretty good for a Yorkshire accent. I'm actually quite surprised, dialogue isn't always your strong suit when it comes to foreign dialects, but there's some astute word choices in there.

I'd be tempted to say that you could afford to leave out some of the dropped 't', since Brits tend to drop them anyway ... but then I'm Black Country born and bred, so more Northern linguistic features are entirely normal for me
 
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well, all i could see was some missing letters and apostrophes. what i mean by that is: perfectly understandable.

(meanwhile i have a scottish chat friend who writes in scots and figuring out what he's saying is a real learning experience)
 
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I'll try my hand at this. here's some stuff I wrote trying to make the TCG into an entertaining story. it's not much at the moment, but I'm still working on it.

Karis smirked as she looked at the card in her hand.

“A perfect draw,” she stated. She slapped a card down on top of her Wartortle, declaring, “I evolve Wartortle into Blastoise EX!”

Scott gasped as the miniature holographic Wartortle faded, quickly being replaced by a menacing looking Blastoise. It snarled, and fired tiny blasts of water from the cannons on its shoulders into the air.

“And that’s not all,” Karis continued. “I’ll activate Blastoise EX’s ability, Energy Rain! It lets me put as many water energy from my hand onto one of my Pokémon as I’d like too, as long as I put the same amount of damage counters on it at the same time. So, I’ll go ahead and put three damage counters and three water energy on Blastoise EX, and then hit your Beedrill with Hyper Whirlpool!”

Scott cringed as the holographic Blastoise doused his Beedrill with powerful streams of water.

“And now, Hyper Whirlpool’s effect triggers,” Karis said. “I flip a coin until I get tails. For every heads I flip, you discard one energy from Beedrill.”

“Arceus above, Karis! Where did you even get this card?” Scott asked.

“That’s not important right now. What is, however, is this coin,” she said, tossing the two sided coin into the air. It landed in her palm, the side displaying a Pikachu facing up. “Alright! That’s one heads! You don’t have any more energy on Beedrill, so the other flips don’t matter.”

Scott grabbed the grass energy card that had been wedged under his Beedrill card and placed it in the discard pile. He placed his hand on his deck, getting ready to draw.

“My turn,” he declared, pulling a card from his deck. He glanced at the card he pulled, and his eyes widened. He looked over to Karis’s Blastoise, reading the display above it. “Blastoise EX has one hundred and ten HP left… If I can pull this off…” he muttered.

“Hurry up, Scott. Let’s get this over with already. I’ve only got one prize card left, so let’s get on with the game so I can draw it,” Karis said.

Scott shook his head. “Not today, Karis. I’ve got a plan.” He slapped down a card next to Beedrill, calling out, “I play the trainer card Max Elixer!” He picked up the first few cards of his deck and fanned them out. “Max Elixer lets me take an energy card from the top six cards in my deck and attach it to one of my benched basic Pokémon. And I’ll use it to attach this grass energy to my Weedle.” Scott slipped the green colored energy card under the Weedle card on his bench, and then grabbed another card from his hand. “Next, I activate the trainer card Energy Switch, which lets me move the grass energy on my Weedle to my Beedrill!” Scott declared, pulling the energy card out from under Weedle and replacing it under Beedrill.

Karis gasped. “You still haven’t played your energy for the turn. If you have another in your hand-”

“And I do!” Scott said, smiling. “I attach one grass energy from my hand to Beedrill! And now, I use Flash Needle! I get to flip a coin three times, and this attack does forty damage for heads!” Scott fished a coin similar to Karis’s out of his pocket and tossed it into the air, catching it back in his hand. He looked down at it. “That’s one heads!” He exclaimed, tossing it again. “And that’s two!” Scott flipped the coin one final time, and Karis bit her lip.

“Tails, tails, tails…” she muttered.

“Heads again! That’s the game, Karis!” Scott exclaimed, snatching up his last two prize cards.

“Hey, hey, hey! It’s one prize card per Pokémon, you dork!” Karis said angrily.

Scott pointed to the title of her card. “Blastoise is an EX Pokémon, so I get to draw two prize cards,” he said.

Karis peered at the card and cursed. “Arceus, I forgot about that!” She scooped up the cards lying on the projector table and shuffled them back into her deck, pouting. “And I was so close to beating you, for once.”

Scott laughed as he shuffled his own deck. “You’ll get there eventually. Anyways, you never answered my question. Where’d you get that Blastoise EX?”
“Oh, Ulysses gave it to me. He got it in a trade and doesn’t play a water type deck, so he let me have it,” Karis explained.

Scott reached over to the projector table and picked up his deck box, pulling a card out of it. “EX cards are powerful, but that two prize card clause can be dangerous. Try this card instead. It’s similar, but it isn’t an EX card.” He handed Karis another Blastoise card.

Karis took the card as Scott explained it. “Its ability, Deluge, is similar to Energy Rain, except it doesn’t require you to damage your own Pokémon. And its attack, Hydro Pump, is pretty powerful, too. It doesn’t do anything as fancy as discarding energy, though.”

“Thank you, Scott!” Karis said. “What do you want to trade it for?”

Scott shook his head. “No trading. It’s a gift. Consider it a prize for getting so close to beating me.”
 
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I was just wondering if this bit is just too much or not quite right
Seems you got lost in the posts. Anyway, in the first paragraph, Rowan's physical appearance seems a tad overkill. I think you do a pretty good job showing his post-New Year haze, really. Trimming unnecessary details down, such as the color of his shirt or hair, would go a long way. I also think that the first and second paragraphs were pretty redundant, as they both serve to depict the post-New Year haze; the second paragraph just adds in the bit about why he's at the lab despite the holiday, but it could flow better in the first paragraph.

Also, I think you meant "why should he?" and not "why shouldn't he?" Otherwise, the sentence makes no sense.

Other than that, looks good to me. I like the dialogue of him muttering to himself when he's blinded by the light, and the details about the other professors being buds and how they've all changed over the years is a fun addition.
 
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Seems you got lost in the posts.
Seems so - remember people, if there is a sample that hasn't been commented on, you need to talk about that one before posting your own.

I appreciate the feedback, and I will condense the first two paragraphs together so it's not quite as long or wordy.

@UselessBytes: I liked that little snippet, was a good way to showcase the two characters and the dialogue flowed very naturally. I think my one issue was explaining every card in detail - it felt a bit Yu-Gi-Oh-esque - but I'm not sure how you could get around it. I also think the line I've quoted below should be an internal thought rather than an audible mutter. I don't know where exactly you plan on taking the plot, and this bit doesn't really give much away, but you've clearly got some interesting characters to work with.

“Blastoise EX has one hundred and ten HP left… If I can pull this off…”
 
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I have revisions!

With some very helpful replies from those that have taken a look before, I have done the tweaking.

“I can't believe I didn't think of this before,” Peter uttered once the Pokémon settled into their routine, “it makes so much sense, and somehow it didn't occur to me.”

“We all could use a little inspiration once in a while, or an extra set of eyes, or second opinion,” Helena reassured as she watched the three Pokémon practice, “some things just can't be done alone, or at the very least shouldn't be.”

Alone: that's how Peter had lived most of his life, and he'd been content with solitude in that time. It was peaceful, predictable, controllable. So much hand changed now, and he was far out of his element. This, right now, was a chance for Peter to not be alone for all this craziness, to at least have some support. Easy enough, right? Just ask the question, Helena was right here...

Then again, it had been a long time since Peter last tried this, and it didn't go well at all. He shuddered as he recalled just how horribly that last foray went, silently cursing his own faults. Suddenly this all stopped being a good idea. It was a ticking time bomb of sorts, and he'd volunteered himself to disarm it. Frankly he'd prefer his chances with an actual bomb: those had wires, and Peter Sine was comfortable with wires–

Oh come on! Of all the things to be afraid of or worried about, this had to be the absolute least dangerous or troublesome. This was how an ignorant, self-absorbed teen behaved, and was unbecoming for someone beyond all that. It's just conversation: make the words and say them already!

“Well, speaking of things that shouldn't be done alone,” that's just great, he couldn't have opened with a more corny line if he went to a farm. No backing down now, time to finish what he started, “I'm going to enter a tournament in about a week with Jolteon, and I'd like some company for it. Would you like to join me?”

There, it was done, and as far as Peter was concerned, he couldn't have botched that up any harder if he tried. He held his breath, and braced himself for the variety of polite, roundabout phrases that would all equate to a 'no'. He must have seemed like a damned fool to her, and he couldn't blame her for declining–

“You're not putting Jolteon through too much strain and stress for this tournament, are you?” Helena asked with a suspicious undertone, “fierce competition isn't healthy for such a young Pokémon, especially if she has problems controlling her power.”

“No, not at all, it's nothing too intense! The tournament is just a small time thing the company I work for does,” Peter answered quickly, “more importantly though, it gives something for me and Jolteon to work toward. My thinking is, if we do well there, then I know we'll be great partners for whatever lies ahead for us.”

Was that good, or bad? As if it wasn't already weird enough, now Peter was left hanging, blindsided by a prying question in place of a simple 'yes' or 'no'. Could this farce just be over and done with already, please?

At long last, Helena tilted her head and gave a small amused smile, “In that case, I'd be happy to see you to your tournament.”

At this point, I'm wondering if finding a beat reader should be the way to go instead. I more-or-less have the entire chapter ready to go, and I'm just putting the finishing touches on it.
 
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@chaos_Leader Betas can be difficult to find on short notice, but they can definitely be helpful. At any rate, this looks a lot better. Peter realizes he's being childish and unlike him, which is realistic in terms of what crushes can do to people. His anxiety is clear in the writing as well. There's quite a few grammatical errors throughout, but people tend to just leave those for editing so I won't be picky about those unless you want me to point them out.

Also, this:

It was a ticking time bomb of sorts, and he'd volunteered himself to disarm it. Frankly he'd prefer his chances with an actual bomb: those had wires, and Peter Sine was comfortable with wires–
Is a really nice line that relates to his hobbies and is just well written overall. Keep it up and can't wait to see the chapter when it's out!
 
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If you can get hold of a decent beta reader - and you most certainly may not have mine - it's worth it. Chapters have a way of running away from you, I think, when you spend weeks at a time writing them
 
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this thread is the best thing since sliced bread, i swear... such a great opportunity to learn not only your own mistakes but those of others.

so anyway, i'm writing a oneshot, and i've finished the first portion, but i'm not sure if it's uhh... genuine-sounding or so, i mean dialogue and thought wise. that, and i'm not sure on the description of actions, either... thoughts?

-

“Hi, Red.”

So, Abe’s home. Hmh. Garbage day it is, then.

I open the door fully and drag the trash bag out of the stairway. I glance at the kitchen clock. One PM, as I had expected, more or less.

I scan the rest of my view. No sight of my lord or Fonz, but I can spot Abe sitting over at the couch.

“You’re home early,” I remark.

“Final lesson got cancelled,” Abe answers and turns to face me. He notices the bag. “You’re taking out the trash?”

“Yup.” I grab the bag by its base, shudder from the cold seeping out from within and carry the heavyish mass over to the kitchen sink. I open the cupboard below, exposing my nostrils to the unpleasant odor one would expect from a container half full of old empty food packages and berry peelings.

“...What happened to your arm?” Abe asks slowly.

Oh, right. The bandage on my left forearm.

“An accident,” I say, as I always do. Holding my breath, I tie up the bag in the kitchen container and lift it out. I’m about to shove it away, when Abe suddenly interrupts me.

“You know, you… seem to have a lot of accidents.”

Is he going to start this again? I have a job to do. I’ll just shut him up as fast as I can.

“I’ve been clumsy.”

Him and I both know well that I’m the less clumsy human in this household, but my weapon isn’t argumentation. Rather, I’ll initiate a tug of war of stubbornness, and I’ll win, as I always do.

“I don’t buy that.”

He’s yanking the rope. But he’ll fall in the mud soon enough.

“It’s true.”

He stays quiet. Odd, I didn't expect to win this quickly.

Well, good! A nice turn of events, for once. I put the garbage bag away with confidence and line the container with a new one. As my foot pushes the cupboard door shut, a victorious thump rings out and I can swing around to breath in some non-noxious air.

I see Abe, who strangely is still staring at me over the couch’s back.

Oh, don't tell me he's --

“So you’ve only taken care of downstairs so far?”

Well, well. Looks like the mareep has decided to play tauros. Round two has begun.

“Yes.”

“That’s a lot of garbage from only downstairs.”

“I’m throwing out some of my old stuff, too.”

“Shouldn’t you recycle them?”

“They’re all broken.”

“Really?”

He's really putting up a fight this time... I’ll try out a different approach.

“Actually, Abe, I’m lying. It’s not garbage. It’s a chopped up human body and I’m dumping it.”

Well, not an entire body, but ‘two arms, two legs, shreds of skin and a piece of humerus’ would be too specific.

“You don’t have to be rude. I’m just asking.”

“Well, can you stop? This garbage is starting to stink up the place. I’d rather get rid of it fast.”

“Fine.”

Splat. Face first into the mud. I’d smirk, but I don't want to push my luck. The rope has started to chafe my palms, and while I’d hold on to even barbed wire to protect my secret, my hands are currently required elsewhere.

I gather the trash from all the other rooms on the floor. Abe doesn’t say a word. From the few glimpses I catch of him, he seems to be focusing on his homework for now.

I drag the bag to the base of the ascending staircase. Seems like everything is going well again.

“I thought you said you were going to get rid of it,” interjects Abe.

“Are you kidding me?” I snap, turning around. I see that he’s recoiled a bit. Damn it, was that too harsh?

No… No, it wasn’t. Normal people get mad too. But I should cushion that remark.

“I’m going to get rid of it after I take care of the trash upstairs, Abe,” I explain, with a calmer though clearly irritated tone.

Did that do it? I hope that did it.

Abe cautiously recovers from his recoil.

“Well, if you didn’t want the house to stink, you would have taken care of upstairs first, as it has less smelly garbage...” he quietly utters.

I sigh heavily, loud enough for him to hear, and start climbing up the stairs.

-

Alright, finally. I’ve got the trash - the trash I wouldn’t have had to gather if Abe hadn’t been here - and I’m ready to leave. I just need to put on some clothes, as it’s still wet and freezing outside.

“Why are you getting dressed? The garbage can’s just a small walk away.”

For fuck’s sake. What is the matter with him today?

“I have other errands to run too,” I growl, zipping up my winter coat.

“Oh, okay.”

‘Oh, okay’? That’s what he responds with, after all of this? Jackass… If I were clenching my jaws any harder, my teeth would shatter.

I bet the waste I actually need to get rid of has melted significantly by now… Giving it its own bag was a smart precaution. I don’t have to worry about any leakage.

But now, Red, is the time to calm down. The riskiest part is over. The chances of bumping into anyone in the woods with weather like this are pleasantly slim. The fog outside will conveniently blur me, too.

-

I return to the front yard. There are no new tracks in the snow. They still haven’t come back...

But at least I’m done with my work now, and I get to go home, where I won’t be bombarded by snowflakes the size and frequency of zubat.

I enter the house, water dripping from my bangs.

“Hi,” greets Abe, still on the couch.

“M-hm.”

I undress and hang my coat. I wait three seconds perfectly still to see if Abe would start something. He does not.

Sighing, I ruffle my hair to fling off dozens of droplets. They hit the ceiling and the clothes in the closets, but who cares, they’ll evaporate.

I still feel drenched. I just want to clean myself.

“Oh, by the way...” begins Abe.

No. No no no no no.

“Fonz sent a text.”

Oh. Well. Continue.

“He says him and Helix are staying at a friend’s house tonight.”

“What?” I trudge to the couch. “Show me.”

Abe pulls out his phone, taps on it a couple of times and shows it to me. Indeed, there are messages from Fonz.

Can you tell Red we’ll be at Helix’s friend’s slumber party tonight?

And tell him not to worry, this friend is nice and I’ll be watching Helix the whole time.

“So... I guess that means you won’t see Him yet today,” says Abe, in a sympathetic tone. “But hey, this just means you get to have the night to yourself for a change.”

To myself? To the bastard whose mess I just had to clean up? To the fuckup who now can’t serve either form of his god correctly?

I know he doesn’t know. I know I specifically keep the real Red a tightly monitored secret. But two years later and he still doesn’t understand that I’m nothing without Him?

Oh, forget it. I don’t have the energy to be mad. I just want to get the hell away from everyone.

“I’m taking a shower,” I grumble and drag myself to the door to downstairs.

“Have fun.”

Go fuck yourself, Abe.

-
 
shame personified
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@canisaries

Well, well. Looks like the mareep has decided to play tauros. Round two has begun.
I lol'd.

So the initial description of the garbage smelling to having Abe ask about the left arm injury is a bit abrupt, as there's no mention of that bothering Red. Even just a small hint of that would remind readers there is one and segway into that conversation a little more naturally.

Also, it's a bit contradictory for Red to think he'll shut Abe up fast like he always does, and then say, "Oh, wow, that was actually fast." Not sure if that was intentional, given Red's... strange nature, but I thought I'd point it out.
 
whoa i finally changed my pfp again
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thanks for the input, i've tried revising some parts slightly:

I open the door fully and drag the trash bag out of the stairway. The skin around the wound in my forearm is stretched by the tendons tensing up underneath, causing me to sigh in discomfort. I glance at the kitchen clock. One PM, as I had expected, more or less.

I scan the rest of my view. No sight of my lord or Fonz, but I can spot Abe sitting over at the couch.

“You’re home early,” I remark.

“Final lesson got cancelled,” Abe answers and turns to face me. He notices the bag. “You’re taking out the trash?”

“Yup.” I grab the bag by its base, shudder from the cold seeping out from within and carry the heavyish mass over to the kitchen sink. I open the cupboard below, exposing my nostrils to the unpleasant odor one would expect from a container half full of old empty food packages and berry peelings.

From the corner of my eye, I can still see Abe looking at me. Why?

“...What happened to your arm?” he asks slowly, out of the blue.

Oh, right. He must have seen the bandage on my forearm.

“An accident,” I say, as I always do. Holding my breath, I tie up the bag in the kitchen container and lift it out. I’m about to shove it away, when Abe suddenly interrupts me.

---

Is he going to start this again? I have a job to do. I’ll just shut him up.

---

He stays quiet. Odd. I didn’t expect a throwaway line like that to finish this.

sound better? it tones down the expectations of "fast".
 
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