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File: 1354495622435.png (48.06 KB, 800x800, 132873555302.png)

Christmas Write-off 1769[Last 50 Posts]

#Event

Event overview: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/12

Hello again, everyone. It's another /art/-/fic/ contest.

For those out of the loop, the competition is quite simple: prompt → art → fic. First, everyone decides on a worded prompt to act as the event's theme. Artists draw pictures from the worded prompt, and then writers write stories to the pictures.

In addition to your usual incentive of absolutely nothing fame and glory, the winner will be awarded a copy of IDW's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic (http://www.idwpublishing.com/news/article/2349/), courtesy of Anonthony.

The fic round starts Fri, 14 Dec 2012 06:00 UTC and lasts for 3 days, ending Mon, 17 Dec 2012 06:00 UTC. For those too lazy to do the conversion, if you make an account on the site (with the correct timezone settings), all the times will display in your local timezone.

Worded prompt suggestions start Sun, 09 Dec 2012 04:00 UTC, last an hour, and are followed by a one hour voting round.

For all fic participants, there is a mandatory preliminary voting round which lasts for 10 days.



If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

Good luck,
Roger out.
This post was edited by its author on .

1771

File: 1354497144177.jpg (46.27 KB, 776x602, 1327468636479.jpg)

Anonymous 1772

File: 1354497203192.png (Spoiler Image,23.03 KB, 416x391, 8d80fe7d95de413a870974e4fc51f8…)

>>1770
Every party has a pooper, that's why we invited you~

1773

File: 1354497386884.jpeg (13.44 KB, 267x200, super_kami_guru_by_android17lo…)

>>1772
Party pooper~

Party pooper~


Super Kami Guru is my waifu

Present Perfect (no tripcode lol) 1782

>If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.

Why do you want us to not have a break ever? D:

1783

File: 1354499465890.png (74.92 KB, 654x750, v2b3M.png)

1785

File: 1354500593694.gif (149.03 KB, 680x471, 155.gif)

>>1783
such a bitch

Grif 1804

Meh. Might bounce out of this one.

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 1806

File: 1354519301791.png (239.27 KB, 1280x1384, 1345176068156.png)

I may or may not give this a shot. Need ways to force myself to write more.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 1866

My fire for working on my longfics is dwindling. Perhaps a write-off will get a new cool thing out of me like it got Long Live the Queen.

Assuming I manage to find a solid chunk of time to write with.

Should we be enforcing christmas-themed prompts? I feel like we should. For the initial, worded prompt, if nothing else.

1922

>>1866
I won't enforce it by law, but voters can obviously vote up Christmas-themed prompts if they so desire.

Hm 1932

Will give this a shot if I find the time and the motivation.

Whitbane 1996

File: 1354777027621.jpg (45.16 KB, 600x546, mlfw50_1300065528066.jpg)

>>1866

We all know the perfect way to counter the joy of the holidays is to pump out the darkest prompts possible.

If that doesn't happen, see image.

Pracca 2135

And here I was thinking I'd be productive these next couple weeks.

Anonymous 2136

File: 1354866583122.jpg (230.79 KB, 863x752, And+here+is+the+link+to+the+ch…)

>>2135
>being in the pony fandom
>being productive
>i shiggidy diggidy dippin' dots
>pic related
:D
This post was edited by its author on .

alex!magnet9W5w 2186

File: 1354931175662.png (157.16 KB, 450x366, IAMthehighestlevelunicorn.png)

Another write-off? Hmm, maybe I'll actually participate in this one instead of just saying that I will like I've done for the last eighteen write-offs.

2193

I want the judging system back.

Pracca 2219

While I'm happyface with the prompt, the fact that Elephant Boat didn't win is nothing short of a travesty.

2220

File: 1355037436862.jpg (282.6 KB, 800x600, ehehe.jpg)

>My First New Year's Alone
inb4 Luna on the moon fics

2223

File: 1355040962594.png (1.61 MB, 1920x1080, eclipsed_by_crappyunicorn-d468…)

>>2220
Damnit, that was something I was thinking about.

2224

File: 1355043294099.gif (1 MB, 350x191, dis-gon-b-gud.gif)

This should prove to be an interesting write-off.

Anonymous 2234

>>2219
"Santa Claus is Coming To Town" is the "Revved up like a Deuce" of Xmas music.

And it would have been a horrible prompt, but I had four slots and it was better than, "For the last time, 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' is NOT a song about date rape!"

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 2260

>>2234
Except that it totally is. :V

Anonymous 2262

Roger, I think there's something wrong with the image uploader. Is your source supposed to say "image/png"?

Anonymous 2267

>>2260
My fave is the Dean Martin cover with two women singing harmony. 1959, you so kinky…

2271

>>2262
I'm not sure what you mean. The form looks fine to me. "image/png" is one of the allowed types. The form validation might not be passing if you're trying to upload a file that isn't a jpeg, png, or gif, or larger than 2MB.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2272

>>2271
I keep getting "Error: Image not a valid type" when I try to submit my image. It's a 44 kb .png file.

2274

>>2272
Ah, yep. The server's magic file wasn't where I thought it was. Fixed now. Thanks for the report.

This reminds me that I was going to add an "alt" field to submissions.
This post was edited by its author on .

Ion-Sturm 2279

File: 1355171346735.gif (468.85 KB, 500x281, b48.gif)

Question: Is it possible for a person to win both the art and story events and, in doing so, claim both prizes? Also, I checked the rules and I didn't see anything about making an art prompt and then basing your story off of it.

Whistles innocently

2280

>>2279
Someone else will probably know the full answer, but my understanding was that an artist could contribute a picture, but would have to choose a different picture to use as a story prompt.

2287

>>2279
>Is it possible for a person to win both the art and story events and, in doing so, claim both prizes?
Yes

>I checked the rules and I didn't see anything about making an art prompt and then basing your story off of it.

Forgot to add that as a rule. That'd be a no-no because otherwise people could pad their own artwork's score.

2288

File: 1355210714975.gif (418.51 KB, 500x281, 580.gif)

>>2287
That's the reason? I figured it would be more along the lines of "Know what your picture prompt is, so start with an early lead in writing".

I mean, if I can put in a picture prompt and just have story based on it not contribute the bonus to its score, I'd be happy. I've got a great idea (IMHO) for a story but there's no guarantee any of the artists are going to feed me the material I need for it : | Plus, I'm about to have my two days off, which means I'm working on the actual writing time.

I wish there was a week's time for the writing…

2295

Wait, so, is "My First New Year's Alone" the writing prompt too? Or is it JUST for the art?

2296

Just for the art. The stories use one or more artworks as the prompt.

Anonymous 2316

Don't know how you'd manage the logic (have to sign in to see the prompt early, if you signed in early you can't post a fic?), but you could possibly get some interesting mutations of the theme if you hid the text theme from the writers a la paper telephone.

Anonymous 2355

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2358

For Faust's sake, am I not allowed to write a happy Hearth's Warming story? The pictures are, in order: Goofy, Tearjerker, Depressing, Tragic, and Canon.

Bitching aside, we have some really high quality entries here. Special praise for the Celestia one.
This post was edited by its author on .

Axis of Rotation 2371

Huh, I thought there would be more pics actually. While there'll be a lot of overlap I'm looking forward to seeing all the different interpretations.

And so we go.

Anonymous 2374

Are we allowed to write a second fic based on a different picture than our first?

Anonymous 2375

File: 1355530022409.jpg (26.67 KB, 146x480, 2012-12-14_17-51-28_803.jpg)

One of those pics managed to dislodge a couple of vignettes that have been stuck in my head for some time and stitch them together in a manner that resembles something like a plotline. The ideas are flowing smoothly enough that I fully expect to find out that I read all this somewhere else and just forgot where.

I have nothing pressing this evening, and I have bottle of overpriced frou-frou alcohol.

So let's do this.

I'm going to overuse colloquialisms and write in impenetrable dialects! And there's nothing any of you can do to stop me! *twirls mustache*

2377

Artist of An Empty Nest 2379

We're not allowed to vote for our own pictures, are we? Because I get that option.

2380

>>2379
…Never mind.

Pracca 2391

Crap, starting a day late! I've got some ideas for a much longer story this time around. Just hope I can finish it in time.

Maybe if I just start writing right now and… never stop o_o

Ion-Sturm 2394

File: 1355606001324.jpg (28.81 KB, 500x375, tumblr_menc22Qy5B1rjvotjo1_500…)

>First, everyone decides on a worded prompt to act as the event's theme. Artists draw pictures from the worded prompt, and then writers write stories to the pictures.
So, in essence, I can completely ignore the "My First New Year's Alone" prompt and am only required to write within the confines of the picture I choose, right?

Axis of Rotation 2398

Heeeeeey… I know I'm about to be that guy, but… could we have an extra 24 hour extension for the writing portion? Please, with whipped cream and a cherry on top?

I mean, it is the season for giving. And besides, who wouldn't like an extra day? Why, the artists had FIVE days.

So whaddaya say?

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 2399

>>2398
Yes, you are correct. There has to be a reasonable tie to at least one of the pictures. That is all.
>>2394
Writers are the scum of the fandom. Show staff can look anywhere but here. You really think we're going to get any concessions? You'll get three days, and you'll like it.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonthony!EEEEEEEE2c 2400

>>2399
>scum of the fandom
>writers
>not generic wubstep 'musicians'

2401

File: 1355636843582.gif (420.12 KB, 480x238, 2.gif)

Ion-Sturm 2402

File: 1355636895321.gif (768.69 KB, 365x227, tumblr_mesfdqKJgq1qcccsz.gif)

>>2399
Righteo. Thanks.

>>2398
I'm all for this.

>>2400
Dubs makes it true, and very much yes.
>MFW listening to dubstep

Pracca 2403

24 hours left… only a third done… eeeeeurgh….

Anonymous 2404

>>2399
Scum, eh? Well then, what better time to be given a shot at redemption than now, of all seasons?

>>2401
Oh come on. Just think of all the rushed fics you wont have to read because of your kindness.

Also: what would jesus do?

2405

>>2404
Jesus would write a story about Applejack, since she is his favorite pony.

Axis of Rotation 2406

>>2405
Ha, and he'd do it in four days, too - hint hint.

2408

>>2406
Nah, he'd pull it off in six, rest on the seventh, and then go back in time to post the chapter before the deadline.

Ion-Sturm 2409

File: 1355641534339.gif (1.77 MB, 326x198, E0KwT.gif)

>>2408
Jesus is a cheater. Uses water-walking hacks.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2417

File: 1355653353708.jpg (282.37 KB, 400x1200, mokou_wat_2.jpg)

Halfway done! And a goodly few more hours in my timezone which I won't be spending on sleep.

>pic is mein approach to writing story

Anonymous 2419

Jesus would get last place, and then win three days later. And people would be talking about the party he threw right before hitting the submission button for ages. Suppers, fish dinners, keggers that used tap water; dude apparently threw some ragers.

(Turned in my story after the first draft; took waaaay longer than I thought it would. If I wake up sometime before deadline without a hangover, I might start revising. Otherwise, close enough.)

(Absinthe is OK as a writing booze, although I really can't tell the difference between it and ouzo, aside from the whole "expensive as hell" part. Maybe I'm impervious to the effects of wormwood. Lamest superpower ever.)

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 2420

File: 1355668009064.png (317.65 KB, 661x448, okay_2.png)

>mfw finishing up
All the best y'all! Plenty of time left to squeeze in that extra plot point or that chunk of dialogue.

Grif 2421

File: 1355675970049.jpeg (60.86 KB, 960x643, Luna-challenge accepted.jpeg)

Just started my first line.

Gonna pull an all-nighter again.

2423

File: 1355676631202.jpeg (94.09 KB, 640x480, Writer_Meatgrinder_2.jpeg)

>>2421
You and me both. At least I've got an outline done.

Anonymous 2426

File: 1355689265113.png (188.9 KB, 837x955, trixiestache.png)

Woo! Churning out words at a semi-decent pace.

Gonna work real hard to make this story as coherent as possible.

I will, I repeat, I will indeed try my best to win this one.

>Trixie with a mustache just 'cause.

2428

File: 1355690288625.jpeg (118.1 KB, 640x480, Writer_Melancholic.jpeg)

With great regret, I must drop out of the race. The fic I've crafted turned out too ambitious - I wrote 7,5 k words until I realised that I'll need at least 20 k to tell the story I wanted to tell. Serves me for not realising how many words can scenes take. And it was such a great idea, too. Oh well, at least now I'll have the proper time to develop it.

Good luck to everyone who entered!

Ion-Sturm 2430

File: 1355693652501.gif (373.6 KB, 316x253, xRSee.gif)

>>2428
>7.5K
Sweet Celestia, you're a machine.

>>2426
Not if I can help it.

2431

I only have some 2k written, but I may have to wear the cone of shame and drop out as well.

This is proving difficult… hm, we'll see.

Oh, Sh— 2434

File: 1355695605881.jpg (47.37 KB, 462x462, 9842374_gal.jpg)

>>1769

Well, this is embarrassing. I can't seem to get into my account. I tried the recovery feature, but it didn't seem to work (yes, I checked my spam filter). Some assistance required, amigo!

Pracca 2436

10k done… probably need another 8 at minimum. I guess I'll be doing NOTHING ELSE between now and the deadline…

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 2437

>>2436
You did see the review you requested from the last write-off, yes? It's customary to let the reviewer know, so he's satisfied he hasn't wasted his time…

Pracca 2438

>>2437

I KNEW I forgot something o_o

Crap, yeah, I did, I need to respond to that. I'll get to it as soon as I finish this thing.

Ion-Sturm 2439

File: 1355700645108.png (979.27 KB, 1024x2667, e91.png)

Submitted.
Might as well just give up, boys and girls. We all know who's going to be winning this contest.

2440

File: 1355701075060.png (172.44 KB, 1000x923, trixiefilly.png)

>>2439

I will wrest away that gold metal from your dying corpse's cold, clenched hands.

Look at this face, look at me; does it look like I'm joking?

2441

File: 1355701467668.png (220.56 KB, 500x500, 747.png)

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 2445

File: 1355707590896.png (182.62 KB, 763x1000, kilt_pony_by_kalleflaxx-d4adjv…)

Ach, yer a wee bunch o' bleedin' pansies! Gang haem 'n cry t' yer mummas!

I went and saw the Hobbit today, but d'you see me gnashin' me teeth o'er a few measly hours' worth o' work lost, atop ridin' all over bloody creation Saturday t' shop fer the holidays, an' workin' all dae Friday? NO! On account I'm no' a lily-livered, slack-jawed, limp-[CENSORED] crybaby who'll [CENSORED] his [CENSORED] at the first sign o' anyone else tellin' 'im [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [SWEET JESUS CALM DOWN].

So suck it up, ye wee wibblin' whiners. I'll see you in hell!

2446

>>2445
Going for another wooden spoon, I see.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 2447

>>2446
All the better t' spank yer sweet arse wi'! >:V

No, I'm actually not. Though I have planned a sequel for Hot Shot and Hugh Jelly!

Finished! 2448

Finally finished my story, though I still feel like nitpicking through it to find something wrong.

Damn my self-diagnosed OCD!

Ditto 2449

This almost happened to me. I wrote about 5000 words, and realized I would need at least another 8000. Luckily, I had reached a point where I could cut out half of what I wanted to do and still have the story make sense.

Whitbane 2450

Spewing snot from every orifice, but I'm almost done writing. Only seven stories in so far? Seems there's going to be another last minute rush!

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 2451

>>2450
Often is, but it's not guaranteed.

Anonymous 2452

File: 1355713784340.jpg (40.64 KB, 480x359, Heimdall_Cant_Go_AEMH.jpg)

Hm… well, my story got "interesting," shall we say?

Anyway, I shall certainly finish some time soon! Before the deadline! Onward! ONWARD I SAY!

*charges into the Write-Off office, shattering the glass window*



Uh… I'll pay for that.

Anonymous 2453

Damn. I'm amazed I got to 3k this time around, and folks are talking about need 8000 more?

Clearly my creative well is dry.

Oh well, it amused me for a few hours; if someone else claims it wasn't a waste of their five minutes I'm declaring it a victory.

That Invincible Flame 2454

Bah. I'm not happy with it, but I suppose it will have to do.

Seems like we're going to have longer fics this time around.

2456

File: 1355721317325.jpg (16.44 KB, 234x181, IdiotBall.jpg)

>>2455

Roger'd probably oblige, seeing as you basically gave yourself away.

Anonymity, remember that thing?

>pic

Whitbane 2458

>>2456

The poor bastard…

>>2457


You, uh, you basically told the word count for your fic so when people go to vote, they will know which one is yours.

Anonymous 2459

>>2457
Nah. Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal.

The authors of the stories typically remain anonymous, usually identifying themselves in the threads by putting "Author of (story name)" in the name field instead of their name, until the contest is over.

Sowwy 2460

File: 1355721620486.gif (47.39 KB, 900x900, Crap.gif)

I'm sowwy

Sowwy 2462

>>2461

Truthfully, I'm new to imageboards as a whole. If you would tell me how I'd be more than happy to.

Whitbane 2463

>>2461

This is the best advice.

!!Applejack 2464

>>2462
>>2460
I took care of it for you. =)

You can delete posts by checking the checkbox by them and then clicking the "Delete" button in the bottom right corner of the page.

(You can also edit your posts in the future by clicking the checkbox and then clicking "Edit" down there.)

There are also some other features and functions you might want to know about, listed here on >>>/site/616

You can also ask me anything you might have questions about. My email is [email protected], and you can reach me through skype or steam by adding that email address if that's easier for you.

Sowwy 2466

>>2464

Words cannot express the gratitude.

!!Applejack 2467

>>2466
Anytime. Happy to help!

I know the first time at a type of site you're unfamiliar with can be daunting. If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to let any of the staff know and we'll help you out.

Author of "Succubus" 2468

Welp, heck, just finished. Little-to-no time to edit. Hope it isn't absolutely awful.

Ugh… I need to rest my head.

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 2469

Alright, let's keep it nice this time. Remember:

-There are potentially newcomers in the competition, and they should feel welcome.
-Writer-centric reviews are much more valuable than reader-centric reviews here. You're not going to affect what people read, so better to help the writers.
-Reiterate: help the writers. Don't just say what was bad or good. Say why. Give examples and demonstrate how to fix the problems you find.
-Reviewing just happens by default here, to the point that it's never been necessary to request it. But keep that in mind. Nobody has explicitly asked for reviews, and it can't be assumed that they're wanted. It's one thing to be blunt when a review was requested, but quite another when it's unsolicited.
-Treat each other with respect. That anon you want to bash might be a first-timer, but it might be one of /fic/'s legends, too. And it shouldn't really matter which.
-If you have negative things to say, direct them at the specific problem. Don't attack the story in its entirety and never attack the writer.
-This is for fun. It's an excuse to write and get some feedback if you want it. It's not worth arguing over.

Good luck, everyone!
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2470

File: 1355724108070.jpg (7.68 KB, 228x221, Doctor.jpg)

>>2469
Will do, cap-i-tan!

If my hand writes a snark, a shall cut it off!

If my heart is filled with vitriol, I shall pluck it out!

If my head is full of spite, I shall bang it against the wall!

Heart of Darkness 2471

>the time
fuck

Anonymous 2472

Holy crap, just under the wire!
I bet I screwed the formatting when trying to rush the enter key paragraphing.

Whitbane 2473

Let's see if I can get all these stories read and voted on tonight.

Author of Dear Sister 2474

>>2473

Nearly 90,000 words in one night?

Godspeed, you crazy son of a bitch.

Axis of Rotation 2475

That was a nice turnout. Good show, Bronies!

Whitbane 2476

>>2474

Pfft, that's nothing.

It's your 17k entry that better be great. If it's boring, *Angry fist shake*.

No regrets!

Author of Dear Sister 2477

>>2476

You've jinxed it, you fool! It will be the worst by far, now!

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 2478

Authors, remember that we have a preliminary round this time. Log in to the write-off site for your assigned stories to rate. You have ten days to do so, or your story will be disqualified.

Whitbane 2479

>>2477

Mine was bad. Rushing and having to cut content is one thing. But shoving the broken bones of a story into a skeleton and even calling it a story is an insult to every other submission.

I'll blame it on me being sick rather than me being a lazy bastard.

2480

File: 1355725040323.png (116.66 KB, 400x390, 122136 - absurd barrel big_mac…)

>>2469
>Nobody has explicitly asked for reviews, and it can't be assumed that they're wanted.
I give full permission to anyone as far as commenting goes, then.

Author of "Succubus" 2481

>>2469
>>2480

Anyone can rip my story to shreds if it takes their fancy. Just… hand me a hot glue-gun to put the pieces together, eh?

Author of Dear Sister 2482

Indeed, be as brutal as you want.

I may… cry a little. But that's okay.

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2483

Guys, I'm sorry. That's all I'm gonna say. You'll see why eventually.

Author of "Succubus" 2484

>>2483
I have your story to review for the prelims~

Heart of Darkness 2485

>>2480
>>2481
>>2482
Likewise.

>>2483
Also likewise.

Author of Dear Sister 2486

And now that it's too late to edit, I'm already noticing all the patently stupid typos…

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2487

>>2484
And I yours - looking forward to it.

Axis of Rotation 2488

>>2486
No worries man, everyone's in the same boat, I think. Not much time to edit when you only have three days to write.

Author of "Lanvender" 2489

Damn, no matter how hard I tried, the formatting still came off wrong.

Looks like I'm set for another dead-last place again.

2491

>>2489
>http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/fic/258-Lavender?plain
>[center] tags everywhere
Oh god what what you done.

Penman of "Spikes and Stones" 2492

File: 1355728227998.jpg (61.95 KB, 517x518, 534.jpg)

Time to see if my gamble paid off. Short and sweet is the name of the game for my entry.

If I can't take it, I can't dish it, so consider my story to be open game.

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2493

Uh, am I the only one who somehow added advertisements to their fic??

Author of Dear Sister 2494

>>2492

Well, since I just finished reading it, I'll give my thoughts.

With the knowledge that short and sweet is what you're going for, I can say I'm very happy having read this. It wasn't difficult to figure out what was happening, the action was fun and easy to follow, and the dichotomy between Spike's fantasies and reality, in my opinion, was done very well.

I wish I could offer something more helpful, but all I can really say is I WOULD have liked to see more. But since I'm a chronically lazy reader, I'd say that speaks well for what you've made.

Author of "Lavender" 2495

File: 1355728549991.jpg (48.82 KB, 315x480, 1309299642001.jpg)

>>2491
I've, uh… Well, I guess you can say I wholeheartedly "Effed Up"

2496

>>2491
FimFic's GDocs importer does that automatically. Obnoxious to strip them away, but since all the tags match, it doesn't actually affect the results.

Axis of Rotation 2497

>>2495
Happens to the best of us, bro. At least now you know what to look out for in the future.

Anonymous 2498

Reading through "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles."

…That ending.
…That ending.
… Dat ending.

Penman of "Spikes and Stones" 2499

>>2494
>and the dichotomy between Spike's fantasies and reality, in my opinion, was done very well
>fantasy
>Not his rematch once he's grown up
Well, fuck. I guess I didn't make that quite clear enough. Then again, it doesn't really matter in the end from the sounds of it and, thinking about it, it works like that, too.

Glad you enjoyed it.


Also, you might want to consider doing your reviews under an anon tag or your normal screen name since you could unwittingly influence other users' voting on your own story. Just a tip.

Author of Dear Sister 2500

>>2499

I swear to you, some day in the distant future, I shall learn how to do a write-off.

Or maybe that's just another fantasy. =P

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2501

>>2498
Eeeeeeyup. So…thoughts? Other than the ending, of course *nervous laughter*

2503

>>2501
I for one don't think you needed the A/N. If you had ended it where you had ended, that would have been almost fine in itself for some people; the tone and mood would have carried through. Not completely, but it would have carried through at least some ways to closure. The thing about the story is that there isn't a standard, concrete plot; ending on the last sentence would have been nice in a nuanced kind of way, albeit perhaps unfulfilling, but well.

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2504

>>2503
Huh, that's really interesting, and I didn't expect you to say that. I had so much more to add I really didn't see it as finished, and I still don't. Nice to hear you didn't think it killed things, though. Thanks for the thoughts.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2506

Ten days for the prelim vote? That's incredibly awesome, thank you Roger!

Anonymous 2509

AAAGH.

I hate writing with a time limit.

Anonymous 2517

>>2509

Tell me about it. I want to just punch myself after seeing some of the mistakes that slipped into mine.

Anonymous 2518

Sure would suck if the end of the world screwed us out of an awesome comic.

Author of "Lavender" 2519

>>2518
World's not gonna end yet. Too much needs to get done before then.

Ion-Sturm 2522

File: 1355791558939.jpg (46.92 KB, 600x424, 1336551710040.jpg)

Here comes the pain. I'll be editing in my reviews as I finish the stories, so check back every once in a while.

My assigned sacrafices stories are:
Lavender
A Sister's Gift
The Lamination Lamentation Chain
That Invincible Flame
Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles
The Sun in Flight

Forewarning: I love to tear stories apart. Read my review for yours at your own risk.

Lavender
Right, so I had a review that listed specific problems made and ready for posting, then I nuked it because I'm dumb like that, so you're getting the short and bitter version instead.

Wall'o'Text is an apt term for some of this story. Your formatting is in critical condition. The exposition was beyond wangst; if sorrow was sugar, Spike would have died from diabeetus. I don't think you know how colons work. Repetitive descriptions run rampant; the story should have been named Orange with how many times you tell the reader what colour Spike's scarf is. I've always viewed Spike and Twilight's relationship to be a sort of hybrid mother/son brother/sister thing, so shipping them (I think that's what happened in the end) set off a few incest alarms. All in all, a clumsy attempt to pull at my heartstrings. My time would have been better spent picking the lint from my belly button.


A Sister's Gift
>Millions of stars were out in all their beauty. The night really is beautiful. she thought.
Repetition between the exposition and internal thoughts. Also, improper punctuation.

>No Big Sister

When directly addressing another character, there should be a comma before their name, like so:
>No, Big Sister
I’m also not sure about the use of capitals here.

A page of talking heads. Now if they would only talk about something interesting.

The lack of era-specific dialect doesn’t impress.

>"Silver Bell! Watch yourself." her mother said sternly.

Improper punctuation for a dialogue attribution. Should be a comma.

>re. Celestia took . . .

Whoopsee.

>"Ues, you will say yes, I know."

>Ues
Huh?

>You believe that your helping everypony?

>Your
>Not “You’re”

>Your reign ends his Nightmare Moon

Typos for everyone!

I’m afraid I must say that I found the story to be weak and rather boring. As is evident from above, there’s plenty of mistakes, far more than I listed here. A good editor could improve it, but there’s a distinct lack of style to the proceedings that makes it lifeless and drab. Not terrible, but also not something I would plan to read again anytime soon.


The Lamination Lamentation Chain

>A lady of her refinement never visited
Not bad.
>such dark and scary back alleys
Very bland. What makes it “dark and scary”? You touch on it next sentence, but it’s never fleshed out properly, resulting in the exposition equivalent of Telling, not Showing.

>Prevaricating

My, what a long word.
>Be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information
I do not think it was the one you were looking for, though. While she may have been less-than-detailed, it was not of want to “put one over on him”, to quote your own story.

>"So tell me: what brings you to my little shop?"

Personal taste, but I’ve never found colons in dialogue to be particularly suitable. Also, I would have put a comma after “So”.

>Rarity said, and felt as though it was the thing she had meant to say

I’m not seeing the reasoning behind the second part of this sentence.

>Spike pushed on through the driving snow . . .

This paragraph felt a little too heavy-handed on the exposition.

“Mom” should be capitalized.

>Glass of wine

I believe Word of Faust has said there is no alcohol in Equestria (granted, frothy mugs of cider are along frothy when “fortified” a bit, so…). No one ever seems to use salt, and it saddens me.
Not really a knock against the story, just rambling.

> It was port wine, actually, and the glass was half empty, which didn't matter much, because the bottle was still half full.

How poetic.

I think I see what you’re doing here. Each picture is being used in some way. Guess I’ll be finding out if my hypothesis is correct soon enough. I suppose this excuses the constant switching of viewpoint, although at least a soft scene break for each would have been beneficial. Then again, that could possibly ruin the transitions, so take my advice with a touch of reluctance.

>bringing her a new creature, one by one, back to her

Drop the first “her”.

Berry’s introduction felt a little ham-fisted in. Then again, I can’t imagine it being an easy one, so I’ll give you the benefit of a doubt.

I like the narration for the most part, but you keep dipping into something more informal, like:
>She attempted to bow, but nearly fell over, remaining upright only due to Velvet's reflexes, which weren't all that hot, either.
That last bit feels out of place.

And back to where we started. I do question why Rarity, who’s obviously worried about Spike, would stay in the store that long watching the carton play out, though.

Well, all in all, it was solid and enjoyable. I didn’t skim any exposition, which is always a big point for you. A little spitshine and polish and you’ll have a decent short story on your hands.


That Invincible Flame

>Ponies grow older, move away, do bigger things with their life.
I think that should be “grew”.

>“Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it? They’re all my age and—“

Your smart quote at the end went full retard.

>Twilight walked out the door, torn between a grin and a frown.

I don’t know why she’d be frowning after Spike’s comment.

>She jolted backwards.


>“Pinkie! You startled me.”

Those should have been together in the same paragraph, methinks.

Rarity uses “Spikey” too much. It’s a term of endearment and, like all such things, loses its effect with overuse.

For some reason, I don’t feel as if the parts really made up the whole. The conclusion felt like a departure from the tone I was getting during the lead-up. Or perhaps it’s because I’m writing this snippet at 1:30 AM after an eight-hour shift. The writing was decent, but it never really wowed me and I must admit I found myself skimming in a few of the more exposition-dense places.


Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles

>I received another splendid gift from those splendid little fillies the other day.
I’m a bit nutty about repetition, so using “splendid” twice seemed rather silly.

>It's hard to tell with fillies, you know.

I feel as if that period should be a question mark.
Reading on, I see it’s some sort of repetition thing. Not sure how I feel about it.

>Not gift wrapped of course - fillies, as you know.

Em-dash, not hyphen, please and thank you.

>In vivid detail I was carefully painted in front of a small, red shop, through

> a small, red shop
This is something I’ve always wondered about. Would anyone be able to give me a reason why putting a comma in there is or isn’t necessary? I don’t feel as if it’s necessary in this case since the two descriptors would be difficult to confuse with each other. If it was, say, “orange” instead I could understand the need for a comma to differentiate between whether it’s a small shop that’s coloured orange or a small shop that specializes in oranges. Red, however, suffers no such problems (from what I can think of, at least).

>How disturbingly accurate, I thought, and I shifted my weighted, withered saddle bags hanging on my back.

First, I would change the “my” to “the”. Also, the second bit of italics don’t fit; it’s not worded as a personal thought, unlike the snippet prior.

>. . . no doubt because they would think it's subject true.

It’s: Contraction for “It is”
Its: Possessive form of “its”
Learn the difference. It could save your life.

> No… he was complaining about my patrons.

The ellipsis seems out of place.

>Thanks for the support Mac

The context makes it a little dicey, but a direct reference to a proper noun should have a comma before it.
>Thanks for the support, Mac

>Sqeeeerrrrreeeeeaaaa-ee-ee-ee-eek-eek

Sounds should be italicized. Most readers prefer the sound to be described rather than put in as an onomatopoeia, though.

I must admit, I’m a sucker for stream-of-consciousness. You have plenty of little errors and I can’t say I approve of your comma usage, but the writing remains somewhat engaging despite those niggling issues.

>]everypony

Had some troubles with the BBCode, did we?

>They were always galloping nose first into some wild adventure

I do believe “nose first” should be hyphenated.

> It wasn't long before the sun rolled down the side of the distant hills, and in a splash of red, dipped below the lip of Equestria.

I would suggest a change of comma placement, like so:
>It wasn't long before the sun rolled down the side of the distant hills and, in a splash of red, dipped below the lip of Equestria.
Generally, having a comma before an “and” is considered poor form since an “and” is a replacement for them in some respects. You could also replace the commas with em-dashes, depending on how much emphasis you want on the addition.

Heh, the conversation between Derpy and Berry got a good snort out of me. I’m quite liking the banter.

Unfinished or not, this is so far the story I’ve enjoyed the most. I don’t really mind that it didn’t go anywhere since you did an excellent job establishing all of the places it could go. Little hints like
>I knew how unexpected relationships could happen. I knew.
promise a reveal about some past relationship and, if I may do some speculation, I imagine it would have something to do with her apathy towards the holidays. You establish that she’s not seen very highly amongst Ponyville’s residents with the children leaving that note (and I quite enjoyed the sarcastic juxtaposition once I realized what you were aiming for). There’s plenty of groundwork, built on a solid base of interesting narration and dynamic character interactions. I hope you intend to continue this.


The Sun in Flight

>“Surprise!”LERROOYYY JENKINNNNSSSS!!!1one!” Pinkie cried

>“Surprise!” came a halfhearted murmur in echo

Considering it’s half-hearted, a ellipsis might be more fitting, as an exclaimation point certainly isn’t.

Dash’s reluctance seems out of place, considering how much she loves to bask in the limelight, especially after Sleepless in Ponyville’s events.

>When she looked back up, there were enough stern glances directed back at her to make her shudder. Fine. She managed a weak smile and gestured toward the door.

That “Fine” seems out of place. It looks like a personal thought but isn’t marked as such.

>“I can try to light one,” Spike offered, “but… Princess Celestia might not appreciate it.”

Spike can light fires without sending things, unless you mean to imply he sent several dozen heavy logs to fall on Celestia’s head during Apple Family Reunion.

>Spike glanced up to see her wiping the tear streaks from the corners of her eyes.

Dash seems a little too melodramatic here.

>She hit the bump at the bottom and launched far across the grassy field, flailing her tail around to keep from tumbling.

How does the tail help?

>. . . she grabbed the leftover bit of cloud in her teeth, tearing after Scootaloo. At the last instant, Dash managed to get beneath her and catch her on the cloud’s pillowy surface.

That’s impossibly fast, even for Rainbow Dash, unless Scootaloo was launched upwards halfway to the heavens.

>Forgot that clouds don’t work if they’re not pegasi…

Did you forget the punctuation marks here?

>Scootaloo said as she looked down at her side, but her face fell. Still empty.

>empty
Not the word you were looking for, methinks.

>“Sorry, guys. It’s in Cloudsdale. You wouldn’t be able to walk around there,” she said, wiggling her wings.

You seem to have forgotten Twilight’s cloudwalking spell.

You really need to designate personal thoughts.

Well, that ending was certainly something. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the story. The writing wasn’t particularly strong and nothing really caught my imagination in terms of plot development. “Bored” would be the prevailing emotion for me during this story.
This post was edited by its author on .

2523

>>2522
Das cute.

REVIEWS!!!11!!!1one! 2524

You know the drill. Long-time reviewer here offering full-length, no-holds-barred reviews. Serious takers only, please. If you really want to spiff up your story and possibly submit it to EqD, I'll give you line-by-line help.

Let me know by posting in this thread (preferred, as it preserves anonymity, since I'll probably be voting this time), contacting me through the email in my trip, or via PM in IRC. If I get more requests than I can accommodate, I'll pick a few that interest me, choose randomly, or some such. Reviews will be posted in this thread after the write-off has ended.

Good luck to all the writers and artists!

Author of "Succubus" 2525

>>2524

While my story might feel either half-assed ir incomplete, I would appreciate a review. Knowing what failed in this one and how I can improve for the future would be invaluable to me.

Thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Penman of "Spikes and Stones" 2526

>>2524
I would be most appreciative for your assistance, Pascoite.

Author of Dear Sister 2527

>>2524

I won't turn down an opportunity to learn from mistakes.

Author of "Lavender" 2528

>>2524
I already know what I did wrong with mine (formatting, damn you formatting!). That's what happens when you write something in only 20 hours, and night hours at that.

At any rate, I would not mind a review either. This story could be improved greatly.

>>2522
Sir Ion, your reputation precedes you.

Author of "Of Green Bottles & Grey Bubbles" 2529

>>2524
Alright friend bring it on - I'll take your thoughts. Though know the fic likely isn't going anywhere outside this contest, and definitely not EQD. So don't put more into the review than you want, okay? And thanks.

Anonymous 2530

Spikes and Stones
This is a good prompt. A good prologue. An interesting action scene with a look at consequences. It's not a story.

Maybe I'm slow, or blind, but I don't see what the message was here. I followed your alternative plotline thing well enough, but I just don't get why you did it. Help me to understand your purpose. I really think this should've been longer.

Also, the letter Spike write near the end was really jarring. He's narrarating the entire time as a much more mature dragon, describing every action with precise detail of a seasoned adventurer… but then the letter is spoken like Spike from the show. Keep it consistent. If he's still an adolescent, then have him narrate that way.


Tummy Aches
First things first: your beginning is extremely obnoxious. There are better ways to emulate a baby's cry. I'd probably go with describing it with exagguration.

"A small, lavender unicorn with a dark purple mane" - please, please, please just say Twilight or filly Twilight. You have taken 9 words to say something that could be said in one, and those eight extra words add nothing significant.

"ear splitting shriek" - I like this much more than a bunch of capital "a"s. Also, it's ear-splitting, with the dash.

There are a lot of words here. In my opinion, far, far more than you needed. I understand you needed Twilight to feel defeated, but the cycles of class, Spike and Celestia didn't seem effective enough to warrant so many words. I'm also not entirely sure what your message was. Perhaps Spike was symbolic of something? I'm not exactly sure what, though. The ending, which should have felt emotional, just felt flat to me. I'd spend so long wafting through your words, looking for a clear message that when the ending hit me, I was still in the middle of my search.

I don't want to say this story can't work this way. I think it just needed direction. Cut out the fluff. Make what you've got more engaging; you were using a lot of state-of-being verbs (is, was, are) which translate to a more dry, "this happened then this happened followed by this" sort of narrative.


A Sister's Gift
This one dithered a touch too long, I think. You really had me going at first; curious as to what would happen to Celestia and watching eagerly as you weaved the more serious story along with brief flashbacks. You spend an awful lot of time just saying how bad things were under Nightmare Moon's rule… which is necessary, certainly, but you spend too long on it for me. My interest had waned by the time you got around to the conclusion.

Also, for having such a long buildup, the conclusion came and went quite quickly. I felt like you struggled making Nightmare Moon a compelling villian on her own in such a short amount of time. You hit on the necessary points, but I didn't feel the depth I really like to see in villians. You explained her aims, her justifications, but I wasn't quite sold on her motivations. She seemed too eager to jump to the dark side. It's tough to pinpoint, though, because you didn't neglect her; she was certainly thought-out.

I'm not sure if you did this or not, as the whole of the story is a bit fuzzy… but did Celestia have a moment representing each Element? I know there was a Kindness, Generosity and Loyalty in there at least, though I couldn't find a specific Honesty or Laughter.

I hope you can get something out of this… I'm afraid I cannot be as specific as I wished in this review. Overall, I certainly liked the story.

Author of "Winona" 2531

Decided maybe it'd be easier to review stuff if it was printed out. My reading list is 70 pages single space 10 point font. Y'all are verbose.

2532

>>2529
>>2528
>>2527
>>2526
Okay, all of these are on the list. Do keep in mind that these reviews aren't really for the purpose of just seeing what went right/wrong. They're for genuine improvement so you can take another crack at your story and make it shine.
>>2525
A quick review it is, then.

I can do short ones as well, if people prefer those, but I doubt I'll have anything to add beyond all the other feedback that will be given in this thread.

Author of "Lavender" 2533

>>2532
Oh, two important notes about my story

1. It's meant to be rather vague
2. It's meant to be told without any dialogue.

The Life and Times of a HP 2534

File: 1355800599973.jpg (15.7 KB, 282x320, 155662 - artist raikoh14 peewe…)

>>2524
I'd like a short one too, please. You're the best, Pasco.

Author of "Nothing Wrong" 2535

>>2524
Yeah, go ahead.

Penman of "Spikes and Stones" 2536

>>2530
The normal font is Spike once he's grown up. The italics are him when he was younger. This also applies to his letter; it was written by young Spike. The change in time is alluded to with lines like:

>Experience tempers my bravado

He's learned from his first encounter with the golem to not rush back into the fight. This is mirrored by:
>Suddenly, I feel confident.
>I crawl, defeated by my own stupidity.
He didn't gauge his foe's ability and suffered for it.

>I’ve waited a long time to finish what I started.

This would be an obvious one. As it hints at, he's been looking forward to the rematch.

>but from its single scarred eye

The eye young Spike damaged during his first encounter, showing that this is the golem he fought before. They've both grown over the years; the golem is described as being made of sandstone (not exactly the strongest stuff) during the first battle, then later granite when Spike fights it again.

>Proof of my passage into maturity and a gift to the one that guided me to finding it.

Obviously showing that Spike has grown up and become an accomplished dragon. In the letter and story, it's quite clearly stated he lost initially. Ergo, this must imply it's from later.

>With a wave my old teacher

Now that he's passed his rites of becoming a full-fledged dragon, he no longer needs a teacher.

>it’s only been a few months since I moved out of my adolescent phase.

Obvious allusion to him having grown up.

>He says he was a baby dragon like me

Obvious statement that he's still a "baby" dragon in the letter.

I do realize I got a little too poetic with lines like "the pain blossomed like a vile flower" for young Spike, but I liked the imagery, so in it went. It was actually more florid before, but I tried to cut back. In my defence, Spike has shown he's capable of being rather verbose and expressive in episodes like Hearth's Warming, where he narrated the play, not to mention the fact that he lives, cleans and sorts a library with a book-a-holic. One should assume he would have picked up on a few things here and there.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2541

>>2532
I'd be fine with a short review, too. :) Not sure how much I like this story in the end.

Author of "Winona" 2543

Pas, I'd *love* to see a review from you, long or short (particularly on structure), but it looks like you already have your dance card pretty full.

Thanks 2544

1. Not sure how to reply exactly (I'm new to this site)

2. To Ion Sturm

Thanks for the critique. I did most of my writing on an iPod, and I thought I killed most of the typos on my computer. But yeah, thanks for the critique! It's only my second fanfic, so anything helps!

3. I better get reading, though Dear Sister is long but good so far.

2548

File: 1355855885459.jpg (177.12 KB, 686x976, YHtLm.jpg)

>>2544
Click the number on someone's post and the system will add it to your reply box. Alternatively, manually enter it yourself >>#####

>iPod

Ewwww
>Writing on one
EWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

My pleasure. Good to see you've got a thick skin and can distance yourself from your work. You're going to need it.

2552

Dude. Anonpost.

2553

File: 1355872713423.jpg (115.28 KB, 612x612, d5Xhu.jpg)

>>2551
Both, and fail on the name.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGwGKLNQkAE

You writing isn't "bad", per se, just lacking quality. >>2530 thought it was decent enough, I just have high standards. The story lacked a proper setpiece and, as the anon said, the climax felt like a cop-out. There was a good idea underneath it but the exposition couldn't carry the weight needed to make me care.

2556

>>2543
I'm just assembling a list of candidates so far. Might do them all, might pick a few. You're on it.

2561

>>2553
Fixed, was on my iPod (lol) the first post and my computer second (where I had a different username in use)

Anyways…

>>2530
This. The thought crossed my mind about having a story for each element, but then that thought just left me. I'll pick that idea right back up and use it when I redo/revise the story. I also need to flesh out Nightmare Moon, which is also something I thought about.

Thanks for all the feedback, though. I really think it'll help!

Author of "Winona" 2563

Printed all these out, thinking it'd make for easier reviewing. Then I realized: I suck at reviewing. My understanding of plotting and structure is pretty much limited to giggling like an idiot at the phrase "therefore/buts". I can catch typos, but that won't fix your story. So, instead, you get microblurbs on my reaction. Have at you:

The Sun in Flight: At first it was a cute little slice-of-life, and then you whomp us up 'side the head with that sledgehammer d'aaaawwww at the end. Well played, sir, well played.

The Life and Times of an Honest Pony: My favorite narrative voice out of the bunch, hands down.

That Invincible Flame: Can't stop reading "manetie" as "manatee". Loved the whole aspect of the others not quite getting what had Twilight depressed, even if I totally don't read the Twi/Spike relationship that way.

A Sister's Gift: Solid canon-gap-filling story. Luna as the ultimate egalitarian is an interesting spin.

There's Always Someone: Man, I thought *my* story was wanton Spike Abuse. He just takes a nap and everyone's gone? Get out of there; the feels are coming from inside the house! The end left me kinda wishing you could explore more Spike/Amaryllis dragon-caught-between-two-worlds stuff, so your story succeeds, I think.

Welcome to The Broken Promise: Fascinating concept; had the damnedest time following what was going on, which I suppose makes sense for being hammered in an ethereal bar for supervillains.

Lavender: Heh. I-Killed-Spike-In-The-Snow Brohoof. /) Am I the only one who doesn't ship those two? Always saw them as more filial.

Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles: Shame you ran out of time; I was enjoying the narrative voice enough to follow this wherever it was going to go…

The Lamentation Chain: Someone used the milk carton picture! And got something interesting out of it! You lost me in a few spots where you changed narrators on me and I didn't catch for a paragraph, but I like the conceit of hopping from scene to scene to wind up back where you started.

I have to say the writing in general seems better overall than I recall in the past. Good crop this season.

The Honest Pony 2566

File: 1355904739592.png (268.99 KB, 640x352, 56789.PNG)

Feedback! Nothing too helpful here, I'm afraid, unless you'd consider reader impressions to be helpful.

Winona
A run-of-the-mill idea done surprisingly well. This is a good example of starting closest to the action all right. I wouldn't have separated my scenes with —name— though; I'd have used [hr] and then let the voice of the narrator identify themselves, since both Luna and Applejack are written distinctly. AJ's side of the story was underdeveloped in relation to the plot compared to Luna's, but that was because all the exposition was there. That much being said, it was the presence of AJ's side which gave the flow so much contrast, which in turn kept it fresh. I didn't feel much for the characters, but I could appreciate the ending. You win highest vote.

Dear Sister
Ohohoho. Well-written, with a solid style and grasp of descriptions, ideas and concepts, which makes the wrong dialogue punctuation almost comical. It's "Dialogue," [speaking verb] name, not "Dialogue." [Speaking verb] name. On one hand, it's probably the lack of time to edit, but on the other, I'd have expected you to be able to punctuate dialogue naturally, if you already have such a solid grasp on descriptions and co.. I also find it amusing that the italicized sections are longer than the non-italicized ones. You'd probably be better off not italicizing anything; it would have made it slightly easier to read, I think. There's also the personal gripe of using all caps. Discord's sections would have been more powerful if he were the only one using them, i.e. Luna and Celestia or anypony else not getting all caps for emphasis, but maybe italicize/lack of italicize instead.

I did think it went on for too long. You could probably slash a lot of the descriptors to get the core of the story going across, but that's probably your style. By the time I got to the end, the poignancy had dissipated. Overall, a more impressive feat, but not as enjoyable as Winona was. Therefore, you get second.

First and Last
A dark story with too little details to be horrifying, instead ending up confusing. The idea is nice, and the body was written well, but there were some derps scattered in the writing (according to my notes, at least: "here aren’t any health complains", for example?), and the ending, while succinct, didn't give me enough closure. Revealing a few more details would be the main suggestion I'd give.

Heart of Darkness
This reminds me of that one fic which so proudly boasted itself to be the first ever serious Sombra fic. It wasn't a story, merely an action sequence. This is kinda like that, in that Sombra is given no personality, merely a bit more intelligence, and is evil just because. There's a little new twist in Celestia being the one who covered it all up, and that interlude: "[Celestia & Luna squabble, then head out to take on Sombra. Shit goes down, some stuff gets said, and the black guy dies in the end. Oh, and the Crystal Empire “vanishes” in collateral damage.]" which made me grin a little, but in the end, there was no satisfactory character development. Luna just snapped, it seemed; Sombra was as vapid as ever, and Celestia has mood switches. There wasn't sufficient transition from "I banish thee" to breaking down in tears. At least it was readable.

Nothing Wrong
Your grammar made this difficult to read. While you have more of a plot than HoD, it's lost in the distracting mess of ellipses, misplaced commas, and Lavender Unicorn Syndrome (I'm looking at you, orange-maned mare). That's the thing - it's distracting. That's why bad grammar is bad. Derpy's idiocy is tuned up to eleven. It's so ridiculous that I can't find it funny, merely ridiculous, and perhaps too convenient for the plot's purposes.

“Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no this is bad this is bad this is very very very very very very very bad!” - do not do this ever again. Please? It's a terrible waste of words, it's disheartening.

Carrot Top's scenes serve only one purpose, that is to show her being oblivious. While it can be done, the fact that those scene took up half the space - meaning half of your story was about nothing new - gave the thing overall a rather hollow feel. Or at least is what I might say if it were longer, but it isn't, so I suppose it's okay. I'd suggest that maybe you make the Carrot Top side of things a story in itself. Give us something more significant than vapid small talk, dirty jokes, and whatnot. Have some real interaction which is entertaining in its own right, and then you'd have a solid piece. Bonus points if you play up the angle of Carrot Top realizing that Derpy's a nice kind of friend that doesn't drool or vomit all over her, etc.

Succubus
Oh dear. This one was pretty confusing. "It's full luminescent glow" should be "its" - I'm making note of this because the error in the very second sentence was what made me skim the rest the first time. "And tonight, Princess Celestia couldn't help but feel some sorrow." - I'm making note of this because this is hella ham-fisted way to do it. Consider more subtle things like "a tiredness/tightness in her chest" or "restlessness".

You've got "Palace", "Princess" (te affairs of a Princess), "Citizen", "My Little Pony" for random capitalizations. There's also "What, pray tell, do you think you're doing?" inquired she.", and "The earth gulped" among other cases, of weird phrasing. There's also the random ending, because I was paying attention the second time and there was no sign of any small, aged mare. All in all, there's a muddled feel to the flow of things, though the time granted to you post-Write Off should be sufficient to iron the kinks out.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of Dear Sister 2568

>>2566

Thanks for the feedback! You picked up, to my dismay, the two greatest flaws that I've personally noticed in my writing. I've been trying a long time to strike a balance between wordiness and… not-wordiness. Briefness?

The other one… is that darned punctuation. I picked that habit up as a little kid, when I first started writing, and I simply cannot get rid of it. =(

Still, I appreciate the time you took both in reading and critiquing it, and I'll try and improve my stuff in the future. Glad you were able to enjoy it, some.

Author of "Succubus" 2573

File: 1355921365252.png (144.93 KB, 845x945, changeling_by_durpy-d4xd75n.pn…)

>>2566

>it's


Curse you, Homophones!

>random capitalizations


Hm… Well, I tried to capitalize a word when it was being used as a proper noun. Unfortunately, I might have been just a bit overzealous in my usage.

>inquired she


Eh, Hawthorne used it.

>The earth gulped.


This is supposed to be the earth pony gulped.

>no sign of any small, aged mare


"She turned about, coming breast-to-snout with a small, aged mare."

>the time granted to you post-Write Off should be sufficient to iron the kinks out


Ah, probably. I finished this just about thirty minutes before the dead-line. Didn't have the much time to edit.

Author of "Winona" 2575

>>2566
Thank you for your kind words. The chapter headings are a vestige of the in-my-head draft, which was planned with more narrators and entitled As Spike Lay Dying and included a chapter consisting of "My mother is a dog." Faulkner is best pony.

AJ's bits got mercilessly cut because they felt inessential; once I get in the rhythm of her voice she develops that midwestern habit of long pointless stories that are more about the theatrical way the details are relayed than what happened. There was a whole scene cut about Rarity finding out what happened and whipping up a unicorn powered heating blanket. Single color of scrap cloth and seams misaligned from the rush to get from idea to execution in minutes, and AJ thinks it's the most beautiful thing she ever made. Kinda wish I could justify it staying.

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2591

>>2563

Thanks for the look. Every little bit helps.

Yeah, neither of them probably went as far as I could have gone, but it's nice to see they went alright for some part. Especially given they should have rather different tones.

Ugh, my first three day 8k and multi-fic entry. This is what happens when you try to split your focus between two fics when you've lost almost a whole day to various other tasks that require doing.

I don't know how some of these authors do it. A few days later and I still think I need a nap.

Author of "Winona" 2597

>>2591
You wrote two? Why would you do that? Were you abused by a prolific writer as a child?

I read those pretty much back to back and didn't notice, so that's a feather in your cap.
Still, show us on the doll where Stephen King touched you.

Author of "Succubus" 2603

Impressions of “Lavender”
AKA, the sacrifice to the [center]-aligned gods.

Okay, so, I have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it was put together poorly. There were multiple mechanical errors littering the prose. The plot could use some serious reworking to get it sleeker and all-around easier to read. And I couldn’t help but think that maybe you were laying the emotion on just a wee bit thick.

But here’s the kicker: You got me to like TwiSpike (is that the proper neologism?). Actually, you got me to enjoy a shipping story, and I have no clue why. For all intents and purposes, I should find this story mediocre at best—but I didn’t. I found it adequate or better.

Er, and that’s really all I have to say. Not feeling real verbose today, sorry.

I give this story a rating of: Adequate +

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2609

File: 1355968882327.jpg (41.83 KB, 482x354, clown 2.jpg)

>>2597

>About there I guess…
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2611

I just finished my first judging block, so I thought I'd post the reviews I wrote. I'll probably just multipost everything rather than editing them in, because I hate having to search back up the thread to see if anyone's read my story.

The Life and Times of an Honest Pony
Excellent opener that only gets more hooky as it goes, except for some reason I was expecting a space launch and instead got architecture. This has a major "show don't tell" issue, not to mention the use of phonetic vernacular ("dinna made it out"?) in the narrative. That said, the narrator's voice is interesting. Time skip? That's a very interesting way to tell this story, and the piece is more effective for not having come right out and said "We're cleaning up after Nightmare Moon". There's some interesting political discussion in here, about unions and whatnot, as well, which surprises me by how effective it is. Very nice ending. "Surprising" is definitely the word for this one.


That Invincible Flame
"Manetie" is a very difficult word to parse; you may have wanted to leave it as two. Good interaction between Twilight and Spike there at the beginning, though the scene feels a little fast. The second scene switches POV at the end. Why is Rarity just calling him "Spikey"? That's very odd. I have to say Pinkie is written very well though, given the precise nature of her observations on Twilight's behavior. That's the kind of thing she would notice. The dialogue is a little… weird in spots, especially when Twilight's speaking with Rarity. It just doesn't feel natural. The melancholy that both Spike and Twilight share comes through very well, though. And it seems you've combined a number of images as well. This is a nicely subdued, emotional piece, rather than your standard tear-jerker, and I appreciate that. Lots of aww.


The Sun in Flight
An interesting enough opening; the flaming icicle discussion really caught my attention, though. But Rainbow Dash's apparent disdain for Scootaloo doesn't seem to fit canon now. I find myself skimming a lot of this story, as things are going on, but nothing is really happening. It's just "try another thing for the CMCs" and no progression of any of the mildly intriguing stuff that's been hinted at so far, with Spike as well as Dash's reticence to spending the day with Scootaloo. Her feeling put-upon as an idol is actually an interesting angle, but is never really explored. Good job in keeping secret what exactly was going on, though I'm rather disappointed by the ending. Given how thoroughly dull most of the rest of this story is, it just lacks any punch.


There's Always Someone
Use of the name "Dusk" made me think rule 63, so that was probably not a good idea. Nor is pursuing this story, really. "Spike lives forever and everything is sad" is so played out. And then randomly other dragons and boyfriends and… I have no idea what's going on here. This story seems to meander between numerous ideas without much of a clear focus. A large problem is the character of Amaryllis, who isn't very well defined and thus hard to sympathize with. Since a large portion of the driving plot is her complaining about her life, that is, as I said, a big problem. I couldn't sink my teeth into this, and so I'm left asking, "What was the point?"


Welcome to the Broken Promise
Well I'll be! I'd been thinking of this as some sort of Bacchanalian speakeasy, in the most literal sense, sort of a Rip van Winkle scenario, but it turned out to be less magical and perhaps even more intriguing. I actually have nothing to say about the story beyond this, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. Okay, well, maybe the explanation was a bit too explanatory, but that's seriously it. You could probably cut out that bit and just leave Chrysalis on the threat and be fine.


A Sister's Gift
I'm waiting for an explanation of why Celestia's guards are shaking down citizens for tax money while she watches. I will also point out a severe lack of question marks in the intervening dialogue scenes. I'm still waiting for an explanation of what's going on, and it's not the pleasant sort of waiting because you've got a character here named Celestia who does not seem to be Celestia in the least. Okay, and there it is. I would say definitely that Nightmare Moon should have been brought up sooner; there's nothing suggesting that Celestia is not in charge anymore when this story begins. There seem to be large pieces of text missing, or something. I will say, this is an interesting set of motivations for Nightmare Moon. The parallel structures work pretty nicely, but I'm not feeling the emotional punch by the end. I spent far too much of this story being confused and slightly irritated.


>>2591
Wait… You're telling me the same person wrote both my favorite and my least favorite stories in the block of 6 I just read? That takes some talent. Congrats?
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2612

>>2611



Welcome to the Broken Promise was an idea I actually had much earlier, but only now properly followed through on.

I thought the concept of some of our favorite villains getting together and just hanging out, Batman: TAS style, would be kind of fun to make. My very first draft of this, made months and months ago, was just a couple paragraphs of Chrysalis, Nightmare Moon, and Discord doing nothing but just sitting around; I didn't really have anything else for them to do. I only had a rough idea that villains like Nightmare Moon and Discord are eternally trapped in the bar, because of the rather permanent way they were defeated, whereas villains like Chrysalis are free to come and go as they please.

So I let the idea sit on the shelf awhile and gather some dust. Then this prompt came along, and I decided to try it again. I was hoping for someone to do some bar art, given the theme, and I got a Berry prompt instead.

I improvised, to the oddity that is the Broken Promise. It doesn’t have quite the intriguing chaos of that Discord’s Deli story in the “Deal with the Devil” write-off, but I imagined there would be a little more structure to the place with villains like Nightmare Moon and Sombra around to balance him out. I instead went for a place that just felt… kinda homey. This is one of those times when the villains aren’t acting dastardly, they’re just hanging out and having a good time. They talk, joke, fight, and laugh like any good crowd will. Also, in cases like Nightmare Moon and Chrysalis, some of them become good friends here.

P.S. There are so many more villains I could have tried to fit in besides the eight I ended up with, maybe even a few more with voices to them, had I the time.


There’s Always Someone kind of caught me off guard, to be honest.

I made it after Broken Promise to have something a little more in line with the expected prompts of misery and woe to kill the joy of the holidays. I also thought it might be something I could manage much better than my slightly less “on the beaten path” story.

Eh, who knew?

The beginning was the rough idea, which was an exploration of Spike’s life after the others are gone. I admit that probably could have stood some expansion with “Dusk” and her family instead of the way it… sort of ended up going.

I’d thought it might be interesting to give him a choice at some point. A life among his own kind, free of the pain of watching everyone he cares for slowly die away, or staying with the new family he’s made for himself in Twilight’s great-great-grandchildren and know that he won’t even be there at the very end for them.

Which is sort of the direction it took, but not quite.

Amaryllis and Lily are also pulled from the shelf (their stories have unfortunately needed strong reboots, eliminating their original purposes until I can figure out a new way to include them). Of the pair, only Lily had really been developed before now, which was an innocent, fairly “girly” sounding character that actually managed to survive here for the most part. The only difference is that she’s even younger sounding now than she was originally, and I believed I had a reason to make her sound so which didn’t feel quite so forced as in her original incarnation.

Amaryllis, on the other hand, had no dialogue at all when she was first made. In fact, we don’t even properly see her in her original story, only hear her name and a description of what she does. She was just part of a large backstory for a whole different set of characters. Though, when I started actually making that backstory, her original characterization was that strong-but-silent type. She was never supposed to talk when I first made her.

I also thought it might be interesting to explore a bit of why Spike is so different from other dragons. (For example, why does he appear to be the only dragon in the world without wings? And it isn’t a matter of growth as he’s been made huge twice now, once by magic and once by natural process, and in neither instance has he acquired them. I thought it could be a matter of species, but then I wondered if it might have something to do with the way he was hatched. Natural dragons are born with wings because, well, they’re natural-born dragons. Spike was hatched by unicorn magic, so I thought that might have an affect on what he became physically, while his upbringing affected his mentality.)

Yeah, it started as one type of story, and then these two popped up and I sort of winged it into left field as I just wandered around a bit (This was the story I spent a bit less time on, and was up until one). I truly have no idea where I was supposed to be going with this. Amaryllis and Lily just sort of shanghaied me. What was supposed to be a story about Spike ended up being a story about Amaryllis too, and I expanded much further on her character than I had originally thought I was ever going to do.

P.S.

Another interesting fact: Both Amaryllis and Lily changed physically for this story as well. Originally, they had hands, legs, and wings attached to their bodies like normal dragons. Most of their difference came from the more serpentine structure, frills, and coloration. But, I just liked the weirdness and uniqueness of these new bodies too much to pass up. Plus it added even more variety to the dragon species as a whole.


It’s probably mostly a matter of focus. One was an old idea that had been tumbling around for a while. The other, mostly a trip into the process of how I make my stories.

The Broken Promise was planned for the most part. (Though yeah, I thought I sort of rushed it a bit in places too, especially near the end: wasn’t entirely happy with all that scenery chewing and exposition, but I couldn’t think of a better way to have it go at the time.).

I knew what I wanted from it, a bar full of baddies having a ball, and Berry was mostly my reason to make it. It was a simple fix-up of window dressings for the most part.

There’s Always Someone, on the other hand, was an experiment in writing multi-fics into which Amaryllis and Lily wandered and then just sort of took over.

I grew fascinated with their characters, which I was just now discovering, and I let the story go wherever it wanted as I explored them a bit more than I probably should have. The result is really dense in terms of shoving character and backstory, and these OCs have only been roughly explored at the moment.

So, probably not good for a short story. Maybe good materials for a long-fic someday, but it will require me to analyze both OC’s, especially Amaryllis, a lot deeper than I first had.

It will be something I must mull over. I liked their characters and the story to some degree, a daughter raised by a protective mother who’s struggling with her own identity as Dragon vs. “walker”, and Spike getting caught in the middle, but this was an admittedly strange place for me to try and fit them in right now. Even if I can’t, or don’t, use this story as a jumping point for a longer fic, I think I’m keeping these characters tucked away someplace for eventual use again.

I probably shouldn’t have submitted it in such a rough state. But this is basically how a lot of my first tries turn out, and I thought it would be worth a try to see where these three dragons went together at least.

2614

>>2611
>But Rainbow Dash's apparent disdain for Scootaloo doesn't seem to fit canon now.
But… she didn't actually have disdain. She was distancing herself deliberately because she was worried about Scootaloo and it scared her. I thought I'd made that clear enough. Granted, you don't get the explanation of why until the end, but I was hoping the light bulb would come on then.

>nothing is really happening

It's a characterization study. That's actually pretty common. There are certain people who really enjoy such things, and certain people who get nothing from them. Most fall somewhere in the middle. I'm sorry you appear to fall in the latter group, but I'd classify your entry as the same type of story, so I'm a bit stumped.

Artist of "Year of the Dragon is Over" 2615

File: 1355980146665.jpg (107.21 KB, 900x712, commission__30s_rarity_by_whit…)

>>2612

It's funny; I intentionally went way out in left field with a Chinese New Year pic because I honestly expected to see a dozen identical pictures of some pony drinking morosely at a bar while signs of celebration mocked them. I wanted to stand out. And besides, nobody can draw ponies drinking like White Diamonds anyway.

Now I wish I'd gone for the obvious "Pinkamena drinking scotch with a bourbon chaser".

Author of "Lavender" 2623

>>2603
Again, I do not deny that I messed up on formatting. I've beaten myself over the head because of it enough times for it to count as a type of lobotomy. I also admit the story was, shall we say, put together in marathon of twenty hours, in between work shifts. Not quite a valid excuse, but damn am I proud for actually getting the thing written at all.

Regardless, I find the fact that the story won you over as, surprising, but quite welcome. I agree on the further shaping, which again, would have happened had I had more time get it in proper shape.

Let's see how well the others like it.

2624

File: 1355998432077.jpg (92.96 KB, 850x778, ohmy.jpg)

>>2623
>but damn am I proud for actually getting the thing written at all
That's the spirit! Participating is half the victory, after all, like me and [redacted]. All in good fun, and being able to write [redacted] in [redacted] days is like, [redacted]% more than my average output.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2625

>>2612
Hey now… You had that one written previously? Did you start from scratch on this version? I hope so, because that's kind of against the spirit of contest if you did otherwise.

>>2614
I don't have a good answer for this. We need to know at the beginning what's going on in order to know why RD is acting the way she is (I honestly thought this was going the route of Rainbow Dash/Spike shipping, and was busily girding myself against such ridiculousness), but that would of course ruin the effect of the reveal. The only other thing that could work would be to focus more on Rainbow's feelings, dropping small hints along the way or something to define her precise emotional state, than on what's going on.

And if it makes you feel any better, I don't particularly like my story either.

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2626

>>2625

Yes, I essentially started from scratch, so no, I did not just copy-paste this from an older work. It was just an inspiration.

I took the original idea and reworked it with Berry in mind as our protagonist in a strange and soon to be frightening place. Things just sort of started clicking after that.

The "version" I had before was about three paragraphs of Chrysalis, Discord, and Nightmare Moon bickering in the Broken Promise, where Chrysalis was being kind of a jerk about the fact she could come and go whenever she wanted. I didn't even have a name for the place yet, just a setting of an empty bar.

But it wasn't a story yet; I didn't know how to get it moving anywhere off such a very rough looking beginning, and so the idea just sort of sat around until I could figure out how to better use it. So while the original was focused exclusively on the villains, this one is focused a more on Berry, with her serving as our eyes and ears into the world that is the Broken Promise. She serves as the catalyst for bringing us to the bar and watching some of the interactions.
This post was edited by its author on .

2629

>>2611

I must be a mental masochist, or something, because I liked your honest opinion. I tried to put in hints about who the guards were, and I'll try harder when I revise it. Thanks for your review!

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2631

>>2626
Sorry; just checking.

>>2629
Sorry I was rather harsh. I think this is just a case of execution muddling up a decent idea.

2632

>>2631
I don't really mind. I'm thinking about making some major changes to the story, anyways, and clarifying that is one of them.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2633

>>2522
>I do not think it was the one you were looking for, though
Okay. Apparently prevaricate does not mean what I think it does. I meant beating around the bush, being wishy-washy, that sort of thing. I don't think I have a single word for that, though.

>Word of Faust has said there is no alcohol in Equestria

I try to follow WoF as much as I can, but I don't recall this one. Of course, I can hardly be blamed for using what's in the picture (and also it would completely negate the entirety of Berry Punch's fandom oeuvre).

>Berry’s introduction felt a little ham-fisted in

I say! I dare you to find one thing in this story that is not ham-fisted!

>I do question why Rarity, who’s obviously worried about Spike, would stay in the store that long watching the carton play out, though.

Is that actually what she was doing? Maybe this story isn't as not-straightforward as I originally anticipated.

Thank you for the comments and the vote of confidence!
This post was edited by its author on .

Artist of F7U12 2636

I could not draw a world in which alcohol did not exist. I reject Faust's reality and substitute my own. My Equestria will have ponies, blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the ponies…

2638

>>2633
"Digression" might have been the word you were looking for.
>Digression: A message that departs from the main subject

Salt is the canon replacement for alcohol. I tend to use virgin margaritas with salted rims.

Point taken.

Well, the opening puts her in "broad daylight", and the ending the next day over. She's obviously worried about Spike, so I don't see why she would watch him freeze over on a magical milk carton.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2644

>>2638
Actually, the word I was looking for was "vacillation". This bothered me all night.

And yet, when I look at the section of story, it should really just be "hesitation".
This post was edited by its author on .

Axis of Rotation 2652

Welcome to the day of doom, everypony: hope you make it through. Good luck!

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2658

>>2652

It is December the twenty second here in Maine.

But the moosepocalypse has already begun…

Axis of Rotation 2662

>>2658
My God…

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2668

Made it through the end of the world. Not for any lack of trying. Girlfriend's mad at me. Liver's mad at me.

I regret nothing. She's a vegan for fuck's sake.

Gonna sleep now. Gnight.

E.D. "Garnot" C]-[H 2669

>>2668
Survived the 'end' as well. Glad to be here folks.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 2678

>>2669

Hangover's gone, but ex-ball-and-chain is still mad at me. She's also still a vegan, so that's fine.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 2682

>>2530
finishing up my reviews

Lavender
I honestly don't know what to say about this one. My thoughts on it are mostly neutral. There weren't any real slip-ups, but I never found the story really engaging either. I didn't really care about Spike's turmoil. I feel like that's probably more opinion, though.

Eh, I'll just say, "Okay."


There's Always Someone
Needed more time with the other dragon. I liked her. I liked everything about that conversation. The introduction was bland and boring, though the bit with Twilight wasn't bad. Pretty smooth transitions from intro, to memories, to the chase, to the conversation. The message was a bit generic, but eh, you made it feel good, so I suppose that's fine.


First and Last
Oooohhh, creepy. Chilly. About sent shivers up my spine.

I read through it a couple times, and honestly couldn't find much wrong outside of nit-picks. Very nice story… but I would have liked to see a theme of some sort in it. I dunno, it just seems like it's got every component a good story needs except some palpable lesson to take away.


I remember last write-off I was really able to tear some stories apart. This year, the worst offenders are simply boring. That, or I got a decent batch to vote on.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of That Invincible Flame 2684

>>2522
Wow, you didn't hate it? That's a win for me.

Honestly, I felt like my biggest trouble while writing it was trying to get the story to support the conclusion. I got caught up with things like making Twilight believable, writing a Pinkie that I liked, getting all of the necessary scenes in (the party and the letter-sending scene were painful) and showing enough Spike so that the ending had force. I just didn't have the time or focus to keep my thoughtlines straight and I know the ending suffered for it.

Author of "Nothing Wrong" 2686

File: 1356229390034.png (59.52 KB, 1086x974, 132624584187.png)

Agh, I just wanna quit writing altogether…

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2688

>>2682

Well, this is odd.

If anything, I'm learning that while the story seems bland and rushed, it would seem I struck something with Amaryllis and her daughter. Maybe not gold, no, but at least… something.

I shall apparently need to think about these two a bit more.

Interesting…

Courtyard Droll 2693

File: 1356244397356.gif (95.31 KB, 650x450, Happy Umbrella Dance.gif)

>>2686
Cheer up there, buddy. Here: have a happy umbrella dance for your trouble.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2704

Surprisingly, I was able to finish reading everything else today, so here's the rest of my reviews.

Heart of Darkness
"Mistah Sparkle… He dead." It is, unfortunately, "faire" if you want to spell it old-timily. There are a lot of misspellings, actually. And misuse of thee/thou. Thou is subjective only, which is to say, Thou art, but I bid thee. Well, beyond that, this story moves too fast and presents Sombra as nothing but a mockery of himself. I mean, it's hilarious that you give him one-word dialogue lines, approaching echolalia at one point, but this isn't supposed to be a hilarious story. It lacks characterization and motivation and thus is quite shallow. And you didn't even finish writing it. That's unfortunate.


Dear Sister
I do get very tired of stories that describe ponies we already know, and this one going to great lengths to do so is tiresome. Celestia actually naming the town Canterlot as a pun? Do not want. The first idea that really catches my attention is that Discord ruled in the Everfree Keep, and how it stands as a symbol of that rule. I'm beginning to think that the italics were a poor choice, as large stretches are italic and my eyes are beginning to cross. And given that the non-italicized portion was from Celestia's perspective, these aren't even her memories. The interaction between Luna and Discord is well played, though. Keystone's accent is the very definition of 'overwrought', yet you demonstrate how such a thing can be used to good effect. Truth be told, while the journey of Luna into darkness is unique from what I've personally seen, it moves rather quickly and I find the present-day portions of the story a little more interesting, like Celestia's assertion that she will "do the same". THAT said, I'm rather disappointed that the Nightmare was an outside influence that Luna just unknowingly let into her body. This story reads as a long collection of headcanon, of which I find around half the ideas interesting. I'm not sure what I can really say or suggest, but the introduction and building is overlong, with little happening, and things don't really pick up until the end, when Celestia enters the Everfree. (And Nightmare Moon's dialogue is REALLY GOOD.) There's a really good story in here, but the intensity of the climax scene really needs to be carried through the whole thing.


Spikes and Stones
This is brilliant. It captured my attention immediately and never let it go for a moment. The back and forth between Spike's reality and his fantasy (or is it his future? hard to say) is paced perfectly well, and the thing about the dragon's beard got a well-timed laugh at the end. An absolute joy of a story.


First and Last
Argh, paragraphs. Fluttershy has "animal instincts"? I don't think that's what you meant to say. There are some other odd turns of phrase in here too, like "which could only mean anything". I kind of and kind of do not see what you were going for here. The epistolary format works well for this idea, but overall, it isn't pulled off well. Something is definitely missing, I'm not sure what.


Lavender
This needs a lot of proofreading. Not just for typos, but things like his having put on a couple inches being repeated. Also, I find TwiSpike really hard to believe, since she's more like family to him than anything. Not to mention, y'know, canon crush on Rarity. At least you deal with the second part; and the idea of him transferring his affections to someone else is good, too. The repetition of the opening doesn't seem very useful. "He was dead." Author, if you renege on this promise, I will be very cross with you.

I am very cross with you.


Winona
I generally get irritated by phonetic vernacular narration (and I'm pretty sure I called someone else out for just that in this contest already), but it feels less egregious here given the precise word choices used. So it's more like Applejack telling the story to someone rather than sounding like that in her head. Okay, great ending to that first scene, but the last line has me confounded. "Nyxscape"? I'll suggest removing the POV headings in later drafts; the narrative voices are clear enough that a reader should be able to figure out who's speaking at any given moment. I love Dinkins. You got a severe guffaw out of me on account of trees hating being treated like they have feelings. I cringe a bit at the name "Faustus"; I think the message would get through without the name, honestly. Twilight using RCV is cool. And you hit me right in the feels at the end. This is a great story, well told, and the perspectives used to tell it are well chosen.


Nothing Wrong
Too many "no"s and "very"s. This is a little simplistic for the kind of story you're trying to tell. I'm disappointed, for one, that the fire is the only thing that goes wrong. You could really ramp up the comedic value with a lot more Derpy shenanigans. This isn't bad, but it does feel lacking.


Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles
That first sentence… WHO TALKS LIKE THIS? I hardly think Berry Punch qualifies for prose this impenetrable. Worse, there are still mechanics issues, like an entire accidental though, that mar the piece and reduce the impact of all that big fancy-talk. There are spots in here where flashes of good characterization and clever turns of phrase shine through, like her thoughts about Big Macintosh, but the opening is so unfocused, up to the part where she sees Twilight, that it leaves this bizarre mound looming distractingly over the rest of what could be a very nice character study. I mean, the dialogue with Derpy is just great. It certainly doesn't feel unfinished, if only because the ending could work given the right setup during the rest of the story. But yes, focus on whatever the story is here, clean up that purple goddamn prose at the beginning, and maybe cut a huge chunk out so you can actually finish it. I am most definitely not downvoting for the lack of being finished.


Succubus
The name "McMuffins" completely breaks my immersion. The tone is very poor, does not fit with the show, and does not fit with Celestia's characterization. I just don't believe this story in the least.


Tummy Aches
"You need to be gentle when caring for a child." Yes, because caring for a baby is precisely what a little filly needs to be doing on top of studying magic! (Not a criticism levelled against this story.) What I do actually find unbelievable is the amount of difficulty Twilight's having using basic telekinesis. And the fact that Twilight's mother cannot spell her own child's name. (I also have a hard time believing that Twilight's spelling in general was that bad at that age.) And thus Twilight learned that children are horrible and cruel animals. Well, this needs proofreading, and maybe something else. The plot was pretty decent, but nothing really unexpected, and the impact of the final scene was more or less lost on me.


Top five:
Spikes and Stones
Winona
Welcome to the Broken Promise
The Life and Times of an Honest Pony
Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles

Heart of Darkness 2709

>>2566
>>2704
Using Sombra put me in an unfortunate position of deciding between keeping his canon characterisation (i.e., none) or making him a little more interesting. I actually had (have) a ~300 word speech of sorts where he's berating Luna in a way that's meant to "push her over the edge". But the words don't make any sense coming out of Sombra's mouth, so I sort of ditched it. In hindsight perhaps making him a little more coherent would be possible, assuming his 1,000 year exile is what makes him a complete one-dimensional toolshed.

The story of course, as you both say, is more than disappointing. The clock pretty much fucked me over on this one. There needs to be way more proper build up, which is what I was trying to practise going into this. I knew it'd be mostly action scenes more than anything (which I'm kind of shit at, hence the practise). The lack of the pivotal central scene really kills any sort of tension that might have been there otherwise. For that, I can only apologise.

That said,
>misuse of thee/thou
I double checked every usage of these and can assure you with absolute confidence that they are correctly used in every case. If you're going to call out me out for misspellings, I'd appreciate some actual examples. God knows that's the one thing I can actually get right.

2712

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>>2709
"Thee before thou except after thy."

Author of "Succubus" 2717

>>2704

I'm honestly surprised that believability is at a premium in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan-fiction. Though I can understand how a poorly-conceived tone can be off-putting. This is, I suppose, what happens when I attempt to inject humor into my writing.

Though, honestly, I'm taken aback that not having a similar tone as the show is a requiem for enjoyment. I can understand the sentiment, sure, but there are so many genres from which to choose, it would be a crime not to take advantage of at least a few of them outside the scope of the show's vanilla tone. I'm not saying mine does this well, just that it can be done.

Otherwise, there's the matter of Celestia's characterization, and methinks that a millennium would provide ample time for some character development.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2729

>>2709
>I double checked every usage of these and can assure you with absolute confidence that they are correctly used in every case. If you're going to call out me out for misspellings, I'd appreciate some actual examples.

I will actually do this, both because I feel like I was getting pretty vague in my reviews there and also because I have some sympathy for clock screwing spoilers: I actually have no sympathy at all.

>Sombra wretched.
retched

>“The fare.”

As I said, fair or 'faire' if you want to be ye olde-timey. This is a big issue because you use the word constantly.

>Los Peagsus

You get a slight bye on this one, as I've come to realize the name could be a pun on Los Angeles rather than Las Vegas as I originally assumed, but either way it's still Pegasus.

>Was there not one pony out to lavish in the night?

lavish (v): to expend or give in great amounts or without limit, as in to lavish gifts
I think you mean "revel".

You know, I found the line that I called out for the thee/thou, and I actually think I just misread it. The actual error is that it should be "We demand thou showest thyself!" So I take that one back.

That appears to be it, but there you go.

Author of "Winona" 2730

>>2704
>I generally get irritated by phonetic vernacular narration (and I'm pretty sure I called someone else out for just that in this contest >already), but it feels less egregious here given the precise word choices used. So it's more like Applejack telling the story to someone
>rather than sounding like that in her head.

This is probably my proudest achievement in this story. I *agonized* over every clipped gerund; I only removed a "g" if I thought it was absolutely necessary to capture her voice.


>"Nyxscape"?


Morpheus, whose name was too distractingly The Matrix to use for anything, was the offspring of Erebus and Nyx. I love jargon (probably the #1 draw of fandom for me is they way they generate their own impenetrable languages almost overnight); "erebal plane":dreamscape::walker:zombie. "Nyxscape" is the dreamscape between dreamscapes, the void she must cross between dreams. I have to admit "Nyxscape" and "erebal plane" sounded way cooler when I was drunkenly flipping through wikipedia.


>I'll suggest removing the POV headings in later drafts; the narrative voices are clear enough that a reader should be able to figure out >who's speaking at any given moment.


Getting that a lot. It started as an "As Spike Lay Dying" Faulkner rip-off with a lot more voices; when I stripped it down to two voices for simplicity, I should have stripped out the headers as well…



>I love Dinkins. You got a severe guffaw out of me on account of trees hating being treated like they have feelings.


I dunno why Dinkins and Rudy crack me up so much, but I'm glad someone else sees what I did there. Bloomberg was just this delightfully weird gag in Over a Barrel that otherwise saves a lackluster episode. The trees thing is a paraphrase of a favorite line of mine in the woodworking world: "Don't anthropomorphize your tools; they hate that." Figuring out how a pony would say "anthropomorphize" gave me fits.



>I cringe a bit at the name "Faustus"


Aww. I like that one. Stole it from Prancypants' Flight of the Alicorn novel, I think. Having said that, the Litany of Names ran long, and I wouldn't mind clipping that one out in a future edit.
This post was edited by its author on .

2732

>>2729
>Was there not one pony out to lavish in the night?
>lavish (v): to expend or give in great amounts or without limit, as in to lavish gifts
>I think you mean "revel".

I think he means "ravish".
>Force (someone) to have sex against their will
I actually haven't read the story and have no context, but the words are similar.

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2737

>>2704
Aha! Finally some more opinions on me fic - for a moment there I was feeling left out.

Well, it was certainly a new experience for me, in terms of how it was written and the type of story it was. So no surprise it doesn't please all the way. In fact, I thought it would be boring to everyone.

>That first sentence…WHO TALKS LIKE THIS? I hardly think Berry Punch qualifies for prose this impenetrable


Ha, you mean the second sentence, right? The first isn't bad at all, and it's sarcastic, to boot. Also, that's one of the benefits of writing about Berry - we don't know what she qualifies for. Simply being an alcoholic doesn't cut you off from an ability to write "complicated" prose. And besides, you know that how you talk and how you write can be too different things.

Now that first chunk of the story was a toughy, because I was trying to illustrate how bleak, lonely and boring Berry's life is at the moment, without directly stating it. Things like how she genderizes objects in her home, knows where echoes do and don't occur, the fact that echoes even do occur, her eating radishes (yuk), how she compares her sofa to a stallion holding her, are all meant to show this. I was really trying to convey a sense of "no life" with the writing and how it came across to the reader. Whether I succeeded or failed, *shrugs* I've no clue. Sounds like you're in the latter department, ha.

I was unsure about that big ol' description of Ponyville at night, too; wasn't quite sure if it detracted from the story, was too long, or boring, etc; but I decided to keep it anyway.

You're the second person to say it didn't feel unfinished at the end, which is pretty surprising to me, but I guess it's because of the fact there doesn't seem to be a distinct point to the story (though there was and is). In any event, I'm not complaining.

Finally, I'll have to look up exactly what "purple prose" is - I've heard it before, and it's entirely possible my fic needs to have some of it trimmed…or a lot, ha.

And yeah, that screw up with the italics drove me nuts when I discovered it. Ah well, could've been worse.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write up your thoughts man, I appreciate it.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2753

>>2730
>I have to admit "Nyxscape" and "erebal plane" sounded way cooler when I was drunkenly flipping through wikipedia.
Hah! I kind of figured that was what you were going for. I hate to bring this up as an objection because then they win, but we do already have Nyx as a thing in the fandom, and this will doubtless conjure that image to readers. I'd say just keep that in mind when you revise.

>It started as an "As Spike Lay Dying" Faulkner rip-off with a lot more voices; when I stripped it down to two voices for simplicity, I should have stripped out the headers as well…

For multiple speakers, yes, it would have been a better idea. If you had someone like Twilight or Rainbow Dash, or even Spike speaking, who lack the immediately identifiable vocal patternings, those would have been useful as a shortcut.

>The trees thing is a paraphrase of a favorite line of mine in the woodworking world: "Don't anthropomorphize your tools; they hate that." Figuring out how a pony would say "anthropomorphize" gave me fits.

It works so well because, for them to not like it, they would have to have feelings in the first place.

>>I cringe a bit at the name "Faustus"

>Aww. I like that one. Stole it from Prancypants' Flight of the Alicorn novel, I think. Having said that, the Litany of Names ran long, and I wouldn't mind clipping that one out in a future edit.
All I recommend is taking the name out. If you go with the "All Mother" deal that you also had going on at the same time, a reader will likely get the idea of "Oh man, he means Faust alicorn!" I'm just highly highly averse to mentioning real people in fanfiction.


>>2732
If that were the intention, it would be pretty hilarious.

>>2737
Thinking back on it, I did start getting that feeling of "She's lonely" around the time of the couch thing. It may be too subtle, but that could also be a condemnation of your reader (me). I actually do like subtle. The problem is less that you're showing she's lonely than you're showing that she's bored, because reading about someone being bored is almost always boring.

Author of "Winona" 2757

>>2753
>Nyx already there.
So there is, and going by Google has a lot of fan work around her. Will have to keep that in mind for subsequent edits. I note they also decided to skip a generation instead going the Morpheus/Morphine route. Damn you, Wachowskis, for ruining a perfectly good mythological name…

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2760

>>2753
Yeah, that's a very fair point. And having gone back and reread that section, I do think it's too subtle in places, and could use some condensing. I know what I want to get across - that her life at the moment is boring and aimless and lonely, especially since it's the holiday season - but I don't want to sacrifice the reader's interest in trying to convey that, or clarity. And I think things need to be better connected, so that they don't come across as a series of random, boring events (like the house description, the sofa, the eating radishes, the talk about ships in bottles), but rather as a more complete statement about Berry's life.

And having read up on purple prose, yes, I think there are cases of that, though it didn't seem rampant to me. If you've got any examples that were particularly glaring, I'd appreciate it if you could point them out.

And anyone else who wants to toss their two cents in is very welcome to do so!

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2784

Merry Christmas all!

Ion-Sturm 2785

File: 1356507631785.gif (Spoiler Image,1.67 MB, 300x164, SOrGm.gif)

>>2753
>>2760
I disagree and say that Berry being bored (one free alliteration, coming right up!) was hinted at quite sufficiently. I would like to further state that a bored character does not mean a bored reader; it certainly wasn't in my case.

I had no problems with purple prose; it's a stream-of-consciousness, so any excessive description can be written off as just being a narrator quirk, not that I found it to be particularly bad in any spots (granted, I have a higher-than-average tolerance for it).

Also, I edited my review into my collection post.
>>2522
Just in case you want to take a look at it.

>Gif (squick warning)

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

Author of Dear Sister 2786

>>2704

Hey, thanks for taking the time to read through all that.

I think I'll go ahead and take your advice on the italics for the final draft. I was agonizing over it myself, but by the time it was brought to question, I was almost out of editing time, and I doubted the odds of getting everything fixed before the deadline.

I'm not really too sure on what I can do about the slow pace, though.

The fact that apparently, on the one hand, Luna's descent moves too quickly, while the story as a whole moves too slow, kind of leaves me in a major bind, since I'm left with what appears to be two contradictory faults.

That said, I wasn't expecting to stamp out perfection. I guess you could say this is me going to the opposite extreme, as my last fic entry here got some criticism for being far too short and lacking buildup.

Anyways, enough rambling. Thanks again.

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2787

>>2785
>>2522
Thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts about it, and I'm glad to hear you didn't find it too boring. To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure about it, but were I to change anything, it wouldn't be much.

>Would anyone be able to give me a reason why putting a comma in there is or isn’t necessary?


I'm afraid not. I am by no means a good authority on the intricacies of grammar, one reason I'm sure it tended to bother you while reading. Often I place commas according to how it best makes the sentence flow in my head or when I say it—or how I want it to be read. Not the best method, I'm sure.

>Had some troubles with the BBCode, did we?


Haha—yes! The other was in the beginning, with the saddle bags. It was accidental, and boy was it annoying.

>I knew how unexpected relationships could happen. I knew.


Well, I really hate to disappoint, but this was another reference to her "relationship" with alcohol, hinting that it was something she never expected to occur or go so far. I was trying make a connection with the earlier line about knowing how things could slip into bottles (another reference to her alcoholism), which also used the phrase "I knew" in the same manner. It was a poor attempt, and I was worried it would come across too vague. I hate to have gotten your hopes up there, but now that you mention it, it is something I could do…

And heck to the yeah I plan on finishing—I've been working on it the whole time.

Once again, thanks for the review. My grammar especially needs it.

Ion-Sturm 2791

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Finished all of my reviews and casted my vote. My review post can be found here:
>>2522
Now to just wait a little less than two-and-a-half hours to see how my entry did. Good luck to the rest of the contestants.

Axis of Rotation 2794

Congrats to everyone who made it to the next round—and good job too for those of us that didn't make it, because every fic I read showcased a lot of hard work. If you didn't quite make it, no biggie—you'll just make it in next time, right? Of course you will. I myself am learning lots every contest, and I'm sure everyone else is as well.

Feedback Heart of Darkness 2795

Is feedback mandatory for participants? I thought it was, though I guess it's just the voting that's required. I guess everyone's busy with Christmas stuff.

Anyway, here's my (late) feedback:

A Sister's Gift
Don't start your story with the definite article. No things have been established to be "the". Who is "the white mare"? The first appearance of things with generic descriptors should be introduced with "a".

I could feel this being rather rushed by the end, no doubt because of the time limit. In any case, Nightmare Moon's spiel at the end seemed a bit… well, odd. I guess that comes with the territory, though. Her motives aren't exactly rational. That said, I think her mind is more in a "if they won't love me, I'll force them to love me" kind of psychosis, rather than "if they won't love me, I'll kill them".

The alternating narrative between the talking heads and Celestia chilling with homeless people worked well. The latter was a good device to show the destitute world Nightmare Moon had wrought. The pacing was well done, and I think if you pad up the last part to maintain that good pace (forsaken for the timer) you could have a nice story here.


There's Always Someone
Nice take on the whole Spike-being-a-dragon thing. It fortunately avoids the ungodly brooding that a lot of these stories seem to be plagued by. I feel like you could take this a step further and have him live with some dragons for a little while, only to later find he doesn't belong. I guess that ground was covered a little in the show, but there are a lot of angles it didn't cover.

I couldn't help but read the elder dragon's voice in some contrastingly high, cute voice. I mean, it's a dragon. She should be roaring in a voice that commands attention, but there wasn't any indication in the narrative of such booming. Maybe it's not necessary, but that's just a thing I noticed.


Welcome to the Broken Promise
I can't say I really got into the narration here. I found myself getting distracted very easily while reading. Whether that was me or you I can't quite say, though I guess the delirium of it all is intentional, so I can't call foul there.

I don't really get the whole expo-dump at the end there, and overall the premise of the situation is just far too wacky — not really for me. I like simple stuff.


Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles
I really liked the narrative voice here. You made the whole thing pleasant to read. Unfortunate about running out of time, though. I hope you keep this going and get a story to complement your character.


That Invincible Flame
I couldn't really get into this. The actual situation they're in is never grounded and explained clearly for me to ever be able to come to grips with what the actual conflict is. Have they moved out of Ponyville, or is this lamenting about how Twilight misses Canterlot? So this takes place soon after the season premier? Some temporal indicator to give a grounded setting would've done wonders.

A little bit because of the above, but also just in general, I couldn't feel like much interesting was happening here. Everything happens off screen, or in the past (i.e., is told in past perfect). Nothing immediately grabs my attention and makes me wonder how the scene will play out. I mean, I can't even really remember what the plot of the story was.


Lavender
Eh. Unrequited mutual love is pretty boring. Unless you do something to shake it up — which you didn't — we've seen it all before. Not to mention I can't see Twilight and Spike's relationship ever changing from a brother/sister or mother/son deal without something life-changing happening to them. The "Spike goes out into the snow" thing felt very rushed, and I couldn't tell if was supposed to be metaphorical or literal. Surely he can't have just walked out that far into a blizzard that quickly? Then if he did and it crippled him so, how in Equestria does he escape? "The power of love"?


All in all, not a bad show though I'd be lying to say these didn't make me feel a little better about my own entry.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "The Sun in Flight" 2796

>>2522
>Dash’s reluctance seems out of place, considering how much she loves to bask in the limelight, especially after Sleepless in Ponyville’s events.
And consider when she doesn't, like when she's put on the spot in "Sonic Rainboom."

>Spike can light fires without sending things, unless you mean to imply he sent several dozen heavy logs to fall on Celestia’s head during Apple Family Reunion.

Um… he's joking. Let's also compare that air date to the writing dates for this contest…

>How does the tail help?

Tails are generally there to aid in balance. It'd be able to help keep her moving straight.

>That’s impossibly fast, even for Rainbow Dash

If she can clear a sky in 10 seconds, surely she can fly 100 feet or so in less than 1 second.

>Not the word you were looking for, methinks.

Don't see why not. Her flank still has no mark.

>You seem to have forgotten Twilight’s cloudwalking spell.

You seem to have forgotten she's not there.

>You really need to designate personal thoughts.

Not in limited narration, you don't. In fact, it's commonly considered a bad idea to do so.

>nothing really caught my imagination in terms of plot development


And let me tie in a previous "review" I'd already responded to.
>>2611
>but nothing is really happening

Again, this is a character piece. Action, or a lack of it (which I'd dispute in this case anyway), is not a requirement. Certainly, that type of story isn't for everyone, and no reader can be faulted for his personal opinion. But I'm dismayed to see that cited as a stand-alone reason. It's a valid and common enough method for storytelling. Take it to the extreme: a story where a single character sits there and philosophizes while staring at the sky. Nothing "happens," but you can still learn a lot about the character. Some people will find the story boring because they simply don't enjoy the type, particularly if they don't pick up enough of the clues to figure out what's going on with the character (and in my case, I've gotten mixed feedback that the clues were too subtle or too heavy-handed). But to dismiss it out-of-hand is no more valid than if I inform an author of an HiE fic that his problem is that he has a human character.

None of this feedback was actionable. Save a few minor things which I've already replied to, there are just a few quick-hit opinions with no examples or suggestions. Is this to justify your rankings? Irrelevant. Is it to help me? It doesn't. I don't see what purpose it serves.
This post was edited by its author on .

Ion-Sturm 2799

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>>2796
There's a cheering crowd of spectators numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands. Not only that, she's performing after an embarrassing string of failures from her attempts at performing another sonic rainboom, was just (literally) overshadowed by Rarity, and had been jeered at by her old peers. In this, Rainbow Dash has a fan who she's always willing to show off too, even taking Scootaloo's fanatical idolization—in the form of a fan club where everyone wears a copy of her mane—in stride, and she chokes up worse than a gas tank filled with salt.

Spike has fired up plenty of other things before, too. For example, Celestia didn't get the pages from the astrology book he incinerated, I imagine, since she would have doubtless sent them back. In regards to him "joking", it is not played as such on his end; he sounds perfectly serious.

A horse's tail is not for balance. I believe their main use is to swat flies on their hide. Scootaloo also has a perfectly good pair of wings; able to fly or not, they'd be far better at air control.

You're forgetting that the clouds weren't moving and were all fairly close together (from what could be seen on camera). Ten seconds would also allow her to build up speed and momentum. With your one second, she's rapidly accelerating from a dead stop, after her reaction time delay passes, takes the time to gather some cloud, and during all of this Scootaloo is already flying through the air at a decent click with what I can only assume to be is a low-angle trajectory.

Scootaloo's flank isn't empty; it's bare, unblemished, devoid of magical tattoo. Empty would be her stomach, or her mouth, or her bowels.

I don't know where you heard that, but I can say from my perspective that it only lends to confusion in the form of viewpoint and tense shift in the middle of a paragraph.

Plot development does not mean "action", it is a catch-all (to me, at least) for any sort progress in understanding the characters, setting or mythos. The way you developed the relationship between Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo felt ham-fisted and went against canon in several ways. It was also, as I noted, boring. The exposition was boring, the dialogue boring, the story boring. Nothing stood out. Green Bottles was a good form of character development, yours was a misguided attempt to elicit feels. You can have all the profound navel-gazing you want, I won't read it if you can't offer it in an entertaining fashion, and this story was not profound.

Author of Dear Sister 2800

Whelp, already surpassed MY expectations for my results. Great job to everyone who made it to the finals, some real top-notch stuff in this go-around.

And thanks to everyone who didn't make it, too. There was some real good stuff in there, that just needed a little more panning out. I'm excited to see what it'll look like in its final form.

Le Honest Pone 2801

File: 1356605929102.jpg (15.87 KB, 285x400, 186220 - artist maxtaka like_a…)

Results: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/12-My-First-New-Years-Alone/fic/vote/public

Yay top ten! I don't think it'd be good of me to vote, but I can give the rest a read all the same.

2802

>>2801
No, you should vote. You can't rate your own story, if that's what you're worried about.

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2804

Phew, made it in by the skin of my teeth. Well, I might as well post my thoughts on the six I had to read.

I just want to say first that I don't really consider these entries a true showcase of someone's skill—kinda in the same way I don't consider a timed essay a true telling of someone's ability to write good essays. Doesn't mean you can't show great skill, but to me it also means that just because I didn't think a fic was that great, doesn't mean the author couldn't have written a really good one with more time to think, and work out the kinks.

Also, these aren't reviews - rather, they're just a few thoughts I had for each one I read.

Succubus:

Didn't actually know what a succubus was, until I googled it, and it helped me to get the story a little more. The idea of Luna filling that role is interesting, and I personally think you should focus more on her - there's good potential there for luna doing things she shouldn't in other's dreams (it doesn't have to be sexual), and how Celestia handles that. A story that focused more on that, as opposed to some random pony who goes crazy because of it, would be far more interesting, I think. As it is, I thought the flashback was handled very well—you said what you needed to say without blatantly stating it. I also like the idea of the dream cloak. It does seem harsh though for Celestia to hang him for what occurred in the dream. Also, as far as the tone, it doesn't at all have to match that of the show, and most fics don't. It just has to match the story you're trying to tell. Overall not bad :D


Nothing Wrong:

A nice simple and lighthearted story about Derpy being Derpy. Not much I can think to say about it, other than I enjoyed it. I think a good idea rests in there, about Carrot Top not inviting Derpy to parties because she's embarrassed about her (though that's not the reason here). Also, I don't want to know what Berry Punch's story was about, ha. Overall good job.


Winona:

HE LIVES!! Ha, nicely done! Very enjoyable, in a getting-your-heart-nearly-ripped-out-but-then-put-back-nicely kind of way. Glad for the happy ending of course, and I thought you handled both luna and apple jack's perspectives well. I liked how the dream progressively grew colder, and then sort of locked up (I originally thought luna would have to watch spike pass away in the dream); I thought it was interesting that luna got trapped too. Well done.


Spikes and Stones:

An interesting take on the spike pic—I liked it. It almost started a bit too suddenly for me, so things were a bit confusing at first, but I was able to get a grasp on it. I liked the flipping back and forth between past and present, though I knew it was the past (before we're told it) because of comments I had read, so I'm not sure how quickly I would have picked up on it otherwise. I like the idea of spike earning his wings, since I prefer to imagine a grown spike with wings (screw canon!). I'm also glad you tossed in the letter to twilight—ending without making any real mention of her would have been a shame. Good job.


The Lamentation Chain:

Ha, well, you taught me a new word - prevaricating. Never seen that one before. Velour, too. This one grew on me, and I ended up liking it a lot. I thought you had nice transitions to each character, and you broke up the pattern a little at the end when you returned back to Velvet, which I liked. I thought myself about using all five pics…for two seconds. My favorite was easily Velvet, since she's a character I rarely see receive any sort of focus in fics. The one who had the least amount of attention was Berry, but that didn't bother me. Overall, well written and well paced - good job!

The only thing I would suggest changing would be to put Spike's thoughts in italics; it works best for distinguishing thought from the rest of the story (IMO), and typically lets the reader know immediately.

>You raised them from birth, taught them everything you knew, and then hoped that they wouldn't need you anymore


I felt like commenting on this line. I'm no parent, and I obviously have no clue about you. But from talking with my own parents about this (and hearing about others), I would actually say that while a parent may say that, many, if not most, get enjoyment out of their children needing them. Not that they don't want them to be independent, but more so that there's a special sense of purpose and value that comes from a child needing you and looking to you as a source for many things, which makes it rather difficult when your son/daughter start acting like they don't need you anymore. I may be wrong, and it's nothing against your fic, of course - that line just stood out to me, and I wanted to mention my thoughts about it.



Dear Sister:

not sure if others found fault in your opening, where you describe Celestia and Luna, but I had no problems with it, and enjoyed that part. And really, describing how a character looks is something many fics do; it's hard to resist. I think the only line you should get rid of is "She was Celestia's younger sister." It just passes a bit too much into 'yeah we already know that' territory, and at least for me, made me realize that I actually already knew everything you had told us about the luna and Celestia up to that point. So getting rid of it might prevent that from happening. Other than that, I definitely liked your descriptions of the sisters - particularly luna.

Good job on the rest of the story too—how you managed to write so much in so little time is beyond me, haha. Anyway, this was a new spin on the Nightmare Moon origin story, and I liked it. I think I enjoyed the parts with Celestia in the present the most, simply because I love Celestia, and also because I didn't know what would happen, as I obviously did with the flashbacks (though I didn't know the specifics). Overall very good job.


Overall lots of great effort all around :D

2806

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>>2804
>Phew, made it in by the skin of my teeth
I'm pretty sure the list order is determined by when the story was submitted, not placement in the previous voting round. To have it as such could influence ratings since some readers may view the story as being lacklustre due to its position before they even read it.

2809

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>>2804
>Overall not bad

My life is complete. :D

I'll work on making the tone less… wrong.

Oh, and about that ending… it was just what came to me. I… ya, maybe it needs to be changed too. Not quite sure what I was thinking.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Winona" 2812

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>>2804
Regarding Luna being trapped in the dream:

In my head, Spike's living body would die and and his dream form would continue to exist, leeching off of Luna's life force or some other such dream world technobabble. Luna, being an all-but-immortal Alicorn, her living body would likely drift into a coma while her erebal projection was trapped within Spike's Eternal Dream (tm).

In the in-my-head draft, they had more time for Spike to prevaricate over whether to go back while he was still alive or just let the dream world stay forever, a world he could set up just the way he wanted, with Luna who would be just as eternal as him.

And Luna, still working through her issues from being trapped alone on the moon for a thousand years just for daring to express her agony at always being separated from the waking ponies, is almost tempted to let him have his way and have a friend of sorts.

They would flex their "control over the dreamscape" muscles a bit and create a few things like tables and chairs and a board game to pass the time while he mulled it over. Make it a bit homey; maybe being not-alive isn't so bad…

But I couldn't figure out how to pull it off without Spike or Luna going all Twilight Zone "wish it into the cornfield" creepy; so instead they find the door closed when it's too late and the angst is much weaker.

Plus, timing was the hardest part of this. I could not for the life of me come up with a good way to fold all that conversation to line up with the events on Applejack's side of the story. I'm already kicking myself for putting the "Honest Applejack" line at the end of her second-to-last segment rather than the beginning of her last. I think it takes away some of the impact of Luna's last segment, but then again, I don't think AJ would be able to tell between magical CPR (which is what she sees at the end of her penultimate segment) and Spike breathing on his own.

For pacing, I'm thinking of maybe stretching out into an extra Applejack bit. Bring back the blanket bit I discussed earlier, maybe do a little rollercoaster of "Twilight finds a weak pulse, wraps him in blanket, and that pulse is gone just in time for Luna to notice the dream is going permanent".

If I can figure out how to fix the pacing and get a convincing Spike-doesn't-want-to-leave-and-Luna's-on-the-fence into a future edit, I think I'd have EQD submission material. Anybody who wants to kick in how they would tweak the pacing and timing of reveals, I am more than willing to listen.


The comic book geek in me is waiting with breath abated for more Luna eps now. They just established that she has a superpower, but we don't know where the limits are yet. Other people's dreams have to be a dangerous place to have adventures…
This post was edited by its author on .

2814

>>2806
They're ordered by a random seed generated on submission.

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2815

>>2804
You'd best forget that definition of prevaricating, because it's wrong. See above discussion >>2522

As for the rest, I think I recently heard something about successful parenting meaning your children no longer need you and threw it in. It doesn't mean a parent shouldn't want to see their children, of course, but if they're independent, that points to successful parenting. It's also slightly tragic. I dunno if it's true or not; I'm not a parent.

REVIEWS!!!! 2817

>>2541
>>2535
>>2527
>>2526
>>2525
I've finished these 5 reviews. Don't know if I'll get to the rest or not. I'll try.

For now, I'll go ahead and post the two that have been cut, since it can't affect voting anymore.

Review of "Succubus" 2818

Succubus:

Mechanics/Details:
>The moon seemed particularly bright that dusk.
Seemed to whom? You haven't established a character yet. And if this ends up being omniscient narration, unless the narrator takes on a persona within the story, he shouldn't be giving impressions.

>It's full luminescent glow

Its

>eerie, blue tinge

These are hierarchical adjectives. You don't need a comma between them.

>Shadows seemed just a shade darker tonight.

Same issue as above with "seem."

>what had she done to cause things to go so wrong?

Okay, here's where you finally establish a point of view. By having the narrator speak for her, you're establishing a third-person limited narration with Celestia as the perspective character. So now I know about the "seeming" before, but it was ambiguous and confusing before you'd established your character. I'd hold those types of comments until it's clear whose thoughts they represent.

>watching the snakes of white breath meeting the cold wintry air

Technically, they're white because of the cold air. So they would have already met.

>brang

brought

>each night. She found herself flying farther from Canterlot each night.

Repetitive

>market place

One word.

>pawed

Odd word choice, considering she doesn't have a paw.

>Celestia thought herself a capable royal and knew the Elements and runes which sealed away her sister were not easily undone.

You've established a narrator that can speak for her. So don't have him summarize. Give me her impressions directly. "She was a capable royal…"

>My Little Pony

Why capitalize? You didn't earlier.

>The sun rose at her behest again the next morning.

This is the first time you mention her after a scene break, so the reader has to to back to the previous scene to find the antecedent for "her." Use her name.

>followed the pegasus down the area of the castle

Missing word.

>area of the castle which she preferred to leave forgotten

You're mentioning a specific area of the castle and narrowing down your subject. As such, use a restrictive clause (that) instead of a non-restrictive one (which). "Which" is used for providing additional side information, not increasing specificity.

>dish-water

One word, no hyphen.

>Palace grounds

You've already made multiple mentions of the castle (which is it?) without capitalizing.

>troop

Unclear whether you mean a single soldier or not. This word refers to multiple soldiers, but it would be an odd organizational unit to use in this instance. Squad or patrol might be more appropriate.

>Citizen

No reason to capitalize that.

>Quiet rage befitting a sun goddess alighted her eyes.

There are a lot of ways that could look. Describe it. And "alight" doesn't take a direct object.

>A sad expression

Now, that's blatantly telly. What about him makes him look sad? Describe his appearance and behavior that would lead the reader to conclude he's sad.

>McMuffins vs. the town of Fillydelphia

You normally see titles of court cases italicized when being cited. And capitalize "Town." Furthermore, how big do you envision Fillydelphia being? It it's equivalent to its namesake, it would be a city.

>chicken coups

I believe you mean "coops." Otherwise, those are some fearsome chickens.

>Two large stallions rung a gong.

rang

>Cutie Mark

Don't capitalize this term.

>smiled eagerly, barely containing a cheer.

Telly again. The action of her cheer already gives us the same sense of "eagerly" without being telly, so why include that word?

>nervous tick

tic

>loiter out

That's an oxymoronic phrase. If they're loitering, they're not moving out.

>twitched uncomfortably, averting his eyes and placing his tail between his legs

Telly again. Watch those -ly adverbs.

>Dear

Unless it's an official nickname, terms of endearment don't need to be capitalized.

>Unsure of her sisters intent

sister's

>in the way that you'd think

Don't address the reader.

>Celestia just looked at her sister, unsure of what to say.

Do something to let me picture the scene. There's nothing descriptive here.

>Celestia was unsure what to say to this.

Isolated demonstratives (this, that, these, those, …) are weak because they have vague antecedents that are often large chunks of text, and they are self-referential to the narration. Find an appropriate noun to place after it.

>No mare should be gallivanting around the sanctity of our deepest fantasies, thought Celestia.

You'd been presenting Celestia's thoughts as a limited narration. Why not continue to do so?

>"Why are you here?" she asked.

Same issue. You're using a "she" whose antecedent lies two scenes ago. Introduce a character in a scene before replacing her with a pronoun.

>Answer me or the next brand will be on your tongue!

Missing a comma between clauses. You have separate subject-verb pairs here.

>The earth gulped.

That's an odd personification, and it's over way too quickly for the type of importance you're trying to give this moment.

>and, every night, the nightmares came? And, each night, they hurt you? And, before you wake,

You don't need the commas directly after each "and."

>Don't— you— see—?

Don't place spaces around the dashes. And dashes indicate he's being cut off, but there's no indication of why that's happening. If you just want pauses, use ellipses. But if you mean he can't speak continuously because he's being dragged off, describe it.

>lune

I assume you mean loon or loony.

>She dawned the cloak, and beheld something,

donned. The first comma is unnecessary. You don't use one to separate two verbs of a single subject unless the first has enogh description attached to it that the reader will need help keeping it organized. The second comma should be a colon, since you're clarifying or defining "something."

>A wave of emotion emanated from the hunched form.

>
>Anger. Pure, untempered malice.
Blunt and telly. She can see him. How does she read that from him, aside from the raw feeling? And how does that emotion affect her? What does it make her do?

>Closerlands

I have no idea…

>began she

You'd been capitalizing "She" earlier. Pick one.

>My Liege

This is not normally something you'd capitalize. It's a descriptor, not a title.

>has been sentence

sentenced

>flinched with a kind of sickened anguish

Yes, but how does she look/act?

Characterization:
Not really much to say here, as there are only a few characters here. But Celestia and Luna both felt a bit off. Celestia mostly because of the few telly things that kept me from getting immersed in her point of view, and that we're not seeing much of an emotional range from her. She's pretty much sad, confused, and angry throughout the whole thing, which doesn't make for much contrast that would give us insight into her. And it sure sounded like she was going to interrogate the prisoner personally, but then she was gone…

Luna was awfully informal, bordering on ribald. Not really what I'd expect, given canon of her personality and recollections about life before her exile.

Plot:
I was left largely confused. We've got a number of disparate scenes that are also out of order chronologically. I could assemble the pieces into several viable arrangements that would have various implications about who the stallion, the old mare, and Luna are, and what their motivations are.

If you have a story where the time sequence is jumbled, but everything comes to a nice conclusion, then the plot sorts itself out. It wasn't too hard to unscramble things here, but it just layers on top of the confusion already present. I can't say unequivocally that it's something that would never work, but I can say that it wasn't effective for my experience.

Likewise, if you have an open-ended story, but that is told in a straightforward manner, it's easier to take stock of where you are and envision multiple endings or project a preferred one. But the more ambiguous you leave things, the harder it is to navigate. It's like a 3D maze game, where you're trying to remember all the turns you've already taken. So if I assume A is true, that implies B and C, but D could still go two ways…

That's really it. I've already dealt with the detailed plot issues in the above sections. What I mostly came away with is that it was pretty well written, but I just didn't get my head around exactly what I'd read. There's always a fine line between leaving things open to interpretation and beating the reader over the head with clues.

Review of "Nothing Wrong" 2819

Nothing Wrong:

Mechanics/Details:
>ok
It's preferred to spell this out as "okay."

>you know.” a goldenrod earth pony

Dialogue punctuation error. You need a comma here.

>She didn’t seem convinced.

Seem to whom? The narrator? A third-person narrator shouldn't be giving impressions unless it's a limited narrator, and even then only when it's clear in whose voice he's speaking.

>Only one of them happened to stare back, the other slowly drifted off to the side.

That's a comma splice. There are two complete sentences tacked together with a comma. You can change it to a semicolon or dash, though each has a fine shade of meaning that's implied, add a conjunction, or simply split it into two sentences.

>it is now…”

>
>“I get pie?” The pegasus interrupted, smiling weakly, hoping that as the answer.
This isn't punctuated like an interruption. Use an em dash, not an ellipsis. I can't tell whether you meant this to be a dialogue attribution. If so, it shouldn't be capitalized. And I think you mean "was" instead of "as."

>“…I’ll

A leading ellipsis requires that the character be completing an earlier thought or just being noticed by another character. Neither is happening here.

>Please try not to destroy anything while I’m gone, please?

Repetitive.

>Yes sir!

Missing a comma for direct address.

>out into the snow outside

Repetitive.

>on her way to her destination.

Cut this. It's a throwaway phrase that means nothing.

>now alone in the house, started humming off-key as she wandered around the empty household.

Redundant.

>She flopped onto the couch in deep thought.

This tells when it should show. It's better to communicate attitudes and emotions more subtly. Tell me how she acts, how she looks, and let me deduce from that how she feels. Is she rubbing her chin? Rolling her eyes upward? Little things like that paint a picture and engage the reader more.

>she hovered to the kitchen and opened the fridge door and scanned its contents

Instead of repeating "and," make this a comma-separated list.

>for…10 minutes at 300 degrees…So it would take 5 minutes at 600!

Unless it starts a sentence, leave a space after an ellipsis. Spell out numbers this short. And old joke is old.

>With the fire lit, she slid the container over the flame and left it there to heat up.

She's putting it on the burner? Then how does she know what temperature it is?

>to herself

Unnecessary. We already know she's alone.

>eyes shut in pride

Telly again. Describe how she looks and acts that would signify pride.

>11

Write it out.

>She placed her findings on the ground and examined it.

"It," being singular, must refer to the ground. I assume you meant "them."

>Hm…It's

Space after the ellipsis again. Just note that this will be an ongoing issue. I'm not going to mark any more.

>The mare put on the party hat in place of a thinking cap

I don't know what this is supposed to mean. She literally has a thinking cap? If you're being figurative, you immediately contradict yourself, since Derpy continues thinking.

>a goofy grin found her way

Surely you mean "its."

>an invisible light bulb went off

"On," yes?

>180

Write it out.

>gold pupils

Her pupils are black. Her irises are gold.

>She felt nervous.

Very telly. Describe it.

>with that

A horrible, self-referential phrase to use in narration.

>each one enjoying themselves

Number mismatch. Each (singular) -> themselves (plural)

>The mare began to feel guilty that she left her friend at home.

Telly again. Don't just give me the emotion as a fact. Describe how she looks and acts, and let me figure out how she feels.

>Over here!” A group of ponies called.

Capitalization error.

>“I’m sure Derpy’s fine…” she thought to herself.

Who else would she think it to? And thoughts are generally given in italics.

>Her heart was now pounding as fast as it could pound

Just wanted to point this one out. It's an example of successful showing. You've described what she's doing clearly enough that I can figure out how she feels from it.

>Derpy needed to find another solution quickly, or she would have burned the whole house down.

Verb tense mismatch. Try "would burn."

>“Oh, Berry. You always tell the best stories.” A blue unicorn complemented.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization error. Here are the most common types:
"Speech," he said.
"Speech." He performed a non-speaking action.
"Beginning of speech sentence," he said, "rest of spoken sentence."
Note the conventions of punctuation and capitalization.
Also, you mean "complimented," not "complemented." And it's a transitive verb. It requires a direct object.

>but it seemed to come out forced and awkwardly

Seemed to whom?

>I-It’s

I-it's. You only capitalize the first one, unless it's a proper noun.

>her primary concern was on the house, and how much damage Derpy could be doing to it

Unnecessary comma.

>wall-eyed

One word, no hyphen.

>bed sheets

One word.

>Oh no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no

That's really really really really really really really really really really really really really really starting to get grating.

>…She won’t notice…I hope.

Leading ellipsis isn't warranted, and the other one needs a space afterward.

>widened her eyes in surprise

Cut the "in surprise." It's telly, and is redundant with the wide eyes.

>Derpy’s in the house alone…I just hope she doesn’t destroy the house.

Another ellipsis without a space. I'm not marking all of them. Repetition of "the house" where it could have been avoided easily.

>*HIC!

Don't use sound effects. Describe the sound.

>‘Happy New Year’

Use double quotes. Singles are for quotes inside other quotes.

>All the exhausted pegasus could do was put the party horn in her mouth and weakly blow as she lost all her energy and passed out.

Here's another spot where you do a better job of showing instead of telling.

>feel warm with happiness

Telly. Actually, the warm part isn't bad. But the "with happiness" is.

I assume you used the picture of Berry Punch as your prompt, but nothing about it is included in this story…

General:
-Talking heads: There are a few spots where you have some back-and-forth dialogue without any action to break it up. The characters could be statues, and I wouldn't know any different. Remember that what's said is only half of a conversation. Give me the rest, using the same techniques as showing instead of telling. That's what really makes a conversation come to life.
-Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, or LUS. This is referring to characters by some descriptor like "the gray mare." For the most part, you want to use names or pronouns. These phrases give us information that we already know and are too obtrusive for their own good. There are places where their use can be valid, like where there are a large number of characters present, so that pronouns are too vague, and names would get overused, or when such a descriptor is actually giving us new information.
-Show versus tell, but I've already given that enough explanation.

Characterization:
I do get a pretty good sense of who each character is, so not bad. Just note that instances where I marked you for telling where you should be showing, and look for similar places that I didn't necessarily point out, but I gave you enough explanation to find them on your own. These are the little details that really get us into a character's head and let us get to know them. That's really all that's missing here. But you have a good start.

Plot:
A fairly standard sitcom plot. Simple and straightforward. You haven't done anything wrong with it on the whole, so I don't have any holes to poke in it. it does seem like you stretched things out a bit to meet word count, but if you address the telling issues, you should recoup that with no problem.

Overall:
Sorry I didn't have much to say beyond the mechanical issues, but it's a simple enough story that it's hard to go wrong. It's not a bad foundation for a story; we just need some more depth added to it. Keep writing and have fun with it.

Penman of "Spikes and Stones" 2822

>>2817
Would you be willing to show me the review for my entry before the final judging phase is over? I could make a throw-away Email if need be.

Author of "Succubus" 2823

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>>2818

Wow… so much stuff. It's a little embarrassing, all the mistakes. I had zero time to edit this thing, so that probably played a part in it.

I'll contend only one of your points:

>loiter out

>That's an oxymoronic phrase. If they're loitering, they're not moving out.

Eeynope:
1. Stand or wait around idly or without apparent purpose.

2. Travel indolently and with frequent pauses: "they loitered along in the sunshine, stopping at the least excuse".


>The earth gulped.


This is actually missing a word: pony.

There are a few others that I'd like to discuss further, but for now I'll just let the whole thing soak in for a night or two.

Thanks for a great, in-depth review!
This post was edited by its author on .

2824

>>2822
Certainly. But an easier solution is available. I've already decided on my votes for ones I've already read, so anonymity doesn't matter anymore, at least for my purposes. You could email me or PM me in IRC. Or login to IRC anonymously and PM me. I have no reason to try figuring out who you are, especially since I already know. I can send you a pastebin link.
This post was edited by its author on .

2825

>>2823
>2. Travel indolently and with frequent pauses: "they loitered along in the sunshine, stopping at the least excuse".
Fair enough. But it's an unusual usage of the word, and obscure definitions aren't generally a good idea, since most readers won't get your exact meaning at best, or in extreme cases, may completely misunderstand what you're saying. If you're married to the word, you do use it correctly. Your call.

2834

>>2824
Works for me.
> I have no reason to try figuring out who you are, especially since I already know.
You do? I'll have to remember to enquire as to what gave it away (although I imagine it could have something to do with the proper/snobbish way I've been making my posts under this name, which is something that has remained constant across each contest).

Author of "The Sun in Flight" 2851

>>2799
>was just (literally) overshadowed by Rarity
She was cowering long before Rarity's performance began. There are several canon events that point to instances of Dash being insecure, and yet you're unwilling to concede the possibility?

>Spike has fired up plenty of other things before, too.

As I said, Spike was joking. Given that you're not making an issue of the impossibility of him lighting an icicle on fire in the first place, I fail to see why this is a sticking point for you. He's being flatly absurd.

>Scootaloo also has a perfectly good pair of wings; able to fly or not, they'd be far better at air control.

If you really want me to work out the math of it, I will, but suffice it to say that her tail would be an effective directional control to keep her out of a flat spin and far less likely to induce a pilot-induced oscillation. This is precisely why kites have tails, and isn't it reasonable to assume that pegasi would have evolved to make some specialized use of them?

>and during all of this Scootaloo is already flying through the air at a decent click with what I can only assume to be is a low-angle trajectory

We all know what happens when "I assume." I'll also point out how quickly Dash flew to catch several things at the Gala. She's already waiting at the bottom of the hill, after all.

>Scootaloo's flank isn't empty

Now you're getting into semantics. You've never heard of an empty page or screen? Quite possibly not, given regional expressions, but that doesn't make it wrong.

>I don't know where you heard that, but I can say from my perspective that it only lends to confusion in the form of viewpoint and tense shift in the middle of a paragraph.

Finally, you're properly qualifying something as "from my viewpoint." By the way, the "where I heard this" was from two eminently talented reviewers named Cassius and Filler. I think I know what you're trying to get at, but it's not quite the same thing, and you haven't said it.

>yours was a misguided attempt to elicit feels

A misguided attempt to elicit feels would be to have every character bawl at the drop of a hat. These characters' reactions were rather understated.

>The exposition was boring, the dialogue boring, the story boring.

And we're back to square one. There is a world of difference between "this story is boring" and "I found it to be boring." One is your opinion, and the other presumes to be everyone's. Counting external opinions I'd sought from people who will be honest with me, most did not find it boring. There were other problems, to be sure, and different readers noticed different ones. That's already evident from the fact that I didn't make the first cut. But being caustic and arrogant doesn't make your opinion hold more weight than anyone else's. And in the end, given a second chance, you still haven't given me anything actionable. A proper review doesn't browbeat about perceived failures. It explains why something isn't working and suggests ways to fix it. Absent that, it serves no purpose. So I ask again: what do you think this is accomplishing?

2855

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>>2851
As I noted by mentioning her inability to perform the rainboom and her old school bullies making fun of her. There was tons of lead-up to her cracking under the pressure. Yours was just her trying to dodge being around Scootaloo when in the show Rainbow is perfectly fine with having her around and often enjoys the one-filly cheering squad.

Sublimation is a thing, and there are several tricks for lighting ice on fire. However, my problem is that it's phrased as being serious. Simply adding something like "He grinned" would have shown that he was joking. Instead, he "offered". Rainbow smiling at it could easily be interpreted as the sort of smile one has when a child says something that almost makes sense.

But she's not in a flat spin, nor would she be in danger of doing so unless she over-corrected with her wings (which, seeing she was using them perfectly well to get down the hill, still seem like the superior option). As for the possible evolution of tails for course-correction, that's news to me and I'm not confident in my ability to argue that point, so I'll take your word for it. I can see the use of it for slowing a spin, but "flailing" her tail doesn't seem particularly effective since that descriptor implies a lack of thought or purpose behind the movement.

>You've never heard of an empty page or screen?

I have, and point taken, but it's still an inferior term to use.

>I think I know what you're trying to get at, but it's not quite the same thing, and you haven't said it.

I'm no walking Chicago Manual of Style. I just write with what I think looks right until someone tells me otherwise and provides a reasonable explanation as to why that is. I can understand why using italics for personal thoughts and emphasis in exposition could generate a small amount of confusion, but it's still better than having nothing to distinguish between the two. There's also single quotations, but no one seems to like those.

>A misguided attempt to elicit feels would be to have every character bawl at the drop of a hat. These characters' reactions were rather understated.

That would be an over-the-top attempt. I say "misguided" because I was introduced to a Rainbow Dash that had lost her swagger due to Scootaloo being sick (I think), which also seemed to come from nowhere. Also, admittedly, I'm something of a brick wall when it comes to sad stories. For me, sympathy is something less experienced and more synthesized. I think, "How would I react in that situation?" In this one, I remembered my apathy from all the cancer wards and funerals I've been to. Without the emotional attachment, I'm only left with the writing to derive enjoyment from.

Right, you made me think. Blast, I'm too tired to think, but here we go anyways.
>There is a world of difference between "this story is boring" and "I found it to be boring."
Then allow me to amend my statement with how I, personally, found it to be boring. Also allow me to point out my review post's warning. I don't pretend to be the great reviewer of /fic/ (and if I do, give me a hearty slap of reality). I have a few smarmy reviews that managed to capture people's imagination, nothing more (and none of which are a match for Twilight Snarkle's Snape review). Getting a proper, in-depth review from me should not be expected, especially when I'm burning through several stories. Yours also got the short end of the stick, what with being the last story on my list, coming after my personal favourite entry, Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles, and it being the last day for voting.

The opening didn't grab me, and I'm not nearly enough of an intellectual to give you a reason why. Shortly after, I read about a Rainbow Dash that flies (no pun intended) in the face of canon with how much she doesn't want to be around Scootaloo. The same Dash that soaked up every glory-filled second the Rainbow Dash Fan Club, as headed by Scootaloo, heaped on her. After that is the ski hill, which, for lack of a better word, felt inconsequential. Rainbow Dash is used to "save" Scootaloo (which is nothing out of the ordinary for her) twice, which is rather redundant since it's more or less the same reaction (frantic) in both instances. Greasy Spoon offers a missed opportunity for some quality banter between two old friends. After that I was treated to a rather drab sight-seeing tour. Spike tries valiantly to make up for Greasy Spoon, but only pulls off a decent quip, which seems a little out of place since it happens right after Dash has a short tear-making session.

In the end, I didn't feel like I'd taken anything from the story that I didn't already have. I can't help but imagine Dash being more gung-ho about whatever Scootaloo is stricken with; she certainly didn't want to sit in her hospital bed when she was recovering from her wing injury. In my head, Dash would have been cheering on Scootaloo instead, in a sort of role-reversal. In regards to it being a character piece, for the above reasons I didn't find myself having some sort of deeper understanding with Dash's character. Compare and contrast to Green Bottles, where I'm given a deep, personal look into Berry Punch's life, along with some entertaining exposition and excellent character interactions. I was making headcanon before that story was even done, while with yours I typed out some words because I felt obligated by the fact that I'd done the same with the rest of the stories.

Again, my review was off-the-cuff, typed as a I read, and I did not read much, only enough to build a basic idea of the plot.

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 2857

Alright, I guess I'm reading these and voting, and that means I may as well leave feedback.

I've thought about my previous write-off reviews and decided that in this round there shall be no line editing or copypastes about LUS/dialogue punctuation/dash characters/etc… that's what the guides and the more formal reviews are for. And there won't be any stream of consciousness stuff either, because those can get snarkier than is necessary or useful.

Each story's going to get a read, and then I'm going to think for a bit and write some paragraphs on it specifically.

Starting from the bottom of the list, and covering five of ten:

Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbled
I haven't read many of these /art/-/fic/ write-off stories (at least compared to all the regular write-off stories I've read) but it looks to me like what you did here was a novel and very clever use of the art prompt. Very cool stuff, author.

This reminds of the rambly-but-engagingly-so If a Pony Catch a Pony, up to and including the abrupt ending. You do yourself a bit of a disservice with the author's note, methinks, as a story like this could conceivably just end there — I'm sure given enough time we could concoct an examination of the themes present and try to persuade you never to write another word of it lest you destroy that. But then, if you want to continue this after the write-off, you can bet I'll be only too happy to read more.

Although there are no rules against submitting incomplete entries, I've always docked points from them in previous write-offs and will dock at least one point from your score. However, what's important in these events is not how you place, but that you write something and get feedback on it.

Regardless, I liked this one a lot. Good storytelling is about engaging and entertaining the reader, and you did that for me. My favourite stories have me hungrily devouring every word off the page and then pining for more, and that's what happened here. Nice job, and I really hope to see more.


Welcome to the Broken Promise
I don't get it. Whether by a fault of your writing or my own perception, I do not understand this story.

"Return of the two-parter villain" stories tend to set off alarm bells in my head because with exception of perhaps Chrysalis, the re-emergence of any villain needs a nontrivial amount of setup and explaining. Nightmare Moon is Luna, Discord is trapped in stone, and Sombra died or evaporated or something. Far as I could tell, there's been some effort to explain the presence of all these villains by having them trapped in some kind of limbo dimension (maybe) but it's just not very clear and there's not much indication as to why.

Language usage is in need of revision. It's not horribly bad, but there are a noticeable amount of bad or incorrect word choices, and a fair chunk of the dialogue is unnaturally phrased, especially towards the end.

Most of the story is spent faffing about with blurs in the weird magic dimension bar thingy. You pulled a neat twist after the scene break, I'll give you that, but it ends up raising more questions than it answers, the biggest of which is "why?" I think there's too much before the scene break and too little after it.

I like the ideas you have here — blurry drunken adventure and magical villain limbo dimension bar, those are pretty cool. I'm just not as fond of how they're connected or how your execution panned out in general.


Dear Sister
Your writing is pretty immersive and descriptive (possibly a little too descriptive at times), but it's weakened by silly little things like borked dialogue punctuation, some needless epithets in place of names ("alabaster alicorn"), a few sentence fragments and misplaced commas and areas of redundant wording.

The opening is pretty slow, but the story gets good later on.

I don't know how cliché it is to write stories directly about Luna's temptation by Discord into becoming Nightmare Moon. I haven't read any others, but then I haven't read everything, and it seems like an obvious concept to write about. So take that as a bit for background for me saying what I'm going to say next.

This story's biggest problem, in my eyes, is that it was an entry into this write-off. The story in italics is interesting and engaging. The story not in italics is significantly less so, to the point I skimmed those bits, perturbed at having the italics interrupted. The only regular scene I liked was the final one. I think you could scrap the others and integrate it into the flashback story.

Hmm. Yeah, I'm going to have a tough time figuring out where to rank this one.

On another note, this Nightmare Moon origin story isn't quite in line with the broad-strokes canon one, as you don't have Nightmare refuse to lower the moon at any point. Of course, it's not essential to consider Twilight's book as true historical fact, but that's something to ponder.

I like to give one-off characters ridiculous accents in some of my own stuff, but you just took the cake here. All of the cakes, actually.


Winona
That was pretty cool. I've been meaning to track down a fic about Luna entering dreams, and I'm glad this was the first one I found. Your first-person narrative voices are fun to read and totally in-character for both AJ and Luna.

Just… Luna seemed awfully calm about the endless dream thing. You did hint at it being a façade, and she is an immortal(ish) alicorn, but I think, especially given the intimacy of first-person, at least her internal fears should have been more pronounced.

I think someone's already harped on you for Faustus and "nyxscape". The former, just change to avoid tone-breaking meta nonsense, and the latter, well, I'm sorry, I didn't even like Past Sins.


That Invincible Flame
D'awww that was a really sweet story, and better yet, a realistic sweet rather than a saccharine one. All slow and contemplative and sufficiently believable and complex. The main plot thread seems to be Twilight and Spike's relationship, and it feels a little buried under a whole bunch of other stuff, but it still worked for me in the end.


I'll post the next five later. So far I'm impressed with the output — good work, authors.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Winona" 2870

>>2857
Luna *was* pretty lackadaisical about being stuck in a dream for eternity. She still had her sister as an ace in the hole, and royal decorum would make one tend to downplay the emotional anguish one feels in the discharge of one's duties, I think, but it was probably *too* clinical in the end. In the in-my-head draft she has a better chance of leaving and has to reconcile her "get the heck out of there" with her "at least we finally get a best friend for ever and ever"; she's tempted to stay on purpose. As they interact, her demeanor toward Spike was meant to gradually soften, culminating in an out-of-character hug as they parted. But it turns out I suck at that sort of subtlety.

The opening felt very natural to me for that reason.

I had never heard of this Past Sins fic until the reviews started rolling in. Had I known it carried the connotation, I would have stuck with dreamscape or mindscape or The Somnial Dunes or some other such nonsense. (Rather like that last one. Implies Luna does a lot of running through little stars stacked like sand.)

Faustus I thought was cute but appears to be too distracting. It's gone in the next draft.

Huh... 2913

Didn't expect to see mine in the top ten, but I guess there were only a little more than ten to choose from in the first place. Time to read some more stories and vote! (I may try to do reviews, but I don't think my advice would help much.)

Author of "Of Green Bottles and Grey Bubbles" 2914

>>2809
Bah, don't knock yourself over the head about the ending, or anything else you think you did wrong. You didn't exactly have a lot of time to really think about things, and you'll definitely get way better (and you're not even bad); try not to let it get ya down. Like I said, I don't consider these entries a true demonstration of skill here.

Besides, a lot of people do that, where they suddenly come up with an ending and go with it. That doesn't automatically make it good or bad.

Which contest is this for you? This is only my second, so I'm still learning.

>>2815
No biggie, you're not the first person to use a word like that wrong *nervous laughter*

And yeah, not a parent either, haha—guess I should go ask one before making a rant.

>>2857
Man, everyone's telling me that, and it definitely surprised me the most; I thought everyone would hate the sudden, abrupt ending. And I am continuing it, though I may be convinced to do otherwise…for a price.

Ha, anyway like you said it's the feedback that matters, and I've gotten plenty of it. So dock all the points you want! (though seriously don't do that)

As it is, thanks for the feedback, and the compliments.

Author of "Welcome to the Broken Promise" and "There's Always Someone" 2930

>>2857

Yeah, I'm certainly learning that multi-entries aren't really gonna be my thing in future write-offs. I should of focused on the Broken Promise exclusively, as it had the most thought put into it, but I just kinda liked the other story running through my head and tried to run with it as an experiment to see if I could make two reasonably coherent stories within such a time frame.

I should of devoted more time to cleaning this story than ended up using. There was probably a better way to either implicitly give the rules throughout the story, or explicitly give them in a way that doesn’t look like such a exposition dump right there on the end. My bad, sorry all.

To help clear some questions, here are the four main laws of the Broken Promise that I wrote by:

1. Any villain defeated in the show is able to find and enter the Broken Promise. Hence the name. They failed to accomplish their goal and defeat the heros, breaking a villainous oath of sorts.

This also includes lower-end villains like bullies. It doesn’t matter if their plan was to destroy the world, or just pick on someone endlessly to make themselves feel strong. If it was wrong, and some part of them deep down knew it, they are a villain and are free to enter or leave as they wish if they are defeated in a goal. Semi-reformed villains can also still attend, if they wish to do so. Like Trixie.

2. Villains who are defeated in a nonpermanent way may enter and then leave the Broken Promise whenever they desire. Such as Chrysalis, the Diamond Dogs, etc.

3. Villains who have been permanently (or fairly permanently) defeated are trapped in the bar until such time as they are able to be brought back to the world to fulfill their primary task of villainy.

A. Sombra was beaten pretty soundly, therefore he is trapped in the bar unless he is somehow brought back to life, which can’t realistically happen. His only recourse now is to try and have a fun time here for the rest of eternity, hence why I made him a bit of a lady-chaser. He has nothing else to do but drink and try to hit on the few villainesses that have made it into the bar so far, because what else has he got to do anymore?

B. Discord, because he was turned to stone but not destroyed, is trapped here until such time as his physical body is released from its prison. He has little say in when he can leave, but there is always that faint possibility that he can, should the fates allow. It’s a matter of time and luck.

C. Nightmare Moon, on the other hand, is stuck here until such time as Luna gives in to her dark side and assumes the mantle once more. Yet, by what we see in the show, Luna does not appear to want to do that, so Nightmare has little hope of ever returning to the real world. She was free for one night, and now she's trapped again in someplace with little hope of escape. Hence, her dour mood. All she sees every time there are visitors are those that, while they might have failed, did not fail quite so much as she did. She is one of the grandest villains, certainly among the oldest of them, now reduced to the fogey who can only tell stories about what she once did, not what she can or will do.

4. This rule wasn’t actually covered within the story itself, but it should have been and I should hint at it in a future revision (I wrote the story with this rule somewhere in the back of my head, at least): patrons in the bar cannot destroy one another.

No matter how much they might want to at times, they are utterly incapable of carrying out such acts in the Broken Promise. Nor can an act be done, if it is known that it will cause a death. (For example, they cannot poison a drink, throw a brick at someone’s head, trip them into a vat of acid Discord has some strange tastes in decoration at times or hire someone else to come into the bar and do it for them.)

This doesn’t mean they can’t beat the ever-loving snot out of each other, but they can’t ever take it too far within its walls. If they want to fight like that, they have to take it outside, or just settle for thrashing their opponent within an inch of their lives.



So, there it is. Hope it helps.

2940

>>2930
That does clear things up, yes.

>>2914
Yay!

>>2870
These deleted scenes you keep telling us about sound pretty cool. I mean, I get why you removed them, but I kinda wanna read them anyway.

I'll read and review the rest soonish.

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 2954

>>2857
Alright, time for the last five!

The Lamentation Chain
Heh, a fic about all the pictures. Guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. If I hadn't read this in this contest, I don't think I'd've assumed it was written to satisfy some gimmick, so that's a point in your favour.

I think it's part of the effect that story kinda flows from one perspective to the next without scene breaks, and sometimes new characters seem to pretty much creep up on you. I'm not sure whether it counts as third person omniscient or rule-bending multi-POV third person limited, though. It might be to your benefit to experiment with some omniscient narration touches, but I dunno.

It's a nice enough story, if you like introspective vignettes tied loosely together (which I often do). I think the scene with Velvet reminiscing stands out the most, if only because it's not as common a topic in ponyfic as Celestia and Luna's relationship and spurned Spike.

I read along quite happily until the Berry Punch scene. There is no way I can process a scene where somepony finds a drunk pining for liquor outside a closed liquor store and offers to take them home for more alcohol as heartwarming. I find it horrifying. Admittedly, my personal views on alcohol are perhaps on the stodgy side (but for good reason). So I probably won't dock much for that, but there, that's a feeling I had while reading. Something to consider, maybe.


First and Last
If no-one's told you yet, you can edit your entry after it's submitted — just hover over your name and click "My Submissions" on the Write-Off site. The missing lines between paragraphs near the beginning were rather irksome.

Interesting. A combination of ponyfic Yours Truly and Nutcracker Nightmare ( http://www.bloggerbeware.com/2007/12/goosebumps-special-edition-6-more-more.html ), a rare frightening Goosebumps story. It's a brilliant concept and could make for a very good fic, but at this stage it doesn't quite hold together.

There is an unmined common theme between rapid aging magic and Spike's growing up and moving away. I feel like the tone here should go from humdrum to wistful to horrifying, and more detail is a must. I've never seen real horror mined out of "things change and people grow older and move on" and this story kinda annoys me because it comes so close to doing just that but falls short.

I am eager to see this revised and expanded.


The Life and Times of an Honest Pony
It's actually superscript.

That was a nice little piece. I'm a sucker for stories from these sorts of naieve points of view. Can't really think of anything to criticise. This might just end up getting my top score. Nice job, author.


A Sister's Gift
The incorrect dialogue punctuation and hyphens where there should have been dashes bothered me, but I'm sure someone else has already pointed that out to you. Apart from that, there are a noticeable amount of typos and at least one misused semicolon.

Apart from that, though, it was pretty solid. There's something about Celestia skulking about incognito that really appeals to me for whatever reason, and you took an approach to this bit of often played-with lore that I haven't seen before.

I do think you could have left out the last line. I would've liked the meta of having the story end on "All stories have happy endings except this one."


Spikes and Stones
That's a pretty cool bit of dragon worldbuilding.

I get that the normal text is Spike as an adult dragon and the italics is him as a baby dragon, but it gets confusing towards the end — it's like the timelines meld together and suddenly adult Spike is inexplicably writing and sending a baby Spike letter. Normally I'm an advocate of using italics as your only special format, but here it leads to confusion when italics is used both for in-universe text and flashbacks.

Of course, there's the very real chance that I'm just missing something obvious here. I still liked the story for the most part.


Well there we go. Done. I can safely say that I liked everything I read (if, obviously, to differing degrees). Now to cast my votes!

Penman of "Spikes and Stones" 2962

>>2954
The letter was written by young Spike; the italics were reserved for him. There's also some clues in it that hint towards this, namely how he admits he lost to the golem, instead of claiming victory like mature Spike. He also talks about the dragon's beard but mentions he doesn't know the whole story behind it yet, while old Spike is familiar with the song. There's a few other hints as well, like fire-breathing training and how old his teacher is.

2963

More reviews incoming.

The Life and Times of an Honest Pony
Simply put, excellent. By the end I'd given the narrator a rustic drawl and found myself reading a little slower since that's how I imagined he spoke; slow and deliberate. There was one spot where you forgot to put a blank line between two paragraphs, but other than that don't have any complaints.

2971

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>>2954
>>2963
Aww, shucks, guys. Thank you kindly, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Also, happy New Year's! Now we get to say that we had to wait until 2013 to get the results =s

Author of The Lamentation Chain 2990

>>2954
>There is no way I can process a scene where somepony finds a drunk pining for liquor outside a closed liquor store and offers to take them home for more alcohol as heartwarming. I find it horrifying. Admittedly, my personal views on alcohol are perhaps on the stodgy side (but for good reason).

Can't fault you for that. If it's any consolation, Berry's a happy drunk?

3039

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>Votes received: 5.
Big impact votes.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 3042

>>3039
I am very concerned about this. :/

3044

There are actually prizes this time, too.

Anonimoose 3063

Well, if it's any consolation I think I brought the count up to 6?

Man, where is everybody?

I'm getting there! 3070

I saw last week that the votes weren't due till this Sunday, and then tomorrow snuck up on me. Reading all now XD

3100

I'm only reading ones I'm reviewing, so I'm only going to vote on half of them. And given my low average score, that's better for the ones I'm skipping. Go figure.

>>2543
I finished reviewing "Winona" as well…

>>2534
…and will get to the short review "Life and Times…" requested tonight.

>>2529
"Green Bottles…" only asked for a short review, and certainly got plenty of feedback without me, but if that author still wants my opinion for some reason, go ahead and ask sometime after the write-off.

>>2528
Same goes for "Lavender." I didn't get to yours, but I can still do one afterward if you like.

author of "Lavender" 3105

>>3100
Sounds fine, though I've already accepted that it's a piece that might as well be scrapped now, before it goes and becomes something… eldritch.

Ion-Sturm 3107

Cast my vote. Apologies to the authors of Dear Sister and Welcome to the Broken Promise; I didn't get around to yours in time (which is entirely my own fault).

Short reviews:
First and Last
Meh opening, decent finish. It felt like a quarter of the story was just to establish why you removed Spike from the picture. Look up how to do parenthesis.

Winona
Good story, interesting premise, solid AJ and an above-average Luna. Also, http://inception.davepedu.com/

Short Reviews 3112

The Lamentation Chain:
There are consistent comma issues, and sentence structure got repetitive at times. Those are really the only mechanical issues. Stylistically though… This feels like an attempt to follow what TheNumber25 did in the last write-off, and it bites off more than it can chew.

First, since all is now known, let me say that I found it quite surprising that you found my story dull, because they're cut from the same cloth. In fact, mine had two action sequences in it, so I didn't get the charge of "nothing happening" at all, especially given that little happens in your story. However, I like character studies, so that doesn't detract from your story in my eyes.

So, to the criticisms. The narrator's voice at the beginning is pretty obtrusive and calls attention to itself more than what he's saying. Then the voice changes with each hand-off to a new plot. Which is entirely workable, perhaps even preferred, as you switch focus characters, but the opening bit didn't fit Rarity, and we don't know enough about the shopkeeper to say whether it fits him. It felt more like one of those movies where a gray-haired man sits in a rich leather chair, opens a book, and begins the tale as the camera fades to the action.

So if the changes in narrative voice were appropriate, why didn't they work? Mostly because the shift in perspective characters was handled too abruptly. Velvet has a momentary thought about Celestia, and then there we are immediately in Celestia's head. Don't jerk the reader around like that. Unless you're going to do scene breaks, ease us into perspective changes.

Another way the narrator doesn't work is that he's telling us most of the story rather than letting the characters do it. The only interesting interactions were those between the princesses and between Velvet and Berry Punch. That's because we were there to witness it. The other scenes were told mostly or solely from the narration, which isn't a good way to engage the reader. Velvet's memories are summarized as in a textbook instead of taking us back and letting us see what the characters said, how they acted, what they thought. It feels less like a journey and more like a list of facts.

It was ambitious to take on all the pictures, but you probably should have tried to combine more of them into single scenes, as you weren't able to spend enough time in any of them for the reader to get settled. Or just cut back and spend your time in fewer of them.

The Life and Times of an Honest Pony:
It's a common thing to put your trust in smart quotes, but they fail sometimes, like at the beginning of a word. Check out your apostrophes on 'em, for example.

I might be missing something… Your main character talked about unicorns doing the heavy lifting early on, but later it's said that they lost the use of their magic some time prior, even before the construction would have begun? And why Canterlot? This is probably fanon interpretation more than anything, even though it seems to be borne by canon, but wasn't Everfree Castle the site of the conflict regarding Nightmare Moon? I don't know why Canterlot would have been involved. It'd be just another city, if it even existed.

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to say about this one. It's quite straightforward. I like your main character. Even his foibles that would normally grate on me, like his repetitiveness, just feel natural. Just watch his mannerisms and word choice/phrasing. There were a number of times where his language got a little too fancy for the "working stiff" you're trying to portray.

That said, this is definitely the kind of story that I have to be in the right mood to enjoy. You kind of got me at the right time, but I could also see tuning in another day and not liking it at all. And I know how vastly helpful that is to you.

It's also quite a tease that these other races would be motivated to help, without the backstory of why. But of course, your main character wouldn't necessarily know. Even though he did seem rather knowledgeable about the politics involved… and what happened afterward, given that Gilda was considered such a rare sight in the future.

I was confused by the ending, though that's not hard to do. Here's my interpretation: The final scene actually takes place before any of the rest of the story. Because if it didn't how would he have seen Luna after the events of Nightmare Moon, unless he was imagining it. The fact that he's in his hometown seems to back that up. If that's the case, then why did the previous scene leave off the way it did? The talk about deteriorating safety conditions and his own failing abilities could certainly point to his falling there. If not, it just feels like an odd place to stop. But even if it is, it throws the ending even more into doubt. Is he seeing Luna while in a coma, in an afterlife, or is this still a flashback? Not giving us any indication of what befell him points toward the story just fizzling out there. But if he did die, I can see you not wanting to telegraph whether that final scene was a flashback or a vision. So, even though I don't know what your intention was, I can see how your choice made sense in any of those scenarios, though I still have to say I found it unsatisfying.

So, in total, we have mostly good writing, a convincing character that rambles in a fashion I happened to find charming in the particular mood I found myself, but while there is some conflict of politics going on, it's still just more about the workaday life of this pony, and the only message I'm left with is (given one interpretation of the ending): he may not have died and a lot of political fuss might have been avoided if only he'd spoken up to Luna all those years ago.

Review of "Dear Sister," part 1 3113

Dear Sister:

Mechanics/Details:
>A dozen unicorn horns lit up in harmony, and let loose a flurry of fireworks into the air.
One subject with two verbs doesn't require a comma unless the first verb has so much description attached to it that the reader will need help keeping it organized. And "into the air" isn't really needed.

>It was the first time that any of them could remember seeing the stars, or the moon.

No comma. And the next sentence fragment deosn't really fit the narrative mood here. Recommend ending this bit with a colon to carry into that.

>Its shape did not change, nor its colors on a whim.

I don't know what this means.

>calculated and even, not haphazard and chaotic.

Presenting both is redundant here. It doesn't add anything.

>Her coat seemed to hold a sheen that was as radiant as the stars themselves

Seemed to whom? You haven't established a narrative perspective, and the narrator himself shouldn't be making such judgments.

>“alicorn”,

Comma inside the quotes if you're using American conventions.

>The world itself seemed to warm, and darken around her.

No comma.

>and yet even so shrouded

An introductory element leading into the subject like this typically ends with a comma.

>but her nerves were transparently showing

Describe it. You're putting all the work on me to picture her in a way that signifies nervousness. Show me how she acts and looks, and I'll conclude the nervousness. You're taking the other kind of description to the extreme here, though. We already know what these characters look like, and you're spending far too long on what amounts to an empty grab for word count. The delayed "reveal" of who these characters are isn't particularly effective, either, as it's obvious from the start who you mean.

>dozens of odd instruments playing a medley of a dozen

Repetitive.

>nearly-forgotten

-ly adverbs are mostly exempt from hyphenation.

>no light to guide them but their own

Recommend moving the "but their own" after "light."

>watched on from a distance

Cut "on."

>“I can scarcely believe it, sister.” Said Luna.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization error. We'll see if this is persistent. If not, I won't have to explain it. And why isn't Luna using speech like she would have back then?

>There was a moment of stunned silence between the sisters, before they burst into hysterical laughter.

No comma.

>“Ha! Oh, perhaps.” Luna admitted.

Dialogue punctuation error. This is intermittent, so I'll go ahead and elaborate.
The most common forms are:
"Speech," she said.
"Speech." She performed a non-speaking action.
"Beginnin of sentence," she said, "completion of sentence."
Note the patterns of capitalization and punctuation.

>But, you did not look quite so happy as they did.

No comma.

>Luna flexed her lips in a troubled way

You're telling again. What constitutes "a troubled way?" You're making me come up with the image. Supply the visual yourself and leave the interpretation up to the reader.

>She let it out slowly, through her nostrils.

No comma.

>she said “I do not see

Missing comma.

>…I see.

A leading ellipsis is best left for finishing an earlier thought or when a character is just becoming audible.

>She nodded sagely,

Telly again. Watch those blunt uses of emotion (sad), adverb forms (sadly), and prepositional phrase forms (in sadness). And that comma is unnecessary.

>Celestia felt a pang in her heart. Luna did not doubt her sister, only herself.

Watch your perspective. You're unnecessarily jumping from one character's perspective to another.

>“Of course.” Her sister replied.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization error.

>Elements of Harmony. The magical artifacts that had appeared to the sisters, and given them the strength to defeat Discord.

You're defining the Elements. Use a colon to include the fragment into the first sentence, and that comma is unnecessary.

>suspended mid-air

Missing an "in," and midair is one word.

>in a hexagonal pattern

Unless there are lines connecting them, that wouldn't be discernable. For example, how do you know it's not a circle?

>true-hearted

truehearted

>rhetorically

Cut.

>It was hers, now.

No comma.

>“Only if you are, Luna.” Celestia replied.

Dialogue punctuation.

>She was referring to their subjects, and their fear of the night.

Wow. Thank you, narrator. If your characters aren't clear enough about this, don't have the narrator bail them out.

>was the run and hide

"to," not "the"

>Luna raised a hoof, and silenced her sister.

No comma.

>rising from her bed and holding a hoof to her pounding heart

Note that the placement of this phrase would make it seem to describe "room."

>She was confused

Show me.

>and in the first moments of waking

Intro phrase needs a comma.

>she had no idea where she was, or what she had just seen.

No comma.

>Be still, and think.

No comma.

>“Erm… yes.” The Princess confirmed.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization

>the guard nervously explained.

Telly. How does he act? How does he look?

>“We heard screaming,” the guard nervously explained. “and we were worried you had been harmed.”

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization.

>remembering something, that I had nearly forgotten.

No comma.

>The helmeted horse looked more confused than anything else,

Horse? Really? And show me. No comma.

>saying “Send them away

Missing comma.

>The door finally shut, given Celestia a little solitude.

giving

>It came too late, though, the remnants of her dream were now scattered to the winds.

Comma splice. You've tacked two complete sentences together with a comma. You can split them with a period, add a conjunction, or use a dash or semicolon instead. Just make sure your choice makes sense with the story's flow.

>She sighed, and trudged into the washroom.

No comma.

>carefully-laid

No hyphen.

>Today, the Princess paid no heed to the shape (which, incidentally, was a frog prince on a lily pad throne).

You're inconsistent at capitalizing "Princess." And the parentheses are unnecessary here. Just use commas.

>seeing beyond the palatial home she now resided

Missing words. "in which she now resided."

>newly-minted

No hyphen.

>Maybe related to that dream, she wondered?

This isn't a question.

>Remember the normal, and figure out what’s different.

No comma.

>Then she would have her breakfast, and spend the rest of the morning through late afternoon in the Day Court.

No comma.

>She sighed, and grumbled to herself in a bit of carefully concealed frustration

No comma. The "in… frustration" part is telly, and you've already made a good step toward communicating her mood through the grumbling, so why short-circuit it?

>Twenty minutes passed in the bath, carefully cleaning herself and making a presentable Princess for her subjects.

What is your participial phrase modifying? The only candidates are the minutes and the bath, neither of which could concievably clean itself. It's a dangling participle with nothing to modify.

>pulled several towels from the wall to clean herself with

A towel's for drying, not cleaning.

>Oh!

Here, you're having the narrator speak for Celestia. Before, you'd given thoughts as quotes. Be consistent in your narrative voice.

>Perfect, she thought.

That's phrased like a direct thought, but not italicized as one. And see the previous comment.

>se

she

>so large it could be mistaken for a piece of armor

This descriptive element lacks a closing comma.

>It was such a routine, Celestia did not even return to the looking glass.

Comma splice, probably best fixed by replacing the comma with "that."

>Food, then. She decided.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization.

>They assured her that its glory would stretch above the highest mountaintops, and be seen and admired by ponies in every corner of the nation.

No comma.

>The word assured was used, because it wasn’t finished yet.

No comma. And you're referring to a word as an entity, not by its meaning, so place it in quotes.

>Only the main hall and the east wing were in a state that could be used.

Phrasing. One doesn't use a state.

>and until that happened

Intro phrase needs a comma.

>they needed a place to sleep, and to manage the day-to-day dealings of their subjects

No comma.

>His own personal hall, rumored by some to be the last building standing from Old Equestria;

Misused semicolon. There is no independent clause before or after it.

>Many felt their skin crawl just walking in the place, its bluish hue seemed otherworldly.

Comma splice.

>looking terribly frustrated

Show me.

>boney

bony

>They had reached the last item on this list,

You're not describing the list, but giving us a definition. Use a colon.

>He hailed from the northeast, and had a personal guard by his side.

No comma.

>Celestia was trying to appear civil

Show me.

>glare at that bodyguard and catapult them

Number mismatch. bodyguard (singular) -> them (plural)

>you did not find yourself safe

Don't address the reader.

>His complaint had been a meager one;

You're defining the complaint. Use a colon.

>“Good.” Celestia stated.

Dialogue punctuation.

>“Mm, no, that will be all.” He told her

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization.

>freeze over in cold

Redundant

>A princess implies a higher authority, yet, Equestria has none.

The second comma is unnecessary.

>My sister and I share our power, and possess advisors and councilors.

No comma.

>Roseheart excused himself, and left.

No comma.

>As soon as the shutting of the main doors announced his full departure,

Odd phrasing.

>Masterstroke was his name.

Why are you just now introducing him?

>shaking her head in disbelief

Telly. The shaking head already gives the impression you want. You can enhance the description if you like, but cut the emotional tell.

>a stone staircase that stretched up, alongside the side of the keep

No comma. And "alongside the side" is redundant.

>used as she and her sisters’

She has multiple sisters? You also have a pronoun/possessive mismatch here. "her and her sister’s"

>‘switched-off’

Double quotes. And I have no idea what this sentence is saying.

>“Yes.” She replied with a cheeky grin.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization.

>Her sister tittered

You've been switching characters to the point that I can't tell who you're referring to here.

>“You’re getting better at that.” She complimented.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization.

>“Of course.” Luna replied proudly.

Same. I'm tired of marking these. Surely you can find them on your own.

>trying to raise protest, managing only to dig herself in deeper.

Missing comma to set off the first participle, and the second is just begging for a "but" to show contrast.

>Every botched attempt at saving herself only amused her sister further.

Telly.

>Luna eventually gave up, and bit down on her tongue.

No comma.

>the hurt look on her sister’s face

Telly.

>It just seemed like a… royal thing to do.

Now you're fighting canon. Luna, upon her return wasn't trying to break a habit. She genuinely knew no other way to speak.

>I have been reading a book, from the library, that speaks of proper royal behavior.

No commas.

>a creature such as him

he

>…If I may be honest, sister, I still have doubts that we chose correctly, to rule.

Unnecessary leading ellipsis and second comma.

>Celestia smirked, quite nearly envious of your humble sister.

She's not my sister.

>an her face faltered

and

>chuckling a little at the corny, yet earnest little phrases her sister could spin

If you're going to use a comma there, pair it with one after "earnest."

>If though hast

thou

Review of "Dear Sister," part 2 3114

>moreso
Two words.

>It seemed to smell of malicious laughter

That bears some explanation. What kinds of smells would evoke that reaction?

Okay. I'm about 4k words in. The point of these corrections is that you learn how to find them yourself. I'm through marking the ones that have been coming up the most, including commas, dialogue punctuation/capitalization, and telly language.

>that effect, muddling directions and sense like that

Repetitive.

>doing this

I've glossed over a number of these. Watch using demonstratives (this, that, these, those, …) as pronouns, since they have vague antecedents that are often large chunks of text, and are self-referential to the narration. Find an appropriate noun to place after it.

>thinner, vertical lines

These are hierarchical adjectives and don't require a comma.

>Luna pulled it from the self

shelf

>but the feel of book

Missing word.

>41 pages

Write out numbers this short.

>IS

Italics are preferred for emphasis, and since you're already in italics, the convention is to un-italicize.

>That was when the ink blot appeared. Dabbed in the center of the page by no outside force, it suddenly swirled, forming large and ornate letters.

Ah. So we've found Tom Mavolo Riddle, have we?

>princess’

You do often see people use this convention, but the proper possessive is princess’s.

>—“

Quotes arre backwards. Some things can break smart quotes, an ending dash included. You'll have to force the correct direction.

>MUSTY

Again, please use the proper convention for emphasis.

>why I should would do anything

Extra/wrong word.

>shunt

I believe you meant "shut."

>sarcastically

youdontsay.png

>THEY DEMAND SHE MAKE HERSELF QUEEN.

Despite the falsehood, even if Luna believed him, she hasn't done so. That doesn't occur to her?

Now that I've waded through a LOT of italics, I'll say that they're fine to mark flashback or dream scenes, as long as they're kept reasonably short. This has gone on far too long for that, and it's getting grating to read. You can easily tag a scene as a dream or flashback with a bit of clever narration and leave it in a normal font.

>paid visit to her

Missing "a."

>This type of thought occurred more often than Luna liked, and she shut them out every time.

You're still giving me her reaction more as a narrated factoid than as a scene for me to watch.

>at this point

This is a horribly self-referential phrase to use in narration.

>Tia shrugged.

Why is the narrator referring to her as such?

>Celestia sputtered hard that name

Something got messed up here. This doesn't parse, and she didn't say a name.

>the end of their destination

Certainly, that's not what you meant to say.

>It had not struck either of the pair until now

Really? They'd seen no plans to suggest that? And the verbiage that it would be visible from all across the land?

>They became aware of an entourage making their way towards them.

Watch the jumbling of all these "they/their/them" antecedents.

>enuff’

What's the apostrophe for? What letters are being eliminated? And your accent is way over the top, bordering on unreadable.

>‘is

Another thing that breaks smart quotes is trying to place an apostrophe at the beginning of a word. This is backwards, and there's another in the sentence.

>socks of drink

"Stocks," I presume.

>KR-FOOOOOOM

Sound effects. No. Describe the sound.

>sorry—“

More broken quotes.

>t-through

Think of what sound would actually be repeated here. th-through

I'm not buying the storm excuse. Neither princess would have seen a schedule? The storm can't be confined to farmland? One more day makes that much difference to the drought? If it's truly a drought, at least several days of rain would be required. Bunching it into one less day or sliding the whole thing back a day isn't going to make a difference.

>miniscule

Preferred spelling is minuscule.

>thine petty excuses

Thy. "Thine" is used as "yours" or when the following word begins with a vowel.

>TOLD—“

More broken quotes.

>help—“

And again.

>That night, at Everfree Keep, Luna sat alone in the library. Her sister had yet to return, and most of their menagerie had followed them to the soon-to-be capital. The halls were awfully quiet that night

Repetition

>2:30

Write it out.

>The breakfast she’d enjoyed was, truthfully, not enjoyable in any sense.

Then why did you pick that verb? Maybe this is supposed to be clever, but it's just coming across as poor word choice.

>and assistant opening up a scroll for him to read

I assume you meant "an."

>Manehattan

I agree that this should be the spelling, but unfortunately, canon appears to be Manehatten.

>“Princess”

Single quotes.

>Years’

Year’s

>She tried to keep her pace even, slowly, and regal as a princess should move

You have adjective, adverb, adjective where they should all be adjectives.

>she took down from the spot it hung

Missing word.

>if it was possible

Hypothetical or wishful scenarios use subjunctive mood. "if it were possible"

>thousand-fold

One word, no hyphen.

>still writing in silent agony

Wow. In all that turmoil, she still finds time to put pen to paper.

>spread over her leg. It came to her chest, spreading

Repetitive.

>But whatever her reasoning were

Verb conjugation.

>hand-crafted

What is this "hand" you speak of?

>was he most expansive, luxurious personal study

Typo.

>purchase and collected

Verb tense inconsistency.

>tarp meant to catch falling paint

Yes. Yes, that would be its purpose. You don't need to state the obvious. Or you could just call it a drop cloth.

>A step higher than them

they

>that may well be grander

Verb tense inconsistency.

>out of breath and clearly mortified

Need commas on both ends of this participle.

>E-everfree

It's a proper noun, so both starts need to be capitalized.

>Engufled

Typo. And unless the colon refers to speech or multiple sentences, don't capitalize after it.

>pushed, and she pushed

Repetitive, and if it's intentional, it doesn't work, since in one sense she's the push's subject and in the other, its object.

>Even if it was

Subjunctive mood again. were

>A colossal, black bubble

Hierarchical adjectives. No comma.

>just a few second

seconds

>She would save the day, surely.

Why the brief perspective shift into her soldiers' heads? It's jarring.

>The old, white stallion

Hierarchical adjectives. No comma.

>smiled a tired smile

youdontsay.png

>your majesty

I believe you'd capitalized this term before.

>as an addendum to his previous comment

Obvious and unnecessary.

>‘cause

Another broken quote.

>Sam’s Apples

Wut

>I’ll try my hand

Really? Where did she get one?

>princess’

princess’s

>These were not the constellation

Number mismatch.

>if Luna was to be found anywhere

Subjunctive mood. were

>princess’

princess’s

>BETRAYOR

betrayer

>eviscerating the rope

Are you sure that word means what you think it means? I've never seen a rope with organs.

>coup de grâce

Foreign phrases should be rendered in italics, or here, in regular font.

>Luna?…

You've got that punctuation in the wrong order.

>princes

Typo.

>20

Spell it out. And all the subsequent ones too.

>butterflies fluttered listlessly

Odd word choice, given the festive atmosphere.

General problems:
-Dialogue punctuation/capitalization
-Comma usage with compound verbs. For single subjects with two verbs and two subjects, each with its own verb, you are consistently backwards in whether or not to use a comma.
-Frequent other comma misses.
-Your leading ellipses are rarely called for.
-Word repetition. Begin/began/start: 37, Turn: 33, Just: 36, Look: 41, Seem: 44, Feel/felt: 34. These are all pretty high, but the feel/felt count is most concerning, as most if not all of them are used for blatant telling.
-Sentence structure gets repetitive in places, particularly ones that begin subject-verb. It can bog the story down and create the feel of a list.

Characterization/Plot:
Pretty good, actually. I get a strong sense of who Celestia and Luna are, and they fit well with what we see in canon. The plot was also interesting. So why was this story so difficult to plow through? The middle dragged horribly, and I repeatedly had to force myself onward for the purpose of completing this review, as I'd already gauged where to rank it in voting. The beginning was fine, as we learn what's happening and settle in. The end was fine, as the action keeps us entertained. But the middle is where all of the character development happens, and it was incredibly flat. What killed it is massive amounts of telling.

I'll go over it again here. The best way to communicate a character's emotions is by showing me how she looks and acts, thereby leaving me to interpret her emotions. We are hardwired to perceive emotion that way in real life, so it's much more engaging when writing does the same thing. Show me that character's actions, speech, body language, posture, reactions, thoughts, posture. And give me a good variety. If you're watching a movie, and the character wlks into view saying, "I'm sad," is that interesting? It gives you the information you need, but it's a cold fact. Instead, he won't make eye contact, gets distracted easily, fidgets, has bloodshot eyes, slumps in his seat, etc. By painting the picture and letting the reader interpret the emotion, you've made him identify with the character and think about your story. It makes for a much more engaging read. The most common traps for telling are naming emotions outright, using them as -ly adverbs, and using "in/with <emotion/attitude>" phrases.

Without showing, I'm not invested in the characters. I have no connection to them, and don't care as much about what happens to them. Because of this, much of the story read like a history textbook's account of events rather than an emotional journey.

You also have a difficult hurdle in describing the actions of Discord's book. The visual effects you relate just don't work well through a written medium, so it puts much of the work on me to visualize the scene, much like the telling problem. A lot of the physical description was repetitive and described the page's behavior in terms of the emotions it's trying to get across, which is exactly the same thing as telling. Representing visual effects through writing is not easy, so you have quite a task ahead of you here.

Finally, there were a few places where your perspective shifts unnecessarily. Be mindful of whose thoughts the narrator is communicating, and avoid shifting too often or abruptly into other points of view. The effect is jarring to the reader. There are valid reasons for changing perspective, but make sure it's necessary and done smoothly.

Overall:
A morass bookended by goodness, but a nice start on what could be an emotional story. A lot of the hand-wringing felt overblown, and maybe an obvious grab for word count, seeing how these write-offs usually go. But that can be fixed as well. Keep writing and have fun with it.

Review of "Spikes and Stones" 3115

Spikes and Stones:

This one's already been sent to the author, but I'll post it here for anyone that's interested.

Mechanics and Details:
Your dash-demarked asides are getting repetitive just a few paragraphs in.

>It’s only a little larger than me

"I," not "me." Does Spike know that? Your call.

>It raises a sandstone foot

Wait, what? You described it as granite before, or at least its fist. Why would it be made of such different materials? Sandstone in particular isn't very strong. Plus, Spike can eat gems. I don't see how these materials would be a problem.

>With an earth-rending crack

Introductory elements leading into the subject are usually set off with a comma.

>smile in satisfaction

Ranging into telly language here.

>Before the golem could process that

Weak use of a demonstrative.

>I can’t tear my eyes away from the shattered stones the golem leaves in its wake.

Sandstone feet aren't going to put up with this kind of punishment.

>In a few seconds

Missing comma.

>the straps on broken the plate armor

Swapped words. And you mentioned mithril before. Is he wearing that inside the plate? It's usually envisioned as a fine chain shirt worn under the armor.

>never mind it being roughly ten times as heavy.

"Its" instead of "it" here, but I'm not going into the long explanation of why. Ten times as heavy as Spike? It's vague whether you mean that. Also note that you describe the golem as weighing several tons (and possibly only its hand or arm as weighing that much, since you specified granite, but later mentioned sandstone feet), so one tenth of that potentially makes Spike unbelievably big.

>With a roar

Another missing comma.

>stampedes towards me

Odd word choice. "Stampede" connotes running away from something, not at a target, and it also connotes a group action.

>an awkward lop

lope

>freshly-shortened

-ly adverbs are generally exempt from hyphenation, except under specific circumstances.

>stripping off a layer from the ruby

"Layer" implies cleavage planes. In fact, corundum has no observed cleavage and uneven fracture. It wouldn't break like that.

>Even with it inside the bag I can feel its steely gaze.

Missing comma.

>Golem’s

That should be a plural, not a possessive.

>from its single scarred eye

Another missing comma.

>I could see a fury that would outmatch even the most explosive of volcanoes. What little hesitation it had possessed was long gone now.

You're lapsing out of your present tense here.

>A shadow looms and I look up to see my end.

Two separate subject/verb pairs. Separate the clauses with a comma.

>With a wet tearing sound

Another missing comma.

>I feel something sprout from my back and a shadow falls over me.

And again.

>back then I felt like I had failed her

Missing comma.

>wings, poking and prodding at its

Number mismatch.

>two-thousand year-old

Hyphenate the whole thing.

>With a wave

Missing comma.

>Within seconds of me sitting down a stack of gems

Similar to the previous instance I didn't care to explain, "me" should be "my." You also have a syntax problem here. It's possible you meant "setting" instead of "sitting," but I suspect you're just missing an "on."

>boiling mead

That'd tend to cook off the alcohol rather quickly, yes?

>down my chin as I put the vessel down

Repetition.

>Again, the other dragons join in on it and dust falls from the roof as the cacophony echoes a thousand times.

Missing comma.

>As I bite into it

Missing comma.

>the sun’s light peaks into the cave

I believe you meant "peeks."

>Some of the revellers have gone off to their alcove

Do they all share one, or do you mean "alcoves?"

>Some of the revellers have gone off to their alcove to sleep off their excess, most sleep it off on the floor.

Comma splice.

>Don’t worry, I’m fine

Comma splice.

>the bruising has almost healed and it only hurts when I take a really deep breath.

Missing comma.

>It was a dumb decision on my part and he actually saved me in the end.

Missing comma.

>three-thousand

No hyphen.

>One time I asked him how a dragon grows a beard and he told me ‘Very carefully’.

Missing comma, and use double quotes.

>is that the kind of love I had for Rarity?

He doesn't know?

There were also quite a few instances where the sentence structure became repetitive, with a lot of subject-verb openings. While keeping things simple can help with action sequences, particularly in the youthful sections, too much bogs the narrative down and makes it feel more like a list.

Characterization:
Spike seems okay, but there's something missing. Now that I've finished, I see how the whole thing fits together, but I'm not going to go back and edit my detailed comments to reflect that. However, Spike takes on too mature a voice, particularly while young. I get that he may be exposed to more sohpisticated linguistics while at the library, but in practice, he never used them, and Twilight dumbed down at least one letter so that he could write it. And there's no indication that there's an atmosphere among the dragons that would continue to foster that ability such that his later narrative was even more flowery. Compare the text of his letter to the other narration of young Spike. They're mismatched.

Once I realized what was going on, though, I felt a strange separation from Spike. I get some emotion from him about his initial journey to be with the dragons, but more excitement than apprehension. Especially since his letter indicates he went out on a lark, in a costume that he thought would never work. Had he actually prepared for an extended absence under those circumstances? He doesn't mention doing so. I'd expect he didn't say a proper good-bye then, but it's never addressed that he had to make do once he decided to stay or went back, either for some time or just for a supply/hug run. Then older Spike is utterly stoic about his separation from Twilight. Still a connection, yes, but nothing on the order of missing her, and there's no sense of anticipation at the end that he's going to see his old friends again. There's a spark missing here that doesn't really make this Spike for me.

Plot:
My first impression was that Spike was having some imaginary adventure and kept oscillating between levels of immersion in the fantasy. It wasn't until the letter that I had an inkling of what was going on. It relies on the reader being able to decipher several things, which may be a bit of a stretch. Giving the reader a nice "aha" moment is one thing, but having to decipher multiple things to get the full effect may be asking too much. It depends on how accessible you want your story to be to the average reader.

Now, let me be clear. I'm speaking to acessbility as understanding the story, not enjoying it. That's a different matter. While I can't say I enjoyed the story more than average, it was still well-written, and a good reviewer should be able to recognize good writing in a story he doesn't enjoy and still help make it more effective. So, I'm not going to tell you that the storytelling method is invalid, because that would be a false assertion. Stories like this exist. They work. They just don't work for me. That fact doesn't make a story bad.

While an action-only story can amuse and even be interesting, it's the emotional connection that makes it memorable and gives the reader something to think about. I'd encourage you to up the ante on that front.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review of "Winona" 3116

Winona:

Mechanics/Details:
>I might not have as much book learnin’ as the pony following
Inconsistency in clipping g's from Applejack's words.

>Wasn’t nothin’ else he could have been, anyhow.

That accent's a bit thick for her. Well, it's more the syntax than the accent. They've never played her as having less than average intelligence in canon. The grammar's not perfect to be sure, but it smacks more of colloquialisms than ignorance.

>the way they’re supposed to; and at the bottom of the hill

Technically, you can use a conjunction right after a semicolon, but the practice is generally discouraged, as many readers find it to be choppy and redundant.

The sheer number of semicolons in Applejack's speech is somewhat undermining its character.

>with a grunt

That's an introductory element leading to its clause's subject, so would usually be followed by a comma. You could place commas on both ends, really, but one in front would be a bit obtrusive.

>20 lengths

Spell numbers out, unless they're quite long.

>one second there’s snow nearly stacked to your barrel and then in a flash of light and steam it’s all gone.

There's another introductory element that needs a comma here, but you're also missing a comma between clauses. There are two subjects here, each with its own verb.

>Winona just about jumped out of her skin, and spent the next few minutes

And here's the opposite issue. One subject is linked to two verbs, so you don't need to separate them with a comma, unless the first one has so much description attached to it that the reader will need help keeping it organized.

>one the patrol pegasi

Missing word.

>‘em

There are a few situations that break smart quotes. One is a leading apostrophe. Smart quotes will give you a single open quote, which is backwards. You'll have to force the right one. I won't mark any more of these; just scan for them yourself.

>Then out of the corner of my eye

Another intro phrase without a comma.

>She was cradling this dragon in her forelegs like he was her own foal; and in a way he was.

Here's another semicolon/conjunction that doesn't feel right. How does the semicolon improve upon a comma here, which wouldn't look odd.

>she had raised him every step of the way

Well… did she? It's unclear how much of his infancy he actually spent with her, and as young as she was when she passed the entrance exam, would it be fair to have her basically caring for a child? Canon doesn't say, but Word of Faust is that she envisioned Celestia raising him until Twilight was old enough.

>on account

The southernism typically includes an "of."

>oneself is to be counted

That's not the way reflexive pronouns work. Just use "one" here.

>amoung

Can't say I've ever seen that spelling, but I'll allow that it may be an acceptable one if you know it to be.

>Perhaps upon my sister’s awakening

Intro phrase. Comma.

>at the very least

Intro phrase. Comma.

>console

Transitive verb requires a direct object.

>I find it a most unpleasant place, and spend as little time there as circumstances permit.

Unnecessary comma.

>I must admit curiosity got the better of me, I undertook the rather arduous journey

Comma splice.

>nyxscape

-1 for even coming close to mentioning that monstrosity.

>dark, grey Canterlot… dark, heavy clouds

Repetitive.

>The owner of the dream appeared as an aged purple unicorn as she cowered before a towering leviathan of a dragon. Lights danced in the windows of the Library as scrolls and books were consumed by an inferno of wyrm fire.

Watch it. You've got an identical structure to these consecutive sentences, right down to the "as" clauses. Hell, the next sentence is like this, too.

>erebal

You sure that shouldn't be capitalized? Sure, words like stygian aren't, but this isn't a standard word.

>Winona and me was

Yeah, that's too much. She doesn't speak like this in canon.

>Course’n

As a fully licensed southerner, I have never heard this.

>going to

Now you're slipping into a more formal tone with Applejack.

>smart lookin’

Hyphenate.

>Slick

You do this earlier with "Sugarcube." You'll get different opinions from different folks, but unless it's an official nickname, you don't need to capitalize. They're just generic terms of endearment. You wouldn't capitalize kid, dear, or darling, for example.

>to pick you be

Missing word.

>“So, whatcha doin’?” He asked.

Speech tag capitalization error. The question mark gets treated just like the normal comma for that purpose. You get it right elsewhere, so I'll assume this one is an oversight.

>Dinkins’

It's common to do this with words ending in "s," but the proper possessive is Dinkins's.

>the yellow snow around Rudy’s trunk.

Wait, what? Winona's a girl… She's not going to look for objects to pee against.

>but I couldn’t help but

Repetitive.

>“And how long do ponies live?”

This conversation is getting talking heads. Nothing's changing my mental picture from having them stand around stock-still. Show me what they're doing while they talk, the little tics that carry most of the emotion and all the things that are left unsaid.

>The only circumstance more remarkable than finding myself within the dream of a Leviathan, was finding that the beast knew who I was and watching that monster melt away into its waking form, that of a baby dragon.

Hm. That first comma shouldn't be there. Leviathan isn't a proper noun, and refers to a sea monster, which Spike isn't. The sentence is trying to do too much. It starts with a focus on how Luna feels, then transitions into a revelation about Spike, which just ends up muddling both points. There's also a lot that doesn't parse. "Circumstance" (singular) -> "the beast knew who I was" and "watching that monster…" (two things, and the second isn't really a circumstance, but more watching something play out).

>Canterville

Huh? Where's that?

>The First Pony. Faustus.

Oh, good. Meta. Just what I was hoping.

>Because your friend knows something that it took me over a thousand years to realize: you must treasure

You're being inconsistent about capitalizing after a colon. Technically, you're only supposed to if the colon covers multiple sentences, and in previous instances, it wasn't at all clear to me that it did.

>Before my—shall we say ‘incident’?

Luna's already used this conceit once, and it just feels repetitive to see it again.

>I grew upset that their waking hours were outside of my purview

But that's not really the case. Ponies don't go to bed as soon as it gets dark. She'd have the opportunity if she really wanted it.

>You must understand that you are blessed in a similar way, and will know your friends in a way that is unique to you.

Unnecessary comma, and find a synonym to avoid repeating "way."

>thoughts quite weighty for what is for his race to be considered an infant

That's a rather convoluted phrasing, particularly with the nested "for" phrases.

>I pondered, as I gazed into the horizon of this sunset dream sky.

This soundds like it was meant to be a attribution with the previous sentence as a direct thought. Note that comma usage with "as" has a subtle effect on its meaning. No comma tends more toward "at the same time that," which is the meaning you have here. Using a comma tends toward "because." Of, course there are times that some other rule of grammar may require a comma there, but not in this instance.

>they can be unpredictable and one would be well advised

Missing comma.

>that’s just a name they give it because it makes things move

How does a nurse know that?

>bright white with magical power,

Absolute phrases will need commas on both ends.

>this is Honest Applejack here, so you know I ain’t makin’ this up

That's veered over the line into addressing the reader.

>*is*

Emphasis with italics, please.

>“Go back to her,” I smiled, “And I shall see you in the daylight, Spike.”

"I smiled" isn't a proper speech tag. Even if it were, when you continue the quote afterward in this manner, it woulldn't be capitalized.

>the dream, the dream

Repetitive, and I don't see a stylistic reason for it.

>I lunged forward to catch her, just in time for the leviation spell to break and drop Spike on the both of us. It took a spell before the other ponies who had been keeping their distance finally started crowding forward.

Okay… how did Applejack get through the shield spell? If it was down, why didn't the nurse come forward already? And then when they do, they're trying to figure out how Twilight did it? Shouldn't they be looking at Spike and seeing if he needs additional care? You don't just recover from hypothermia like that.

>and to top it all off

Intro phrase needs comma.

>I gave him and Twilight a hug,

That's not a proper speech tag.

I didn't catch you being telly, but your setup was one that's not ripe for it: focus characters that are observers to the action rather than participants. So, to keep them in their roles, you're naturally in a showing mode.

Now, the word choice was a little elevated for my taste. As a farmer, Applejack probably does know more of the jargon than average (the word "gaskin" comes to mind), but on the other hand, she doesn't speak that way in canon. You could certainly argue that it's because that would lose the intended audience, and you wouldn't be wrong. However, it's also inconsistent with the particularly thick accent and bad mechanics you've given her, which definitely is over-the-top with respect to canon.

Now, to Luna. The fancier diction works better for her, but still goes over the line at times. If you're going to throw a word at a reader that he's likely never seen before, make sure it's done because it has the precise meaning you need. For example, what meaning do you lose by substituting something like "dreamscape" or "subconscious" for "erebal plane?" It just comes across as showing off unless you can point to some reason why that word, and only that word, will do. Again, it feels inconsistent, because while her linguistics do appear somewhat elevated, I'm still not encountering that many vocabulary terms. She's also rather dispassionate about what's happening to Spike. She seeme a little too matter-of-fact about the whole thing, particularly because she should know what Spike means to ponies that she cares about. Look at how she behaved in Scootaloo's dream: giving advice, yes, but also smiling and winking at her to put her at ease. Since this situation is much more dire, shouldn't she be even more supportive and a little less, well, cold?

For both, also consider that the first-person narration essentially constitutes internal thought, and particularly for Luna, would she really be speaking to herself that formally?

The scene-break headings telling me who the perspective character is are really off-putting. They're just hitting me over the head. Surely, you could have come up with a subtler way of letting me know who each was. And after a few transitions, it'll be clear to the reader what's happening, and merely re-establishing the setting or voice would be enough. Since you never break from your back-and-forth pattern, it would quickly be obvious.

I'm going to skip the characterization and plot analysis, because I've already covered them. The overall plot is fine, except for the details I've noted, and the characters are well-drawn, except for the diction issues I've just discussed.

Overall:
I liked the story and its message, but it struck me as being just a little incongruous at the end. Spike wants to make sure Applejack appreciates Winona, but did he really get what she'd been saying in the first place? He must not think Applejack's got the right attitude about Winona if he's going to bring it up like that. Wouldn't he see their relationship in a new light now and appreciate it all the more, trusting that Applejack knows how to handle it? I'd see more of an "I understand now" than a "make sure you know what you have." Consider also that in his position, he would identify more closely with Applejack in that analogy—the one that's going to outlive loved ones. His advice to Applejack isn't coming from experience, so it's not a "take it from me" attitude. I'd almost expect more of an "I love you, Twilight, and everyone else, and I'm never going to stop making sure you all know that, for as long as I can," since that's the perspective in which he finds himself.

Axis of Rotation 3117

Congratulation Casca, Pracca, Ion_Strum, and Hayseedturniptruck on getting top three! Certainly wasn't expecting a tie. Great job to everyone else who wrote—I certainly enjoyed pretty much everything I read.

This has been bugging me forever though—what the heck are "controversial stories?" Should I be happy I made the second slot for that?

Anyway, it was a lot of fun guys, and I'm looking forward to the next one. Perhaps I'll actually be able to finish, haha

>>3100
Hmm, I wouldn't mind hearing a few general thoughts you had about it, though only if you've read it. If not, then don't worry about it.

3119

>>3117
If I didn't review it, I didn't read it.

Controversial refers to the stories with the highest spread of votes, as measured by standard deviation. Consider a story that rated two 5's and another that gets a 2 and an 8. They both have an average of 5, but the first has no spread, while the second shows conflicting opinions.
This post was edited by its author on .

A Response Pracca 3120

>>3113
>>3114

Thank you VERY much for taking the time to read through my little abomination of a wordcount. wasn't necessarily trawling for anything by making it so long, though it may have been an unconscious reaction to my last entry, which was criticized (fairly, I suppose) that it was short and lacked the buildup to develop emotional attachment to the character. You could call this going to the opposite end of the spectrum. Hopefully in the future I can find a happy medium.

The grammar, I cannot defend myself on. Been an issue from day one of my writing, and having only two days to write on account of my own idiocy left me with minimal time to edit. I'll take into account what you said, though, and see if I can find a way to make myself a little less repetitive.

And WOW, top three? That was certainly not anything I expected. Glad people *checks the score*… got some mild enjoyment out of it.

This was a lot of fun, and congrats to all the others. Some awesome stuff here.

RESULTS ARE OUT Casca!blANCA/Sq2 3121

File: 1357455829680.png (148.16 KB, 564x498, smile.png)

>>3112
Leave it to Pasco to find the inconsistency that is the hallmark of anything I write. Thank you very much for pointing out the unicorn magic bit; I'll iron that out for sure. Ah, and that Canterlot-Everfree Castle bit, too. Confound canon.

>all is known

>wat
>…oh
>swaps out inferior pony pic for glorious Patchu

>right mood

>tease
>ending
Bingo on all counts. It's an extremely mood-reliant story, the kind of which cannot stand the harsh light of day and is enhanced greatly in the presence of cold drafts. I adore the style, though I've never thought about the risks that followed. Certainly interesting stuff to think about. Now I'll have to wait until the American winter to release this. Drat

>interpretation

Absolutely correct.

>If that's the case, then why did the previous scene leave off the way it did?

When I started out the story, I only had the ending in mind: nameless pony falls to his death. As the story progressed, I realized that the direction wouldn't allow me to make it definite. There was a brief toying with having the last section be a newspaper article, but it would break structure too much, so I settled for the soft ending.

It's pretentious, but I wanted the reader to make up his/her mind whether he died or not, and those of a more thinking disposition would realize "wait, I actually want him to live" -> "hey, I see what you did there". Or at least that's what I decided to go with after finishing. Really, it ended that way because it was the only way I could see it ending.

Oh, also, there wasn't a section talking about "It's the n-th day" in the last bit to suggest that this was before everything, but maybe I could tweak a few words to make it more obvious.

Any suggestions to how a better ending might be achieved will be welcomed for strong consideration.

Also, the obligatory origins bit that people might find interesting:
This was written a few days after I returned from a mission trip to the interior, delivering Christmas presents to village kids. By village, I mean surrounded by forests, takes 30 minutes to drive there by gravel road, availability of running water pending kind of village. The joy, friendliness, that amazing honesty I saw in those village kids despite being residents of, statistically, the poorest region in the state - and we don't even have a minimum wage in this country - struck me hard, and before I knew it, it had leaked into the main character. So I went on and made him that - poor, but as sincere and honest as a pony could ever be. Themes of family, prejudice, and giving encouragement to those who needed it just grew naturally.

The union was there for delicious juxtaposition. There were vague plans to have a section with the griffon chief saving NamNar (nameless narrator) from a dare, but that was because I thought I saw a boulder on the platform in the background, and when I checked, it wasn't there anymore.

Yep, I based mine on a tiny background detail in "My First New Year's Alone" http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/art/26-My-First-New-Years-Alone which wasn't even there.

The original title was "TLaTo a Blue Collar Worker", but that was way too pretentious, so it was changed at the last moment.

The title change was inspired by Ion-Sturm, interestingly, and the verbal tics (dinna, canna) by Seattle, because I find them to sound nice.

Also, coming up with plot twists is hard. ;_;


A round of congratulations to everyone! Especially to Hayseed and axis_of_rotation, whom I hadn't heard of until now but have produced works I particularly enjoyed. See ya on the Fimfic side. Also request for permission to use the art as a cover to Conicer, in the off-chance that he/she's paying attention to the thread.
This post was edited by its author on .

Ion-Sturm 3123

File: 1357456333263.gif (Spoiler Image,1.72 MB, 268x199, 7TY4o.gif)

>>3117
>Congratulation Casca, Pracca, Ion_Strum, and Hayseedturniptruck on getting top three!
>Casca, Pracca, Ion_Strum, and Hayseedturniptruck
>Ion_Strum
>Strum
>Pic is dat feel when (suggestive NSFW)

>Certainly wasn't expecting a tie

When you've got ratings down to the hundredths, it's not too likely. Eh, I'm good with a tie for third; I didn't think I would get a place on the podium this time. Congrats to Casca for the win, and I suppose I should give Dear Sister a loo—
>Wordcount
…that might be something for the weekend.

>>3121
>The title change was inspired by Ion-Sturm, interestingly
Really? In what way? Certainly not the "Honest" bit.

Axis of Rotation 3124

Another question for anyone who can answer it: on the scoreboard page, when you click on the score number besides your name and a you're provided with the score for each fic—how is that number determined? Because it's not the same as what's shown on the results page, and it's kinda confusing me, to be honest. If anyone can clear that up, thanks.

>>3121
Crap dangit, I feared while reading you were going to kill him off. So I'm glad you went with the more open ending, that way I can ignore your intentions and come up with my own happy interpretation XD

And thanks for the compliment, Casca; congrats on first place.

Also: you went on a missions trip? That's awesome—never been on one myself, but I plan on it someday.

>>3123
Ha…ha…whoops. Well, you now have my permission to misspell my name.

Perhaps it was a subconscious response to the fact you beat me??
This post was edited by its author on .

3129

>>3124
No, that's one of Roger's tricks. The site flips my name between "Sturm" and "Strum". Someone else also gets that treatment. Don't remember who, though.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 3136

IT'S OVER @[email protected] It was nice having the extra time to read and vote due to the holidays, but boy did that drag things out.

Congrats to Casca, not just for winning, but for consistently outputting solid works in a short period. No one can beat you! Also congrats to Ion for writing my favorite piece in this writeoff. :D

>>3112
>There are consistent comma issues
You leave my commas alone! >:|

>First, since all is now known, let me say that I found it quite surprising that you found my story dull, because they're cut from the same cloth.

Implying I did not find my own story dull. D: Which I do.

The whole point of this was to try narrative switching without scene breaks. I wanted to just flip from one to the next to suggest that perhaps this was all happening in one character's head. But yeah, I was not very invested in this story. I blame the prompts.

>>3129
That would be me: "Present Prefect". I think there's a third in our little group of name shenanigans, too.
This post was edited by its author on .

3138

>>3129
Lies. All lies.

The site's code is public, just saying.

3140

File: 1357482884691.jpg (183.69 KB, 850x850, royal_flare_3.jpg)

>>3123
Something along the lines of "hmm, Ion's going to read this… you know, he might think this is pretentious", really. Just a completely random thought,heh.

>>3124
It's a very humbling experience, and I highly recommend it. I went with my church, but there are NGOs who do this kinda thing too.

>>3129
I have a hunch that it's Pav Fire.
>pic

3142

Now we all wait for next week, when Roger will throw three of these all at once.

Why? Just because.

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 3144

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Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the shenanigans. Congrats to the winners Casca, Pasca, Strum and Hayseed. I hope to one day consume your souls and writing abilities.

Ion-Sturm 3145

File: 1357498195888.png (102.59 KB, 1500x1500, okay-okay-l[1].png)

>>3136
Thanks ^_^.

This madness must end!

>>3140
Eh, I suppose it could be interpreted that way, but it wasn't terrible enough to really demand attention. Now, if it was The Chronicles of an Honest Pony, we could have a problem.

>>3144
>Strum
Sometimes, I feel like I should just change my name to that :|

3146

File: 1357498490868.png (76.34 KB, 269x241, .. (2).PNG)

Welp, as usual, I didn't make the cut. Again, an expected failure. Doesn't matter though. I wrote the damn thing, and that's what matters.

as is my custom, I'll go ahead and say it:

My name is Garnot. I wrote "Lavender" I screwed it up beyond any hope of repair.

And I'm damn proud of it.


Congratulations to Casca for taking top spot. Also Congrats to Ion, Hayseed and Pracca for taking the other spots.

I'll guess I'll see you all next write off.

Edit
Well, seems like I've just been informed that YOU CAN edit your work after its posted.

Heh, seems like I could have fixed my horrendous crime against humanity, but didn't due to ignorance.

Ah well. Maybe next time (which I will fail, as per custom).
This post was edited by its author on .

Wooden-Spoon Winning Author of "Winona" 3162

Woo! I got a bronze! And a wooden spoon! (What were the wooden spoons for again?)

3164

>>3162
Wooden spoon refers to a last-place finish, but it's a little more than that. Roger would have to tell you the specifics.

Hayseed Turniptruck 3165

>>3116
The entirety of that text was copied to a text file for future study. Quite helpful.

I was wondering where all the missing and duplicated words went; they are the spell-check-escaping bane of my existence. I have a bad habit of editing ideas before the sentence is finished, which leaves lots of those mistakes in its wake.

Applejack tends to get lines that shuttle back and forth between Texas via Vancouver and Tennessee via Vancouver; my head-canon makes her Arkansas because I can.

"Amoung" (and for that matter most of Applejack's high-falutin' vocab) come from the fact that I am a Southeastern Illinois hillbilly (stone's throw from Possum Trot, KY) who was forced to read Thomas Hardy in my younger days. I dunno if he used as many semicolons, but I picked those up somewhere and can't get rid of them. I love a barrage of semicolon-laden sentences punctuated with the rimshot of a simple three word sentence.

Interestingly, Spike's "Make sure Winona knows she's loved"
was a clumsy attempt to say just what you're looking for: He's come to terms with the fact that he's surrounded by Winonas and wants to make sure they know he treasures their relatively fleeting existence. As is evident by my art submissions, I suck at subtle.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to dig into the nuts and bolts of the story; mechanics is definitely not my strong suit.


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