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Mindlack last won the day on May 26

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    Finding the “other side of despair”

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  1. Okay, that makes a little more sense, thanks for the precise sources. I mean, I do remember what Everland basically is, but I'm a little fuzzy on the details. Even now, after refreshing my memory, I'm not sure if Vanilla's status would have been enough to save her from the Underworld due to her albinism, or if already hints at something more. Of course, the chapter on Vanilla's parents is both interesting and tantalizing, but I suppose I haven't read it carefully enough to make a good enough guess. And I don't know how useful the little mentions along the story are useful for theorycrafting. Oh well. I'm not very good at guessing where stories go anyway. There's something called the "illusion of transparency", which basically states that what is a very obvious hint to a writer is far less clear-cut to a reader. So it's possible that these hints are not that easy to pick up on. But I'm confident that when you spell it out, I'll feel stupid for not piecing it together sooner. (and I've got plans to exploit it myself... )
  2. Rule One: Candy lies? Or the situation allows for both quotes to be true, which is very particular indeed... I can definitely understand why Vanilla, as a dweller of both worlds (and someone who narrowly avoided being abandoned in the Underworld), can be a very good leader for the Defiance. Still, I really need to re-read the Everland-related chapters, because I forgot a lot of it...
  3. This sounds a little bit awkward. Is Candy hiding something? (for both the character and the author, I think the answer is a resounding yes). I mean, can you really call it foreshadowing now? This is more "fore-spotlight-shining". Although I'm ashamed that I missed the first line for what it was. I think that was because it was literally true in all but the most insane situations (which, as Vanilla noticed, is exactly the case). Well, it's Hypno time, isn't it? And it's going to be really horrific, isn't it? (or it could awaken suppressed memories... which sounds just as frightening). And Jasmine, of course. Oh dear. I have a question about something earlier, while we're speaking of princesses: you said earlier on that there's a specific reason why ending Vanilla would end the Defiance for good, which (I guess) might be related to Vanilla's actual lineage. But revolutionary groups (especially of the downtrodden) hardly ever care for blue blood, don't they? They would just choose another leader with approximating charisma and/or guts (hopefully less vulnerable to Jasmine-instigated manipulation), no?
  4. I'm not judging, I'm very glad that you're reading! (damn, that makes three people to which this sentence could have applied) I have no plans to feature such a battle. It's probably one of the clumsiest things in the early story that I wrote. But I'm fancying Reborn City as a very good place for rumors to spread (let's say that this anecdote didn't happen to the guy who spoke about it), and there's a (non-immediate) reason why I added this. I'm sure that there are far more skilled ways to, er, fulfill the purpose of this remark (for reasons that should be apparent in a little while), except that I couldn't think of one. Gabriel isn't always very observant -- he doesn't really know how to do it usefully -- and he won't stand his ground unless he has a very good reason to. I needed something blatant to make him realize something was amiss. And even then, you'll note that the Meteors took the initiative, not him. ^^ I completely agree (although I don't quite remember what Victoria said). It's almost surprising that he made it this far. Can I self-congratulate too for writing these chapters so well that they didn't let you get distracted? Kudos (and thank you) for reading this much in one go, and I hope that you'll find the time and inclination to read on. @Evi Crystal I'll reply to you in spoilers, so that Candy does not unwittingly learn about half the plot points before they even get brought up.
  5. Chapter 57 - Psy Ops of The Odd One Out is now online!

    No one is safe. Everyone is playing Mind Games

  6. Good evening! I hope you're all doing well. It's been a little while, and I had expected to be able to make progress in the story in the past two weeks... But I haven't, much. Summer break is over, and I am now studying with a vengeance (and some impressively irregular hours). So instead I worried about the next fights in game (Serra, Sirius/Sigmund, Steelix, Abra, Noel), tried to plan for them and got the important details wrong -- but never mind. I'd like to say that the information I've given in my two previous posts isn't entirely canon. They're how I view things at first, but I haven't thought them fully through. But they look consistent enough. Valyrian -- these are some interesting remarks on food. That may explain why I'm always wary of eating around a US college, when I go there. Valyrian, regarding the contents of Part 1: well, in the stories I had seen, I had thought the devastation and the challenge level somewhat understated, with the PULSEs looking like early game bosses. But it didn't fit with my vision of the things -- they're literal bioweapons, engines of destruction wreaking havoc on huge areas. In my view, Gabriel isn't (at least at that point -- all bets are off for the late game) the golden hero that will always win effortlessly, so really the question was more: how could it not be a struggle of life or death? I'm glad I was able to convey all this. Anyway, we're moving on, with another very long chapter, with a title that may or may not be one of the most appropriate ones in the story. It has a lot of dialog that I'm not sure I got quite right, but I suppose that is part of an author's occupational hazards. Also, an offhand comment from about a year ago gets finally fully explained. Enjoy! Chapter 57: Psy Ops Character rates:
  7. Uh oh… Will affected people do something else than battle really well (how am I going to be able to beat them…)? Will the shadow drive them (temporarily) mad? Will they do umbral calculus?
  8. Thank you for reading and reviewing, @Valyrian_Reforged! To be honest, it was, sort of, one of the reasons why I reviewed your work: "if I don't read and review other people's work, why should my own be read?". But the question was asked abstractly, not in terms of an actual "quid pro quo" with an actual person. But this means that I will be your debtor for a while. Back on topic, I'm a little bit surprised you marked the end of chapter 23 (as opposed to the end of part 1, three chapters afterwards) as your first milestone. But breaks have to be taken, and if that felt the best place to stop for you, that's good to me. Thank you for your compliments. I think I wanted the entry to the school to feel a little different, and since Gabriel is a math guy, the idea was there for the taking. I think (but it's so long ago now) that I was worried about it being a little outlandish. Mosswater Factory was actually interesting to plan. The idea is that my protagonist is sheltered, and is quite conflict-averse. So how do you storm an enemy base in these conditions? And how would the grunts of a terrorist organization react? These were the kind of questions driving me. As for Taka... I have an idea for this character, so I won't go into too much detail (there's another battle with him coming next too). Rests between battles... I think this gets brought up later on, but not very often. I'm afraid that Gabriel isn't going to be an unstoppable force of nature... at least not yet. As for the little facts of life, I operate on story logic: most of them aren't that important or interesting, so they're mostly skipped, except perhaps at some rare times. If I remember correctly, there's a shower on chapter 27 (but he does try to shower every day). I think a toothbrush is mentioned in chapter 15, and you can assume that is used at least once a (usually dangerous) day. Clothes get brought up in chapter 15 too, if I remember well, and they sometimes get mentioned. But the story so far is pretty slow (in the current chapter [56], less than three weeks have happened since the train attack), so he won't change clothes that much. Also, he doesn't want to spend what little money he has for it, so he keeps the same ones (I guess we can assume he bought a little more underwear). Meals put me in a quandary (namely, what kind of food to write about? Berries sound insufficient for feeding, too, and the status of meat in Pokemon universes tends to be... awkward). Mostly you can assume that he grabs something that looks edible enough (and doesn't taste very good except maybe for the sugar) and a hot drink for breakfast. Gabriel has a very practical approach to hair (well, I hear that it's actually very flawed in real life but, well, my story, my rules): just pretend that it's worth the barest effort and it's going to be fine. I'll confess that I didn't think about haircuts. But time progresses quite slowly (up to chapter 23, there's barely a week spent in Reborn City) so there's little reason for him to get one yet. Maybe later, though. As for the bathroom breaks... let's say that I still am considering something that may well make you wish you never asked for it. ;) No comment on the future chapters... I'll let you discover Gabriel's progress for yourself. I regret to say that, while I appreciate your feedback, I will not incorporate it in the previously written chapters. Keeping moving is already difficult, and I don't have the strength to seriously rework my earlier chapters just yet. But I will definitely take that into account in the future.
  9. Hi Valyrian, First things first: I do owe you an apology. Second: thank you. I needed such a rebuttal. Let's get back to the apology. I apologize for writing in a way that visibly hurt you and that was probably hostile too. Please believe me when I write that it wasn't intended this way -- my closing remark was genuinely dismayed at my own selective focus and hoping to soften a potential blow. For, as an aggravating factor, I was aware that this could have landed into "hater" territory, yet dismissed that impression. Instead of fighting my unfair focus, I indulged it. I did not intend for this to mean "write the exact opposite of how and what you feel that you should write." Your insights, your style are your own. I felt (whether or not it's what I ended up doing is rather for you to criticize, as you did) that I should point out a few sparse times where you might be a little too sophisticated even for your setting. I write might, because, as you probably know (and I remembered a bit too late), a lot of literature has characters speak much better than most real people do. For the little mistakes, I'm thinking for instance of the following sentence, where "she could" is repeated: "Alisa vowed to locate and pick-up that Egg so that *she could*, upon the capture of a Flame Body ability-carrying Fire Pokémon, *she could* effortlessly hatch that Egg in the future". There's also "as they notice of Alisa", or the post-Florinia level cap (35, not 25) in chapter 2. I remember reading a couple more, but I can't find them right now, so maybe I'm just misremembering. For the "The", I wasn't thinking about the ones at the beginning of sentences (a perfectly normal and sound use), but rather those preceding titles or locations, like in "Fern ambled through The Jungle", "through the mishmash of ruined buildings and into The Beryl Ward", "while Heather fought The Newcomer". I guess I really needed that suggestion to focus on what was good instead. I like the way you portrayed Corey during the Alisa battle (and the tactics that she employed to win), where he is conflicted between his own nihilism and his (at first reluctant) interest in the Gym battle, the mixture of intensity and denigrating sneer. Fern and Alisa, Aster and Eclipse make some really good duos (please don't let Aster stop calling her "Clipsy"). I think I'm repeating myself, but I really enjoy your descriptions too, and your vocabulary really is a plus for them. (also, I had no idea such a word as "pizazz" could exist, so thank you for that one) So I hope that this makes a significant contribution to clearing the air. (PS if you didn't find out already -- the website automatically time-stamps your posts [at the very top of the post] and your latest edit [at the very bottom])
  10. Hi! I guess it’s time for a second review. I see that you’ve toned down on the fancier words a little (there's no harm in using them, just don't overdo it). You also have almost stopped using hyphens where they aren’t necessary (at least, I don’t think they are?). Here are a few exceptions, though: wished-to, secreted-away, dark-grey, utterly-calm, acted-upon. I'm glad we also got a portrait of Alisa (the protagonist sprite is nice but does it really match completely your own idea of the character?). I'm not sure if it's deliberate, but her speech patterns somewhat match her looks -- in a good way. Though if she’s dressed as you describe, it’s miraculous she doesn’t get dirty. Then again, even though the other characters are larger than life, she's bigger than all of them since she's bound to succeed where all of them fail, so she's above such worldly concerns. ;) Your characters now have voices of their own, which is very good; however, some of their words sound a little surprising again (usually too sophisticated for what they're supposed to be -- but it's a matter of style ultimately, literature is ripe with characters speaking better than they should). I have a few cases in mind: 1. “apologies are unnecessary” from Victoria (I feel that simpler speech suits her far better, like “no worries” or “it’s okay”) 2. Still by Victoria, but earlier on: she calls the slums “that vile place”. I’m not sure (that’s a culture thing, I suspect), but I believe that “that place” with something in the voice (disgust?) is more realistic. 3. “You won’t get anything incriminating from us” – I guess it's Aster speaking, because he’s the one who never gets anything and always says too much. I’m not sure how compatible this is with the use of the word “incriminating”. I suspect that few people would utter it spontaneously – instead, an Aster would say: “you’re too late. We’ve already deleted everything, [insert colorful but harmless expletive]”. 4. “purge [the wards] from all evil” by Florinia – in my opinion, “evil” evokes some sort of emotion while being very unspecific, both characteristics that Florinia would eschew 5. Taka’s first words in the Beryl Ward confrontation are, I think, far too explicit (since everyone else is in earshot – even if not, it’s much too compromising). By the way, there are some other parts that feel a little bit off, perhaps too “solemn” for the setting (like “purge all evil”, which sounds like a life quest given by a dying idealistic paladin): “fulfill every one of her hopes, aspirations and dreams”, “vow to get the egg“. I’m also seeing a few errors that you could have avoided had you proofread more carefully: for instance, Alisa decides to check out Obsidia after she heals her Pokemon, she “does just that” then she starts training them, and only afterwards does she actually get into the ward. In Beryl, Alisa fights a Pignite that is told to use Ember, then uses Flame Charge, which raises its Attack by one stage (it’s Speed). In Corey’s death scene, Alisa falls to her knees at least twice. Afterwards, Alisa screams at Team Meteor as if they’re responsible for Corey’s death, even though she saw him kill himself (even in the game, the scene is awkward, because only a very particular kind of rooftop would make them noticeable). And then a “Veronica” appears. There are a few more sentences where you probably skipped or repeated a word (due in part to your complex sentences – I still like them, but that always carries a risk of mistakes). There are very many unjustified "The" (with capital T) -- why do you do that? And most surprising of all, you entirely skipped Taka’s debut (then write as if you didn't). Which brings me to my last point: your chapter 3 is far too long (chapter 2 is borderline already, but chapter 3 dwarfs it). I don’t know if you checked, but it’s close to ten thousand words, no apparent breaks… that makes it really hard to read. It's almost sad, actually. All this writing, all these magnificent words, all these imaginative nicknames, a few nice battles that I'm impressed you managed to beat in this way, and yet my focus is on what bugged me. I really hope this doesn't come across as too negative. Best of inspiration for your next chapters!
  11. Anna still has Nostra-the-obviously-Jirachi though, even when she’s kidnapped, and there’s no mention of Heather recovering her Pokemon (or the MC/Cain giving them back) even when she flies away afterwards on her Salamence. They don’t take your Pokemon either in Subseven Sanctum, and its priest knows how much more threatening you are than either Anna or Heather (or maybe not^^). But I agree that it makes more sense if Team Meteor had taken Aladdin and Aya’s mons. It looks like a new low for Jasmine. Since all the Defiance group has been slaughtered (or imprisoned? It’s been too long…) anyway, what realistic threat can Vanilla cause? Doesn’t Jasmine have better fish to fry? (also, I don’t remember why she’s so cruel to Aladdin specifically. When was the time he “sabotaged” her?)
  12. Edit: added character rates to the previous chapter. Thank you Evi for your comment, and to all of you who reacted, here or on discord! Oh dear… I (repeat that I) am sorry for making you weep over Gabriel’s plight. Actually, Gabriel did get a small break, perhaps around 8 conscious hours? One has to take the good parts where they are… But yes, “Gabriel can’t catch a break” is so much a theme of this story that one could have guessed that chapter 55 wasn’t there to last. I don’t know when the next similar “chill” point is going to be, to be honest. It’ll probably be the end of Part 3, just before entering Agate. Yes, I decided to make Saphira rather pro-active. She gathered all the info she could on Gabriel, and then decided she didn’t want him in her house. Not nice, but safe is better than sorry. I decided that Saphira was more practical than that. Giving Gabriel a beating doesn’t do anything good to anyone – she gets angry for no good reason in the (quite possible, even to her) case where all the incidents have mundane causes. This may get explained at some point, and you might be able to figure this out on your own if you think along these lines, but Saphira But think how boring it would be if plot armor worked on emotions too… He will, don’t worry… at some unspecified point. I have some ideas for all of them, although they might require a little more thought. No comment (yet!) on El. Thank you! It was pretty hard to write, I’m glad it came out the right way. Ah. The raid… of course. (evil laughter)
  13. The Odd One Out has (at last?) been updated! The new chapter is here.

    Its title is "Business as Usual". I think it speaks for itself, especially considering what chapter 55 was. 

  14. Yes... these were some dark days indeed. They're thankfully over -- but I fear that they will still appear in some nightmares. I'm glad that there was still some cute upbeat stuff, even though it's definitely not my forte. Perhaps I should ask Azzie for lessons or something. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your summer (or, for at least one exception, that you will enjoy your hard-earned rest after a how-tf-can-it-still-be-legal internship)! Apparently you all kept reading or checking this story, and I'm very glad that you did. Thank you. As some of you might have read on discord or as a status update, it hasn't been the easiest time to write for me... but now summer break is over, I no longer have this excuse to avoid working on my thesis (I can still find others, but none that will let me write this instead^^), so perhaps it really was the best time. So I still wrote a lot of chapters in that time, and my "buffer" has grown to a length that has been unrivalled since the finale of Part 2. The difference is that I have lots and lots to edit, and a less clear picture of how the story goes on (spoiler: one sentence at a time). I'm pretty confident that this chapter isn't as good as it could be. But I'm tired, I'm feeling bad for not posting in some five weeks, and I don't think I'll be able to make good edits before another long time, so here it is. I hope you enjoy, and don't hesitate to comment either way! Chapter 56: Business as Usual Character rates:
  15. Many useful TMs are still unavailable in game yet. Unless I'm mistaken, all of the following TMs are unavailable: Dragon Claw, Calm Mind, Ice Beam and Blizzard, Thunder, Earthquake, Sludge Bomb, Fire Blast, Energy Ball, Volt Switch, Swords Dance, U-Turn. There are several memes on that topic, for instance https://www.reddit.com/r/PokemonReborn/comments/i4mo4m/maybe_earthquake_is_the_friends_we_made_along_the/ or https://www.reddit.com/r/PokemonReborn/comments/hzjfy7/this_is_all_i_want/ Back to the content of the post: you're making some good suggestions, even though I personally find them terrifying (I'm not very good). Permanent fields, no weather games from the player and limited set-up? That certainly ramps up difficulty a fair bit. I really can't see how they trivialize the game (against a fully EV'd team, of course), but apparently it does, and it's now standard, so why not? I'm not going to end up playing in hard mode, although I'm interested enough to discuss one. But I'm not convinced by the idea of limiting Common Candies. I just can't imagine managing exp as part of the game, but maybe I just lack imagination. Mining rocks are already in a finite number, so I guess you want to limit/hardcode their content to curb the maximal number of heart scales that one might have?
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