[FFML] [R1/2][Shortfic] Into the Mountain

Bert Miller hkmiller at theeddy.com
Sat Dec 27 08:02:52 PST 2008

Elin B wrote:
> AUTHOR’S FOREWORD: This is pretty short – just 324 words – but I decided to post it anyway and would be happy to receive constructive criticism, should anyone feel like offering it.
Sure, why not?  I haven't C&C'd anything for a while.

>  Just speculation from a small moment in canon from the Musk Dynasty Saga. 
Your story text tells us pretty clearly when it's set.  You don't really 
need to tell us this in side notes.

> DISCLAIMER: The characters and situations of Ranma ½ were created and are owned by Rumiko Takahashi. A few of them are used here without permission. This fanfic is not intended for profit in any way.
> Into the Mountain
> A Ranma ½ shortfic by Elin B
> Down a large new crack in the mountain it had fallen, the magic kettle that was Ranma's only chance to ever become male again.
Your choice of how to start struck me as quite good:  description of a 
dramatic moment, but the sentence itself is awkward and too long.  I'd 
suggest trying to punch it up with shorter words.  Something like:  
"Deep into the narrow crack plunged the magic kettle."  Your goal, not 
always attained or attainable, is to grab your reader's attention with 
your first sentence and never release it.

>  All his fighting, all his struggling suddenly useless – when Ryoga, human again, had suddenly leapt past him and into the crack. He'd grabbed Lime with 
> him, forcing the monstrously strong boy to hold the crack open to save himself from being crushed. Then he’d kept going down into the dark, creaking earth alone.
I like that "dark, creaking earth."  Good description.

>  When Ranma had leaned down to ask him why – partly in worry for him, but partly also because he hadn't completely forgotten being double-crossed by him and Mousse hours earlier, although it did 
> seem a long time ago now – Ryoga had looked back up and told him to take care of Herb. 
> Then he'd smiled and said, "Now we’re _even_".
> That had made sense. Ryoga was just trying to pay back his debt. Ranma had felt he could accept that, turning back to focus fully on finishing his fight with Herb, his most dangerous opponent yet. And his trust had paid off, Ryoga emerging from the ground later with the treasure, complete with geyser-hot magical water. 
> But still... There had been something in Ryoga’s eyes right then that Ranma found hard to read as anything but a challenge. A certain stubborn glint that had made him pause, then and there on the mountain, wondering.
> '...Ryoga... did you just invite me to a *kindness* competition?'
> But that was probably wrong. After all, there had been nothing afterwards to indicate that Ryoga had meant anything but what he'd said. He'd acted just like usual, evidently feeling that their score was pretty much evened out and now they were back on the usual grumbling half-friendly half-kinda hostile terms, nothing else. That also seemed easiest to go along with, 
> so that was what Ranma had done. He'd probably just imagined the challenge.
> Anyway, there was no way he would have lost! 

Well, your last line is certainly IC for Ranma.  I'm not sure I quite 
buy into his reading of Ryouga's look, though.  Your story might have 
worked better had you been less definite:  Ranma read something else 
into Ryouga's look, but isn't sure what.  That way your readers are at 
liberty to invent their own interpretations.  For myself, I'm not sure I 
even see much of a distinction between "grumbling half-friendly", 
accompanied by being quick to repay debts, and a "kindness 
competition".  But that's just me; I'm sure many readers would read 
various other things into Ryouga's look if you didn't tell us what 
Ranma's interpretation was.

You also might consider removing the sentence starting with "And his 
trust..", trying to capture Ranma's feeling at the moment before he 
knows if Ryouga will succeed (after all, there are fanfic alterverses 
where Ryouga doesn't), turning to confront Herb on faith alone.

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