Descent Into Darkness HUB
#1
This is a Hub for my Descent Into Darkness Fic.
Please refer to the notation if a chapter is graded or if it is still awaiting grading
PLEASE grade HERE and not on the thread.

Chapter 1: The Dark Mist and the Beginnings of Destiny Graded

Chapter 2: Perchance to Dream/A Quick Fishing Stop Graded

Chapter 3: Tales in a Blank City Graded

Chapter 4: The Special Pink Pokemon? Graded

Chapter 5: A Barrel of Laughs at the Circus Needs to be fixed

Chapter 6: Have you Herd of Tauros Needs finishing

Chapter 7: The Mysterious Team Rocket? Needs Grading

Chapter 8: Heading West Needs Grading

Chapter 9: The Unbeatable Foe Graded

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#2
Grade on Chapter 1:

Diction & Presentation: Intermediate
At several points the story struggled with wordiness, having overly long explanations or descriptions of the events taking place. Some of this is because you had a lot of things going on in the story, and were trying to do each of them justice. However I’d also recommend that in your proofreading pass, pay attention to how many words are in a sentence – see if you can shorten them without losing the event or meaning you were going for.

Grammar & Style: Intermediate
No egregious spelling or grammar errors, though sometimes your punctuation got away from you – lines like:
Quote: "Hi, I'm Doctor Woo" the old man spoke softly "it seems like you were
"Yes, that's right Gaius" Grimsly replied "under normal circumstances, I would wait

There should be a piece of punctuation before the closing quotation marks, and before the next opening too. If the speaker takes a breath for you to insert a dialogue tag, it’ll generally be a comma in both places, but sometimes a period or semicolon can fit.
Viewpoint slips happen several times – we are reading the story about Gaius and have insight into his thoughts, but then it will occasionally jump to Gengar’s thoughts, or Joey’s/ Branden’s. This can be really jarring to the reader, and what I’d recommend instead is having the viewpoint character recognize by the action what the other character is thinking. For instance, when Gengar is being instructed to restrain the other trainers while torturing their Pokemon, the Gengar can show his reluctance by turning and looking at Gaius with a confused expression on his face. Gaius’ reminding him of the torture can then cause the Gengar’s eyes to widen in alarm before it turns back and carries out the instruction.

Pokemon Integration: Intermediate
The Pokemon involved all fit narratively, and you make use of their typing and abilities in the course of the battle. To push this higher you’d need to get deeper into what makes those Pokemon work that way, or have significant plot threads (like I know you are doing with his ‘friend’ later) which really only work for or because of that particular species.

Character & Plot Unity: Basic
This is where I think the too many irons in the fire hurt the story. A quick rule of thumb is that the time spent describing something should roughly correspond to the importance it has to the story. Things like how the patriarch first made a fortune, the time at the Poke-preschool, even to an extent the time at business school don’t add much to the overall narrative; and as far as Gaius was concerned they were just things that had happened, or set the stage. The entirety of Charles’ contribution to the story could be summed up in a couple lines when describing how the manor came to be; something like,
Quote:The manor house came about when Gaius’ grandfather, Charles, developed a technology that let the perpetually overcast region grow crops in large greenhouses. His resulting wealth led to purchase of the land and initial construction of the mansion, which had since been expanded by Gaius’ father.
And when it comes to the preschool and Joey/ Brendan, they only seem to be introduced so that he could kill them off and take their Pokemon later, which is kind of a bummer. For this one I’d actually go the other direction, and have them be an ongoing (but smaller) presence in the story – perhaps he gets the occasional letter or message from them, which can be used to show how far from them he has drifted. And then their loss hurts him in the abstract when they go ‘missing’ because he doesn’t realize it was his own doing.
Overall it doesn’t seem to have a clear throughline and tends to wander about, giving us lots of ancillary detail we don’t need and don’t support the story.

Setting: Basic
Characters from the anime make appearances (and maybe the manga but I’ve not read those) and canon locations are mentioned, but we don’t really get to see them. Individual elements of a scene (e.g. the oak tree he dozes under in a field) are described, but the rest of the world feels a little blank outside of those immediate locales. To push this higher, start working in more ‘lay of the land’ type things – the tree was one of a few in a Miltank grazing pen, in turn surrounded by forest, for example.

Dialogue: Intermediate
You have plenty of dialogue, though some of it comes across as unnatural or out of place. Some of that – namely the possession scenes – are probably intentional, and it adds to the sense that something isn’t right. However, the dialogue with Grimsly and with the Pokemart clerk seem a bit forced, it felt that they were only saying those things so that Gaius can respond a certain way.
Here also I’ll mention the disconnect between how Gaius thinks and how he speaks. In his thoughts he seems pretty moderate and even-tempered, but then his dialogue is significantly more aggressive and imperious than we have the sense of. Kind of like you’re doing in your Park posts, having his thoughts be about the weaklings around him would add more authenticity to his powerful, entitled jerk persona.

Verdict: Medium, $15,000 in cash and to legend tracker
Staff, head grader, events & game design, judge, ranger. My stats (always a work in progress!)
Park: Evan Morphic: Aaren Cassandra
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#3
Grade on chapter 7:

Diction and Presentation: Intermediate
Shows clear improvement over chapter 1 in most areas – it’s hard to polish old stories without a complete rewrite, but this definitely showcases your improvement over time and practice. The story flow seems to bog down a little in battles, as the various attacks are called, then used, then described; having some of the Pokemon act on their own initiative, or even lampshading it with a move combination the trainer and Pokemon have practiced, can help make it feel less ‘scripted’.

Grammar and Style: Intermediate
No significant grammatical issues, and again shows notable polish over the first chapter. No viewpoint slips that I noticed in this chapter. I’d like to work with you on how you’re constructing your sentences/ paragraphs/ scenes to make sure they are conveying what you want them to.

Pokemon Integration: Intermediate
Pokemon typing and abilities factor pretty solidly in battle, though other than Growlithe and Gengar chasing down the trail they don’t come up outside of the fights. Though worth noting, if the villains escaped in a hot air balloon, it seems odd that his Growlithe could track them – most real-life police dogs wouldn’t do any better, even if they were accustomed to smoke and fire.

Character and Plot Unity: Intermediate
You’ve brought Gaius’ inner thoughts more in line with his outer actions (which also seem to have toned down slightly). He speaks like he thinks more consistently, and has a goal introduced at the beginning that he gets closure on by the end.

Setting: Intermediate
Team Rocket makes their debut here, the spark for this chapter seems to have been lifted straight from the canon media but your protagonist isn’t just following in Ash’s footsteps. There’s a couple of places where it’s harder to suspend disbelief – if the Pokemon center was just attacked, with a gaping hole in the roof and plumes of smoke still coming out, it seems very unlikely that the police would allow a trainer in to have their Pokemon restored before they’ve even finished securing the scene. This would have been a great opportunity to raise the tension – his Pokemon are tired and injured, not fighting at their best, so when Team Rocket attacks him with their full strength mons, can his weary friends still carry the day?

Dialogue: Intermediate
Speech between the characters conveys not only the character’s immediate aims, but also hints towards their personalities and situation. Some of this is aided by using speech tags and mannerisms from the anime – I heard the Kanto-arc voices in my head when reading your lines, which is good that they were recognizable but may not be as effective for someone not as familiar with the show. I’d like to workshop with you on character building and this is also something that feeds from that.

Verdict: Just edges into Hard, so you get your Koffing and $10k (25,000 to legend tracker). Enjoy!
Staff, head grader, events & game design, judge, ranger. My stats (always a work in progress!)
Park: Evan Morphic: Aaren Cassandra
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