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File: 1353385106296.jpg (638.98 KB, 2164x854, dash and derpy.jpg)

MLPchan Thanksgiving Writeoff Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 1222[Last 50 Posts]

#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 .

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1235

But…

But we're still gonna be reading for the HWCP. D:

Anonymous 1241

>>1235
Lazy

1283

File: 1353461346081.png (160.15 KB, 1000x1171, 135319754205.png)


Don't care much about the prizes, but I'm game.

Sparky !DarksNkK0Q 1305

File: 1353512302606.jpg (63.27 KB, 586x587, 1352596222630.jpg)

Awwww yeeeeah. Might do this.

TheNumber25!PcMsh3kU2s 1307

File: 1353514265146.jpeg (192.29 KB, 640x480, Writer_Waiting_1.jpeg)

>Worst time possible for me due to time zones
>No prior experience
>Lots of work backlogged

Yet somehow, I'm in.

Anonymous 1311

File: 1353518055062.jpg (259.76 KB, 945x945, Lyra - lost control.jpg)

>>1307
Because pic related.
And you have your priorities right.

Axis of Rotation 1325

Very tempted here…

Anonymous 1342

So it'll be a prompt submission thing again?

1344

File: 1353553185379.png (198.71 KB, 374x480, Lyra131539673140.png)

>>1342


Anonthony didn't mention prompt suggestions in the op… meaning that writing an outline would be kinda pointless… and anything I write would be terrible…

>mfw

1358

>>1344

Just write about football. That's a safe bet.

1360

File: 1353625878571.gif (1.11 MB, 351x360, c93.gif)

I'm in.

Anonymous 1368

What are we writing about? Will the topic be given or is it just… Anything? O.o

Anonymous 1369

>>1368
There will a "prompt" (a basic theme, phrase or something to work into the story or base it on) that will be suggested (suggestions are open) and then they'll be voted on. Once the 'theme' (prompt) is selected, then you write about that (being creative in how you work the prompt can give you an edge.)

http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/#11-MLPChan-Thanksgiving-Write-off
^ Prompts can be suggested here, once the time opens up, and then voted on once a couple of prompts are suggested.

Everyone will then have 72 hours to write a short fic, and the best one will win the prize.

Legion!Geth.r.1UI 1372

File: 1353641781020.png (112.98 KB, 321x322, legion-what.png)

25,000 word max? Who can write 25,000 words that fast? That's crazy mang.

Anonymous 1374

>>1372
Trust me. It can happen.

It's just rare and unlikely. Just over the minimum is more likely.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1381

>>1372
I believe the longest story ever submitted was "Never" by Short Skirts & Explosions, which was 20,966 words, and I know this because hey, the event archive has all of them and not just the ones run since the site went up! :D Roger is amazing.

Offer 1384

I guess I'm joining to see if im the winner

Shy Assassin!YT5CRUELTY 1385

File: 1353684435799.png (104.31 KB, 271x309, Damnit, how did I miss?.png)

So wait, when are we starting? Now?

1386

>>1385
>4:00 AM UTC

62 hours and 22 minutes remain. !!Spike 1387

File: 1353685160426.png (233.43 KB, 637x353)

>>1385
Yup.

The prompt is Words That We Couldn't Say. All submissions must follow the rules and be submitted on the write-off website before Mon, 26 Nov 2012 06:00 UTC. (Or Sun, 25 Nov 2012 10:00 PM PST, for Americans.) You have around 60 hours left. Better get writing.

How To Participate in this Write-off Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1388

File: 1353685460121.jpg (96.52 KB, 774x1032, dashie_at_sunrise_by_connorgra…)

Ninja'd, but I'll post this anyway.

>>1385
Yes! You can start writing!

The prompt is Words That We Couldn't Say.

Submissions close on Monday, at 6AM UTC. To submit:
1. Register an account on http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/ Specify your timezone to get the site to show you deadlines and such in your local time.
2. Read the rules here: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/11-Words-That-We-Couldnt-Say/rules and make sure your entry complies with them.
3. Copy-paste complete, rule-abiding entries into the box here: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/11-Words-That-We-Couldnt-Say/fic/submit

Take a look at the site FAQ http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/faq if you have any further questions. Note that the fics in this write-off can have formatting including bold, italics, coloured text and linebreaks, all of which are handled with the same codes you'd use on FIMFiction (this is detailed in the FAQ).

Get writin', folks!

Author of "Stars and Sky Above" 1389

This day is going to be perfect~

1390

>>1388

*starts humming an Avril Lavigne song*

Also, props to getting MLPchan plugged on Fimfic. I'm really happy that we're able to get ourselves taken serious this way.

Anonymous 1392

So it just has to be based on 'Words we couldn't say' and not anything to do with thanksgiving at all?

Anonymous 1393

>>1392
Correct.

The prompt can be worked in as the theme, however you want. It doesn't have to have anything to do with Thanksgiving (we're just doing it over the holiday because… well, it seems like a good time when people have off of work/school.)

Ion-Sturm 1400

Curse you. Couldn't do this over Tuesday and Wednesday, eh?
Ah well, fair's fair. Can't be hogging all of the top spots, I guess ^_^

1401

File: 1353695947936.png (154.2 KB, 852x852, Lyra133907424541.png)

>>1388
Oh, I've been saving an idea that would be just perfect for this contest.

Edit: It seems I've accidentally registered for two accounts. Could you possibly fix this please, Roger?
This post was edited by its author on .

1410

File: 1353715647500.png (1.32 MB, 2010x1600, the_world_god_only_knows_by_mi…)

Prompt's too specific, imo.

I'm out.
This post was edited by its author on .

Grif 1411

File: 1353716235208.png (450.51 KB, 1136x1600, Pinkie-ohyes.png)

Let's get this party started.

Azusa!fG2qnvpWXU 1413

File: 1353718796260.png (165.13 KB, 852x852, 133531808347.png)

>mfw I wrote the whole story in one day!

Shy Assassin!YT5CRUELTY 1414

File: 1353719253210.png (3.86 MB, 3000x2947, Dude what.png)

>>1413
>MFW I still have writer's block even though I know what to write.

"Benediction" 1418

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to whoever came up with this prompt. My first impression was "here comes the shipstorm, lol," but it has unlocked some beautiful and terrible things in my soul. I've always been impressed at the variety folks have produced

#Dark#Sad … and I might just title it "Benediction of Blood" by the end. Depends on how things play out.

Now if only I can manage to get this thing into words without ruining it. And I still need to figure out the final act.

But anyway, hang in there folks. I've got a good feeling about this contest.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of We'll Keep In Touch (working title) 1421

File: 1353728860755.png (491.85 KB, 936x612, ____i_told_you_books_are_great…)

Joining the contest late, but better late then never, right?
I've managed to get a couple pages down, but I think I accidentally set myself up for a ~6k or so fic (then again, I've always been bad at judging that sort of thing).
Time for some marathon writing!

1422

Okay, I'm in. Never done this before, but I'm gonna try. I think I have a great idea. Never wrote comedy before, let alone in one day. Celestia help me…

. ## Luna ## 1423

File: 1353731104671.jpg (10.04 KB, 422x356)

>>1422
…They always pray to my sister for help…

She cannot even read! She just pretends to read those scrolls Twilight Sparkle sends her!

Anonymous 1424

Never actually done a prompt before. This was a great motivator to get me writing again, especially since it fit pretty well with an idea I'd had for a while.

Hey. 1425

>>1414

Nobody ever has writer's block.

I always have you.

1426

File: 1353733958947.gif (314.81 KB, 400x300, my-little-pony-friendship-is-m…)

>>1422
Yay! Jake is doing it! :D

1430

File: 1353735309922.jpg (25.83 KB, 309x237, 1352763194942.jpg)

ENTERING

Have the entire story planned out. On the second scene now.

Ah shoot... Writer's Block 1432

Roger, I want to submit my story but my computer won't let me for some odd reason.

I tried to log in, but it just boots my browser offline.

Any suggestions?

1434

>>1432
What do you mean by "boots the browser offline"?

It may be that the login dialog doesn't work if you have a very old browser. Try logging in at http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/user/login
This post was edited by its author on .

1435

File: 1353741324262.gif (214.66 KB, 550x400, 63091%20-%20tagme.gif)

A question: is there anyway to submit the piece with formatting intact? Like, italics and stuff?

Because part of my piece kinda relies on it.

1437

>>1435
Use BBCode for italics: [i ]italic word[/i ], but without the spaces.

Other formatting info is here: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/faq

1438

>>1437
I see. Thank you!

Thanks. 1451

>>1434

You're a life-saver, Roger. That link works like a charm.

Yeah, I'm on a Mac right now, using Safari. When I clicked the "Login/Register" tab from that home-page of yours, it'd bring up the mini login screen, stutter, and then Safari would just close down.

Just plain shut off. Then the internet would take forever to reload, and I found I had to restart the whole computer.

I don't know what it is about this computer, but it also likes to have the internet turn off if your using it too long or it just doesn't like your face that particular day.

Even my twelve year old Toshiba can be more dependable. At least when the internet dies on that, I know its Time Warner that hit a snag, not the computer.

Well, problem solved for now. Crisis averted. Again, thanks for the assist Roger.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Stars and Sky Above" 1457

Awww yissss. Just under 3.5k words, and finally done.

1473

File: 1353860967785.jpg (118.67 KB, 867x921, practice_by_aurarrius-d5l5n77.…)

Woo, finished it late Saturday night. It's decently long, but to be honest, it feels like it should be longer.

Pic unrelated to fic.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 1474

Quick question. Does the new website mean no epub format anthology?

1479

FOUR SCENES LEFT
6/10THS THROUGH

GET ER DONE

1482

*sigh*
Sorry, guys, but I gotta bow out. In between my next chapter and getting ready for Airborne school tomorrow, I can't focus enough. I had a really funny idea, I thought. Pinkie wants Twilight to say a swear word, but she can't, because it's a kids show. Literally, "words she can't say." Lots of meta, fourth-wall breaking, eldritch abominations. I may finish it some time.

Sorry.

Anonymous 1483

File: 1353879881674.jpg (7.68 KB, 228x221, Doctor.jpg)

>942 words.
>8 hours, 15 minutes left.

Welp, this is going to be a fun time of madness. To the pits of hellish imagination we go tonight! I sincerely apologize for the creature wrought by my hands tonight. It will be a mutilated, pathetic thing. And you, fellows, will have to read it.

[sardonic laughter from a man in the throes of madness]

TIME NOW TO FINISH THIS
This post was edited by its author on .

1484

File: 1353880638648.png (28.17 KB, 236x236, 38.png)

…Wait a second.

My timer says this ends at Mon, 26 Nov 2012 01:00 EST.

Is that military time? Does this end at one in the morning?!

I HAVE TO FINISH THIS ALL TONIGHT?!

Author of "We'll Keep In Touch" 1486

File: 1353882256845.jpg (36.1 KB, 500x278, Yup-big-macintosh-27527687-500…)

Anonymous 1487

>>1484

DAWN OF THE FINAL DAY.

Anonymous 1488

File: 1353886154357.jpg (5.73 KB, 290x174, TheDoctor-DavidTennant.jpg)

>76% done
>6 hours and 31 minutes left

Engines running at full capacity, Captain! I don't know how much more she can take!
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 1490

File: 1353888154381.png (173.59 KB, 450x285, Untitledsss.png)

Anonymous 1491

Gotta hit 10k words.

FINAL PUSH, MEN.

1492

>>1491

FINAL PUSH

4/5THS DONE

LET'S GO THROUGH EM' LIKE SHIT THROUGH A GOOSE

Anonymous 1493

>>1492
I IMAGINE GOOSE SHITS ARE RATHER EASY THEN.

1494

Deadline's approaching fast! I don't know if we can take the suspense!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT9KWbYXTYg

Anonymous 1495

File: 1353893578798.gif (1.35 MB, 975x720, 135101124258.gif)

The more I look at this, the less sense it makes and the more it seems a spur of insomniac madness.

Author of Pinkless 1496

Well'p, finished today. Three days worth of writing, I haven't had that for a while, and it shows! Friggin' long-ass story, and oh, it's a first draft too! I didn't have time to go back over it, ugh. And I kind of bucked the prompt. Whatever, I got a story written that I really wanted to write! (Now to get feedback and edit, bleeee)

Author of Good Things Are Better When They're a Rarity 1497

File: 1353895832142.png (623.72 KB, 600x700, fluttersanxiety.png)

I did horrible on mine but I finsihed it.

I shouldn't have tried my hand at a shipfic. x_x

Anonymous 1498

File: 1353895880507.jpg (28.93 KB, 463x386, Doctor Crazy.jpg)

>90% done
>4 hours left
>complete nonsense all the way around

>>1495
Let's be friends in sweet delirium.

1499

oh god

i'm so scared about this final scene

i love it

but i feel like every judge is going to be like "WTF"

Anonymous 1500

Whelp, that's done and submitted. I'm sorry, guys, I really am.

Anonymous 1502

File: 1353899936916.jpg (4.85 KB, 323x156, The Doctor.jpg)

>100% done
>submitted
>bizarre formatting
>incoherent plot

Woo-hoo, this is gonna be gud!


My sincerest condolences to those who read my entry.

1504

FINISHED
FINISHED

TIME TO CONVERT TO BBCODE

Author of "A Little Brighter" 1506

Well, it's done. I have no idea how good or bad my work is - at times, it felt like the best idea ever, at others, like gimmicky trash. But that doesn't matter. I've gained an amazing amount of fun an experience from writing this story, and that alone was, I feel, enough.

FUN FACTS:
-Word count of story: 11,630
-Word count of outline and character sketches: 4978
-Total writing time of the story itself (single marathon with minimum amount of breaks): 21 hours.

If this was an episode, I'd be sending a report about choosing your battles properly. Sheesh.

1507

File: 1353906534854.gif (935.37 KB, 213x260, 1.gif)

Okay. Just submitted. Hopefully my bbcoding was correct.

Good luck, everyone!

1508

>>1507
No need to hope. You can check for yourself (and edit any mistakes, even) by going to the "My Submissions" tab.

Grif 1509

File: 1353908211207.png (149.27 KB, 600x700, Lyra-tired.png)

And done.

>pic related

"Benediction" 1512

Postscript, but I put it up here so you'd read it:

Thanks to FiMFiction and chan-wide advertisement, I'm sure there are some new faces here this time. If you're a long-time /fic/tionado, you're used to just-the-criticism-please commentary. These two factors, harmless while separate, make this a particularly interesting situation, like gasoline vapors and air in precisely the right ratio.

Newbies, welcome! We're really cantankerous compared to the ethos of FiMFiction ("say something nice, or say nothing at all - but don't forget to downvote!") or /oat/ianatic silliness (I will never understand that place. That's why I lurk.). In these events, we're pretty critical. The upside is we end up saying nice things too. The downside, we're not as constructive as usual. Please keep an open mind, and we'd love for you to stay.

Old hands, play nice (ugh, I know). Remember you're making a first impression.




And here we go. 97k this time around. Figured I'd take on a couple of the short ones first.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Random thoughts…
> She stood there, immobile, soaking in the words neatly written on the page before her.
Man, I got a weird image from this one, like Twi fills her bathtub with the darn things. Words: great for the coat.

- Wait. Is this Cutting Ties again?

- Suddenly fantasy-rpg time?! Sure, why not? Seriously dude, grade-A dream-seq there.

So, with this story the question is to what extent the ending supports the story as a whole. I get the real sense you ran out of time. I don't feel right judging you on that - your story deserves to be judged on its own merits. Decision hazy.

Good Things Are Better

- Say what you will about being a first-time shipper; those first few paragraphs are a bang-up start.

- Interesting that it turns into an event-driven story shortly thereafter. And nice touch that resolving that conflict furthers the main conflict.

Except that it ends there kinda unresolved. Hmm. You know the Vonnegut rule about the reader being able to end the story if the last part is missing. That's what I'm feeling here.

So AJ isn't sure whether or not to tell Rarity that Rover is lying. She raises the subject with lots of uncertainty and blushing and then Rarity…

She heads AJ off. She's noticed the way AJ's been looking at her. She knows that AJ's trying to capital-C Confess her True Feelings, and nothing AJ can say will convince her otherwise. The line "Gosh, Rarity, that ain't it at all!" must be spoken.

But to carry the scene forward, I need you to have made a decision. Imagine AJ just walks up and says, "I've taken a likin' to you. Can we-all date?" Rarity's universe of potential reactions is practically infinite. Does she faint? Does she smack AJ in the face? Does she let her down gently? Does she say yes? You don't really get to not decide this*, not unless there is something big and definitive that keeps the question from ever being asked ever.

(*Well, there are ways… You have to manipulate reader emotion a lot better to make them work.)

I would think that Rarity and AJ haven't earned their happy ending yet, so I lean towards "let her down gently" and I have some ideas of how she might do it (both pro-drama and pro-resolution). But, hey, that's your job this time, not mine.

Shipping's kinda scary, isn't it? I applaud you for giving it a shot, but it didn't work out this time. Whether or not you try it again, you should know that you handled the shift from character-driven to event/action-driven and back very well. I'm actually a little envious, 'cuz plot scares me.


The Lunar Half

- Well somepony is pandering to his audience… Mood: amused.

- And then.. Woah. WTF? Over.

Okay, so so far: "Lunar" has broken my mind, I'm leaning towards saying mm-nope to "Choose Carefully," and "Better" reflects well on its author but isn't evidence of mastery.

Silent Growth

- Pinkie-Pie part positively pops with Pinkie-Pie-ity.

- Fluttershy part… oh dear. I get the sense this is what it might be like in her head. It's terrible writing, of course, but I suspect it might be intentional.

I kinda hope so, actually.

- Oh, and we are now queer-fic. *le sigh* I'm not a fan of the genre - too many a story has taken "we're gay and the world hates us" as an excuse for "we have no other defining features." If you must do it, please don't get preachy. Please?

> Pinkie Pie had just finished spreading cheer around Ponyville

There is something wonderfully cheeky in the tell-don't-show embedded in this beat.

- And they're magically both falling for each other at the same time. PROTIP: mutual attraction only happens in real life when:

a) Both parties are sufficiently drop-dead sexy, face-palm shallow, or a combination of the two.
b) They've been in a relationship long enough to desire each other with giddy new-partner puppy love, but not long enough for their relationship to mature to dogged (and doggish!) loyalty.

So that's strike two.

And that ending… That's a really nice ending image. Evaluated by itself, color me impressed.

Oh and there's also that nasty habit you have of telling me precisely everything I already know whilst piling on as much superfluous verbiage as you can dredge up, which as you can imagine has the effect of making this really, really, really hard to read. Combined with your long paragraphs, the effect is pretty much awful.

I suspect your muse offered you that final image in a flash of insight early in brainstorming this story. That is proof that you are creative. And you've got the characters down. Just.. ugh! *smack* Do better, darn it. You've got the inspiration but there's the perspiration that goes along with it too - if writing were a shounen anime, I'd want to see you in yor Perfect Mega Writer Form. It's sure to be bitchin' badass.
This post was edited by its author on .

1513

*Sigh* I spent hours and hours coming up with a one-shot fic for this, and I just now realize that the UTC timezone means that I'm not early, but I'm actually two hours too late…

1514

File: 1353927124203.png (262.06 KB, 1280x1341, Dash-derp.png)

>>1512
>We're really cantankerous compared to the ethos of FiMFiction ("say something nice, or say nothing at all - but don't forget to downvote!") or /oat/ianatic silliness (I will never understand that place. That's why I lurk.). In these events, we're pretty critical. The upside is we end up saying nice things too. The downside, we're not as constructive as usual. Please keep an open mind, and we'd love for you to stay.

We don't bite… most of the time. Hee hee.

I'll be taking my sweet time to read the entries though and reviews may or may not come.

1517

File: 1353929501203.gif (671.94 KB, 290x281, 1353830014619.gif)

>>1513
The site should have automatically calculated the submission time according to your time zone when you made an account…

:(

Author of Pinkless 1518

Wow, reviews already? Dang!

I'm interested to see how hosting this contest on MLPchan changes the dynamic, if at all. It's good to know that everyone else wrote crappy stories too!

Author of "Choose Your Words Carefully" 1520

>>1512
Review(ish thing)s already? Hurrah!

Hmm…

>I get the real sense you ran out of time. I don't feel right judging you on that - your story deserves to be judged on its own merits. Decision hazy.

Eh-heh. Ya, I kind of lost it after the first nine hundred words and kind of did just whatever came to mind at the time. Also, first review get!

I'm glad you liked the dream-sequence, though.
>"Lunar" has broken my mind, I'm leaning towards saying mm-nope to "Choose Carefully," and "Better" reflects well on its author but isn't evidence of mastery.
This is good thing, ja? Or,at least, I hope it is.
This post was edited by its author on .

1522

Heh. I have a distinct feeling I'll be bringing up the rear again.

"Benediction" 1523

Yes

Surprisingly good, for a snuff-fic. So, yeah, I like this in a way, but I'm not sure exactly why. Above all, I'm confused:

So, we've got the heat-death of the universe, Disco is apparently the Reaper (now that is one I just don't get) and Cadence is angsting all over mixed-mortality romance.

But I can't figure out which parts are true, there isn't really an arc of conflict for me to grab hold of. I don't get it.

But the pictures are pretty in a really dark sort of way. Can't completely ignore it.


The Words Won't Come
>She was terrified of a door.
>Even for Fluttershy, this was a new low.

Woah… Is that? Yes it is: an actual honest-to-Luna hook! And a damn good one.

>This door would stand up to any weather the pegasi could throw at it, along with the rest of the building it was attached to.

>along with the rest
>could throw
>rest of the building
I think that does not say what you want it to say.

Well-executed. Says no more than it needs to. I think the other can't-say-it shipfics can pack up and go home now.

A Monologue

Can I give you a big hug? Well, how about a really high score? On the first read I thought the characters were some stallion writing to a pony very much like Rarity. Now you've made me go back and read it a second time. hate you. I love you.

After the skim…. aww wow. I hate that I can't be properly critical. But this is excellent.

Author of "One-Winged Angel" 1524

Eight hours of writing that went pretty well. I like how it turned out but regret no time to proofread.

1526

Looking at those last three reviews has got me scared.

Time to read some of the competition.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I think I'm going to use the same chart I use for speeches to rank these.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of the Long-Assed Titled one about Twilight's Mom 1527

You know that feeling when you were a kid playing little league sports, and you'd go to your first tournament or finals, and you realize that you and your pudgy little friends are about to face off with a bunch of steroid-pumping Japanese kids who have been training since birth for this exact match?

This is kind of like that.

REVIEWS! 1528

Welcome, new folks who haven't participated in a /fic/ write-off before! For those who don't know me, I'm one of the most experienced /fic/ reviewers, though I'm mostly retired to do private reviews these days. I usually like to offer reviews to entrants, with the depth and number varying by the type of write-off it is.

Man, no preliminary round this time? I was hoping I'd only have to read my initial batch and the finalists. No way I'll get to them all, and with my low hugbox score, it would give an advantage to ones I skipped. So I guess I won't be voting.

As to reviews, what do people think would be fair? I'm open to suggestions. Randomly pick a few that look interesting? Take the first few responders? Anyway, if you're interested, let me know here, by email, or by PM in IRC, so I can go ahead a make a list. I'll work out how to pick which stories later. Also tell me whether you want just a quick impression or a full line-by-line review. Serious inquiries only, please. Be willing to put in the work to make your story shine and get it ready for Equestria Daily, for example. I don't have a lot of time, and I really can't afford to waste any. Also note that I won't post any reviews until results are in, so that there's no chance of influencing the voting.

Good luck, everyone!

Author of "We'll Keep In Touch" 1529

First round of reviews, here we go!
As a disclaimer, none of these reviews are very indicative of what rating I'll actually give the stories, just the things that I notice about them. Don't use these reviews as some measure of the quality of your fic, since they are short and I plan to write 20 of them.
Breaking the Silence:
Climax turned out a little shakey and iffy. Honestly I just didn't quite feel connected to Sweetie throughout everything that was happening. I actually like Sweetie Belle as a character, but it was the fact that she was sort of lacking characterization in this fic that made me fail to connect with her. On top of that, Octavia's presence in the story felt oddly tacked on. It was supposed to be a lead up to why Rarity had stress relief candles and had been acting the way she had, but stress relief candles burning the house down just felt incredibly weak as the actual cause of the fire, and I couldn't really be sold on it. The fact that it turned out Rarity wasn't actually upset with Sweetie Belle felt like a classic case of 'the conflict didn't actually exist' syndrome, which can many times dampen a story's ending.


Faint Maestra:
Having characters who talk out loud to themselves shatters the fourth wall as very obvious reader-informing writing. It's also pretty hammy, but then again this story seems to play up its hammyness for humour. The action was blandly written with little description, an the humour fell flat for me more often than it succeeded. That being said, the humour did succeed in some places.


Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom:
Twilight's thoughts felt scattered. You could argue and say it was intentional, but her thoughts being scattered wouldn't fit with the rest of her being very cool and collected after her mother's death. I didn't really feel any emotional pull from this. It felt like the writing lacked direction. On the up side, it had some good ideas and fairly good writing.


Yes:
I like trippy stories. This one was pretty good in that respect. The writing gave me clear imagery of this desert under a molten sun which burned everything it touched. All in all this story was good, but it left me with no real clue on what went on. There wasn't enough information provided to the reader to make any real sense of it, or to come to a conclusion. This fell on the latter side between something being mysterious and something being just plain confusing.


Also, if anyone could tell me what to type to use drop down boxes, that would be a great help.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "We'll Keep In Touch" 1530

>>1528
I'd actually really like a review for my story. I plan to post this on fimfic and submit to EqD once this is all done, but I think my story might need to be lengthened and maybe have additional scenes or letters added before I do either of those things.

As for contacting each other, I do have an IRC client somewhere on my computer, I could log on there and then we talk about this some more.

Author of "A Monologue" 1532

>>1523

(Giddy squeal. Or a very loud "squee". Whatever floats your boat.)
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1534

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Lawd oh lawd, another 97k this week? I hate to flake out on the new chan's first event and all, but I'm already backlogged as it is ;_; I may try to squeeze out a couple, but I don't think I'll be able to do a full suite of reviews this time around. Sowwy.

Anonymous 1535

>>1534
Twenty entries, I was not expecting such a turnout for its inaugural big event. Pleasant surprise but understandably overwhelming for some.

Anonymous 1538

I'm only halfway through the entries and "Pinkless", "Attack of the Killer Oranges," and "A Little Brighter" all had me smiling. Some great stuff in here.

Shy Assassin!YT5CRUELTY 1541

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Wow.

Actual hard criticism.

Feels refreshing.

Author of Pinkless 1543

>>1528
I will take a line-by-line reivew if you would be so kind, good sir, because by gum I'm gonna need it.

Author of "What She Didn't Want" 1548

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What I've got so far:

Breaking the Slience-
This had amazing characterization. The narration was great. It kept me intrigued throughout. If I may suggest one thing: I would have left the revelation about Sweetie leaving the oven on until the very last scene. Keep us wondering what her friends "know"! I also agree with others that Octavia was a very weak character. She feels like she was just thrown in.

Faint Maestro-
Your characterizations are very good. The piece was a bit boring, though. When doing yells and stuff like that, try to avoid using caps. Use italics instead. Also, I noticed one maybe-typo: "“AND WHY SHOULDN'T IT BE?”" In the actual piece, your bbcode was showing. I'm not sure if that was a typo, or just Discord being Discord.

Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom-
Nice title, but be careful about the capitalization. I believe it should be "Goodbye, Mother That Was Never Mom". You did the funeral much better than me.

Yes-
You had a very interesting opening, but once she met the mysterious figure, it became very boring. I ended up dropping this one about halfway through.

Attack of the Killer Oranges-
This was a brilliant fic. Very creative, very funny.
Orange juice as tears = yes.
"'Racist!' accused a second voice." = yes.
However, on the downside, there were lots and lots of typos. And the ending felt very, VERY rushed.


Currently, this is how it stands:
Breaking the Silence > Killer Oranges > Mother that was never Mom > Faint Maestra > Yes
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1552

Story: Breaking the Silence

I think you did a very good job of keeping Sweetie Belle in character—however, that said, you could definitely do a better job of balancing Showing and Telling from her perspective. It is a balancing act, and though you did okay throughout most of the piece, there were finitely places that needed more Showing than they were given.

I just want to say up-front that the Octavia scene did not work, and in fact that entire section of the story failed—it felt like a non sequitur, and it failed to set up conflict at all. I get why you put it in there, but really, the parallel was strained at best, and downright ridiculous at worst. Lacking inspiration versus…fearing that you've destroyed your sister's livelihood? Yeah. Totally similar, amirite?

In fact, the entire "I want my sister back" thread came out of nowhere. If you gave us a thorough description of Rarity's actions and expressions, as well as a development of the ways in which she tries to get away from Sweetie Belle—perhaps she tells her to run off to her friends and flinches when Sweetie asks for a hug—then things might have been better. But you didn't, and so they weren't.

I'd also like to complain briefly about the "laughter" about the candle—at best, it feels forced. You're talking about something that burned their freaking house down, and they're laughing? Maybe if one of them had cracked a joke about never finishing the cake in the oven, or else not being very relaxed as a result of said candle, then maybe it would have worked. But again, nope.

In the opening especially, and in general, you moved the plot along at a very rushed pace. We can also see this looking at the school and in Fluttershy's cottage—we barely had any time to acclimate to the new setting before you were moving along at the speed of light. The transition from "dream" to "fire" was so sloppy and abrupt that I actually had to read over it three or four times before I understood what was going on. Moreover, once Fluttershy said "It was only a dream" to Sweetie Belle waking up at the beginning of the third scene, I had no idea what had actually happened—was the house actually burned down? Was she just having a sleepover to Fluttershy's, and had a nightmare? Was the spa the real bit? I had no clue.

Additionally, I wanted more from the Cheerilee, Mrs. Cake, and Octavia scenes—you did so little to set them up, especially as characters, that I found myself wanting more development from them. Cheerilee could have been great—scolding Silver Spoon? Maybe Diamond Tiara actually apologized to Sweetie? And Mrs. Cake is a great matronly character—or at least she would have been if she'd gotten more than two lines. Again, you've got to work with what you've got and develop it completely, not just skip around at the flicker of a candle.

On the topic of your PoV—you don't want to have Sweetie mentally voice her "protest", or else argue with the reader ("I didn't do it") in the narrative. This is pure first perspective, not first-semi-second like Percy Jackson, wherein the narrator is addressing the readers directly. Another thing you need to watch out for is Telling to much when you shouldn't need to—you get some excuses for having 1st PoV, but when you've got something like "Rarity notices [Twilight] when she passes by," you should have a little red flag going up in your head.

Mechanics-wise, your sentence fragments don't quite work in several places. They clogged up the narrative, especially in the opening "fire" scene. There was some awkward wording ("nopony talks again for the rest of the trip") that didn't quite work, as well as some stilted, awkward writing in which I must question your word choice ("Miss Cheerilee’s voice jerks me out of some daydream I must have been in.; [They are] smirking a bit too big). Additionally, remember that you need to capitalize words like "Sis, Mom, Dad," and so on.

Overall, I felt as though you never really got off the primary idea of the piece, as per the title. "Breaking silence" would work if there was some clear obstacle, and a development of the idea and implications of Rarity's self-isolation, especially if it was toward other ponies, and not just Sweetie Belle. Some other small, Freudian hints would have made this fic much better than it currently is.

Also, lose the Octavia angle. Thanks.

Score: 4/10


Oh dear. I wonder if I'll be writing commentary this long for each of the fics…
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1557

>>1552
>Lacking inspiration versus…fearing that you've destroyed your sister's livelihood? Yeah. Totally similar, amirite?
They're both struggling to find ways to say what they want to say, and they help each other come to terms with that. I stand by it.

>If you gave us a thorough description of Rarity's actions and expressions

Sweetie Belle does, every time she sees her.

>perhaps she tells her to run off to her friends

She does. On two separate occasions.

>You're talking about something that burned their freaking house down, and they're laughing?

You've never seen someone laugh when it might seem odd because they realize the ridiculousness of their situation? Rarity's crying at the same time, and Sweetie Belle is caught up in the moment, as children will do.

>In the opening especially, and in general, you moved the plot along at a very rushed pace. We can also see this looking at the school and in Fluttershy's cottage—we barely had any time to acclimate to the new setting before you were moving along at the speed of light. The transition from "dream" to "fire" was so sloppy and abrupt that I actually had to read over it three or four times before I understood what was going on.

Precisely. It's from Sweetie Belle's perspective, and that time is flying by to her. It takes her some time herself to figure out why she's at Fluttershy's and what had really happened. You're supposed to be as disoriented as she is.

>or else argue with the reader

Sweetie Belle never addresses the reader. She makes two internal comments like this. The first is directed at herself as much as at Cheerilee, and the second is directed at Rarity.

>Telling to much when you shouldn't need to

As first-person fics go, this is pretty light on telling. I'm not sure what you're looking for, given your earlier comment about a lack of action and expression from Rarity, since Sweetie Belle does comment about that every time she sees her.

>your sentence fragments don't quite work in several places. They clogged up the narrative, especially in the opening "fire" scene.

You would have preferred complete sentences? Nobody actually thinks like that, especially in that situation. That's the quickest way to make internal thoughts feel inauthentic.

>Additionally, remember that you need to capitalize words like "Sis, Mom, Dad," and so on.

While it's not wrong to capitalize those words, there are sources that will say it's not mandatory. The general rule that people try to apply is the "substituting for a name," but that would affect any term of direct address. You can say it's more common to do so, but be careful what you call wrong. I actually researched this while writing to make sure I could do it this way.

>if there was some clear obstacle

When Sweetie Belle spends the entire fic hammering the reader over the head with her guilt and inability to talk to Rarity about it… Again, I don't know what you want here.

Reviews Author of "A Monologue" 1558

Here we go. I’ll try and keep these as to-the-point as possible.

Breaking the Silence

Hmm. Well, I like and can agree with the premise. However, the story is pretty dull. Maybe that sounds too harsh, or contradictory, so let me expand on it a bit.

The concept is one we can all agree with, the guilt of having done something wrong. And, if I thought I’d burned a house down, I’d certainly be terrified to tell someone I looked up to that I’d done it. So, your concept is very good and I think you had the right idea of how to go through it for the most part.

However, the style is one big tell. Very little is left to the imagination, as everything is explicitly spelled out to the reader, and very few chances were taken with sentence structure. Also, a few of the scenes are enormously confusing. Like that second scene. I thought it was all supposed to be a dream until I got further and found out it had really happened. The transition was much too sudden, and it will throw readers for a complete loop.

I also don’t know if I like how I feel you characterized Rarity. In our first scene, she had to actually decide between Sweetie Belle and some freaking clothes? No, just no. Further, the dialogues felt a little chewy, or just a tad forced, and even a bit OOC at times. While the discussions never technically left character, there were more than a few instances where it just didn’t sound quite right either.

Also, I agree with >>1529. Octavia felt very oddly placed. However, it could have worked to some extent had your transitions and style been smoother. As is, this felt both too long and too short.

It’s too long because the style creates far too much drudgery, due to the very basic style and at times oddly OOC characters. It’s too short because the things that did matter like Sweetie Belle’s guilt and Octavia’s real purpose to the story are never really expanded on properly or given true depth.

Skim-Perhaps: 3/10


Faint Maestra

First off, I disagree with >>1529 on this point. I don’t think you shattered the forth wall at all. However, I do think this was a perfect fic to have done so, had you used the opportunity more liberally.

Twilight could not shatter it, but, given that this was a dream, you could certainly have had every other character doing so. Pinkie could have been hilarious with some more leaning on, if not outright breaking, of the fourth wall. You had some admittedly interesting moments, many of which could have lent well to comedy, and some really good set-ups for some decent atmosphere, but you were in too much of a rush with all of them.

Your narration and dialogue work off too many rhetorical questions. Show, don’t tell. Give us the descriptions of this fantastical and strange place in vivid and awe-inspiring detail. If it’s all a dream, then you’re free to do whatever you want with it. Make buildings that float upside down and spray hot cheese from every window, a dark fortress with a pink bubblegum moat, anything you want. The world can be your oyster, should you choose to open it.

Also, your use of “inner thoughts” was confusing. I could not separate the direct thoughts from your narration. So, it felt like it was either narration out of nowhere with no semblance of making sense, or that it was you trying to throw something at us, screaming, “DO YOU GET IT?!”

Finally, the ending didn’t make sense to me. I have no idea what the dream was supposed to imply or the point of that odd question at the very bottom. And no, it neither appears nor feels deep and thought provoking to me. It’s just confusing and abrupt. Was it supposed to be Twilight dreaming of becoming an alicorn? Does she have the hots for Celestia? What am I get here?

What am I supposed to get out of this and how does this story tie in to the prompt of things that cannot be said?

Skim-Perhaps. 3/10


Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom

>>1529

I say the thoughts don’t feel scattered, but instead very choppy.

Your style’s like a machine gun, with bursts of sentences that move the narration very quickly. Now, I might applaud you, if this was an intentional method of showing how little she wants to dwell on these thoughts and that they’re just firing away as fast as she thinks them.

However, I think a few moments of switching to a more flowing narration could have been helpful. That, or use the smoother flow for the majority of the story, with unpleasant bits falling to this more rapid style, perhaps?

I do applaud your use of the theme, and also applaud your overall use of the plot. It just needs some more polish.

Worth-A-Look: 7/10


Yes

I actually agree with >>1529 on this for the most part.

The only criticism I can add is that you had a few moments where you held our hand a little too tight, but I surprisingly liked it, despite its confusing and often bizarre nature. A few things could stand explaining here and there, like rationale as to how this all ties together especially the scene with the whole Crystal Pony bit but it was at least intriguing.

Worth A Look: 6/10


Attack of the Killer Oranges
The two words that best describe this are “overpowered” and “inconsistent”.

You have numerous spelling errors, with some words that aren’t correctly used at all, and wild swings in both tone and presentation of the story.

The comedy is, as I said, far too over the top. The situation is pretty funny as is, but the story runs over subtly with a freight train, and every minute of reading feels like its trying far too hard for a laugh.

The presentation of narration is almost… well… childish in tone, at the points when it is being consistent for the most part. Parentheses, rhetorical questions, and jokes that are actually being explained are absolutely everywhere. Much of this needs to be dialed way back. Some of the jokes are wildly out of place, many of the scene breaks are confusing, and the overall tone exudes a “LAUGH, DANG IT!” voice.

However, I will admit that the theme was well used. And there were some points where I felt it could have been very funny, had some of the humor been used a little more gently. This is a fairly clever idea, and one could almost argue it is a show worthy one. Just work on that presentation, please.

Worth-a-Skim 4/10


A Little Brighter
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yONAlBpnn-Q

Life just isn’t freaking fair. How you did this in three days, I will never know.

STOP MAKING ME LOOK BAD.

My only complaints stem from a few transitions not working with the oh-so-buttery smoothness of the others, and more than a couple cases where you invented some new words.

Like:

>bruisefavoredvoured.


Also, the story felt little rushed in a few spots, especially towards the end

Worth-every-word(including the new ones): 8/10


The Stars and Sky Above
Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Very sweet, very emotional, and extremely well-written. My only complaints are a few places, especially near the beginning, where those one-line paragraphs you use at times felt a little too soon and out-of-place.

Worth-every-word: 9/10


Pinkless
Well, shoot.

Beyond a few little complaints, a few tiny derps here and there and a moment or two of poor narration choices that would be easy fixes, I can’t say there’s much about this I don’t like.

A very lovely story and a very nice look at this “extended” ending to our Mirror Pool incident.

Worth-Every-Word: 9/10


We’ll Keep in Touch
I’m trying to figure out if I like this or not.

Give me a minute.



Okay, I sort of like it. However, it has a fair number of problems. First, Rainbow feels strangely OOC. Before you give me the assumed reason that it’s a ship let me be clearer.

That is not a reason for Rainbow Dash to not sound like Rainbow Dash. She was too… well-spoken. I find it difficult to assume she’d write with this sort of voice, or write with quite this vocabulary, right out the gate. I think Fluttershy fits that voice better than Rainbow Dash, or maybe Rarity even. This is not to say the story doesn’t work with Rainbow Dash, but you’ll need to tweak her voice and behavior some more if she’s to be our Rainbow Dash.

Also, in an odd turn of events, I think you had something going with the letters that you did not with the narration. Mostly in that I enjoyed the former over the latter. I think the whole middle of the story should have been just letters (preferably without the To:/From: attachments that made them look and sound like emails), with the beginning being narration and dialogue, as well as the ending being narration and dialogue (with a little extra mentioned below).

For that very last part, I’d have not told us what was in the letters until the very end. Only mention that she sends two. Then, at the end, show us what the two letters said. It would give more punch to the story.

Worth-a-Lookfor a shipper5/10


The Lunar Half
I can see the effect you were going for here, but I question the basic style at times. Kind of clever, with a few nice referencesI caught your Kingdom of the Crystal skull joke.
, but it’s over way too fast and it just felt rushed and sort of sloppy.

Still, an interesting concept. And I applaud you for some cleverness

Worth-a-Skim: 4/10


Silent Growth
Hrm. Another ship.

Basic and predictable. It’s almost formulaic.

Cute, granted, but not particularly gripping or outstanding. Also, the formatting is quite something to behold. Long walls of text, often almost a dozen lines each (that is too long, my friend. Break those up a bit more please).

Skim-Perhaps: 2/10


The Words Won’t Come
Yo-ho, yo-ho, another ship it be.

A few little derps here and there, perhaps. Mostly in the style getting a little too basic in form at times. However, a nice little read and extraordinarily well done with both character and settings. This ship sails well, be what I’m sayin’. Yar, matey.

Worth-Every-Wordfor shippers: 8/10


Choose Your Words Carefully
I have no idea what this is.

Certainly not a story. Maybe the beginning of a story? A rough idea of a story? Booze-fueled insanity?

That part in the middle, especially the throwing in of what feels random words in bold, massive, colored text, feels attention-grabbing for the wrong reasons. I have no reason to suspect “Flute”, “Wilt and Wisp”, or “Shades” have any purpose, beyond trying to impress on me that they might have a purpose. Also, the scene waylays us without any explanation.

This either needs expansion, or a more concise reason to exist.

Skim-Perhaps: 2/10


Good Things Are Better When They’re a Rarity
It’s a ship again. I’m sensing a pattern here.

Too quick. Also, for a ship, had very little actual shipping. Whether that’s a good thing could be debated.

The scenes had the pacing of a bullet-train. Take some more time, expand on the relationships. Also, work on the whole Canoid scene. It felt like a reason to give Rarity a jacket, put the two in a “romantic setting”, and give Rarity some brownie points, nothing more. Very cheesy dialogue, and oddly strange sounding in terms of Rover’s.

Skim-Perhaps: 3/10


Benediction
An interesting thing, admittedly. It is not so much one story, as it is an anthology of stories, tied by a singular voice of narration.

I enjoyed it. My only main problem is that section towards the end where, instead of horizontal lines, you used several spaces. Watch those.

Worth-Every-Word: 9/10 (feel free to remove a point for possible bias.)


One-Winged Angel
I think this needs more. Not enough really for a short story, as the ending leaves her working for a complete ass, which seems unsatisfying, but a possibly good set-up for a much longer story.

I liked it. The characters play well off each other, and you kept Hope reasonably self-confident. She wasn’t an utter doormat, as she is willing to argue and cut back when she has a mind to do so. A few derps here and there with grammar and wording, and, again, it feels like it should be expanded much more into what happens later, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.

Worth-a-Look: 7/10


Tribunal
Not bad. A few mistakes here and there, and I don’t know if I liked that last paragraph. I feel you could have gotten rid of that last sentence, or made it less telly somehow.

Still, an overall good read.

Worth-a-Look: 7/10


The Hope of Happiness
Okay, you started and I had few complaints. Most had to do with an overly-telly style, but a few fundamental issues with the story itself popped up as well in the beginning.

A. Pinkie has the gall to leave her sister alone for parties while she’s sick? No.

B. Pinkie’s friends don’t bother showing up anymore? That’s kind of douchey, don’t you think?

C. I fail to understand how a youth spell actually helps an already young pony with a terminal disease. Maybe if it had been just “Temporary immortality, for half the expected life”. Or “Strength and vigor, for half the expected life”


The middle felt okay with times and I sort of like it. Other times it felt a little forced, but it still worked rather well with Pinkie’s maniac energy and determination.

Then we got towards the end and I think you went kind of insane.

A. Surprise shipping of Inkie and Pinkie.

Grah. I don’t think your excuse of “Pinkie’s adopted” is going to really cut it. It’s still kind of creepy. And utterly out of nowhere.

B. Inkie’s (and Pinkie’s?) suicide by cliff.

Again, out of nowhere, and I think a bit far for your ending. This is already depressing, so why go there of all places? Her dying while Pinkie holds her, or Inkie getting hit by the disease and realizing that Pinkie tricked her, could be so much more moving than merely “jumped off a cliff”.


You use too many one sentence excuses to try and explain away these holes, instead of working around them whenever you could have and moving through them. The overall product feels oddly put together, both as a result of this and some of your more baffling choices later in the plot.

However, there were a few parts where it still felt sweet, and kind of in-character. So, I give you some credit.

Worth-a-Skim: 5/10


What She Didn’t Want
The last fic. A ship

What this tried to do, “The Words Won’t Come” did better.

However, I really liked the backstory for Applejack and Fluttershy, which was quite unique for me.

I might argue to get rid of the shipping subplot entirely, and focus more on their friendship as it has evolved over the years. Their history as two fillies growing up together intrigued me and I think it deserves to be explored deeper and more exclusively, without this almost tacked-on love angle. Expand on this idea of Fluttershy trying to find a good home, with Applejack trying to keep her new-found friend despite an already-struggling Granny Smith(who likes Fluttershy, but has try and care for her grandchildren, who’ve now lost their parents).


Besides a few telling errors, not much else got my goat here. It was an okay read.

Worth-a-Look: 6/10
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1561

OK, so I chose to start with the longest of the bunch to read. Took me all day, was so busy, but I'm gonna go ahead and put my thoughts down before sleep. (If you haven't read it yet note, I won't be marking spoilers once you're in the drop-down box.)

A Little Brighter

OK so let's start with the bad. I think getting the negatives out of the way first will be best.

Sometimes the dialogue felt a little stinted. Static, more like reading a script than what a person/pony would actually say. There was also a really weird typo that reared its head multiple times, where I can only imagine you simply got distracted in the middle of writing, and forgot you'd typed a word and repeatedrepeatedit it multiple times (← kinda like that back there). That said, I was kind of able to ignore this one because I actually found it rather amusing It kind of gave the impression that Salad was narrating.

Now onto the premise. Now I' going to make it clear here that I actually kind of LIKE these "everything's connected" stories, but in the spirit of some kind of objectivity they can get a little corny at times. And this story fell into that pit, starting around halfway through and hitting overdrive around the end.

Now onto the good. I loved the story, I'll say that. There are flaws but that doesn't detract from the great thing you've made. A cast of what I believe is fully original characters? (Save one little cameo that kickstarted it all and I found rather clever.) If so, definitely kudos, I liked them all more or less, though Tulip and Salad were my favorites.

I had, actually, expected this to be a cutesy romance thing up until the first perspective shift. That shift is what hooked me. Up until that point I had spent maybe ten hours reading a line every once in a while. I shot through the rest in twenty minutes or so. You do a very good job of connecting every little event and making it all feel connected, and cap it off with a wonderfully warm conclusion.

8/10, A Need-to-Read for anybody that needs a dose of feels.


>>1558

I don't actually know how to do that link stuff yet, I'm very new to this type of board so I don't get all the little tricks yet.

But yeah, while my writing generally doesn't require justification to be staccato, it was meant as a stream of consciousness story. Not so much a retelling of her thoughts, as keeping pace with exactly what's happening in her mind.

>>1529

It could very well be my lack of talent at effectively portraying it, but I would have to assert and say her scattered thoughts would not fit her demeanor. Partly on account of Twilight always getting a little frayed when she doesn't know what to do in a situation, and partly because this story was heavily based on my reaction to my own mother's death. It's a feeling that's difficult to translate. You're not in hysterics, not exactly sad, even. Mostly confused, strangely lucid, and trying to reconcile a lot of things in your head.

Author of "We'll Keep In Touch 1565

>>1558
>Dash feels OOC
I don't know if you've ever met someone who talks or acts like Dash does, sort of cool and stuff, but none of them will sit down and write a written letter in the same way they talk. On top of that it's somewhat inherent from the story that this is a couple, or even several, years down the road from canon, so Dash has somewhat matured, but in the actual scenes (the beginning and end) Dash does act fairly close to character, although a bit more mature for reasons stated above.

There's also the fact that she took writing lessons from Rarity daily. And it mentions that the lessons teach her "not only calligraphy, but also how to write a good letter." If someone's not very well read (like Dash) they don't write how they talk, they usually write like an elementary or middle schooler

So I could have her A) have letters that are written in a way that's not remotely believable with speech-isms all over the place. Or B) have her write like a 5th grader, which would completely kill the story.

So I tried to instead give multiple reasons as to why Dash is acting more mature and able to write a decent letter, while still keeping a decent amount of her Dash character in her writing.

>without the To:/From: attachments that made them look and sound like emails

I copied the letter format from Yours Truly and the alternative to having those tags is having all the letters in all italics(ew). Without the To:/From: tags, the letters blend into the narration too much. Especially the short ones that don't have a 'dear X,' at the beginning of them.

>For that very last part, I’d have not told us what was in the letters until the very end. Only mention that she sends two. Then, at the end, show us what the two letters said.


Why would I do that with both letters instead of the way I did it with one letter? It would have way less impact. It would also be way worse. Why would I split the reader's attention between these two letters rather than focus it on the one that matters? The first letter is just a simple message to Celestia asking if she can see Twilight. Sure, I could give the second letter some meaning (but why?) and then have it at the end as well (why???) but what could possibly be significant in a letter Dash writes to Celestia, who isn't even a real character in this story?

I actually get the feeling you missed that I did have a letter at the end. And I also get the feeling you didn't read the end.

I'll give you the rest of your points, but not those.

>>1566
I know. I hit enter after typing in the edit password, which made it delete my post instead.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 1566

>>1565
>>1564
You can edit posts after the fact. Just checking in case you didn't know - check the checkbox by your post, and in the lower right hand corner there's an "edit" button.

Author of Tribunal 1572

Alright, starting from bottom upwards, because I can. No numerical scores though, because I'm whimsical and still prone to changing my mind.

What She Didn't Want

Joy. A shipfic. I applaud you for the unusual choice of Fluttershy x Applejack. Now, I know you want to imply that AJ x FS goes some way back before the show and extends beyond… but by Celestia, your portrayal of their relationship seems so ham-fisted. It's literally almost one-sided from Fluttershy's part. Didn't quite feel natural, y'know? Maybe it's intentional, but the ship fell flat for me as a result.

Also, did AJ ever called Fluttershy as 'Shy? I couldn't recall. It bugged me a lot.

And then that final scene. Forced sad out of nowhere. Unless you're willing to tell me that FS never worked up the courage to tell AJ for her entire (pony) life, no. There is no reason for this. You could have ended the fic in any other way, but you choose this instead. Shame.

I don't know. Their early interactions were quite sweet, as were some of the Ponyville moments. But eh, didn't click for me as a story.

tl;dr Meh. Coulda been better.


The Hope of Happiness
Another implied shipfic, though really now. Inkie x Pinkie? Never mind the disturbing implications of their relationship prior to this. A few things that bugged me.

>Inkie only having 5 days to live. Wut. Made me eye-roll.

>Pinkie's friends being unable to connect to Inkie. Hard to imagine this.
>Parents cannot be contacted. Convenient.
>Twilight pulling a dues ex machina and saying she has just the spell to temporarily cure Inkie at the cost of half her life. Though I'm pretty sure a youth spell don't work to cure diseases that way.
>That suicide at the end. What.

Oh man, I don't know what to think of this. On one hand, I think Pinkie's interaction with Inkie before implied incest was pretty sweet. I rather liked your Pinkie voice. On the other, the fic took a turn down Drama Ave after that and never looked back. Plus, forced as hell ship for the sake of some shipping. Shame, could have been a lot better.

tl;dr Didn't like this.


One Winged Angel
That title makes me think of Sephiroth.

Anyway, first non-shipfic. A decent read, though you really, really stretched my suspension of disbelief.

>Hope continues to follow a gryphon known as an asshole for no reason. Like, really. What reason she has to confront him in the first place.

>Gryphon continues to entertain Hope long after he known that she was going to be nothing but an annoyance. Another what. He could and should have kicked her out after the first two meeting. There is no reason for him to open his door.

The story suffers from the two contrived elements above. Otherwise if you get past that, it's actually entertaining. Hope's characterisation I liked. I also quite liked how you imply the gryphon isn't as harsh as he wants to be perceived as, and hints of his underlying personality. I know it's hypocritical of me both criticise and praise you for the same point, but that's really indicative of my feelings on this fic as a whole. I want to like it, but I cannot bring myself to overlook the glaring contrivances that the story used to move the plot along.

tl;dr Decent, but flawed.


>>1558
Interestingly few comments.

On the last sentence, yes, I know I could have done better. I blame time and my chronic lack of imagination.

Author of "A Monologue" 1573

>>1565

To which I counter thusly:

A. Her writing more believably wouldn’t mean she needs to write like she stabbed a quill at the paper and hoped for words to come out.

The ability to have written her in character doesn’t mean you would have had “Hur Twurlurt!” running all over the place. It meant that you should have started with a more basic and less mature sounding style of writing for her. If she is new to this, as she and you would both clearly state, then she would not write letters quite this well on her first tries.

Telling us “Rarity helped her” doesn’t excuse the fact that it almost feels she’s able to write Shakespearean ballads right out the gate. A few little mistakes and some more basic language would have been acceptable in those first few letters. It’s excusable, because she’s learning. And, it would have given you a way to show us she’s maturing: by letting each subsequent letter sound and look more professional. Instead of telling us “She had lessons”, show us that she’s getting better at it.

And no, you gave few actual reasons for this “maturity” in the very beginning. Very few of which are entirely believable.

The “drifting apart” felt forced, because I have no idea why this is happening; the “writing lessons” felt tacked on to excuse the fact that Rainbow Dash is not writing believably; and the passing of time, and reason for this starting so somberly, isn’t ever properly explained. I had no idea how much time is supposed to have passed, why this is so heartbreaking, or why I should be invested in this strangely (again, OOC) drifting apart of six good friends. In other words, there was little reason for me to think that this was in the realms of any reality.

You hit the right notes, which is to your credit, but you have little build-up to them, which kills my immersion.

B. The To:/From: tags don’t help you.

They pull me out of believing these are letters. Mini scene breaks, or some other form of separation, would have conveyed this much better. And, as I said, eliminating the narration from the middle entirely would give me both a challenge, figuring the context and meanings behind the letters, and acted as a good change of pace and style. We will fill in some of the holes, should you properly give us the tools to do so.

Maybe, instead of those tags, you can separate them with dates? It would look nicer, give us a sense of passing time, and help separate your letters from each other. Copying the format from another story does not guarantee excellence, nor does will it necessarily keep readers from finding it out-of-place.

C. No, I did not miss the fact you had a letter at the end.

You would do it with both at the end because it makes the ending keep its punch while the narration now flows smoother.

I liked the letter on the end, which was short, sweet, and to the point for a nice final note. I did not like that letter to Celestia breaking the flow of narration before that. Either use some more dialogue/narration to explain who is getting the letter and its meaning, and just get rid of that little tidbit entirely, or put that letter just before the other letter on the end, where it serves the same purpose in a much less obtrusive place.


>>1572

Because there were few complaints that really leapt out at me. If I had to make some more, maybe it would be that I had a difficult time trying to think of the reason for both some of the logic and language tying into the pony universe. A unicorn wielding a sword seemed odd to me. I know some royal guard carry spears, but that just seems… awkward for actual combat. And who the blazes was shooting arrows? Only griffons have thumbs, at this moment, and I question how a quadruped could use a two-handed weapon without falling on their face.

However, I was able to look past that because of a job nicely done and the theme being executed fairly well in an admittedly interesting way. It should have scored higher, had the ending a little more punch in it, and maybe the narration smoothed out in a few other places to make it sound a little less rushed.

But, overall, a good read that accomplished its mission. I salute you, Sergeant. I will admit, “Sprinkles” as a name for your Sergeant made me smile, just a little.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of Tribunal 1582

File: 1354054822631.png (Spoiler Image,768.79 KB, 1280x720, Royal_guard_didn't_notice_S2E2…)

>A unicorn wielding a sword seemed odd to me. I know some royal guard carry spears, but that just seems… awkward for actual combat. And who the blazes was shooting arrows? Only griffons have thumbs, at this moment, and I question how a quadruped could use a two-handed weapon without falling on their face.

To which I direct you to this picture. Pretty sure unicorns can use swords with magic, and there are admittedly some pretty cool depiction of ponies using swords with their mouth.

Yeah, this is one of those things in MLP which might work if you don't think too hard about it. Might here being a generous quantity.

The archers hidden in the forest was supposed to be griffons, since this is technically a griffon band of bandits.

In any case, I am glad you enjoyed it, warts and all.

Author of "Choose Your Words Carefully" 1584

>>1558
Welp, looks like I'm in the run-in for the wooden spoon, then. Woo.

>Certainly not a story. Maybe the beginning of a story? A rough idea of a story? Booze-fueled insanity?

Let's just go with the third and call it a day.

>That part in the middle, especially the throwing in of what feels random words in bold, massive, colored text, feels attention-grabbing for the wrong reasons. I have no reason to suspect “Flute”, “Wilt and Wisp”, or “Shades” have any purpose, beyond trying to impress on me that they might have a purpose. Also, the scene waylays us without any explanation.

Eh, there was reason and stuff… but at this point it is so nonsensical I don't even want to bother explaining it.

Author of "We'll Keep In Touch" 1587

That does make more sense.
My reply was a bit hot-headed, since it gave me the impression you didn't actually read a lot of my story, which I can see now is not the case.
I'm still borderline on the To:/From: tags. I don't think a hard scene break (I already have a soft one between letters and narration) is the way to go, and I feel simply dropping them wouldn't do either. Maybe a triple asterisk line break? I don't know.

I can see how the letter to Celestia may interrupt the flow of narration where it is, but I still feel it would be far worse to have it interrupt the tone/atmosphere at the end. I stand by having the one letter there, and I don't really see reason to change the letter to Celestia to have more meaning since, as I said before, Celestia is a minor character and the letter is just a simple request.

The narration was an attempt at writing something similar to the narration in a old, famous fantasy book I'm currently reading called A Wizard of Earth Sea which used telly narration somewhat similar to mine to describe events that happen over the course of months or even years. I didn't want to have only letters because I already feel like I'm being way too much like Yours Truly, and I felt I could add in a bit more story in the narration.

I guess there isn't much of a transition in the way of Dash's writing improving. By the time she writes her second letter she's had a week's worth of practice, so I guess I should have a noticeable jump between the first and second letter.

(That's the second time I've hit enter by reflex when trying to edit my post. If any mods are reading this, that's really annoying.)
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1590

Story: Choose Your Words Carefully

Okay, let's start with the little things. First, don't describe characters we already know—we know who Spike is; you don't need to tell us that he's a little purple freak with green cancerous growths on his spinal cord. Secondly, don't add little "flairs" to your narration—i.e. "our very own Spike"—if there's no defined narrator to speak them. Thirdly, Show, Don't Tell—in cases, where you said things like "confusion [furrowed] his brow", you really should describe it in a different, more descriptive fashion.

You shouldn't be using so many adverbs, or in such weird places ("cooed wryly" does not, and never will, make sense). Don't say "X happened, causing Y;" or "X caused Y;" instead, say "X happened; [and] Y happened." That way, we're able to implicitly link the two events together causally without being explicitly told to. On that note, don't tell us things about the specific situation, such as Spike being "aware of his obligations." It comes off as more preachy and weird than anything (tonally).

Oh, and if I ever see one more bit of LUS in your writing, I will hit you.

Moving right along.

Mechanically, you weren't too bad. You had the occasional typo, and the sentence fragments didn't work for you at all—learn to use em-dashes, or perhaps semicolons for that kind of diction. I caught at least one mistake with the BBCode, which goes to show that you really didn't bother to proofread this after submitting it. So yeah.

Characterwise, I felt as though Spike should have reacted more to the dragon's presence to begin with (you should at least have developed his shock); furthermore, his tear-ridden protests to Twilight felt even more fake than the same scene in The Crystal Empire. In general, he was very flat, and not deeply developed at all.

Oh, and WTF was up with the dragon chick?

Speaking of which, you should have done more to set her up. Moreover, learn to TELL US WHAT IS IN THE GOD DAMN LETTER. I had no idea what was going on—was it Spike's parents? Was it some kind of familial or biological obligation? What pilgrimage was he talking about? What was Spike doing? What the hell was going on, and why were these ponies joining in? Additionally, the colored text…montage things just made me WTF all the harder. I was confused, devoid of context, and ready to smack someone if they would actually tell me something about the situation. My exact thoughts at the close of the fic were: "What in the hell did I just read?"

I'm guessing you might have just run out of time, but I didn't even understand your moral or theme, let alone your link to the prompt. You didn't take the time to develop a single thing in this, and as such, you violated Vonnegut's First Rule of Writing—don't make the reader feels as though you've wasted their time.

Score: 2/10 Though I might give it a 1/10 if I find no worse fic
This post was edited by its author on .

1591

>>1558
>very few chances were taken with sentence structure
Again, very deliberate. It's a child speaking. She's not going to use complex sentence structures. If I did, it would be horribly OOC. Is that really something you'd advise?

Author of "Choose Your Words Carefully" 1592

File: 1354068215790.jpg (16.44 KB, 234x181, IdiotBall.jpg)

>>1590
Looks like I screwed up big time with this one. I shall flagellate myself now for penance.

>dat formatting derp

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

>all the other stuff

You hit the nail on the head.

1/10 is completely justified.



>mfw I am a complete idiot

Anonymous 1593

>>1592
One of the benefits of these write-offs - exercises in creative masochism. Good practice.

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1594

File: 1354068629378.png (229.36 KB, 658x696, fluttershycheeks.png)

>>1591
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?

1595

>>1594
I've been burned by Vimbert for using prose too complex for a child character, and samurai agreed. Take that as you will.

Anonymous 1596

File: 1354071670372.jpg (32.25 KB, 300x169, 1333028032790.jpg)

>>1595
>I've been burned by Vimbert

1597

>>1595
I would respond by saying that, unless you can get Vimbert or Samurai to say that it applies here too, maybe the situation is different enough to warrant other's opinions and you might want to consider them.

Everyone can respect Vimbert judgment, but every story isn't the same, so maybe you went straight ahead in a 180° turn here. Plus, we might love the guy but is not like he is the one and final opinion in writing. Can't comment on the Samurai, all I know about him is hearsay.

Author of "A Monologue" 1598

>>1591

Yes. I would.

>When I get outside, it’s even worse out there. Sweat’s still running down my face, and now I’ve got something scratching my leg. I look down, and it’s a small bramble caught on my hoof. I knock it away, but it’s still sticking me. There aren’t any growing up through the sidewalk. Why can’t I get rid of it? Ow! Now it hurts! I hear growling, too. And I smell smoke…

Look at every sentence in this paragraph. Look at them very hard.

This isn’t a child speaking. It isn’t any sort of person’s/pony’s way of thinking or speaking. It’s a plot robot that is determined to plod in one direction. A plodding plobot, if you will. The style is simple, but that does not make it engaging. It makes it tiresome.

While Sweetie Belle is indeed a child, that does not give you an excuse for the narration to sound like a laundry list of actions. Childishness would come from a slightly more basic sounding vocabulary, not arrangement. Even then, Sweetie Belle is among the “smarter” of the CMC, so you can get away with a larger vocabulary and sophistication with her dialogue and the narration involving her.

Blending some of the sentences together, and switching up the way they sound (start one with a verb, start one with an And, use a semicolon. Just. Do. Something. Different.), will make the narration less of a chore to follow along with. Thus, we can more enjoy the story as it stands, because we want to dip into the thoughts of the character and listen to you.



I shall now dissect several of your comments, as argued against an earlier reviewer. Some of the thoughts pointed out by your reviewer, I do not agree with, but these are the responses that got me.

>She does. On two separate occasions.

No. No she doesn’t. She doesn’t confess to anybody before Rarity, nor does she ever truly seek comfort. She meets some ponies, but that’s a side-effect of location and circumstance, not a conscious decision. Don’t play this card.

>Precisely. It's from Sweetie Belle's perspective, and that time is flying by to her. It takes her some time herself to figure out why she's at Fluttershy's and what had really happened. You're supposed to be as disoriented as she is.


And that explains the bad transition between our first two scenes.

No, this doesn’t work. Don’t confuse your audience, or you will lose them. Or, at least, don’t confuse them this early. We want to know more and this is your chance to expand. Your usage of a sudden jump in time-and-space is more apt to make us wonder why you seem to be lazy about submerging us in your story, or why you could not take the time to give us more of Sweetie Belle’s thoughts and actions.

It’s okay if Sweetie Belle is confused, but your readers cannot be or they will leave and seek stories that make a bit more sense.

>As first-person fics go, this is pretty light on telling. I'm not sure what you're looking for, given your earlier comment about a lack of action and expression from Rarity, since Sweetie Belle does comment about that every time she sees her.


This is utterly false.

That one paragraph in the above section is one big tell from beginning to end, and it is not a rare occurrence. Telling is not the act of saying too little, or too much, it is speaking in a way that does not challenge the reader to look deeper into your prose for meaning.

>You would have preferred complete sentences? Nobody actually thinks like that, especially in that situation. That's the quickest way to make internal thoughts feel inauthentic.


Yes. We would. The wonderful thing about thought is that it can be as slow or fast as it needs to be, because the speed of thought is not dictated by a stopwatch.

War and Peace.

That segment likely sent your thoughts skittering along at break-neck pace. And, if asked you to express your thoughts, what might you use? “That’s a very long book” or “It’s a terrible/awesome book” or “I wonder where the reviewer is going with this? Man, they’re such a stupid, inconsiderate asshat.”

All of which are complete sentences. Chopping sentences into fragments doesn’t necessarily make them realistic. It makes them sloppy. Fragments are useful for jarring, which makes them good for getting a concise point across and drawing our attention. However, by breaking the narration’s flow, you break our concentration.

Don’t do that lightly.
This post was edited by its author on .

1599

>>1598
>She does. On two separate occasions.

You didn't read what I was responding to, did you? The comment was suggesting that I could have had Rarity send Sweetie Belle off to play with her friends.
>perhaps she tells her to run off to her friends
And I was responding that she did. In two separate instances, Rarity tells Sweetie Belle to go play with her friends.

Author of "Faint Maestra" 1600

File: 1354075268678.png (6.46 KB, 128x128, Yuka_Kazami_2.png)

Fu Fu Fu, it's both cute and sad that no one's figured it out.

Writing Style??? Author of "What She Didn't Want" 1604

Hey, all!

The reviews I've received so far have been very helpful. The shipping aspect was a bit forced, no? I'm better at friendshipping. :)

Now, there's something I'd like to request from future reviewers: can you tell me what you think of my writing STYLE? Like, in terms of: sentence structure, show don't tell, phrases used, dialogue…

It's something I've been worrying about for months. I always feel like my prose isn't florid enough.

1605

Hey, guy who wrote "Benediction", just wanted to let you know that "buck" (despite Fallout: Equestria) isn't a synonym for "stallion".

Great story, though. I may drop some comments in the FIMFiction compilation for the stuff in this contest, if I get the time.

"Benediction" 1606

File: 1354095014941.jpg (Spoiler Image,95.11 KB, 790x581, the-kid.jpg)

>>1605
Of course it isn't, no more than pic-related is a synonym for child or than ramcraft can't be made by ewes…

I'll point out (cheekishly) that you didn't misunderstand me.

>>1604

Can do.


Let's see, where was I? Seven stories read, which is enough to start assigning scores and one-line summaries so I can remember which is which.

Yes Cadence contemplates her death. 3
The Words Won't Come FlutterJack can't say it, good execution of simplistic concept. 6
A Monologue Spike visits Rarity. He's been watching over her family. 10
Choose Your Words Carefully Spike on shrooms. 0
Good Things Are Better Appity won't finish the ship. 1
The Lunar Half Lyra wants to write humans, ends up writing Daring. ?
Silent Growth PinkieShy with the thing with the rose. 3


So that leaves twelve to go (in random order http://www.random.org/lists/)
Tribunal
Faint Maestra
One-Winged Angel
Attack of the Killer Oranges
The Stars and Sky Above
What She Didn't Want
Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom
Pinkless
The Hope of Happiness
Breaking the Silence
A Little Brighter
We'll Keep In Touch


Tribunal
>“Hey, Sarge?” the youthful voice of his corporal spoke.
>Sprinkles continued to fiddle with his chest piece armour. After several moment of futilely trying to get the aquamarine insignia to match up with his golden plate, he grunted, “Yes, Lemongrass?”

Flow-killing stylistic issues here. Better:
>"Hey Sarge?" Corporal Lemongrass said.
>Sprinkles continued to fiddle with the chest piece of his armor. He couldn't get the aquamarine insignium in the right place. After several moments he grunted, "Yes, Lemongrass?"

And that badge better be important seeing how short this story is.

>Captain Dawnstride was the leader. I was the second-in-command.

I've never been in the military myself, only close to it, and I can't hear a non-com describing himself that way - they know as well as anyone else who's really in charge.

Also, down-dressings are the sarge's job… You know what? Equestrian military, not mine. Say it as you want.

>The next thing Sprinkles knew, the dreaded whistles of arrows flying past filled the air around them.

I'm not digging this prose at all.

And that concept… I like it. It falls flat in execution mostly because we don't feel Sprinkles conflict until the very end. Prose was weak, action very hard to follow. Please bring back for review once the contest is over.
Sgt. Sprinkles (tee-hee!) comes across as a namby-pamby wussiest ass-covering non-com ever. Significant execution issues, but promising concept and characters. 2

Faint Maestra
Ooh, existential mystery hook. Good.

What the Pinkie moment. Good.

Trixie talking-head dialog. Not good - or shouldn't be good, but how the fuck are you making this work?!

I'm… I feel like I'm trapped in an episode of Soul Eater or something. This is weird, but in a good way. Not sure if the I'm-thirteen-writing-is-exciting prose is the product of intent or inexperience, but it actually works mostly.

>firing a disparate hail of yellow

>disparate
Oh. Oh wow. I'm gonna go with mad-genius who's pretending to be an idiot then.

I'm having so much fun. And that cheeky ending. I want a very special thing of my own now.

Twilight in Kingdom Touhou. This is either genius or dumb luck, but I'm giving it to you anyway. 8

Author of "A Monologue" 1610

>>1599

Point conceded. I gave it more depth than it actually had.

However, now that I see what it truly is, I must ask… why?

Why was this worth arguing on from that angle? The point your reviewer was trying to make was less about the action itselfthat of visiting her friends and more on the emotional investment it should have had. Which I do not recall it having.

Author of Tribunal 1612

>>1606
Heh. My prose has always been described variously as odd, awkward and in this case, terribly hard to follow. I am sorry it prevented you from enjoying the story. Sad to say, it's not something I can fix quickly either.

>I've never been in the military myself, only close to it, and I can't hear a non-com describing himself that way - they know as well as anyone else who's really in charge.

You're probably right, since I only have, at best, an educated guess on military life. As you can probably tell, I took many liberties with military protocols.

"Benediction" 1613

File: 1354120425212.png (298.82 KB, 651x651, pony knee.png)

One-Winged Angel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAN8pA9tC0I

Estuans interius
ira vehementi.
Sephiroth!
Sephiroth!

Veni, veni, venias, (Gloriosa!)
ne me mori facias. (Generosa!)
Veni, veni, venias, (Gloriosa!)
ne me mori facias (Generosa!)


… oh right, I'm supposed to be reading, ain't I?

Talking head syndrome. Oh so much THS. And while "Maestra" made it work with familiar and distinct voices, I'm finding myself getting lost between crippled asshole #1 and #2.

You're missing a lot of these: "

> Her ankle

Her what now? Pic related.

She's kinda an asshole. He's kinda an asshole. But they have their excuses, and who am I to say they're not perfect for each other. Plot and pacing good, description sparse, lacks a certain twist and je ne sais quoi. 5

Attack of the Killer Oranges
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC8xV1EZ4Qk

That opening shouldn't work - needs hook - but I have to admit the bubble flowers are pretty.

>Just to illustrate this point, a lone tumble weed bounced beside Zecora before tumbling off into the distance.

Cheeky omniscient narrator is cheeky.

Oh no. You didn't. You did not just write a Twilight-Sparkle-spell-screwup story that's actually good. No way.
/keeps reading.

Yes, this is very funny. Your common prose boo-boos, missing commas, etc. are really starting to grate, though, and the pleasant banter between the PFFs isn't really all that good.

Well voreShy is kinda cute… sorry!

Vial. Spell it with me now: "vial."

Oranges. Oh, God, the oranges. Wears its welcome a little thin and isn't the prettiest writing, but silly and fun. 7

Author of "Faint Maestra" 1615

File: 1354125501956.png (152.54 KB, 356x566, Touhou4Elly.png)

>>1606
Ding Ding Ding, we have ourselves a winner! Have something awesome to listen to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlR0TUV9v4o

It goes great with the final battle

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1626

OK, so I didn't have much time today so I picked the shortest of the fics to read. And boy, did I pick a… something.

Choose Your Words Carefully

I cannot put this in any other way: what the hell did I just read?? I feel like I wandered into Eragon and back in the span of 2,000 words, and this is absolutely not a good thing.

You have an interesting narrating style, I suppose could be considered a positive. I felt like there was certainly a good use of color, enough to visualize what I was reading in an intriguing way.

But the issue I have no idea what I was reading. I mean, holy crap, we went from a train-ride to Conan the Dragon Barbarian in about three paragraphs. Maybe I missed something?? I guess the big words were supposed to be words of power, or targets for his phoenix, or something? But it's just so vague and confusing.

I cannot give this a good rating. If it weren't for the fact that this was a competition that demanded scoring, I wouldn't give it any rating at all, because I'm not sure I can properly critique something when I can't even comprehend it.

OK I think I'm being too mean here. I'll sum up my complaints: Vagueness. You didn't elaborate on anything, and left me asking too many questions. Shortness. There was no time for me to contemplate anything that happened, being dragged along from one visual to another by the nose. Confusing. The prior two build into this: I don't know where Spike is, I barely understand what he's doing, and before we even get a moment to let it all sink in it turns out to all be just a dream, which is a pretty dead trope by now.

I suppose it was at least a unique interpretation of the prompt, but this is a severely flawed story, and if it was to be salvaged at all I would recommend at the very least quintupling the length.

2/10, Complete Mind****

Author of "Choose Your Words Carefully" 1647

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>>1626

>
I suppose it was at least a unique interpretation of the prompt, but this is a severely flawed story, and if it was to be salvaged at all I would recommend at the very least quintupling the length.


Believe me when I say this is going nowhere. As soon as the competition is over, I'm going to burn this abomination, bury it, and build upon it a monument berating that absolution of sanity which has lead to its creation.

Also, you can skip voting on some of the works, iirc, given that you vote for at least half of the stories in total.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of Tribunal 1656

I think this thread is due for a CPR.

With that, here's a few more (short) reviews.

Benediction
Well. This one took a while to sort out my feelings.

Ultimately, this one gets a meh from me. Although very well written and certainly exuding a flair in imagery, it is ultimately not enjoyable to read. The fact that I had to re-read it twice to even attempt to guess on what's going on and who's doing what speaks volumes of its relative inaccessibility.

Don't get me wrong, author. I think you did a good job with the style you went for. It's just flies over my head too much. (aka I'm dumb enough to not understand.)

tl;dr Well-written Venusian


Good Things Are Better When They're a Rarity
Another ship. RariJack. Huh, okay, let's see where you're taking this. Also, you deserve a smack for that pun.

Hmm… seems abruptly short. I was… expecting more? I'm not quite taken to the relatively simplistic prose you used here either. A few errors here and there. The whole Diamond Dog thing seems tacked on. Got no feels here.

tl;dr Meh. Needs more feels.


Choose Your Words Carefully
I think the others have said all that is need to be said. Context, context, context.

tl;dr Severely flawed, too vague.

"Benediction" 1658

>>1656
>who's doing what

They're all supposed to be OCs, so if you're trying to identify canon characters, I derped up hard someplace.

Thanks for giving it more reads than it deserves. If you're still curious about solving it as an intellectual puzzle (it's not, not really), I plan to type up an explanation, which may or may not satisfy.

It's pretty nuts, to be honest. To start with, "Benediction" is a crossover with C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity heavily salted with Steinbeck's To a God Unknown.

The Stars and Sky Above
Now there's a strong opening image. Also, moon princess is best princess.

Not much to say because sucked in to the story.
Slow to develop its conflict, but manages to hook nevertheless through powerful imagery. Gentle resolution could have been a lot stronger. Above all, moving, effective, and beautiful, but I'd have liked more sense of struggle or change. 7

What She Didn't Want

Pacing's rather wonky - I'm less than a quarter of the way in and it feels like we're turning towards the conclusion already. Where are the complications, the patented Fluttershy self-doubt?

I don't understand why the perspective pops around, either. It's more fun to stick with one character trying to understand her opposite.

Fluttershy's family grates horribly with my own headcanon - I figure she's the Quiet Forgotten Child much of the time but deeply unspeakably loved by her many siblings - but rolling with your interpretation anyway.

This story gets a heck of a lot stronger as it progresses. But if it were a short story, it should have ended with the wedding scene.

Wow. It's been a while since I've read a pony funeral. I hate open casket, be it in fiction or real life. There's nothing quite so disrespectful to our animal nature as embalming nor to our spirit nature as the funeral industry -

I'mma gonna stop here because starting to rant. Whatever. Final scene is fine - I didn't find it too sudden.
Plotting stutters and stumbles. This is very much a story driven by Fluttershy's character, and yet you don't play with her near as much as you can. 4

(with particular perspective on prose, prosody, et petera…)

Prose is passable and not a big factor in my judging, but per request, here we go

>The filly ran through the forest, wings sticking to her sides like glue.

There's a parallelism between "wings" and "sides" which requires "her" on both or neither. "Stuck" over "sticking," or "glued" to save a word.

Kill the "woulds." They introduce a layer of abstraction between the reader and the events that isn't necessary. (Rule of thumb: save "would" for when you're reading thoughts out of a character).

Generally, there are too many "the"s. They produce a "just tuned-in" effect when used to introduce something new - this is best in moderation.

>where she would simply

Filler phrase, but it serves to create a dazed feel. So just say "dazed."

>The filly ran through the forest, her wings glued to her sides. Every few seconds low-lying branches slapped her face. Long legs caught in gnarled roots and threw her to the mud. Dazed she picked herself up and kept running, ignoring her scrapes and bruises. Her eyes shut out the world—but they could not keep out the blinding flashes of lightning. Nor could she ignore the crashing thunder.


> Music surged through Town Hall, shaking the building to its core.

Simple parallel, so "surged … and shook." Or, make the main action the main verb.
> Music surging through Town Hall shook the building to its core.

> didn’t help

Didn't help what? Logic bug is hard to follow.

>was having … celebrating

Passable parallel, but "was having" is cliche and you did just use "to its core." Pick an example if further elaboration is needed. But I like simple contrast.

>Everypony who was anypony was celebrating the defeat of Nightmare Moon. Off in a corner by herself, Fluttershy was a nopony. She sipped her punch and tried to ignore the glares Angel Bunny was giving her.


Of course, that highlights that we don't care to know about Fluttershy's dress yet. I'm tempted to follow Fluttershy's mind into a brief digression about pony fashion when AJ shows up, a way of showing Fluttershy's discomfort directly.

>It had the opposite effect of what she intended; instead of calming Fluttershy down, it would just cause her heart to skip in her chest.

Suddenly, AJ's perspective. It's worth tagging confusing bits like this one.

>Fluttershy knew it was meant to calm her down, but it made her heart skip instead.


Mmm… Running short on time. This sort of thing takes a while.

>Everything was dark, yet, she was warm.

First comma is optional, second comma can't be there. I'd remove them both.

>needles to her corneas

Um. No. Now I know this isn't a gore-fest, but this is wrong anyway. No nerve endings there. (What she's feeling is a spasm of her iris sphincters. Common, mildly uncomfortable, harmless.) I'd use a completely different image.
>The sudden light reached into her eyes and tugged.

>Then,

No comma there.

>"Sweet Apple Acres!” Applejack stated proudly

I have yet to find a use case for "stated." "said" is nice and should suffice.

>Fluttershy nodded slowly, and Applejack stepped aside. With a grunt, Fluttershy slid out of bed. As her hooves hit the floor, her knees almost buckled with the sharp pain that ran through them. She squeaked, closed her eyes and prepared to fall—but was caught by Applejack. The earth filly helped her guest walk out of the room, draping one of Fluttershy’s long, gangly legs over her shoulder. With some difficulty, the two made it down the stairs. Fluttershy got off of Applejack long enough to limp into the kitchen.


I want to point out that this paragraph is pretty much good. Take care with "with" - it's a right bugger of a word. The first one is good. The "with pain" is bad.

>As her hooves hit the floor

Good use of as

>a sharp pain flashed through her left knee

main action should be main

>and nearly drove her to the floor.


>She squeaked and braced herself to fall -

The eye action is just distracting

> but was caught by Applejack

I don't know why it is this way in English, but the passive voice almost makes it sound like you want to change perspective. So let's be careful with that.

> but Applejack caught her. Fluttershy let the earth filly thread neck and shoulders under her chest and take her weight off her injured leg. The stairs where a challenge; they had to go down backwards, but together they reached the kitchen.


Sorry, gotta call it quits here. I'd love to see you after the contest.

Author of Pinkless 1666

I expect so much sad shipping.

Breaking the Silence
I'm not sure if Sweetie is really this ADD, but the opening is rather difficult to read with how much it jumps around. I feel like I'm missing something through the lens of Sweetie as narrator, and Octavia seems… too much, like a distraction from the actual story. She adds in a layer of metaphor for the prompt that's completely unnecessary. This could have just been about Sweetie and Rarity and been fine. I'm really of two minds about it, I have no idea.


Faint Maestra
This is ever so slightly dull. The mystery is entirely "I have no idea what's going on" (both Twilight and the reader), while the plot is all action with no purpose since there's no information at all given. The ridiculousness of the situation could really have stood to be played up more, without the meta humor even. And it was all a dream. Okay. What was the point of this again?


Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom
I really hate the title of this story, yet it's in no way indicative of the writing style, which I find compelling. This is really a fantastic look at Twilight from an emotional standpoint, plus a setting I've never really seen in pony fic before. This has left me mouthing the word 'wow' again and again. If I had a criticism, it's that it gets better as it goes, which is to say it really lacks a solid hook at the beginning. We need to know what's going on immediately. This has really blown me away, though. Tears in the eyes, can't go on, etc.


The Lunar Half
It's been a while since I saw anyone do anything with Tootsie Flute. That said, this is maybe too heavy-handed with the fanon (despite my love of Lyra's obsession with humans) to be a serious story. Lyra as Daring Do's creator, so she can publish stories about humans? Writing under the name Heartstrings (which is canonically now her last name, you know)? It's really all too much. I can appreciate the John Carter reference, I suppose. Really, my actual criticism of this story is that it's paced far too quickly and glosses over a lot. You're trying to do more in two thousand words than you really should.


Yes
Oh wait, is this from Philomena's perspective? I hope so, because that would be amazing. Darn, I don't think it is. That said, I have no idea what this is or what's going on. Turns out it's far different from anything I could have imagined. Wait, this is Cadance? What the fuck did I just read? This is far too convoluted to really grasp what's going on. Which is to say, I still have no idea what I read, but I liked it.


Attack of the Killer Oranges
Good to see someone using that name. The very irreverent narrator works, but the inconsistent tone does not. There are some very odd issues in the writing itself, as well (inconsistent capitalization of "Zebra", asterisks around sound effects, etc.) Zecora being afraid of oranges, plus the spell from Too Many Pinkies, is a good setup (I laughed SO HARD at the reveal of why she's afraid of them), but this doesn't deliver. Plus, the Zecora rhymes break down after a while. That ending is so awful, it made me drop my score a point.


The Stars and Sky Above
Usually when dealing with Celestia and Luna as immortal beings, deities, etc., authors focus on their deaths or lack thereof. This is perhaps the first time I've seen a story focus on their births, and the direction you've gone with that is compelling. I've also never seen Luna be the one to offer a sudden epiphany. The characterization in this is excellent. That was quite lovely.


We'll Keep In Touch
I sense sad shipping finally. Huzzah! And it's TwiDash too, how wonderful! That said, the letter format, though bolstered by not being completely epistolary, is also slightly dull as letters tend to be, and the narration in between each needs more meat. There's too much telling, and it doesn't balance out the necessary telling of the letters; there, that's the issue. The short letters feel odd, as well, more like e-mails for their brevity. That's an awful lot not to be saying if you're spending money on postage. Well, this was at least cute and there were ponies kissing. That's all that matters in life, right?


A Monologue
"World's strongest acid?" That really breaks the tone of this. It took me halfway through this to figure out it was most likely Spike talking to Rarity('s gravestone). Before that, I thought it was like, Twilight's mom or something. Maybe I'm just tired. My main problem with this story is everything being so vague. Things like the groom never being mentioned make the opening ambiguous, to the point where this is hardly its own story. Well, that and the obvious ploy for sad feels at the end. No thanks.


Silent Growth
That entire first paragraph is pointless, not to mention boring. Were I not involved in evaluating the quality of these entries for the sake of providing a fair vote, I'd have stopped reading when you told me who Pinkie Pie was. I know who she is. And again when you tell me who Fluttershy is. Lesbian relationships in Equestria, rare? It is to laugh. Oh no, and they're both harboring lingering feelings for one another that neither is able to talk about. And there's absolutely no dialogue; not a bad thing in and of itself, but a curious omission. Really though, it's like you fell out of the cliche tree and hit every branch on the way down. Apologies for being harsh, but I've seen this story before, and it's not effective to anyone who's read shipping previously. The one positive thing I can say is that there appear to be no typos, which is more than I can say for my favorite entries so far.


Choose Your Words Carefully
Again, don't tell me who these characters are or what they look like. I watch the show, I know. That said, it's nice to see someone acknowledging Peewee's existence for once. "Twilightkin"? That came out of nowhere. Uhh, and the story seems to have been misplaced somewhere. I honestly have no idea what's going on, and not in a "what's goin on here lol" kind of way. I suspect there is a lot of headcanon at play here, none of which is explained in the slightest. No, seriously, what the fuck? This was irritating due to the lack of information given.


Good Things Are Better When They're a Rarity
I hope this is what I think it is, and that it's good. Yes on the first, not as good as I'd like on the second. You don't build up the emotions much, and I take umbrage with the use of dialect in third-person narration. The crystal thing kind of comes out of nowhere, and that much explanation is almost entirely unnecessary; it could have just as easily been something she inherited from her grandmother or the like. Rover's voice is rendered somewhat painfully. And while the ending is nice, there is definitely a missed opportunity for some action or something in there. I mean, the conflict just resolves itself and is almost a misunderstanding. Could have been better, could have been worse.


A Little Brighter
Okay, time for the biggun! Can you tell by my having moved these around that I was trying to squeeze in as many short ones as I could first? The second sentence is how you do a weather report opening; the third is a fragment, and not one that really works. I like the phonetic way you deal with his stuttering; it lends a certain 50's quality to it somehow, and brings out a little of Salad's character. Especially given that he only stutters to others. "appeoccasionallyionaly"? What? This keeps happening; this is the most buttnutty typo I think I have ever seen. Ah, and as the POV switches to Meadow, I see now what the title is all about. I'm enjoying piecing together the relationships as the story progresses, as well. The scene with Marmalade is really good, yet I can't help but feel the British waif accents (that's what I'm reading them as, anyway) are somewhat out of place in Manehattan. Thimblerig is a great name for this character, though; I think I'd just like to see a story about this underworld crime ring. Clef's Scrooge-like about-face happens in far too few words; that's probably the only low point in this piece. While overall not mindblowing, this is a very enjoyable, very tightly-written piece. Its strength is in its structure, which isn't something I get to say often about ponyfic, as well as in the characters. (Grahh, and you squeezed the feels from me in that final scene. Blast it!) And lastly, I realize that having this small cadre of characters being interconnected is actually fortified by your decision to place the setting in Manehattan rather than Ponyville. After all, they don't say things like "it's a small world" in places where you're not likely to feel lost in a crowd.


The Words Won't Come
Oh yay, more shipping on another ship I like! The whole 'shouting at family through the house' bit is hilarious and so very true. Not liking the "Applejack told a story" part, seeing none of the story itself. And then they had sex! This is cute, but I feel like potential at the outset was wasted on fluff and ponies kissing. This wasn't bad, but it's not great either.


Tribunal
Wait, is this about the author of Cupcakes? And now he's talking to a Transformer. I'm sorry, I can't help connections with these names. And is it Dawnstride or DawnstrideR? Both are in this. That Sprinkles is actually covering up for the Captain's cowardice is intriguing. It's compelling, but overall not enough to carry the story. The last line in particular is not very good, driving the point home more like the pounding of a hammer. There is definitely something good in this piece, but it's not come out yet.


Benediction
Okay, that's how you start a story. Man, first-person PLURAL omniscient. I'm ever so slightly in awe. Sundog's diction is confusing, mostly the "Not now, guys", which sounds very modern to my ears. That whole scene was very interesting, though, because it shows pony duels as a very pony thing: 'worth a split lip', until somepony gives up rather than first blood, etc. Point for bugbears. This is brilliant, but my one complaint is I really have no idea who 'we' are supposed to be. I'd almost say 'everything', but there's also a 'they' that's even more undefined. Maybe it's not a good idea to be reading this when I'm about to be late for work and rushing through it, but I feel like there's just one or two words missing somewhere, I don't know.


One-Winged Angel
I'm glad someone already made the Final Fantasy joke. The dialogue in this is very weird. I can't put my finger on it, but the wording doesn't come off well at all, not to mention there are numerous examples of 'talking head syndrome'. The conflict between the two is interesting, though the suggestion of their similarity is too long in coming. And it's one of those pieces that just sort of stops, rather than ending. I do want to say, it seemed from the outset that she was going to be the type of character whose disability was foremost in their mind, coloring their interactions with everyone else, which could have been interesting. But given that she isn't, you may want to reconsider that opening.


The Hope of Happiness
This is a great setup, a way to wring a lot of emotion out of Pinkie, and yet it stumbles through telling and fast pacing, despite being the third-longest entry. The telling isn't the worst part, really, because there are stretches where everything falls into place nicely and the emotions come through. There are a lot of punctuation issues, and… Uhh, and that spellcasting paragraph is positively sexual and makes me want to stop reading right now. The socks thing is ridiculous. Actually, the entire scene with Rarity is ridiculous, and not in a good way. Okay, and Pinkie just kissed her sister. I'm done with this thing.


What She Didn't Want
Okay, I completely misinterpreted Angel's pantomime; I blame the previous story for this. So this is, what, the second Flutterjack? Third? Whatever, I approve, and I like this because it's not starting out with an "I've always loved you" scenario. The second flashback is really hooking me into this story. I can entirely believe it, plus it's cute. So very glad you went with the 'traveling parents' angle. I've only ever seen one other person do that, and I don't think he ever actually wrote the story. Could have done without the filly wingboner, however; I am trying very hard not to let that ruin my enjoyment of this fic. Big Mac's doll collection makes up for it. Also maybe the best SpikeBloom cameo ever. OH YOU DIDN'T DAMMIT YOU SUCK. I'm sorry for the tone of this, I'm trying to finish everything up before bed. Well, this was the sad shipfic I was looking for, congrats.


This was a fun read. Compared to other writeoffs, I think this one has more outliers, fewer in the middle. My highest score was a 9. There were a lot of memorable works, and even more that could be great with some work. It's nice seeing a different group working on these. At least, I think there is, since the move here from ponychan. Well, anyway, have a top five:

Goodbye, Mother
Benediction
A Little Brighter
The Stars and Sky Above
What She Didn't Want

Author of "Faint Maestra" 1668

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>>1666
I direct you to my previous posts for an answer (though honestly I don't think you even care for an answer)

Author of "A Monologue" 1669

>"world's strongest acid"

I admit that I'm not too proud of that line. I'll blame three days for now.

As for the ambiguous beginning, well, yes. Yes, it was ambiguous. It was supposed to keep you guessing until the end. I obviously didn't entirely succeed with you, but I guess I can't win them all.

But, I shall defend that this is a self-contained story. Not the longest or most gorgeous amongst some of the others here, true, but I like to think it at least holds its own as a short narrative.

Unlike some of the freaking authors in here, I just can't pass massive gold bricks in the space of minutes. I'm starting small, brass perhaps.

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1670

Story: Faint Maestra

Well, let's start with my stream of thought in the first thirty seconds of reading this fic:
>Oh, it's Twilight?
>What's she doing?
>Wha—Pinkie?
>WTF PINKIE WAT R U DOIN
>Twilight…why don't you grill her more? Why are you just moving on?

So, ignoring any plot issues (of which there are many; more to be seen later), there is no characterization in this fic, along with a good sampling of mischaracterization on the side. Twilight seems to be completely bland, with no interesting quirks or complexity to her perspective, while she's also completely passive in meeting each of the challenges ahead. Pinkie, meanwhile, is out of nowhere, completely random, and given no reason for her actions, while Trixie fills a very similar position. Complete crap, all around.

Oh, and there was a huge overabundance of shitty one-liners. Please don't do that.

You never really gave us a proper hook or introduction; we were just dumped into the fic. The worst part was the complete failure of the cold open—there wasn't even any action going on. A particular cold open that I'm fond of from a popular series is, "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." But here, there's nothing going on. There's nothing of interest to see; nothing to do.

Pinkie's introduction was rushed terribly—there was absolutely no narrative tension upon her introduction (nothing after or leading up to "halt?" Really?), and things just kind of…happened. I had no idea why they were fighting—it was never even really given any kind of justification. She was a "gatekeeper?" Yeah, that's nice. Give us a real reason.

In fact, not only did I have no idea why they were fighting, but I also felt like it ended immediately, and as abruptly as it began. The sheer level of whiplash following that scene were incredible. I felt as though my narrative neck had been snapped, so to speak, and it was far from the last time. The story as a whole had such terribly shitty flow. Later on, Trixie's plan would make just as little sense as anything else in this story. Add that onto the fact that her defeat and Discord's (…plan?) made no sense whatsoever, and you had one huge confusion stew.

Generally, Twilight's thoughts were strangely phrased, or just too muddled to understand. Her diction was just weird to take in, and you Told her emotions or perceptions far, far, too often. "She's at a loss," you would say; "she feels sympathetic;" "she's shocked at a flashy pose" (what does a flashy pose look like?). That does absolutely nothing for us as readers. That was only compounded upon by your terrible dependency on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome throughout; while not every pronoun was "the unicorn", you came damn close.

Also, you're shit at writing fight scenes. Please never do it again.

Mechanics-wise, you used far more words than necessary to convey your intended meaning—i.e. "it was incredibly dark, wherever she was" (emphasis mine, on unneeded phrasing). You had little stylistic hiccups as well, where you missed necessary words ("It was just as well" vs. "Just as well"); this added onto a problem that you had with crappy-looking incomplete sentence fragments. Protip, by the way—don't underline, and don't caps lock. Use italics. Always use italics.

FYI, don't use NOOOOOOO. Or HAHAHAHAHA. Or hahahaha. Or even soooo. Show it, you moron—we have adjectives and adverbs for the sole reason that we DON'T have to make up a new phonetical word each time someone has their own accent.

Seems you didn't bother to proofread your BBCode, by the way. Pity.

All in all, this fic made no fucking sense—especially with the "someone you've desired." Came right outta nowhere, and was a smack in the face. I would comment on the "all just a dream" bit, but I'm choosing to block it from my mind, because if I took it as an actual part of the fic, then I would have to cause you grievous bodily harm for using such a terrible, clichéd, cowardly, and bullshitty idea.

Score: 1/10


>>1668
Nobody's going to care what source you're fan-girling if your execution and idea is shit anyway. Sorry.

Re: "Maestra" || and other stuff. "Benediction" 1671

There really are no words to describe how weird Touhou is. Perhaps a video will give you a very faint idea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVAB4KhC8Ow

So if this story didn't work for you, that's fine, but please know where the author was coming from: when you think about them, video games have weird writing and this is doubly true with an epic mind-screw like Touhou

The Words That We Couldn't Say would be [a coherent explanation of what just happened]. Perhaps too clever for this contest, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.





>>1666

>I'd almost say ["we" are] 'everything', but there's also a 'they' that's even more undefined.


You're right. "They" include at the very least "ponies." "We" are everything - except some things very important. And the two appear divided into "us" and "them" - but the story is limited to the perspective of "us."

So if there are things leaking into "us" that are not part of "us" - that's really something strange and something that "we" cannot really understand.

Perhaps I did miss a bit in the conclusion. It might go something like this in the next draft:
…a shattered gem.

We are triumph and we are tragedy. We are violence and we are justice. We are living joy and dying terror. We are mother's pride and stillborn foal. We are work's sweet fruit and bloody toil. They have seen us, and love us, and given us all things more than we deserve.

They are forbearance and peace and joy and mercy and kindness. If not for them, who should tell us to be evil or to be good?

They raise high a burning brand and we do not know where it was lit. By its light - not our light - we are judged. By their words we know our worth. Under their command we flourish. We do not know where their talents will take them when they leave to us their blood and go.

But they live in us today.

Five syllables echo…

Author of Pinkless 1675

>>1668
Saw that before I posted. I have no idea what it means, making this an ineffective crossover (they should be accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the crossover medium) and should be regarded perhaps even more poorly for it.

>>1671
To be perfectly honest, that doesn't help in the least, though I feel it's a step in the right direction. Unless this is one of those pieces where you have to pay attention to every damn word to be able to piece together what's going on, in which case you are a hyperliterate genius and have no business writing fanfiction over published fiction. Unless you do both, in which case, no fair.

I guess another question is, what are the five syllables? The last two lines of the entry are both five syllables, but that didn't help, since there were two of them. Looking at this current example, I'm actually thinking that the plurality of 'we' may not be what's supposed to be focused on. I'm thinking, "Okay, what are we?" when in reality I should be saying, "What is we is o' is we ain't our baby?" That by itself makes me think I can almost grasp the identity of the narrator.

Above all, I want to answer this question because I realized after posting my responses that I have no idea how the prompt fits in with this story, which is a big problem. Though I already voted, so oh well.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1676

>>1671
This fic was not "weird." House of Leaves is weird, and wonderfully done as well. I presume that the Touhou source material is just as creative and mindscrewy, but this fic wasn't anything of the sort. I like mindscrewy. This fic was just poorly written—the fact that it's a crossover has nothing to do with it.

Author of Tribunal 1686

Here comes three more before I nap.

The Words Won't Come
>She was terrified of a door.
I have to hand it to you, that was one of the best opening yet.

In any case, this was a short, sweet piece on FlutterJack, so props for getting the feels right where What She Didn't Want falls flat.

tl;dr Nice attempt at shipping.


Silent Growth
I'm sorry, but the wall-of-text got the better of me midway through.

You won't be getting high marks from this one.

Also,
>Celestia’s sun
Son, I am disappoint.

tl;dr Well, tl;dr


A Monologue

The opening was vague. Though I understand your reasons for doing so, it is a bit of a turn off for those who might be looking for clarity.

That said, this is yet another cliche idea done well. If not because The Locket had done this equally well and in less words, you'd be sitting pretty at the top of my list. Still, I enjoyed it and you get props for writing this so well. (I wish I could shit brass bricks like you do.)

tl;dr Nice sad piece, overdone idea though.


>>1666
I'm beginning to regret putting that last line in. It's just so… tacky now that I read back.


>>1671
>They're all supposed to be OCs, so if you're trying to identify canon characters, I derped up hard someplace.
I got that much at least. What I don't understand is… well… what the heck is going on and how it relates to the prompt.

>Saw that before I posted. I have no idea what it means, making this an ineffective crossover (they should be accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the crossover medium) and should be regarded perhaps even more poorly for it.

Any crossover that relies on prior knowledge of the source material should be regarded poorly, unless it is clearly written with that intention in mind.
This post was edited by its author on .

1691

>>1690
You're terrible at concealing your identity. :3

Anonymous 1692

>>1691
Yeah, that was a little much, wasn't it?

Y'all'll just have to wait, then.

Author of "A Monologue" 1709

>>1686

Fair enough.

Though trying to find something that hasn't been either done, or hasn't been done better, is nearly impossible with this fandom. If I submitted a blank sheet of paper, I'd probably find that its already been done a billion times and a billion times better.

Though now that I think about it, that could have been hilarious for this prompt. Why didn't I use that idea?

Shoot. Now you got me thinking again.

Author of Tribunal 1711

Here's a few more reviews to tide your day. I have voted already, so now it's actually just a matter of putting my thoughts to paper, as it were.

The Lunar Half
A fic that (again) thinks it is funny to play on the fanon view of Lyra being obsessed with humans. Unfortunately for you, I'm not amused.

Even with that aside, I'm not enamoured by the prose, nor the plot. Lyra writes a book on humans, gets rejected, writes books on Daring Do instead under the name Heartstrings. Then it gets weird. A clone emerges and… replaces her? What. No explanation given as to why such a string of events occurred.

tl;dr Meh.


We'll Keep In Touch
Another shipfic, though this time with a twist. Letters! Unfortunately it stumbles in the process, due to the odd decision to have both conventional narrative and letters at the same time. It's neither here, nor there, so to speak, and suffers for it. Although quite well written, the letters feel tacked on, and the narrative in the middle, distracting.

I have no comment regarding the earlier hullabaloo about the writing style not matching Dash's, since one can sound very different in a written form. I can see her writing this way, though as noted, she sounds a little too formal.

tl;dr Decently written, though execution is something to be desired.


Pinkless
Ah, a fic that directly follows from the Too Many Pinkies episode.

I… I am actually surprised at how well-written this was. Saddy/Spelly Pie was wonderfully characterised, and the entire thing felt like a logical extension of the episode itself. The fact that you choose to show Twilight's dilemma regarding sending the extra Pinkies back to the pool was cherry on top.

Props to you.

tl;dr Good read, wonderfully written slice-of-life.

"Benediction" 1714

All right. Time to wrap this up

Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom
Ooh, good a short one.

This… does not sound like Twilight. She's bragging about her diction, but it's so short and choppy I could make a joke in bad taste about it.

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


The whole point of complementary colors is that they don't mix. Silly author. I have already mentioned that I find embalming distasteful.

>no-man’s-land … inequine

I think you may be doing something wrong here.

Through a combination of unluckily pressing my no-buttons, a lack of plot motion, stilted prose, and endemic telling, you have completely lost me.
0

Pinkless
Oh shit, it's long. Why did I end up saving a bunch of long ones for the end?

Okay. So EmoPie… please tell me she isn't just going to angst all over the forty-ish pages of this story. Please?

Oh. She can't say "fun." Or "smile." You are an evil jerk, author.

>It's Flutterbutter and Tricky Spackle.

Okay, you got me to laugh. Black humor, hunh?

This is not the most non-obvious concept, I have to say. And yet… the obstinate simplicity of it is certainly something.

>If I'm sad when I'm happy, it only makes sense that when I'm happy, I'm sad.

Oh.. oh shit. I know that feel.
A weak start, but you've done something really special with this which I cannot discuss anonymously. Fantastic. 9

The Hope of Happiness
Oh, wow. This has taken a turn for the dark.
> "Do it." Pinkie said flatly. Pinkie knew that for a fact that two days of the best time of her life would be better than four days of bittersweet suffering.

But that's a move of desperation - you have to really believe that Inkie only has four days left.

So, let's talk about that ending: What the actual fuck?

So, yes, this is incest-kink. You don't get to explain it away with "she's adopted" because ponies are mammals and mammals don't work that way. It's called "reverse sexual imprinting" - wiki it - and it doesn't pick up on genetic similarity. Siblinghood is defined, on a biochemical level, by who you grow up with.

Now that in itself does not make this a bad story. Heck, you could write them actually fucking each other and that wouldn't make you a bad person - because there is such a thing as an unrealized fantasy.

Would probably make a better story, too.

But the question is why am I reading it? What is this story about?

And when you dig down, you find it's really about Pinkie using her sister to validate herself. She has absolutely no respect for Inkie's autonomy. She does not accept the gift of Inkie's life as a gift.

She takes what she wants. Do you know what the Latin word for "take" has become in English?

Yeah, this is an incest-rape story. That doesn't make you bad or the story bad.

It does make Pinkie bad in the same way that Cupcakes!Pinkie is bad. And the way you let her get away with it - actually arrange things neatly for her - does make the story bad.
Eugh. Kinda pretty in points. Would be a better story with more consensuality and sensuality if you must write this kind of thing. 1

Breaking the Silence
Yes! Sweetie! I love Sweetie.

And a dream-in-a-dream? Shit I hate those.

Oh, it's not. That's confusing.

The hard part I'm having with this story is that it states Sweetie's problem again and again, but she doesn't really make any progress or try anything new. This gets tedious pretty fast.
Sweetie and the fire. Neat idea seriously overstays its welcome. 3

A Little Brighter
Eleven thousand words. Challenge accepted.

Gotta say that you write a real convincing stutter.

This story is all over the place, I mean, really sedate pacing. I mean OH LOOK A SQUIRREL!!

I'm having a hell of a time groking the perspective shifts. This - honestly this feels like you didn't write this during the contest. The connection to the prompt is tenuous, and there's a lot of worldbuilding motion without meaning. I know of a couple writers like this, and they're good when they settle down, but it just didn't come together this time.

Ultimately, I don't believe it justifies its length. But with more focus on motivation and plotting, this could make a hell of a nice novella or short novel. Lots of potential, shame that isn't worth points.
2

And I'm pretty frazzled now, so last one later. Decent field overall. I've seen better and worse.

1716

>>1711
Hey, it's supposed to be a horror story, not a comedy.

1717

>>1716
Funnily enough, it didn't feel like one either. So there's that.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1719

>>1714

Look, I'm not one to take criticism poorly, so if you didn't like it you didn't like it. But you just gave me a 0 out of 10 for some of the most stupidly petty things I've ever seen in a review. Spitefully petty, even.

Pinkless
I'd go ahead and call this my second-favorite so far. It was an interesting premise, and I was curious about it. But nothing really hooked me in and demanded I keep reading. The pacing was good, and I felt like it was consistently building up to something.

The characterization of Not-Pinkie was goo, and I felt like she was a very distinct pony from the original, but in its own ways similar.

The only character I had a problem with was Twilight, who felt downright sociopathic at times. Though, on reflection I suppose that her reasonings were understandable, and having seen the episode this was inspired by directly before reading this, the mindset made sense.

The ending was a tad strange, and I felt like it came from nowhere.

All in all, I would call this story solid. Like a rock. Heh.

A 8/10. A definite need-to-read of the batch.


The Hope of Happiness
This… got weird.

I guess first we'll talk about the grammar/spelling. It started out OK, but got consistently worse as the story went. I can forgive that when it remains readable but it got tough a couple of times.

Next is the characters. Pinkie acted in a way that felt completely out of character. For the most part she was Pinkie, but the whole choice with the cupcake felt completely out of place. It might have seem in the first instant like a good idea, but even she would've seen that was terrible and manipulative to do to her sister. Twilight too; she's usually a fairly dependable voice of reason, at least in things like this. I doubt she'd ever agree to such a thing, especially without the pony in question's permission.

The interaction between Pinkie and Inkie was all right, but everything after they left the hospital just felt flat and cookie-cutter.

And then it's a shipfic? I guess?? This is just completely out of left field, and treated in a very… disturbing way. I feel like Pinkie manipulated Inkie into this situation, I feel just… eeugh. And yet, the adoption thing somehow makes it worse. If you're going to go this route, at the least don't cop-out on it. It also adds the plot-hole of how Inkie and Pinkie look so much alike.

And then it becomes this weird whiplash of maybe it's happy, but nope it's totally dark and terrible ending.

It was just so weird, and at times just kind of creepy. I did not like this story.

4/10, Completely weird.

Author of "Faint Maestra" 1723

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>>1670
>>1675

Alright, so long as we're clear on things. Also, the story wasn't written to win any contests, but rather as a quick bit of self-indulgence and to show I am capable of writing something in only a few hours on the last day, while also being about Touhou. But as long as at least one of you enjoyed it, then I have succeeded even more.

>>1671

Thanks for the white knighting there, but getting these stuffy writer folks to embrace Touhou is a lost cause, and perhaps I am a terrible writer? Nahh, so long as I'm not AA or the writer of 'Spideres' I'm good. And if you want to show off the weirdness of Touhou, here's a better example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc8GNaED3Ok

"Benediction" 1724

>>1719

I'm not using a scale where 10 is perfect and 0 is perfectly awful.

0 is baseline, 10 is best in show.

Neither am I trying to imagine what other people will like. Scores reflect my own quirks without any effort to generalize. I'll let the tabulating algorithm distill general opinion.

If I were reviewing your piece, I'd most likely drop it without prejudice. Some stories just don't work with some readers. Some stories do.

That's how incestuous rape fic managed a point and crazy video-game crossover got eight. I found things to like in them. Perhaps that doesn't reflect the best on me, but so it goes.

There's not a lot more I can say constructively. I didn't dig the diction. That can be fixed, but I wouldn't be the best pick to do it.

You hit a couple things I don't like about how Western culture treats death. That wasn't your fault, but reader landmines are a risk we all take.

Actually, yes, I can say for sure that I can't review this. I get the feeling that this story is personally significant to you. In my experience, that completely ruins the author-reviewer relationship - through no fault of either party.

I owe you an apology for coming down so hard if that's the case.

Anonymous 1725

>>1723
Argmbarger or however you spell it is a genius. (Well-respected, too. This is the board that helped him game the system and get the Scootaloo / Mac clop-horror featured.) Just so you know.

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1731

>>1724
I haven't read this entry yet, but I'd warn you against downvoting a fic based on the concept itself. The execution should be your only concern as a reviewer—I might despise the content of a filly!derpy rape-fic, but if it's perfectly in-character, gripping, emotive, and mechanically perfect, that shit is getting a 10/10, no matter how much I want to strangle the author.

Author of Pinkless 1734

>>1714
I like that you call it a 'weak start' along with a high score. Because this is a start, and I intend to extend it once the contest is over, circumstances willing.

Unless you mean that it has a weak start, in which case I need to rethink it. Given the next post I'm responding to, that may be the case.


>>1719
Glad you called Twilight out for being sociopathic. This story needs about two or three more scenes before I think it will really work, and I think I need to put in something about how eventually, all of Twilight's friends come to see our narrator as a real pony, while Twilight just sees a magical construct. It's not until they get into the cave and Twilight realizes that they're actually similar and she's been wrong all along. And then she gets hit with a rock.

"Benediction" 1736

>>1734
"Weak start" as in "wasn't too impressive at first." Some combination of weak hook and descriptive mechanics (as I recall…)

And later: The hard part of doing what you suggest with Twilight is that it will require getting inside her perspective - which is inconsistent with the narrator you have.

>>1731
Concept is what gave the Inkie-rape fic its one point. Concept is (roughly) worth a couple points, execution swings between high scores and low.

Tell you what. Read "Goodbye" and we can discuss what did and didn't work with the execution. You'll have to start by telling me what the conflict and resolution are.


We'll Keep In Touch
Oh dear. Epistolary pony has been done before and really well. Simply, Rarity and Yours Truly are two very tough acts

>I won’t get into the science of it

Aw, why not? I get the idea that meteorology is the sort of thing that Rainbow is secretly egg-headed about.

So, speaking of execution, this is simple and straightforward, competent in what it does up until the moment that Rainbow catches the train to Canterlot.

There's a reasonably big canon-hole. Canon seems to imply that Canterlot is only an hour or three away by train. Why haven't they visited? That's one of the things I like about Yours Truly: two of the characters end up in a long-term mid-distance relationship, far enough that they don't see each other every week, near enough to show up out of the blue.

But, I'm okay with this contrivance, because it sets up everything that happens after Rainbow takes that train.

I haven't actually read that part though. Everything hinges on the last thousand words or so.




Competent, but not exciting. Not bad but didn't wow me either. More conflict during the build-up, and for a pony in love, Dash is surprisingly not curious-obsessed with Twi.
5

And on re-read "Lunar Half" scored a 2.

Final ranking
Lines without space between denote a tie.

"A Monologue"

"Pinkless"

"Faint Maestra"

"Attack of the Killer Oranges"
"The Stars and Sky Above"

"The Words Won't Come"

"We'll Keep In Touch"
"One-Winged Angel"

"What She Didn't Want"

"Breaking the Silence"
"Yes"
"Silent Growth"

"A Little Brighter"
"The Lunar Half"
"Tribunal"

"Good Things Are Better When They're a Rarity"
"The Hope of Happiness"

"Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom"
"Choose Your Words Carefully"

Author of "The Stars and Sky Above" 1737

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>>1736
The problem with "Faint Maestra" is that it is not, and never will be, worth more than a 5/10, if even that. It was poorly written, had poor characterization, terrible flow, and each scene was just unfulfilled. I don't care how much you like Touhou; this in no way deserved to be above the 30th percentile, if even that.

>pic because arguing over colored horses

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1740

>>1736

If I might mention, Waiting for Godot is one of the greatest plays in the last century, and I would argue history, while completely lacking anything remotely resembling a conflict or resolution.

Author of Tribunal 1741

And we have three more to wrap up today before I go to sleep:

The Stars and Sky Above
Luna and Celly reminiscing. Hm, while I liked the fact you explored their relationship, something which most fics tend to gloss over, it was kinda dull after awhile. But! It is very well written, I didn't notice any major or minor derps and the imagery was just wonderful.

If it was my kind of fic, you'd be at the top. As it is, you're almost but not quite there.

tl;dr A rare Celly/Luna fic that does world-building well.


A Little Brighter
What can I say? I'm a sucker for these type of feel-good fics. This one does a superb job in piecing together the separate stories through a common theme of friendship. I really love the fact that you started the chain with Pinkie Pie (or someone heavily implied to be her, which is the same really.) A nice bit of continuity. The fact that you set it in Manehattan was a point in your favour, since you didn't shoehorn in any of background or mane six ponies.

The only point of criticism I have is already noted by others. The end feels rushed. A couple more hundred words to pad it out should take care of that.

I think you heard me gushing enough. My personal top pick.

tl;dr Impressive.


Attack of the Killer Oranges
Well, well. Another fic based on the Pinkie episode, though this time on a different aspect of the show.

I have to say, your irreverent narrator had me smiling the whole way, despite my initial doubts. That said, you did go over the top a few times with the jokes and subtlety is probably already dragged into an alley and stabbed to death one scene break in. Nothing much else to say I suppose.

tl;dr Good comedy, slightly over-the-top for my taste.
This post was edited by its author on .

"Benediction" 1742

>>1740

I admit that I've never seen nor read "Godot". It is "absurdist" ie a troll play.

Reading now.

"Benediction" 1745

Terribly sorry; you're no Beckett. And you're mistaken if you don't see the thread of plot in that play. It begins with a character who wants something: his boot hurts. When he gets it off, that's only the start of his problems.

The play develops into a whole bunch of little stories and finally resolves itself in the same way as "A Matter of Time": by looping back into itself.

Above all the characters live. It does not bog down in angst. Wouldn't call it the best play ever (You Can't Take It With You is far better) but do I want to see it performed now.

REVIEWS! 1751

I only got three requests, and wouldn't you know, they were three of the longest stories. I'll get to them all, but it might take a couple days each. "We'll Keep in Touch" should be ready as soon as the results are posted. "Pinkless" and "A Little Brighter," please stay tuned for reviews later in the week.

1755

Is it too late to add mine to the stack?

Author of "What She Didn't Want" 1756

>>1751
>>1755

Same here.

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1757

>>1751
>>1755
>>1756

Shoot, I knew I forgot something. If it's all right I'd like to add myself to that list.

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1758

I've got some catching up to do, so everything I still need to review will probably be shortened to a summation.

What She Didn't Want
Unrequited love is a somewhat obvious, but still good application of the prompt. I liked the structure and the back-and-forth between present and past.

I feel like the abusive/dead parents thing is kind of stereotypically handled, but I've never been much a fan. Went to its logical conclusion, and I feel kind of displeased with it. But, this wasn't meant to have a happy ending, so I can't fault that.

7/10 Good, with a few grievances.


Breaking the Silence
It was an interesting story, and simultaneously not. After reading it, I can say I was happy to have read it. But the whole way through the whole thing felt foggy, and my brain was just kind of numbly taking it in. I didn't get any sense of enjoyment while I was reading. The narration style was usually good, but sometimes the little interjections Sweetie put in just didn't feel like they fit.

In the end, I just have trouble buying the whole conflict. It seems kind of contrived, I guess.

6/10. Flawed, but worthwhile.


Attack of the Killer Oranges
In a word: absurd. It certainly kept me interested enough to read it, but it was just so silly I couldn't treat it like much of anything than a prolonged joke. The joke, unfortunately, overstayed its welcome by 1 or 2 thousand words. The ending was also somewhat weak.

I did find Rainbow Dash fairly hilarious, though. And the premise itself is enough for a fair score.

6/10 Flawed (and very silly) but okay.


We'll Keep in Touch
Well, first of all, I imagine some mailpony is ready to kill somebody for all the one-line letters they have to deliver.

OK, so A shipping story. I've read some other reviews and is that some kind of taboo here? I don't know, whatever. As it happens, me likey TwiDash.

The buildup was in a way, slightly cliche and romancey, but I've seen FAR worse in that category. More than anything else, this story just made me smile. The letter exchange was cute, and I felt the narration was handled quite well. I had a heavy dose of feels by the end, and considering that I had expected a sad/bittersweet ending that was just a treat.

Aw, hell, I'll give it a 9/10. I needed a smile today.


Benediction
I'm sorry. I tried to approach this positively.

This is the most pretentious thing I've ever read. And I've read the Inheritance Cycle, god help me.

Before we get into that, there is consistent and frustrating grammar failure, that in smaller amounts could be tolerated. But for what you were trying to make, it's unbearable.

The whole royal "we" thing that gets thrown out from the start is extremely cliched, and annoying. It's too vague to make sense of, and far too flowery to ever take seriously.

You hop from story to story, telling these little snippets of a plot, and I tried for the first four or so to try and determine the point of it all, how it was all connected. I did, but by the time I did it I had realized I didn't care. We're given so very, very little to know about each of these characters, that the only one that didn't feel like they were flat was the narrator. And the narrator felt so full of itself, I had little love for it.

The dialogue is poor, and feels very stiff and scripted. When it broke into Ye Olde English, honestly, I laughed.

In the end, the only story that I found at all interesting was the last. The rest all just felt… pointless, really. Superfluous padding, made all the more excruciating by purple prose and jilted dialogue. And in the end, I can see how you connected it to the prompt, but that was a serious stretch, to the point that I feel like this was what you were planning to write no matter what the prompt was.

In the end, this was just confusing, drawn-out, and far too proud of its own overcooked narration to be interesting to me.

5/10 A good idea that went very wrong in execution.


I've voted on the rest, but that's what I had the patience to write for tonight. Working my way from longest to shortest fic has been a bigger challenge than I expected.

Author of "A Little Brighter" 1759

>>1741
>>1714
>>1666
>>1561
>>1558

Thank you, thank you all a great bunch for your words - both encouraging and harsh. Most of the stuff you've pointed out I knew about, but had no time to fix. That's what happens when you start writing on the last day. By the end, I just didn't have the strength to properly flesh out the finale.

And those weird typos… I have no idea. I've found them after the time to edit was over, and I distinctly remember not making them. My only guess is derped soft: I've only managed to squeeze a quick spellcheck before submitting the story, so it must have caused all those mistakes to appear. Still, strange.

I'll definitely revise this story into something good and postable a little while later, using your suggestions and Pascoite's review.

>>1736
>>1737

I'm going to have to agree. The way you use the ranking system makes little sense. You're being far, far too subjective in your reviews, and I'm not saying that because of how you rated my entry. I may be vocal when stories grate against my personal preferences and views, but I never allow that to influence my votes. This irresponsible way you're using the system is exactly the attitude that allowed the terrorists win the feature box turn into the broken thing it is today.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 1760

One note:
What She Didn't Want has been disqualified for breaking the voting rules.

Author of "What She Didn't Want" 1762

>>1760

Whaaaaaaaaaat?

What happened?

What did I do?


EDIT: …Oh, hell, I know what happened.

I won't put forth any explicit details, but, yeah, I probably deserve that. It was due to something of a misunderstanding between me and one of my friends.

Welp. Good luck, everypony! Next time, I'll remember not to tell any of my friends about my writing…
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 1764

>>1762
Replied by email.

Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 1766


We're close to the end!

>>1762
>>1764
Eee, heh. Any other questions, let me know.
Another one is coming up for Christmas…

"Yes" 1767

>>1766

I'm excited already! Let's make the prompt as far away from holiday joy and happiness as possible.

Author of "Goodbye, Mother that was never Mom" 1768

>>1766

Crap. And here I thought I was taking a break from writing.

Oh well, bring it on!

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

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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

File: 1354585958145.png (105.41 KB, 439x500, 065_Alakazam_Sharenators_Very_…)

>>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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