Reviews for Map of the Problematique
Soundwave777 chapter 2 . 7/19/2019
Why are all the stories on here so old? xD
Please continue this!
WiseAbsol chapter 2 . 4/15/2015
Hello again, Winter Foxx! A second chapter already? That seems so fast to me, but oh is it also exciting!

Ohhh, you took my advice about the chapter heading. It looks so much cleaner now! There's also a poem! I don't think it's snowy in this chapter, but the rest of the lines work well. Since Mewtwo is generally believed to have stayed in Team Rocket for a year (though this is never explicitly stated), I'm sure we'll hit winter eventually. I think /technically/ that year is supposed to start in February, since that is when Mewtwo's birthday is in the games (though in that version he was actually born), but then the voiceover/journal from Doctor Fuji says that they find the fossil in August and it presumably takes them X years to make Mewtwo...

God, canon is unclear. Doesn't it know there will be fangirls who finagle over the fine details? You know what, all of the scenes with Mewtwo in Team Rocket look like they take place during the summer, so that's the season I've always gone with. Do what seems best for your story.

Also is the title of this story in reference to the song of the same name by Muse? I'm guessing it is, since the song seems pretty in-theme with this story.

So on to the first scene in this story. Before I get to my thoughts on it, here are Kitty's:

"I liked the overall "bonding" aspect, and showing that her relations with her family are still somewhat strained, if this is set in the anime-verse. I think it's just that some of the details could be fleshed out a bit more, maybe a little bit more imagery. " - Kitty.

Now I was just going to gush about this scene, but since she said that, I concur. I adore this scene because it gives us a glimpse into what Sabrina's home life was like before she left, showing us what drove her to do so. It's a great example of you showing, not telling (I personally hope we get more glimpses like this. I hope we get to overhear what her parents are saying or thinking about her sometime. Maybe Mewtwo can see something, too, and realize that even the people born, not made, can feel as if they don't belong - and sometimes aren't wanted, either. Mewtwo can honestly never say he wasn't wanted, even if that "want" wasn't for his sake, but for what he represented).

Anyway, I'm assuming you've already gone through the "too much description" writing phase, which everyone usually goes through after their "whut r words" phase. So I'm guessing you're at the point where you're cutting back on descriptions to keep your pacing brisk. Fortunately, you're balancing it pretty well, not going too far in the bare bones direction - I've seen writers get too lean and suddenly I'm reading mostly dialogue and wondering where in the world I am in the story. But Kitty's right - you can totally afford to add some more details in here without hurting your pacing.

As I'm re-reading this, I am noticing a lot of little errors, mostly tense-wise. The last chapter and most of this one are written in past tense, but on occasion it slips into present tense here. I also have a couple of quick questions. First, Sabrina says she is visiting her parent's house, which has presumably been repaired/rebuilt (that or they moved into a new one). So where is Sabrina living, exactly? Does she have living quarters at the gym? I've always assumed so, but it's unclear here. I thought at first she was visiting her old room, because of the bed, but apparently it's a den, which...I guess there can be a bed in the den, but usually I think of dens as having couches?

Oh god, this is already so long and I'm only a few paragraphs in. In any case, I like that Sabrina is getting a headache from so many people being in close proximity to her. That is a nice touch and shows that having psychic powers has its drawbacks.

The part where she's describing the fighting gets a bit redundant at points. I'm also assuming that Sabrina can't tell what Giovanni's exact thoughts are due to his mental shields, but that she is skilled/observant enough to get impressions of his personality and reactions nonetheless. This would explain why Mewtwo doesn't realize Giovanni is just using him and thinks he's sub-human until Giovanni explicitly says it (which is something I've never thought about, so kudos). The reason I'm noting this is because that paragraph flip-flops between "she can/can't" get a read on Giovanni, when I'm sure you mean she's somewhere in between those extremes.

There's a lot of nitpicking I could do here, which leads me to think this chapter was written and released at a faster pace than the previous one, since that one was cleaner. I don't want to complain, because I'm ecstatic to see a new chapter, but this does make me want to get my grubby editing hands all over it.

Okay, so some quick notes. Sabrina swears twice in this chapter. This seems odd for someone who speaks so formally. Perhaps "What in the world?!" would work better. She also notices that Mewtwo's voice is masculine, but keeps calling Mewtwo an "it." She should probably switch over to male pronouns. I also like the details you put into the effects Sabrina's lack of control over her powers/emotions has over her environment, such as the glass over the fire extinguisher cracking. I can see and hear that very clearly in my mind.

Okay, wait. So Sabrina teleports back to that off-location facility, where she says she lives. Didn't she say she lived in an underground facility? Are they part of the same structure? Also, since Mewtwo is revealed to be being kept here, how did she not notice or sense him being moved in or his presence over the last few weeks (I'm assuming it's been some time since his arrival because the crowds know to expect a mysterious pokemon in the arena). Since it's suggested that Mewtwo is messing with her powers right now, maybe have her end up somewhere she didn't mean to go and be confused by it? I'm just unclear where all of these locations are and who lives where at this point.

I'm sure Sabrina has felt sorrow before, so perhaps just say that the emotions she's feeling right now are not her own and unwelcome. That's unsettling enough. Hmm, you could also say that Sabrina knows Giovanni's schedule and thus knows where he's supposed to be, instead of sensing his and his team's arrival. She doesn't seem to have been focused enough to have picked up on that and you would have needed to mention it during the psychic feedback attack for it to work.

How does Mewtwo know her name? Did he ask Giovanni? Did he pick it up from probing her mind? Mewtwo, that's super creepy, especially because you're "sweetly" calling her name. You don't know her. This is like psychic street harassment. Stop it.

Though if you want it to be even creepier, Winter Foxx, you should so edit this to include dialogue of her name being called. Actually, now that I'm absorbing the details of this scene, this is outright scary. I mean that as a compliment. I'd be freaking out if I were her.

I will note that at one point, though, after she asks, "Why are you here?" the chapter switches over to his perspective, which is out of sync from the rest of the chapter. The rest of it is told from her point of view. It does this again after her next question. It would probably be best not to tell us his thoughts about this conversation until his next point of view section. That would keep things consistent and make this scene even scarier.

...Mewtwo, /how do you know where her rooms are/? Also, why do you consider psychic powers a defect? I assume this will be explained later.

As a final note, I'm not sure "hate" is the right word for what Mewtwo is feeling. I don't know if Mewtwo hates anyone or anything right now (he certainly will after Giovanni shows his true colors), besides the fact that he doesn't know what his purpose is. He is certainly angry and confused and /hostile/, though. How is she supposed to help someone who feels that way and might turn down her help if she offers it? How is she supposed to help someone who is lashing out at her and isn't treating her well (using scare tactics and teleporting her against her will, for instance)? How is she supposed to help someone who could potentially turn violent if she says or does the wrong thing? These worries work just as well as worrying about helping someone full of hate, but ring truer to the Mewtwo you've described here, I think.

Anyway, I've reached the end of the chapter and I think this review has gotten long enough. I hope my commentary continues to be helpful! I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

Sincerely,
WiseAbsol
WiseAbsol chapter 1 . 4/12/2015
Good afternoon, Winter Foxx. Since I am absolute sucker for Mewtwo and Sabrina and you asked for feedback, I'm going to try to give a detailed response to your introduction here. My overall impressions of it are favorable - you have a good grasp on technical writing and have captured the characters voices well - so I'll mostly use this space to make suggestions on what you could do to make it this chapter even stronger.

First, as a general note, it looks better if the author's notes for a story are below the chapter, rather than starting it off. Not only does that look a bit amateurish (I've been here for an embarrassing amount of time, so that's a warning sign I've learned to pick up on), but it prevents the readers from diving right into the story. Whatever the author has to say comes second to the story. I'd advise only keeping the disclaimer and potential content warnings above your chapter heading, since we're obligated to have the former and the latter lets the readers know about what they'll be getting into.

You also don't need to bother with a full summary. Your one line summary was enough to hook me. Plus, part of the joy of reading a fic is the mystery of what's going to happen next. On that note, since this is an alternate universe story, I'd strongly suggest letting your story run free from canon! I'm looking forward to seeing how Mewtwo meeting Sabrina could change things and what might stay the same! I don't want to know that Mewtwo is still going to try to take over the world. I'd like to wonder if it might be prevented here or if his reasons, thanks to Sabrina, would be different this time. Don't be afraid to keep those things close to the vest!

In any case, while the first half of this chapter shows that you have a good grasp on the English canon (the Japanese is veeeeeeeery different), I'm not sure you need to retread that ground. Obviously your divergence point happens after Mewtwo joins Team Rocket, so anything before then will be things we're familiar with. I found going through Mewtwo's section rather hard for that reason. I know that material by heart, so I wanted to get to what I hadn't seen. My interest, as such, increased significantly when Sabrina entered the story.

In short, when you have things being the same like that, gloss over what you can. Try to repackage it. That way your readers won't potentially get bored and dismiss your story, which this fic doesn't deserve. Though on that note, try not to be daunted by the lack of reviews, followers, and favorites. I've been writing Mewtwo for years and had a large following, but in recent years interest in him seems to have gone down. I don't get that many reviews anymore, so I'm not shocked you haven't. Hopefully my long one will help make up for that. I'll see if I can get some of my old friends to take a look at this too.

Anyway, back to your story. You might want to use the FFN supported page breaks instead of the letters. It looks cleaner. Also just...as a small nitpick...avoid "orbs" when describing eyes at all costs. It's a fanfic term and will mark you as a beginner. I'm not even sure you need to describe Mewtwo's eyes yet, actually. You have two narrators, so you could have them describe their impressions of each other when they meet instead. It will help you avoid the cliche of having them look into a mirror and describing what they see, for one thing.

Also, I find it interesting that Mewtwo destroyed the laboratory to prevent other experiments from taking place. That isn't actually something I've seen before, so kudos! Other than that, I don't have much to say about this section.

Now on to Sabrina's. So here is the flip side of glossing over details: what led Sabrina to joining Team Rocket would have been all new material. I would have loved to see her goodbye to her parents, her failed attempts to connect with others (though I'm not sure I would say that /everyone/ rejected her, since she did have students at her gym), and Giovanni approaching her with his offer. Especially because your Giovanni, complete with hiding himself in the shadows for dramatic effect, is spot on. I will say I do imagine him addressing her a bit more formally - with her last name instead - so you might want to pick one for her. It will add another touch of realism to this. Sabrina, for the record, also seems to be in character.

And it seems I have, sadly, reached the end of the first chapter. I am really looking forward for more, so I hope you continue this sometime. I also hope that my suggestions will be helpful to you. Thanks for the read!

Best of wishes,
WiseAbsol