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Tactical Insertions 3582[Last 50 Posts]


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 .

!!Spike ## Mod 3591

File: 1359036253668.jpg (45.25 KB, 500x268)

This is a review thread, right? Do you need me to add #Reviewer to the OP?

Tactical 3592


Yes, please do

Review request: Twilight's Odyssey, Chapter 2 3595

Alright, I'm gonna jump in before anyone else gets the chance. Give me your best, Tactical!

Title: Twilight's Odyssey, Chapter Two

Words: 7888

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.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BCcyNiDRwh_0I4_arlc4UfANqKXw0qQS3gFDX6GkEjI/edit

This is the second chapter of my story. The first (if you feel you need a frame of reference) can be found here: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/24518/1/twilights-odyssey/chapter-1-summer-sun

If you want, I can give you the td;dr version instead.

Apart from your opinion of the piece in general, I'd like to hear what you think about the pacing. Are there any parts you felt went too fast or too slow? In that case, which? And how would you suggest I go about it?

Also, how's the mannerisms and "voices" of the characters? Do they feel off? How?

Best regards,


Tactical 3607

I have something to say to you before I even start: I've seen this make its rounds. A lot of rounds. There comes a point when you will learn more from writing more, instead of from examining what you have written. Hearing about your flaws is good, but reviewers cannot improve your work or help you develop as a writer - those things are up to you. We just point you in a direction.

That said, I'm not able to sit in front of a computer and churn out comments just yet, but I will read so that it's faster when I do.

A tldr would be nice, but I may have time to read both chapters.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 3615

File: 1359087352734.jpg (19.85 KB, 403x403, goody.jpg)

Quicko question:

Say I want a bunch of ponies playing cards. Would it be worth describing how they hold the cards? If the players consist of changelings who will morph their hooves into hands, and griffons who do have hands, would that change things?

Anonymous 3617


If it were me I would write a one-sentence description of how it's plausible. Ponies clutching cards in both hooves or having it through stands in front of them. As for changelings growing hands I dunno. It's a weird idea and I can't rhink off the top of my head how I would flow rigt through it. Maybe make a point of how strange another character finds it.




I know my first chapter's been through a lot of reviews, but so far only morning_angels has reviewed this one before.

Anonymous 3627

My mistake. I'll get to you.

Tactical 3633


The Google doc isn't opening on my phone. Check the permissions?


Oops… My bad…

It should be fixed now.

Tactical 3635

After giving this a read-through, here are my overall thoughts.

You asked about pacing? Well, if you've ever read my own work, you'll know that it moves at a *frenzied* pace. I would have glazed over entire scenes from this in favor of show-don't-tell-ing them in a single sentence each. In fact I probably would have done that to the whole chapter. For example, Twilight's newfound interest in magic deserves mention, Twilight's reaction to the letter does too, but almost nothing else about that bit is important. Twilight meeting some guards and being intimidated by them is good, but I would have cuy the entire written test. You could show some of the interaction and character of the Sparkle family in just a couple paragraphs and it would be plenty.

Another point about the pacing is that we already know most of this. Until the very end, I forgot that we were in an AU with a Platinum Crown instead of an Empress of Ponykind. Did you do some world building in the first chapter? Regardless, consider rewriting most of this chapter to address what's different about this world. Right now it seems like not much. Even if the first chapter makes it clear that there ARE differences, it's no good for so much of this chapter to click right into canon and tell us nothing new.

Given my positive experience with MA, I'm surprised he didn't slap you around for your telling and structure. There were just a couple of really painful structure issues, and a bunch of places where telling interrupts your flow. I'm someone who likes telling actually, but not when it awkwardly says something at a moment when all we really care about is body language or whatever.

Overall I am rather unimpressed. The events of the chapter were friggin' boring, the language has a lot of room for improvement, the characters were okay, and none of what you want this fic to be was on display. I would say modify this chapter to be more about… Anything else. Maybe Twilight has some feelings about more than just the standard book-loving and feeling the pressure. More importantly, maybe there are things about this AU that are all up in Twilight's face. Maybe Twilight really loves her parents, so it's terrible when she, you know, kills them.

Hopefully I'll have time to leave comments soon.
This post was edited by its author on .



Alright, thank you for your thoughts, Tactical. There were a few things I was a little curious about, however.

>You asked about pacing? Well, if you've ever read my own work, you'll know that it moves at a *frenzied* pace. I would have glazed over entire scenes from this in favor of show-don't-tell-ing them in a single sentence each. In fact I probably would have done that to the whole chapter. For example, Twilight's newfound interest in magic deserves mention, Twilight's reaction to the letter does too, but almost nothing else about that bit is important. Twilight meeting some guards and being intimidated by them is good, but I would have cuy the entire written test. You could show some of the interaction and character of the Sparkle family in just a couple paragraphs and it would be plenty.


I haven't really read any of your work—so I don't have anything to compare with—but I suppose I'm just more "wordy" than you.

What exactly do you mean by "in favor of show-don't-tell-ing them in a single sentence each"? Would you glance over the beginning of the chapter with a few intentionally tell-y sentences?

>Another point about the pacing is that we already know most of this. Until the very end, I forgot that we were in an AU with a Platinum Crown instead of an Empress of Ponykind. Did you do some world building in the first chapter? Regardless, consider rewriting most of this chapter to address what's different about this world. Right now it seems like not much. Even if the first chapter makes it clear that there ARE differences, it's no good for so much of this chapter to click right into canon and tell us nothing new.

I'd like to believe that there's a fair share of world-building in the first chapter, although I agree we got little of it here. However, I wouldn't want to shoehorn it in just because. Anything in particular that you felt I could've explored more in the setting?

>Given my positive experience with MA, I'm surprised he didn't slap you around for your telling and structure. There were just a couple of really painful structure issues, and a bunch of places where telling interrupts your flow. I'm someone who likes telling actually, but not when it awkwardly says something at a moment when all we really care about is body language or whatever.

Huh. I went through his comments, and I only counted eight about telling (roughly one in a thousand words), one of which asked for more telling. I've since tried to fix em, but I obviously failed. A few more might have sneaked into my newly added scenes as well.

His comments mostly had to do with syntax and phrasing, though, so I suppose he covered structuring pretty well. Why don't you tell me more about that?

>Overall I am rather unimpressed. The events of the chapter were friggin' boring, the language has a lot of room for improvement, the characters were okay, and none of what you want this fic to be was on display. I would say modify this chapter to be more about… Anything else. Maybe Twilight has some feelings about more than just the standard book-loving and feeling the pressure. More importantly, maybe there are things about this AU that are all up in Twilight's face. Maybe Twilight really loves her parents, so it's terrible when she, you know, kills them.

It's too bad you didn't like it. However, I won't change the overall happenings of the chapter, and I don't plan on deviating from canon too much for the time being. Also, killing off Twilight's parents would probably give her some traumatic issues that wouldn't really take the story in the direction I'd like…

>Hopefully I'll have time to leave comments soon.

Cool. I'm looking forward to it.

Croswynd 3649

I wouldn't mind you taking a look at my story. I've submitted it in a few other threads, but every one of those has died or the owner has stopped reviewing before getting to my story. It's in the Training Grounds, too, but I haven't heard from my reviewer in months, no offense to him. It's a large story that probably isn't to his taste, so I can't really blame him.

You might be my last hope on this board, haha.

Info: Unmarked, 160k+ words.

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!

Tactical 3650

Dang. Are you sure you should still be looking for reviews? Sounds like you've already got the self-confidence to plug away. I think you've written more than my entire ponyficcing career…

Regardless, I am glad to do what this thread promises, and talk to you about your strengths and weaknesses. I'm still posting in between putting whipped cream on pies, so I still can't do comments for Twilight's Odyssey, so I'll start reading Unmarked.

No promises (yet) that I'll make it through the whole thing in any kind of timely manner, but I will give thoughts chapter by chapter. I also reserve the right to defer reviewing your next chapter of there's a short in my queue that I could blitz through more easily.

I'm glad to be the hero who finally talks to you about your fic!

Tactical 3652


My point about show don't tell is best left for individual comments. In short, I see your effort in elaborating upon descriptions, but I don't like some of your word choices, and in other places I feel that you replaced (or augmented) a telly description with a more specific but telly or awkward description.

About unnecessary parts. What is important in this chapter? The Canterlot atmosphere? The dynamics of the Sparkle family? Twilight's feelings?

Play that up and CUT THE REST DRASTICALLY. The reason is the same reason for my other bit of feedback…

What is different from canon here? That is what we should hear about; everything else should be glazed past. Or maybe something here is canon, but has a different meaning. The final test and how nobody ever passes it is a good example. That's important.

Hopefully I'll find good examples of what could be cut and replaced with a brief mention when I do comments.
The Sixth Age used to have THREE SEPARATE bits describing the city it takes place in, in less than 4000 words. Now it has a couple brief bits over the course of 10,000 words. Cutting chaff like this matters. It helped me immensely.
This post was edited by its author on .

Croswynd 3654

File: 1359178118916.jpg (475.66 KB, 1000x1000, Pinkie and the Mousse copy.jpg)


Well, I'm a chapter or two away from ending the fic, so I want my earlier chapters especially (since they were written a year ago) to be given a once over, so when my [complete] tag on EqD brings new readers, they won't be put off by terribleness.

But yeah, man, take your time. I'm a patient guy and it's a long story. Take it chapter by chapter if you like, I don't mind. I wouldn't expect you to go out and read everything tonight or anything.

And thanks. I've sort of lost interest in the story, too, unfortunately, because I don't have anyone really to talk to about it. Hopefully you'll be the inspiration I need, mate. You seem a dapper fellow, after all.

Tactical 3656


One more thing. Morning_Angles and I are total polar opposites in a lot of ways. You will probably never hear him tell you something like "glaze this over with a single sentence, it's boring" or "No need to tell us that this happened." I've crammed a lot into half the words you have here—MA claims to have taken 50k words before getting to the point.

We both try very hard not to impose our personal visions on others, as all reviewers should, but understand that with me you are getting a particular point of view.

Tactical 3674

I'm very sorry for the delay. I will have access to a computer and will be able to get into full reviewing swing tomorrow night. That's when i'll get Twilight's Odyssey finished.



>Morning_Angles and I are total polar opposites in a lot of ways.

>…you are getting a particular point of view.

Awesome. Makes it all the more interesting.

>I'm very sorry for the delay. I will have access to a computer and will be able to get into full reviewing swing tomorrow night. That's when i'll get Twilight's Odyssey finished.

Cool. I've already replied to some of your comments in the doc.

Review? A Hoof-ful of Dust 3679

Can I jump in line here? I've got a story I'd like someone who isn't me to take a look at. 18-19k words, adventure-y/shipping kind of thing, in that order. Name's not set in stone just yet, but the basic idea is Twilight and Luna wake up in an empty Equestria covered with plantlife, and go investigating. You can find it here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2exsV-M083SUnIyUkNDa3I2UVk/edit

Thanks in advance.

Chasing Clouds Azusa!fG2qnvpWXU 3682

File: 1359523063236.png (445.44 KB, 994x559, Cloudchaser_and_Flitter_S2E22.…)


Synopsis: From first love to disapproving parents, from school dances to discovering the difficulties of living together, Cloudchaser and Flitter embark on a journey together that will last them a lifetime.

FiMFic link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/19352/chasing-clouds

Ch 1 Gdoc link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19DOFZg9TVWZCSxwpJ5WNbdReF7fXAqMuzN2OebyCCfg/edit

Ch 2 link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18MyeZdq_REBGGRvnTymSVHpt69zxPpBuCyEmzPP9xAo/edit

Word count: 4,819

PR tl; dr rejection letter: Not bad, but it definitely needs some work. Problems with spelling (typos, poor wording, missing words, sentence structure/formation), punctuation (dialogue punctuation, use/misuse/lack of commas, use/misuse of semicolons), pacing, questionable portrayal of characters (already mentioned above), lack of depth in characters, plot inconsistencies, and show versus tell (character actions, expression of emotion, place and time, general descriptions) among other miscellaneous errors are present within the story and should be addressed during the editing process. This being the first strike of three, I'd advise you to find an editor if possible. Please take your time and don't rush.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical 3686


You should probably link me. Just saying.

I'm tempted to say that I don't… really want to review the whole thing… since it's not like I'm helping you with WRITING it, just giving you a bit of help before you slap on the [complete] tag. But I will definitely read your opening bits… especially since, if you're anything like me, you've matured past how you wrote when you wrote those.

Croswynd 3689

File: 1359556626069.jpg (62.52 KB, 800x800, image.jpg)


Understandable. I seem to have mistaken your OP, so it's my fault, but whichever you decide, the links are thus:



Thank you for offering, at the very least. And don't worry about offending me if you decide not to; like I said, no one wants to tackle this monster by themselves.

Tactical 3692

I will read your fic, I will tell you what I think of it, I will try to be helpful. I will go into enough depth and will try to "experience" your fic to the extent that I can at least begin to help you with your goal of making it so that you don't disappoint when readers are drawn in by the [complete] tag.

I definitely respect your work.

Croswynd 3694

File: 1359590116040.jpg (107.55 KB, 500x500, Quills copy.jpg)


Thank you, very much. Anything you can do is enough for me to <3 u 4eva.

Tactical 3733


I should make you review *my* Cloudchaser fic while you wait.

Azusa!fG2qnvpWXU 3735

File: 1359749579330.png (1.1 MB, 1019x784, books.png)

Well, if you don't mind waiting 'til I finish reviewing Raven's YA book then I guess I could, if you really want me to.


Tactical 3737

I'm about half way through "Hoof-full of Dust". I should be able to finish it as soon as I get another free day that I don't end up using to play GW2.

There is actually a lot to like here. I do have a handful of things to bitch at you about, and yes, one of them is that I would cut some of your things short if it were me.

I have one important thing to say about your story at this point. Did you ever play, or watch someone play, or listen to the Zero Punctuation review of, F3AR?

In much the way F3AR likes to have your character put away his guns and go through canned funhouse-scare sequences, so does your fic like to stop and do Twiluna friend shipping. There is a balance to be struck between letting such things clunk around like they do now, versus never letting Canon Twilight shine if you take too much of that away, and I respect that - but be aware of this as you revise.

Tactical 3738

Heck, it could take a while and I've only written 15k. Go check my fimfiction profile, and turn on Mature. You'll have to dig back a short way on my full list of stories, too.

Anonymous 3739


"guess I'm just more wordy than you"

Some of my fics are all of 4000 words long. If you need to see how I do things (and thus where my suggestions are coming from) read my one shots, but it's obviously not terribly important.

A Hoof-ful of Dust 3760

Wow, fast. Neat. I was sure you'd be working through that 160k monster for another week yet.

Not super-familiar with modern vidya games, but I get your point about the way the story switches gears; my goal was to get it finished so I could get an outside opinion on the whole thing (can't stand going chapter-by-chapter for writing or feedback), then metaphorically sand down the edges. But my first impluse for revision is to add more stuff to even everything out, so maybe I need someone who seems opposed to long stories (not a bad trait) to keep it all under control.

Look forward to reading your final thoughts, both the good stuff and the bitching.

Tactical 3809

I'm taking that 160k monster in chunks. I'm going to go through maybe 20-30k of it once I'm done with you. I started reading it, but didn't start on commenting yet.
This post was edited by its author on .

A Hoof-full of Dust Tactical 3861

Here are some comments for you. I may have glazed over a part or two i.e. read it, then come back to it while in commenting mode and not commented on it. As always, feel free to ask questions.

I'm torn about your opening. I like the idea, and when it's me I definitely prefer to give the entire m6 an equal shake, but this goes on too long. I also like that you're showing us how each character prepares for the Summer Sun Celebration, but maybe try to merge some of the characters' bits–say, Pinkie meets up with Twilight and Spike while they're on their way down. Six times the repetition of the ants is way too many.

It's okay for you to take up the same amount of words/space when you do this–in fact, you could even take up a lot more. The reason this is a good move is because then you mention the ants less times. Three or four, not five, and not six.

I object greatly to the idea of Luna being blown away by a telescope. I imagine she would smile that her little ones have this way just to get a tiny bit closer to the stars she loves. You're diminishing her a lot by making her so apparently unfamiliar with her night sky.

Or, then again, maybe her intuitive knowledge but lack of Twilight's academic knowledge is interesting. I don't know–it's not played the way I would do it. My biggest objection is her merely /watching/ the stars, and that it's a "new" "hobby" for her.

>Where had all these plants come from? What about the storm?

With these lines, the scene has officially overstayed its welcome. You took a while to description-dump, which was okay, but then you give us a rather unnecessary chunk of Twilight's thoughts. M_A would tell you to show-don't-tell how Twilight feels, instead of this. I would say the same thing but to be less stringent about not "telling" about Twilight's fear, confusion, determination. Also you've given a decent impression of the strange, scary nature of this stuff, so that's good.

Three paragraphs, by the way, is long for any kind of description dump. I think you'd do well to slash a word here, an entire aspect there. Example.

>It was raining everywhere she could see–not just around Canterlot but off into the distance in alldirections. The horizon was obscured blah blah blah telling and words

You could slash this drastically. Call it "slash and burn" writing. Trim down to only the best, and you have a much stronger scene.

There are all kinds of places like this, throughout the fic. I'll point out a few more. I might not get a whole lot of them, but hopefully it'll help you be aware.

>the feeling of trotting up one too many steps in a staircase

I like that.

>A little part of her wanted to speculate on what could have caused that to happen,

I like your language in a lot of ways, but again, this scene is wearing out its welcome. Another example is how Twilight tries to confirm her inability to use magic three times. That's a lot of sentences you used on that idea.

>The ground beneath her felt strange. Weak, somehow.

I've read this how many times and I still don't understand what's going on here. You later describe the path crumbling away leaving a nearly sheer drop, but you don't describe that at ALL until the end.

Now that I'm starting to see the meat of the shipping angle, I should say that I'm not a fan of the "shipfic" thing. Whether you mean to or not, you often verge on "shipfic" territory. This is mainly because you actually go out of your way to do the shipping. Doing so detracts from the other aspects of your story, such that this occasionally stops being an adventure with a shippy side, and temporarily becomes a shipfic with an adventurey "excuse plot".

The bit about braiding Luna's hair is a perfect example of where I'm torn between wanting you to cut it versus not wanting you to cut the way you're letting Canon Twilight out despite the circumstances. See, this is you going out of your way to develop the shippiness, and to me it just seems obvious, unnecessary, almost fanservice-cute. were I to re-envision the shipping angle, I would never stop to let Twilight and Luna talk about their feelings for each other, ever. The reader would understand the attraction, but very little time would be set aside for it.

Perhaps that was useless advice, because I'm not telling you that you have to follow it. Still, the parts I mentioned where you "click into another mode" are distracting to me, even the ones that are actually nicely written.

>long-ass history lesson

Slash and burn slash and burn

>I'm going to learn how to wield the power of the oldest gods, shaping the world to my will and creating new forces of nature to usher in a new, glorious age of friendship and magic?


…Okay, this whole segment was too damn long. You had some interesting stuff to say here, but quite frankly you should just "kill your darlings" here and let some of it go. Either find ways to show-don't-tell it, or find ways to write it out, or just assess how honestly important it is for the reader to hear about it.

>I was in love with Starswirl

Nice idea, but this is a perfect example of something that should be cut because it doesn't belong in the spotlight. This is a larger-scale version of "show don't tell." Rather than letting us find this out in an interesting way, here it's basically trail chatter. An example of how this might come out in an interesting way is if Twilight and Luna end up experimenting with their newly recovered magic, and as Luna arcs a stream of magic into Twilight's horn for the first time, filling the little purple unicorn with the ancient power of a mighty, lost race of Goddesses, she lets out a low moan of "Oh, Starswirl!"

Which then prompts Twilight to ask "Wait, WHO?" and Luna, embarrassed, explains that the last mortal pony she touched with her horn was Starswirl…

So, that's an example of how you could reveal something via a scene and not just a boring conversation.

>Now we swim

Slash and burn all the way from this until the waterfall. All these paragraphs about Twilight's thoughts, all these descriptions of swimming and getting wet–the ONLY important part is the action at the end. The rest should just be conveyed, gracefully, but minimally.

>"Twilight Sparkle," the ancient moon-goddess said, "We find ourselves… in a predicament. We had hoped to find a better opportunity, but… given circumstances… it behooves us… we kind of, sort of like you?"

This isn't my Luna characterization and this isn't my story, but this moment is not doing anything for me. I'll pull my thoughts about this together fully if you need, but basically this reads to me like a juvenile, shippy moment that fails to be what it wanted to be. Maybe you could have the realization come more naturally from this scene, rather than Luna deciding to make a confession.

>I saw an ant in Canterlot with a fungal parasite that night

Cut this. Cut this and do not put it back. Mentioning that little orange nub is great, and getting straightforward like this ruins it.

>“Consider the ants. Consider the behavior of our escorts. Does it not remind you of-

Same thing. Cut this twice as hard as the last bit.

The whole sequence in the giant mushroom is actually really cool, so good job on that. You worked your reveals nicely.

Still not totally happy about Twilight using the magic of the gods. We don't get to watch her learning it, or see any effort in her using it, and we don't even really get to hear her experience with using such a wildly different kind of magic. This just rubs me the wrong way in all kinds of ways.

I do like what you've written, though. Making Equestria remember itself, all that kind of stuff… I've written things like that before, and I love how you've done it.

Same comment about your beginning applies to your ending, of course.

Your Luna characterization is… it's nice, but it's also kind of… nonexistent? I don't see any distinct character from her. Which is fine, her just being Luna, the Princess, who raises the moon and commands the forces of magic and nature is fine is good enough. It's a little boring, though.

Giving her some kind of interesting traits would be good–maybe she has this authoritative attitude and she initially intimidates Twilight. Just as an example. Making her different from Twilight and/or not having them get along with each other perfectly would help this fic greatly.

That might also give some kind of drive to you Twiluna shipping, because otherwise there is none. Really, that's the weakest part of the fic right now. Your fic would be better if you cut that entire idea… In fact, nothing would be lost if you cut the idea of Luna falling for Twilight. Think about it, the "we wanted to see your bonds of friendship" angle is still there, the "We don't need to tell them yet" ending can still happen, and all that's different is that you don't have to spend the time that you do doing all those things I didn't like.

So, clearly, in your mind the shipping angle was meaningful because of the idea of the parasite wanting to watch Twilight and Luna develop feelings for each other. Not sure what to tell you about that, except that it isn't good enough for me. It didn't RUIN it, but it just gave the fic a wishy-washy feel and kept it from being narrowed into the kind of direct, flowing narrative that short stories are (imo) supposed to be.

A Hoof-ful of Dust 3877

This - all this - is exactly the reason why I don't like to go chapter by chapter for feedback. It's a lot easier to hear criticism along the lines of 'consider removing a whole element of your story' - and with nothing published, a lot easier to make changes. It makes editing more holistic, like.

I think I've been undervaluing the reader's intelligence through writing most of this story. It's led to some overlong descriptive paragraphs that start with a declarative sentence and follow on with further explanation - if I want to describe the rainclouds, for example, I don't really need to set up the fact that it's raining - but it's also led to some unsubtle callbacks and overexplanation and a bunch of other stuff you've pointed out. I should get more in the mindset that the reader will get it without whatever it is needing to be hammered home.

On shipping, I wanted to pair together two characters that (I felt) were of a fairly similar disposition, but looking back on it that doesn't make a good story for the same reasons that you wouldn't tell a story about a guy who was really good at his mundane office job. No matter how much I detest the trope of opposites attracting, it unfortunately comes with the kind of conflict needed to make something interesting. I do have an idea about how to re-frame Twilight and Luna's relationship towards each other, and ironically it draws a lot from the oh-no-my-fanfics-are-ruined big change coming for the end of season 3 (potentially). Assuming Twilight "levels up", Luna and her stoicism, her knowledge of old forgotten powerful stuff, and her general intimidation factor could serve as Twilight's doubts about her new role personified. But over the course of the story, Twilight gets to see the person behind the Princess, and so becomes more comfortable with her new position. It also lets me use the history I've created in a better way (scatter bits and pieces of it in Luna's off-hand comments), I can be less heavy-handed with them liking each other, it solves a lot of problems.

So, I guess I have some more writing to do. Thankyou very much for pointing me in the right direction.

Tactical 3878


The nice thing is that you're not "losing" any of your meaning by drastically changing the shipping, see? If you were to go with my vision, you would change it to some bullshit about trust or something, and you would leave it at friendshipping, and you would say far less of it. But you would still get the angle of them growing closer together, and you would still use the idea of observing their friendship.

Anyway, don't be afraid to just throw it out there, flaws and all! This had its strong points, and unless you're really attached to the idea of getting this on EQD, I'd consider this a perfectly respectable thing to have on your fimfic page.

Now to read some of the novel-length fic.
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A Hoof-ful of Dust 3879

Yeah, it totally would work without it. Maybe I make it ambiguous and cut the shipping tag off, let people make up their own mind about what the last line really means.

Tactical 4062

I swear

I swear to Faust I'll actually start working on reviews when I can

*collapses into bed*
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Croswynd 4068


Take your time, I'm patient. If you want, you can just do one chapter and then move to someone else's, then back to me later. 160k is a little much even in smaller chunks.

Tactical 4084

I need to get this off my conscience while I get some schoolwork done, so here are the thoughts on your prologue. I feel a little bad only giving so little, but there is some overall advice for you to take away.

>Normally, Novell wouldn't have minded his companion's strange quirk, but

This is bad telling. With such a novel idea, you'd do better to make a quick joke out of this, or something. And even at that it's not exactly a straight-up tell. It's just weak.

>It was a sharp contrast to his troubled thoughts and its quaintness managed to elicit a smile from him

"Elict a smile from him" ew.

>The humming was growing closer now, setting his teeth on edge with its repetitive, tuneless melody. His feeling of confusion increased at that thought,

"Repetitive, tuneless melody" ew. "Feeling of confusion increased at that thought" –These are ugly. When you go back and sweep this for minor revisions, keep an eye out for things like this. "his confusion increased" could just be "it confused him further." Even though it's technically more words/syllables, it's a whole lot less… no other word for it, ugly.

>Something slammed into his chest. He fell backward and shrill voices screeched in his ear. His eyes snapped closed against the sudden pain. Dust kicked up around him and when he tried to regain his breath, he coughed.

Part of it is that you use passive voice so much. "Dust kicked up around him" is definitely the worst of this sentence. The typical example of passive voice is "the ball was kicked" as opposed to "he kicked the ball." The first example would really suck in a scene where you want things to flow quickly and naturally, right?

>A bow that almost dwarfed her

I'm obviously not going to be nitpicking very much, but this is an important one. You can't ALMOST be WAY BIGGER THAN something. Or, you can, but it's not a very good description.

>a prim voice asked archly

I don't even know what "archly" means.

Other examples include "inarticulately" and "askance."

>not all of which were from the tumble he had just taken. The forest he and the Professor had walked through hadn’t been kind to him. Though he doesn’t seem any worse for wear. He glared through narrowed eyes at the hefty unicorn's perfect mane.

Telling, confusing, and boring. The italics break the "one actor per paragraph" rule, for starters. And even if you'd set that off in its own line with quotes I wouldn't understand what the hell he's talking about.

After reading this five times I finally understood that the Professor's thoughts are broadcast freely; he doesn't need to intentionally project messages into Novell's brain. Please introduce that in a better way.

>He shivered at that last memory. “This tale is full of adventure,” he smiled with the feelings the word evoked, “danger,” his voice grew stronger, falling into a familiar groove as he pitched the word in a low tone, “excitement and tragedy,” now a duality of cheerfulness and melancholy, “magic” he said mysteriously, “and, most importantly…”

Eww eww eww. This is a cute idea turned into a really nasty sentence. For starters, ALL of these little descriptions would be bad, in any circumstance. "Smiled with the feelings the word evoked" is the least troublesome because it's just the structure and clunkiness. Also, splicing in the descriptions like this all in a single line is bad. If you like I'll show you an example of how you could redo this.

>A million excuses rippled through his mind, but all his efforts of catching one and using it were futile. He hadn’t been planning to reveal his problem to anypony in the town just yet.

>Defeated, Novell sighed and closed his eyes in an attempt to think up a response. How did he answer a question he still hadn’t figured out himself?
M_A would bitch about this if this were his thread. We get that Novell "froze," but otherwise this is all inside Novell's head. You spend a bunch of words on his feelings, including "he hadn't been planning…" which is something of a show-don't-tell violation.

>hanging off of his next word, steadily inching closer and closer to him

Just a minor thing–this description isn't doing it for me and I really want something here that does. Widened eyes, something something about innocence and curiosity or whatever.

>to speak the last word of his little prologue.

A nice little moment, but I hate the way you've delivered this line. Speaking the last word is a clunky way to say it and you should have something here that sets a "mysterious storyteller stranger" tone anyway, rather than "speak" and "last word."

All in all, when you go back through this, keep an eye out for ways you can sharpen things, say them in simpler terms. You have an impulse to write fancy sentences, which is fine, but you need to control that impulse so that it doesn't cause things like…

>"Yes," softly spoke Rarity.

I once had a long bitch-fest with an author over whether s/he was allowed to write this. The author basically wrote me off with "nope, you're just closed-minded and you refuse to let people do things their own way" when I got bitchy about how terrible that looks. I think you're too eager to show off your command of the English language, and you're under the impression that cool words and interesting sentence structures should be the norm. Archly, inarticularly, askance, dwarfed.

More often than not you can just let it go and say something less interesting instead.

Also, details like the telepathy–this is your story's intro bit, so all that matters is that you create a nice opening scene. Play the telepathy for a gag to introduce it. Mention that they've been walking. Or, even better, go full show-don't-tell on it and have us just understand that he's in travelling gear and that he's been on the road for a while. Let go of the idea of getting information out in these first 1000 words.

Croswynd 4086


Thanks for the first review!

I see a lot of your points and I agree with some of them. Others are stylistic choices, but I will address your criticisms. "Archly" is knowing and/or superior, or just mocking.

As for my language, I just write what feels natural. I don't intend to show off—it's just how I write, plugging in the words that work, regardless of how "fancy" it is.

Thank you.
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Tactical 4099

You misunderstand, I'm not accusing you of showing off. I just find your sentence structures to be clunky sometimes, and I especially don't like word choices like "askance." I absolutely understand how it is with sentence structures in particular. Like I said–control it.

Archly, specifically, is a cute little adverb and I'm sure I would've liked it if I had actually known that word. Do consider cutting obscure words like that, but dumbing it down for the sake of illiterate barbarians like me isn't the point.

I don't object to you using advanced words. I find specific issues with you hurting your own flow and imagery by doing things like "askance" and "inarticulately." The second one in particular is telly and unnecessary. It suffers from the same problems as many adverbs do, along with the fact that I just don't like using such a word for such a purpose.
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Croswynd 4100


No worries, mate, I understood what you meant. It's my bad for unintentionally insinuating otherwise. I agree with a few of your criticisms regarding the language, no question.

I look forward to more from you in the future, and I hope it doesn't turn out to be too much of a chore to read through.

A Hoof-ful of Dust 4133

Hey, it's me again. I'm not asking for a second critique (but I might if I get knocked back from EQD), but you might like to know I made a bunch of changes, rewrote large swaths of the core of my story, and started putting it up on FIMFic (http://www.fimfiction.net/story/83628/here-comes-the-rain-again) - just the first chapter's published, but the rest are up there behind a password (the ever-imaginative 'password'); check it out on your own time or feel free to ignore, totally your call.

Tactical 4134

Just took a cursory glance at the first chapter of Unmarked while sitting on the John.

Holy four paragraph long weather report, Batman.

Weather reports should be one paragraph sentence long, and some kind of meaning beyond description dumping should come out by the end of that paragraph.

The link to your prologue is a bit tenuous. To use the device of "this is my story…" you should be aware of the beginning of your story as a *beginning.* This isn't one. He wouldn't start the story with "I was thinking about something important to the story that had already happened, when…"
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Croswynd 4138


I don't see four paragraphs of weather. I see description of the weather in the first paragraph and then of the town below (one not in the show, so I had to describe it).

The end of the fourth paragraph also leads into Novell pining for the good ol' days, when he wasn't under pressure to find a CM, which is the core of his problem.

As for the tenuous link, prologues don't have to be directly connected to Chapter 1, especially if they're in medias res like mine is.

I can understand your reasoning, though, since he says he's about to tell the story and then we end up here. But if I did it that way, everything would be in first person, which isn't the case.

In fact, part of the reasoning behind the prologue at all was to hook in the reader with something familiar, like the CMC and Ponyville. People tend to read fan fiction more when the main cast/location is mentioned and I am very much into manipulating the reader, by any means necessary, into taking the time to look into an all OC story. All OC stories are difficult to get readers for unless there's a connection like I mentioned.
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Tactical 4139

Right. By weather report I just mean physical description of the setting. It's just boring description of this really nice, typically ponyish place, and even if you're about to subvert it with the next few things you say, four paragraphs is too long.

Now that you're saying it, I understand that this isn't first person and that "this is my story" isn't a device that's going to keep coming up. I just don't like this as a beginning at all. The problem with weather reports is that they're this very placid, meaningless thing to start a story with.

If it were me, I'd throw a "hook" type of opening paragraph with Novell bitching about how much his situation sucks. You could fit description in after that, but I say don't make it the very first thing.

Tactical 4226

I'm sorry, brony, but I just keep getting ting distracted by the fact that I just do not like this as a beginning at all. You're not a bad writer although you have a lot of room for improvement, but I just am not having fun reading the first pages of this chapter. You have multiple pages that are just not how the beginning of a story should be, at all. This is a scene that would he acceptable if we'd already seen a bunch of the story and thus have some kind of connection/investment in the MC's situation. And even then I don't like how so much of it is just glorified exposition.

I've given my stories slow starts sometimes, but this is very weak by any standards to my eye.

Will get back to you after doing some work for Azu.

I've been looking forward to this one and I'm very sorry for keeping you waiting.

Croswynd 4227


That's fine. You see my conundrum. Year and a half old writing isn't going to pull people in for the [complete] tag.

Take your time.

Tactical 4234

Oh Azu, Azu, Azu.

What to say about an Azu fic?

I regret to say that this was exactly, exactly what I was hoping it wouldn't be. I don't read much fanfiction and I sure don't read straight-up shipfics, so this stands as the most transparent, predictable thing I've read in the whole fandom.

>pacing, questionable portrayal of characters (already mentioned above), lack of depth in characters, plot inconsistencies, and show versus tell

Yes, absolutely. Let me give you some PR-esque bitching points:

You clearly don't give a damn about anything except the shipping. You have this classroom scene that has no description or atmosphere, and you just about never describe anything. I'm skimming back over, and I don't think you give sense-imagery of a single thing.
>The light glistened off the rainbow falls as it ran off the edge and fell into the collection pools with a splash
This doesn't count. You give us this cute description of the liquid rainbow juice, which just does not give us a picture of the scene you're going for at all. Take the general idea that guided you to write this line and apply it to everything. Let us know about the classroom. Let us know about getting yelled at by the teacher. Let us know about the scenery while going on a walk with Chaser.

But largely the problem is how predictable this is and how flat it is.
>Flitter blushed. “Eh? Uh, o-okay…” she said, catching up with Cloudchaser.
I hate, hate this line. Not only have you shown your hand senselessly early, and with a really dumb cliche, but you've gotten to this also obnoxiously typical "not-date" scene without giving us any kind of look into Flitter's head except to throw the (also cliche) of "new student, ooh she's so cool" interaction. I know I'm not going to dissuade you from this, so my suggestion for making this aspect better is to sling Twilight-esque descriptions of how Flitter feels about Cloudchaser. How much she loves talking to Cloudchaser, how sexy her mix of energy and intelligence is, how confused Flitter is about her own feelings.

Hey why DON'T you have an angle of being confused by her own feelings? They are young and it makes sense that we'd be seeing the beginnings of sexual feelings/experimentation, and these feelings would be rather new and exciting to them, and they would be much more sensitive to it than they currently seem to be.

Anyway, this advice applies to pretty much everything. You throw bad cliches without a second thought, which is fine, but you do so without giving them emotional weight except in occasional show-don't-tell ways that usually don't work. You focus on the characters getting together, and hardly write anything else, which is fine, except that it's not fine.

>A month had passed since Flitter first met Cloudchaser. In that time, they played together almost every day.

I do this sometimes. I glaze things over by "telling" them. Maybe you shouldn't. Because telling should be clear and maybe even a little interesting, whereas this says the bare bare basics.

>Flitter stood and followed her. On the way to the front door, she saw pieces of the costume Cloudchaser had worn scattered around the hallway. She gathered them up. At the doorway, she could see Cloudchaser and her mother flying away.

>Flitter waved at them. “Bye, Cloudchaser!”
Even if I were to let go of my annoyance about your total focus on shipping, I would be highly dissatisfied with your prose. This was not written with the finesse of a Writer with a capital R.

A lot of my dissatisfaction with your fic is because of that. Your writing lacks flair, lacks punch, lacks personality. You write with all the complexity of a kid writing a book report, except a bad book report that summarizes too much and discusses too little. At the few points where you DO try to do the right things, like describing a sunset or describing Flitter's feelings, you do it without the benefit of any kind of finesse. This will come from reading other people's work, reading real books, and generally expanding your horizons.

I notice that when you review, you always pick at show-don't-tell and things that don't quite make sense. Any time you see a show-don't-tell, you pick at it. Stop reading that way and try to enjoy bits of flair, even those that go against the supposed rules. You once told me not to talk about "angry sunlight" or something like that, because sunlight can't be angry. But your writing is in desperate need of touches like that.

It is my opinion that when things get to where you are, what with sending it around for reviews and really wanting to improve it, you almost ought to just release it, flaws and all. You wrote it, be proud of it, don't demand that it be amazing.

I am not even saying that about this fic. You have serious learning to do.

The emotional place that you are writing this from is all wrong, and you need to control it. I recommend entering the write-off, and forbidding yourself from writing shipping. I swear I'm not telling you to not write shipping. It's that taking yourself away from this kind of writing will teach you how to write shipping that shines as something that's more than what… this… currently is.

I'm sorry, man, but I just didn't like this at all.
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>bitching points
Oh man, totally stealing this phrase.

soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 4244

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I would like to say before any potential blowup at this somewhat harsh review, that it is accurate.

Your story has working plot points. It has scenes and pacing (really rushed pacing, though if the whole story were spread out more, it would hit the pacing curve well). But your dialogue holds these extremely boring, mundane interactions. Outside of the shipping and the bully, the dialogue falls really flat–and even at those parts it could be better. The rushed pacing does feel like a result of you, as a writer, skipping through to the shipping parts, but you don't write a good shipfic by trying to write shipping, you write a good shipfic by writing a story.

Lastly, and partially as a result of the dialogue, there's very little tension in the story, and where there is tension it's fleeting.
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Hmm, I think I can fix this… or at least I can try.

Tactical 4254

More quick thoughts on Unmarked.

>Recently, rumors had sprung up that the other Princess,

Telling. Turn this into something that relates to the character i.e. what he thinks about it or him remembering a time he was talking to someone about it.

>envelope the world in the peaceful glow of the moon.

Why are you describing the moon like this? The way it is now, this seems to relate to the princess returning, which is random and flowery for no reason. I think this is because of how much Novell likes the moon? Restructuring this paragraph might help you. I'll give an example if you need.

>silver orb… strengthening… luminosity… solace


>the large celestial body

Oddly enough, you've done an LUS moment, except the subject is the moon. Do understand, of course, that LUS is subjective and it's just that I don't like this, not that you should fix this as part of following a rule.

>curled at the ends into graceful bobs.

>the disheveled hairstyle,
I like both of these descriptions, but they're contradictory and you don't really go out of your way to explain how they can both be true.

>Novell watched unsurprised as one of her wings failed to flap correctly, causing the mare to fall out of sight.

Do watch your LUS. Look at every single time you do it and see if you can make it better by replacing it with something more descriptive (Novell's fellow pegasus, Novell's [description] friend, or just her full name, or something)

>She opened her eyes and paused as she realized that was almost a compliment. “Not that you’ve really accomplished anything good,” she finished lamely.

This is from Novell's point of view, so you need to show-don't-tell things like this. Pretend that this is an actual rule even if it isn't: You're only allowed to use "tell" with what's inside Novell's head.

>Mare Devil

Okay c'mon. Not everything that rhymes with "mare" needs to be made into one of these.

>Moving swiftly, the pegasus’ house came into view a few minutes later,

One. I've been told that you need to use "pegasus's" and the apostrophe without the extra S is only for plurals.

Two. Grammar. Sounds like the house is moving swiftly.

>She was easily blown away and had to stay indoors whenever a storm was scheduled or she’d end up miles from home, lost, with no sense of direction. Even the slightest breeze could move her, as it was now, brushing her cloud-like mane in easy motions.

The first sentence here violates show-don't-tell. The second sentence here is what you should have written instead of the first.

>Whereas most pegasi could shape clouds to do what they wished, Feather Light could transform them into full fledged art. She was often asked to design homes for the local pegasi, to which she graciously assented.

Same thing. Again, not an actual rule, but "telling" can be a problem at times like this where you're basically infodumping through the narrator.

It's not for me to tell you to purge telling with extreme prejudice, but making changes like this is a good exercise.

>though Novell could have sworn he heard the harsh crack of thunder in the tone.

Ooh I want to like this, but it's such a strange idea that I would've gone heavier on it, to make absolute sure that it makes for a sensible image. "His voice was quiet, but in a way that reminded Novell of distant thunder."

>Novell once again experienced the exhilaration of flight

"Experience" isn't a good action word for a moment like this.

I find that the storm scene wanders a bit, but I can't presume to tell you what exactly to change about it.
>Lightning veritably flickered through Thundermane’s eyes, a slight smile appearing as he prepared himself for the task. Ponies all around started grinning at one another, their wings beating in rhythm.
>Slowing down, Novell rendezvoused with the rest of the pegasi weather team in the town’s square, puddles already forming in the parts of the street where the flagstones were cracked or broken.
You have some nice descriptions of fight and of the storm, but I find that you have trouble holding my attention or really directing me through this scene. The pegasus team has this battle plan that you've worked out quite well, but I didn't know it ahead of time so I don't see what they're doing and why, and I don't have dialogue or a narrator voice telling me "now we're going to pound the cloud in a hundred places at once, releasing the power so that blah blah blah." I don't even have "fuck this ice is cold, this is the hard part, but it's worth it when something something." The language feels distant, impersonal. I'm sorry, I really can't put my finger on it. Perhaps yet another read-through…
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Croswynd 4264

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Thanks for the suggestions!

I'd like to note that you'll find quite a lot of LUS in the coming chapters, because I didn't know it was a thing at the time. I am aware of it though, and intend to change what I can.

The last bit with the storm is very much intended to be distant and impersonal, as it's a huge cloudbank and you're supposed to feel the distance Novell feels with everyone else. Disconnect is what I was going for.

I use the plural "pegasi" instead of "pegasuses" (or even just pegasus), so I find "Pegasus'" is the correct format, personally. Your point about the house, however, is noted and I agree.

Good news, though, after this chapter the adventure actually begins! Hopefully it won't be as much a trudge to read through, save for the beginning (since you don't seem to enjoy the rather purpose prose I seem to have used).

Thanks again. I patiently await further comments, whenever they arrive.

Tactical 4265

quick note about purple prose.

>According to Novell's friend, there was a rumor going around that the other princess had returned to bathe the world with the effervescent light of the lunar disc once more.


>Novell loved how peaceful the world looked under the effervescent light of the lunar disc.

I wouldn't have written the first one. The second one is about the moon being beautiful. I actually like purple prose, but the definition of bad purple prose is when you use it for things that should've been said in a simple way. The bit I pointed out initially struck me as being the first one.

>Everywhere around them, the eternal forest hummed with life, brimming with spiraling orbs of iridescent light still settling from the dawn of Creation.

Other people didn't like this, but I loved it.
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Croswynd 4368

Yo, Tac, if it's not enjoyable to ya, you don't have to continue if ya don't want. I'll take what you've given me and make my way through the story with your corrections in mind, if ya wanna be free from having to slog through.

Tactical 4369


Nono, I'll give your next chapter a chance too.

Also, I'll go ahead and give A Hoof-ful of Dust a re-read. I should have a little more time this week; last week sucked for me.

Croswynd 4371


Anything is appreciated, of course, and I thank ya for the charity, but I won't ask ya to keep readin' if it doesn't suit ya.

I Dont' Feel the Same FullmetalPony 4373

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Synopsis: Friends, family, cutie marks. Everything seems to be changing around Pound Cake.

Word Count: 6699 (+587 if you include outline)


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

Outline: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12ni-FiYzRRy5krvRfBmQNOOnJ846vGGNF_ttWpxrVSA/edit

Well, I've tried to follow Caska's advice and change things up a bit from what I've had previously. (S)he wanted a one shot but looking over the outline I think it might go ever 15k which doesn't sit well with me. I have reduced the total chapters to five though and streamlined the story.

That did require a lot or re-writing though so I've come to get a review and see if there are new or other areas I need to work on.

Thank you for the help.

Tactical 4387


Will read.

I Don't Feel the Same Tactical 4405


Comments added.

I actually sorta like the premise here, except that I feel like a little of the potential is lost by using "blank slate" characters like Pound and Pumpkin. The idea of Pumpkin Cake becoming a bully is great, but it would've been more fun if it was Apple Bloom, and the story was from Sweetie Belle's POV. You know?

Your characters are quite nice even if your dialogue slips, your mechanics are fine, your story moves along nicely, and your cliches play out acceptably, if predictably.

That's actually the only major problem I had with this. You really are trying to carry the story with the premise of "Pound and Pumpkin grow up," and otherwise the story is a series of cliches about young characters. Everything, down to the detail of how the kickball game plays out, is–let's call them "tropes," because they're not BAD, they're just predictable.

Yes there's the little details about how Redstreak is part of the Apple family and "wait, do you mean the Pinkie Pie?" but those things are barely even touched on and they don't add as much as they should. The way you root us in pony things like Sugarcube Corner and the m6 is good, but I hope there's a lot more of it going forward, and I wish this chapter did a little more than just tell the same old "new kid in the class" story.

You still need to change that bit about Redstreak's mother, btw. I see what you mean now, and I don't like it.

And for Faust's sake please seek someone's help for the AJ accent. I tend to just avoid it.
“No,” Ironwood sighed, rolling her eyes in annoyance. “What I did was get laid off. Insurance wouldn’t cover a replacement, workers’ comp wouldn’t give me leave, an' the boss wouldn’ let me work on a leg held together by spit ‘n happy thoughts. Tried findin’ another job, but there ain't much of a job market for a three-legged workhorse. Thought I was screwed, an' then dear ol' Uncle Whitetail went and kicked it. He left me this place.”

…But it's clear that this character really should say "ah" for I. So I don't know. I only know that I hate it.
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FullmetalPony 4420

Well, good to know that there aren't any major issues. I've looked through it and tried to improve on things where I can.

By chance, did you happen to look at the outline?

Tactical 4422


Like I said, your main problem is that there could would should be more to this than just your "new kid in class" story. Which, that's not the worst thing ever.

So IS Redstreak the daughter of Rainbow Dash? Because all signs are pointing in that direction except for the fact that when you first mentioned it, you basically said that Bran being shy and nervous reminded Pound of Redstreak's mom.

Tactical 4423

I don't know how I feel about your outline. I don't think we see enough development–we start with Pumpkin being a bully and you move right to redeeming her. Seems to me like there should be more going on than just that. The kid being a crystal pony is a good idea, but it doesn't feel right to have it there without being pulled into some greater story.

Nietzsche 4464

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>I have no content restrictions whatsoever.

D-d-d-does that include p-po-poems?

Tactical 4465

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Challenge accepted.

Tactical 4482

I meant "yes"


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Yargh, I figured that, but I was asking for future reference. Myah.

I fixed reading! Tactical 4494

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I thought I’d make an “advice” post like one of SLP’s, because I strongly believe in this idea even though it’s not legitimate writing advice, and also you’re not gonna stop me.

I wanted to present to you ponies a particular show-don’t-tell concept that was invented by a brilliant visionary named Saxton Hale. In his classic work A Fate Worse than Chess, Saxton Hale demonstrated this revolutionary writing technique. Click below to read this revolutionary tale of yetis and punching. Dont worry: This link isn’t boring and stupid like most things that people link you to.

After his brief aside concerning the true nature of writing, Saxton Hale declares “I fixed reading!”

And–in all seriousness–he is right.

While not all literature should attempt to match the manly nirvana that is Saxton Hale’s written work, Explosition as a technique that many ponies’ writing could benefit from. Here, Saxton Hale explains something while fighting a yeti, and the comic uses humor in order to be something besides just a TF2 news update/backstory post. Hale spends the comic infodumping in his character voice while doing something that normal humans wouldn’t be able to give an infodump-y speech while doing.

I have used this principle in my own works. While some might find it distasteful for me to use my own work as an example, I would rather use what I know is an example of the very thing I’m talking about, rather than spending time poking around Fimfiction looking for what might be an imperfect example. I'm not presenting these as things that should be looked to as great successes of writing techniques; I'm only using them in the hope that my use of Explosition is very clear.

>An explosion of silver fire blasted the majestic double doors off their hinges, laying the evil sorceress' inner sanctum bare at long last. “This ends here, Countess Uldavrazen!” Star Swirl roared. The light flooding in from the open doorway made his enchanted mage-armor glitter harshly and throw sparks into the poorly lit room, but the sun itself was a pale lantern compared to the fury of the elderly spell-weaver's eyes and horn. “I, Star Swirl, have crossed oceans, scaled cliffs, laid waste to armies of your minions, and carved a swath through the perils of of your labyrinthine lair, and still you raise your muzzle in defiance? Face it, Countess! Your reign of terror is at its end!”

>Daybreak jerked upright, eyes wide open. The world was an incomprehensible blur of color; floating lights danced around her room as she tried without success to take stock of her surroundings. “Wha… who’s there? Arrrgh!” She accidentally slammed her foreleg painfully against the edge of the bedside table, then rolled onto her back, eyes squeezed shut in frustration. After a few deep breaths, she gingerly pried the AR goggles off her face with a gentle application of unicorn telekinesis. When they came free, she could feel where their frames had left dents on the skin around her eyes.

The first paragraph starts with action, then ends with campy over-dramatic language. I actually wrote it with the principle of Explosition in mind, so it really is just like Hale's version. The second paragraph is a fairly typical example of show-don’t-tell; it writes a scene that introduces augmented reality without straight-up talking about augmented reality and the way it’s displayed via goggles.

Think of Explosition as simply a humorous example of the contrast between show and tell. If a reviewer bitches at you for having a significant chunk of tell, think of Synrestra's her heaving bosoms and pet terror-dactyls, and the way Graveline apparently needs to learn about fluorine from her. Perhaps this could be considered a fourth example of Explosition: if all else fails, make the infodump "fun." I'm not sure about this one, because I would never actually tell someone to do it, but as A Fate Worse than Chess shows, it has potential.

As with every bit of writing advice you ever hear, remember well these words: "rules" such as show-don't-tell are there to enhance, not govern. When I give reviews, I frequently do the equivalent of saying "but, um, whatever you like is fine too" by adding "it's not for me to tell you to purge telling with extreme prejudice." SLP has already made a post (>>3895) giving this exact advice.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical 4505


I should add that SLP's advice to never take any rule as writer gospel does not mean you should put less weight on reviewers' opinions.

Defending a decision of yours against the opinion of someone who you asked to review your work is sometimes annoying, and very rarely correct. Most readers will only pick at subjective things like show-don't-tell if they actually do dislike what they're reading–they are no more slavishly devoted to the rules than you are.

Unless, of course, you rolled badly in TTG (not naming names) and got someone whose opinion you don't really care for.

And even at that, you should even be careful about assessing someone as "someone whose opinion you don't respect." And even at THAT, that person is a reader, and their opinion matters. Consider what they don't like, and do an honest assessment of their reasons for disliking it. Accusing a reader of "you just don't get it" is just another excuse to ignore advice, which can only hurt you.

tl;dr think long, and hard, and HONESTLY, before knowingly breaking a rule or going against a reviewer's opinion.

Review Request: The Diamond Tiara Files, Chapter 1 Wildebeest 4562

Title: The Diamond Tiara Files, Ch. 1
Word Count: 1,769
Synopsis: Of all the bonds shared in the town of Ponyville, few are stronger than the one between alpha filly Diamond Tiara and her loyal compatriot, Silver Spoon. They became besties on the first day they met, and since that day they've been absolutely inseparable. But Diamond Tiara's about to find out why Silver Spoon seems to be so attached to her… and she's not going to like the answer.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13QWxcOgL1DSvsJbeTcgBawvvNc2vqIT0XIoQ2zqbmo8/edit?pli=1

It was originally going to be a one-shot, but since then I've decided to turn it into a full length story. This is (obviously) the first part.

Tactical 4586


Sorry for the slow turnaround. I'll get to giving this a first read soon.

Wildebeest 4596


Perfectly all right! Take your time.

The Code's Apprentice 4607

Link - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VT2gEcSMFV4VLdIN8ug6XDO63dR4at29kyW6_mSun4Y

Synopsis - For a thousand years, the Code of Harmony has ruled Equestria, and the Code of Dissonance has undermined its works at every turn. Now, the war for control over the land will come to a head, and one Pony's decision may change the fate of all.

For though she does not know it, Twilight Sparkle is the shining example of the Code of Harmony. Her teacher, Princess Celestia, its most powerful master. But Celestia knows her enemies are hatching yet another plan that threatens to destroy all she has struggled to maintain against the ever-wily followers of Dissonance who seek to overturn her rule, and replace it with their own.

Little does she know her foe is seeking a new apprentice for its arts, one with seemingly limitless potential for magic, whose thirst for knowledge may yet lead her astray, who is known to be a most faithful student indeed….

Word Count - 2,597

This is the first chapter in what will probably end up being a full length story. I'm looking to have several other sets of eyes look at it to make sure I'm trotting the right path.

Before you ask, yeah, Im cribbing some notes from Star Wars here, but I think using the Jedi/Sith framework to frame the conflicts in Equestria between light / dark, Order / chaos, et-cetera can make for a really compelling story.

The Diamond Tiara Files Tactical 4617


This definitely has potential. I'm not a big fan of your actual writing, but straight-up skill is just something that will come with experience.

Following "rules" can help sharpen your writing, even though those rules are wrong. For example:

Don't use adverbs.
This piece of advice is wrong. However, scrutinizing every adverb you use might help you see when you've used an adverb to just describe something in a single word, without giving any sensory description. At the time, adverbs feel descriptive, but they often cheat the reader of description by compressing the image into a single-word tell.

Don't use pronouns.
This piece of advice is bullshit, but really forcing yourself to follow it where possible will probably make your writing better in a lot of cases. Example:
>She hugged her.
>Cheerilee hugged her student.
And I don't mean just replacing pronouns when you see them, either. I mean restructuring sentences so that you don't have to use pronouns. This will teach you ways to weave scenes together, moving from actor to actor.

Don't do feelings.
This piece of advice is tremendously stupid and wrong, but it's also the most useful. Whenever you tell us that a character did something "sadly" (adverb!) or that they "felt miserable," consider whether you could describe such a thing with body language. The character could mutter or have a bitter look on their face if they're sad.

I have one major complaint with how your story unfolds.

Your intro is clumsy and generally a failure at what it wants to do. You give us the sense that something is wrong, but you do it through weak character interactions, you do it with unsubtle things like Apple Bloom feeling sorry for DT–and the moment is so NOT set up that the strangeness can't possibly read as anything but Bloom being out of character.

My advice to you is to focus on setting the reader up to be hit harder by the reveal. Right now you're focused on dropping hints to make the reader wonder; instead you should give them a chance to think they know what's going on before starting to make them question that, and then finally dropping the bomb.

Your narrator issues make this worse. Because you slip into omni voice but aren't consistent about it, we don't really have a picture of how any single character feels about what's going on here. Let's say you were to have Diamond Tiara as main character. You could talk about how she interacts with her "friend," then drop this reveal when we weren't expecting it at all.

I definitely like your idea. One bit of advice going forward–keep Diamond Tiara a child. Her fear, helplessness, the way she has to rely on adults who don't understand, is going to make this story something really special.
This post was edited by its author on .

Reveiw Request 4621

Title: The Strange Days of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie:
Chapter-1: You're No Angel

Word Count:4566

Synopsis: Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, two very different ponies who also happen to be the best of friends. As the two decide to start spending a lot more of their free time together a series of bizarre and almost frightening advents begin to occur. Fallow these two friends as they confront abominations of nature, the forces of evil, creatures that fall from the sky, misleading letters from Discord, their own boredom, freakish bodily mutations and various other unusual things. As long as they can remember that friendship is the most important thing though, everything should be just fine… right? Right?

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18acUWPt3Owh3tBdiggPuVEhik449b3BFhtzNNBDN-HM/edit

Notes: As you can see I made this is a straight comedy with the intent on telling some weird stories, that hopefully won't come off as too weird and just the right amount. That, and I intend this to hopefully become a series. I did proof read this, but I'm still sorry if I missed anything.
The main purpose of this is for it to be fun. As long as the reader has fun when they read it, I'm happy. If not then I've failed.
It is kind of a parody of those strange fanfictions we all come across every so often, while also a celebration of them. Despite it being an unusual tale I'm still trying to make it a good read. I'm one of those people who actually enjoys weird fanfiction, but there's not a lot of good quality of it around and I hope to change that if I can improve enough. I am still fairly new to writing so I'm sorry if I make any rookie mistakes. Hope you like it.
This post was edited by its author on .

Wildebeest 4622


>My advice to you is to focus on setting the reader up to be hit harder by the reveal. Right now you're focused on dropping hints to make the reader wonder; instead you should give them a chance to think they know what's going on before starting to make them question that, and then finally dropping the bomb.

In retrospect, I think making the big reveal in the intro chapter was a mistake. The reveal would have been stronger if I had taken a couple chapters to show the readers the relationship between DT and SS and establish the kind of bond they have.

So that's what I think I'm going to do, after reworking the chapter I gave you according to your suggestions. I'm going to write a chapter or three about DT's first days of school, giving DT and SS some time to interact so that the buildup to the climax is stronger. Though I don't know if it's a good writing practice to write chapters out of order; I'm kind of new to writing fiction in general and fanfiction in particular, so there's still a lot I have to learn.

But all the same, thank you very much for your time.

Tactical 4713

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>Jedi/Sith thing

Please to be enabling comments. Maybe not. I might get it all out in this post.

I know you did this on purpose, but people are going to read this as a crossover. Did you want them to? Even if you do intend this to be a crossover, then I can respect the idea of just using the philosophical/structural idea and otherwise going for pony.

I'd change the two last last lines of the "good" code. First, Hatred isn't the opposite of Magic. Second, those two lines should break from the structure in the same way "Magic makes me free" does.

You've got an overload of adjectives going on here in you first paragraph. I do this too, but sometimes you want to cut down on descriptors in order to make it less wordy.

Also, if this first paragraph is any indication, you need to give this a thorough proofread. There are derps that are clearly slip-ups and not grammar ignorance all over the place.

Second paragraph is very telly. Give it a thorough slash and burn–slim it to a minimum of show-don't-tell type descriptions.

Same goes for the paragraph after that, except there's no need to slash it to a minimum this time. Instead, try making it a little more "active." Make it more about Celestia and less infodumpy.

>She bounced in place a bit, an innocent and carefree smile spread across her face as she slipped past the water bowls and seemed to force herself to regain her composure, bringing down what Luna had liked to call 'Twilights Serious Face' - and once again, Celestia had to force the giggles to not escape her mouth at the sigh.

Ew. Ew. Ew. There is everything wrong with this structure. When you do your proofread sweep, look for things like this too.

>"Ahem, thank you, Princess. Might I be excused for the afternoon? I'm going to join my brother and Cadence while they happen to be in town."

This reads like saying the word "ahem." Also, I'm not feeling your Twilight voice here.

>her weariness was evident to the keen eye of her monarch.

A perfect example of why passive voice is a problem sometimes.

>Only the faintest brush of the field of magic which surrounded her alerted her to the presence of her sister, and the faint darkening of the light wherever she trod.

Holy antecedents, batman

>quashing the feelings of wrath that threatened to arise in her every time her sister needled at her for that failure so long ago.

>feelings of wrath that threatened to arise in her
>that failure so long ago

>mild reproving glare

>gentle calm and peace in her voice as firm then as it was in front of the most
>fractious councilor
Am debating between not commenting on this any more, vs waiting until you enable comments so I can comment on EVERY one

>"Twilight is in no danger of that, I assure you. I do not call her my most faithful student for naught, dear sister. All is proceeding according to plan."

Temper your tendency to have isolated dialogue like this. It's not exactly THS, but I tend to read it as a highly important line coming and standing out from what's happening around it. That shouldn't be every line. Also, it's better to see who's talking, along with the "said-ism" for the line, right there next to the line instead of set off like this.

You first Twilight paragraph is interesting. It's a little annoying to mix well-timed "show" in the same place as so much tell. I'm going to say that your "tell" overstays its welcome as of the last line. Maybe cut that completely, and as with all tell, it's better if you make it "personal" instead of infodump.

>"Twilight Sparkle! Haw haw! Long time, No see!!"

I understand that character voice is a thing, but…


Nice thought, but as I've told some other reviewees, watch how often you do things like this and consider just using the boring words. Usually the reader won't care.

>The blue hood was magicked back a moment later, then removed entirely to reveal the Princess Cadence beneath it, settling the cloth on a coat rack, Cadence had just enough time for a warm smile with Pony Joe before the clattering of hooves told her an old ritual was going to have to be performed


Your first Cadence paragraph sucks. Your second is full of bad tell. Wow I hate this whole bit.

Your Sombra bit DOES have the "more personal" infodump that I keep asking for, but nothing is happening in this whole damn thing. Maybe emphasize the "tomb" idea? Maybe give us some emotion from Sombra?

While a lot of your style does need work, other aspects of your style are actually quite nice. You have a good sense of how to make your characters "live" such that the way they infodump doesn't come off as the narrator going off and just talking about shit. This story is just beginning, so it's hard for me to say anything for all the "Twilight going through Jedi training" and "Cadence worrying for Twilight" and "Sombra trying to turn Twilight to the Dark Side" ideas.

What I would say is to go heavier-hooved on it if you're going to do the Jedi/Sith code thing. Have Twilight be indoctrinated instead of just going through magical training. Have Celestia emphasize that Twilight is being honed into a paragon of the Way of Harmony. Have Twilight be constantly hammered with the idea that her magic is like THIS, and that she should use it like THIS, and conduct herself like this.

Good luck with this thing!

Tactical 4717


Oh yeah and I realized at the end that your isolated dialogue is consistent every single time. Stop it. Go read something, see how it's done there, and do it that way.


Would you believe I didnt even know I could enable comments?

I'll enable them now if you still want to throw them at me, but I'd understand if you'd prefer to move on to somehting else.

Writing Tips the second Tactical!fRainBOoMw 4758

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Lavender Unicorn Syndrome is bullshit. Of all the "rules" for you to follow, Lavender Unicorn Syndrome is by far the worst. It's not even good as a "beginner" rule to follow until you get better at stuff. It's just bad. Starting now, you should pretend you never even heard that advice, and you should start following my advice instead. In fact, I'm going to go through this post to find-and-replace instances of "LUS" with "epithets.

because Lavender Unicorn Syndrome is not a real thing.

Even worse is the fact that people tend to advise you to use pronouns instead of epithets.

I have an English teacher who penalizes papers for using pronouns. And I am talking any pronouns, even if they're quite clearly correct. Clearly this practice is even more bullshitty than telling people to use pronouns instead of epithets, but the teacher does it to his students for a reason: It makes it so you have no chance of ever writing a "boring" pronoun, or one with a questionable antecedent. I now have to go through every single pronoun in what I write for that class and basically replace it with an epithet.

>I used a big word here. Not everyone will know it, but it works for what it does..

This teacher would prefer if I wrote:

>I used a big word here. Not everyone will know the word, but the word worked for what the word does.

That's hideous, and the very reason people use epithets in the first place, but in practice, the rule would've encouraged me to write this:

>I used a big word here. Not everyone will know such a big word, but the very specific adjective worked for the situation.

See how not using the adverbs got me to write something more descriptive and meaningful? And do you see how I used an epithet with "the very specific adjective?" Of course, this isn't exactly the same as referring to a character as "she" versus "the arousal-addled rainbow-maned pegasus," so I'll go on to give some more ponyish and more fictionish examples.

Here's a bad example of epithets:
>Flushing hard, Celestia allowed Twilight’s urging to push her nose down until it bumped against the unicorn’s sexy bits~, the scent of her at that range inescapable, making the alicorn whimper faintly and shudder, already grinding her thighs together slowly.
I dunno about you, but I hate the use of "the alicorn" there. Some of you might find it forgivable, but the fic that this is from does it constantly.

Now, other people will tell you that referring to a character by an epithet i.e. "the lavender unicorn" reads badly because you're mentioning attributes that we already know about. They're lying; they just don't like it because "the unicorn" and "the party pony" are obnoxiously overused.

I have a more specific, and in my opinion much more useful and more correct, reason for avoiding epithets.

See, to my eye, the little quote I pasted above (which is from an actual fanfic that I reviewed way back when) is saying that "a unicorn" is the one whose sexy bits are being serviced, and "some alicorn" is whimpering. The problem isn't that it's redundant description–quite the opposite. It's non-specific, it's boring, it's amateurish. It's specifying a character in the vaguest most boring possible terms.

The opposite–being specific for no reason–is also possible. If I was describing Twilight having tea, I wouldn't refer to her as "the librarian unicorn." She's not acting in her capacity as a librarian, is she? So why call her out as such?

Let's have a look at another passage from the same fic that's an acceptable or even good example of epithets:
>Celestia shook her head the small amount she could, and then pressed another firm lick across her student’s purple-furred gahahahaha this fic sucks so much
Putting aside how hilarious "purple-furred entrance" is, note that "her student" is actually meaningful here. It refers to Celestia's relationship to the other party, and it might even enhance the description. See, the mentioning of Twilight as a "student" emphasizes the fact that the more usual relationship between the two is a student-teacher one. In practice, of course, it's soon sullied by the fact that "her student" is used repeatedly in this fic, until the novelty of a character being submissive in bed to her student wears off. But we can close our eyes and pretend, can't we?

Let's grab another example of good epithets from a fic that isn't crap. In fact, let's use a fic that's one of my all time favorites.
>Dashie wouldn’t squirm or be sexy at first, until Applejack had stroked her belly for a while and nuzzled her from behind—then the sulking pegasus loosened up a little, and began to breathe heavily and wriggle.
Sulking pegasus. Because she's sulking! Sure it's sorta like we're talking about "just some pegasus in the room," but this time we identify the pegasus as the one who's being all sulky. And it matters that she's being sulky.

So, the tl;dr version:
Don't use epithets, because they are impersonal and they hide your image behind bad writing.
Use epithets, because they are a a quick and natural way to emphasize something about a character.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review Request: Empty Shell 4774

File: 1363826615548.png (1.38 MB, 1920x1095, Empty Shell Cover.png)

Do you mind taking a look at this?

Title: Empty Shell
Tags: Adventure, Dark, Sci-Fi
Synopsis: Equestria as we know it is gone. Dead. Snuffed out in the ashes of a storm of rock and fire that brought with it a new terror from beyond this world.

It is in the wake of this travesty that we must rebuild. The sands act as a barrier, for a time, that will let ponykind start a new life in the far lands of this planet. A few will stay behind; what was once a resistance is now merely the guardians of the safer world. For the rest, the lands of the other races of our world will act as shelter, comfort, and provision. In short, they are our home now.

Woe betide he who venture to the Black Lands of the Seethers anymore.

But now those scarred by these events must move beyond the ashes. For even in this dawning apocalypse, there is still time to set things right once more. Equestria may still be saved, or at least we can hope.

(Open to suggestions on the synopsis, too)

Word Count:
Chapter 1 - 6,104 - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xXId47GWus4APykGNwYu6zlHiy27ZPDGzBHSJtmsTkw/edit
Chapter 2 - 4,874 - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UshyGnqD2n_bwY21wOyIJWx2z5VEDC7ZlvpkW_sXutY/edit
Chapter 3 - 6,519 - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ouMVKCAixBYeWksZgSuJ9xjqvHVGW0Kb0hj-EWJPMOA/edit

Total - 17,497 words

My primary concern is with Chapter 2, though I'm sure there's plenty to find to fix in the other two chapters.
I realize that, all together, this can be a bit of a long story (so far, even), so I'm perfectly fine if you'd rather break it up by chapter or something for review purposes.

Tactical 4776


That's not TOO long. Won't have time for you until next week though.

Tactical 4779


Some comments in-doc. I'll finish the review, but hell, the fact that you "are fairly new to writing" and prone to "rookie mistakes" is on full, full display.

As for the reader having fun, your gags are cute, but you should get some kind of direction going by now, some kind of overarching thing to tie everything together. Having the little extra sharp forks joke followed by the evil bunny joke is going too long without actually starting a story.

Also your writing needs help before your gags will be what you want them to be.


File: 1363832029886.jpg (112.7 KB, 403x750, X1wgUTh.jpg)

Good advice. I think I can take something away from this, unlike all those other "Don't do LUS!" rants.


So, you have some three stories in your queue as of now, correct? Does that fit in with your definition of your queue being too long, then?

Tactical 4791

No actually. I have two, and I've started on one, and it's very short. The second one is long, but if you don't mind having to wait for a little while, you should submit.

Review Request: Jericho 4792

File: 1363888848253.jpg (51.49 KB, 350x310, 1TinyCho.jpg)

Oh, gotcha. I was actually watching for a while now, and I was going to after your next review, then the one guy with the long story showed up, and… Well, here goes, and I don't mind waiting a bit.

Title: Jericho
Tags: [Dark] [Adventure] [Comedy] (Been thinking of dropping the comedy tag. Your thoughts on that might help me there.]
Synopsis: I’d like to think there’s a better way to be the first Teutscher to set hoof into Equestria in a millennium. When your best friends are your own sociopathic nature and the guardian angel who appears in your dreams, though, the easy way is probably just wishful thinking. See, the universe is almost certainly out to get me. There’s also the reborn Prince of Darkness, honestly trying to save the world from my angelic friend. The younger Equestrian princess is an utter lunatic, though she is pretty hot. The Equestrian culture, which manages to be both elitist and barbaric at the same time. These six infuriating mares that Princess Celestia apparently sees something in, which is why they’re the heroes. There is no way to tell their stories without telling my own. And if their stories are really just a confession, then so is mine.

Still, with enough wit, some Prussian ingenuity, and my bottomless well of snark, I might just be able to make it out of here alive. Then again, there’s a reason why there’s a big “if” in the middle of my life.

Chapter one: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jWjDdjUdsNdOXh5QBPRd5u9SZuVEQXdfnbOf9KeiSag/edit?usp=sharing
4,150~words (I keep editing it around,so it fluctuates.)

Chapter 2: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aqDO-VKK3eB8ujth7Nw5T4_Kf2_acy_WsMvC5VmwLHc/edit
Words: 5,300.

Total, if you're willing to read them: 9,400~

Of note: Does the narrator appear believably foreign? (From a national standpoint) Do the chapters, particularly the first one, do a good job of conveying its tone of dark-things-on-the-horizon?

I was told by CartoonGeld of the Training Grounds to search for outside opinions on this. His biggest notes were problems with the questions I asked above, and what I'm trying to fix. I now come to you for aid, and eagerly await any words you can give me. This is the best way to improve oneself, no?

I thank you kindly for your time. Have a good day.

re: Lavender Unicorn Syndrome being stupid Tactical 4795


I should make a quick clarification.

The usual cause for LUS is the author's desire to not overuse the same pronoun over and over.

It's actually acceptable to use "lavender unicorn" to refer to Twilight Sparkle in that case, but remember what I said about calling her the "librarian" when it doesn't matter that she's the librarian. Calling Twilight out as "the one who's lavender" is okay if you're, say, describing something she's physically doing.


The whole reason people dislike Lavender Unicorn Syndrome is because it's a quick (and bad) band-aid for pronoun issues.

If you have so many pronouns that you have to throw an epithet in a place where you don't specifically want one, but rather are just using it to avoid repetition, fix the damn sentence. This is the reason I went on that tangent about my teacher.

The guide everyone sees that talks about "Lavender Unicorn Syndrome" says to use pronouns instead.


Kill the pronouns entirely. This is what my teacher was getting me to do. It will make your sentences a lot better. THEN you can use the words "lavender" and "unicorn" in succession, because now you're saying it because you want to, not because you have to.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review Request - Rainbow Typhoon 4805

Title: Rainbow Typhoon

Not all of life's obstacles can be overcome, as the ponies of Equestria discover when a massive hurricane bears down on Manehatten—sometimes you just have to do your best to get by. When Rainbow Dash is granted the opportunity to be a Wonderbolt for a day, however, doing her best takes on a whole new meaning.

Wordcount: 33k words over 8 chapters

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mbgLdUQmTzcB_4QheeVtH0Jm4rWuyl6H8BsFAD4fmhA/edit?usp=sharing

As this is the full and complete story, feel free to stop whenever you like if you choose to take it on at all. The last chapter is currently undergoing proofreading and final editing in another file. If there are no comments yet in the version linked to above when that process is complete, I will copy over the changes.

The early chapters of this story underwent a few passes through /fic reviewers last spring. I'm not sure exactly who or when anymore.

My main goal is to search for places where some readers might get confused or come away with the wrong interpretation of what I was trying to describe. Hopefully I can correct such problems before I try to submit to EQD and the hoards descend. Assuming, of course, it is accepted, as my previous story was.

That story is Words Failed Her, and last I checked it was sitting at #10 on FimFiction's top rated stories list. I don't expect this story to do as well, but I'm here to give it the best shot I can. :)

The Strange Days of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie Tactical 4814


There was more wrong with this than right.

Hard for me to give advice that I feel is going to really help you, because there is just so much that you don't have yet. You have some very basic grammar problems, for example.

You, plain and simple, need to grow as a writer. Lern2english, as it were. If you haven't yet, go read some popular book series like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter. Go read Anne Rice's filthy vampire porn. Go read Fight Club. Or Ender's Game. Something. But stay the fuck away from the Twilight Saga, naturally.

The style of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter or whatever else you decide to read should guide the way you write scenes like the evil bunny fight. It's a cute idea, but that scene wants to be written with the finesse of someone who knows how to do good descriptions and use tone/atmosphere to their advantage.

I understand that telling you to go out and read a book is me being too bold. If you just want an example of the things I complained to you about, like "voice" and physical descriptions and such, just go read this.

Skirts writes some really great descriptions. He also has characters talking with "voice" instead of just the kind of robotic lines that your characters have here. And he does exposition/infodumping, but never in a boring way or a straight-up infodump-y way.

…As with everyone, I'm here to help. Talk to me about whatever you want.

On to the next review…
This post was edited by its author on .

Review Reply. Mad-Mutt 4818

Okay, I know that I have a massive lack of experience when it comes to writing. If I didn't then I wouldn't need the help of reviewers.
You were surprisingly thorough so I may be able to make a lot of much need corrections based off of your advice.
Perhaps its best I look at this as a first draft and improve on it as much as I can.
Its obvious that this is far from EQD worthy, if it ever will be.
I do plan to spend a lot of time improving it.
I also have read most of those books that you recommended. I haven't read Twilight though because everyone and their mother is telling everyone else not to.
I think that I know what I want to do, but I just lack the experience to know how to do it right… if that makes any since at all…
The main reason I came to you was that I thought you could really help me out with the much needed basics and you sure did point out a lot of stuff in the comments which I'm thankful for.
As a new writer I've developed some pretty thick skin when it comes to criticisms.
I'll work on improving this as much as I can so it will be more enjoyable to the reader. I hope in the state it is now that it wasn't too horrible, but I hope to change that.
If I decide to write more chapters to this would you care to review any of the others?
Hopefully by the time I try to fix this and move on I'll be better.
If you don't then I understand.
I'll keep working to improve myself in the meantime.
Thanks for your time.

Empty Shell's synopsis Tactical 4821

You know how Ion-Sturm says not to be all mysterious with your synopsis and expect people to be drawn in by vagueness and such? You might benefit from following his advice. Ion's idea of a good synopsis has one objective: To tell the reader what they're about to read.

>Equestria as we know it is gone. Dead.

Why bother saying this if

>Snuffed out in the ashes of a storm of blah blah blah

you're about to say the same thing, except flowery-like, in the very next sentence?

Decide on either purple or ironically not-purple. I like the second one a lot. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeigeProse

>A few will stay behind; what was once a resistance is now merely the guardians of the safer world. For the rest, the lands of the other races of our world will act as shelter, comfort, and provision. In short, they are our home now.

Big fat waste of space. Details like this aren't interesting in and of themselves, so don't bother with this unless you're using it to drop something "mysterious," such as:

>Woe betide he who venture to the Black Lands of the Seethers anymore.

This is actually sorta interesting out of context (not that it has much context as it is now). It says that there are Black Sands and that there are Seethers and that they are scary.

>But now those scarred by these events must move beyond the ashes. For even in this dawning apocalypse, there is still time to set things right once more. Equestria may still be saved, or at least we can hope.

This is perhaps the only important thing you have to say here. Now for another bit of Ion advice that you might benefit from: Tell us why we care and why this detail here is special.

Is there more to this than just trying to save Equestria? How are they going to save it? Is there a reason it won't be possible if not done soon?

I'll read your first chapter when I can.

Review Reply second Mad-Mutt 4827

I just realized that it's not completely clear what review I was replying to in that last post.
Sorry, that was my bad.
I was replying to the review you just posted called The Strange Days of Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie.
Sorry about that, I mess things up sometimes.

Synopsis Review Acknowledged 4829

Just letting you know I saw this. In short, I scrapped the whole synopsis here for a more detailed, more specific alternative. Noted: anything that vague is pretty much a bad thing for synopses in general.

Thanks for the advice, I'll be eagerly awaiting the rest of the review.

Writing Advice: Synopses! Tactical 4831

>anything vague


IMO Ion is wrong about the idea that you shouldn't draw people in with vagueness and rhetorical questions.

He offers a way to write a good synopsis–more to the point, a way to avoid writing a shitty synopsis–but a synopsis that's informative and not stupid is only half the point.

"My name is Lyra Heartstrings, and you will not remember me. You won't even remember this conversation. Just like with everypony else I've ever met, everything I do or say will be forgotten. Every letter I've written will appear blank; every piece of evidence I've left behind will end up missing. I'm stuck here in Ponyville because of the same curse that has made me so forgettable. Still, that doesn't stop me from doing the one thing that I love: making music. If my melodies find their way into your heart, then there is still hope for me. If I can't prove that I exist, I can at least prove that my love for each and every one of you exists. Please, listen to my story, my symphony, for it is me."
This synopsis does NOT say "and these are the stories of how I touched the lives of ponies who will never know my name." It also does not say "I will compose magical Arias to reach their hearts." It even takes its sweet-ass time getting around to "I'm under a curse."

But it's a beautiful synopsis, and it lays down the kind of pensive tone that is this fic's signature trait.

If your story is "Rainbow Dash falls in love with Twilight for reasons, but Twilight is emotionally unavailable because reasons," you had better say it in a way that makes me think it's interesting. A bit of Ion's advice here is relevant:

>Describe those conflicts’ stakes. What is at risk? Why do we care?

… that is, make us see that it would be terrible for Rainbow Dash to not get the girl in the end.

This is definitely good to do, but my point is that you shouldn't let the idea of "no vagueness" kill your desire to write something cool, with narrator voice and "mysterious" intentional vagueness and such.
This post was edited by its author on .


I wish you had linked to the post in question so I could remind myself what I put into it.

When I say vague, I mean withholding pertinent information for understanding the story. I never said to not be mysterious. You need to provide the reader with a question to answer and just enough information to whet their appetite until you feed them the next morsel of information.

And, of course, any rule in writing can be ignored or subverted when you possess the know-how and talent to do so.

Tactical 4834


I'm actually talking about the OP. Particularly:

>Don’t try to be fancy. Ellipses, semicolons, em dashes, and suchlike are generally unnecessary in such a short piece.

>Don’t be vague. Don’t be coy. Don’t be mysterious.

>Don’t hint at something which might maybe be cool and if we start reading we can find it […] Readers, by and large, do not care that much.

>It’s tough to care about people whose names we don’t know.

>Describe the story’s conflicts, and be concrete.

>Don’t hedge your conflicts or their stakes. No “this might happen.” No “will this happen?”

And, of course, if I had the patience to write "any rule in writing can be ignored" into absolutely everything that I tell anyone, I would do so.


File: 1364173628084.jpeg (65.03 KB, 600x412, 2e2.jpeg)

Ahh, I just copy/pasted that from the Pchan thread. It's not my words, just my laziness :P

Empty Shell. Tactical 4867

First off, cool ideas here. I was ready to hate this for a handful of reasons. Mostly, "changelings win, everyone dies" is such an obvious idea that even if it wasn't done to death, you would need something to make it special.

Fortunately, you actually did have something to make it special, so that's cool.

I now understand the shapeshifting power, but you have mishandled it badly. If it were me, I might make it ironically not-strange; make it seem that Rainbow Dash understands the power and has total control over it in a way that she clearly shouldn't. Then make us suspect that something is wrong when she gets the other changelings to do it, rather than having it just be part of the inspirational speech so that I couldn't tell that it was something weird (as opposed to just you writing it awkwardly and justifying it badly).

Work on "hitting" the reader. Find moments when you can give characters a little bit more life, like Rainbow Dash's thoughts being more emotional maybe. I pointed this out in the doc already, but also find ways to make descriptions feel "important." Once in a while, just describing something physically can be feelsy or scary or whatever all on its own–try to accomplish that.

I'm not really sure if I missed anything. Again, your ideas are solid, and some of your reveals come out very nicely–but there are things missing from this, to be sure.

Good luck writing this. I like what you're doing here.

Tactical 4893

File: 1364366545865.png (372.81 KB, 843x471, booty booty.png)

My life is a little crazy. I'm rather urgently behind on schoolwork. Will be back in the reviewing saddle soon. I won't keep you all waitin gfor a stupidly long time don't worry.
This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical 4910

I left some comments on Jericho–not terribly comprehensive ones, of course. I didn't feel the need to whine constantly at you for your decisions; your events are interesting by sheer virtue of steering far clear of typical ponyfic cliche.

As for your "writing chops," your character voice carried things decently, and I didn't find myself tripping over any of your technical fails. I'll have to go back and confirm this for myself, but I'm fairly certain that only a grammarian with actual knowledge would really give a damn about the times when you have incorrect punctuation and whatever.

I might have more overarching things to talk about you after I've read your second chapter. For now:

Assess what really needs to be infodumped. Sometimes it's best to sacrifice some depth in order to show-don't-tell it, or even to just blow past it without giving distracting worldbuildy details. What IS good is going into the character's opinions about things. Getting extravagant with how a character feels about an object or event can be a lot of fun if you use it in the right times and places.

As part of the previous point, play up what's "fun" about your fic. I was really charmed by the character freaking out about everypony being naked. Maybe have him thinking some really insulting, judgemental thoughts about the naked ponies. Maybe play up the gag of "oh god this is a bordello." In fact, why didn't you do that?

Finally, I dunno what to tell you about the character's German-ness. To my eye it is too distinctly German, but maybe you could also work with that aspect of his homeland being a strong Germany-analogue. Have him sling a really terrible horse pun about his homeland, for example.

Or is Teutsche one of those? If so, hats off, that's amazing, but other people aren't going to get it, just like I didn't. Even though I FINALLY caught the fact that it's a pun, I have no idea what word is being used for a pun.

I greatly, greatly respect your desire to use the word "reich" in a positive way. The issue is that because we associate it with Hitler, we associate it with a person, a place, and an event that happened in the real world. Like I said–it's the strongest "human" thing among all the things the character says.

One last thing. Why is the character wandering around? Is his goal to meet the Sisters? Would be nice to have some idea right in the first two paragraphs that he is going somewhere, with a purpose, and maybe how he feels about said purpose.

I just noticed your question about "dark things on the horizon."

I didn't even notice that. Had no idea it was there.

Which is maybe a good thing. It might have been distracting. Let's see if it's in your second chapter.

Tactical 4911

Oh yeah, and:

I commented on the character being "snarky." I didn't see it until the comment where I pointed it out. I saw him as more of a stoic, serious type. Work on that, I think, because a snarky character could be fun. Make it happen before he walks into the inn, and then lay it on thick. His internal monologue should crack occasional jokes.

Review Response (Empty Shell) 4912

First off, thanks again for taking the time to look this over. Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you myself. Your comments, both here and in-doc, have been taken into account and I will continue to make changes accordingly.

My biggest question, however, is actually not directly related to that: Were you going to look at the other two chapters? The way you phrased yourself in this post makes it seem, to me at least, like you were finished with the story. If I'm just confused, I apologize, but I want to make sure one way or the other before I would look for someone else to look those other chapters over.

Tactical 4915


Both things are true. Find someone else, and I"ll get to the rest if I have time/if I feel like it.

It's not that I'm sick of you, just that I'd rather burn my queue and get to everyone.
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Reponse to review of Jericho's first chapter 4921

I eagerly await your review of chapter two, good sir.

>I commented on the character being "snarky." I didn't see it until the comment where I pointed it out. I saw him as more of a stoic, serious type. Work on that, I think, because a snarky character could be fun. Make it happen before he walks into the inn, and then lay it on thick. His internal monologue should crack occasional jokes.

His monologue does crack jokes. Often. Or, at least, says snarky things.
>Because you have no friends.
>Great. Just great. Because if you think things can’t get worse, it’s probably only because you lack sufficient imagination.
>Bravo. What a brilliant introduction to the first pony you meet in Equestria.
>It’s reasons like this that make me sure my death certificate will read, “Cause of death: drowned in absurdity.”

Do these not count? I was trying to show that, while he is at at a snarky bastard, he is capable of knowing when to at least try to be serious. Doesn't exactly work for him in the end, but, dammit, he's trying.

>Finally, I dunno what to tell you about the character's German-ness. To my eye it is too distinctly German, but maybe you could also work with that aspect of his homeland being a strong Germany-analogue. Have him sling a really terrible horse pun about his homeland, for example.

Actually, his homeland doesn't use many puns. I actually go out of my way to make it a bit too human-y. EG: Mann und Männer (German: man and men, respectively) are used for their versions of stallion/stallions [I needed an irregular noun, for linguistic reasons]. In-universe, this is explained away as simple being the way languages shift meanings over the millenia. But unless your German is good, which I'm counting on it not being, you won't notice that I purposefully did this.
And while his homeland is heavily influenced by Germany—particularly the German Empire and especially royal Prussia—it is not an analogue. It has a lot of influence, though, from the idealistic United States (a land of immigrants, the American Dream, ideals of a classless society, democracy), as well as America's more chauvinistic modern patriotism and religious zeal. It's just that because of the language that its more German aspects are more present from the start. But this would all be hard to say in chapter one without infodumps, so that worldbuilding comes later.

>Or is Teutsche one of those? If so, hats off, that's amazing, but other people aren't going to get it, just like I didn't. Even though I FINALLY caught the fact that it's a pun, I have no idea what word is being used for a pun.

Teutsch [and all of it's declensions] is a pun of Deutsch. T & D are, after all, the same phonotation, just that one is unvoiced and the other voiced, respectively, so swapping them is easy. However, I sort of hoped that most people wouldn’t see that. You'll see more in chapter two

>I greatly, greatly respect your desire to use the word "reich" in a positive way. The issue is that because we associate it with Hitler, we associate it with a person, a place, and an event that happened in the real world. Like I said–it's the strongest "human" thing among all the things the character says.

I thank you for your respect. I hate that we see one poor world, Reich, as being evil, all because one evil man had to ruin it. Most people seem to forget that before there was a Third Reich, there was a First and Second Reich (the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire). I think the first one was useless, adore the 2nd one to death, and see the 3rd as the scourge of the earth. So, I wanted to use it in a good way. But you say I can't do that? I'm disheartened by this, but I differ to your opinion on the matter. I just felt that nowhere in fiction was there ever a powerful, militant Germany-like nation that wasn't inherently evil; I had to rectify this grievous error.

>As for your "writing chops," your character voice carried things decently, and I didn't find myself tripping over any of your technical fails. I'll have to go back and confirm this for myself, but I'm fairly certain that only a grammarian with actual knowledge would really give a damn about the times when you have incorrect punctuation and whatever.

Thanks! But, and here's the thing, would the EQD have a problem with it? I'm trying to write to at least those standards.

>your events are interesting by sheer virtue of steering far clear of typical ponyfic cliche.

Yes! That was one of my goals, tell an interesting story while being paranoid of cliché and Mary Sues. I appear to have done well, no?

Your time is being appreciated, has been appreciated, and will be appreciated.

Tactical 4932

>So here I finally was. This was the mythical motherland, where Princesses Celestia and Luna—fallen angels, as those back home called them—ruled. Yet what I was looking at was no fairytale. The door before me, light from the building’s windows bathing it in a heavenly glow, was as real as the dirt beneath my hooves.

This is our first impression of the character. You have "mythical" and "angels" and "yet" and "bathed in a heavenly glow" and such.

Did you change your second paragraph? If so, it sets him up as being snarky much better.

>Stallions in Equestria were treated like slaves by the dominant female population, and were all castrated beyond a certain age.

This section needs something more than just recounting the kinds of rumors he's heard. Yeah it's not bad because the rumors themselves are interesting, but I'd prefer if you used this as an opportunity to crack another joke.


Are you saying I should change the very first line to be a snarky comment?

And how about this at the end of that paragraph?:

>Knowing my luck, I figured it’d be the last one—and I rather liked myself wholesome, thank you very much, ladies.

And yes, I did change the second paragraph. Well, no, actually, I added a new one entirely. I'm glad it better sets up his motivation, even it's as dumb, as he himself points out.

So, wait, can I have his thoughts say "This is a whorehouse!", or is that explaining the joke? Just that one line. Can he say that?
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Tactical 4935


Well, it's just that even though he had occasional little jokes, I had trouble reading them in the roguish voice because of things like what I pointed out. There are a bunch more of those too, but in small ways… just enough so that they reinforce the first impression.

I think it's much better now. Don't worry about completely cutting parts where he's contemplative instead of having that strong voice. Just keep it in mind.

As for the whorehouse joke, go ahead, I guess. It's explaining the joke, but it's not the worst thing ever.

I was saying is that I'd like it much better if you spread the joke out and kept on having him feel like he was in a whorehouse in silly ways. Show-don't-tell, right? Have him make a comment about how much one of the waitresses costs, or something… or have one of them drop an unintentional double entendre?

Either way, riff on that joke more. It's no good to make it once and then drop it.
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Well, the technical double entendre is what first set him off to thinking that. He hates prostitutes on principle and because he hates their advances, so he'd never ask what a girl cost.

How about saying things like:
>Last I checked, sugar. Why? Did those darn neighborhood colts try t’change the ‘inn’ to an ‘out’ again?”
>Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the words “Inn & Tavern” that I previously unaware of. Or I’m an idiot. Either or, really.

>Just keep walking. Control your breathing. Don’t stare. Wait. Is eying prostitutes considered window shopping?
>Now, knowing what I did about the place, the building looked almost ugly; it was no coincidence never in any known language has the phrase “as pretty as a whorehouse” appeared in.

Kinda like that, yes? Would that be enough extension of the joke?


Bit of an odd question: what are your hours? That is, what hours do you spend looking through stories? I noticed that your comments on my Gdoc were at odd hours, and I wanted to know——either so I know when not to go onto my docs (if you like to be left alone while reading) or when it might be prudent to show up (live problem-solving).
Thanks, and keep being awesome.

Tactical 4958

There isn't an answer to that.

The best answer I can give is "late, late, late night" because my timezone is one of the furthest east that there is.

Quick things I forgot about Jericho. Tactical 4970



The word "mythical" means it's not real. It suggests that there are or were people who considered it a myth. If people now know that it's real, you could use it to mean something real, like a synonym for "legendary," but it might be confusing, like it is here.


I am in no way saying that your Germany-nation sounds evil. It might maybe not really sound a little scary. They are bizzarely ignorant of what we've come to assume is the center of pony society, and there's the fact that the main character is armed and dangerous in contrast to canon Equestria. Mostly, I like the fact that he's an outsider.


I get that it's "Deutsche," or however you spell that, but to me it just reads like a quick changing of the word. Which is bad. If it's a horse pun I dont' get it.

>technical fails

There's no way EQD would have a problem with your technical fails. Your sentences get long and strained sometimes, but so do everyone's.

I am SO sorry about taking so long to get to Rainbow Typhoon. I will do it today.
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Rainbow Typhoon Tactical 4971

is very nice, and I may end up reading it for pleasure, not obligation. I'm not completely sure you should be looking UP to me. I'd more expect you to see you looking at me laterally or something.
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Quite cool to hear, thanks.

One last question: like you did with Empty Shell, have you dropped further reading of Jericho in favor of looking over the rest of your queue, and thus likely won't look at chapter two? If you have, I'm absolutely fine with that, just that I'm not sure if you have or have not. [I'm trying to get everypony's opinion on Jericho before I ship it to the EQD, to make sure it's as perfect as my meager skills can manage].


Tactical 4973

Now that my queue's empty, I can go back and do more for Jericho, and Empty Shell, but don't hold your breath.

With that, I now have two "writing advice" posts that I want to do. One of them is show-don't, tell, and the other is…

Sorta-Writing Advice: Review Anxiety Tactical!fRainBOoMw 4984

File: 1364873394384.png (226.59 KB, 421x287, ivan.png)

This one's not really a writing tip, but it's an important one for a lot of people who are here on this site. It's about sending your stories through the reviewer circuit.

When I was a little writing filly and the sun was going down, I spent a lot of time sending The Sixth Age through reviewers. The idea was (and is, for most people who take advantage of the cool little structure we have going here) that the more people pick through giving suggestions for how it could be better, the more I'll be able to improve it. I felt like getting it reviewed, then revising it and sending it for another review, then another review, and another, was a way to gradually improve it into something great, hopefully learning valuable lessons about friendship writing along the way. The motivations are hanging in front of you, like the proverbial carrot-on-a-stick. Wouldn't it be great to get one of those rare, rare reviews that says "wow, this was great, I barely have anything to say?" And, of course, there's the idea that getting reviews helps you get to EQD.

The Sixth Age probably got a double digit number of reviews. Golden_Vision told me he liked it. Kurbz told me she hated it. NickNack saw it twice, and I'm counting the second time he saw it, because he hated it the first time and liked it the second time. Then I sent it through Faust knows how many reviewers, who did fine work, each time teaching me something new, supposedly. Then I let the fic languish for nearly a year. Then Morning_Angles picked over it.

And then I improved it drastically thanks to a year of improvement.

And then it got approved for EQD.

I didn't need that many. I could've gotten by with three–two in the beginning, and then M_A. What made the difference was me becoming a better writer. M_A gave my old old work a thorough red penning, and this time, this time, I was ready to do better writing.

There is a limit to what a reviewer can do for you, especially by picking through line-by-line and just try to refine your writing. I do some line-by-line, but mostly I use the line-by-line as an excuse to lecture about what would've been better.

There is a simple tl;dr for the moral of this story: Reviewers do not make your story better. Even if their advice is as close to perfect as would be possible from something like this, you are the one who actually makes said improvements, and sometimes you aren't ready to.

I sometimes tell people to stop obsessing about making their stories great. There's no shame in that–you wrote something that you would write. You did your best on it. Time to write more.

Work on the next chapter. Write the intro bit to a new story. Write a one-shot. Screw those ideas and enter the write-off. Writing new things means experimenting with new things, or writing the same themes in a different way. You're not writing if you're just trying to improve the one thing.
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Review request: Twilight's Odyssey, Chapter 3 Anonymous 5008

Title: Twilight's Odyssey, Chapter Three

Words: 4600…ish

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.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gaVGx9JRzG-Io2g4m9Jp69qhTMSC87OsXoy2iMU-hk4/edit

Well, since you reviewed the second chapter, I'm gonna assume you remember the gist of it. Otherwise (if you need to get up to speed) the two previous chapters can be found here: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/24518/twilights-odyssey

Apart from the usual input, some pointers as to where and how description could be added would be much appreciated. It sometimes feel as if I could include more of it, but not more than that. It'd also be great to get some feedback on the original characters that show up by the second half. Thank you!

Best regards,

This post was edited by its author on .

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5009


This is the one right after the chapter I read, right? Cool, then. I'll have time for you… tonight, if I'm lucky? We'll see.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5017

You've got a really weird tendency to slip impersonal, awkward phrases into what should be a straightforward, clear, flowing sequence.

>In pursuit of a different angle, Twilight leaned to the side as much as her body allowed, only to find the pink ball of scales mirroring her movement. Still staring.

"in pursuit of" is exactly what I'm talking about, and "only to find" makes for a wordy sentence. I would have just said something like "The pink ball of scales still mirrored her movement" or even "The pink ball of scales leaned over too."

You DO have issues with your descriptions, and you can thank Pascoite for the fact that I'm catching them all. I'm only seeing them because he went through one of my things doing exactly what I am right now.

Princess Guinemare… doesn't seem to BE a character in my eyes. She has this very wooden voice, and she stays very impersonal, which could be a character trait, but sometimes you try to make a point of her breaking from it, but those breaking moments are just kind of straightforward and flat. Princess Celestia is similar, but when someone writes Princess Celestia they have canon to lean on.

Princess Celestia in canon is very sweet and kind–she doesn't do the formal, detached thing that your Platinum Princess does here. And that gives her some personality. I mean, no, it doesn't, but once in a while we see little interactions from her that let her personality shine rather than just leaving her in her plain and simple role as the one who Twilight writes letters to. Princess Celestia stares in amazement at the parasprite parade, she messes with the Cakes, she reveals to Twilight that she hates the Grand Galloping Gala.

I feel like you've just got Guinemare in a role, instead of making her proper and regal nature a thing. Even her interaction with her brother mostly has her acting out her position in the story.

In retrospect, I now see that she was letting her upright properness slip while she was visiting Twilight? Well it didn't come out. Maybe that's because your flow in that section was quite frankly pretty lousy, but anyway there's no shame IMO in going really heavy handed on that kind of thing. I don't think anything would be lost if you really called attention to the fact that she was trying and failing to keep the act up.

I have kind of the same feelings about Regal. I understand that he isn't as wooden, but that bit where he intimidates the guard is too obvious of a cliche for it to really characterize him. He never does anything else to establish a strong voice or quirk or whatever either. He's an antagonist, so give us something interesting about him–he's a hardass who doesn't really care about others? Again, the scene with the guard was a weak way to show that, and I don't really know what I'm looking at when he sneaks through his sister's room. Maybe if you did better at describing him being a real jerk to that guard. The guard never falters at all, and just seems to change his mind about sticking to procedure.

They both a little more character towards the end of the scene with Regal, but only a little. For Guinemare I say it's too late; for Regal I say it's again too obvious to count without being paired with some kind of strong idiosyncracies. Maybe he's a way uptight regal dude. Exaggerate it; I'm not seeing it. Maybe he's an underhanded snake. Same thing.

Personally I would like it if you took some kind of opportunity to play up how disturbed Guinemare is by the suggestion. Not just laying down the law–I think she's shocked and disgusted. That would be interesting to see.

Odric is a bit odd. He's this ultra-serious Emperor Palpatine type? With him I'd say he's TOO straightforward… a cliche, perhaps.

An example of what I'd do–maybe have him show more respect for Guinemare? Hearing the "sting" in his voice when he says she's unfit to rule swings him rather far towards being a cliche villain. Pick an archetype for him and stick to it HARD since you're trying to introduce him in a very small space. Again, maybe he's an underhanded snake or an ice-cold killer. Swing him much farther towards whatever direction you want.

Above all, keep moving forward. You do have interesting things going on here, and the general progression of your story is looking nice.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review acknowledgement DemPonies 5022


Thanks a lot for your review! You're right about pretty much everything. I sort of felt that there were a lot of things "off" about this chapter, and now I've got a much clearer picture of what and how to fix it.

I understand, especially from the comments you left in the doc, that you found the events in this chapter much more interesting than the last, which is awesome. The rest is (relatively) easy to fix, but it's hard to make something enjoyable when what you've got to work with isn't that great to begin with.

Thanks again!

Best regards,


P. S.

I left a few responses to you in the doc.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5273

Queue's been empty for eons and I'm gonna have more time to do reviews pretty soon. Anyone who dropped their long project in here has priority if they want me to pick up and do more of it or re-do the opening few chapters.

After that I'll take new entries. Or drop them here and I may well get to you before any of the old ones speak up. Or maybe they won't and you'll be first in line.

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5642

File: 1369594982748.jpeg (136.53 KB, 942x800, 193790__UNOPT__safe_crossover_…)

Sup dudes. I'm still here.


File: 1369626660032.png (277.99 KB, 1500x1256, 270293__safe_twilight-sparkle_…)

Don't actually have anything at the moment. Sorry. I should have something for you to look at soon.
This post was edited by its author on .

Learning to hate your own work Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5654

File: 1369723535698.png (86.95 KB, 152x293, your stories.png)

Just reposting this from my blog because, again, it sorta counts as advice, and you're not gonna stop me.

I have the distinction of having written one out of very few fics that have ever been handed a third strike by EQD. I'd like to talk about one that I gave up on after the second strike: [http://www.fimfiction.net/story/49303/the-ancient-hearts-first-beating]The Ancient Heart's First Beating. I consider it one of the best things I've written, even if I've graduated at least somewhat past that skill level by now. Of course, psychology says that my opinion is heavily biased by 1) the fact that I pounded myself directly in the feels with it, and 2) the fact that it received some very flattering praise.

But anyway, being told in unambiguous terms how much it sucked was maybe one of the most important experiences I've ever had.


There are obvious things I could say: That you should not take this kind of thing personally. That negative criticism is how you learn. That you should accept and welcome naysayers like this. Blah-blah blah-blah blah. I did those things after no more than five minutes of being depressed, but that didn't get me any closer to what I now consider a very important revelation.

The difference came when I managed to open myself to the idea that Vimbert was actually right, and that Ancient Heart was bad. That's not the same thing as "trying to make use of the criticism" or "not taking it personally."

Ancient Heart has some bad decisions and a somewhat weak concept. First, it asks the reader to care about a situation merely because the characters do. More importantly, it has meaning, but it gives the reader very little of that meaning until the end. Finally–and in my opinion, this is a weak criticism, but it is not untrue–the story's link to canon is very roundabout, and not necessarily nuanced or interesting. Someone needed to tell me these things, and I needed to stop and understand them. Shrugging and saying "eh, can't win them all" would not have been good enough.

I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't enjoy Ancient Heart. It's not like the story has some kind of metaphysical value of "bad" attached to it just because it has these admittedly deep weaknesses. If you have reasons to like the story–I certainly do–then you're allowed to. I wrote something bad, but I also wrote something good.

Hopefully some of you can learn from my experience: Sometimes you didn't write what you thought you wrote. No matter how hard you try to take a step back and do an honest edit sweep, sometimes you will fail to give yourself the right distance. This has happened to me several more times, in various forms.

PS: Reading back over it, I'm contemplating actually talking to Vimbert about this, then maybe giving the story a full rewrite. I now wonder if he well and truly didn't realize that I was trying to work with existing canon/fanon. The problem is that, to me, the most important flaw is the structure, and now I'm too biased to imagine it with any other structure… so I don't know how I would meaningfully give it a full rewrite.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review Request: Open Ballot 5665

I would be much obliged for a story review! It is currently incomplete. It received a strike from EQD, and while the prereader gave some advice I'd like a second opinion before I begin making any corrections.
Here's a link:

Tag: Slice of Life

Synopsis: Trixie has returned to Ponyville after a year of absence, but this time she is ready to make amends with the ponies she wronged. Many of the citizens are not ready to forgive her, however, and won't easily forget the corrupted Trixie that sabotaged their home. And to complicate matters, Trixie is mysteriously entered into the running for the mayor of Ponyville. Her only opponent is a charming and smooth-talking stallion named Grass Roots, who has been preparing for the election for months.
Trixie decides to take the course of events in stride and run, but she will not be able to win on her own. The Elements of Kindness, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty, and Laughter will need to help Trixie to become the mayor that Ponyville needs and deserves and the pony she wants to be.

Word count so far: 17,474


Sorry about that post; I'm new here. Here's the link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/97478/open-ballot

Tactical 5667

Hey, so, I'm busy selling pies, but I went ahead and glanced over the first chapter of Open Ballot, and I have a clear idea of some stuff you need to work on.

Everything up to where Fluttershy shows up is fucking boring. You open with a weather report, you move on to some very dry explanation of what's going on, Trixie's thoughts are very straightforward and lacking in voice, and you never do any show-don't-tell.

There's also the plain and simple fact that this idea has been done to death five times over. That isn't really fair of me, yeah, you can write a tired as hell idea and it should be judged on its own merit, but in practice, I advise trying to make it interesting and not the same obvious route as everyone else. I'll come up with an example when I'm not busy.

Your specific choices in showing how Trixie is down and out have both good and bad moments. I'll get around to picking at that individually.

I'll give you a full show don't tell rant when I can.

Overall, two things: one, if it were me, I wouldn't have written this at all. I would have started with some kind of cheesy "hook" like an action, dialogue, or in medias res opening. Two, you would benefit from working on your writing chops, plain and simple. Please don't take that too personally or be ashamed of it; "just get better" only means you need to keep writing, keep exploring, keep learning. I see some potential coming out, which is great. I dont do this often but maybe ill look for positive things to say when i can.

Tactical 5668

Wow how did I miss this?

Boy howdy do I have a lot to bitch about with your dialogue.

Again, I'll get to you. Tonight, I think. Give me perhaps five hours.

Heart Races - prologue 5673

File: 1369811274936.png (676.4 KB, 1000x1100, 333543__UNOPT__safe_flitter_ar…)


Cloudchaser x Flitter

This starts as friendshipping, but it becomes romantic after the prologue. I'll edit this if I remember anything important when it's not 3 AM.

@Azu Tactical 5675

Still with the pies, so I gave flitterchaser a quick look.

First, most of my original review still applies. I'm not impressed by your prose, and you sling "lol shipping" in the first paragraph, then slavishly follow a "shipfic" concept so that the fic never gets a chance to be anything else.

i think you should write something with the express purpose of using colorful language and interesting sensory detail. Maybe something with a campy, just for fun theme. Hmm. With a theme that's inherently prone to intimate, juicy details and wild adjectives when the action starts to gradually build until the pressure releases in an explosive, satisfying climax.

As an aded bonus you could write it about magical lesbians. Heh. Magic. Where's Jinx when you need him?


Open Ballot, I'm getting to you, I promise.


Hey, this is just part of the opening act. With what I have planned, it should be at least a little bit more than "just shipping." And if it isn't really, well, I can always write another story.

Thanks for taking a look.

Open Ballot Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5678

File: 1369904533414.gif (1004.18 KB, 298x192, 01AwaYE.gif)

>It was a beautiful night.

The first sentence of your story is very important. This should not be the first sentence of your story. Ever.

First off this is a terrible cliche.

Second, the first thing you say in your fic should be something important, something that tells us what's going on. Telling us the fact that it's night, and the moon is out, and the stars are out, and nighttime shit is happening, is the opposite of important.

More about this in the next block of criticism.

>The princess of the night had done her job well. blah blah blah blah

By Faust and Jason, it only gets worse. Don't do this.

I would forgive you for this if you were to eventually say something like "the night was beautiful blah blah blah… and Trixie hated beautiful nights." See, as it is now, you've said all this stuff about the scenery for no damn reason.

I know you may feel like "setting the scene" is important, but let's really look at what you've done here. There are two things wrong.

First, you use pretty words to make the night "beautiful." But why should this scene take place on a beautiful night? If anything, this seems like a shitty, depressing moment.

Second, you've created elements like croaking frogs for no reason. Pretend there aren't any croaking frogs; nothing is lost if they aren't there. Unless you're going to make a joke about the croaking frogs (the frogs were so loud that Trixie was tempted to blast one of the little shits with her horn) or the frogs are going to actually matter (suddenly one of the frog transforms into an alicorn princess).

Also notice that everything in this first paragraph is just a short sentence stating a fact. That makes it all worse. This post [http://mlpchan.net/fic/res/3348.html#5674] has something to say about that, but truthfully, this is not a skill that can easily be learned except through experience. Keep it in mind, I suppose.

>The wagon held her few possessions and rolled alongside her wherever she went

Wasting words on mundane stuff like this is the worst form of "telling."

>and so far it had remained as loyal a friend as she deserved.

Now that's more interesting. Aside from the fact that this has the little aspect of "she doesn't deserve much" which I suppose means she's had her self-esteem damaged or something, this says something unusual–it calls the wagon her friend. You could cut the first part of this sentence and leave this part alone. Think of it as a form of show-don't-tell; you say the wagon is her friend, which gives us this impression of how she feels about the wagon and how useful it is to her.

>she had done things that she regretted deeply

Again, don't say things so plainly if they matter as much as this. She "regrets it deeply" so talk about her regretting it. Maybe the mere thought of it turns her stomach. Maybe she keeps a little souvenir to remind her not to be that way again. Maybe she remembers throwing a tantrum in frustration right after the Boast Busters episode. Again, similar to show-don't-tell.

>but it was time to face those things and the ponies she did them to

Same thing. "It's time for her to face those things." That's a very impersonal way to say something that should be talked about in terms of what Trixie is thinking.

>and the wanderer didn't even know

Calling Trixie "the wanderer" comes out of nowhere. I wrote this [http://mlpchan.net/fic/res/3582.html#4758] and it gives my thoughts on things like this.

>Twilight, the mare knew

Why you thought this was a good idea is beyond me. Most things like this can just be replaced by the character's name. Read the part you're worried about out loud, and if it still sounds bad to you, restructure the sentences so that you end up saying the name less times.

>She hadn't been able to sleep during the night, and she had spent much of it walking.

Another thing that's boring, and straightforward, and shouldn't be. This could be made into something meaningful (she's tired, she's dirty, she's losing sleep because of anxiety) or it could be cut because you've already said PLENTY about her traveling and her being sorta down on her luck. Frankly, this weakness of yours is crushing. It makes the entire opening bit hard to read.

>Her head bolted up

So here's an example of what people want you to do when they say "show-don't-tell." Again, I'll post a full rant on show-don't-tell soon. Basically, you gave Trixie an action here that lets us know what she's feeling or thinking. Description, not thoughts and not impersonal information.

Show-don't-tell is very tough, but it's a way to write stuff that's much more interesting than the things I've been criticizing you for.

Here's another example:

>Immediately Fluttershy shrank back from Trixie's tirade.

You don't use words for how Fluttershy is feeling; you tell us what her reaction actually was. This should be the default way to do it; the other ways are the exception. I'm bad about this too.

>She pulled a slightly stale biscuit out of her wagon and

This has officially gone on way too long. You need to cut this opening bit down. One paragraph would be sufficient. Slash this mercilessly and just spend a few sentences telling us that Trixie has been traveling, that she's looking kind of drab, etc.

You don't even need to tell us so many details about her being down on her luck, her feeling guilty, etc. Just like with the frogs, open your mind to the possibility of just dropping details that aren't actually important. All we need is an emotional and/or visual impression.

If it were me, I'd describe her as being dirty and worn down from hiking a long distance, maybe I'd describe some kind of bitter frown on her face, I dunno.

I could forgive this more easily if you spiced it up by having Trixie act, think, feel, in a distinctly Trixie way, but right now she's described in these very dry, impersonal terms. As such, to my eye, this is a big waste of space.

>"You do?" Trixie said hopefully.

Dialogue tags are another thing that you can do show-don't-tell on. It would be more interesting to describe Trixie looking a little more hopeful. Almost all dialogue tags are like this, actually–a dialogue tag like "said arrogantly" or a said-verb like "proclaimed" can often be replaced by actual description.

>"Kiss my ass!" he said, rolling his eyes and sneering.

He rolls his eyes. He sneers. He's a douche. I didn't need to say "he said arrogantly." If I wanted to give him a tone of voice, I might say "he snorted," because that's a said-verb that actually has a sensory meaning. Or I might add a sentence that says something like "His nasal blare sounded like what would happen if a duck blew into a kazoo. I wanted nothing more than to punch his stupid duck beak out the back of his head."

Note that you don't have to purge "telling" like this with extreme prejudice. Do, however, look for places where you're cheating the reader by not giving more detail.

>Fluttershy looked in Trixie's eyes, and for once she saw genuineness in them. She, above most other ponies, knew that second chances had to be given.

Here's another "what not to do." You're letting us see inside both Fluttershy's head and Trixie's, and it's jarring. There is such a thing as 3rd person where the narrator knows everything, but I don't know how to do it. Go ask someone else.

>Fluttershy asked with no small amount of hesitance.

Again with dialogue tags that could be turned into show-don't-tell. This is an extremely persistent problem. It is also probably the reason why I had a knee-jerk dislike for your dialogue. It plays out a rather simple "fluttershy forgives her" scenario, and you give the characters no chance to really bring moments to life. Fluttershy "seeing genuineness in Trixie's eyes" is a good example.

Here's a start: If you were to write some really melodramtic shit, like all purple prose and OH TRIXIE YOU'RE SO MISUNDERSTOOD I WANT TO REACH OUT TO YOUR HEART and shit, what would you write?

Well you haven't written *any* of that, and you should write a little more of it. The action, the dialogue, is dry. It's simple.

This even hurts your characterization. The way Trixie acts like Trixie is much weaker, because the way she snaps at Fluttershy, then quickly tries to be nice again, isn't given any good description. Going more towards the melodramatic will encourage you to milk things like this, emphasize them to the reader, and make them dramatic instead of something as simple as "and then Fluttershy forgave Trixie."

And I don't just mean moments of interaction either.

>The restless pony was trying to sort through the townsponies through her mind to see which one would be the most okay with seeing her. No… that didn't sound right. It would have to be the pony that despised her the least.

This is only one of a few places you could do this, and it's not necessarily the best one, but this would be a place to write some kind of melodramatic crap about how miserable Trixie is. Have her think about each pony, show her opinions about them… and how much she thinks they hate her.

Not doing moments like this is a waste, and it makes your work pointless and boring. It also makes it so that I can't decide if I like or hate your Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash "voices" and mannerisms and such. You have some understanding of the characters, but you play them awkwardly.

If you like I'll review more, but I'm reading forward and it looks like these are completely persistent–they are your main problems, beyond a doubt.

I know it's disappointing to get a review that never really addresses your characterization or whatever, but this is who I am, and what I've criticized you on is the aspect of writing that I care about the most. I fully encourage you to ask questions if you want more help with something I've said here.

Sorry that I didn't actually comb your work for specific places where you should do things like "make this melodramatic" or "show don't tell," but frankly the problem is so frequent that I don't want to. Maybe you want to sweep this and improve it or maybe you don't want to do such heavy edits on something that's 17,000 words long. Both are fine.

When I give such overhwelmingly negative reviews, I tend to end with this advice:


I can't improve your story and I can't improve you. You have to do both of those things yourself.

And there's no shame in that. Keep writing and keep growing.
This post was edited by its author on .

Review Acknowledgment: Open Ballot 5679

Thank you for the review! I'm not going to lie; this is the first review from an unbiased source I've ever gotten for any of my writing, so it's a bit tough to swallow. But you definitely pointed out plenty that I need to work on, and I appreciate that. I would also be thankful for further review of things I'm doing well, but that's only if you feel you have time. Thanks again!

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 5681


Consider the expression "room for improvement." The general meaning is a polite way to say "this is bad." Let's consider another interpretation: something has room for improvement if it has the possibility of improvement.

The room for improvement that you have is the margin between your potential and your execution. In the deep dregs of Fimfic are black and red alicorns who kill Pinkie out of revenge for Cupcakes, then use their fire powers to seduce Twilight.

You are no fool–you have some understanding of the characters and of some of what a story should be. Trixie snapping then feeling bad about it? That's good.

You have moments of personality in which I can see how you could turn this fic into something at least a little unique.

Also, I apparently passed out without hitting submit on some edits I did to you review, go have a look.

Chasing Clouds Tactical 5727


Azu, we have now talked about the dryness of your writing, and I hope you do act upon my suggestions.

Next: when I say glaze things over with tell, I don't mean write a brief, telly version. I mean skip it and don't bother writing about it. "Flitter bit her lip as she looked at the letter in her hooves. Cloudchaser. Strange; Cloudchsder had made fun of her just yesterday. Also, Cloudchaser the coolest, sexiest filly in the class, and FLitter… Wasn’t. " I just cut two paragraphs of your intro, maybe three. As i told the last guy, dont be afraid to just drop details and not use them after all.

Finally, i usually tell people that its okay to fall into cliche, but i dont think I'm going to give you that kind of free pass. I think this is because of your fixation on shipping. "boy meets girl" is not a legitimate plot. Homophobic parents would be. Confused sexual awakening would be. Falling for the one wo bullies her would be.

Usually it's okay to use cliche because honestly it's pretty hard not to write something that has already been done plenty of times. You, however, don't seem to be able to break away from cliche.

Try this: do not be satisfied with "magival lesbians" as the main idea of your story. Sure there are people like you who find such a thing gratifying, but we are talking about improving you, here. Unless you are satisfied with writing cliche shipfics, and that's your right i suppose.


Honestly, I'm sick to death about writing about confused sexual awakening. I feel like I'm just ripping off Spinnerette. I know that what I have planned for chapter one is more than just "boy meets girl" (esecially since the prologue is supposed to be about how they became friends), but at the same time, I don't know if it's any less cliché. I guess I'll just write it and see how it turns out.

Edit: Eh, on second thought, what I had planned is kind of a rip off of a book I read recently. I'll think of something better.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 5992

File: 1370806047046.png (555.79 KB, 498x601, 486843_10151515786298673_21101…)

I've had a lot of time for reviewing lately. Bring those stories on, fellas.

Seriously, do people think I'm a crappy reviewer or something?

Anonymous 5993

In perspective, two of the four stories GV's gotten recently were hazing fics because he posted a new thread. The third was a follow-up. The fourth was non-pony.

Tactical 5994


What's up with that, anyway? It's a busy fanfic season, but nobody's coming to us.

Anonymous 5995

I'm just speculating, mind you, but I'm guessing that reviews have fallen out of favor.

With increasing popularity and influence of the featured box, authors are putting more time and effort into crafting new stories than refining old/ongoing ones. Authors that are already popular (if not necessarily good) get more stories into the featured box, and popularity feeds itself. Authors that aren't popular try to get the featured box by imitating what popular authors do, and what we generally value (style, mechanics, more concrete things) is different from what they generally value (concept, plot, more abstract things), and those things can't be taught or learned, for the most part.

Public reviewing might also have fallen out of favor as well, as Sal pointed out in his/er thread about getting editors. Why would a writer trust us when s/he could go to his/er friends for feedback?


…Yeah, I'm seeing what you meant with the wrong-password-edit thing. Point of clarification: Sal didn't "point out" a fall in favor; that's part of my speculation. (Source: >>5580)

Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6397

File: 1371635349108.gif (42.67 KB, 800x800, 253842__rainbow-dash_animated_…)

This thread is totally open for business, folks. It's just I would rather work with people who ask me for my help. Prodding the Training Grounds for myself doesn't always find me the people I want to work with.


File: 1371670957851.jpg (41.71 KB, 462x462, 9842239_gal.jpg)

>spoilered text

Sitewide rules:
In general, R34 and gore are not allowed:

>- Depictions of sex acts, genitals, female nipples, sex fluids, and underage sexualization are prohibited.

>- Depictions of explicit dismemberment, torture, or butchery are prohibited.
>The above set of rules against R34 and gore do not apply to properly tagged mature content threads on supporting boards. See the FAQ for info on this feature.

Please restrict discussion of mature material to email exchanges and Mature-tagged threads. (The "show mature content threads" checkbox is under the "Filters" header in the Settings tab.)

For more help, ask around in the IRC: (http://client.canternet.org/?channels=fic).

This is also a review thread, not a request thread. While I don't know if Tactical is taking requests, you should direct (non-explicit) fan-fic requests and ideas to >>49.

Read the Sticky, >>158, and post there if you have any questions. (Or you can direct your questions to the IRC.)

Anonymous 6403

Sorry about that. I'm a newfag here. Forgive me? I'm still learning the ropes

Tactical 6404

I revel in fucked-up material, including when it's not my thing, but yeah, I never said this was a thread in which you could ask me to write a fic based on your concept.

You are welcome to make such a request, of course. And in this case I'm refusing, because your desire is too specific; you're telling me exactly what to write. Also because it's not my thing. And because I would rather write my own stuff.

Anonymous 6405

Or this would be fine and then you fill in the blanks

I just mainly want a story about this

>A story about Sweetie's and or scootaloo's first estrus and her fumbling attempts at seducing Anon

Tactical 6406

CMC isn't my thing, but I would write it.

Second person anon clop, on the other hand, is a retarded form that should die. I might write it, but only to work with an experimental idea like greentext from the pony's perspective. I would also write it as a subversion and/or parody.

Also, I *said* that I would rather write my own shit.

Anonymous 6415

Someone sure has a dick up their ass

get off your high horse


Tactical!fRainBOoMw 6416


You're not gonna get me to back down from how much I hate second person. Fuck that shit.


File: 1371736466601.gif (4.09 MB, 300x169, vg9qYehkZUWo-Cj7RltMVg2.gif)

Get the fuck off this site

Anonymous ## Mod 6419

Actually you are that guy, and there's a word for that… which would be called out and you'd be rightfully scorned for that anywhere, here included.

You're the guy that requested it, the person you asked declined, and then you spazzed out on him for not wanting to write what you wanted him to.

Which is pretty lame, and you sound like a child. So enjoy your ban.

Tactical 6420

So he was samefagging to complain about my response.

Wow, that's classy.

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

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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.
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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.
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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

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

Edit: >>6603
>3) Have an actually good idea.
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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.
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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.
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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 .

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