A Fourney Jic

Once upon a time, there was a boy named David who quite fancied himself as a Pokemon fanfic author. Unfortunately, the only fics he knew how to write were the same old rehashes of the Pokemon journey theme. But he didn't let that stop him; in fact, he was convinced that his stories were the best in the world. So, one day, he sat down at his computer and, in about fifteen minutes, dashed off the following:

One day a trainer called Tom was going to get his first Pokemon. He had been looking forward to this day for weeks, but he'd overslept and, by the time he got to Professor Thorne's lab in Yellow Town, all the Pokemon were gone except one. It was a . . .

David paused at this point to flip through his game guide for ideas. Then, he continued:

. . . Sandshrew. But Tom thought it was a start at least. So he left Yellow Town and set off on the road to Purple City. Along the way, he caught lots of Pokemon. He caught a Pikachu, a Weedle, an Eevee, a male Nidoran, a Sentret, a Teddiursa, an Elekid and so on. He also had battles with lots of trainers and beat them all.

Finally, Tom reached Purple City and went to challenge the Gym Leader. Her name was Cassie and she had a Marill and a Horsea. Sandshrew beat Cassie's Pokemon easily, though Tom did have to use a Potion once. Then, Sandshrew evolved into Sandslash and Cassie gave Tom a Pretty Badge.

Tom moved on to Brown City, where he would challenge the next Gym Leader. But he hadn't gone far before . . .

David knew exactly what was going to happen next; his fics never varied:

. . . two Team Rocket members appeared and chanted their motto.

"Prepare for trouble!" said the female.

"Make it double!" added the male.

"To protect the world from devastation."

"To unite all peoples within our nation."

"To denounce the evils of truth and love."

"To extend our reach to the stars above."



"Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light!"

"Surrender now or prepare to fight!"

David paused at this point to read what he had written so far. He liked it; Kelly and Ned (named after a famous Australian outlaw) sounded cool and an encounter with Team Rocket was the perfect cliffhanger. He saved his story, then got on the Pokemon fanfic site he had found not long ago, and whose rules he hadn't had time to read yet, and signed in. His screen-name reflected his ego: Mr Talented.

David uploaded the story he had just been working on and sat back to wait for the accolades to flood in.

When David next got on the site, he saw that his story, which he'd titled "Tom And His Pokemon Journey", had received fifteen reviews. Scarcely able to contain his excitement, he clicked on the link. Then, his face fell. Instead of praise, all he had received was criticism and comments which, to him, seemed to say: "Ha ha! I can write a story and you can't!"

I suggest you stop writing this and try something more original.

advised Electric Soldier Porygon.

Too short - and the less said about the plot, the better.

was Master of Fire's contribution.

I don't think Tom's Sandshrew would have evolved so quickly and it would have been weak against Marill and Horsea.

commented Magideen.

Work on adding a bit more detail.

Sensational Sister Sophie told him.

David didn't bother to read all his reviews, but he read enough to know that no-one liked his story. And after all the hard work he'd put in. He decided to teach the offending authors a lesson and left the following "review" on all their stories:

Hi! It's Mr Talented here to say . . . your story sucks and so do you! You don't run this site so you can't tell me what to write and what not to write! I'm gonna report you and I think you are a STUPID PIECE OF CRAP! So screw you! And screw your crummy story! They don't call me Mr Talented for nothing you know!

In another city, a girl named Katie was online. She was a moderator at the site on which David had posted his story - her screen-name was Pidgeot - and, if there was one thing she couldn't stand, it was arrogant jerks who thought they were above the rules of the site. Having found her Private Message inbox filled with complaints about David's little rant, she set to work painstakingly deleting the offending "review" from the affected stories, before going to "Tom And His Pokemon Journey" and clicking on the Comments button. In clear, concise language, she began to make it clear exactly how stories like David's were regarded:

I agree with all the previous comments and also wish to point out that there is a rule here which says any chapter less than one printed page long is Spam, unless it is clearly marked as a drabble or vignette. Therefore, I strongly urge you to stop posting this story and try writing something a little more original next time.

David, however, took it as a personal attack on his writing. "I'll show you, Pidgeot!" he muttered as he found the story she was currently working on, a horror story called "The Tale Of Gengar", and sent her the following "review":


True to his word, he began to type the second chapter of his story:

Tom easily beat Ned and Kelly, but they said they'd be back. They wanted to steal his Sandslash.

But Tom made a friend. He met a girl called Anne who was also on a Pokemon journey and they decided to travel together. Anne's Pokemon were Dratini, Corsola and Ivysaur and she was very pretty. They reached Brown City and Tom went to fight the Gym Leader. Anne didn't because she already had this Gym Leader's Badge. The Brown City Gym Leader was called Mike and he had a Fearow.

"Sandslash, Sand Attack!" yelled Tom.

This Attack lowered Fearow's accuracy by one point.

"Fearow, Drill Peck!" yelled Mike.

It was a critical hit, but Tom knew exactly what to do. He quickly gave Sandslash a Potion and Sandslash was soon ready to continue the battle.

David decided to leave it there for today. Having saved what he had written, he got on the site and uploaded the chapter into the realms of cyberspace.

Needless to say, this chapter also got bashed. Katie/Pidgeot left a long review, in which she let David know how angry she was that he had continued writing his story when he knew she'd told him not to:

Why didn't you take my advice and try a different plotline? This is even shorter than the previous chapter and lacks any kind of detail. What's more, you posted this even though I'd clearly told you I didn't want the story in question to continue.

Is it just me, or are you trying to push it as far as you can? Because, if you continue to post this story and keep flaming people who are only trying to steer you away from such cliched plotlines, I will recommend you for a ban.

Just look around this site and you'll see which stories people consider to be well-written. And are any of those stories like this? No!

In future, I suggest you think before starting a story. Don't just dash something off in a few minutes. And steer clear of plotlines which have, to put it bluntly, been done to death.

Annoyed by know-it-alls who won't listen to advice

But David stubbornly began to write the third chapter, convinced that all the flak he'd received was just teething troubles and it would be all right once the story really got going. However, he hadn't banked on developing a severe case of writer's block:

Tom and Anne . . .

David stared at his computer screen, struggling to come up with ideas for the next stage of Tom and Anne's Pokemon journey. Then, all of a sudden, he found himself being mysteriously sucked into another dimension . . .

David found himself in a barren grey landscape. Two children, a boy and a girl, stood nearby - or at least David assumed they were a boy and a girl because all he could see of them was a couple of blank silhouettes. "Hi," he said, thinking he'd better at least try to strike up a conversation with them. "Who are you guys?"

"I'm Tom," said the boy.

"And I'm Anne," added the girl.

"My name's David," David told them.

"We know! You created us, remember?" retorted Anne.

"But why can't I see what you look like?"

Anne snorted impatiently. "Because we're imaginary characters and we only take on an appearance when someone creates us. But you couldn't be bothered to say what we look like!"

David thought longer and harder than he had ever done in his life, struggling to come up with descriptions for his two characters. "OK," he said at last. "Tom, you've got red hair and you're wearing a black t-shirt with a Poke Ball on it and navy blue trousers. Anne, you've got blonde pigtails and you're wearing a red dress. And we're in a . . . forest."

As if by magic, Tom and Anne began to materialise, taking on the appearances David had invented for them. Tom emerged with a shock of red hair, dressed in a black t-shirt with a Poke Ball logo on the front and blue denim trousers. Anne wore a red summer dress and had matching ribbons in her blonde hair.

"What now?" asked David when his two characters had materialised fully and he found himself standing in a shady forest complete with a Pidgey perched in a nearby tree.

"How should I know?" retorted Tom. "We're just characters, remember? You're supposed to tell us what to do!"

"B - but I don't know what's gonna happen next!" David said desperately.

"That's your problem!" said Anne, speaking with an air of contempt. "You should have thought before starting to write such a lame story. Come on, Tom - we're out of here! Let's go find an author who'll treat us with a bit more respect."

"No! Wait!" David yelled. But it was too late. Tom and Anne were out of earshot and he was stranded in his own shoddily written fanfic.

Moral: Don't just dash off stories without thinking them through and don't skimp on describing your characters and locations. Most importantly, learn the difference between constructive criticism and a flame.