I haven't done this in a while so I might as well get feedback.
One of the reasons I picked this is that on a quick readthrough, you have a lot of instances of dialogue punctuation gone poorly, and if there's one person suited to collecting a large list of those quickly, it's me.
Ezn's Guide contains a pretty good explanation of how to fix dialogue punctuation, so I'll just link to him instead of reinventing the wheel.
Using his terminology, you seem to have a nasty case of preceding action tags connected to your dialogue via commas. If you're not sure how to fix the listed mistakes after reading Ezn's Guide, let me know and I'll try to explain as well.
You have a few other dialogue mistakes as well. Here they are:
You also have systemic problems with vocative commas. Ezn's Guide mentions this here:
Other comments: You have a lot of simple technical mistakes, as you mentioned in the review request, so I'm trying to be thorough about those. You also have other issues, and I'll comment on the more egregious ones, but there are enough mechanical errors that they will be the focus of the review. So, this story likely will need more than one pass to fix up completely.
>It has been three days since Trixie has gone into the box.
This sentence is in present tense, but your fic (including the rest of the scene) is written in past tense. Changing tenses is generally jarring and unless you are trying to create a really weird timeline, you should stick with the same tense.>Change each has to had.
>the clear flexible glass like material
Lists of adjectives should be comma separated and glass-like should have a hyphen>the clear, flexible, glass-like material
>She looked down the clear, flexible, glass like material and made note of how far the ground was below her, and looked up at the solid wood top above.
You have three parallel clauses, so they should follow the <verb><clause1>,<clause2>,<conjunction><clause3> form.>material and made -> material, made
>begin to flash pictures
You do this quite a bit, so I'll reference Ezn again. http://eznguide.rogerdodger.me/#Being-laconic
Check number 1.
>to the ground…http://eznguide.rogerdodger.me/#Commas-semicolons-colons-dashes-and-ellipses
Read the bit about ellipses. It's unnecessary here and you are probably better served with a full stop instead.
>library, both were
Comma splice. See http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/comma-splice.aspx
for an explanation.
You have quite a few comma splices in dialogue, but since these are often more intentional, I'm not going to flag each of them. However, if you don't know what I'm talking about with regards to comma splices, you should ask and I'll flag some of them.
>looked up from the piece of paper before her and looked Trixie
You re-use looked
twice in one sentence here. Also, "before her" is a bit awkward, as it caused a bit of a parse error. Perhaps "looked up from her paper" would be a good replacement for the first clause.
>an impressed expression on her facehttp://eznguide.rogerdodger.me/#Show-dont-tell
You'll need to try harder on this one.
>While I am great and powerful, and Trixie could easily craft
You're inconsistent about Trixie speaking in the third person. Since she is asking Twilight for a favour, it does make some sense for her to speak in first person, as that is less condescending, and having her use third person is well within Trixie's established character, but you need to pick one and stick to it.
>So, its a trickIt's
is the contraction for it is
, while its
is the possessive form.
>like… A distraction
You aren't starting a new sentence, so a
shouldn't be capitalised. Also, be very careful about overusing ellipses in dialogue. While they are more acceptable there than in narration, they can still tend to be overused. You may want to consider moving some of your preceding action tags into the dialogue to serve as beats when you need a pause.
>this stunt we need
Missing a comma to separate clauses>this stunt, we need
Ellipsis isn't needed here. Ellipses should be use when the speech is trailing off, and this is supposed to be a confident exit.
>An hour later Twilight and Trixie found themselves in Ponyville's east end
Missing comma. You seem to do this quite a bit, so I'll give you a trick for catching these. If you have a statement that gives some context, like a location or a time, try removing that contextual statement and reading the statement. In this case, An hour later
is your contextual statement, so the rest of the statement is Twilight and Trixie found themselves in Ponyville's east end
If the the sentence without the contextual statement forms a complete sentence, you need a comma. In our example, since Twilight and Trixie found themselves in Ponyville's east end
is a complete sentence, so we need the comma.>An hour later, Twilight
>Twilight was leading the way
The "was leading" construct is unnecessarily verbose and generally weaker than just the direct form.>Twilight led the way
>a wizards hatWizards
should be the possessive form wizard's
>seem so, savory.
A comma is not the way to add a pause. You could use a beat, where you give a reaction; an emdash, if it is a hard pause; or as much as I've advised against it
an ellipsis, if it should be a trailing-off pause. But a comma is just incorrect.
>kept leading the way
Repetition of "leading the way" twice in three sentences, regardless of the fact that it's not a great construct to use even once.
>Ah where here
Misspelling and missing comma>Ah, we're here
>guitars, cellos, lyres, drums and an assortment of wind and brass instruments lined the walls
Lists are most effective when they are three things or fewer, and in most cases, they are less effective than other forms of description. Lists tell us what is there and do so in a bland way, so our imaginations intuitively incorporate that blandness into their picture. Think about the kind of location that would warrant a list: each instrument would be hung on the walls in the same way, without any decoration that would differentiate each section. Even a warehouse wouldn't fit this description.
Instead of using a list, try to give descriptions that give an idea about the atmosphere or overall decor of the place. For example, if it was a particularly modern store, you might describe how everything shined with a metallic gleam, how it prominently displayed electric guitars and speaker systems, or that there was electronic music playing as they entered. Or if it was a music shop with a handmade focus, you might describe the intricate carvings on one of the instruments, the sounds of tools going in the background, or the smell of woodchips.
Basically, when you go to write a scene, imagine it in your head and find what makes it different
from every other similar location and try to describe the differences.
>with crimson scrip that
Spelling error. Spellcheck would have caught this, and it comes with most browsers, much less word processors.
>read as follows.
If you use the "read as follows" line, then it should be a colon, not a full stop. However, I would recommend rewriting the line entirely and avoiding the read as follows
>sign there was
Missing comma>sign, there was
>like a guitar pick, or strings for there violin, drum keys and sticks,
1. See my comment on lists.
2. their violin
>and those little screws that were impossible to find anywhere other than here that held the pick up for your electric guitar.
This description is terribly awkward. First, it's oddly specific for a detail that doesn't come up as relevant. Second, you have multiple modifying clauses for the same object, so by the time the reader reaches the second modifier, they are unlikely to remember what the clauses were modifying anyway. Third, you address the reader directly during narration for some reason. So unless the screws are absolutely critical
to the plot within the next couple pages, I'd recommend dropping that description entirely.
>little vest with a million pockets
This is very informal for a third person omniscient narrator. While it is your choice to use either an informal or formal narrator, you need to stay consistent with your narrative voice and your voice most of the way through is formal.
>the moment she
>she was leaning
Just use leaned
>the inner working wiring of
Extra word here. Should be either workings or wiring, but not both.
>Trixie opened her mouth to protest having to wait when twilight placed a hoof over her barrel
1. We know why Trixie would protest. You don't need the redundant having to wait
2. Twilight should be capitalised.
3. Barrel? What? Is that actual slang for mouth? I highly recommend changing this to something more standard.
>more minutes the mare
>the blue unicorn
This is what's called Lavender Unicorn Syndrome which will be abbreviated LUS from now on. See http://eznguide.rogerdodger.me/#Lavender-Unicorn-Syndrome
The idea is that you should just use names, as it takes longer for the reader to connect the descriptor to the character, so they don't get immersed in the scene.
A good rule of thumb is that if the scene would be fundamentally
different if the character had a different trait, then it is okay to use the trait as a description.
For example: Fortunately, the brick-coloured filly blended in with the barn wall, so the bullies moved on.
In this situation, the filly's colouring is important, because if it was any different, she wouldn't blend in.
By contrast: The purple unicorn waved to me.
In this situation, the colour of the unicorn doesn't change the situation. A yellow unicorn could wave just as well as the purple one.
>Trixie rubbed a hoof behind her head
Not an error, I just want to note this as particularly good. You use a reaction that concisely shows exactly how she feels about the situation and don't try to over-explain it immediately afterwards. Use this as an example for future showing.
>pulled out a set of strings ranging in size out in a glow of magic.
You have a misplaced modifier here. You want to keep the descriptions as close to the object they are describing as possible. In this situation, the glow of magic
describes how she pulls out the strings, but is on the opposite side of the sentence. You might want to try something like.>With a glow of magic, she pulled out a set of strings of all sizes.
>the magic she
Even when you are using a non-standard contraction, it should still follow the rule that the apostrophe replaces the missing letters. So That will
contracts to That'll
The rest of the review will follow shortly.