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  1. #1
    some day, my dream will find me Super Moderator Mistral's Avatar
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    Default Companionship

    (Trigger warning: there's some bullying in this.)

    The first day of school was always nerve wracking. Students roamed through the halls of Nimbasa Middle School, chatting away with their friends as they searched for their classes. Those were just the older students though, the seventh and eighth graders who knew their way around the school already for the most part.

    For someone like Calliope, the first day of school was even more nerve wracking than it already was. It wasn't just the first day of school for her and many of her new classmates. It was her first day at a brand new school where she knew no one. The fact that it was her first day of middle school made it even worse.

    Calliope heard all of the horror stories about middle school from her classmates in Lentimas Town. They were just stories from her classmates' brothers and sisters though. They weren't reality. They were just something to scare the rising sixth grade class. Besides, even if something happened, Calliope had her friends. Classes were small in Lentimas Town because there were so few people living there, so the students were able to bond with each other easily and the older students only liked to tell the younger ones horror stories because they thought it was funny to see their younger peers terrified of what could come. It was a little bit of preparation of what could’ve happened if they lived in a big city where there were more students.

    Two weeks before the new school year started, Calliope was ripped away from the people who accepted her the most. Her father got his dream job as a referee at the Nimbasa Stadiums. He had been studying about the sports the stadium hosted for as long as Calliope could remember, and he finally passed his test to become a referee just as Callie graduated from fifth grade. The whole family was excited. His new job was a significant improvement from PokeMart employee, and the new job meant more money would be coming into their home. For the family as a whole, it was great. For Callie, it meant being taken away from the people she'd grown up with.

    She timidly walked into a classroom that had posters of Japanese kanji and sayings plastered on the walls. A teacher's desk sat in the corner, and it was neat considering it was the first day of school. Name tags were on each of the desks, and Calliope found the one that had her name on it. She took a seat and waited for her classmates to show up. The teacher, a black haired man, came into the room after her, smilied at Calliope, and went to his desk.

    A warning bell rang five minutes before classes were scheduled to start. It was at this time that students started to pour into the classroom. A blonde girl named Kara, according to her desk's name tag, sat to Callie's right, and another blonde girl named Lacie sat to Callie's left. There was a brunette boy that sat behind her, though she look at his name tag. Another bell rang as the last students rushed into the room. The teacher closed the door and made his way to the front of the room, handing a student sitting at the front a stack of papers as he passed by her. The student took one and passed the stack back.

    Callie jumped when she felt something whack her. A few students nearby giggled as she turned to take the stack of papers from the boy behind her. She gave him an apologetic smile as she took them. Perhaps he had been trying for a moment to get her attention and she hadn't noticed. She had been listening to the teacher talk because she was trying to absorb everything anyways. This new environment was so foreign to her, and she just had to absorb everything to learn about it. Nimbasa City was nothing like Lentimas Town, and though she had been here for two weeks now, Callie had yet to learn everything that the city had to offer.

    Much of her first day at Nimbasa Middle had been spent getting to know her classmates and going over syllabi. It was a completely different environment from school in Lentimas Town, that was for sure. Everyone knew each other in Lentimas Town, but here, it seemed as if people didn't really know each other that well.

    There was one thing Calliope learned on her first day of school though, besides the ins and outs of a middle school: Nimbasa City and Lentimas Town were two drastically different places. Yes, they had their literal differences in that one was a city and the other was a town, so the populations of the two places were drastically different. The way people acted here was what caught her attention. People were so rude towards her. In the morning, she'd been hit with the stack of syllabi from her male classmate in Japanese I. By lunch, everyone had formed their cliques, and Callie was left out.

    The way her classmates dressed was different too. Many of her classmates had adopted a preppy or jock style. Others had a bit of a different style, but they were still accepted by the others. Callie was the odd one out; she had adopted a scene girl style over the summer in between fifth and sixth grade, like her closest friends had done. Her parents weren't very fond of it, but they knew it was a phase that Callie would eventually grow out of, or so they hoped. Nevertheless, she was the only girl who had adopted the scene style, and she felt as if she was being shunned for it.

    There were preppy girls and jocks in Lentimas Town too, but everyone accepted each other, regardless of fashion choices. That was probably because it was such a small town, and the children of the town couldn’t really run to any other group of people if their friends rejected them. Here, if someone rejected you, you could just go to a different group of friends, no questions asked.

    Except Callie couldn’t do that. She was the only girl that dressed the way she did in Nimbasa City. There was no one for her to run to. Everyone rejected her.

    As a result, her time in school was awful. She had no friends. Her classmates had Pokemon, and she didn’t. Callie didn’t really mind not having a Pokemon. Her family never had a whole lot of money, but they tried to give their daughter everything she ever wanted. Since Callie never really expressed an interest in getting a Pokemon, her parents just never got one. The people in her classes merely tolerated her until they could get away from “the freak,” as they had dubbed her by the end of their first week of classes.

    What made her a freak was beyond her. It wasn’t like she practiced witchcraft or anything. Callie was a pretty typical girl, actually. Her only noteworthy hobby was that she drew. As a child, she would draw pottery, and her mother would bring it to life and sell it. The pair worked together quite well, actually, and buyers loved her mother’s work. Her mother still kept up with the business even after the family moved to Nimbasa City, though Callie didn’t have much time to draw anymore since entering middle school and dealing with the struggles that came with it.

    Her twelfth birthday rolled around, and it was relatively uneventful. Her friends back home couldn’t make it for the party, despite being held on a Saturday to allow for family to attend, because they had no way to get there, so it was a family affair. Callie didn’t even bother trying to get her classmates to attend. She didn’t want to make the party a disaster, and she doubted that they would even bother to look at the invitation she gave them anyways.

    “Here, Callie,” her aunt said, handing her a black box wrapped in white ribbon. “I got you a present.”

    “Aunt Martha, you didn’t have to,” Callie replied. “I told everyone they didn’t have to get me anything.”

    “Yes, well,” Aunt Martha said, waving her hand dismissively. “Your father mentioned that you were having a rough time adjusting to life here in Nimbasa City. I thought a present might cheer you up.”

    Callie smiled as she took the white ribbon off of the box. She was able to open the box with ease; Aunt Martha was never very good with wrapping presents. Inside of the box was a red and white capsule.

    “Aunt Martha,” Callie breathed. “You got me a Pokemon?”

    Her aunt nodded as Callie took the Poke Ball out of the box. “See what’s inside.”

    Callie set the box aside on a nearby table, but she hesitated before letting the Pokemon out of the ball. How was she supposed to release the Pokemon? She learned in school that you were supposed to say something along the lines of “Go!” and whatever the Pokemon’s species was. Unfortunately, in this case, she didn’t know what the species was.

    “Come on out… er, whatever you are!” she said, holding the ball out in front of her. The ball opened and once the white light faded, a small Pokemon stood before her. A pair of bright blue eyes looked up at Callie. “A Gothita.”

    The small Pokemon nodded. She hobbled over to Callie and reached her small black arms up to her new trainer. Callie picked her up, and they embraced. “I’ll name you Kala. Do you like that?”

    “Gothita!” the Pokemon replied, earning a chuckle from Aunt Martha.

    “Awesome!” Callie replied as the two broke away from their embrace. She put the Pokemon down before jumping up to hug her aunt. “Thank you so much!”

    Life after getting Kala seemed to improve. Children were able to bring their Pokemon to school at Nimbasa Middle, though Pokemon battles weren’t allowed unless they were supervised by staff. Showing their Pokemon off was okay though, but the Pokemon had to be in their balls during class.

    Whenever Callie wasn’t in class, Kala was by her side. The little Psychic type was her only friend in the school. While having Kala helped a little bit, she still didn’t bring any positive attention to Callie. The bullies still struck. Besides Kala, she was still alone.

    Still, with Kala by her side, she felt a little safer. Some bullies still came for her, but others were a little afraid of the Gothita. Callie continued to take the bullying from her peers though, and with each bit of bullying, she wished she was back in Lentimas Town with her friends, with the people that didn’t actually bully her and treated her like she was a human being.

    It was nearly the end of the school year, and Callie was a little excited to get away from her bullies for the summer. She was excited to be able to go home and spend time with her old friends and hear their stories of middle school (which were sure to be better than hers), to get away from this dreaded city she had to call home.

    “Hey!” a boy called out to her as they were exiting the school. Callie didn’t turn, and neither did Kala. The boy caught up to her and forced her to turn. “Hey! I’m talking to you! Don’t ignore me!”

    “I don’t want to talk,” Callie replied softly.

    “What?” the boy asked. Students were starting to surround them. Callie dropped her gaze to the floor, and she could see Kala by her side. “I didn’t hear you.”

    “I don’t want to talk,” she said. The boy shoved her. Another boy pushed her again. Two more boys joined in, and Callie was pushed around until she tripped over her own two feet and fell down next to Kala.

    “I hope you don’t come back next year,” one boy said.

    “Yeah, no one here likes you anyways,” another said.

    She started to drown out the rude comments after the second. They just kept coming, and by this point in the school year, she was so used to it that she’d learned to start ignoring them. Kala had hobbled over to her, and the little Pokemon was nudging her trainer. Callie looked up, and there was a fire in Kala’s eyes that she’d never seen before.

    “Let’s fight,” Kala said. Callie blinked. Kala had never spoken to her telepathically until now. She always used her Pokemon language to speak.

    “I don’t want to,” Callie said softly. Over the course of the past several months since Kala had come in her life, Callie felt a little safer in the school, but she didn’t feel safe enough to walk around without Kala unless the school rules forbade it. She felt the strength to walk away from her bullies instead of standing there and letting them take out all of their frustrations in life out on her. Now here she was, back to the same helpless girl that she was at the beginning of the year before Aunt Martha even gave her Kala.

    “Stand up to them. You were doing so well just walking away from them, so let’s just fight them and show them they can’t mess with us anymore,” Kala said. Callie shook her head. “Fine. If you won’t fight, then I will.”

    Kala stepped up and released a ball of psychic energy from her hands, knocking one of the boys back into the crowd. She struck another boy, knocking him into the lockers. By this point, the other two were advancing on Kala, and one had even picked her up and held her upside down by her feet.

    “Stupid little Pokemon,” the boy holding Kala said. “I guess your trainer didn’t teach you to stay out of fights that don’t involve you.”

    “Ita,” Kala whined. She shut her eyes, fearing what these boys were going to do to her.

    “And look at this,” the other boy said. “This stupid girl’s not even stepping up to defend her precious Gothita.”

    Callie looked up, and tears welled up in her eyes. They had her best friend, and all she was doing was sitting on the ground. She wasn’t doing a thing to help Kala. She watched as the students started to clear a path for the two boys, and Kala’s whines got louder with each passing second.

    She brought herself to her feet. She ran towards one of the boys, tackling him to the ground. The other boy, the one holding Kala, turned. Callie jumped on him too, knocking him to the ground. Kala was freed from his grasp.

    She picked up her Pokemon, stumbling away from the two boys she’d knocked over in an attempt to get to Kala. Callie wasn’t sure what came over her. She just did it. Teachers were rushing down the hall at this point. She ran. The scene of the crime was not where she wanted to be right now.

    Callie was called back into the school later that day. Kala was in her Poke Ball, shaken from the events just a couple hours ago.

    “Hello, Calliope,” the principal said. Callie gave a small smile. “You must be wondering why I’ve called you here, yes?”

    “Because I knocked over those two boys after they took my Gothita,” she replied. “I’m sorry.”

    “I don’t think you need to apologize to me, I think you need to apologize to those boys, but I’ll understand why if you don’t. They told me they’ve been tormenting you all year,” the principal said. “I’ve told them they’ll be here at the school all summer, scraping the gum from underneath all of the desks and helping make sure this school is spotless when everyone comes back in the fall.”

    “And you want me to help them,” Callie said.

    “No,” the principal replied. “I’m going to let you off with a warning this time. I daresay you’ve been tormented enough this school year that punishment wouldn’t be fair, but if it happens again, know that I won’t let you off the hook.”

    Callie nodded. “I understand.”

    “I wanted you to know that over the summer, my staff and I will be participating in some anti-bullying training to prevent any future incidents like yours from happening again,” the principal said. Callie nodded again. “Is your Gothita alright?”

    “She’s fine, she’s just shaken up from everything that happened,” Callie replied. She grabbed the Poke Ball from her bag and let the Gothita out. Her little body was tense as she came out of the ball, but after looking around and seeing no sign of the boys from earlier, she relaxed, though she still clung to Callie.

    The principal smiled. “Seems a little scared, and understandably so. I think she’ll come around. You can go now if you’d like. I’ll see you next year.”

    Callie nodded, picking Kala up as she stood up. “Thank you.”

    The principal nodded, and Callie stepped out of the office. When they were outside of the school, Callie set Kala back down on the ground, and they walked back home together. She felt a little more relieved now that she knew the principal had dealt with those boys, that the staff would be trained on bullying. Callie went home with a new hope that maybe, just maybe, she’d come back to school in the fall and all would be well, that no one would torment her as they’d done this year.

    Pokemon: Gothita {Medium, 10-20k}
    Character Count: 16112
    Author's Note: Been sitting on this story for a while too and decided to finally finish it. I can't even remember when I started it, but it's done now and that's all that matters.


  2. #2
    ♥Fiction♥ URPG StaffAdministrator Smiles's Avatar
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    claim ^^

    ❤ MISTRAL IMMORTAL ❤

  3. #3
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    @Mistral;


    Introduction

    First, I hope you know that you do an excellent job of providing background narrative and context! It's hard not to be drawn into Callie's conflict with her father earning a new job, the struggle of moving schools and towns in a tender developmental time of life. You do this quite well in the fourth paragraph, as well as do a good job of continually spinning these background details. Throughout the text, we get a good understanding of what Lentimas Town was like, what it's like hanging with her mom, the suffocating loneliness Callie feels. This makes it easy for the audience to empathize with her and packs a smooth flow into the story. Wonderful job!

    My major piece of advice leaving this introduction is one that will resonate throughout this grade, which is that proofreading is a necessary evil. In the first two paragraphs of your story, we get the phrase "first day of school" five times. You've done a good job of eliminating typos and the small errors from this story, but at your higher level of writing, the fine-tuning proofreading comes with doing away with unnecessary phrases and repeated statements. For example, there's this line in the introduction:

    A teacher's desk sat in the corner, and it was neat considering it was the first day of school.
    Nothing's grammatically wrong here, but it makes you question: why? Shouldn't the teacher have a desk there? What impact does the first day of school have on his having a desk in the classroom? It's odd enough of a statement to make the reader stop and question what's happening here. You can do away with this by very carefully reading your story and prying away those unnecessary layers. It takes a lot more time to do than the usual proofreading, but I promise it will no doubt make the story much stronger and smoother.

    Story

    Time goes by and things don't get much better for our main character. The year ends with a face-off against bullies that swings a victory towards young Callie! At heart, this is a heart-warming reminder of what bullying does to not only victims of it but other kids, too. Quite a fine story!

    I have two suggestions here, the first of which is a refinement for our narrator. They do an amazing job of setting the background scene, as stated earlier, but I think this story would most benefit from the narrator taking a back seat. We often hear of things that have happened to Callie, but in the form of the past tense after the damage has been done. The narration style lessens the impact of what's happened to her and also creates room for confusion when our narrator constantly looks back and gives us the play-by-play summary instead of the heat of the moment. For example, take these scenes:

    People were so rude towards her.

    What made her a freak was beyond her.
    In the first case, we don't actually see how people are rude to her, and thus perhaps can't empathize with her as readers. We have the scene earlier of her missing the papers being passed back to her, but I didn't get the rudeness vibe of bullying, more so Callie just being oblivious to what was happening around her. Because I didn't really understand the first quoted line, I didn't get a good reading on the secondary line. We never quite see, from concrete events happening in the present, what makes Callie a freak. Is it because she doesn't have a Pokemon until later? Because she's the scene kid? Perhaps this was an underlying theme of your story - kids are bullied for whatever reason, at any time - but even with this unfortunate truth, I'd challenge you to show us these events. Because the narrator just tells us the consequences of events, rather than the events themselves, we miss the important character-development moments. We end up at this point:

    She felt the strength to walk away from her bullies instead of standing there and letting them take out all their frustrations in life out on her.
    See, this was my favorite line in the story! This is excellent character development from Callie's side, and I was so proud of her! But the problem is that we didn't see how this happened - the narrator summarized events until we got to this point, which didn't make it as epic as it could have been. By working to balance the "here and now" narrative storytelling with your excellent way of weaving in background context, you'll reach a new level of writing!

    My second suggestion for future stories is to clarify what themes you want to deliver to your audience. We're dealing with very powerful and important stuff here: loneliness, growing up, bullies, and more! However, a major theme that I saw your story outlining for the audience was: what should kids do about bullies? Callie's answer in the quoted above was so perfect. I loved it; and I was rooting for her! However, the story immediately changes tone the next second, because Gothita says, "ya know what Callie, that's nice of you and all, BUT WE'RE GONNA FIGHT THEM ANYWAY." Callie agrees after a harrowing moment, and it so heavily negated Callie's maturity and perspective for the bullying situation that the story felt like it defeated itself.

    To handle themes, I'd suggest employing your own best narrative devices further - in your case, you do a really good job of letting us into your character's worlds, as well as creating background contexts. Interweave lessons and reminders when you begin writing both of these aspects out. For this story specifically, reflect about what Callie would have really wanted in the situation and how she could have grown by choosing a different path than fighting with her Pokemon; additionally, think about what in the past would have directed her towards such a path. Once you've fortified what themes you want to give us from the getgo, the story's direction will become potent and powerful.

    Description

    This is where you really shine in previous stories that I just didn't see here. Building descriptions about places, worlds, characters' inner narrative, everything from what they're eating to what they're wearing and thinking. I've read this story a couple of times, looked at some of your older stories and thought, "maybe she just wanted to write a medium rank for the Pokemon and then get out" which may be true. However, every single story is a growth opportunity. Everyone should write their current story like it's the best one they're ever gonna write, like it'll be the last one, because only then is this whole writing thing worth it.

    We just weren't getting description for this story. The most we get as a reference for side characters in the beginning is a group of adjectives for hair color. The most we get for Gothita is "small arms" "bright blue eyes" and we have nothing for Callie in the physical description department. This is really only disappointing because I've seen the previous beautiful descriptions you've written - yes, the sparse descriptions here barely met the medium rank, but they don't come close to your personal best.

    Experiment with how you can use your descriptions to both characterize and draw parallels. I'm assuming that Gothita is relevant to the story, and not just any mon can be replaced with it, because it does the whole "Gothita is a goth and Callie is a scene kid so they're oddballs together" type of deal. Explain to us what preps and jocks mean, using such sensory description that includes those thematics of bullying and of a social hierarchy in schools. Tell us a story through these descriptions.

    Your background details for Callie saved this section.

    Grammar

    Besides combing through your story for repetition as defined earlier, I think your writing would most benefit by also watching out for plot holes and minor inconsistencies. For example:

    They told me they've been tormenting you all year.

    Callie went home with a new hope that maybe, just maybe, she'd come back to school in the fall and all would be well, that no one would torment her as they'd done this year.
    Why?

    Actively ask this question while you're writing or brainstorming. You'll discover places that can be elaborated upon, scenes that deserve to be described in the present. For example, what moved the boys to get themselves in trouble by divulging that response to the principle? Why exactly would Callie feel better - because of the school's new anti-bullying program, or because she's discovered she can fight back literally? At your level of writing, getting more realistic by tuning into these finer details will completely transform the nuance of your work.

    Also, Callie was spelled as Calliope a bunch of times in this new phone who dis

    Outcome

    Gothita Captured! This heart-warming story about bullies and one's own individual power against that was empowering! I went more in-depth here because I really respect you as a writer and hope you can take something useful out of this. Please enjoy your new mon, and write more stories soon!

    ❤ MISTRAL IMMORTAL ❤

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