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.
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?
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.
Keep the spelling consistent. Wha-wha-what
Need another hyphen.
>in place, careful not to disturb the adhesive bandages holding the temples in place
>carefully holding its vegetable guts in place
As placed, this participle describes "mare," but I believe you meant for it to modify "Salad."
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.
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?
>A short horn jutted
Third sentence in a row with "A <adjective> <past-tense verb>" beginning. Mix it up.
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
>He patted musician on his shoulder.
>heavy lead clouds broken above
I think "leaden" would work better. And the use of "broken" here reads a bit awkwardly to me.
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.
But there's another customer…
>for the second time in the day
Instead of "in the day," use "today" or "that day."
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.
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."
No space after the dash.
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
No need for the quotes. It's just the name of her shop.
>There was no choice, but to be honest.
>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.
>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.
Magazine, or if you want to shorten it like this, 'zine.
>snorting in contempt
>The cap itself looked comical
To whom? The narrator shouldn't be making this judgment.
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.
>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?
>The door swung shut, and Salad let out a breath he's been holding.
>He held the flowers with the crook of his foreleg, and stared at his hoof.
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
Cut. Unnecessary tell.
>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
>slouched down by a centimeter
Why such a specific distance? And one that would barely be noticeable.
>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.
>She fought hard against her tears, to keep her sight clear
>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.
>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
>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.
>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."
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."
She's being awfully polite, given what he's just done.
>"Now listen here, young colt!"
Italics are preferred for emphasis.
Not really sure what that would look like…
Missing a "you."
>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.
? What's causing all of these?
>Thimblerig took a double take.
"Did," not "took."
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.
I'd encourage you to use a horizontal line [hr] as a scene break.
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.
? 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.
Did you proofread this? Or are these a software conversion error?
>his eyebrows angled in anger
Describe what makes him look angry. Don't just tell me he is.
Wrong verb tense. It's something he already did.
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
>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.
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?
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.
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
>eyes wide, pupils shrunk
A bit clunky to stack up two absolutes like that. Combine them.
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
>in bone-crushing embrace
Missing an "a."
>First tears left wet trails on his cheek
Missing a "the."
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.
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)
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