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File: 1356937351106.png (157.82 KB, 900x481, Mare 6.png)

Umbra's review thread: [Insert Cleverness] Edition Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 2953

I think the image says it all. I do not play games when I review. I may be blunt. My criticisms may make you want to cry, or fornicate me with a large piece of metal. I may act like an asshole, but I promise I have every intent of making your story everything it can be. That being said, the rules.


1) Be kind and courteous. Even I follow this rule, the exception being when I am reviewing in Hardcore mode. More on that in a moment.

2) Follow the MLPchan guidelines. That means no clop and no excessive gore, or more accurately, not publicly. If you have a story that violates the MLPchan guidelines, I will usually still review it. Email it to me at [email protected]

3) Be patient. Christmas season is the most docile time of my life. I will be able to review without much delay during the next couple of weeks, but by the middle of January, all bets are off. I will do my best to remain active after that, but I can't make any promises.

4) Nothing over 7,500 words. If this seems unfair or strange, try to understand that excessively long stories are part of the reason that my past threads have failed. With each new iteration, I do my best to create new rules that expedite the process. If you have a one-shot longer than this, submit it in pieces.

5) EDIT: Submissions should be through Google Documents with comments turned on. This is the easiest way for me to point out specific problems.

6) EDIT: Inform me if your story is being looked at by another reviewer. If someone else finishes their review of your story before I do, let me know so I can decide if my review is necessary.

With the rules down, let's talk hardcore (and get your mind out of the gutter).

Hardcore (TM) mode is a specific style of review I offer. When I review in Hardcore mode, I will (brutally) point out every minuscule error using a combination of swear words, offensive analogies, and whatever else I feel like. To give you an idea of what this is like, I regularly crash documents from the sheer volume of comments I leave.

Hardcore reviews are horrible, but it's what I recommend if you want your story to truly shine. Now, should you want a Hardcore review, you must explicitly request it by stating "I would like a hardcore review" in some way during your post.

I believe that's it. Let the story dumping begin.
This post was edited by its author on .

Unmarked Review Croswynd 2958

File: 1356981452783.jpg (121.08 KB, 894x894, image.jpg)

Howdy. I have Unmarked being reviewed by a couple of people here, but the starting prologue and first chapter are under 7.5k, and that's the part that draws in the readers, so I hope you don't mind reviewing them.

Chapters may be found here: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/5108/unmarked

Synopsis: Purpose. In Equestria, where purpose is defined by the mark on your flank, it is often taken for granted. Yet Novell has grown to adulthood without a single explanation of where he fits in. It's not until a chance meeting with a particular Professor that he gets the opportunity to explore the world and find out exactly where he belongs. Of course, adventuring has a host of its own problems, as this blank flank is about to find out!

I'd like to request hardcore mode. Spare no thought for my feelings.

If you need any more information or just want to verbally abuse me until I feel like curling up into a ball, let me know with a reply. Thanks, mate. Even if you refuse me, I appreciate what you're doing here for all of us.
This post was edited by its author on .

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 2959


Please excuse me. I forgot to put in the original rules that I require Google Documents with comments for reviewing. Would you mind pasting your story in a Google document and providing me with the link?

Croswynd 2964

File: 1356994395955.jpg (60.88 KB, 500x625, image.jpg)

Sure, mate. I probably should have thought of it myself. All the links may be found here: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/12/story-unmarked.html?m=0

Just let me know your email so I can add you to my list of editors.

Ponies and Throwing Knives - Review Request Equ-us 2967

Synopsis: Applejack ties Rainbow Dash up to a board and throws deadly sharp knives at her.
And then they make out.

Part 1 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SfJvH0QFNBZH1puHHmxQSso0RObyNt10W-xTaOcJLQo/edit
Part 2 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-op4FnHImg8WCC0ADzuyiAy7vKbwjNd3NkdXh6Zc-Xk/edit

This was reviewed by Azusa over on the Training Grounds already, and I've asked a couple other people to look over it too, but I need as much criticism as I can get. There's a third part, but it goes over your word limit, and I'm fine with just having the first two reviewed. This is just a silly little shipping story. Nothing more. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Review request: Two for the prize of one 2968

File: 1357015728106.jpg (71.44 KB, 623x684, Salty Shores.JPG)

Ah, Umbra. The time has come for me to face your judgement, and I'm more than ready to face it.

Tonight, I have two stories that require your expertise. Two very different stories, yet they take place in the same world.

So, without further ado, here they are:

Salty Shores V.2
Synopsis: Salty Shores is a small mining town on the eastern coast of Equestria. One night, each of its salt reactors explode in quick succession, destroying the mines and much of the town.

There are no survivors.

The only suspect, labeled “dangerous” and “violent,” is placed under the care of an old scientist, working through the goodwill of the Equestrian Institute for the Sciences. Their guard, a young stallion of dubious origins, carries a shadowed past whose secrets even he cannot know.

A clinical case of psychopathy becomes something far more disturbing. A clean hospital becomes a place of darkness and despair. And in the place where it all began, Salty Shores quietly sits, burning in the embers of its own dead.

There is something lurking beneath the shores of Equestria. And now, it has begun to stir.


This one has been looked at by various individuals, including but not limited to: Nick, Samurai, and I believe GV (though it might have been another version. Can't quite recall).

I would like a hardcore review for this one

For it is Kind
Synopsis: Kidness: that which lets us care for others, not matter who or what they are.

Kindness has no place in the battlefield, nor in the hearts of those who fight in said battlefield.

Or so the belief goes.


This one has also seen a few readers, though only Nick and Samurai have really had their in-depth looks at it. Consider this one a virgin to break.

I wold also like your hardcore review on this.

That is all for now. Enjoy.
This post was edited by its author on .


File: 1357020158602.jpg (20.27 KB, 402x369, Simple+name+it+pony+reaction+f…)

>Salty Shores
>dat synopsis
I helped! :D

(Also, I swear I'll get to reviewing the new version eventually…yeah, probably.)

(Also, Umbra: expect to see something of my own in here soon)


Hokay, Umbra, I have a new one here, and, shock of shocks, it's NOT part of Under A Luminous Sky!

This is a little experiment I did a few weeks ago. I wanted to see if I could sit down and write something coherent in one sitting. This is what I got:

Title: The Conversion Bureau- Last of My Kind
Author: Jake The Army Guy
Tags: Normal, Slightly-dark-ish-like

Synopsis: Seven years.

Seven years since a botched experiment ripped a hole in the fabric of space.

Seven years since two worlds, once separated by infinity slowly began to merge.

Seven years since the thick blanket of thaumatic radiation, the wondrous energy that gives ponies their magic and is deadly to humans, began to coat the Earth.

Now, as full integration looms, all mankind has been converted into ponies.

Except one.

Meet David Savoy, the last human on Earth, and a man with a message for the universe.


A couple things of note:

1. I literally thought up that synopsis as I was typing it. I apologize.

2. My usual editor, Piquo Pie, stared to go through it, but things came up, so I come crawling back to you.

3. For some reason, I'm not too sure about this one, so I humbly request you do NOT engage hardcore mode. I don't think it could take it at this point. And by "it," I of course mean my fragile ego.

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 2978


You are testing my patience, grasshopper. Kindly GTFO.

LOLJK. Would you mind turning commenting on? It makes the process a lot smoother. In the mean time, I'll move to the next story in the queue.


File: 1357092102799.png (22.17 KB, 471x533, .. (32).png)

you did help quite a lot, and you will help more in the near future. For now, just know that the synopsis you gave WILL be the one used from here on out.

Also, the intro you aided with will be used from here on out as well.

Review: Ponies and Throwing Knives Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 2981


Ah, the maiden voyage of a new thread. This feels…

Well, it feels alright.

Let's get started.


1) A more unique, albeit highly unusual, concept than I usually see.

2) Some good quality editing. I spotted very few technical errors.

3) The fact that romance is not the only aspect of your story.

4) Nice pacing.


1) Your characterization of Rainbow Dash. In your story, Dash is so completely infatuated with Applejack that she's incapable of focusing on anything else. This is entirely unlike her. She might be in love, but as it stands, this isn't Rainbow Dash; she's a pubescent tween girl fawning (ha, pun intended) over Justin Bieber, if Justin Bieber was a technicolor horse.

2) Telling and superfluous sentences in general. There were many situations in which you could remove sentences entirely and retain the exact same message. Much of your story is blatant telling, but that's to be expected. Truly understanding the difference between show and tell is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. I stopped commenting on this after a while because it was simply too big a problem.

3) Poor dialogue. I just don't believe most of the dialogue in your story, particularly between Rainbow and Applejack. For that matter, most of their interactions are too sickeningly sweet to be realistic, even for fanfiction.

4) Your phrasing. While good at times, your simplistic vocabulary makes the story seem immature.

5) Your descriptions leave a lot to be desired. Tied in with my previous complaint, they often strike me as immature, as if I'm reading a Simple Wikipedia article.

Final thoughts

While I'm not a pre-reader, I know enough about their judgement process to tell you that this story is not ready, assuming that's your goal. You fail to grasp the concept of show versus tell, and your dialogue needs some serious work. Even if EqD isn't your goal, this story could be quite good and a lot more amusing if you put work into it.

Simply because I dislike pure shipping, I recommend you do one of the following:

1) Remove the shipping element entirely and make this a comedy. I mean, come on; Rainbow Dash throws knives at Applejack. The potential for humor is practically slapping you in the face.

2) If this must remain a ship, work more comedy in anyway and tone down the sappy dialogue. Work on presenting Rainbow Dash's affection in a more realistic way and giving the romance a more mature, believable tone.

That's what I have for you. Good luck!

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 2982


Each use of the word "deadpanned" as a dialogue description will result in a five dollar fee.

Just kidding; looking forward to it!

Croswynd 2996


I'd rather have your email and add you to the list, as the story is already released to the public and there's no telling what an anon would do given the chance to leave comments. If that is too much, then I apologize for cluttering the thread.


File: 1357174237632.jpeg (30.05 KB, 640x359, 40868 - meadow_song pegasus ra…)

Alrighty then, Mr. Umbra. Let's see what you've got.

Title: Glitched
Synopsis: Twilight awakes on the day of her brother's wedding, the day she died. But that was yesterday. Confronted with an impossible situation, she must seek the truth of why she's trapped in time, for both her sake and all of reality's. Credit for this synop goes completely to Kurbz; he's awesome and I'm a noob.
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1J5mfEGcXXGrTlOao8T2pE0BH-II_C-zoFblQBaO1ojk/edit

Here's the first chapter of a new epic I'm working on. It's a bit over 8k (I think), but you only have to read as much as you like. As a good stopping point, I'd recommend the end of the scene where Twilight rescues Cadance from her crystal prison, but before they go after Chrysalis. Again, up to you, of course.

Oh, and I'll prepare my anus. Hardcore mode? Beep boop, son. Bring it on.

Equ-us 3000


Thanks for the criticism. It is appreciated.
Admittedly, this particular project isn't much more than cute, stupid shipping for the sake of stupid shipping. But I guess that isn't an excuse for shoddy writing.

I have one question about 'show vs tell'. It seems everyone has a different opinion. Do you think it's ever appropriate to tell instead of show? And if so when?

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 3001


It is PLENTY appropriate to tell. When someone complains at you to show-don't-tell, they are just trying to train you to say things with imagery. Using little details and bits of actual description to explain things makes your writing more enjoyable more often than not. It's just a good habit. Example:

"The beautiful weather lifted her spirits as she headed off for work."
"She smiled as she felt the sun warming the back of her neck."

I give a detail (her smile) instead of talking about how she's feeling. I also talk about how she feels about the sun, rather than just saying the weather is "nice." Besides, "nice" doesn't even directly say "sunny." The description is better because I included that.

But there's no need to obsessively work on such minor telling things as that.

The important thing is that you identify things that matter. Not doing the show-don't-tell on something that should be described in detail is a major problem. Example:

Rainbow Dash could hardly control her movements, it felt so good.
See? Why would you try to get away with not describing something like that?
This post was edited by a moderator on .


Because one of them doesn't make me have to think about getting the modstick, for one.

Tactical 3011


What's wrong with Applejack tickling Rainbow Dash?

Tactical 3012

And, uh, doing so with a "bucking" motion.

Review: Salty Shores (Hardcore engaged) Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3015


Oh my. This was excellent.

The work you put into this is obvious. There are still a few things to fix, though.


It would take too long to type them all. Assuming anything not on the "con" section is a pro.


1) I was just a tad confused by the shifting perspective. What I got was this:

-Opening sequence: a pony beneath the depths of Salty Shores, trying to escape some horrid monster.

-Following sequence: a different pony entirely, perhaps the one that created or at least released the monster.

If this is not the case, you need to clarify.

2) A few spelling or grammatical errors scattered about. Nothing too terrible, however; these can all be fixed within fifteen minutes.

3) Dialogue

The only significant issue with your story. I was thrilled with this piece up until the doctors started discussing the ethical implications of the mind machine. You'll notice I took the time to write a rather, eh…

Extensive criticism of your dialogue. Essentially, your opening narration was so excellent that I nearly shat myself from excitement. The dialogue that followed also nearly caused me to shit myself, mainly because it was so bad that I aged eighty years while reading it.

Yeah, you get the picture. Your story is stellar, but you must fix that dialogue. Mind you, it's not all that terrible when examined individually. However, when compared to the rest of the story, it looks like a pile of shit with a cherry on top. But without the cherry.

Righto. I added a few suggestions on paragraphs that I thought could use a bit of touching up. Other than that, however, you've got yourself an excellent story here. Bear in mind, the reason I wrote that massive chew-out is because I'm very impressed with what you've done here, and I would hate to see Salty Shores fail due to a few lines of funny talk. This should be ready for Equestria Daily after one more sweep of edits, assuming you fix the dialogue up to an acceptable state.

I may or may not be able to review your next story immediately; I forget the combined word count of the two, and if they total over 7,500 together, I need to move on to the next story to be fair to the others.

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3016


Erg… I'm more than happy to review this, Jake, but you seem to have quite a few comments left over from two other reviewers. I prefer to review when no one else is looking at the document, as it helps avoid squabbles over style. Are you certain this is ready for me?

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3017


As in the OP, my email is [email protected]

Sins From the Void LS 3019

File: 1357279870765.gif (7.64 KB, 106x96, 8bitflash.gif)

Author: LunarShadow

Synopsis: Moonset: She's one of the best in the business, the best in her clan. Her loyalty to Equestria is unquestioned.
So, why are they blaming the death of Princess Luna on her? How did she end up with a dead ruler on the end of her blade?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QaEQvL1dX4tXfzg84JPknhasgIE_WT4FWcETzkv7aS4/edit (Chapter 1)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DRJ9JJMd3JPA9yN6ToaU6F82l3PAb-cE4Ie2yET-i24/edit (Chapter 2)

It's on it's third strike, so I'd best request hardcore mode. The pre-readers think a complete rewrite of the first chapter is in order, but personally, well I agree that there is rewriting to do, I can do it with only the first half and make ends meet.

Whatever advice you can offer will be appreciated.



If you wouldn't mind. Both of them have had things pop up that called them away, and they won't be able to finish any time soon. The only real reason those are still there is laziness on my part. If you don't mind, please ignore them and review. If you want, I can delete the comments before you look, but it won't be until later this afternoon. Night shift suuuuuuuuuucks.

You know what? Fuck it, hardcore mode, pls. This little experiment is slowly becoming something I kinda like, which means it must be destroyed to get better. I know it needs changes, just… not what those changes should be. I know you know what you're doing, so I think I can survive the snark. Tell me how to make this silly little tale something enjoyable.

I'll leave some K-Y at the door. Have at it.

Croswynd 3021


You are added.


File: 1357426380897.jpg (112.77 KB, 462x563, Whisper Wind.jpg)

I just want to mention that I love your hardcore review so far, Umbra. It's highly entertaining and manages to be quite useful, as well.


Thanks for the review there Umbra. I"m actually quite shocked you enjoyed the story as much as you did. I was honestly expecting to be chewed up and then spat out for my atrocious writing. To say I'm looking forward to your next review is an understatement. Expect more parts to Salty Shores in the very near future.

Let me say right now that I agree with every point, including the whole "constitution" thing. In hindsight, it was me just writing without much of a plan for an actual conflict between the two characters. I'll go ahead and fix it up so their dialogue holds weight while also moving the story forward.

That's it for now. Rather busy at the moment, so I have to cut this a bit short.

Review, part one: Unmarked (Hardcore engaged) Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3168


Comments are in doc. There were some issues with phrasing and a couple of grammatical errors, but as it stands, your two biggest issues are Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, and a beyond insufferable take on the CMC.

In the show, the Cutie Mark Crusaders do more than bitch about their cutie marks. Not only did you make this the only aspect of their personalities, their dialogue sounds like the inane ramblings of a half-retarded child with a mouthful of marbles.

Seriously, fix their goddamn dialogue or this is going to be a long review.

Second half to come shortly.

Full review: Unmarked (Hardcore engaged) Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3169


Whoops, seems like the prologue is the only document I have from you so far. In that case, here's your full review.


1) Um… nice illustration?

2) Relatively good editing. Very few technical mistakes.

3) Interesting setup, I guess? Honestly, I'm trying to be positive here, but there's not much so far.


1) The interaction between your two OCs is questionable. You'll notice I commented on "wooden" dialogue quite a bit throughout your story. Novell was kind of irritating at the beginning. Giving the reader a negative impression of your OC right off the bat will cause them to close your story faster than [insert rude analogy; I'm tired].

2) The CMC. I've already gone to town on this issue, but I really want you to look at it.

Other issues worth fixing but not severe enough to be mentioned here are outlined in the comments.

Yeah, definitely not ready for Equestria Daily. Get your story fixed up and drop it off with another reviewer (or me, if you're feeling up to it) for a second round.

Eustatian!Wings60m9. 3172

Already on Equestria Daily, Umbra.

Sorry to hijack your thread like this. Please smack me if I'm out of line. We can take this to e-mail or back into TTG, but I wanted to be sure to catch Crosswynd.

Who deserves more professionalism than I've been able to bring to bear. Ponying is my hobby, but when real life or even ennui intervene (a combination of both, plus my muse wanting to write my own stuff) I owe it to others to be up-front about it.

Here goes. I got inspired to do some line-editing. Not because I think you should revise what you have released, but because style is the one thing I can be concrete about.

It is enormous hubris on my part to think that my style is better for your story. So I don't want to say that. But I do want you to feel more direct phrasing and point out the rules that I follow to get there.

IIRC, you're an academic. The kind of writing I like to read in fiction is not academic. Sentence structure is simpler. It scores lower on Flesch-Kincaid. I believe less parsing frees the reader's mind for more productive things, like imagination.

So, I was hoping to just make an edit, take a diff (program that matches similar parts of a text file and shows the differences), and comment on the changes. I ended up breaking diff. Oops.

I can't tell about style. I can show you. For now (no comments formatted) this is my edit. http://pastebin.com/XhCbf2Rk The most important rules are:

- Introduce detail in the predicates of independent clauses.
- An exception applies when the subject is indefinite (usually marked with the article "a" or plural noun) or in some cases with relative clauses. Both serve to place an entirely new topic under discussion.
- Minimize the words used in a definite phrase (marked with "the") or in subordinate clauses. Likewise, avoid new detail in these positions unless it is occasional, less important, and improves flow. Do not shy from repeating names and pronouns when they save readers from guessing.
(These rules create a difference between "as" and "and." They are not synonyms. New detail should not follow "as" except when it is a synonym for "like.")

- Use the simplest verb inflection possible.
- Use similar grammatical forms for parallel structures and distinguish non-parallel structures with distinct forms.
- Progressive participials denote concurrent events.

Review: The Conversion Bureau: Last of My Kind (Hardcore engaged) Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3175


Huh. Just… huh.

I had trouble deciding what I thought about this one. Before I give you my full decision, let's break down the pros and cons.


1) Well edited. I'm starting to see this more and more as I review, and it definitely makes things more enjoyable for me. Props.

2) Interesting take on The Conversion Bureau. I don't typically like CB side stories, but this was… well, it was different, at the very least.

3) Your human character isn't a Gary Stu. Then again, he didn't have much time to become one anyway. More on that in a moment.


1) Your use of swearwords. Obviously, I have no problem with these (that, or I'm the greatest hypocrite since those "unsettling" Catholic priests), but in literature, they must be occur only as often as unprotected sex: very, very rarely. Otherwise, you risk ruining what might be beautiful. Or kinky. I'm not sure when it comes to you. Remove these, please.

2) Some minor technical errors (all noted in-doc).

3) Telling. I have outline this as well. It's imperative you address this.

4) Superfluous phrasing. You add unnecessary description at certain points, or just unnecessary words in general. These are noted and can be removed without adverse effects on your story.

5) And now, the big one. Your story is just… flat. Look, there's nothing wrong with it, but it doesn't bring anything new or groundbreaking to the world of HiE. And if you want people to take this seriously (especially EqD), groundbreaking is what you need.

See, the problem is that your story is only two scenes. It might have been better if you had given more background on David to begin with. If you had established him as a character in a much longer story, there would be more distinct emotion. His death would have been more horrifying. He simply has no depth, and therefore, his passing didn't strike me at all.

Furthermore, once he entered the "purgatory" of your story, so to speak, he should have spent more time there. He should have had to go through a series of trials in order to get to the spirits of Celestia and Luna, as this is what most religions believe purgatory is like. If you had done this, there would be a clear conflict and a clear resolution.

As it stands, your story is strikingly flat. All David does is talk about the nature of humanity, which doesn't make for a very enjoyable read.

So, here's my TL;DR suggestion:

1) Extend your story a LOT. Write an entire life for David, full of love, life and hurt. Establish his personality, his struggles, his strengths and make him a real character rather than a cardboard cutout.

2) Once he dies, have him struggle through purgatory. If he becomes a pony without accomplishing anything, there's no sense of triumph or fulfillment. People like to earn things. That's why cheating in a video game makes you feel so dirty. People also like reading about others accomplishing things, so make it happen.

3) Address anything else I mentioned in the comments but didn't mention here.

You're improving; that's obvious. Just keep working, and make this story shine!

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3178


Yes, I was just informed. To be perfectly honestly, I don't agree with the decision of whoever approved this, but that's not my choice, of course.

I appreciate your desire to help him, but would continuing your discussion in private? Talks like these can result in a lot of posts, and I'd like to keep this thread reserved for reviewing and poking fun at Golden Vision.


Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3200


Love you <3


File: 1357581407598.png (622.55 KB, 800x692, 135680418808.png)

Review Request: I Don't Feel the Same FullmetalPony 3202

File: 1357583772302.jpg (81.96 KB, 747x662, pumpkin_and_pound_by_jbrid-d4o…)

Tags: Slice of life

Synopsis: School, friends, family. Things seem to keep changing around Pound Cake

Words: 5127 (only chapter 1)

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pXnbcAdgauq6mueqAjZzTYX8bj9WyO-Mmnh-0sBWL1c/edit

Notes: submitted to TTG as well.

Requesting hardcore mode… Celestia have mercy on me but darn it I want a good story.

Review: Glitched (Hardcore engaged) Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3227


Huh, huh, huh… where to begin?

Oh yeah.


1) Interesting, if I'm correct about what you're doing. Is this an alternate telling of the Season 2 finale? If so, cool!

2) Good editing again, for the most part, barring some simple mistakes.

3) Good characterization throughout. I actually believed your personifications of the main cast could be real.

4) You're not fighting my suggestions, which (and I'm not mocking you, I'm serious) I appreciate, considering you're a reviewer, too.

5) Nice setup, but it was ruined in many ways by your execution.


1) Like I said, execution. Since the story opens after the dream has already occurred (and believe me, I know why you did this; you wanted to avoid the "it was all a dream!" cliche), you end up having to tell a LOT. Twilight reveals so much of what she thinks or feels directly. It makes the story kind of flat.

2) There's no intrigue. All the information about Cadence being trapped, the Changelings… it's all revealed right from the get-go. No mystifying mysteries, no confuzzling problems… just, Twilight states the problem directly and then goes, "FUCK, TIME TO FIX SHIT!"

3) Pacing. One page, Twilight thinks there's no issue, and that the dream was really a dream. Three pages later (if I counted correctly), she's busting Cruise Missile out of her sexy cave. Seriously?

4) A total lack of struggle or triumph. Same issue Jake had; the story has potential, and a relatively cool idea, but no real sense of accomplishment. Twilight needs to struggle to get Cadence out. Remember, you're rewriting the events of the season finale, and you're not bound to forty minutes of cartoon. This can be as long as you damn well please, and it should be if you want it to shine.

I suggest a ground-up rewrite. Consider actually writing portions of the dream to reduce the need to tell later. This is your call, of course, but you need to reduce the telling somehow. It's everywhere.

Furthermore, there needs to be a hard fought, bloody, tooth and nail struggle from Twilight. You need to make her a badass so the reader feels awesome while reading.

Those are the only major suggestions I have, but considering telling is your primary issue, I think that should suffice for now. You just… this story is below your par, man. I hate to say it, but you can do better, so I want you to do better. Deal?

Yeah, not ready for EqD. I read to your suggested stopping point and wasn't that impressed. Getting a story often only takes a few poorly written pages right at the beginning.

Kay? I'm sorry I had to do this :( Now hug it out, bitch.



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.

In summation:


Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3229


Honestly? I don't think this is worth your trouble. You're going to have a hell of a time getting readers to accept an entirely different story than the season two finale. Rather than spend hours agonizing over this and attempting to get it to work, why not just work on something more original? You basically told me to scrap a story once; I know it sucks to be told this, but you're probably better off.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 3235

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If I may butt in.

And maybe you'll listen to me now that someone else has told you these same things,
Start with the damn point. You like calling this time loop a red herring, but why? It feels like you're throwing the literary device around aimlessly without actually putting any thought into how you're using it. You don't have a red herring meant to prepare the reader for some twist, you just have a story that doesn't get to its damn point for-fucking-ever. The telling I told you about is there not because it's impossible to have a story about a character with no one to talk to, but because you're not thinking of how. Every time I brought up these points you ignore them for the idea that your story will get better, but we all know about stories that "will get better".

Your idea had a uniqueness to it in that you had the universe/fabric of time steadily collapsing with each recursive time loop. I'm going to say the obvious thing I already told you: Have the universe beginning to collapse from square one. When time rewinds the first time as Twilight's about to die, cut to something different. A dream like scene, where she's floating in space and surrounded by stars, where she's stuck in some white washed world made of blocks, where she's stuck in some limbo world. The very FIRST time she repeats time, have something odd, something that's a glitch. A pony walks into the room through door A, waves at Twilight, and exits the room through door B. Immediately after, the same pony enters the room through door A, waves at Twilight, and exits the room through door B, causing her to do a double take.

Have her revisit the limbo world each time time resets, and show it slowly deteriorating along with an increase in the frequency and severity of the glitches in the time loop.

That's just what I'd do. But hey, what do I know. Regardless of how you do it, make the glitches the immediate and main focus of your story, or drop it.
This post was edited by its author on .



Okay, look. I'm really sorry, Umbra, but
I'm going to have to skimp out on your advice here
Know upfront that I immensely appreciate you taking the time to look over those, but put simply, I cannot—will not—do what you're suggesting.

I've thrown away several fic ideas in my life, but this is one that isn't going anywhere. Moreover, when you say revise? This chapter is already on its 4th version. Not draft. Version. So I'm sorry, but aside from the parts about Telling and the too-short sentence structure (and possibly the hook, if you're still willing to help out), I'm going to have to ignore the bulk of your suggestions.

It's not that I don't think they're legitimate complaints. They are. But I'm just so completely done with revising this chapter. I wanted to do some last minute edits, fix up some problems with Telling or, at most, problems with a given scene, but I'm not going as far you're suggesting.

Would you believe me if I told you that I've had several other people—authors and reviewers I respect—who've looked over it and tell me they've actually really enjoyed it? I know that it sounds like the worst kind of authorial defense, but if I can't please you and SLP, too of the elite of /fic/, then maybe I'll just have to settle for the masses. I'd rather write Past Sins than The White Box, no matter how well-done the second one is.

Okay. Thank you SLP, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to turn you down.


Here's the thing. I know very well that you probably have a very good point. And maybe your ideas would make for a tighter, better-written story.

But it wouldn't be my story.

See, I've been working on this for so long—the better part of a year—that I don't want to scrap it and say, "Oh well; I'll just write something else with a single plot thread in common, but otherwise totally different." Your idea is great, but it's not what I want to write. It's not something I'd necessarily enjoy writing, and it takes pretty much everything that I put into Glitched and rips it out to be replaced with some kind of meta plot that I'd never considered, though leaving in the one thing that maybe would link them conceptually.

So maybe I don't want to write something that's metaphysical and weird and that immediately jumps into the problem. Maybe I want to meander around pointlessly. And maybe it'll be the biggest fucking piece of shit you'd ever seen.

But it'd still be my story.

I had made it a commitment in my own review thread(s) that every story idea could work, if executed properly. Maybe it needed a scene added or removed. Maybe it could use some improved dialogue and Showing. Maybe it just needed better grammar. But it'd still be the same story in the end; it'd still be something the author could happily call their own and not mine.

So I guess I'm ranting and/or rambling. I feel like I'm shoving your review back in your face, Umbra, and if I'm being a dick about it, then I'm sorry. But I'm not going to change the story itself, and there's not a chance I'm going to throw away an idea I've invested so much into at the drop of a hat

So there you go. If you'd still be willing to help me with some of the standing problems as it currently stands, then I'd love you forever. But if not, that's okay, and I'd understand completely.

Well, thanks again. I guess I'll talk to you later.



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I must be more tired than usual 'cause I think I'm seeing double!

In all seriousness, if my input is of any interest to anyone, I'd say that I'm sympathetic to the feeling of just wanting to publish something you've put a lot of effort into, even if it isn't perfect. Not every piece of art has to be. As long as you can stand behind it and feel some sense of pride, then maybe that's enough sometimes.

But, then again, what do I know…

LS 3240


If I may quickly butt in with my past experience, I would like to offer some advice.

You are making some of the exact mistakes I made. I had a story with grand ideas. I had a story that I knew exactly what I wanted. Of course, I submitted them for review as seemed the norm. But the reviewers made some excellent points. At first I followed them, making necessary changes. Then, like you, I realized they were telling me to change/delete parts that I personally thought made the story better. In hind-sight, they were right. But in whatever haven I called home, I refused to believe that I could be wrong. As a result, the story collapsed in on itself and I just couldn't bring myself to look at it anymore.

And honestly, I hate seeing a story with grand ideas going down the shitter. What I think, finally getting to the advice, is that you need to put the story aside for a week and write something else. A quick one shot. Just something you have no grand ideas for, but something you're willing to put effort into, but not something you feel you'd become too immersed in.

Just please, know when to fight the reviewer and when to compromise. And more often than not, you want to compromise.

Anonymous 3241

Or get a better reviewer to fight for you.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 3242

I do that all the time! It surely hurts the quality of my work (I've done some major revisions after stuff already went up on fimfic) but it's a way to get yourself to write instead of have every single thing spend months in editing hell.


Honestly, I see your point, But it's hardly applicable. Umbra's telling me to throw my story away, and SLP's essentially telling me to do the same thing, throwing things anyway until it's completely unrecognizable. So my choice is, apparently, either forget about ever writing this, change it until it's more SLP's story than mine, or just forge on ahead with what I've got.

A bit of a dilemma, you understand :/

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 3244

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>Move one plot point in the plot you came up with
>Still writing the story
>Story is more mine than yours
You've got you're head in the sand on this one, man. You should take a bit of time off this fic so you can go and un-ostrich yourself.

And to clarify, I was telling you to throw away the story if you don't want to move the plot around because you're showing signs of intentionally making bad decisions and ignoring some of the basic guidelines for writing. That is, you aren't willing to kill your darlings and you're writing far too heavily for your own self.
This post was edited by its author on .

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3245

Alright, guys. You're taking thread hijacking to an artform. GV, you are more than welcome to ignore my advice; however, you are showing a remarkable amount of nerve (not the good kind) by requesting my opinion and then telling me you're going to ignore it. You are practically spitting in my face by asking me to volunteer my time in an attempt to help you improve something and then turning around and saying, "Wait, fuck you after all the work you just did; I already know I'm great, so I don't care what you think."

You obviously thought the story needed work if you brought it to a review thread. If you want to avoid coming off as an pretentious princess who's obviously so much better than anyone else who's looking at your story, I recommend you change your attitude. Others liked it? Look at how much I care; I give my honest opinion on every story I receive, and whether others liked it is irrelevant.

That's all I'm going to say about this. Any further discussion of this story by anyone other than myself or Golden Vision is not allowed, at least not here.

Anonymous 3247

Hey, Minty? This is the kind of bullshit I'm talking about when I say you guys take yourselves way to seriously. See this? How Umbra is putting words in GV mouth and can't seem to grasp the concept others might think his advice is shit, no matter much wub he tried to put into it?

That's more or less where I'm coming from and what I (and the new people) see: some guy thinking he is an authority, and because he put in effort everyone should bask in his advice and follow it to the end of the earth.

Or maybe it's just the beer, but Umbra is still coming up as an asshole with a bar up to the throat.

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3248


Thank you for your opinion. However, I've made it clear this issue is closed and further posts on the matter only serve to clutter this thread. Kindly take your discussion with Minty elsewhere.

!!Applejack 3249

A strong discussion on things people care about (in this case, quality writing and improving each other's abilities in mutually beneficial discourse) is highly encouraged; but we've strayed towards the 'fruitless arguing' range of the spectrum and the matter is more or less resolved and the thread shouldn't be taken down the path further.

Back to your regularly scheduled review thread!

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3250


Took the words right out of my mouth ^_^

Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3305


>"Well I agree"

You are not getting off to a good start by misspelling a word in your request post.

Review, chapter one: Sins From the Void (Hardcore engaged) Umbra!S7TySB6rOM 3306


Oh, yes. I'm quite inclined to agree with the PRs. I've only read through the first fifth of this chapter, and already the problems are numerous enough to justify an entirely new draft. Let's go over the most significant problems:

1) Word choice. I've highlighted several words you used in your story that just sounded… how to put this? Immature? Essentially, they were the sort of words that I would expect in everyday conversation, but not prose. Take "slamming," for instance. That's fine if you're talking to your buddies at the bar, but writing calls for something more eloquent, within reason. There's no reason to become Shakespeare, but the term "word economy" means that your phrasing is neither too flowery nor too simple.

2) Simplistic phrasing. This is tied in with what I just told you, so I'll be brief. Word economy is crucial to your story. A lot of your phrasing was too simple, to the point where it bordered on childish.

3) Lots and lots of telling. There's a whole lot in your story that could have been written out in the form of scenes (an explanation of how Moonset came to be an assassin, for instance), but you reveal so much of your story directly. The same goes for your explanation of who Natural is and what organization he represents. You could have been a lot more clever across the board.

4) Moonset. You seem to be setting her up to be a Mary Sue: I mean, you even phrase it in a way that suggests that. Specifically:

"A novice would have spent hours concocting a plan to take out the guards. She had merely snuck into the meeting hall two hours previously and settled in."

So an assassin managed to easily sneak into a building in which both of the princesses are, with little to no resistance? Considering Canterlot Palace is so well guarded that it's easy to compare to a Victorian girl's vagina, I find this hard to believe. For that matter, Moonset kills both princesses? What the fuck? The first few pages are going to raise a lot of eyebrows.

5) Shitty dialogue. Specifically with your throwaway guards, you have some of the most cliche, predictable dialogue I've ever seen.

6) Thought quotations. These are supposed to be italicized; since you don't distinguish them from the narration, it's very difficult to understand what's going on.

You said in your post that you think you can rewrite only half the chapter and still make ends meet. You have the wrong mindset: you don't want to just "make ends meet." You want the story to be absolutely stellar in every way. Don't compromise and satisfy yourself with "good enough." Make it amazing. Make it the best.

So yes, I recommend a new draft. The above issues are only a portion of the story and already give more than a reason to do so.

LS 3307


Thanks for the correction.

I never even caught it until you mentioned it.

Damn those tricky words. Than, then. Well, while.

I look forward to part two.

FullmetalPony 3311

Since Azu brought this up in TTG, adding additional tag of Friendshipping to "I Don't Feel the Same" to avoid confusion.

Review Request: Mortal (Prologue) Benman!C6qWh73Y.g 3312

I don’t know if this is a thing you do, but I’m gonna ask for a review of just my prologue. (The full story is both incomplete and several times longer than your 7.5k limit, but the prologue is 750 words.) This is set far in the future, towards the end of our heroines’ lives. Twilight gains the power to choose who lives and who dies. She has to decide whether to use it. The story turns into a pretentious melodrama full of shattered friendships, dying wishes, shouting matches at other ponies’ weddings, and all sorts of fun stuff. Anyway, this story requires the reader’s trust, so I need the hook to earn that trust. Hardcore mode: ACTIVATE. Spare no one.



seems like you are getting a bit busy here Umbra. Just a friendly reminder that I still have another tale waiting for your review.

Take your time if necessary. I'm a patient man. Just don't forget about me :(


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Ugh, been away waaaaay too long

Anywho, thanks for the honest feedback. When you say it, it makes perfect sense. I knew the story was missing something, and now I know, so thank you very much.
Sadly, I think I'm gonna be shelving this for a bit. Several other projects have popped up that interest me much more than this. I WILL revisit is someday, and when I do, I will take all your advice to heart.

Thanks, brother!

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