Striving For More (Secret Santa 2019)
#1
Pokemon Aiming For: Smeargle
Rank: Hard -> Medium
Length: 10,015 characters

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July 27th, 1956 - Day 1

C'est la vie.

The words I had grown to know as I grew up. Despite how discouraging they could be at some points, it made me become an adult much quicker than I would have otherwise. As I had come to know it, it wasn't very long until my parents started expecting me to do the work they had become so accustomed to doing. As a Smeargle, we're always expected to know what art truly means. With the paint on our tails being one of our defining traits, its not doubtful that these opinions would form, but my parents live by the trend. I was always confused as to why we had to be categorized by that, but that's what society wanted. We had moved from Kanilosia, our original region, to Anilon for a better opportunity, a place where we were not just a part of the system. Although my parents loved it, I only saw it as that. We had become part of what we despised, but I wasn't old enough to realize it. Now that my parents want me to take care of their business, and I've only come to fully understand the situation as it appears to me now.

I had always been an outcast in school, bullied for the odd color my tail had compared to the other Smeargles. Of course, normally this would not matter, as we could use our tail for any paint and it would accentuate it until we had finished using the color. But regardless of this, when that paint had washed off and the natural blue color was shown, I was dropped by the friends I had grown to know in my early school days. I had been insulted, saying "I wasn't natural" and "I can't have someone of your color by me", popularity the only thing mattering to them. I thought that they had saw as more than just an acquaintance, but they had proven I was wrong thinking that way. They had proven to me that Pokemon were cruel outside of my home, and it was hard to accept that. No matter how much my tail got stepped on, how much I was shoved into the wall, or what art supplies I had dumped on me, I carried on. I knew I was better than them, and I wasn't going to let me be stopped by these mere threats. 

At this point, I had taken advantage of my negative situation though. I had taken it upon myself to Sketch whatever useful abilities those who I had come to know left open to me, and I could finally reach my goals. It had never happened to this point in time, but I wanted to become a police officer. The idea that I could help people and escape from the monotony of the "artist life" that my parents wanted me to dedicate to. I had been able to gain a multitude of useful abilities, such as Bulk Up and Calm Mind from those who couldn't hold back their brags, Strength from those who shoved me around, Flamethrower and Bubblebeam who found it fun in their days to hurt others. I would use these abilities to help the town and make it a better place to live. School ended last week, so I have a whole new year to look forward to. This journal may be empty now, but I promise to myself to keep my story in here.

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June 14th, 1958 - Day 249

It had been two years since the bullying ended, and I now live in the streets, going from shelter to shelter while I save up money from small jobs so that I can move into my own place and earn an actual job. While my mom was better in reacting to it, my parents disowned me for the thought of abandoning their interest and asking to be enrolled into a police academy. I explained to them what I wanted to be and showed them what I could do, but they found this to be an abandonment of how they raised me. They left me with the ability to pack up whatever I wanted and to move out in two days. I grabbed whatever amount of food I was allowed to, minor belongings, trinkets, and whatever else made me happy and stepped out of the door that day. 

Ironically, I can't say I hate them or anything of that matter. While I'll always wish they were more accepting, sometimes that's just how life goes. They taught me that, but I wish they could live up more to their life sayings personally. I had avoided having to take over an art business I had no personal interest in, and I could be free of them and any possibility of being held back. I had to start at a new point in life, but I feel I can make this work. As long as I push forward to meet my goals, I know that I can achieve anything. I just have to hope that nothing gets worse.

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July 5th, 1958 - Day 255

I'm currently waiting in an office in the police building, covered in a blanket and thinking to myself as I write this. It had been a long night, as the 4th of July came and it was a huge time for celebration. But celebration for people comes in many forms. For me, it comes in the enjoyment of sitting in a blanket on a hill, watching fireworks explode in the distance around me with the serene wind of the night passing through my ears and fur, grazing my tail along the grass near me. For others, it was the alcohol that filled their stomachs and contaminated their minds, making them act much differently than any Pokemon should. I had been relaxing that night when a drunkard had stumbled upon me and thought to play a funny prank. It was a young Gurdurr, who had most likely received a few bottles from his friends.

He saw the blue on my tail and, acknowledging that this distinguished me from any others in my species, grabbed my by it and practically played pin the tail on the donkey. He grabbed me and try slamming me into a tree with his bottle, bashing it hard against my tail. It must have been solid, otherwise the situation could have been worse had it cracked and shattered on me. Right as I retaliated with a quick Headbutt to his stomach, his friends had shown up to accompany him. I was at an immediate disadvantage, with the group being a bunch of Fighting types who looked more angered than a Primeape surrounded by mirrors. I didn't take much time to think, doing my best to make sure that I could alert anyone in the area before I inevitably got surrounded. A quick Screech to the sky was all I could get off before I was using Flamethrowers and Headbutts to fend off my attackers, taking any mileage I could get into distancing myself from them as that was the only advantage I had.

It took around 5 minutes, but an Arcanine and fellow officers eventually arrived to help me deal with the matter. I was taken into the police station with all the troublemakers so that I could detail the situation. Thankfully, I was given food and the such upon arrival, as apparently Mr. Arcanine had taken notice of my small form due to my living situation. I felt bad for inconveniencing them like this, but it was nice to eat a proper meal for once. Berry soup is tiring after you've ate it every day for almost a year.

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July 14th, 1958 - Day 256

It has been a week now since Officer Arcanine took me in and allowed me to come and live at his residence as to "get off my feet" from what he said. I enjoy my time here for sure, but I can tell that there was more to it than just that. We had talked for a very long time, as to how I came to my situation, my dream to be an officer, and much more. It was fun, and the Officer seemed to enjoy the idea of me being one more than anyone in my life ever has. I wanted to cry, but I held back my emotions. They've kept me fed, provided me a bed and a home, and seem to enjoy my company more than my parents ever did. I'm currently looking for a job to assist them in any way while waiting on a response from the police academy on my dream. This is the last page in my journal sadly, so it'll be some time before I can buy one and write again. Here's to hoping for the best.

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August 30th, 1958 - Day 257

I've officially finished police academy, and to celebrate it Mr. Ar- my dad bought me a journal so that I could continue to write, as he had read through my previous one while I was out and about for my training. I had graduated with flying colors, being one of five in this graduating class. Everybody was so happy and excited for me when I arrived home, bearing the badge and a paper approving that I had finally achieved my dream of being an officer. I just finished crying after the party, the happiness almost overbearing as to what I had experienced for almost all of my life. I had a real family now, with a dad and mom who cared about me, and a little brother on top of that. I've only known them for a little over a month, but they're more family than anyone I was related to has been. It's clear to me now what this means, and I'm looking to pay my family back for how much they've helped me. My new job as a police officer starts here, and the light at the end of the tunnel has never been brighter.

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November 17th, 1958 - Day 305

It's been awhile since I've written in here. I'm officially moving into my new apartment today on the other end of the city so that I can respond to situations quicker from a different station while not being too far from my family so that I can see them. Since Dad wouldn't allow me to pay him any cash for allowing me to live in his house while I was down, I saved all of the money I earned from my job to finally move into my own place where I can be free to go by my days much more than before without getting in someone's way on accident. I had become known around the station already, and I believe most people know me fondly. I've taken on the nickname of Office BlueStreak, as my ability to run causes the end of my tail to look like a streak of blue paint almost smearing against the backdrop. It was corny and reminded me of my old parents, but I didn't mind it at all. For once, I was accepted for being different and being me. Life had been hard, and I can see that too for some of those that I've helped in the last few months of being an officer. 

The world is bright and I'm excited for the future, and I hope to keep track of it here. For now though, I must leave this journal as I am getting a call. I know it may not be the best situation, but I'll do what I can in it. As that's just how I work.
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#2
Claimed.
"Take Care of Yourself"

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#3
Concise grade

Good
-overall good premise
-liked the way it was established as journal entries
-the use of art and themes were good too
-felt like a personal story. The protagonist was relatable in that regard. Well done!

Bad
-felt rushed, as it was a 10k minimum, to read and see most journal entries seemed to glaze over topics rather than delve into them
-needs more depth, take the time to talk about the who's what's where's and why's, the inner feelings of the characters are lightly glazed over but overall feels pretty rushed in that regard.
-story seems to heavily suffer from "show don't tell" as the journals are always a fun format, and I even said it was a cool thing. You didn't do much to strengthen this. Maybe next time add more entries, even small ones that have a small thing for the day. It would help add depth to the world characters and make the reader feel more attached.
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Quote: tiring after you've ate it
Should be "eaten" not ate.
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Quote: It had been two years since the bullying ended, and I now live in the streets, going from shelter to shelter while I save up money from small jobs so that I can move into my own place and earn an actual job.
Super hard habit to break. But try and use less commas and break sentences down more! They don't need to run on for so long


Although you have an overarching plot that seems to work, you don't do enough with it! Take the time to go over the details you've laid out in the story to make this story seem bigger. Show don't tell is my main suggestion for this! Have the reader experience things the way the protagonist felt, what made him so sick of berry soup? How did did it contrast with the taste of a nice warm meal? Make the reader feel like they are there.

Sadly. This does not pass. But you're close! Just gotta polish it up.
"Take Care of Yourself"

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