[ home ] [ site / arch ] [ pony / oat / anon ] [ rp / art ]

/fic/ - Fanfiction

The board for fanfiction review, brainstorming, critique, creation and discussion.
Password (For file deletion.)

Site maintenance in progress! Posts made now may be lost.

Ponychan-MLPchan Merger >>>/site/15219

File: 1359007445338.jpg (104.42 KB, 916x650, 106117__UNOPT__safe_rainbow-da…)

Tactical Insertions 3582[View All]


Hello and welcome to the first ever Tactical Writing Post! I've been ponying since Lesson Zero, I opened my fimfiction account about a year ago, and I've been around /fic/ ever since. I always thought about making a thread like this, but I never really wanted to be saddled with obligation like that. Well, I still don't, but I do want to offer something to others that I am immensely thankful for in my own writing endeavors. Having a good editor, someone who's willing to talk to you about your strengths and weaknesses, is pure gold.

I'm hardly a poni superstar, but you could do worse than me. I've written a whole bunch of things. Out of my things, a couple are on EQD, a couple have racked views in the multiple thousands, a couple have been praised by ponies who I greatly respect, and one actually got a quote on wtfponyfanfiction. Check me out at http://www.fimfiction.net/user/TacticalRainboom and turn on "show mature" for extra goodies.

If you feel like I'm someone whose point of view might be useful to you, go ahead and read the guidelines below, then either submit your story or just talk to me–if all you're looking for is a writepony's opinion on something, I'm totally happy to oblige. There's no queue for quick chats! Also, if that's what you want, try to find me on the IRC. I'm there all the time, and it's a much better way to communicate.

Thread information:
+ Please talk to me about stuff. Talk to me as much as you want about your review, about your fic, about your cat, whatever. I'm here to help; I can answer whatever questions you have.

+ I have no content restrictions whatsoever. Email things to me if they can't be posted in a non-mature thread. I mean it–this is part of the reason for this thread's existence. In the unlikely case that you actually manage to squick me, I apologize.

+ I will point out technical problems, but I will not give you a grammar sweep. I am here to help you with author-blindness and to give advice–if your mechanics are weak, I will tell you what's wrong, but the work of fixing it is up to you.

+ Please do not queue your fic with me and someone else at the same time. There are other reviewers who are just as good as me, and I don't want this thread to get overloaded like so many of these do.

+ I have a very fast turnaround time when I have the chance to do reviews, but if my queue is looking long, I'm not the best choice.

Please follow this format:
Fuck formats. Just include the title, synopsis, and wordcount with your link.
This post was edited by its author on .
153 posts and 32 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

Review Request 6421

File: 1371750286452.gif (202.52 KB, 500x281, 1352754444146.gif)

Hey Tact. Just dropping this off. I think I did it, like, eight months ago or something. Just kinda stuck it up on FimFic, and now I want to try and make it something worth reading. So go wild.

Warning: This fic is cloudy with a chance of purple.

Title: The Stars and Sky Above
Characters: Luna & Celestia (1st PoV)
Wordcount: 3,734
Synopsis: <i need to come up with something not shitty.>
URL: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QSUd8moATUFzzEXYx7HULTr2RBZUJdS7WDCq_sg716I/edit


Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6431

File: 1371806396597.jpg (376.91 KB, 774x1041, Q3yMBbj.jpg)

I think I'll use a system similar to yours to lay out my "overall thoughts" for you.

… Scratch that, I hate your system. I'll use one that's similar but completely different.

[+] Good intentions, poorly deployed: Your relative lack of experience at the time shows. You do show-don't-tell poorly, you do body-language-instead-of-saidisms poorly, and you do sensory description poorly. I won't lie, I haven't actually read anything of yours that I can think of, but I strongly suspect you'll make some nice improvements without my help.

[+] Narrator Interjections: Too often, these are just atmospheric things that aren't meaningful enough to really make those little moments effective. I mean, I understand them. They're contrast. They're short, simple sentences to create a "clunk" in between paragraphs, making the thought really prominent. The thing is that the moments hurt more than they help if what they say is just an offhand comment and not something appropriately heavy.

[+] Lack of Flair: The atmosphere you're trying to create deserves a level of fabulosity that you seemingly didn't know how to use at the time. Let me grab you a quote from the book I'm currently reading, a book that absolutely exemplifies the kind of prose that I want to write and that I'm trying to tell you to write. http://pastebin.com/GDgDX8mE

[+] What do you want to write, really? The mystical atmosphere combined with an immortality blues story is seductive, I know. I was guided by the desire to write exactly that in two of my published thingies, plus a whole lot more in short scribbles and minifics. You could take what this is and make it a lot better, yes. Or you could reimagine it into something that's more than just the product of your former self trying to create something beautiful.

[+] No Conflict: This thing is as placid as all shit. You don't give any meaning or power to the sads, beyond Celestia just sorta feeling bad about stuff. The way Celestia has forgotten a lot of stuff about her old students is a very good device–maybe ride it hard, make it really tragic. Or maybe come up with something new, like Celestia feeling like she has all worshippers and no friends.

[+] Immortality Blues: Your subject matter is not very original, but it also isn't forced bullshit. You do not have the Sisters being sad about having to say goodbye to their students, which I'm very glad to see. The previous point still applies, however–without some kind of punch, this is "just" an immortality blues fic.

[+] Princesses Need Love Too: This is a great idea, so as you rewrite, keep this in mind as the central idea of the whole fic. The moment with Celestia thinking about who their parents could be was absolutely wonderful, so try not to let that wistful sense of lack get swallowed by other stuff. This idea actually is original. Use it with pride.

[+] The Birthing Pool: I would absolutely love for you to do more with the idea of Celestia and Luna being "born." There's magic in the way you described that. This is one of those things that gives me faith that the things I hated are unworthy of your current abilities.

[+] Tragically Weak Resolution: Think about it: The issue is that the little ponies can experience a kind of love that the Princesses can't… so the solution is to realize that the love of the little ones actually is powerful after all… which is a conclusion reached by Luna proposing a shitty metaphor. The "tussle" happens after the fact and so doesn't count as a turning point; the discussion of Twilight saving Luna from herself is in the context of supporting the metaphor and thus fails to be the thing that drives the resolution.

There's just gotta be a way to make the events of the pilot being what drives the change in a way that doesn't come off as just a lightbulb moment making everything all better. I dunno.

[+] Weak Punch Line: When I write, I always bring the story to just about the ending before throwing in one last bit that hammers everything home just in case the reader is an idiot. This is the "ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana," the "Dear Princess Celestia," the oneliner before the credits roll. Your current punch line is cute, but even as an ironically irrelevant thing, I would've done something quite different. Maybe use something ironically cute, to go with how the ending sequence has broken away and become cute. Or maybe don't do irony, and instead say something relevant, like something about morning.

General Suggestions
[+] Shut The Fuck Up: I don't know where you got the idea that keeping a continuous narrative throughout the process of Luna taking off and flying over to the Birthing Place would be enjoyable.

[+] Slash and Burn: And that's not where you need to stop when it comes to cutting. Keep looking throughout the entire thing for whole sentences, whole paragraphs, whole concepts that could be deleted. You should even delete some things that you do want to keep, in favor of reorganizing what gets revealed, how, and when. Not because everything about your story needs to be slimmed down–more because the more you try to leave this fic alone, the more you'll risk leaving behind artifacts of what you used to be bad at.

[+] Let Them Breathe: Create a character for Luna, and go heavy on letting Luna have opinions about stuff. First person should pretty much always be this way, if only because third person would be a better idea if you don't intend on doing this. Through your intimacy with Luna, create new facets to the story–maybe Luna's relationship with Celestia is something that needs to be resolved by the end of the story, much like Celestia's feelings of guilt.

[+] Who's the Main Character? The previous advice is also important for Celestia, because unless you add some Luna-centric aspect, Celestia is the real main character here. Find a way to make her more of a character and less of a prop.

[+] Add Cool Stuff: Far too much of your word count is pointless. Even if you choose not to follow my advice of re-imagining this thing to have a more powerful source of unhappiness/tension, you will need to expand upon things that are actually important. You will inevitably add new aspects to them if you explore them further. Things like Celestia forgetting her students. Things like the cute "tussle." These are what's important, yet you've left them as very basic, shallow things.

Score: 2/5

There were things to like about it, but this is just unworthy.

As with everyone, the whole idea is for you to talk to me, so please ask me stuff.
This post was edited by its author on .


File: 1371879276314.png (635.11 KB, 1280x640, Does Ponyville....png)

I've been skimming through a couple of your reviews and can honestly say you seem like a reviewer I need. You don't bullshit much and get straight to what's really hindering people as writers.

I posted this story on the Training Grounds, but it's slow as hell right now. Or I'm just impatient. Probably the latter.

I'm very new to writing. As in this is my second piece I'm working on. My first was a ridiculously uninspired HiE, so I set that aside while I work on something I really want to work on.

I implore you, beg you, to rip and tear at it as best as you can. I'm not necessarily looking to make this specific fic great, but I want to see what I, as a writer, can improve on since my last story bombed because of my story, and not my prose.

[Mystery] [Drama] [Sad] [Tragedy] [Alternate Universe… In a way]

After years in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle begins to note that things in Ponyville are odd, to say the least. Ponies act really strange and lifeless at times, and a good number of ponies perform the same routines every day in Ponyville. Piece by piece, Twilight uncovers shocking clues about her beloved town and comes to a conclusion. She concludes that Ponyville has a secret, and whatever it is, she's going to get to the bottom of it.


Word Count:
~4,000 (Incomplete)
Thanks a bunch, I really appreciate it.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6439


>that title

Ha! I can't not read this. Will try to have at least a few things to say by tomorrow night.

why have i seen these creatures in my dreams Tactical 6458

I've given the thing with the annoying name a read-through.

First off, you need to lern2paragraph. Nearly every paragraph should have been broken up. One paragraph should focus on one thing happening.

You have some very typical show-don't-tell problems. Normally I tell people that there is no need to purge telling with extreme prejudice, but you might benefit from that.

I keep wanting to post a full ramble about my opinions re: show don't tell. Maybe this will be it, because you have very straightforward examples.

Your character voices are less than great, especially what little we see of Pinkie. I feel like you think you know their quirks, but your command of dialogue is less than perfect.

Like I tell so many people, you lack the flair of what I like to read and what I strive to write. This is extra important for comedy. The moment with Rarity and the moment with the newspaper lose some of their power if your straight-up prose chops can't deliver.

On that note, you would also benefit from SLP's little "sentence structures" lesson. It's a big one, and learning it is a constant journey, like with show-don't-tell. I'm posting from a phone so I can't be arsed to link it. Find it for yourself or wait for me to get back to you.

The short version is to read your stuff and try to notice when your sentence structures are getting samey.

Your story blows Its load way too soon. 4000 words for a major reveal like that is not enough time to build it up. Or at least you haven't successfully built it up… I can see how you might be able to.

I'm still busy baking pies. Transcribe your stuff into a google doc to make it easier for me to pick at examples of show-don't-tell.


>I'm posting from a phone so I can't be arsed to link it.
Hee ya go: >>4198


Thanks, I'll give that whole thread a read-through.

I've broken up several paragraphs, but it was questionable to me where the topic of the paragraph changes. I did find a good sum of them where the paragraph glazed over two topics, so thanks.

The "big reveal" actually isn't much of a big reveal. I don't plan for the story to be anymore than 10k words long, anyways. If it needs more build-up I'd be glad to comply. I do plan to create a build-up for what I plan to be the major twist in the story.

I left sentence structures and dialogue untouched since I'll be dealing with show-don't-tell first and working my way past the other problems.

Anyway, here's Ch 1 in Gdocs (if there's any problem, let me know):

Ch 2:

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6480

File: 1372064825476.jpeg (640.03 KB, 2880x1800, d8e9ec76_129914487972-Rainbow_…)

Before I go, let me say that some of the ideas in Blade Galloper are nice. I like the idea of spying on a background pony as he does background things. I like some of the gags with the mane six.

However, I find the story as written to be weak because of how badly its problems drag the humor down. Humor is tough–it takes a certain kind of awareness to effectively deploy irony, comedic timing, and general ridiculousness. Not sure what to tell you about this.

I will also let this post serve as a reminder to myself that I should pick at your Pinkie voice because I don't like it.

Writing advice: Show Don't Tell (plus bonus said-isms and adverbs!) Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6510

File: 1372238152072.png (277.19 KB, 558x299, face.png)

Trust me, I'm sick of hearing it too.

"This is telly. Show-don't-tell."

It's irritating advice, because half the time it's hard to tell what it even means. There's some saying by some guy that a teacher of mine used to use as a way to illustrate show-don't-tell: "Don't say the lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."

What the fuck does that mean? Am I supposed to have a lady scream in my face in order to inspire me to write better? That saying didn't make sense to me back then and I swear to Faust it still doesn't make sense to me now.

Even worse is people who illustrate "show don't tell" by giving a three word description for the example of "tell," then a paragraph of bullshit purple prose for the "show." This is a little bit more informative, but it is also incredibly misleading. A lot of newbies, myself included, will read that advice and figure that "show don't tell" means to elaborate further. You need to write more, get specific, maybe dress it up with pretty words so that it makes an impression.

That's an okay lesson, but it also has nearly nothing to do with show-don't-tell.

First, a translation of what it means when you're told to show-don't-tell, in a single sentence:

"You described this in a way that isn't actually descriptive. Give me some actual details."

That was fucking easy. And now, some examples.

[Tell] Twilight was crushed by the news.
[Show] Twilight gasped. Tears came to her eyes.

I actually described Twilight being crushed, using sensory detail, instead of just using one word that doesn't really have a sensory meaning. Giving the reader a sensory idea of what's going on is pretty much always a good idea; in the example here, the reader is probably supposed to care about how Twilight feels. Merely saying that she's sad is totally inadequate if you want to do this moment justice.

Oh crap. I just came dangerously close to giving you a concrete rule to follow, didn't I? Well, screw that. "Describe this properly" doesn't always mean to use body language and other sensory details.

[Show] "Oh," said Twilight. "I see." She turned to leave without another word.
[Tell] The look on Twilight's face told everypony else that she was crushed by the news.
[????] Twilight's heart plunged into her gut.
[????] Twilight looked like someone had just told her about the death of all of her friends at the same time, plus a few of their pets.

All of these descriptions have their place, including the very first one, the flat and boring "crushed by the news." Sometimes you want to say something in a minimalistic way. Sometimes you want to intentionally leave out the sensory description. Sometimes you just want to say something fancy because why the hell not.

The advice "you should show things, not tell them" is just as wrong as every other piece of advice. Except for my advice, naturally.

Put good description on moments that deserve good description. Make your writing interesting. Not just the events–make your prose itself interesting.

This post sums up pretty much everything I'll ever tell you in a review.

It also sums up most of my goals for improving my own writing.

Good luck.

… Oh yeah. Said-isms. A lot of people tell you not to use verbs like "exclaimed" or "growled" or "ejaculated" instead of a plain old "said."

Fuck those people. Calling out your said-isms is identical to calling out your "tell," so there's no reason said-isms need their own category.

Said-isms are bad when they "tell" something that should be described instead. If a character "explained" something, I don't know what that looks like, and more likely than not you're trying to use a cute word instead of actually describing the little moment that's happening.

Take those last two lines and replace "said-isms" with "adverbs," and you have advice about adverbs.

So yeah. If someone points out your said-isms and adverbs, just grit your teeth and judge for yourself whether they've called out some "tell" that shouldn't be there. "Hissed" isn't telly. "shakily" isn't telly. Though to be fair you might say "her hooves shook as she did it" instead of "she did it shakily."

If you feel like it. Your call.


Sorry for not getting to the second chapter of I, SweetieBelle yet, but hopefully I've already given you good advice.

Once I get a chance, I'll give you at least a few specifics for chapter 2 in case there's stuff there that I haven't touched on.
This post was edited by its author on .

The WIngs of Lulamoon - chapter one - review request 6533

File: 1372303258510.png (1.14 MB, 894x894, Trixie_Twilight3215479745Commi…)

Synopsis: The Great and Powerful Trixie will stop at nothing to become royalty and obtain the power that comes with it, even if it means courting the newest member of the royal family.



Anonymous 6575

Azu, this new thing is just weird. Some of your problems are much better now, but others just crush this whole idea.

I suppose it's the "you're in a rush to get to the shipping" problem again, but this is on a whole new level.

So yeah, we need to talk.

Meanwhile, on to other things. Another guy is waiting but I should probably go back to the robot one that I've run out of joke names for.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6599


Listen, from now on, why don't you just track me own on fimfic or IRC

Writing Advice: EQD Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6603

File: 1372801402842.png (49.83 KB, 102x292, substandard.png)

Everyone wants to go to EQD. It's a fact. It's affirmation and it's attention, and even though we all like to say that we don't write simply because we want those things, be honest with yourself, you still want them.

There are all kinds of opinions as to what it takes to get your story posted on Equestria Daily. Here's a tip: If someone tells you that one of the main requirements is perfect grammar, you should probably tune out the rest of what that person has to say.

The other thing that's not true about Equestria Daily is that you need to be some really high-class author who totally knows what the hell they're doing and knows how to make something really impressive, leagues above the majority of ponificcers.

Here are three simple requirements for getting to Equestria Daily. These are obviously flexible and also they are obviously not true and just me making shit up, but I think the PRs and EQD-featured ponificcers in the room will agree that these are important.


1) Have good prose. Maybe this is personal bias, because for me, prose is basically my entire basis for passing judgement on a fic being good or bad. Pre-readers are readers. They are not impartial judges attaching a metaphysical value of Worthy or Unworthy to your fic; they are people reading and experiencing what you wrote. A lot of flaws can be forgiven if your fic is enjoyable to read, and a lot of good stuff can be ruined by lack of writing skill.

A related point is to keep the PR's personal biases in mind. Your writing might, plain and simple, not jive with your pre-reader's taste. This isn't fair, but life isn't fair, and differences between you readers is an unavoidable reality of writing. Deal with it. Whether you choose to compromise your vision and move more towards what the PR wants to read is your decision, but I recommend making the compromise. The advice that the PR gives is inherently meaningful even if you disagree with all of it, because now you know what someone might not like about your story.

There is a PR reading this who is about to say "it's not about whether the one PR enjoys it or not, we recognize when a fic has merit regardless of our own enjoyment." That PR or two is either lacking in self-awareness, or very scrupulous about putting fics up for second opinions. It is unlikely that a PR will open your fic thinking consciously about whether other people would enjoy what they're reading, and even if they are, they are inevitably, inherently, unavoidably biased by whether the fic is what they would enjoy. At the same time, the PRs do have brains, and aren't going to call your writing crap if it isn't; I'm just saying that bias is a factor in whether you get accepted or handed a strike.

Where was I?

Oh, right. Basically, actual proficiency with words is one of the most important things for getting to EQD. There is no way in the world you'll get posted on EQD with lousy prose.

2) Give it a solid hook. This is obviously the most subjective bit of advice in this post, but it's something to keep in mind, considering the fact that your goal is to nail your one chance to impress your one pre-reader.

Active, engaging writing is probably a better bet than sedate, emotional writing. Open with wild melodrama instead of sedate and subtelty. Open with in medias res action and/or dialogue instead of tension and setup. This is another thing that comes down to the fact that you should treat the pre-readers like readers. A solid hook is highly important for making your story enjoyable. If your hook sucks, the reader (including a pre-reader) will not want to read your story, and will be somewhat more inclined to hand it back with a strike. This is an entirely fair thing to do to you; if a PR can't enjoy your story despite your story having a lot of good stuff in it, then that is your failing, not theirs.

Again this is something that the pre-readers themselves will deny, and again I will say that I am skeptical of any pre-reader who insists on such a statement so strongly. A cheap-shot, exciting hook is an effective hook, and other types of hooks are both more difficult to pull off, and slightly (not always, mind you) harmed by pre-reader bias. The first part of that sentence is more important by far–a good hook is a good hook, I'm just giving you a tip on what can easily be made to work well.

Yes, navel-gazing bullshit can be good, and yes, navel-gazing bullshit can make it to EQD, but navel-gazing bullshit needs to be engaging. In fact, it's probably even more important that navel-gazing bullshit be engaging, because you can't rely on flowing narrative or visceral impact–you've got to have a good voice, good flow, and a good sense for what's actually interesting to read.

3) Have an actually good idea. This is the one, the only unwritten EQD "requirement" that I disagree with, but I'll get to that in a minute.

The gist of it is that PRs are not fools, unlike your typical Fimfiction reader. If you are someone who has any use whatsoever for the advice of a nobody like me, you will not dazzle a PR with flash and style. A beautifully written story that's nothing but a "boy meets girl" story will not go to EQD. Which is not to say that you must have an amazingly planned and crafted tale in order to go to EQD if you nail it on the other two points; all I'm saying is that the other two cannot be the only thing that carries your fic.

I have three stories that got handed back with "I enjoyed reading this, but it's not the kind of story I would recommend for posting." It still annoys me to think about that, but if anything my experience should serve of proof as what I'm saying here. You can't just be a good writer. You also have to write an idea that has some kind of merit regardless of who's writing it.


A word about failure:

Suck it up and move on. Sometimes what you wrote just wasn't meant for EQD. Either there's something about it that they just don't want to post no matter how much you improve it, or you just don't have what it takes to do a good enough job. That's fine. Not everything you write is going to be awesome, and not everything that's awesome is going to make it to EQD. Your goal isn't to acquire the bragging rights of having stories on EQD, your goal is to create meaning, create beauty, and most of all, your goal is to keep writing and keep growing.

By all means, drop your story into my thread and let me at it, and then by all means spend some time fixing it and changing it and making it better, but don't be ashamed of just letting it go.

Same advice that I've given several times already: you should be okay with putting an imperfect story behind you. That's because sometimes you really can't make a story as good as you want it to be. You didn't write it the way a master would write it, but you wrote it the way you would write it.


Oh, what's that? I didn't address the whole grammar issue?

Shut up. If you have what it takes to do these three things well, then your grammar is probably good anyway. Also, plenty of imperfect grammar goes through to EQD, because there are a lot of technically wrong grammar things that you and I regularly read and don't even notice. Also also, a story that nails it but is sprinkled with grammar errors will be handed back with a "fix stuff and it'll post it" non-strike.
This post was edited by its author on .


Because lately you haven't been replying to my IRC queries.

Edit: >>6603
>3) Have an actually good idea.
This post was edited by its author on .


The prereaders aren't going to post "The Most Well-Written MLD Story Ever." That idea's gone. Dead. Done with. Sanderson can talk all he likes, but ultimately, the only thing that's going to get onto EqD is a good, interesting, original idea.

Oh, and also, you're getting Sanderson's point wrong. It's not that every idea should be evaluated independently of writing style, and that style (technical and otherwise) is all that matters. He's saying that you shouldn't get attached to any idea, especially the shitty ones. There are good ideas and bad ideas; there is good prose and bad prose. Don't write the bad ideas, don't write bad prose, and don't be afraid to scrap either a good idea or a bad idea, should you need to.

Anonymous 6608

Well, I wrote this


Honestly, I'm pretty sure the idea's original, I don't think anyone has actually done it before.

Although, It's basically my first attempt at writing, I wrote some clop before this, but that didn't really get much effort put into it, still has more likes than dislikes though. But this is my first attempt at something decent.

So onto the old review stuff,
The name is clearly The Laughing Statue.
It's an AU where Discord became the Element Of Laughter instead of Pinkie Pie.

It's only 3.5k words long,
but I think that's good enough to be able to tell how well written it is.

Tactical 6609


Thanks for that. I was just going to say something grouchy about him posting irrelevant shit and bring all smug about it by giving no explanation, like what he posted is such great and /or obvious advice that he can drop it like a reaction image and look clever.

I've got someone ahead of you in line, you with the Discord fic. Won't be long though.


File: 1372867648183.png (48.99 KB, 244x255, 38__rainbow-dash.png)

Fine, be that way. But don't come crying to me when you start getting a bunch of gimmicky "Pony does X" stories because you did a bad job of explaining it.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical 6615


>have an actually good idea

>your idea should have merit regardless of who's writing it
>your idea should be original, not "yet another MLD sequel"

And your response is "don't blame me when people think that means they should send Pony Does X stories."

What the Faust are you talking about, dude?

Anonymous 6616

I think he just disagreed and agreed with you.
I really should watch that video, I only skimmed for about a minute listening to the guy talk about how a decent author can take an overused idea and make it worth reading. Which is an excuse for being extremely lazy I see all the time on fimfiction forums.

I really should watch the whole thing.


Tactical, what part of "You did a bad job explaining it" did you not understand?

Roger 6618

That's a rather odd assessment to make given that you understood what the explanation was saying. If your argument is that this is only so because it was not needing to be explained to you, the obvious rebuttal is that you're not in a positioning of assessing the reception of the explanation to someone unprivileged of its ideas, given that you are not.

Tactical 6619

I do now, but I didn't originally, because the guy in your video is giving a FULL LENGTH LESSON and therefore not giving the succinct advice that I am, and then there is the fact that some of the succinct advice built into the lesson IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT I SAID, and finally YOU DIDNT EXPLAIN A DAMN THING, you just posted a really long video that doesn't get to the point immediately, and you said NOTHING about the video, which means it's questionable exactly what part of the lesson you're pointing out, and finall there's the fact that

… Well there's the fact that you're wrong, and I explained it clearly.

Apparently I'm better at explaining stuff than Sanderson is, because you thought he was saying the same thing as me, and he isn't, at all.
This post was edited by its author on .


File: 1372886159643.png (249.87 KB, 800x720, Trixie132700241467.png)

My knee-jerk reaction to whenever someone starts talking about story ideas is to post that video. When I saw "Have an actually good idea" I knew that people were going to come away from it with the misunderstanding that story gimmicks are what the PRs want. If you want to explain this well, you need to differentiate the two.

Roger 6622

Might I suggest then in future for you to use words to express things you mean to say rather than mindlessly regurgitating a link to something with tacit relevance to your point (which you seem to have an awful habit of doing).


Now that I've had time to clear my head and think, I feel that I've found the real thing that's kept bugging me about your post. It felt very much like you're still mad at EqD for what happened with Taught Strings. Maybe that isn't the case, but it is what it came across as, to me at least. And if you don't like EqD, whatever you have to do to get your story featured there, won't ever be worth it.

Tactical 6625

Nonsense! That was a misunderstanding and had little to do with my reaction to being rejected anyway. I wasn't even really mad about that at the time.

No, what I'm still mad about, and will never EVER back down on, is Assault Unit :D


You know, you could just re-write that as an actual war-fic. Maybe expand it to 30k or so, and add a bunch of comedic prose. I'd love to read a pony fic that was reminiscent of Top Secret. But it's your story; whatever you want to do is fine.

Anonymous 6631

You know, I get the feeling I don't really exist sometimes.
When I go around, people always say stuff, like "I didn't see you there, or "You popped out of nowhere.
And it actually seems to apply to the internet too.
I may not exist…
And I'm posting it here because this board is pretty much dead.

Anonymous 6632

File: 1372965895712.jpg (18.45 KB, 260x205, Kellam.jpg)

I'm not sure who you are, other Anonymous guy but you remind me of the guy in the picture. Kellam, from Fire Emblem Awakening. First thing I thought when I saw your message. :3

Anonymous 6634

I have never played watched that show, it may not even be a show.
Is it because you imagine me to be a big muscly guy?
All neckbeard here.

Anonymous 6635


Nah, it's a game. The running joke is that even though he's a huge guy in armor, people don't notice him. Whenever he talks, people are suddenly surprised by him and whenever he moves things, people think stuff magically appears. So it's sorta like that, since people don't seem to notice you. :o

Tactical 6636

Queue status:

Lethe (ready to defer it soon, after giving author more in depth help)
Eclipse Phase: Dreamcatcher
Laughing Statue

Dreamcatcher is something I owe a bro of mine from a long time ago so it's gotta take priority.

Tactical 6713

Hey Laughing Statue, I'm really sorry for taking so long. I'll be starting on you soon.

Anonymous 6725

I look forward to it.

Laughing Statue Tactical 6745

Something hit me right away so I want to write it down before I forget.

Your first few paragraphs contain show don't tell violations, and are flat in both execution and content. You need to grab that shit by the verbs and tear it apart, then use the disfigured remains to make something better. When using a cheap shot, action based hook like this, you will be facing scrutiny from readers like me who care mostly about flash, style, and emotional impact. You cannot show those readers any weakness so early on.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical 6747

… Yeah, okay. I know what I want to talk to you about, all right.

You have a very, very typical show-don't-tell problem that doesn't go away at all for a couple hundred words running. Go read my post about show-don't-tell and see if you can't locate your own trouble spots.

I imagine that probably won't quite do it for you, so I'll be around to discuss whatever you need. I'll see if anything else that you ought to start training yourself on ASAP jumps out at me, but this show don't tell stuff is really inhibiting my reading here.

Anonymous 6750

Well, I edited it, so chances are any other mistakes are ones I'm not going to pick up on.

Anonymous 6751

Any mistakes that are left anyway,
It's kinda ambiguous, but you should probably read it again.

Tactical 6757

Yes, what you've done is pretty good, and yes, you've missed some important things. When I can I'll try to coach you a little more on show-don't-tell. Did my advice post help at all?

Now that I'm giving you another read, two more major issues are coming up. First, you would do well to provide some kind of explanation for no Pinkie Pie. That well and truly makes no sense.

Second, some of your sentence structure is seriously ugly. I'll try to point some big ones out so that you can sweep for it.

I'm sorry for only giving you such consise posts, but your biggest issues are things that you've gotta learn, not things that you've gotta meditate on and then change.

Anonymous 6758

For Pinkie, I was able to add one line about five paragraphs in, but it's a bit difficult since there is no particularly easy way to just say she didn't go with them. but then again, this is hardly perfect anyway.

Your post helped, kinda, It was helpful enough that I was able to add about four hundred words, but it was vague enough that I still didn't really know what I was adding.

It was guess work, basically, although apparently I got a good portion of it.

I know nothing about sentence structure or the like, as I said, any mistakes I made were because of being amateurish.

You know that what I did was basically meditate on it right though? I didn't really pick up anything new.

Tactical 6800

As for further lessons on show-don't-tell:

I'm still really busy, but I thought of what more to say to you–since picking individual examples of yours is not going to help you learn anyway unless I also follow up with what I'm about to say.

Here is an example of why show-don't-tell is important.

>Rainbow Dash got so excited that she had an orgasm.

Well that was a fucking letdown, wasn't it?

How SHOULD I have written that? Do you want to hear that it "was awesome" and "got her more and more aroused" or that she "looked like she was having a god time?"

Hell no! You want to hear intimate description of juicy body parts, you want me to break out extravagant similies about shudders, screams, convulsions, her eyes rolling back in her head, filthy and unusual euphemisms, and all that stuff. You know how this should have been written.

Another example.

>Dashie was suffering from a terrible wound.

What "wound?" What "suffering?" limping? Gash? Exposed bone?

In the first case, you know what would be fun to read, and it's a major letdown if you don't make it happen. This moment is only awesome if you make it sensory.

In the second case, you want some impact, and you can't do that without some good description. Making it sensory is one way to make your point about how bad the wound is.

The phrase show-don't-tell refers specifically to sensory description. i.e. what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it smells like. There might be other ways to make these moments good, but you should do sensory description every time–it's good practice, and it should be the default anyway.

Another thing that's good practice is trying to catch every single example of it, ever. I'll help you with this, but a place to start is adverbs. Look at every single adverb. Chances are that 80% of them can or should be made into sensory description.

Foruming advice: giving reviews Tactical 6845

First off, it's editing, not reviews, stop saying that shit.

I got in an argument a couple weeks ago about how peer editing "should" be done, and part of what I said is that "skill at reviewing" is a quaint little idea that really shouldn't be a thing. Sure there are ways to be helpful vs unhelpful, but really the idea of "being good at" peer editing is just kind of… You know, dumb.

So i figured, why not be a HUGE HYPOCRITE and make a post about how I think peer editing should be done!


Everything boils down to one truth of editing:

You cannot improve the story, and it's not your place to try.

Put another way: Let the story be bad. That's not your fault, and it's not your problem. The author most likely hasn't done a ton more writing/more growth since they finished what you're seeing, so they're not ready to take it to the next level. Or, if they are ready, then they know that fact better than you do. If your review ends up being the catalyst for growth then that's great, but that comes from their exploration, even if you are the one who pointed the author in the right direction. He is the one with his fingers on the keys, not you.

I know most people don't need or don't want my advice, and yeah I see lots of fantastic, helpful work being done, includng when it breaks the advice in this post. I only hope that my thoughts might help you give a more positive experience from TTG.

And well but so I guess I have some specific guidelines too though.

[+] Idiots deserve love.

This is by far the most important one, and the one that the fewest people do.

When telling someone how much they suck, do not get caught up in making sure they notice their flaws. Again, either they are ready or they aren't. This is good advice for all reviews, but it's very, very important to keep this in mind when editing something that really sucks, by an author who doesn't know what they're doing.

Even in the most horrible cases, you can always find a way to say "see, I can tell from this bit that you aren't an idiot, I can tell what you wanted to write but didn't know how to." Find a guiding light for them out of their own work.

If you don't, then not only have you been unhelpful, you may very well have done damage to the author's ability to grow. They are not semi-literate idiots writing second person HiE, so don't treat them like they are. When reviewing second person HiE, laugh them offstage and give no fucks.

[+] The story isn't yours to write.

This is common sense, but don't impose your opinions about tone, plot elements, headcanon, etc. on the story. You may tell the author what you didn't like, and you can even say what you think would be better, but such things are unhelpful and inappropriate if they're just what you *like* instead of what the story needs.

Examples of what you should shut up about include "Luna is more powerful than that" and "Scratch isn't such a bitch" and "Why doesn't she confess her love NOW that they've got a psychic link established? That makes so much more sense!"

[+] Don't be meticulous.

Picking at every example of a problem means the author will overlook the ones that you missed. It encourages them to systematically follow your edits without searching their own writing for problems. And c'mon, you're not obligated to anyway.

Being meticulous can be dangerous anyway. I see quite a bit of micro-editing along the lines of" "cut this word" or "break this into two sentences" that completely neglects to say "in my opinion" or even so much as "because it's too wordy." Doing this can bleed into "the story isn't yours to write" territory.

And, as always,

[+] Don't follow rules, except mine.

My rules and advice about Lavender Unicorn Syndrome and Show-don't-tell very much apply here.

And what I always say about people who give rules and advice applies too: Fuck 'em.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review request: Twilight Odyssey, Chapter Four DemPonies 7024

File: 1376356165389.jpg (55.8 KB, 800x518, twilight_on_twilight_by_envidi…)

Well, you expressed an interest in giving this a read, and since I'd already decided to throw this at you anyway, now's as good a time as any.

Title: Twilight's Odyssey, Ch. 4

Synopsis: In an Equestria where Discord never was, and the Pony Princesses never came to power, a young Twilight Sparkle loses her family in a crowd during the Summer Sun Celebration. Little does she know that her very existence is about to set a series of events into motion that will take her far beyond the borders of Equestria itself—and change the fates of both her nation and her life, forever.

Words: About 5500…ish…

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Br3a0cV534mjtxUH65MDN2xNbFXOjWgK8Jd_3ha6-60/edit

Comment: Other than general grammar and description, feel free to keep characterization in the back of your head…

Tactical 7034

Instant impressions:

Couple thousand words in and, by funny coincidence, this is another chapter that I wouldn't even have written if it were me. So much of this is just telling turned story of what happened in canon in more detail. Which is okay, but ehhhhh. As before, it deserves much less focus.

Second, you have very much the same problems as last time I read your work. Which is fine, progress is hard. But I hope I can be helpful.

I have not read GV’s review beyond skimming what's visible without actually entering the thread. I think I won't, until I'm done here.

DemPonies 7036


Yeah, I guess this is mostly an introductory, in-between chapter. Having characters meet and stuff. It's building up to something, though.

I suppose much of it is just things I do by default, tiny little bad habits that sneak into my writing. But I appreciate your help in pointing them out. Keep it coming!

Tactical 7040

Hmph. Azu deleted the thread in which I argued with him about character exploration. I guess I my shamed him more than he could handle with my writerly superiority.

Here is the short version: the obvious way to create a character is to create a "profile" for them, the way you would when you were doing forum RPs in the old days. Name, eye color, hair color, special powers, sexual orientation, etc.

That's what you shouldn't be doing. That process might be enough for, say, Blueblood, who as far as I can tell is just a douche who represents the generally shitty attitude of the aristocracy. You have his attitude, his beliefs, and maybe the reasons for those beliefs.

What you ned for characters like Fancy, and GUinemare, andyour villains, is something a little deeper. I do this for RPG characters, and I've done a little of it in some drama-oriented fics.

Ask the non-obvious questions. Some examples…

What is the character's relationship with their currently living family?

What were your character's schoolyard days like?

What was your character's last romantic relationship like? How did it start? How did it end? If they are currently in a relationship, how did it start and how is it going?

Is there something that gets your character irrationally angry and/or uncomfortable?

What are your character's hobbies?

How did your character learn their trade? What was it like to learn?

You mostly will not use these things, but exploring them will likely bring up new ideas for how your character might be more than an RP profile–hopefully in large ways. I once used this technique to turn a soft-spoken Yuna type into a terrorist sympathizing, man hating religious radical who's nice because she wants to be better than her rough origins.

Mostly I've said the other things I have to say. This chapter had limited reason to have been written at all, and your prose has room for improvement.

Room for improvement in that I'm sure you could improve it, not as a euphemism for "bad."

Review response DemPonies 7047

Okay, thanks for the help!

I'll definitely keep this process of yours in mind.

Tactical 7049


More to the point, work on structures and show-dont-tell.

If you want story advice, then ask me again when you've got a new chapter because yeah.

Not Really a Review 7144

Title: Moving the Stars

Wordcount: However many you want to read, but if you want a total of all chapters it's 22, 862

Synopsis: Trixie wants to learn shit. Astro is her mentor and teachers her stuff. Then a bad guy comes and gets killed. Hooray for stories!

Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/128051/moving-the-stars

I'm really just posting it here so you don't forget. Feel free to read as much as you want, and give feedback if you feel like it, but if you want the "Mane6 outdone by Trixie" part, it's in Chapter 6
This post was edited by its author on .

Delete Post [ ]
Edit Post
[ home ] [ site / arch ] [ pony / oat / anon ] [ rp / art ]