Okay, so I'm glad you liked my characterization. That much was good, I guess.
But hoh, lawdy.
Okay, so here's my dilemna. In this fic, Twilight actually goes through the events of RCW and then dies just before reaching the Elements of Harmony, where in canon she was merely captured. I originally had that shown explitly, but several people persuaded me to take it out and just imply it instead. So just to be clear: it's not a dream. It was merely the first, mostly-canon, go-around. If I need to remove or de-emphasize the "dream" idea, then okay, but otherwise, I'm not sure how else to work around that.
One thing that I could change would be to have Chrysalis be more prepared than in canon, and for her to take Twilight out early by herself. But that'd require a divergence from canon, a huge different in knowledge for Twilight, and consequentially, an essential re-telling of the events that lead to Cadance being freed (which is why I gave Twilight that knowledge beforehand, so we wouldn't be retreading familiar ground).
As for Telling…I honestly don't know what to do about this. This is a time loop/time travel fic, and Twilight can't confide in anypony; at the same time, she needs to come to a lot of her own conclusions. So, barring just making her thought processes interesting to follow (which I attempted to do), I literally see no other way that I can fix this issue.
Pacing-wise…I really don't know. I mean, if Twilight sees evidence, then she changes her mind. I don't know if, for example, I should add in something extra to subtly influence her mind between the suspicions and finding the cave, but given Twilight's analytical nature, she's going straight for the thing that will prove or disprove her hypothesis; she isn't Rainbow Dash.
As for the struggle or triumph? I really don't know. I mean, again, I could change canon completely, but that'd kind of detract from the point of the exercise. I need this situation, this crisis, as a centerpiece for the time loop (because I'm using it as a red herring, and as an easy way to explore different situations), but I'm starting to wonder if I should just trash the RCW angle altogether. If I did that, then, I could just switch first off the to loops, but there'd be total confusion for at least three chapters before the readers figured anything out.
So yeah. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, or how I can change what I either consider necessary, given the context of the story (Twilight's telling, which I don't believe can be framed any other way to get that information across to the reader), or what I've invested in as a total part of my story (which is kind of essential to kickstart the plot; even Best Night Ever, which was the original poni Groundhog Day, had a central event that triggered it).
Okay, look. Here's my dilemna, straight out. And maybe this is an insanely long post, it's 12:30 AM, and I should be asleep. But here I go.
The reason the story is called "Glitched" is because the universe is just that: glitched, fractured, broken down. It's paused like a broken record on this one week of RCW, and circumstances make Twilight think that she needs to defeat the changelings in order to stop the loops (she believes it's the Elements of Harmony, it makes sense in context, yadda yadda yadda.) Of course, it turns out that she's wrong, there's no situation in Equestria itself that needs to be solved (it's extradimensional, hence the SciFi angle), and so she wanders a bit until she is able to bring Rarity into the loops. Their exploration of Equestria and their situation and relationship, like Groundhog Day (I suppose), is the driving force of the plot until the Glitch begins to reveal itself in full force.
So there you have it. The whole plot of the first arc laid out, and I have no idea where to go with it, seeing as the story's apparently terrible as is. So I'm just stumped, Umbra. I don't know what to do, or what I even should be trying to do.