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MLPchan Thanksgiving Writeoff Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 1222[View All]

#Event

Prompt: Words That We Couldn't Say

Writing: Fri, 23 Nov 2012 06:00 UTC to Mon, 26 Nov 2012 06:00 UTC
Voting: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 06:05 UTC to Mon, 03 Dec 2012 06:00 UTC

Event details at: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/#11-MLPChan-Thanksgiving-Write-off

To kick off the community here, we're putting up a prize for a writeoff over the Thanksgiving weekend:
The winner will get their choice between a Derpy or Rainbow Dash Funko vinyl collectible pictured here.

So here's a chance for those ideas you had that you didn't get a chance to put to use in the Hearth's Warming Event to be brought to life.

Submission Information:
Submissions will be handled by the website http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me. See Rules for the rules, and FAQ for information on how the judging will take place. All entries must be received by Mon, 26 Nov 2012 06:00 UTC
This post was edited by a moderator on .
165 posts and 49 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

Author of "A Little Brighter" 1774

This is a little late, but have my thoughts:

The Lunar Half:
Style is extremely basic, and the pacing and flow felt stilted. I did not feel gripped by the prose at all.
Most scenes felt way too rushed and underdeveloped. And the whole twist ending felt like it came out of nowhere—at least, it served as a major and uncalled-for mood whiplash. Some foreshadowing (or at least an explanation) would have been great.


A Monologue:
I admit: feels were had. You did a pretty good job, everything considered.
I am not a big fan of stories that consist entirely of monologues or ones which the character has to figure out what the hell is happening. Of course, that was the point, and I think the point was made well enough (you succeeded in giving enough clues throughout the story to keep the interest up), but I’m a little biased towards more conventional, unconfusing narratives. Still gave you a high enough score.


Benediction:
Certainly well-written, except for that one use of “buck” and the slight (at least, as I felt) rushing towards the end. And the narration gets repetitive around the first third, but gets better afterwards.
However, plot-wise, I did not see much point to this story. A collection of vignettes (as if I’m the one to talk), connected only by narrative voice and theme (and setting, I guess), but I did not feel a “spine” that connected it together, not until the closure of the story. The first half had me thinking about what this story had to do with the prompt. And the last vignette (about domestication) felt too ambitious for its own good. At that size, it felt underdeveloped for the story/effect it was trying to show. Still, the finely-crafted prose itself was certainly worth it. In the end, the connection to the prompt is so fickle and sideways that it might as well not have been there. Good prose, but otherwise, not a hit.


The Stars and Sky Above:
A mite too wordy with descriptions for my taste and I’ve felt that at some points, flow and wording could have been improved. Formatting was a bit jumpy at times – I’d have merged some one-sentence paragraphs. Also, some emotions felt too… spontaneous and unexplored/unexpected, I guess?
Interesting take on the “heartfelt conversation between Celestia and Luna” trope. But one thing to consider: the moon and the sun pre-date the Princesses, since unicorns have been said to have raised them before Equestria was made.


Attack of the Killer Oranges:
Oh, cheeky narrator. I suppose that somewhat forgives the brackets… Some grammar derps here and there, lots of LUS. Telly descriptions and some talking heads. Also, quite a few times you forget to ponify your words, using “anyone” or “person”, for example. In my opinion, the joke was a bit overdone, but I’m a sad, humourless man. Still, a point for originality/ridiculousness.


Goodbye, Mother:
Another monologue, essentially. Would have preferred more actions/narration interspersed with internal monologue. The style is a bit lacking at the beginning, but keeps getting better as it goes. The relationship of Twilight with her family is a topic at no point original, and you go for a particularly cliché portrayal. The thoughts also seem a bit out of place. Not much else to say.


Yes:
Beginning with some rather evocative imagery, but the narration is a bit too fast-paced. Also would have preferred to start with some more clarity to the situation. And those ellipses in narration… Some formatting and grammar mistakes, and a couple of places where things could have been worded better. Oh, this is so existential. Not digging the dialogue formatting at all. And then it was all a dream-not the ending I hoped for. Also not quite seeing the connection to the prompt.


Tribunal:
Sergeant Sprinkles… Oh boy, here we go. Prose is quite basic. The pacing is a bit too fast. Dawnstrider is giving off too much cliché “bad captain” vibes. The interruptions for the overarching tribunal hearing were often unneeded, and placed where they broke flow. All in all, pretty cliché. Also not quite seeing the connection to the prompt as something other than tacked on.


Faint Maestra:
Crossovers? In my write-off? It’s more lik- yeah I’ll stop there. The narrator is either omniscient but bothers to listen only to Twilight’s voice, or it’s just inconsistent handling of point of view. The dialogue has a tendency to fall into talking heads. And then fighting for no reason. And I don’t know why I should care unless I’m a fan of Touhou (I’m not).


Pinkless:
Okay, second biggest fic of the contest, let’s go! A little over-abundance of “I” pronouns. Obvious, since this is first-person, but that’s still a pet peeve of mine. Getting pretty introspective in the beginning, probably more than I’d expect of Pinkie, but then again, this isn’t her. The descriptions could be a little sparser-I’d definitely prefer a faster introduction. Double dashes? Tsk Tsk. That’s a bad idea ‘round these parts. Not sure you need so much detail for the environment-conservation of detail and all that. Dialogue suffers from talking heads somewhat. You’d think that Fluttershy was quicker to guess that that’s not the real Pinkie, seeing how the whole debacle happened only yesterday. Pacing feels a little whack, actually. Have they all forgotten that she has no cutie mark? Not sure if the characterizations feel right, but then again, this is a touchy subject (kudos for exploring it, by the way). The “turn” in the conversation is a little too quick. Kinda liking the one-liners at the scene endings. But Twilight still feels too sociopathic, really. I saw that episode in an existential kind of darkness, but it wasn’t really.

1775

>>1755
>>1757
Sure. But I'm cutting it off here. Got enough to do now, and it'll take me most of the week.

>>1756
Would have, but it's not hosted on the contest anymore…

Author of Pinkless 1781

>>1759
A day.

A day?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?


And I was proud of having done 9k in a weekend. :(

>>1766
Why? You realize that's a week before Christmas, right? And that the Hobbit releases, in the US anyway, that very weekend?

And yet there's no way I'm missing it, ugh.

Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 1784

>>1781
This one's on Roger, not me! D:

Though I'll be putting up a prize.

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1797

Well, crap. Looks like I won't have enough time to do in-depth reviews on everything else. Such a shame—I'd like to apologize to any who I don't get to before the deadline. Anyways, let's try and finish up as much as possible.

Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom
Score: 5/10
Problems with the title aside, I liked the poignancy of this piece, but it was barely a story. It was a small inner monologue, which is technically fine, but you spoiled it by bringing in things that needed to be Shown, rather than Told (such as the familial hatred; Twilight growing distant). This wouldn't look too out of place as a short scene in a fic like, say, Eternal, where Celestia's matronly role comes into place, but as a story by itself, it really doesn't accomplish much. I did very much like Twilight's voice, though, so there's that


Yes
Score: 7/10
Well. That was…interesting.

The revelation that the Immortal was Cadance was very well done, and I definitely enjoyed guessing at who our mysterious protagonist actually was. The prose was beautifully written, and in general, this was a very enjoyable fic to read. The problem, however, came with the generally awkward and confusing flow it had; I felt as though I had dropped into an alien world at first, and though this may have been what you were intending, I might have just dropped this fic in the first scene had I not been obligated to go through with it (regardless of the eventual rewards).

One thing I didn't like was the fact that there wasn't much in this story that was unique to Cadance. You could have applied it to Celestia, Luna, or even Twilight, and the overall themes would be the same (only with the names and some circumstances changed). I might have missed it, but I would have liked more foreshadowing specific to Cadance that would have given her presence in the story a very distinct feel. Otherwise, well done.


Attack of the Killer Oranges
Score: 6/10
Huh.

I certainly thought that the humor in this piece was good, and everyone felt in-character (barring Zecora, who was sketchy for the first half). However, you had a lot of stylistic problems—LUS showed up throughout, and SDT was a problem for you for the first thousand or so words. I would have liked the flow of the plot in some places to be better, especially at the end. Overall, this was a cute, nicely-done piece, but it could use work.


We'll Keep in Touch
Score: 7/10
I actually really liked this fic. I rarely read romance, so it was a treat to get something like this. Everyone felt completely in-character (except for a few stumbles in writing Dash's diction in the early parts), and though I would have liked a more obvious reference to the prompt, I definitely enjoyed the kind of 84 Charing Cross Road perspective that you were able to provide with the letters; it was very unique. I would point you toward expanding your scenes and making sure that your sentences aren't awkward in structure, though; there were some parts in the narration where I felt as though things hit a bit of a bump, and some of the immersion was lost. But overall, quite well done.


The Lunar Half
Score: 2/10
Um. What the fuck did I just read?

I guess I kind of liked the characterizations…and if you'd drawn out the story and made it about Lyra's authorial career (and the eventual success of her human stories), with the Daring Do reveal coming at the end as a sort of twist, this could have been good. As it is—weird sentence structures and dialogue aside—this made no freaking sense. The tie-in to the prompt, while originally okay (if a bit shaky) was destroyed by where you went with this. I mean, really—some weird clone of Lyra (no justification) comes out to make Lyra write more Daring Do books (no connection to prompt) and…kills her (no justification) in order to take over her life (WTF)?

Um. Yeah. I got nothin'


A Monologue
Score: 9/10
This was ridiculously poignant. I absolutely loved the writing, and though I think the ending line could have been executed a bit better, the diction throughout was almost perfect. I would have liked, though, some more of Spike's character seeping through, rather than just at the end ("through his thick head"). A potential plot-hole that I also noticed was the fact that Rarity already knows about Spike's love/crush, as per Secret of My Excess. Still, very well done; I figured out that the speaker was talking about Rarity about halfway through, though I was pretty sure the narrator was Twilight or some other of the Mane Six until that final wham line. Good job, and I hope to see more of your writing in the future.


Silent Growth
Score 1/10
I think you win the award for the most Telling per square paragraph in any given fic that I've seen. I mean, wow—there was no characterization in there that you didn't tell us all about; no scene or plot development that you didn't cram down our throats. Hell, this might've even been a good story if only for the fact that nothing actually happened in it.

Oh, and LUS, SDT, sentence variation, etc. etc. Standard crap.


The Words Won't come
Score: 10/10
This was excellent; simply excellent. I really can't find anything to criticize about this fic. I loved all of the ups and downs of Fluttershy's emotional roller coaster, and I felt like I was with her on every twist and turn. When she finally kissed Applejack—and when AJ responded positively—I nearly cheered. Amazingly done.


Good Things Are Better When They're a Rarity
Score: 6/10
I guess the idea was interesting enough. You did have a bit of LUS here and there, though, and the conflict never really came to full fruition. Both characters were dodging around the issue, and the mutual attraction was obvious from the start, so I never really felt as though there was much, if any, narrative tension. I guess it was okay, though.


Benediction
Score: 9/10
First off, this was amazingly well-written. The very text seemed to color on the page, and to dance in its serif-font. Each segment was poignant and touching; striking, yet subtle. It actually reminded me of Madeleine l'Engel's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, if you've ever read that. The one part that I would say failed in that aspect as the part between Sundog and Drift—it stole too much from your main themes, I felt, and broke the immersion with its large departure from the overall tone. You did manage to quickly restore the fail with the next scene of course, so there's that.

I would have liked you to actually say what "We" are/is/were, but I guess if you didn't want to, that's your creative license. I would like to note, though, that you could have had a much greater impact had you taken the thought to develop a truly touching yet clear statement that illustrates completely what they are—I got the feeling that they represented chaos, or reality, or something along those lines, but it was a bit too cloudy to make complete sense. Still, excellently written.


A few more to come. I just wanted to make sure these were safely posted before moving on.
This post was edited by its author on .

1798

File: 1354513459075.png (614.48 KB, 1000x1000, 178998 - applejack artist madm…)

Well, shoot. My feline side decided to take a two hour cat nap and now I'm stuck without enough time to read the minimum amount of fics necessary to vote.

Yar, procrastinating be a dangerous beast.

Review of "We'll Keep in Touch" 1800

We'll Keep in Touch:

Mechanics/Details:
>Twilight stood opposite Rainbow Dash on the train platform, a pink wool scarf wrapped tightly around her neck and a pair of saddlebags strung over her back.
I'd use "with" in place of the comma. An absolute doesn't necessarily latch onto a close antecedent or the subject, and it's ambiguous which one you mean.

>Rainbow Dash’s lips trembled as she looked at her friend’s face.

We go from two innocuous statements into a sudden emotional reaction. This needs to follow from what comes before more smoothly to ease us into that connection. Perhaps remark briefly on what that gift scarf means to Dash before dumping the emotional baggage on us.

>goodbye

Per Webster, good-bye, but it's common enough to see it this way that you're probably okay.

>good-ol’-days

Hyphens are unnecessary.

>where she’d scraped the snow away

It was Twilight kicking at the snow. If Dash is doing so as well, bring it up before discussing its result.

>Dash looked up and her eyes met Twilight’s.

Two subjects performing two actions. Put a comma between the clauses.

>She wished she didn’t, but she did.

It happened in the previous sentence. It's complete now. Use past perfect tense.

>Twilight looked to their side

Odd word choice: "their."

>the train was pulled into the station and waiting

Tense error.

>I should probably…” she trailed off

In most instances, it's not necessary for the narrator to repeat what the punctuation already tells us.

>Summer. It sounded like an eternity away for Dash.

Not sure whether you're going for a limited or omniscient narrator here. This bit sure has the feel of limited, but in that case, the "for Dash" is extraneous.

>struggling to read the cursive etched onto it

You've described the book as full of etchings, so having an etched cover as well is repetitive.

>Twilight let out a small sigh of relief

Watch these telly prepositional phrases. The sigh already gives us a glimmer of relief, and you could sell it the rest of the way with her body language or expression.

>metal steps

Unless it becomes important later, I don't know why you're characterizing them as metal. You're not giving us any more details about the setting, and it's a very minor point, unlike the bricks you mentioned earlier, which would dominate a large part of the scenery.

>For a while

Need a comma after introductory words/phrases/dependent clauses like this that lead into the subject.

>“Promise,” Twilight said, crossing her heart.

Hm. This is fine, but I expected a Pinkie Promise somehow.

>The train’s engine slowly began to chug, a billow of smoke pouring out the chimney of the front car as it started to move.

I usually try to argue against using begin/start actions much, unless you want to emphasize that the action only begins and gets cut off or interrupted. I'll check later to see if you abuse these verbs, but note that you're using two in the same sentence.

>And long after the train peeled away from the station

This is a completed action with respect to the main clause of the sentence. Use past perfect tense.

>She stared at the snow she kicked and sighed, a light snowfall beginning to dance to the ground around her.

Repetition of snow/snowfall, and of kick with the previous sentence. And there's that "begin" again.

>But after the first week, her desire to talk to Twilight again began to outweigh her anxiety.

Rephrase, since the "after" feels repetitive from the end of the previous sentence. And another "begin." Yeah, I can see that's going to be a problem. Also, sell this better. Give me a couple of instances when she approached the case, put a hoof on it, but couldn't bring herself to open it, for instance.

>she mailed her

The recipient of the letter would be an indirect object. You still need a direct object.

>which she had committed to memory

Watch your placement. It would seem to describe the case.

>From: Rainbow Dash…

You may want to put the letter in italics.

>Her writing’s always impeccably neat.

You've now used some form of "write" in four consecutive sentences.

>but every time I sat down and put pen to paper

Another introductory element that needs a comma.

>The day Rainbow Dash received the letter

Same.

>Reading the letter had filled her with a sort of energy

Show me.

>during which, Rainbow Dash showed her the letter Twilight wrote

No comma, and use past perfect for the completed "had written."

>as she read, a smile slowly spreading across as she read

Repetitive. And spread across what?

>Then Dash showed Rarity her letter, and explained that she wanted writing lessons.

Take me through these conversations. There's a lot left unexpressed here. In fact, this whole interlude before the next letter is entirely narrated. I'm not allowed to witness any of it.

>Because no matter how busy she was, she couldn’t bring herself to say no.

Why not?

>couple hours

Put an "of" in there, or it feels too informal. By now, I'm certain you're using an omniscient narrator. Note my earlier comment about a spot that felt like limited narration and try to make it consistent.

>I can picture every word, and every sentence being said by you.

No comma, and why the passive voice?

>I’d miss having someone who I can talk to books about, right?

Swap your "about" and "to."

>I haven’t heard from her in a while.

Really? Seems to need justification. While they're rivals, they also are seen together occasionally. Not a pair that I'd think would lose contact in Twilight's absence, just due to their common interest in physical activity and the importance of weather to the farm.

>it’s the complete opposite, actually, she’s probably the busiest out of all of us here in Ponyville.

One of those commas is a splice. "Actually" could be attached to either clause, so it doesn't matter which one.

>She’s been teaching me how to write cursive, and how to write letters

Again, that comma between subject/verb pairs is unnecessary.

>and without you

Intro element needs a comma

>and when she did

And again

>tore a rip

Redundant.

>glue

To repair torn paper? Really?

>I’m… really sorry to hear that.

That's more of a speech affectation. I don't see someone actually writing an ellipsis like that in a letter.

>She didn’t read it a dozen times like the last letter, she just stared blankly at it

Comma splice

>they sat down and talked instead of having practice

This is weeks later. She's still practicing? She's written several letters by now. I'd think she'd have more confidence.

>It was great, everyone just sorta fell right into talking.

Comma splice.

>Don’t get me wrong, it was great and it’s awesome

Comma splice (would work better as a dash) and a comma is needed after "great."

>who I don’t even know

whom

>ever since leaving Ponyville again

comma

>all the while my skull is cracked

Commas after "while" and "cracked." Better yet, split this sentence up. It's overloaded with commas.

>light-headedness

One word, no hyphen

>Your letters and my duty to the Princess are the only things keeping me going. But I don’t know how long that will last.

Hm. Angsty Twi, but not much explanation why, other than boredom. Dash was pretty up front about the reasons she was feeling down. Why is Twi holding back?

>I can hardly believe I forgot it.

Same here, Dash.

>putting out friendship

our

>nevermind

Two words.

>I’ve stopped taking writing lessons, it’s mostly self improvement

Comma splice. self-improvement. And glad to see Dash stopped her lessons, though I would have expected it sooner.

>If I hadn’t seen the steady progress in each letter, I would never believe someone

Tense mismatch. And somepony?

>It looks even neater than Fluttershy’s writing. (But don’t tell her I said that!)

Put the parenthetical before the period and don't capitalize it.

>staring at the last letter for over an hour

Participial phrases generally need commas on both ends.

>three simple words, Sure, why not?

Would work better as: three simple words of "Sure, why not?"

>I’m butting heads with an iron wall, hoping it’ll budge an inch, and all the while my skull is cracked and I’m missing the steadily growing light-headedness I get for trying.

Note the same corrections I'd suggested for these lines previously. And curious that you're italicizing it now, and not in the original letter.

>I’ve been practicing and I think I’m ready to give it a shot.

Missing comma.

>Before going to practice, she mailed the envelope off, struggling to keep the thought of Spitfire’s reply out of her head all the while as she did her maneuvers.

Note that participial phrases imply simultaneous action. So she mails the envelope off at the same time she's doing her maneuvers, and does all of that before going to practice. Straighten out the timeline.

>I’ve been to busy

too

>What if they accept and I fail the tryout?

Missing comma.

>it does for some reason and I don’t know why.

Missing comma.

>I won’t get into the science of it, just know

Comma splice. And Canterlot's not far from Ponyville. Hard to believe the weather would be that much different.

>you always hear about, but never really see

Opposite issue. No comma here. There's one subject performing two actions, so you don't need a comma between them unless the first gets complex enough that the reader will need help keeping things organized.

>Princess’

While it's common to do this with words that end in "s," the proper plural is Princess's. Note that capitalizing "Princess" is only required when she's being addressed with the term, but I do tend to capitalize it all the time as an extraordinary honoriific.

>to me

Suggest surrounding this phrase with commas.

>halfway through that week

Comma after this phrase.

>Each time she read it

Same thing again.

>You’ve never stopped being a part of the community here, we still talk about you all the time.

Comma splice.

>I don’t even remember what it was about

That seems hard to believe, given that it's recent and there's no indication that Twilight was a normal topic of conversation, which would dilute her memory of a specific intance.

>For some reason

Comma.

>whatever happens, happens

You do often see phrases like this use a comma, but there's no grammatical reason for doing so.

>a couple days ago. It was cool getting a chance

She's dropped some level of formality. A bit of a relapse since her lessons are over?

>Well

Comma.

>Our main roster, and

No comma.

>By the end of the letter

Comma.

>full blown

Hyphenate

>She felt bad for feeling such joy

Telly and odd phrasing. She felt bad for feeling good? And that verb gets used a third time in the sentence, too.

>But this troubled Dash.

Watch using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) by themselves. They have large, vague antecedents and are self-referential to the narration. Find an appropriate noun to put after it.

>in her letter

Cut this. You already refer to the letter earlier in the sentence.

>standing by a railing overlooking the plains surrounding Canterlot

Yow. Three nested participles. While not incorrect, it does bog the sentence down.

>or that you think my dream has died, I actually feel a lot better now than I have these past few weeks.

Comma splice.

>Dash sat on one a seat in one of the passenger cars

Some messed-up wording/repetition there.

>tracing its etchings

Watch it here. As placed, this phrase describes "hooves," but you might have meant "eyes."

>that,

Another weak demonstrative. Use a noun instead. And that comma is unnecessary.

>quill case and stared at the golden quill

Redundant. Cut that first "quill."

>But in a way

Comma.

>damages

Odd word choice, as "damage" is a collective noun ("damages" is usually a legal term) that is strangely clinical. Suggest something like "scratches."

>The train’s whistle blew.

Watch repetitive structure in this paragraph. Every sentence begins "subject verbed."

>trains wheels

Needs a possessive.

>she stepped outside

She's still on board. Is this in the passageway outside the private compartments, or the platform on the end of the car?

>Spike shrugged. “Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow?”

Spike's awfully muted, given that he hasn't seen Dash in a long time, wouldn't have expected her to be there, and should consider her a friend as well.

>all nighters

Hyphenate.

>when she gets back

Comma.

>glancing back over her shoulder at the view of the castle

Well, she's more looking at the castle itself (though I usually see it called a palace) than a view of it. Odd wording.

>Do you know how I can get to see her?

Recommend cutting "get to."

>in thought

Throwaway phrase. Show me her thoughtfulness in her expression and body language.

>case and snapped the case

Repetitive.

>visitor’s

visitors’

>It was getting late.

Again, repetitive sentence structure in this paragraph. It doesn't flow. It feels more like a list.

>And they stared up at her with uncertainty

Show me.

>pent up

Hyphenate.

>Twilight’s eyes seemed different than before.

be careful. You have an omniscient narrator, so who is judging what something seems like? Presumably, this is Dash's impression, but you don't say so. And the narrator shouldn't be telling us how things seem. He'd know the truth of the matter.

Style:
The pacing is off. By the time the correspondence begins, you're blazing through time. One letter, then we skip five days. Then another letter and a small paragraph of narration. Then the next day. What are the days like in between? The anticipation, the nervousness. What is Twi going to say? Is she too busy to care, too involved with her new/old friends there? What about when Dash gets the letter? Does she see the mail carrier coming, grab up the letter quickly, hold her breath before tearing open the envelope? There's a lot of emotional content left untapped.

Eventually, we degrade into back-and-forth letters with no sense of the writers' and reader's emotions, and some of these letters are very quick. Given the delivery times so far, is a three-word sentence really the only thing Twilight has to say to her for several days? Really, this almost feels like a redux of "Yours Truly."

Now, you pulled off the letters reasonably well. Too many writers put things in their letters that characters simply wouldn't say. Complex language unsuited for the character, lengthy direct quotes, etc. So, good on that front. However, your bits between the letters need a lot more development. This is an inherent weakness of a letter-only format. We don't get to see the actual reactions, only what's written back, and of course a realistic response is affected by forgetfulness about intended things to say, tempering of emotion with time, and simple limitations on what the responder is willing to reveal. Even "Yours Truly" broke from this format to show some action. I recognize why Thanqol did it, but it still troubled me that he did. Understandably, it's more difficult to give the full emotional impact this way.

So, it's not surprising that you wanted to add some elements between the letters, but they're extremely narration-heavy and telly. Here's where we should be seeing the full effect of each letter, but you gloss over them, and in many instances, skip them altogether. I can see that as being a choice made to finish this story by the deadline, but now you have to opportunity to make this a much more emotional story.

I've noted a few places where it was telly, but really, there weren't too many opportunities to be. You're pretty restricted on what can reasonably go into a letter, and you didn't write that much between them. But I did catch you in a few places. Most of yours were the "in/with <emotion/attitude>" type, but just be mindful of emotions named outright or contained in "-ly" adverbs.

Characterization:
Mostly fine on the Dash front. She doesn't come across quite as brash and confident. I suppose you could say it's just a front, and she's dropping that in the letters (which is a common enough interpretation of her), but I don't get that sense. If that's where you're going, you need to make it more obvious that she's trying to keep up the facade, but it's being undercut.

Twilight's fine, too. In fact, for the little bit she appears, she's probably the truest one. My only hang-up with her is that she was a little too blah about being away from her friends. She seemed more concerned about the boredom than the separation.

Spike was off, and what little I had to say about him is enough.

The other four of the mane six? I want to have something about them. Anything. Dash can't be the only one that's bummed about Twilight's absence and everyone drifting apart. But they're all strangely stoic, or at lease didn't make enough of an impression to register with Dash. Show me that the rest of them care, too.

Plot:
Well, some of the points above already speak to plot points. So I really only have one thing left to mention here. It's a very cliched thing for a romance story to have a first kiss, marriage, first date, etc. as its destination. Why stop it there? You'll certainly not suffer for lack of readers if you do so, but consider how often this is the case. Do something different.

Secondly, why romance? Another cliche is that the only relationship worth writing about with this intensity is a romantic one. I know who I'm speaking to here, so it's probably falling on deaf ears, but… Dash certainly treasures Twilight's friendship. Isn't a platonic relationship just as complex and nuanced? But doesn't it make you think more about the characters and their motivations to pull it off? And if you still want to imply Twidash, fine. In either case, though…

This is one of my "cardinal sins of shipfics:" throwing us into the relationship and assuring us that it's reasonable. If you're going to cut in between the letters to narrate, you've got the vehicle to reminisce. Show us scenes from their past where Dash gradually found Twilight endearing, but wasn't entirely aware of what she was feeling. Give me that history. The relationship itself is as important as the characters. If it doesn't feel authentic, then I'm not invested in it and don't care if it works out. This is especially true of Twilight's viewpoint. She conveniently reciprocates, while we've seen zero evidence that she would feel that way. This is actually an easier problem to deal with if you go more for the friendship angle, since canon already establishes pretty well what they mean to each other in that regard.

Overall:
Consistent mistakes with introductory commas; underdeveloped, telly scenes between the letters; lack of depth to the love interest; and a cookie-cutter premise. But the writing was pretty good, the letters themselves were refreshingly realistic, and there still was a punch at the end, if a predictable one. Keep writing, and have fun with it.

REVIEWS! 1801

>>1775
Just got a ton of other review work dumped on me. I will still get to the other four that requested reviews, but be prepared that it'll take a week or two to get through them all. I'll post them as I finish them, so check back here occasionally.

Grif 1803

Congratulations to the winner, 25.

I'm jelly I couldn't write feels like A Little Brighter. :)

In which Pascoite Tries to Head off a Growing Problem 1805

First off, I wrote "Breaking the Silence." Surprised? Probably, for those that know me. It was a gamble to try, and one that I didn't come close to finishing. But I decided to submit it anyway and see what people made of it, then throw some snarky responses at the inevitable feedback to see the reactions. Call it an unscheduled inspection. More on that in a moment, but I'm glad to see that people weren't taken in by the old "Child narrator? D'awww!"

Second, note that I don't generally review in write-offs anymore. I reviewed every single story in /fic/ write-off 3. By write-off 4, I only reviewed maybe 4 stories. Since then, it's been by request only or not at all, and I don't post reviews until after the results have been posted. Why? I don't want to influence anyone with my opinion. It's too easy for that to happen. People can read the reviews before the stories, then go in predisposed toward an impression. How often do these quick-hit reviews say something to the effect of "I agree with the above review" and either leave it at that or add a couple of points? I'd rather let every reader start every story with a clean slate.

Getting back to my story. What did people say about it? Mixed bag of things, some right and some wrong. There are two parts: what was said and how.

As to the what: here's where interpreting these reviews can be tricky. Can I trust what these people are saying? After the fact, I'll match them up against the list of authors and decide on my own who is likely to give good advice. I'm not going to get into specifics, but suffice it to say that while quite a few valid points were raised, I was given some advice that was contradictory and some that was outright wrong.

How much do these quick reviews help, anyway? Most of them are just an "I like this one, didn't like this one, loved this one…" without identifying any useful number of problems, let alone providing any help. The author's already going to get a picture of how much people like his story by seeing the compiled voting. Specific opinions are only helpful if he takes the time to match them up to who provided each one after identities are revealed, as long as he knows who the reliable commenters are. These are the types of reviews that only help potential readers decide what they might like, and very few people involved are going to choose what to read based on them. Readers either get to them all or pick them by some other scheme, like word count. They're not even structured to help the writers, they're not influencing who reads what, and they can easily bias people for or against stories.

What is useful feedback? Identify the problem, explain why it's a problem, demonstrate how to fix it. None of this "X didn't work, Y was bad, Z was bad." There's very little a writer can do with that.

More to the point is the how. On the one hand, this is a good thing. Would people point out as many things if they knew who I was? Or would they second-guess themselves? Certainly, anonymous entries allow people with good reputations to get honest feedback. It's one of the few instances for me to get such. On the other hand, would people use that tone with me, knowing who I was? I certainly hope not, but that's secondary. If I'm a nobody, don't I deserve the same respect?

Also, be very careful about how a problem is presented. Certainly, any rule can be broken if the author can make it effective. So it can be better to phrase it as "X should generally be avoided" instead of "X is wrong." But that's a minor point. If the writer and reviewer know each other and some amount of repartee can be expected, fine. However, in a setting where the reviewer doesn't know who the author is for whatever reason, some tact is called for.

In matters where something is more of an issue of personal preference, do not state something as an absolute. Not only is it presumptive, but it purports to impose your opinion on others as well. Doing so in a one-on-one dialogue between writer and reviewer is fine, but airing it in a public forum is another thing. Saying "this story was bad" is entirely different than "I didn't like it." I'm looking at some of the comments made throughout the thread to pick out some specific instances. I didn't read any reviews, so I'm having to skim here, but it's obvious enough that I'll find what I'm looking for. I'm not checking who made these comments, so I hope I'm not picking on one or two people consistently, and frankly, it doesn't matter who said them.

>I'm obviously going to back up my own opinions, but I would like to amicably suggest that, given the fact that you're arguing with 2-3 people at least who seem to share an opinion, are you really so sure that you're correct?

Well, this depends on who is doing the arguing, doesn't it? If two or three hacks gang up on a good writer, would you judge by numbers? Whether or not the referenced point had any merit, strength of numbers is a dangerous way to argue, particularly in this community. After all, every popular story on FiMFiction is good, right? If the author won't listen, he won't listen. Maybe he's right, and maybe he's not. But unless you're going to bring a new reasoned argument, you're not helping.

>This is utterly false.

I'll let that one stand on its own.

>Complete crap, all around.

>Oh, and there was a huge overabundance of shitty one-liners. Please don't do that.
>Also, you're shit at writing fight scenes. Please never do it again.
Inflammatory and uncalled for.

>Terribly sorry; you're no Beckett.

From an argument that an author was following a technique that's been used before professionally. Yes, every rule has been broken, and many writers have taken that as their cue to do so as well. A reviewer can say that he found it effective or not, but pulling the "you're no X" argument is a non-starter. If the author was equivalent to a famous figure, would he be here writing pony fanfiction? It's a legitimate technique to try, and you can give an impression of its relative success, but don't use this strategy.

Again, just skimming here, but examples were easy to find. This is not professional behavior unless the two parties know each other well and don't mind that type of interaction. Even so, someone new who doesn't know that will be put off by it. The comments in the write-off turned rather nasty, more so than any previous one. Reviewers, there's no reason to be mean to a writer. Honest, yes. Malicious, no. You can say that something is discouraged or ineffective in your opinion, but beware what you say is wrong, do not insult the story itself, and never disparage the writer. If he snarks back or won't take your suggestions, let it go. It's out of your hands at that point. Meeting force with force is absolutely the wrong thing for a reviewer to do.

Those of us in /fic/ wonder why the FiMFiction community regards us as elitist.

This is exactly why.

We sit back and say, "They just can't take criticism." While that is true in cases, this behavior isn't helping our cause. How does this make us look to people outside /fic/, particularly since it was advertised on FiMFiction to attract writers from there? At least the majority of review thread responses will offer constructive feedback. But here, an author can get a brief listing of what someone thought was enjoyable or not, little direction for improvement, and the possibility of abuse.

This behavior is not something inherent in this particular write-off or MLPchan. It's been building for a while and has gotten worse with each successive event. We need these contests to reflect on us as positively as the rest of the writing/reviewing activities do. They're supposed to be fun.

Whitbane 1818

>>1803

Now he just needs a Christmas hat for that vinyl collectible and it'll be the best present ever.

I also wrote, "Yes." Might have been better if it wasn't pretentious bullcrap with nonsense pretty imagery instead of actual plot and character development.
This post was edited by its author on .

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1819

>>1805
>The comments in the write-off turned rather nasty, more so than any previous one.

Ghhh. And how.

I'll always remember this as "the one that went sour". Hopefully it will only be "the one", as in, "let's not behave like this anymore, kids, okay?" I've never seen a writeoff with such vitriol.

To your comment on the feedback coloring reviews: I don't know about anyone else, but I never read reviews on any story except mine. The exception to this comes only after I've read a story myself, see a review of my entry and go, "Hey, they liked/hated my story; how did they feel about this other one that I liked/hated?" But by that point, it's too late for someone else's opinion to color mine.

Congrats to Number25, A Little Brighter was an ambitious piece that really did what it set out to do. :) I'm pleased as heck with the positive feedback on Pinkless and look forward to Pasco's review.

I'm also very pleased to note that I scored higher with this fic than any previous. :D I hope I can keep outdoing myself in the future like that. (Most likely I will choke and screw up next time, but whatevs.)

I don't know if there were any concerns with my piece that I wanted to address. I will say that I'm kind of surprised it worked as well as it did, because I felt upon having finished it that it was missing large chunks that would justify certain emotional turns, but apparently Twilight's characterization was the only thing people had an issue with, and I know exactly why and what to do about it. For anyone who liked Pinkless: I have a real drive to clean it up and get it published. If that happens, there's a sequel on the horizon as well. I quite literally dreamed the entire thing up the week of the writeoff and said, "Screw it, I'm writing this no matter what". I didn't even change the concept, it just happened to fit the prompt, albeit more of a "The word I can't say" than anything.

Regardless of the stuff in this thread, I had a good time. Now for a week's breather before the next one. @[email protected]

1823

Woo! I'm a goshdarnittoheck author abomination. ;-;

As a side note, GV: yur a idgeot.

an overdue apology, thanks, and spoiler for those who wanted it "Benediction" by Eustatian!Wings60m9. 1825


>>1758
>I'm sorry. I tried to approach this positively.

Thank you for at least trying. That was more than I deserved. For my part, I'm sorry I've only read one of your stories, one which happened to be something I couldn't like. I'd like to read more. Are you Pracca on FiMFiction?

And Pasco's right, what I said at the end there was terribly mean.

And I don't want to hate you. Can we maybe try again?



>>1797
> It actually reminded me of Madeleine l'Engel's A Swiftly Tilting Planet, if you've ever read that.

Can I admit this almost makes me cry? Because it's a book I want to like more - it's a very strange feeling. The entire series is frequently confusing and always haunting in ways I can't say are good, more like challenging if that wasn't so cliche and overused.

Not my favorite stories, but I can't imagine writing at that level. That I could even hint at it is, just… wow.

> Sundog and Drift

I had a hell of a time writing them, and I cut a second flash-chapter that was giving me even more trouble. I'm thinking of replacing them if I can imagine something better.

Then again I wanted a fighting (or fucking) scene mostly for the why-not factor. As often is, that's not a terribly good reason for doing something.

Okay, since you lot of people asked…

"Benediction" is a shipfic:
Ponies*, who can speak** / a physical reality that (generally***) cannot.

I don't think I can make the identity of "us" and "them" any clearer than that

*possibly dragons, griffons, and other speaking creatures. The text is silent on that point.

** "speak" and reason and choose good and evil and so forth

*** except for the part of "us" that we call "them"

They do not love each other in what we'd call a romantic sense. They are not equal enough for that. But shipping is broader than romance, and I hope I've made some impression there.

I think that's the best way to put it.

1830

>>1805
First off, I actually thought that the author of "Breaking the Silence" was Tactical, of all people—you gave off his general vibe in your responses. GIven your aims in those posts, though, I guess you were successful in achieving that kind of misdirection.

I'll easily grant that many of the reviews and responses were volatile—vitriolic, even. To people like CoS and anyone else who I put down ("You can't write this for shit"? When in the hell have I said that before, and what was I thinking when I did?), you have my utmost apologies. We've always suspected that going anon brings out the worst in us, and I guess this event has only confirmed that fact.

Oh, and @Pasco—I will admit that the "popularity" argument when referring to a fic's problems is flawed; however, again, the way you wrote your responses made me think of another author or two who're well known for going against the common wisdom of /fic/ regulars and more experienced members. So, take that as you will, I guess.

>>1825
>Can I admit this almost makes me cry?
There's no denying it—your prose was absolutely beautiful. I felt as though we were on an epic journey through time and space, dipping into history at certain points to see through the eyes of another. The tone and feel throughout the entire thing (barring one notable example) were absolutely perfect.

>>1823
ur moms ugly

Anonymous 1834

>>1805
I have commented before that I think these reviews should be made within the website thing itself and let the people allow to toggle if they want the reviews to be open or not to others to comment on (that, and that I think this thing could really use a timer rather than just posting times and hoping people get them right, amongst other things).

And yeah, these things keep getting more feisty every time, and not for the better…

"Benediction" by Eustatian!Wings60m9. 1840

>>1830

In part I have you to thank. Do you remember reading "Watching Paint Dry"? I wrote that as training for third and second omniscient narration and your review showed me that I wasn't there yet. The style seemed to fit here.

I should note that I'm only trying to imitate Cold in Gardez, who does what I do with words - but better.

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1849

>>1825

Yes, I am Pracca on FIMFiction, and while cannot promise you'll like anything I've written, I do appreciate the gesture. I was probably harsher than I needed to be in reviewing your story, and for that I apologize.

Yeah, I think a fresh start would probably be best for both of us =)

1869

File: 1354575408330.jpeg (94.09 KB, 640x480, Writer_Meatgrinder_2.jpeg)

So, I won.

I certainly did not expect that. Not after seeing the rest of the awesome entries in the contest.

“A Little Brighter” is my first ponyfic, and, in fact, the first real piece of fiction I’ve ever finished (the first draft of). I wrote it with the intention of winning but did not expect it to, so I suppose two days of planning and 21 hours of writing paid off. At the very least, it inspires hope in my future works. And, just to be fair, the concept was conceived several hours before the prompt was revealed. I was ready to drop the idea if it didn’t suit, but the themes just happened to work together.

I would like to thank every single person who commented, reviewed or even simply read my fic. The knowledge that my story made someone smile is enough justification for having written it.

The competition was certainly top-notch, and I am happy that several high-quality stories were produced by the write-off. “Pinkless” was my top pick, and an overall amazing work. It deserved its high score and I would not have been at all surprised if it had beaten me to the first place. Kudos to PresentPerfect. I hope to see your story on EqD someday.

“A Monologue” was a wonderfully written and intriguing tale told in a form that (in my opinion) isn’t so easy to work in. I do not particularly like such purely introspective interior monologue fics, but this story extracted an unexpected quantity of feels from me. Hat’s off to WB.

And, finally, “The Stars and Sky Above.” This was the fic that made me first doubt my chances in the contest. Wonderful imagery, clean prose and a nice twist on an old concept made for a very enjoying read. Thank you for your work, Golden Vision. And, also, I totally guessed that it was yours!

I am definitely going to return to my story and make a substantial revision or even a whole rewrite, and bring it up to the highest standard. Hopefully, “A Little Brighter” will make it to publication one day.

And now, all that’s left is for me to figure out how to get a small vinyl pony shipped all the way to Russia in one piece.

With gratitude,
Writer Number 25

1870

To all those who read my entry, "Tribunal", a common complaint I seem to get is that my prose is awkward/basic whatever. Could this be elaborated further?

Anonymous 1878

File: 1354584056597.gif (496.66 KB, 627x767, Fuck this.gif)

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go kill myself after reading my story.

1880

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>>1878
As looser extraordinaire of this competition, I say you have no right to feel sorry about yourself. At least you aren't as big an idiot as me, and that's something.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1881

>>1825
This explanation.

This is the best thing ever.

Is it too late to give this story a 10? Because I want to now.

ALSO ALL THE FRIENDSHIP IS MAKING ME TEAR UP GUYS ;_;

>>1869
>I hope to see your story on EqD someday.

As do I. My track record with cleaning up writeoff entries is… nonexistant, actually. :(

And while I was perfectly fine with losing to your fic, I am now thoroughly humbled. First piece of fiction ever? I highly recommend keeping your planning technique for the future, as it appears to have paid off very well.
This post was edited by its author on .

A Writer's/Reviewer's Rebuttal 1882

>>1805

Pascoite, I have a bone to pick with you. I’m incredibly upset with this post, for reasons I feel I should share. Humor me as I dissect it in detail and find out why.

***

>First off, I wrote "Breaking the Silence." Surprised? Probably, for those that know me. It was a gamble to try, and one that I didn't come close to finishing. But I decided to submit it anyway and see what people made of it, then throw some snarky responses at the inevitable feedback to see the reactions. Call it an unscheduled inspection. More on that in a moment, but I'm glad to see that people weren't taken in by the old "Child narrator? D'awww!"


Am I surprised? Well, I have seen little else of your work. I’m not a regular reader of pony, to be perfectly honest, but I know that you are one of the regulars of fic. So, I can imagine you do have a certain degree of talent under your belt, apropos of that title.

I can respect that it was made under duress, and that you said it was a gamble (to my mind, something that you are not used to), and so, therefore, I can also respect that as many of us are in a similar boat. However, how did you truly think it appropriate to act with what you call “snark” and that I call “condescension”?

While I don’t believe you to be the sort of person who cannot handle criticism, the responses I saw you giving during this process were not conducive to a friendly/helpful environment. If anything, you have as much blame as the rest of us reviewers for feeding a flame that could have easily been stopped or blunted, had you chosen to exercise better tactics than this. If you know what is inappropriate behavior, you should lead through behaving better than that, not through “testing us” by acting as what you are not.

That leads to confusion and misinterpretation about what is, or what is not, appropriate in this situation. At best, you have only proven that the rules seem to not apply to someone, given their status is high enough and they make a suitable excuse for their behavior.

>Second, note that I don't generally review in write-offs anymore. I reviewed every single story in /fic/ write-off 3. By write-off 4, I only reviewed maybe 4 stories. Since then, it's been by request only or not at all, and I don't post reviews until after the results have been posted. Why? I don't want to influence anyone with my opinion. It's too easy for that to happen. People can read the reviews before the stories, then go in predisposed toward an impression. How often do these quick-hit reviews say something to the effect of "I agree with the above review" and either leave it at that or add a couple of points? I'd rather let every reader start every story with a clean slate.


This is your choice and reasons for not participating in the review process, which I can respect as your own. However, I would ask you to recall that this is not a review-based thread. It is a contest thread, and the reviews therein should be given the weight appropriate to that notion. These are nice bonuses, not expectations, and the reviewers are not always “experienced” either. There are a fair share of old faces, but there are the newbies too.

A short review for a thread that isn’t made for reviewing is entirely acceptable. Especially given that there were 20 stories to look at, clocking in at almost 90k words. If you personally choose to be particular about what you review, that is again your choice, but this thread is not supposed to be for long reviews that pick at every detail. An overview, along with an “I like/dislike this story because… ”, should be expected at best. It’s a great method of practicing with something that is not extraordinarily deadly in its consequences should you make a mistake.

We aren’t ostensibly here to review the stories and make them better right this second, we’re supposed to be here to read and judge them as they stand. Reasons for our choices are appreciated, but they are not demanded.

>Getting back to my story. What did people say about it? Mixed bag of things, some right and some wrong. There are two parts: what was said and how.


>As to the what: here's where interpreting these reviews can be tricky. Can I trust what these people are saying? After the fact, I'll match them up against the list of authors and decide on my own who is likely to give good advice. I'm not going to get into specifics, but suffice it to say that while quite a few valid points were raised, I was given some advice that was contradictory and some that was outright wrong.


The first point should be expected. This is a mixed bag of people from varying backgrounds and tastes. You would not expect everyone you meet to like black licorice, so why should you expect everyone to get the same thing from your fic?

The second is a sage bit of advice which I certainly advise any author in here to use. And, given that last bit about the contradictory or “wrong” bits, it will be of great help in letting them decide whose opinions will weigh most heavily.

>How much do these quick reviews help, anyway? Most of them are just an "I like this one, didn't like this one, loved this one…" without identifying any useful number of problems, let alone providing any help. The author's already going to get a picture of how much people like his story by seeing the compiled voting. Specific opinions are only helpful if he takes the time to match them up to who provided each one after identities are revealed, as long as he knows who the reliable commenters are. These are the types of reviews that only help potential readers decide what they might like, and very few people involved are going to choose what to read based on them. Readers either get to them all or pick them by some other scheme, like word count. They're not even structured to help the writers, they're not influencing who reads what, and they can easily bias people for or against stories.


Considering this is not a review thread, as I stated above, it is still helpful and you should not deny someone’s contribution just because they didn’t go into as much detail as you might have preferred. That is why we have reviewer threads and the TTG. This can give you a basic overview of your story, pretty much how it makes people react, and the writer’s should be grateful for whatever feedback they receive.

Granted, specific points are always helpful, and I encourage any reviewer to at least give some reasoning behind their decision, but expecting essays on all of these would be unrealistic and this thread would likely explode if that concept were enforced stringently.

>What is useful feedback? Identify the problem, explain why it's a problem, demonstrate how to fix it. None of this "X didn't work, Y was bad, Z was bad." There's very little a writer can do with that.


Pointing out a problem is indeed step one. The next two are the sign of a very dedicated reviewer, but that is again neither here nor there in a thread that is not supposed to be about reviews. See my above points regarding why.

>More to the point is the how. On the one hand, this is a good thing. Would people point out as many things if they knew who I was? Or would they second-guess themselves? Certainly, anonymous entries allow people with good reputations to get honest feedback. It's one of the few instances for me to get such. On the other hand, would people use that tone with me, knowing who I was? I certainly hope not, but that's secondary. If I'm a nobody, don't I deserve the same respect?


Should we ever use a different tone? Would you expect to be treated any better than anyone else, merely because of your title? I gave you my honest opinion, and I would have given you the same opinion had I known who you were. As a matter of fact, if anything, we should hold you far more accountable, because you know better than this.

I have neither time, nor inclination, to shower anyone with undue praise, so I will make my points as short and sweet as possible. I gave you credit for a good concept, but it was messily handled and I explained why I thought so. Its rightness or wrongness was yours to decide, but I was willing to explain myself when asked to do so.

And I only posted “anonymously” because reviewing these stories with my regular pen-name before now would have disqualified me when people realized I had not reviewed my own submission.

>Also, be very careful about how a problem is presented. Certainly, any rule can be broken if the author can make it effective. So it can be better to phrase it as "X should generally be avoided" instead of "X is wrong." But that's a minor point. If the writer and reviewer know each other and some amount of repartee can be expected, fine. However, in a setting where the reviewer doesn't know who the author is for whatever reason, some tact is called for.


I agree, to an extent. Tact is a good quality in a reviewer, but sometimes someone needs to be told what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Rules can be broken or bent, with the proper execution, but when it is improperly handled, the writer should not be surprised that they are called out on what is going to look like sloppy writing. If they can defend it, fine. If not, it will need to change or be further defended. Breaking a rule does not instantly make something high art if the result is worse than if they had simply followed some of the expectations to begin with.

>In matters where something is more of an issue of personal preference, do not state something as an absolute. Not only is it presumptive, but it purports to impose your opinion on others as well. Doing so in a one-on-one dialogue between writer and reviewer is fine, but airing it in a public forum is another thing. Saying "this story was bad" is entirely different than "I didn't like it." I'm looking at some of the comments made throughout the thread to pick out some specific instances. I didn't read any reviews, so I'm having to skim here, but it's obvious enough that I'll find what I'm looking for. I'm not checking who made these comments, so I hope I'm not picking on one or two people consistently, and frankly, it doesn't matter who said them.


Again, agreed for the most part. However, now I have found something you did severely wrong and it explains one of my biggest gripes both here and later on.

You only skimmed the reviews.

Considering one of your main complaints is that we reviewers did not take an inordinate amount of time to look at these stories, how can you do the same to our reviews? Where is logic in that statement?

>I'm obviously going to back up my own opinions, but I would like to amicably suggest that, given the fact that you're arguing with 2-3 people at least who seem to share an opinion, are you really so sure that you're correct?

@(to join a statement and your counterpoint)
>Well, this depends on who is doing the arguing, doesn't it? If two or three hacks gang up on a good writer, would you judge by numbers? Whether or not the referenced point had any merit, strength of numbers is a dangerous way to argue, particularly in this community. After all, every popular story on FiMFiction is good, right? If the author won't listen, he won't listen. Maybe he's right, and maybe he's not. But unless you're going to bring a new reasoned argument, you're not helping.

He has as much right to back up an argument as I do. And can you please not use the word “hacks”? Especially given you make obviously negative examples of several reviews? This demonstrates little tact, a trait you admit to desiring in a reviewer, so quite kindly show some to others when you are debating their points. And who are you calling the good writer in this argument? I assume this is not supposed to be a reference to yourself, which could possibly speak of an ego I hope is beneath you, but why should it matter how many “hacks” choose to give a review anyways?

If their opinions are so biased and wrong, then the writer has every opportunity to ignore them in favor of people who will give them constructive criticism, or counter appropriately. You act as though it would be the end of the world if a writer was to meet someone unpleasant on their journey, which is guaranteed to happen in both life and especially the internet life.

All he was doing was trying to settle down a confrontational writer, and see if he might change their opinions based on that more than one person shared a complaint with the story. That you chose to continue being snarky to “test” us is not his fault. He was working with what he knew, and I ask you please to not trample on someone’s contribution, however small it might or might not be.

>This is utterly false.

@
>I'll let that one stand on its own.

And here is what got me upset first. If you recall, I was making an argument against one of your claims in this post. I put up the claim you made, made this statement, and then proceeded to explain my reasoning with actual evidence to support my statement.

Also, if you will look at some of the other writers who responded to my reviews, you will see that I was willing to expand and debate points with them, should they have asked for clarification. I was willing to admit a mistake when you pointed it out, despite your reply feeling obnoxiously condescending, and you made no further arguments so I considered the matter closed.

And yet you took a point from my review, tore it out of context, and put it in here to make me look like an ass. I do not appreciate that.

If I have done something wrong, please tell me so right away, so that I might explain myself. I do not proclaim to be the most skilled reviewer here, but I do not like you accusing me of being some bile-spewing nobody with nothing to contribute, or who has never contributed anything at all.

I especially find it strange that, again, you criticize us for giving these supposedly short, unhelpful reviews, yet you give my review the shortest review of all of these in what is an ambiguous seeming manner, full of both snark and bite. That was incredibly unhelpful to me, and shame on you providing me a reason to say so.

> Complete crap, all around.

>Oh, and there was a huge overabundance of shitty one-liners. Please don't do that.
>Also, you're shit at writing fight scenes. Please never do it again.
@
>Inflammatory and uncalled for.

I might agree with you on this. However, you’ve already admitted to skimming, and proven to me you will take only the bits of review which prove your point, so I am disinclined to believe that this is nearly as bad as you make it out to be. Also, I have no idea where I am supposed to find this review, as you give no references to who is speaking with any of these, so that I might find them and both verify your truthfulness and back your claims.

>Terribly sorry; you're no Beckett.

@
>From an argument that an author was following a technique that's been used before professionally. Yes, every rule has been broken, and many writers have taken that as their cue to do so as well. A reviewer can say that he found it effective or not, but pulling the "you're no X" argument is a non-starter. If the author was equivalent to a famous figure, would he be here writing pony fanfiction? It's a legitimate technique to try, and you can give an impression of its relative success, but don't use this strategy.

I don’t agree with the tactic, true, but it is his opinion. Ignore the point, if it means nothing, and move on. If the rest of his review holds no merit, point it out, but a throwaway line is not worth getting yourself all in a twist over.

***

A Writer's/Reviewer's Rebuttal(cont.) 1883

>>1882 (cont.)
***

Now, on to the remainder of your post.

>Again, just skimming here, but examples were easy to find. This is not professional behavior unless the two parties know each other well and don't mind that type of interaction. Even so, someone new who doesn't know that will be put off by it. The comments in the write-off turned rather nasty, more so than any previous one. Reviewers, there's no reason to be mean to a writer. Honest, yes. Malicious, no. You can say that something is discouraged or ineffective in your opinion, but beware what you say is wrong, do not insult the story itself, and never disparage the writer. If he snarks back or won't take your suggestions, let it go. It's out of your hands at that point. Meeting force with force is absolutely the wrong thing for a reviewer to do.


You yet again mention that you only skimmed these, further showing you appear to have made as little effort as you purport we did with this post and damaging your arguments by making yourself appear hypocritical and egotistical. I do not wish to think this of you, but you have made it difficult to not leap to this conclusion and simply dismiss your arguments out-of-hand. I will refrain from accusing you of such, but know that I do not think this reflects well on you or your argument.

Now, to the matters of being what you call “malicious”. There is indeed a fine line between being cruel and being blunt, and I agree it is one that should be maintained carefully. However, I also almost feel I should be insulted, if not as a reviewer for you unfairly calling me “malicious”, then as a writer for you calling me weak.

Criticism is a part of life, as are jerks, for both writers and reviewers. No matter where you go, you will find people who will not like you for contrived and sometimes bizarre reasons. That you feel it your job to protect folks like Super-Reviewer says little about your confidence in their ability to protect themselves. I certainly like nice reviewers, who can make a point without being harsh, but I must also acknowledge I will meet people I don’t like in everyday life.

As an adult, I must move beyond that and either ignore them for better reviewers, if my current one cannot be reasoned with, or talk with them if I feel it is just a particularly sharp reviewer who might have had a bad day this time around.

I do not know how “nasty” the past write-offs have been as I’ve only attended three so far, but I think that this is to be expected to some degree. Newcomers are arriving and they see us joking with each other, or see us respond well to harsh criticism, and they want the respect that those people have. So instruct them why something is wrong, and guide them to a more appropriate style. Don’t say their review is worthless just because it had too much bite in it. Tell them it was out of line and show them specifically why.

>Those of us in /fic/ wonder why the FiMFiction community regards us as elitist.


>This is exactly why.


>We sit back and say, "They just can't take criticism." While that is true in cases, this behavior isn't helping our cause. How does this make us look to people outside /fic/, particularly since it was advertised on FiMFiction to attract writers from there? At least the majority of review thread responses will offer constructive feedback. But here, an author can get a brief listing of what someone thought was enjoyable or not, little direction for improvement, and the possibility of abuse.


And another word I would ask you to avoid, as it makes my blood boil. I am not an “elitist” and this is inflammatory and insulting.

Obviously they cannot take criticism, or at least appropriately handle it, or they would have stayed and either proven us wrong or started taking reviews themselves and shown us better methods and, by extension, taken our readers away from us. Just because you find a jerk somewhere is not a sole reason to leave.

I personally had an incredibly disheartening experience when I submitted a story to EQD. They called it garbage, and the pre-reader said, and I quote, “I sincerely hope we never see this again”. It hurt terribly, but that is what can separate a true writer from a hobbyist. I wanted this story out there, despite that email. So, when I arrived here to try and fix it, I fought for it.

Tooth and nail.

I submitted it time and again to the TTG. Some of the reviewers there were harsh, but I had to look at the meaning, not the words. Just because they might have been over-aggressive didn’t make them wrong, it just made them a very knowledgeable jerk I could still learn something from.

I fought for every scrap of praise, every ounce of acknowledgement, and kept fixing my fic piece by piece as it was broken down. When someone told me how bad the basic premise was, I tore the 80k apart and completely rewrote almost every single one of its now 60+k words.

I worked, and fought, and listened, and improved. I argued with my reviewers until I understood them, and I found many of them were not being “mean” to just be mean. They were being firm, and I needed to look at what they said with a grain of salt because I could not allow myself to take things so personally. Many were willing to listen to me, should I argue sensibly, and I worked to make my opinions have meaning and weight behind them.

It’s not the job of the reviewer to make life pleasant for a writer, though I am grateful for the few who were willing to treat me as an actual member of the community. In fact, as harmful as bilesome hate-vomit can be the other side of that coin is equally bad, if not worse at times. Someone who never has been told “This is awful” doesn’t grow. They will stay the same and stagnate.

It’s a matter of balance, which we can agree on, but it must be understood that humans rarely maintain a perfect balance. Many will swing to one side or another a little stronger some days, and denouncing one in favor of the other is unfair and unsound. Both halves must be heard if a fic is to succeed. If you can win a hard-nosed reviewer, and also please the cuddlefluff, you have truly made a work of art. Both will bring a perspective entirely unique, and the writer must choose for themselves who they will listen to more.

>This behavior is not something inherent in this particular write-off or MLPchan. It's been building for a while and has gotten worse with each successive event. We need these contests to reflect on us as positively as the rest of the writing/reviewing activities do. They're supposed to be fun.


Define “reflecting positively”. If it is a matter of someone being too harsh, argue with that reviewer and show the writer in question that this is not a widely accepted method of instruction. Prove that they have other options than listening to that jerk.

However, if it is only a matter of high standards, then I counter it is better to reach for the sun, and receive only an apple, then it is to hold on to the bark and just get a callus.

And “fun” is subjective. I find great pleasure in making a particularly harsh review eat its words. Pulling that “This is pretty good” from a picky reader is tremendously satisfying, and worth every insult if you pull it from the right person.

***

In conclusion, I do not think you have acted fairly, Pascoite.

Your examples were incredibly biased, as half had to do only with your story and were all, in my opinion, good criticisms, if maybe less than eloquently made or particularly in-depth. (Except that one I pointed out in particular earlier in this post, of which I have no ideas as you did not give me either context or the ability to examine it for myself.)

If you are going to criticize the reviewers, myself included, please tell us why in a manner that sounds less like condemnation from on high and more in a way that shows you understand we are human and capable of making mistakes. Don’t proclaim to be an entirely fair reviewer yourself when I don’t doubt I could find people who would have a complaint on something you reviewed if I looked hard enough. Whether or not they would be strongly vocal on the subject is a matter of their personality and whether they feel it was justified. However I’m sure you have made your share of comments that could be misconstrued as mean-spirited or arrogant by an outsider, and yet were made only with the best intentions at heart.

It’s a matter of understanding none of us are perfect and communicating with one another in a manner that shows we know that. Give the authors their chance to defend their stories, and either criticize a reviewer thoroughly and with all possible dignity and reason, or offer the author an alternative look at their story by way of comparison.

I personally like finding those little reviews in here that say “I really liked it.” Even if there were a dozen that spewed acid at me, I always want to find that one reviewer who says, “I enjoyed this.” If I find it, or one that even says “not bad, but needs improvement, here’s how”, I win. The others could have the most vile, putrid vitriol they can muster. I don’t care. If they make a good point, I’ll take it and make the story even better. If they mess up and hit me for no good reason, I’ll fight back. If they just want to spout hate, I’ll ignore them.

People don’t make my story what it is. I do. Others can help me if they want, and I appreciate every ounce of assistance I get, but they are not the ones who will write my stories for me. Only I can choose how I want to make them.

If I’m scared away from writing because one of the people at my table just happens to scream too loudly at me, then did I ever really feel my work is worth it? If I won’t fight for my story, and defend myself with all the tools at my disposal, why should anyone else? Why should I expect others to fight my battles? Why should my voice matter, if I do not care to exercise it?

Words hurt, but only if you let them. Words which mean nothing and have no purpose beyond existing to harm someone else hold no weight beyond what is given to them. If I find the few people who can help me, the people who want to see me excel, I will find them only should if I choose to look for them.



All that said, I agree that a certain degree of professionalism is always needed, and I do try to maintain one. If I have acted out of line, either in here or one of my earlier reviews, I would welcome anyone to kindly point out why so that I might explain it, retract it, or refute it.

If I have made a personal insult on someone, I would wish to apologize, but they must first tell me what I have done wrong or I’ll never know what I need to fix. My intent is never to be hurtful, but to be completely honest and give them what I think they need to grow, be it praise or a light smack.
This post was edited by its author on .

Congrats. 1885

>>1869

You flatter me, but I can wholeheartedly say you earned your spot there at the top.

Congratulations on your first fic also being an award winner.

But be warned. Some of us will likely try to eat you now, in the dim hopes we can possess a mere fraction of your power.

Just listen for the drums. Drums… and us sharpening sporks.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 1886

>>1883
I don't have the time right now to respond to all of this, let alone read all of it. But I am far from the only one to notice that people have become increasingly contentious with each event, and that this one in particular has been bad.

And by skimming the reviews, I was just saying that I didn't have an exhaustive list of examples, but each one I did find I traced through for full context. I stand by my assertion that each one is something a reviewer should not say. Ever.

I'll answer your points some time later, but I don't see why you're taking this as a personal attack. Treat each other with respect and run these threads so they'd be inviting to newcomers. That's all I want to make sure everyone understands.

1892

>>1886

I don't doubt your intentions, nor question what you were trying to achieve. I can agree that being harsh for the sake of being harsh is not called for and should be discouraged whenever possible.

However, I do question your method of finding, arranging and executing this criticism. The way it is constructed felt very insulting, given its wording in several places, because I like to think I give all my reviewees a chance to rebuke me and that I am as fair as possible in my work.

So no, this was not a personal attack so much as a professional one. You to some extent called my ability as a reviewer into question, so don’t act surprised if I should attempt to refute that claim as best as I can. And you were the one who brought the issue of length into this equation, so I am not apologetic for this thing’s size. I felt it best to take you through it as a whole so that I could find what we can agree on, as opposed to chopping out bits I just wanted to criticize you for. I desired to give you every bit of leeway and opportunity for either explanation or rebuttal, as well as make my meanings as perfectly clear as possible.

Some of your points I found bafflingly underdeveloped, if not almost appearing outright misused, and so I wished to address the issue if it is to become something that we can all agree on. I want to be criticized just as fairly as anyone else, Pascoite, and I feel you did not do so.

As indicated here. Again, you have chopped out a piece of my argument without properly examining it as a whole. If you are going to refute me, refute me for the arguments I am making. That you did look at the reviews extensively does not excuse the lack of context given to them when you made your points, which can be just as unprofessional and hurtful as making slurs.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 1896

>>1892
Alright, that's enough. I was merely asking people to be civil, and I'm not going to get into an argument here. If you truly want to discuss things, I'm in IRC every night.

>Again, you have chopped out a piece of my argument without properly examining it as a whole.

If you're going to accuse me of that, please extend me the same favor.

1913

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>>1892

Hello there, don't pay me much mind, just a passing shadow. However… I feel just a teensy-weensy bit like speaking up.

I guess maybe I should start by saying that this isn't a defense of anyone or any position. Obviously either you nor Pascoite need help reasoning or presenting your arguments/defending yourselves.

Rather, I'd like to point out that regardless of the quality of Pascoite's behavior or argument, the main thrust of his argument still stands… although it looks like it might have gotten a bit muddled.

Seems to me that all Pascoite wanted, in the very end, was to express dissatisfaction at the perceived abundance of overly cruel/unhelpful reviews. He doesn't seem to be alone, either. (See >>1819 and >>1830) The means of expressing this point, and the behavior before, doesn't necessarily invalidate this criticism/perception.

And I guess I'm speaking up if only because I feel like the point is in danger of being lost in the course of what seems to be an increasingly emotional discussion (Of course, this is merely my opinion). In your rebuttal you expressed the following:
>Should we ever use a different tone?
Well, isn't the idea that reviews should help the author? I mean, it really does depend, doesn't it? A boot to the rear might just as well cause a writer to give up on a fine story, rather than getting them in gear, as it were. It's like there's a mismatch between the tone being discussed, which is probably almost unavoidable.

And I guess it would be a shame if a possibly valid point/concern was lost due to a misunderstanding/miscommunication. Maybe another try?

1919

>>1913

I will gladly try again.

I did not wish to invalidate the argument itself. If it seems like I am trying to make this a case of a reviewer being allowed to take an emotional dump on someone without cause, I apologize right here and right now. That was not the point I was attempting to make. If I am muddling the issue of being harsh, versus being honest, I think it is because the post muddled me.

However, mayhaps you raise a valid point. I wish to think I raised my arguments and backed them with a degree of logical thought. However, given that one of my own reviews is amongst those labeled “unreasonably harsh”, I might have my fair share of emotional bias and indignation that could color my arguments. That is why I welcome anyone, such as yourself, going into my assessment and seeing if I am being unfair to Pascoite, and to please not hesitate to call me out if I have attacked him personally or made an unsubstantiated statement that is only trying to be hurtful.

Given that my own “harshness” seemed to apply to his fic in particular, I would also like it to be considered that he is not in the most unbiased position either to be judging my methods. I ask that we look at both sides of this issue, not to dispose or remove the merits of the issue itself.

I work hard at my reviews. I was up until 2 0’clock in the morning working on these ones. I read through every story, made my arguments as clear and concise as possible, and it admittedly rankles that someone would accuse me of not trying to help, or of being unusually cruel in my assessment. I have great sympathy for new writers, but I also acknowledge that, without some difficulties to overcome, we don’t learn what we’re made of. Reviews should indeed help an author, but they should never baby an author. As much as a reviewer has a responsibility to be fair, so too should we acknowledge that a writer has a responsibility to make up their own mind of how they will be treated.

Anonymity is a sword that can cut both ways. As a reviewer is free to be harsher and more critical, so too is a writer free to be more vocal and assertive in their own defense. This is a level playing field, and one in which we can learn how to play each role, should those among us with experience choose to properly educate the newcomers on how it is done.

Now, if I did something wrong to Pascoite, I would have appreciated him coming to me first and addressing the issue before putting together a post condemning all the cruelty of this thread, and then slapping me in it without giving me a chance to work this out with him or whatever authors which I have apparently offended, and that I do not recall coming forward to tell me that I have done so.

I don’t like being mean, I don’t want to be mean. I only want to be honest. Other writers who had a problem with me seemed to be fine after a few discussions, and I was willing to defend my points and make them clearer if I had made either a confusing or possibly untrue statement. So why did Pascoite feel the need to “test” me and was he right to do so with us as a whole? And, given that we only had a couple posts together, why did he feel I was being “unduly harsh”? I may have made mistakes, but I welcomed the chance to discuss this however needed with whatever author felt the need to argue with me and I felt he ignored that.

I am not asking that I be allowed to be unjustifiably harsh. I am asking to be treated with a degree of respect in that if someone has a problem, they at least try to reason with me before labeling me as anything but a well-intentioned, if still human, reviewer. I am admittedly a moron in some matters, I never proclaimed to be anything but, However I am still learning and I only want to help.

Please at least talk to someone before you label them. I personally have no qualms of holding my arguments over after the fact, regardless of my loss of anonymity, because I made them from a point of honesty. If I have made a mistake, please tell me so that I might fix it. But quite kindly do not pull things out after the dust settles and flaunt them as if I was trying to be anything but helpful.

Is that a better statement?

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 1923

>>1881
You know, I've been wondering if I'd find a niche. I have. It's shipping.

Traditional shipping: FlutterDash

Cracked shipping: MLD x Cupcakes

Unconventional shipping: Crusaders x summertime

Cloppy shipping: TwiPie

Painful, uncloppable shipping: GilDash

End-of-summer-romance and jealous shipping: three OC friends

WTF shipping: Celestia x Luna x magical-construct Sombra

I will ship any content grade from M to E. I will ship sex. I will ship nostalgia. I will ship the awkward feeling of forgetting something very important but not knowing what. I will ship anypony and anything.

I will ship everypony with everything.

But, yes, it's too late to vote 10/10. I didn't make it clear at the time and those were the rules. Thanks for beating this out of me; I have a pretty good idea of what to revise towards now.

Incidentally, my muse handed me an idea today…

Twilight notices Dash is a bit out of sorts. Some prodding reveals that Dash is broken up about having to dump a long-time faithful companion, which turns out to be a household appliance. That's right: I'll even ship Dash with her kitchen sink.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1924

>>1923

>painful, uncloppable shipping

You mentioned this before. Now I need to see it. Link.

!!Spike 1927

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1936

>>1923
Shipping entire fics together, you say? Not bad, not bad.

I regret that I will most likely never finish my sentence shipping fic.

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 1937

>>1924
Not here, you won't - it's not exactly foalcon, but kinda close-ish-eh and it's not like the rules around her are that hard to follow.

>>1927
Ah, yes, but I don't even have to make it sexual.

I seem to remember another fic at about the same time that featured a quiet little moment where Twilight is fishing tail hairs out of her sink. Long, straight, multicolored tail hairs. No explanation is given.

>>1936
Didn't I show you the fic-shipfic?

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1952

>>1937
Perhaps you did! I have a poor memory.

Review of "Pinkless" 1989

Pinkless:

Mechanics/Details:
>It draws my attention behind myself.
You'll generally use a reflexive pronoun when the same person/thing is the subject, but that's not the case here. Suggest using "me."

>dolomite

Ah, now you're in my wheelhouse. CaMg(CO3)2. I assume you chose that for a reason. We'll see.

>It tasted like a frog

Not sure I want to hear how she knows that…

>I'm Pinkie Pie. Oh my gosh.

For some reason, I hear her saying that first sentence more than once, maybe with different inflections. And I definitely don't feel a flat inflection on that second sentence.

>fu—

Oh, come now. A proper em dash isn't that hard to do.

>It's like somepony is banging a gong over and over and I'm the gong.

Stretch that image. The vibrations coming in surges and resonating.

>I think it's sapphire, anyway; the color might be affected by the light.

Technically, there's a wide variety of colors that sapphires can be, many of which would be difficult to distinguish on sight from other gems.

>and once more

Introductory words/phrases/dependent clauses leading into the subject of the main clause typically use a comma.

>kinder looking

Hyphenate.

>I see the eyes of this pony hovering before me

Vague whether you mean the pony or the eyes are hovering. I'm assuming the eyes, since she doesn't like to fly that much.

>begins to glare at me

Write really need to consider critically when a "begin" or "start" action is appropriate. It doesn't feel right here. There's no warm-up period. She just glares.

>which is kind of cluttered what with all the bird houses

Comma after "cluttered," and "birdhouses" is one word.

>searching through books placed anywhere and everywhere.

That participial phrase is afwully far from what it modifies. You may want to move it to the beginning of the sentence.

>The bowl feels very comfortable in my hooves.

Elaborate, as it sounds like a throwaway factoid. It feels nice to touch something solid, real? Or the warmth feels good? The gesture of friendship?

>f word

I've seen this done several ways, typically "F" word or f-word.

>That gives him pause. I am, after all, ten times his size. I use the pause

Repetition of "pause."

>Except now I've also hurt somepony. Bunny.

Somebunny?

>Now there's rainbows

There are

>a puzzled and hurt look

Show me. Here's a great spot to drive the emotion home. And give my Pinkie's reaction to seeing it.

>still vicious

Hyphenate.

>This is obviously just another one of your clones, that we must have missed yesterday.

No comma.

>I'd really like to be right about having tons of new sister and not another dumb, stinky clone!

I'm having trouble deciphering this. "Tons of new sister" as in a huge amount piled into one, or "tons of new sisters" as in a large number of them? I can't figure out her meaning.

>Now what's the big…

You can put a question mark after an ellipsis. And it is a question…

>She's the first pony who's shown me actual consideration, not counting Cluttershy's soup.

Well… I get that this may be her perception, but Fluttershy was still concerned about her later. Pinkie's reaction was mixed. Welcoming, but still disparaging of clones.

>The yellow pegasus seems to have startled herself by speaking up.

Describe it. What does Fluttershy do?

>These are mares who I know

whom. I doubt Pinkie would get that right, but the narrative voice you've adopted would.

>These are mares who I know, from Pinkie's memories, are the best of friends

Note how the bit before the comma could stand as a coherent thought. Where you've place your parenthetical comment is hurting the flow. It took me a few tries to realize that "who I know" actually goes with the later section. I wouldn't break them like this, as it creates a valid but misleading and syntactically troublesome thought.

>bouncing around like an idiot

Ouch. Alienating Pinkie with that one, yes?

>Rainbow grimaces. "You've been alive for like a day, and we're already making you feel like you don't want to be? That's awful!"

I dunno. Rainbow's never struck me as that perceptive or willing to change her mind.

>Pinkie suddenly springs up, and almost chucks me in the chin with her head.

No comma.

>Rainbow is putting on a show of glaring at me

And now this. You're kinda flip-flopping on her.

>Her generosity has me staggered.

Does she not know about the elements?

>of satisfied relief

Show me this.

>Maybe I should try and be happy for her, not that I can show it.

A dash would work better than a comma there.

>Dramatic tears come out of her eyes

Kinda awkward phrasing.

>record player

"Phonograph" to avoid repetition of "record" from later in the sentence.

>It's just you and me.

"You and I." They're predicate pronouns of a linking verb, so still in nominative case. Would Twilight know that? Probably, but she's not necessarily in a formal enough situation that she'd be watching for it. Your call.

>her just in my peripheral line of sight

use a "with" up front.

>after you left I suppose

Needs a comma after "left."

>blue-green color

Tourmaline comes in a wide variety of colors. Do you want a specific variety that'd be this color? Damn. My regular mineral sites are both down tonight. Hm. Green = elbaite, sometimes dravite, Paraiba tourmaline. The common name for the main blue variety escapes me at the moment. I don't recall tourmaline as being a particularly good fiber optic, though. Could go for a quartz variety, or even ulexite for that.

>She smiles at me. "You really know an awful lot about rocks, don't you?"

>I shrug. "Doesn't everypony?"
Somehow, I see her chastising Twilight on the difference between rocks and minerals.

>What it is; where it came from; how it works.

Just use commas here. There's not really any call for semicolons.

Style:
I'm getting an odd vibe from this Pinkie. Her word choice and language formality don't really seem to match the character. I'd recommend they do even from a third-person perspective, but when the narrator is Pinkie, it needs that connection. It's hard to gauge Pinkie's intelligence level from the show, but she doesn't speak too formally, even when she's out of sorts, like in "Party of One" or the flashback to her time on the rock farm.

The dialogue gets a bit talking heads at times, and fortunately, I don't need to explain to you what that is.

Characterization:
I've already touched on the issues I had with clone Pinkie and Rainbow Dash. The only other one is Twilight. I was a little uncomfortable with how quick she was to judge and be so cold. Then we get the reveal that she hated sending the other Pinkies back, and she immediately forgives Saddy for clocking her on the skull. Twilight, like Dash, changed attitudes on a whim, and it felt too sudden.

I actually did like clone Pinkie. I just need a connect-the-dots to get me to her personality from Pinkie's, since that should be a common starting point for all of the copies.

Story:
I rather liked the story. I was with you right up until Saddy jumps in the water. That scene, with all the other Pinkies swimming around her—all I could think of is the Scooby-Doo movie, where all the disembodied souls are swarming around. Part of it was that it just kicked out of the mood of the story so far, and even of the episode it comes from. All of these clones are quite serious, morose, philosophical… It's almost creepy. Just the previous day, all they could say was "Fun!" and now they're suddenly deep and introspective?

I don't mind that you leave the main conflict open-ended: what is life like going forward for Spelly? But I would have liked to see Twilight come to some conclusions about what was different about this clone, and if the mushroom had anything to do with it. It was a bit unsatisfying to have this side plot just dropped.

Overall:
Well done, on the whole. I enjoyed reading this story, and while I haven't read enough others to compare them head to head, I certainly wouldn't call it out-of-place as a medalist. Good job. Keep writing, and have fun with it.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 2003

>>1989
>Oh, come now. A proper em dash isn't that hard to do.
I don't believe in em-dashes or angled quotes. >:V

>Technically, there's a wide variety of colors that sapphires can be, many of which would be difficult to distinguish on sight from other gems.

Absolutely true. But would you agree that folks not in the know about gems and so forth will default to 'blue' for sapphire?

>>I'd really like to be right about having tons of new sister and not another dumb, stinky clone!

>I'm having trouble deciphering this. "Tons of new sister" as in a huge amount piled into one, or "tons of new sisters" as in a large number of them? I can't figure out her meaning.
It's just a turn of phrase, maybe very internet in origin. She doesn't just have a new sister, but tons of it! Given that she originally had no new sister, the resulting mass of new sister may as well be tons thereof, relatively speaking. Does that make sense?

>You can put a question mark after an ellipsis. And it is a question…

Tell that to the other PRs. <.<

>>She's the first pony who's shown me actual consideration, not counting Cluttershy's soup.

>Well… I get that this may be her perception, but Fluttershy was still concerned about her later. Pinkie's reaction was mixed. Welcoming, but still disparaging of clones.
Not sure what you're getting at here.

>Note how the bit before the comma could stand as a coherent thought. Where you've place your parenthetical comment is hurting the flow. It took me a few tries to realize that "who I know" actually goes with the later section. I wouldn't break them like this, as it creates a valid but misleading and syntactically troublesome thought.

Good catch. Breaking it up into two lines as you did made me realize it should be, "These are mares who, [as] I know from Pinkie's memories, are the best of friends." Welcome to first drafts!

>>Dramatic tears come out of her eyes

>Kinda awkward phrasing.
Is changing it to "appear" enough?

>"You and I." They're predicate pronouns of a linking verb, so still in nominative case. Would Twilight know that? Probably, but she's not necessarily in a formal enough situation that she'd be watching for it. Your call.

Twilight's spoken that way in the show before.

>Tourmaline comes in a wide variety of colors. Do you want a specific variety that'd be this color? Damn. My regular mineral sites are both down tonight. Hm. Green = elbaite, sometimes dravite, Paraiba tourmaline. The common name for the main blue variety escapes me at the moment. I don't recall tourmaline as being a particularly good fiber optic, though. Could go for a quartz variety, or even ulexite for that.

I've got a lot of research to do when I start revising this. I want her observations to be as precise and scientific as possible.

>Style:

I'm glad you're seeing all the same problems as I am.

>I've already touched on the issues I had with clone Pinkie and Rainbow Dash. The only other one is Twilight. I was a little uncomfortable with how quick she was to judge and be so cold. Then we get the reveal that she hated sending the other Pinkies back, and she immediately forgives Saddy for clocking her on the skull. Twilight, like Dash, changed attitudes on a whim, and it felt too sudden.

Twilight's attitude stems from seeing Spelly as a magical construct. She's viewing her, having seen what kind of chaos mirror pool constructs can create, with the same detached air she might view a magically transmuted hat. At the end, she starts realizing that she's wrong, but she's already talked shitsaid the wrong thing and that's when she gets hit. So because she's the Element of FriendshipMagic, she's quick to forgive because she has that moment of "Oh man, what did I sound like? No wonder she acted that way!" For Twilight, it's a journey of coming to see this pony as a pony, and I'll hopefully be able to make that clearer on a rewrite.

>I actually did like clone Pinkie. I just need a connect-the-dots to get me to her personality from Pinkie's, since that should be a common starting point for all of the copies.

Once I started thinking back over this story, I realized I should have started with, "Okay, Pinkie can't have fun; what's she like now?" I definitely did not give that proper consideration; luckily, the only scene I need to keep is the last one, so maybe just maybe I can be flexible enough to grind her personality down into what it is, rather than just inserting that into her in the first place.

>I was with you right up until Saddy jumps in the water. That scene, with all the other Pinkies swimming around her—all I could think of is the Scooby-Doo movie, where all the disembodied souls are swarming around. Part of it was that it just kicked out of the mood of the story so far, and even of the episode it comes from. All of these clones are quite serious, morose, philosophical… It's almost creepy. Just the previous day, all they could say was "Fun!" and now they're suddenly deep and introspective?

I'm not sure if there's a good way to get this across. I see them as things, kind of… Potential beings that are created from and live in the pool, that take on the personality of whoever uses it, possibly that were created by Pinkie using it in the first place. She imprinted an aspect of herself onto them, which they took, being clones and all, and then carried with them when returned to the pool. We see them fading because that aspect is leaving them, but they still want to live because they've had a taste of it. They're literally losing sentience and form in front of her eyes as she talks to them.

Honestly, I thought you were going to question why she jumped in the pool in the first place. :V No one has, so I'll assume that my genius showed through my brilliant word choices and leave it at that.

>I don't mind that you leave the main conflict open-ended: what is life like going forward for Spelly? But I would have liked to see Twilight come to some conclusions about what was different about this clone, and if the mushroom had anything to do with it. It was a bit unsatisfying to have this side plot just dropped.

It's a story about a being coming into her own and gaining acceptance despite the horrific circumstances of her creation. The sequel will deal with the rest. :3

Thank you for the review!

2005

File: 1354797743632.png (35.36 KB, 353x234, cd5.png)

>>2003
>I don't believe in em-dashes or angled quotes. >:V

Anonymous 2009

>>1989
>Technically, there's a wide variety of colors that sapphires can be, many of which would be difficult to distinguish on sight from other gems.
I thought sapphire was the blue gemstone, but corundum had a variety of colors depending on the impurities, with each receiving a different. Do all of them get called sapphires rather than called corundum?

>shows how shit I know about this crap.


>>2005
Angled quotes?

2011

>>2009
Straight/dumb quotes: ' "
Curly/angled/smart/typographer's quotes: “ ” ‘ ’
This post was edited by its author on .

Grif 2052

>>2009
As an uneducated layman on this subject, I safely consider all blue gemstones as sapphire until told otherwise.

2061

>>2003
>But would you agree that folks not in the know about gems and so forth will default to 'blue' for sapphire?
Depends on how much of an expert you want Spelly to seem.

>Tell that to the other PRs.

I hear there was a discussion about this recently. TL;DR: different style guides may recommend against it, but I don't know that you'll find one that says it's plain wrong. I personally won't use "…!" because I think it's oxymoronic, but "…?" "—?" and "—!" are technically acceptable.

>Not sure what you're getting at here.

Fluttershy showed her additional concern besides the soup. She tried to speak up about the clone's headaches and was never hostile toward her. The clone didn't notice?

>>2009
Opaque white corundum is just referred to generically. Red is commonly called ruby. Pretty much any other color, particularly translucent ones, are called sapphire, which are commonly blue, but can also be clear, yellow, golden-brown, pink, orange, purple, or green, depending on the impurities.

2064

>>2003
Finally thought of it. Blue tourmaline is indicolite.

Review of "A Little Brighter," Part 1 2207

A Little Brighter:

Mechanics/Details:
>Morning. The sun rose
Ooh. Opening with a weather report. First fic, huh? I'll give you a pass then, but it's cliche. Unless the weather is integral to your story, it says you don't have anything more interesting to tell the reader.

>The sun rose over the horizon at Seventh street

How can you even see the horizon from inside the city like that? And "Street" should be capitalized.

>like a cardboard circle some foal colored with a neon-yellow crayon

Verb tense: had colored. Make sure you're using past tense with actions that are current in the story and past perfect with ones that are in the story's past. I'm not getting the imagery. As placed, the comparison points to the action "rose," while you're actually describing the sun. Even then, I'm not sure how you're characterizing it. What about the sun would look cardboard or crayon-y? I'm not sure how that would change my mental picture of the normal sun.

>Manehattan

I agree that it should be spelled like this. Unfortunately, canon is "Manehatten."

> four corners of gray pavement and brick houses. On one corner, a late-night diner

Which is it? Four corners of houses, or three of houses and one diner?

>diner with unwashed windows opened shop after three hours of sleep

The diner had three hours of sleep? Not sure if you're going for some personification here, but it's not like the restaurant would be fatigued.

>Directly across, a glass-walled floristry store welcomed its first customer of the day. The third corner, sadly, was barren.

Okay, now we're down to one corner that could possibly have a house.

>It is on the fourth corner that Salad Hooves, a lad of seventeen years, stood behind the counter at a classic Manehattan street sandwich stand.

So, he's in front of a house? Or there aren't actually any houses? Verb tense mismatch, too: is -> stood.

>sharp at the clock

Not familiar with this idiom. Something like "at seven o'clock sharp" perhaps?

>pale yellow

Hyphenate most compound descriptors.

>his pale yellow snout pressed against the countertop, his curly brown mane splayed around in a circle of split hairs.

A bit clunky to stack up two absolutes like this. Just use an "and" instead of the comma to make it a compound one.

>I heart Manehattan

I think this is the only time I'll ever say that you could actually get away with putting a Unicode heart character there.

>Wa-wa-what

Keep the spelling consistent. Wha-wha-what

>banana-nut-bell pepper

Need another hyphen.

>in place, careful not to disturb the adhesive bandages holding the temples in place

Repetitive.

>bread roll

Redundant.

>carefully holding its vegetable guts in place

As placed, this participle describes "mare," but I believe you meant for it to modify "Salad."

>squee

Hm. Not a real word, and one I'd normally discourage. And "whistling" isn't quite right for that sound.

>Mister sandwich guy

Either capitalize all of that or none of it.

>choclit'

Not sure what the point of that apostrophe is. That's not the only place with a missing letter. Go all or nothing. More to the point, how would this shortened form differ in pronunciation from the correct word? Why not just use it?

>light brown

Hyphenate.

>A short horn jutted

Third sentence in a row with "A <adjective> <past-tense verb>" beginning. Mix it up.

>"levels"

I don't get a tongue-in-cheek meaning from this. Not sure why it's in quotes.

>his lips curving downwards in a frown

Redundant.

>He patted musician on his shoulder.

Missing word.

>heavy lead clouds broken above

I think "leaden" would work better. And the use of "broken" here reads a bit awkwardly to me.

>East

Why is this capitalized?

>Shining Shoes bit on his sandwich, and trotted off

No comma when you have a single subject with two verbs, and the description isn't complex. This is also repetitive with "Before he could take a bite and trot off" earlier.

>empty pavement

But there's another customer…

>for the second time in the day

Instead of "in the day," use "today" or "that day."

>trotting up

That verb is getting overused. And he was just in line. He could only move one or two steps before he's at the stand. Not enough distance to get to a trot.

>MY PURSE!

Italics are preferred over all caps.

>Somepony stole by bucking purse!

Wait, what? It's the musician's? A stallion's not gonna call it that…

>still held on the glue

Suggest "stuck" instead of "held."

>and— Wait!

No space after the dash.

>in glee

You've already given us a bit of context to discern how he feels. You can give us some more if you like, but don't give us the answer directly.

>too subtle to chime like that in Manehattan

Not sure what that's supposed to mean.

>It reminded Salad that he never actually entered the shop before

Referring to past actions. Use past perfect tense: he had never actually entered

>light green

Hyphenate.

>'Floristicka'

No need for the quotes. It's just the name of her shop.

>There was no choice, but to be honest.

No comma.

>each kind sends their own message

Number mismatch: kind (singular) -> their (plural)

>'I love you', 'I miss you', 'I forgive you', 'I'm sorry'…

Unless you're going for British usage, put the commas and ellipsis inside the quotes.

>Tulip pointed towards the far corner, where a bunch of Wolfsbane plants stood in a glass vase. Salad's pupils shrunk to points. Tulip rolled her eyes.

Look how repetitive these sentence structures get. It's actually been a problem through most of the story so far.

>Salad beamed and fished out his purse

Man, he's got one too? Find a different word for that, please.

>dodging between the first and second pedestrians

He's already encountered four at his stand, who were presumably pedestrians just before and after patronizing it.

>At the back of his head

In the back of his mind.

>three block

Plural.

>Running a hoof through his mane and patting the sweater pocket, Salad marched on through the walkway.

"his" sweater pocket. Note that participial phrases imply concurrent action. So you're saying he runs his hoof through his mane and pats his pocket at the same time he's marching.

>zine

Magazine, or if you want to shorten it like this, 'zine.

>snorting in contempt

Telling again.

>The cap itself looked comical

To whom? The narrator shouldn't be making this judgment.

>sprawling bigness

Odd word choice. Size? Girth? Expanse? And when referring to a body, "sprawling" is going to connote having all four of her legs spread out.

>Meadown

Meadow

>Salad smiled as wide as medicine allowed

I'm not sure what medicine has to do with it. Maybe you're trying to say something like anatomy?

>toe

Suggest "hoof."

>The door swung shut, and Salad let out a breath he's been holding.

Verb tense.

>He held the flowers with the crook of his foreleg, and stared at his hoof.

No comma

>strawberry blond

Hyphenate. And when describing a female, it's often spelled "blonde."

>like on movie poster stars

Odd phrasing. What's a movie poster star? "Like a star on a movie poster" maybe.

>gift you these flowers

Give.

>in surprise

Cut. Unnecessary tell.

>you've went

Verb conjugation.

>Well, I've made the card for last hearts and hooves

Verb tense, and the holiday would be capitalized. You've left it lower-case throgh most of this scene.

>kept assuring her that he'll be waiting

Verb tense.

>slouched down by a centimeter

Why such a specific distance? And one that would barely be noticeable.

>appeoccasionallyionaly

?

>pale blue

Hyphenate.

>Her frost-blue eyes glanced down the corridor. Her eyebrows jumped in surprise when she noticed Meadow.

Repetitive structure/subject matter.

>boring the girl's head with her stare

"Boring into," or she's just causing a sense of ennui.

>The only sounds were the flapping of curtains on December wind, and the steady whirring of sterilized machinery.

No comma.

>She fought hard against her tears, to keep her sight clear

No comma.

>filled with pegasus down, covered with silk blankets embroidered with stars

Three nested participles. That makes for some clunky reading.

>Meadow stood up, and lowered her sister's leg back to her side.

No comma.

>Thank you, thank you for everything.

Make that two sentences.

>I won't hold you up.

That means she won't delay Meadow. I assume you want something like "I won't stop you."

>Meadow smiled, and Tender Care realized that she never saw the filly smile before.

Verb tense. It's in the story's past, so use past perfect tense: "she'd never seen"

>I should get going, I've got to get back to work

Comma splice. There are two sentences tacked together with a comma. I've already overlooked quite a few, and many people will argue that it's okay in speech, but I'm seeing enough of them that it's getting very noticeable.

>to not be late

Not to be late

>uniforembarkedmbraked

?

>to— Oh

No space.

>once she recognized her customer

The dialogue already gives us this information. We don't need it again.

>The lilies all right, you did well with them.

Missing an "are" near the beginning. And just pointing out another comma splice.

>"Floristicka"

No quotes.

>customersSaturdayaturday

?

>Among them, Tender Care looked awfully colorful thanks to the contrast of the roses she held.

Comma after "colorful." And just say she was colorful. By using "looked," you're making it someone's impression, but we don't know whose. Not the narrator's since he shouldn't be giving us one.

>But the only ponies in the diner were her

"She," not "her."

>rattling the bell

Not really a sound effect appropriate for a bell.

>it wasn't him

He. Though if you don't like that formal a sound, you could go with something like "it wasn't who she was awaiting."

>in thought

Watch these "in/with <emotion/attitiude>" phrases. They're telly, often redundant with context you already give, and I'm seeing them a little too often.

>Tender Care stepped onto the cold, but still snowless streets.

Drop the comma or pair it with one after "snowless."

>young colt

She's being awfully polite, given what he's just done.

>"Now listen here, young colt!"

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

>challenging grimace

Not really sure what that would look like…

>Th-tha-thank, buddy!

Missing a "you."

>HEY!

Italics

>Catching the moment, the colt took off, bolting straight between the stallion's legs. Tender Care tried catching

not familiar with the idiom "catching the moment," and it's repetitive with the use of "catching" in the next sentence.

>chainlink

chain-link

>wentranceterance

? What's causing all of these?

>thetrophythrophy

?

>Thimblerig took a double take.

"Did," not "took."

>DONE!

Italics.

>n'

There's a missing letter up front as well. 'n'

>he smacked his hoof away

Ambiguous as to which is which.

>Thimblerig's eyes widened like dinner plates.

Dinner plates don't widen. The idiom is static. "as wide as dinner plates"

>Good thing I saved this thing

Repetition of "thing." Cut the second one.

>THREE

Italics.

I'd encourage you to use a horizontal line [hr] as a scene break.

>pavements

The pavement. It's a collective noun.

>The staccato of a brisk trot filled the air, graya grey stallion with an orange mane and two bulging saddlebags emerged from behind a corner.

I assume "graya" was supposed to be "and a."

>leaning against the lamppost, staring at the diner across the street

It gets clunky to stack up two participial phrases like this. Make a single compound one.

>street lamp

One word.

>wide-eyeunblinkinglnking

? Dude. What is this stuff?

>as the white fly

Not sure if you're going for a metaphor here. There's not a dictionary definition of "fly" that relates to a snowflake.

>bruisefavoredvoured

Did you proofread this? Or are these a software conversion error?

>agrayy

?

>his eyebrows angled in anger

Describe what makes him look angry. Don't just tell me he is.

>I've returned

Wrong verb tense. It's something he already did.

>I've came

Verb conjugation. You're using a lot of present perfect tense here where simple past is appropriate. And "went" would be a better choice of verb that "came" here.

>I've had to thank him

Verb tense.

>Just go to the instrument…

That doesn't sound like a realistic piece of dialogue. Something more like "Just take your spot" or "Just get to work" would do fine.

>acenterpieceepiece

?

>Horsehoespin's fourteenth

Fourteenth what? Nocturne? Concerto? Sonata? Prelude?

>flipped the notes to the movement

I have no idea what this means. Is this piano like an organ, where he's setting the manuals? Or is he flipping through pages of sheet music?

>symphony

Hm. Be careful what musical forms you choose. unless it's a transcription for piano, a symphony would involve an orchestra. And the usual idea is to have the horse pun (Horseshoepin) mirror the real-life figure (Chopin), who didn't write any symphonies.

>note paper

Just say "page." I'm assuming this is a term that doesn't translate well.

>I take you in, give you a chance despite you showing no promise, and this is how you repay me?

Comma after "chance." Technically, "you showing" should be "your showing," but Clef probably doesn't know that.

>what I did for you

I see "you" as being emphasized as well.

>If I'll never find work as a musician

Odd tense. Just use "I," not "I'll."

>I don't know why you're doing this to me, but I'm sure there is a reason. Ponies don't just shout at other ponies for the sake of it. Maybe your reason is valid—but feeling pain yourself does not give you the right to inflict pain on others!

Some of the dialogue in this scene just doesn't feel natural. This sounds more like something he might say at a therapy session, but not right there on the spur of the moment.

Watch Clef's transition here. He goes from gruff to apologetic and happy awfully quickly, and the way it's handled is giving me the wrong vibe about his motivations. It feels more like his change is something he's putting on for show just to keep from losing his student. He doesn't sound sincere. I get that he had to react quickly to keep Staccato from walking away, but his admission should feel more like letting Staccato in on a secret rather than an abrupt change of heart. Give me his facial expression, while he's struggling internally with what to say. Then: "You're right" as he finally accepts and commits to a course of action. He sighs. "I haven't been fair to you, but you gotta understand—I thought I was doing the right thing." That's the kind of mood I see here.

>still hasn't closed her store

Verb tense. hadn't

>'Floristicka'

No quotes.

>eyes wide, pupils shrunk

A bit clunky to stack up two absolutes like that. Combine them.

>epiphanic monologues

I haven't seen any evidence that Clef would know what that term meant. Try to keep your narrative voice consistent with the character under focus, particularly when your narrative voice is one of the limited ones.

>I don't care if its flutes or flowers

it's

>in bone-crushing embrace

Missing an "a."

>First tears left wet trails on his cheek

Missing a "the."

>myriads of

myriad, and the "of" is optional, as it can serve as a noun or adjective.

>'I love you', 'I'm sorry', 'I forgive you'…

Same as before, puntuation inside the quotes.

>with unease

Again, telling us what you've already shown us.

>Only on the funeral

"At," not "on."

>lost in thought

Watch your placement. It would seem to describe the skyline.

Though this list appears long, the bulk of it is really instances where I think you're just not as familiar with the language. I apologize if that's not the case, but I get the impression you're not a native English speaker.

Your report of often overused words:
Begin/start: 8 (very good)
Look: 62 (way too many—find some synonyms)
Turn: 43 (too many—find some synonyms or different actions)
Walk: 22 (not bad)
Trot: 21 (not bad)
Just: 40 (kinda high, but instances in dialogue aren't as bad)
This post was edited by its author on .

Review of "A Little Brighter," Part 2 2208

Barely ran over the character limit. Oh, well. I'll divide it this way so it's organized.

Style:
Nothing the really hasn't been touched on already, but I'll sum it up. You do have a tendency to be telly in places, particularly in the use of "in/with <emotion/attitude>" phrases. These are not too difficult to fix, as most writers place them after physical descriptions that already do a halfway good job of showing, so they can merely be cut, and the existing description left alone or extended a bit. You also fall into patterns of having identical or similar sentence structures over long stretches, which makes the narration feel more like a list than a story. Some of Salad's stuttering got a bit tough to read, as it uses syllables that are modified from what they are in the full words. Unless he's having trouble pronouncing the words instead of just saying them, that may not be the best way to do it.

If the name of the florist shop is a reference to something, it was lost on me.

At first, I didn't like the way you were changing perspective characters, but when I saw how you were handling the narrative, I looked back over the transitions, and they were actually handled quite well.

Characterization:
Well, not much to say here. You're using all OC's, so I don't have any established personalities to make sure you represent accurately. All you have to do, then, is make characters that function in a realistic manner and have believable motivations. And you've done that. The only issue is that the transformations were often quite abrupt. I've already touched on that with Clef, but I felt the same way about Tender Heart, for example. She sees someone who's gone through a similar change and makes a snap judgment to make one of her own. There's really no throught process to it. Same with Meadow. "Yeah! It's a date! Hold on, though—I need to make peace with my comatose sister all of a sudden." Now, there were a couple of times that you avoided the issue, like with Shoes. We didn't get to see his "aha!" moment, just its results. So, as readers, we ascribe a more realistic and gradual realization to him. And with him, we got to see two instances of him already, and so got a good picture of who he was. Not so with Tuplet. She appeared to be there more as the plotdevice to make everyone else's story happen, so when she had a story of her own, I knew nothing of her, even though I'd seen her repeatedly. She even dealt with a customer who had father issues, and she was familiar with her, so might easily know about that. And yet, we see no reaction from her regarding it. I understand that such things may be necessary to fit within your time contraints. However, if I'm not mistaken, you finished well before the deadline, and in any case, you have the time now.

Plot:
A little odd that that many ponies want a sandwich that early in the morning. I'm impressed that you managed to interweave so many plotlines in that short a time period. One was left hanging for me, however. Everyone's story ends on a positive note, but while most even incorporate some lasting effect that could continue to make them happy for some time into the future, Salad's does not. Is Meadow coming back? We can take her at her word, but Salad could still be stood up. Even if he doesn't, of course there's no guarantee that things will work out between them, but it's at least reasonable that his happiness would carry on for some time longer instead of potentially being snuffed out within a few hours. And, I must say, I'm a sucker for stories that end where they begin. It'd be nice to end on Meadow heading off to meet Salad, particularly fro his perspective, since that's where we started.

Overall:
Hm. I didn't have quite the emotional reaction to it than everyone else seems to have enjoyed, but it was still good. I can appreciate a well-executed stort skillfully told. So, the large amount of feedback notwithstanding, I did like it. Not sure where I would have placed it, since I'm not reading in that mode, but I'm definitely not dismayed to see it as a medalist. Keep writing, and have fun with it.

Review of "Tribunal" 2221

Tribunal:

Mechanics/Details:
>garb
That sounds more like cloth than metal.

>His helmet felt stuffy.

This feels tacked on, as it has nothing to do with the previous two sentences. And three sentences in, there's already a structural subject-verb pattern that all three use.

>Sprinkles saluted, and made his way into the chamber.

When there's one subject linked to two verbs, don't put a comma between them unless they get overly complex.

>As he walked down the hallway

So… is it a chamber or a hallway?

>In the centre of the chamber, lay a wooden dais.

Introductory elements only need a comma when they lead into the subject, not the verb (unless one isrequired for some other reason).

>The officer at the centre

Note that from this point to the end of the scene, there is no visual description. Thus, I've not nothing to form a scene in my head. What is everyone doing while this conversation happens.

>23rd

Write out most numbers. twenty-third

>who had been patrolling the region

Comma before this clause.

>the youthful voice of his corporal spoke

The voice spoke, or the corporal did? "His" implies he's the only coporal under the sergeant's command. Unless you mean that he's the specific one assigned to be an aide (which you don't say, and would be extremely unusual for an NCO to have), that wouldn't be the case.

>chest piece armour

Like… a breastplate?

>After several moment

Plural.

>trying to get the aquamarine insignia to match up with his golden plate

I have no idea what this means. What insignia? Company, division, battalion, etc.? And how does it need to match? By polishing it, by positioning it, …? Is it part of the armor, worn over it?

>our new officer

Pretty vague. Officer in charge of what?

>Lemongrass seemed to be busy

Whose impression is this? It shouldn't be the narrator's in third-person omniscient.

>He’s as green as they come

Comma after this.

>he gets promoted to Captain before you

Not sure what rank scheme you envision here. Captain is a commissioned officer. For a sergeant to be promoted to that, he'd have to attend Officer Candidate School, and he wouldn't go directly to captain anyway.

>tumbled on the floor

"to," not "on."

>ornament

ornamentation, or it sounds like it broke.

>Lemongrass' expression mirrored my own.

Wait, what? When did you go first-person?

>Corporal Lemongrass, Private Grey Shadow and Private Wind Whipper was

were

>All equipment and supplies are stowed

Comms

>shod

shoe

>rules & regulation

regulations. And I know I didn't just see an ampersand that's not a direct text transcription.

>rules & regulation specfically stipulates that a guard have

Two conjugation errors: Rules and regs (plural) -> stipulates (singular). guard (singular) -> have (plural).

>S-So

Only capitalize the first one.

>Did I say you can speak, private?

Capitalize the rank here.

>His horn lit up dangerously.

I don't know how that would look. His expression would convey danger, not his horn.

>You got lucky this time, private.

And again. You're inconsistent about capitalizing ranks. I see there's a lot more of them. I'm going to stop pointing them out.

>Lt Ironhide

You spell out everyone else's rank. Why abbreviate hers?

>Start from the beginning

Comma.

>We arrived without incident

Comma.

>handover

Canon is also inconsistent about using certain "hand" terms. Your mileage may vary.

>one of the most boring job

Plural.

>Patrol had to be one of the most boring job a guard could have. Pulling a chariot on patrol? Doubly so.

Convince me. I'm just having to take the narrator's word for it.

>the Trotters had their behind kicked

behinds

>put in a home run

"Put in?" That's not baseball lingo, but then I'm not sure that's what this is.

>Sprinkles glanced back on their passenger, and sniffed.

"At," not "on." And no comma.

>He was disliking the captain more and more by the minute.

Show me. What is he doing? Glaring at him? Imagining bad things happening to him?

>“Probably never,” came the laconic reply.

That's not really something that would be tolerated in a chain of command. While it may be clear to Wind that Sprinkles doesn't like the captain, he's not going to undermine a superior officer, particularly while on duty. And he's definitely noy going to admit to such in front of an inquiry.

>bands of bandits still exists

Subject-verb number disagreement.

>on foot

On hoof?

>They landed in the darkened glade.

You make it sound like we should already know that glade was there. It hadn't been mentioned.

>behind his back

Keep equine geometry in mind. Behind his back is his tail. Try over or across.

>took up a spear as well, while both Wind Whipper and Grey Shadow took up

Repetitive.

>the throat of the griffon

Clunky indirect possession. "the griffon's throat" is more direct and concise.

>We got no quarrel with ponies.” the griffon stammered

Dialogue punctuation error.

>They might smuggling in contraband

Missing word.

>Lemongrass shallow breathing

Lemongrass's

>One of the Griffon Empire’s main export

exports

>Sprinkles heaved a sigh of relief.

Missing a line break here. "Of relief" is redundant and telly.

>Lemongrass’

Lemongrass’s. Many people do it the way you have, but this is the proper possessive.

>Dawnstrider snorted, and released his hold on the griffon.

No comma. And it's not "the" griffon. There's more than one.

>The griffon blinked in surprise

Telly. The blinking shows, but give me more physical cues to infer surprise rather than just telling me he was surprised.

>He quickly backed away and joined his companion

Comma.

>the dreaded whistles of arrows

That's strictly a movie effect. Arrows just sound like a rush of air.

>the normally confident voice of Dawnstrider

Another clunky indirect possessive.

>Well screw you, Captain

He'd better be sure he's going to die if he's willing to speak to an officer like that.

>Lemongrass poked his head around wagon once again.

Missing word.

>Sensing the flood of arrow momentarily reduced to a trickle at the moment

Arrows. How did he sense it? This sounds more like a psychic premonition. It's not really something you sense. It just is.

>dashed

Repetitive.

>sadi

typo

>malice glinting in their eyes

Telly. Let me decide the malice, though the knives are a good clue.

>narrowly avoided another the knife

Extraneous word.

>Sprinkles struggled with the griffon

Comma. You're leaving a lot for me to imagine. You should be the one painting the picture.

>The griffon slumped. He looked up to see Dawnstrider waving his broadsword about, keeping the zebra and another griffon at bay.

The "He" would seem to refer to the griffon. And Dawn is doing quite well for a coward.

>Dawnstrider appeared not to notice, and continued to flail away with his sword.

No comma.

>the beak of the griffon

Clunky indirect possession.

>struggled. After a brief struggle

Repetitive.

>causing her to stop her flailing

Participles should be set off with a comma. And that's awkwardly phrased. How does it cause her to stop? Because it's made her see the error of her ways?

>T-That’s

Only the first needs to be capitalized, and consider what sound would actually be repeated: Th-that's

>the sword implanted on the griffon’s head

"In" would be more effective, methinks.

>it was a sight he was not to forget for months

In the middle of the fight, this is really odd to step back and tell me a comment about the aftermath.

>half a dozen arrow

Plural.

>floor

They're outside…

>His mane was a total mess

Comma.

>Apparently

Comma for introductory words/phrases leading into the subject.

>The family had been inconsolable, and their grief had left him feeling hollow for weeks afterwards.

That's good for him, but I get nothing from this other than a cold, hard fact. I don't feel for him unless I can see a recollection or some reaction of how it affected him.

>no reason way

reasonable

>glided

gilded

>Then her eyes slowly misted as understanding dawned. She took the letter hesitantly, and placed it on a table next to her.

Not nearly enough here. What's her expression? Does she tremble as she takes it? Gasp? Why doesn't she read it immediately?

>her the little filly, who Sprinkles guessed to be their daughter

Extra word. Whom. That's a reasonable guess. So reasonable that it's probably not worth mentioning.

>D-Did

Only capitalize the first.

>eyes wide with curiosity

Telly.

>Cheery Bloom

Cherry

>without so much a goodbye

Missing an "as."

>he have been holding

had been

>trotting

trotted

Style:
Well, it should be obvious that the main issue was telling. Because of it, I never made a connection with any of the characters. I pointed out many of the places where I thought it was happening. Not only were there telly spots, there were also plenty of places where there was just narration without emotional content, even telling.

A related problem is instances of talking-heads dialogue. There were numberous places where the only interruption of speech was for dialogue tags with no other action attached. Those are other missed opportunities to let me identify with the characters, understand how they feel about things, and get drawn into the story.

Characterization:
There's not much more to say here. You're using all OCs, so there's no need to make sure you adhere to established personalities. It's just a matter of making these ones relatable and realistic. And the show vs tell problems really prevented me from knowing them. How do they feel about things? How do they react to what's happening around them? I get some of that through coarse actions and dialogue, but it's the details that really sell it: facial expressions, posture, body language, and sometimes thoughts.

Plot:
What happens is fine; it's just that it feels more like a series of events than an set of experiences for the characters. We also lack background for a lot of it, like the long history that a number of the soldiers share, or the captain's family history.

The scenes of the hearing that cut into the flashback don't seem to add anything. They're quite short, and nothing happens in them that gives us any more insight into the characters or additional depth about those past events. They just keep things moving and remind us of the framing device, but really, they could be deleted without harming the story. Make them mean something.

There were two events in particular that I thought were left unexplored. First, the lieutenant doesn't seem to be fooled. What are her motivations? Does she know the captain's true nature? Does she have experience with it? Second, in order to sell the lie, everyone there would have to be in on it. When and how did Sprinkles get his men to agree on their story? And why aren't they also being brought in to testify? They should have been eager to discredit the captain, but when Sprinkles returned from visiting his family, how did he convince them. There was obviously a large emotional impact on him, but the only hint of it is the way he adjusted his helmet to hide his tears. Show that better, and show me how he communicated that to the other conspirators. It's certainly not a new story idea, so you can't get by on novelty. You have to make me connect to your characters.

Overall:
You've clearly got a sequence of events mapped out and an understanding of why they're important to the characters. You just need to make that emotionally relevant to the reader. In each scene, I need to be able to picture exactly what's happening in my mind, based solely on your words, and derive what the characters are feeling from that picture and not the words themselves. It's not some big thing like an irreparable plot hole. It's just a bunch of little missed opportunities to connect with the reader. I've seen before that you can do it well. Keep writing and have fun with it.

Tribunal review response Grif 2239

>>2221
Thank you very much. I suspected I misrepresented a lot of interactions between the military officers in my fic, and you confirmed most of it. I can only attribute this to my lack of military experience. (Not that I seen other writers do better, but that's no excuse.) Probably should read a book on this or get a military guy to look over my fic next time.

>That's strictly a movie effect. Arrows just sound like a rush of air.

Good to know.

>We also lack background for a lot of it, like the long history that a number of the soldiers share, or the captain's family history.

Agreed. I plan to expand on it when I revisit this story.

>They just keep things moving and remind us of the framing device, but really, they could be deleted without harming the story. Make them mean something.

Originally, the tribunal scene was to present a contrast between the lie being told and the actual scene that happened. As it is, they failed in that respect.

>First, the lieutenant doesn't seem to be fooled. What are her motivations? Does she know the captain's true nature? Does she have experience with it?

This part I actually plan to keep as is. The LT knows the captain has a bad record, but has no intention of tarnishing the image of the Equestrian Royal Guards for this. Supposed to represent the part of the hierarchy that likes to keep things hush-hush.

>When and how did Sprinkles get his men to agree on their story? And why aren't they also being brought in to testify?

I had planned on writing a scene about them, but time did not permit. A plot hole, I'd agree. Something to add later. My original intention was to show that they did not witness the circumstances of how the captain died, and they took the sergeant's words at face value.

Review of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 2268

Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom

Mechanics/Details:
Title: Mother is a "who," not a "that." And capitalize those words.

>My big brother’s staring at me with a look I’ve never seen on his face before.

Describe it. I need to be able to see it, or it's just a cold fact.

>It’s disquieting

Don't just make us take her word for it. Describe what effect it's having on her.

>slapdash mental experiment

Doesn't seem in character with the mood here, plus it's on odd experiment that results in methods for consolation.

>There’s hardly anything from my own heart I could say.

Okay, end of the first paragraph. Note how every sentence begins "subject-verb." It gets in a rut and starts to feel like a list more than a story. Vary your sentence structures to make it a more enjoyable read.

>I’d been anticipating this moment since I’d heard the news.

You're hinting at a lot of background, but don't deliver. I'll get back to this in the summary comments later.

>A heavy trembling gripped my heart, and held it higher than where it should have rested in my chest.

When one subject is linked to two verbs, you don't need a comma between them, unless they get overly complex.

>Maybe the motion will force the muscle back down. It doesn’t.

Since the action of gulping here would be the peak of this little sequence, don't skip it.

>The walls are green, and mix quite nicely with the reds and magentas they chose to complement them.

Again, no comma between two verbs of a single subject.

>The embalmers did… nice?

Needs to be an adverb or noun. "nicely" or "a nice job"

>But I still remember her smile, and her warm eyes.

No comma.

>no-man’s-land

no-pony's-land?

>I know the conventions,

You're listing/clarifying here. Use a colon, not a comma.

>who has already moved on, and left us behind.

No comma.

>her pride and joy

Comma.

>but she hardly ever saw me, or even received confirmation that I was still alive

No comma.

>princesses forbid, worse

I wouldn't include both of these asides. It gets clunky.

>when I was a filly

Introductory words/phrases leading into the subject like this need a comma.

>who I had known

whom

>not quite there

You're using this phrase as a descriptor, so hyphenate it.

>I didn’t hate you, Mom,

Period, semicolon, or dash here, or you've got a comma splice (two complete sentences tacked together with a comma).

>please don’t have been thinking that when you went

Very convoluted tense, and it doesn't quite work. More simply, "I hope you weren't thinking that when you went."

>But I don’t feel that. That’s not what I’m experiencing.

Well, there are other reasons to be sad at a funeral. I was sad when my wife's grandmother died. I didn't know her well at all. It was more that I felt bad for everyone else there. She'd been fading for a long time, and my wife had been expecting it for some time. I think I actually felt worse than she did. And Twilight's already remarked that she felt bad for Shining Armor and wishes she could do something for him. Isn't that the type of thought that would be dominating her emotions?

>Strange, rending things I couldn’t comprehend in the shadows reaching out for me.

Watch modifier placement. "Reaching out for me" seems to describe "shadows," while I believe you meant "things."

>And you smiled, and scooted over, and

First comma is unnecessary. Watch the "and" overload. There's even a fourth later in the sentence.

>I don’t mean anything by it Mom.

Direct address requires a comma. Two, in fact, if it's not at an end of the sentence.

>I stopped needing you a long time ago.

More on this later. But this is not a circumstance unique to Twilight.

>Maybe they still needed you a while longer?

Related: this includes many cousins, as you've said, who probably barely know her. What are they getting that Twilight isn't?

>I suppose

This bit needs a comma.

>You have to breathe, I think

Two things about this. You're wording it like a quoted internal thought, but it's not in italics. However, direct thought is a bad match with a first-person narrator, since the narrator can just state the thought for her.

>it would not be her

Technically, "she," as it's the predicate pronoun of a linking verb. But does Twilight know that? Probably. She's not in a situation where she'll be minding her grammar so much, though. Your call.

>Living in a family of cutthroats disguised as civilized ponies

This whole sequence comes about rather suddenly. Maybe you should broach the subject way back when you first mention the extended family, since there was no hint of dissent in the ranks then.

>I’m failing now, I can’t even cry for you.

Comma splice.

>But before I had even begun to grow, and understand your gifts

No comma.

>Thank you, so much

No comma.

>I mean in this in the greatest, sincerest way, no matter how it sounds:

Extra word. And I'd recommend against breaking a sentence across paragraphs like this. It works best that way when you're presenting a letter or something similar.

>Some will hate me, that I do not weep for you.

Somehow, I doubt that. They'll just assume she's exerting self-control, unless she plans to be up-front about her feelings. you say it yourself in the next sentence. I don't see this as an assumption that anyone would make.

Style:
Okay, first-person can be a difficult voice for avoiding telling, particularly when you're adopting a completely internal narration like this. Except that you didn't quite. She speaks to Shining Armor near the beginning, albeit briefly. If you're willing to do that, expand a bit. What more would they say to each other? I've already touched on this, but their interaction doesn't give us too much information about their feelings, beyond what's stated explicitly. It's tempting for a first-person narrator to inform us of her feelings, since it's information she knows and it's easier, but it's no different from any other narrator in that it's an ineffective way of engaging the reader.

Watch your sentence structures, too. There are places where it got repetitive.

Characterization/Plot:
I'm going to combine these elements for your review. As a character piece, the two are very closely intertwined, so I'll deal with them together.

Twilight's story is reasonable enough, and there was an emotional punch to it. But Twilight really feels like her situation is unique, and she should know better.

First, her feelings about her mother. As you say, she was dependent on her mother early in life. This is true of most people. And those are the years when the child is most impressionable. Many of them cling to their mothers as toddlers and a little older, but once they get around 10 years old or so (about the equivalent age that Twilight seems to be when she joins Celestia's school, at least to me), they're straining to show their independence, even so much as to show disdain. How many kids are inseparable from their parents at age 6, but by 12, wouldn't be caught dead with them? And yet, they don't lose that connection. They still share a special relationship, even far into adulthood. Twilight speaks to how little of her life she actually spent with her mother. Consider a man who is 60, and his father who is 90. The man has spent the majority of his life away from his father, but that alone doesn't mean that they've lost the ability to relate to one another.

Second, Celestia's emergence as the mother figure. We get no idea from canon that she served as such. They certainly share a friendship that's not typical of other students at the school, but she is Celestia's student. Twilight certainly admires her, but we don't know that they interact beyond academics. You're taking that for granted, and while other readers that do as well can take your assertion at face value, it's not going to connect with others as is. It's one thing to make an offhand remark, but this is integral to your story.

Both of these lead into what is a common problem with sad stories: they dump the reader into the middle of a situation that is sad by default without giving us the background and context that make us identify with the characters involved. If I come back from the store and flip on the TV to see a lady sobbing over someone flatlining on a gurney, it'll be sad. But it'll be much more sad if I'd seen the whole movie and knew exactly what was at stake. We see a few past examples of Twilight's interaction with her mother, but mostly as a series of facts, as it's narration heavy. How did she feel about those events, preferably told through context that an outside observer would notice, like what her reactions were. How did she feel that she never saw her mother at school? How frequent were their visits or correspondence? How did she act about those? What happened when she first found out about her mother? If it was a gradual death, how did she interact with her mother while it was happening?

Likewise with Celestia. We're told that she was enough of a mother figure that she pre-empted the need for her real mother. Yet we see none of those interactions. We just have to take the narrator's word for it. So we not only do we lack evidence of the nature of their relationship, but there's nothing to show that it was of a nature and extent that would replace her mother.

And again with Shining Armor. Their meeting is glossed over. If Twilight doesn't feel the need to be comforted, doesn't she at least want to extend that courtesy to her brother? And what of her father? but getting back to Shining Armor… Canon would seem to suggest that she wouldn't have seen him any more than she'd seen her mother. Or Cadance, for that matter. However, she immediately reconnects with those two before their wedding. Tread carefully that you justify the difference.

The same problem extends to the squabbling aunts. It's just dropped on us like a fact.

So, how to make all of these character interactions more real? I wouldn't advise breaking the story from Twilight's voice. At least with her brother, you can show them in real time. But with the rest, you could show them as reminiscences in her thoughts (be very careful to avoid falling into being telly with that) or cut in with flashback scenes that allow us to witness those moments.

Now, there are plenty of people who don't care to give that sort of context and are happy to go for the default feels from a rather impersonal sad scenario. And they don't always suffer from a lack of views for it, either. But I'd rather see this story be the best it can be, and I hope you do as well.

Overall:
You've got a solid foundation here for what could be a great story, and the writing's good. It just asks the reader to supply too much of the information and accept too much without justification. At least that's my opinion about how this story could be great. Keep writing and have fun with it.


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