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Write-off: Round n 5597[View All]

Accolades: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/scoreboard
All anthologies: http://www.fimfiction.net/user/fic+Write+Off
Current list of participants: http://goo.gl/15vdt

People say that if you can't explain your product in three seconds, then your product won't sell. I guess I'm out of seconds. This here is the write-off. It involves writing (and reading). Perhaps you would care to join? Here's the gist:

– Participants write stories over a 72 hour period
– The stories are written from a prompt decided at the event’s onset
– Participants submit their work to an anonymous anthology
– Readers then rate the stories
– Finally, everything gets wrapped up with author reveals and winners announced

If you’d like to participate, just leave a comment below in this webzone and I'll add you to the list.

The event will take place on the weekend starting 31st of May.

The exact times for each round are listed here: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16

When finished, submit your works here: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16/fic/submit

Note that you can preview your work once it's submitted by going to the "My Submissions" page, and you can edit it as long as submissions are still open.

You can markup your work with BBCode for bold, italics, etc. See http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/faq#How-do-I-get-style for the list of available tags.

Prompt suggestions will be taken two hours before the writing commences. After an hour of suggestions, the prompts will be open to be voted upon by the public.

Prompt suggestions: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16/prompt/submit
Prompt voting: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16/prompt/vote

The rules of the event are listed here: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16/rules

I reserve the right to disqualify any entry with or without reason.

Once the stories are collected into an anthology post on the »Fic Write off« Fimfiction account, a public poll will allow readers to rate the stories. Voters must read at least half of the stories submitted before casting a vote. When voting opens, go here (http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16/fic/vote/public) to cast your vote.

After ten days of voting, the scores will be tallied and the winners will be announced.

Well, I think that’s everything. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
Good luck. Roger out.

Picture source: http://vunlinur.deviantart.com/art/Random-pony-334823401
211 posts and 74 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

Anonymous 6059

That's not me, Loops. I'll answer you in a second, hold your ponies.


Yeah, anonymous reviews are really confusing.


What could they be telling people other than their opinion?

Followup to Followup Anon Reviewer 6062

Not all of those Anonymous posts responding to Everything Has Its Season are mine, so don't get all righteous on me. I really didn't like that fic, but I contained my opinion to my review and one follow-up where he asked me to explain why I didn't like his character. They may have been harsh opinions and I was fairly vehement, but I'm not about to tell an author to chuck his story unless it's genuinely offensive, which it wasn't. Indeed, I could see potential in it, just not with what was given to me.

Now, I know I had a lot of criticism for your story as well, but you're asking about something specific. I will agree that I can definitely see that link you are talking about, but I personally believe that a thematic link is secondary to a proper setting/narrative link. Indeed, I don't mean it as an insult, either: I think your story could stand perfectly well on its own as a piece of original fiction, if you altered them to humans and stuck it in a small town in upstate New York or something.
Making it feel more like it belongs in the MLP setting isn't terribly hard either, just emphasize those elements that you do have (a pegasus accident, unicorn magic, Manehattan, Canterlot, etc.) more strongly.
I think your story is good, it just wasn't my taste.

You're slightly off on my bit about Erase and Rewind - I'm not criticizing it for not answering these questions. Indeed, I actually rather like that. It gave me a lot of questions about the story that I would have liked to have answered; that's one thing I like seeing in stories and was very pleased to see it here. If Erase and Rewind felt incomplete, it's only because I want to see more.
I loved the wit between the two main characters, but I'm hardly the only person here who has complained that it feels too sharp. I seem to be the only one who called it dry, but did I not also say that I felt a real spark of companionship between the two disparate ponies towards the end?

I am familiar with the story of Sisyphus. I was making a mild exaggeration in downplaying his suffering to say that I appreciated the sort of internal torment that was externalized by the boulder in Pinkie Pie. My main complaint with regards to character is that the 'Sissy Hooves' figure basically only serves as a fulcrum to move her into that position, which made her sacrifice feel less heroic. I already pointed out that it's not how I would have done the world building and, sure, it was trite, but I felt like there was more heart put into the world building there than the brief exposition we got out of Season.

Honestly, I think the person to respond to your Corn criticisms should be Corn themselves. The rest of this looks more like a personal attack on me.
(Just doing a quick survey of other reviews, I don't feel particularly alone in my feelings towards this one, either. I feel it was fairly incomplete and definitely had some flaws, but I've already covered this one.)

As for the shot against my fic, well, that's apparently as close to a review of it as I'm going to get out of you, I suppose. I'm aware enough of its flaws to know how to address them, by now, though there's still at least one author whose brain I want to pick over it. Cheap shots just seem silly at this point.

Look, Loops, this seems oddly personal. I don't particularly hold any malice against you nor Season nor any other fic author I criticized, and if my opinions offend you, there were probably better and less offensive ways for you to get your feelings across. If any of them like, they can ask me for more detailed reviews rather than the 'stream of thought followed by summation' method I did. They can bother me on #fic if they know who I am, I don't mind. Heck, you can, too, but let's be civil here and there.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Everything Loops" 6064

Well, now I rightfully look like an asshole.

Sorry for spazzing out. Guess this is what I get for running on four hours of sleep a night the whole week.

Anon Reviewer 6065

I understand. I'm pretty sapped myself. No hard feelings.

Author: "Everything Has Its Season" 6066

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I apologize for my earlier flippancy.

Being a creature compelled to creator bias, I rather liked my own story. I was angry, sullen, and confused at several of the reviews, but I saw that my darling was peppered with the tell-tale signs of poor execution.

The above emotions I did my best to transmogrify into simple and open joy.

However, the worst came when the criticism was that the story itself, regardless of its execution, was fundamentally flawed. Again, the anger, sullenness, and confusion.

It is not without some exasperation that I replied as I did, but I see now that there were better ways to respond. The unfortunate truth is now I have a story sitting here with me, listless and somber, not dead but yet to prove its core worth to justify the revisions and additions necessary to save it.

I hope that everyone is no worse for wear, that no reputation has been irreversibly tarnished.

Forgive my rudeness.


Now everypony hug :3

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6068

>Now everypony hugkiss :3



Anon Reviewer 6074

No problem. I hope I didn't come across as too personal.

Aww, c'mere *yoink*


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Unfortunately, I couldn’t read all of the fics and vote on them in time, but I will try to read and review the rest. Here are eight more reviews for today.

A Hiccup in Time:
Twilight’s in a time loop. And she has the hiccups.

First thing that jumped out at me was the interweaving of thought and narrative. It’s a technique I personally like, but here it made me doubt whether the story utilized point-of-view correctly, which is never a good thing. You used third-person limited as the general POV, but the sheer amount of internal monologue came closer to first-person, leaving the story in a limbo of viewpoint. Once multiple Twilights start appearing, the thoughts cease, replaced by sometimes hard-to-follow dialogue, so inconsistency is added to the slew of problems.

The sequence of events is confusing, though of course that’s how it’s supposed to be. I lost the train of thought somewhere around Twilight nine, but considering the comedic nature of the story, I won’t hold it too much against it. The jokes were mostly funny, but nothing that made me laugh out loud.

My Little Pumpkin:
A series of vignettes starring Pinkie and Pumpkin.

Straight from the outset, the prose has a tendency to go into emotional telling, which is the worst kind of telling. “The pink pony loved her very much,” is pretty much the textbook definition of bad telling. Not to mention the blasted musical names, better known here as lavender unicorns. I can see that it’s a stylistic choice, but it doesn’t make the prose any easier to keep track of.

Thing is, this isn’t really a story. There’s no plot in here, just scenes that demand us to feel emotion because they simply depict emotional events, as clichéd as they are. This is no different from the same criticisms directed at the venerable “My Little Dashie.” The problem is, it fails to evoke emotion due to lacking detail, characterization, and, again, plot. Not much else to say.

Everything Has Its Season:
A God searches for Twilight Sparkle in order to deliver a message. I think.

I have a feeling that I know who the author is. The intro is good enough to begin establishing the setting and the narrating character, but all throughout the first scene, I had the distinct feeling of… missing something. There were telling details (I’m using telling in the positive sense of the word here), like the Zebrican staff, for example, but they revealed just enough for us to not have a clear picture of the character in mind, and this ust gets more confusing once the shenanigans start. I suspect that this is mostly due to the emotionally dry narration as a result of the quick pacing. There’s a small feeling that the story’s rushing forward, not leaving enough space to neither breathe nor describe enough to hook. You sacrifice good, detailed description for speed, and as a result, we get a dose of emotional telling (this time, I’m using the negative meaning).

The first suggestion that popped into my head while reading was to change the viewpoint character, and maybe even switch to third person. I do not think that you’ve captured the character’s voice with the narration. And the character himself stays a mystery for far too long for a first-person perspective. The scene where he and Spike arrive at Canterlot is supposed to be tense and set up the conflict, but a complete lack of understanding the who and what ruined any grip the scene could have. It’s good to delay revelation of backstory, but at least tell us who the narrator is. As it is, he comes off as overpowered.

There isn’t much to say about plot because there really wasn’t one. There is certainly a seed of plot there, but it is so undeveloped, unclear, and understated that it’s not quite possible to discern it. This story really needs some imaginative mulching if it is to bear fruit.

Erase and Rewind:
A stallion with a complicated problem adopts a filly also with a complicated problem.

First of all, the first scene was a very, very nice introduction. We get a taste of Rewind’s character and a very good demonstration of her “problem.” Erase’s intro was also fine, although a bit less exciting, a bit more confusing and not as good as Rewind’s was, but that’s a given considering the nature of Erase’s illness. This actually brings me to the first notable point I want to bring up, the different natures of the character’s conditions. Erase’s condition is explained and fully understood, coming from the realm of medicine, but Rewind’s predicament remains a mystery. One side-effect of this is that Rewind’s problem starts to look like nothing more than a plot device by the end, which robs it of some mystique. I’m not sure whether the contrast enriches the story or if having Erase’s illness be a more supernatural affair be more interesting, so I’ll just note this bipolarity without judging it and move on.

Moving on to scene 3 and the rest of the fic, the dialogue quickly overtakes the entirety of the prose, and while it’s not really bad, it’s also not quite as good as I’d expect from scene-carrying speech. Erase gets expanded as a character quite well, as his illness is explained and thoroughly demonstrated,—perhaps one too many times demonstrated—but Rewind really falls as a character. What little we saw of her in the introductory scene felt distinctly different from how she is portrayed while conversing with Erase, as if Erase’s character overtakes hers. They both sound very much alike, that’s the problem. For one, I do not see a little filly like Rewind being so damn articulate. She’s speaking on his intellectual level. The result is that the whole dialogue is pretty dry and full of too much articulation. Seriously, there’s barely any subtext there, and the characters don’t attempt to hide their feelings. They just speak too much. And while a lack of emotion is suitable both to the schizophrenic Erase and the traumatized Rewind, it doesn’t make for a particularly engaging dialogue. There’s lots of back-and-forth, but not much delivered in it besides bits of information between long armchair-ish ramblings. The tendency to drag on for too long is certainly there.

I’m not entirely sure about the strength of the plot here. Again, this is because the story is more interested in delivering observations about time and life than actually giving the characters a chance to change. Well, there is some change with Rewind, but remember my comments about her one paragraph above, and you’ll see why it’s not as strong as I would have liked. All in all, it’s a good fic, but some things just don’t “click” like they ought to, so I wouldn’t call it the best of the write-off.

Bad things happen to Derpy. Then, good things happen to Derpy!

Do you ever get that feeling that the prose is just somehow wrong stylistically? Like some minor quirk of the narrative voice, or whatever it is when it’s absent, that just makes the whole thing stumble and jerk around, like as if it was narrated by someone with a mouthful of gravel. I know it sounds harsh, but quite a lot of stories elicited that effect from me. Just know that yours did, too.

But I believe that this fic has another, bigger problem to worry about, and the previous reviewers have all voiced it already: it’s just not original. Everything else, like the total lack of a plot or bland characterization, will probably have to wait. I know it’s not fair, but us writers have to be aware of clichés and steer clear of them. Creativity, originality is the bread and butter of fiction, and it is what we should really try to cultivate in ourselves. So, keep writing.

Timeless Advice From a Momentary Test:
Discord sends princess-to-be Twilight back in time.

Again, we’re confronted with quite a bit of emotional telling, exasperated by a less-than-rigorous adherence to viewpoint. In other words, don’t tell me what the characters are feeling, especially those that aren’t the viewpoint character. This continues on to needless explanations of Twilight’s situation, to the point where it seems like the author takes the reader for a fool. Of course, you have to be definite with your scenes and have the narrative clear, but it can be done in a fashion more… elegant, I guess? Lesser problems are, set off the character’s name with a comma when they’re referred to in dialogue, look up dialogue and action tags and use them more, and I don’t think that Twilight would make the mistake of calling Celestia “prin—cough” that many times before she got it. I know that you use that last one consciously, but still, come on.

I suppose that the premise is pretty interesting and worth writing about, but the execution leaves us with quite a number of holes, mostly about the circumstances of Celestia’s test and coronation. Where did Luna and Celestia come from? How did they come to live such a life? These aren’t the kinds of questions that are fine to leave unanswered.

What Is Possible:
Celestia teaches Twilight a lesson.

Well, the first thing I’ve noticed was the presence of grammar errors. That is good, because it means that I didn’t find anything worse in the beginning. The dialogue is decent, and carries the scene without becoming annoying. But the problem is, there isn’t really much of a plot here. It’s just a conversation and a summary of what this conversation taught Twilight. The paragraph that tries to rationalize the contest prompt into the story feels disconnected, more like an excuse, so I don’t rightly see this connected into the theme of the write-off.

I honestly don’t have much else to say, sorry.

Scootaloo can’t fly. But hey, don’t give up!

I don’t know what to say. Everything I could say I’ve already said in my review of “Unappreciated.” We really need some originality here.

That’s it for now. I’ll try to finish the rest over the weekend and post my thoughts.
This post was edited by its author on .


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Ah. Of course you have an idea of who I am.

Thank you for the review. I might chalk this one up to "Lessons Learned" and apply all the criticisms to an entirely new story. I have a few ideas far more deserving of attention at the moment.

Confound my frenetic pacing.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 6082

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Well, time is tired and I'm short. I read 5 more of the shorter ones and voted, but haven't written up reviews for those ones yet. I will hopefully get to them sometime in the near future, but knowing me, probably won't.

REVIEWS (1 of 4) Author of "Everything Loops" 6083

Welp, that's all of them. Have a full crop of reviews three minutes before voting closes.


1. A Hiccup in Time

The word I think I’m looking for is “inoffensive”, and that’s not meant to be taken as an insult. This is a fine example of a quirky idea taken to an amusing logical extreme, all while keeping Twilight acceptably in character and still giving her some funny lines. What kept distracting me, though, were the gaps in the garnishings that should’ve given the meat of the story some flavor, so to speak. Spike practically vanished for the entirety of the time anomaly, and when he did show up he was weirdly matriarchal and, to me, off-puttingly OoC. His thing with Twilight’s language brings up another point against the story’s overall polish. There’s a way to make intentionally repeated jokes funny, and you did a decent job with it when working with Twilight’s spell because the joke kept continuously escalating throughout the story. Spike criticizing Twilight’s cursing-that-wasn’t-actually-cursing, however, was just the same joke repeated several times over, which to the reader just makes it look like you’re dragging things out.

Overall, though, this was a solid one to start out with: short, silly, reasonably fun, and a good benchmark to compare the other entries to. 7/10.


2. My Little Pumpkin

Contrary to what some might tell you, not every story with an immediately obvious plot suffers for it. In fact, when it’s done right, I’d argue a early-dawning sense of comprehension on the part of the reader can sometimes be an incredibly compelling narrative device, and can make a predictable story still seem nerve-wracking and engaging.

This fic, unfortunately, was not one of those stories. I knew pretty much from the first line exactly what the format, progression, and ultimate resolution of the fic would be, and the result is a trite, overly sentimental piece whose only justification for being called “sad” is its own insistence that it is so. This isn’t to say that sort of blunt approach to the emotion can’t get you readers; hell, My Little Dashie is the most egregious example of this I can think of, and it’s also perhaps the single most popular story in the fandom for it. Regardless of its potential mass appeal, though, it’s not doing it for me. 3/10


3. Time And Time Again

This one’s a weird one for me, possibly because it’s clashing so hard with my own headcanon about Celestia and about alicorns in general. I’ve never been of the mind that they’re immortal at all (or at least, not technically), and the notion that “Celestia” is just the physical manifestation of the ancient spirit of the sun is, while adequately explained within the fic, still quite a stretch for me personally given the traits she’s displayed in the show. That being said, the style alone puts this a cut above the average fic, and if I were to attempt to ignore my own biases on subject matter and focus instead of that, I’d rank this a 9 or a 10. I’m only mortal, though, so the best I can do is an 8. 8/10


4. Lyra the Stalker

You know, I was gonna say I was being overly harsh on this one, but the story’s conclusion convinced me otherwise. The style and diction are inoffensive, if unfortunately quite basic and dry more often than not, and Lyra portrayed as a lecherous stalker is, uh… well, at least she’s not obsessed with humans. What DOES bug me is Twilight; when we were first introduced to her in the show, she tended to get frustrated and worn out in social situations, but she’s downright vicious to Lyra here in a completely unbelievable (in multiple contexts of that word) way. Not a good way to portray her character, and not a good way to wrap up a story I already wasn’t that jazzed about from the start. 2/10


5. Circles in Circles

Well, I’m glad I decided to keep pushing through this thing, because a lot of what was going on in the early half of the story was pretty dry and didn’t seem to be leading towards any sort of contiguous plot. The conclusion of the story clears things up a little, but at the same time, it also makes things a little bit confusing. If the implication is that Rainbow Dash has stuck herself into a time loop, and you’ve already established that her traveling backwards puts her in two places at once, shouldn’t her going back to where the story began have put two copies of her there, or at least somewhere else in Ponyville? You’ve got an infinite loop set up here but no way of discerning how she might’ve gotten into it, which means you’ve given us a disturbing paradox that I’m not sure you meant to set up, and if you did mean it, it doesn’t match up with the tone of the previous story.

The idea’s interesting, but its construction leaves a lot of things to the imagination that should have a lot more clarity. 5/10

REVIEWS (2 of 4) Author of "Everything Loops" 6084

6. Sedisti Saxo

Man, grading these fics is harder than I thought it would be. Usually, it’s simple enough to point out places where authorial technique and styling could use improvement, but when all I can say about a story is, “You have a good concept, and the only problem is that you just didn’t execute it well enough”… ugh. Hurts to say.

Anyway, that’s about all I can say here. I can dig the idea of Pinkie getting suckered into taking on the eternal punishment of Sisyphus/Sissy Hooves (… and okay, given the Greco-Roman trappings of the canon show, you probably could’ve/should’ve just kept his original name), and then Derpy being inspired to rescue her, but that kind of plot, while functional, needs a backstory. The whole time I was reading, I was actually much more interested in finding out how things got to be the way they were in the story than I was in the actual events going on, so when the whole thing came and went with only tangential justifications for why Derpy wanted to rescue Pinkie so badly and how Pinkie got in her situation, it left a bad taste in my mouth. This isn’t even an issue where the story wasn’t given enough time to develop; it was the perfect length for the story that needed to be told. Problem was, you weren’t telling us enough about the right things, so reaching the end of the story felt like a disappointment more than a real moment of closure. 5/10


7. Timeless Advice From A Momentary Test

Man, I really don’t get why this one got lambasted so badly in this thread. Most of the complaints I have about this one once again boil down to execution rather than any significant issue with construction; the prose is straightforward and fairly utilitarian, but I’ll take that over somebody aiming for verbose and ending up with incomprehensible any day.

However, the issue I have with this story is different from the one I brought up with the previous two I just reviewed. My problem isn’t strictly that I didn’t feel like you gave us enough information, it’s just that by the end of the story, I wanted there to be more to it. I can’t speak to whether the idea’s been done before (I’m sure it has, and I just haven’t read it), but for what it’s worth I found your take on it intriguing in a bare-bones sort of way. That is, you have a great skeleton for a longer, more in-depth look at a pre-Princess Celestia and Luna here, and what I’d love to see is you take that idea and extend upon it: solidify the rationale behind the two sisters getting into the situation they’re in and thus (among other fixes of the same sort) make the plot a bit less contrived, iron out Twilight’s role in all this and perhaps extend upon Discord’s, and develop the characters into truly dynamic individuals that you simply didn’t have the time to explore here.

I’ll freely admit that this thing’s got several holes in it and it would take a lot of duct tape and spackle to fill them in, but for what it’s worth, this wasn’t even close to being as bad as the other reviews had me expecting. I’m giving this a somewhat low rating, but know that it comes with an assertion that there’s potential in this plotline here. It would just take a fair amount of work to make it shine. 6/10


8. Corn

Shit, now I don’t even know if my standards are set too high for this. This is one of those stories that, had I just known the concept beforehand, I would’ve expected to focus only tangentially on the narrative itself. When your plot can only be summarized, but fully described and delineated in a single sentence (“A stallion searches for his sister, whom he only remembers through her love for corn.”), the style of the author can’t just accompany the story along the way to its conclusion; it has to embody the characters within it and make them leap off the page, as if they’re standing in front of me brooding on their troubles over a cup of coffee and I can feel the emotion pouring out of them as they give me a spellbindingly unique perspective on an otherwise unremarkable event.

And that, in a nutshell, was the single crippling problem that killed this story for me: there was none of that emotion to be found. I could see you grasping at it, straining to give your unnamed narrator a personality through his internal recollections of his sister, but the narration itself is as plain as the American Midwest, filled with too much telling and not enough demonstration of how this character’s view of his plight is intriguing and meaningful enough for me as the reader to care about it. As has been the case with so many stories here, this one’s fatal flaw boils down to execution: this plot needed an author who could write at a level that went far beyond the beginning, middle, and end of a standard story structure, and that wasn’t what I found here.

Some stories are plot-driven and can get away with more simplistic prose (like “A Hiccup In Time”), and others are by their nature character-driven (like “Time and Time Again”) and thus require a more personal touch. Your story fell into the latter category, but was composed as if it fell into the former. You can do a lot of divergent things when it comes to the subjective components of writing, but unfortunately, mixing that kind of thing up is one of the few things you truly can’t. 4/10


9. Everything Has Its Season

Now with this story, unlike “Timeless Advice”, I can more immediately understand the prior criticism it’s received here. Your characterization of Fortune, while quirky and immensely entertaining most of the time, bordered on inconsistent every now and then, and the short length of this story really did more to hurt than help. That being said, the backbone of the story is rock-solid, and your conception of Equestrian mythology sure as hell better have more fics attached to it in the future, because you can’t just leave me gleefully imagining something like that existing and never give me any more morsels of it to chew on after the writeoff’s over. Perhaps I’m judging too much on style and too little on substance, but as my previous reviews have almost certainly indicated, I’m a sucker for a good narrative voice, and this story’s got one. 7.25/10, rounded down to 7/10 for the voting.


10. Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones

Oh, Random tags. Boy howdy, do you live up to your name.

I actually don’t really know what to say about this one. Obviously, it’d be a bit thick of me to critique this like I would a normal narrative, but at the same time, all I can offer in the way of a suitably adjusted position is that some parts were funny, most were just weird, and much as it pains me to admit it, pop culture gags really don’t work in Equestria. Fucking sucks, that, but eh, what can we do?

Anyhow, middle of the road sounds good for this one. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, rather felt a slightly wobbly sense of neutrality throughout. Considering I don’t hardly ever read random fics on account of personal preference, I’d say that’s not half-bad. 0/10 because you went through all those 80’s references without a single fucking mention of Top Gun, you degenerate heathen (but actually for real though, 5/10).

REVIEWS (3 of 4) Author of "Everything Loops" 6085

11. What Is Possible

There are some people who are bothered by the narrator of a story bluntly telling the audience what the message of the story is; occasionally, I find myself among them. In this case, however, I think the choice to make Twilight explicit about what she’d learned was a good one. Leaving this one unresolved at the end would’ve made it feel like something was missing, or even worse would’ve left the story’s meaning too much up to the individual interpretation of the audience, which is potentially a problem when the moral is meant to be so straightforward. So personally, I didn’t mind the infodump at the end, and in fact found that you made quite excellent use of the prompt in including it. Moreover, the moral of this story goes beyond the events therein; the same advice Celestia gives Twilight has multiple layers to it, one of which can certainly be applied to the kinds of things we do as writers possessing various degrees of skill and severity about the craft. So for both a solid story and an interesting extended message, I’m putting this one as the story to beat among the ones I’ve read up to this point. 9/10


12. Unappreciated

For me, “Poor, Abused Derpy” fics are on a similar but still slightly different tier from stories like “My Little Pumpkin”; on the one hand, they’re certainly manufactured to produce a certain emotion the same way MLD-type sadfics are, but on another level beyond that, they’re just… I don’t know if “lazy” is the right word to describe every story of this type, but “inexcusably clichéd” absolutely is. One of the most egregious sins a story can commit is retreading old ground without adding anything fresh or new to the equation, and while it doesn’t reflect poorly on the author unless it’s a continuous result with each story they write, it does mean that individual story needs either a dramatic overhaul or a one-way trip to the recycling bin.

This story does the same thing every other Sad Derpy story does, in that it demands we accept the notion that the peaceable denizens of Ponyville hold a vitriolic and quite often public distaste for a pony with patently obvious mental deficiencies. Even ignoring the fact that that’s far from being believable in the context of the show, it’s just subpar storytelling to give us such a one-note view of such a complex situation. I hate to be brutal like this, but it’d be a disservice to the author here if I pretended their story had some redeeming quality in its current form when, in absolute truthfulness, it has virtually none beyond simple mechanical proficiency. 1/10


13. War Horse

And yet, despite my constant apologies for being brutally honest, I feel the need to indulge in that tendency of mine once again here: were I not committed to giving each story in the writeoff a full and complete read for the sake of equity in voting, I would’ve clicked away from this story within the first paragraph. As was the case with “Corn”, I can see the voice the author was aiming for with their narration; however, instead of falling short from achieving an engaging lyrical style, this story did the opposite and went way overboard into full-metal purple prose. This is the kind of thing I alluded to despising in my review of “Timeless Advice”: not only was the diction excessively stuffy and verbose, at times I legitimately couldn’t even begin to tell what you were trying to say. For example, what on Earth does a “voice of rusted nails” sound like, and why couldn’t you just call it “raspy” or “rough” as (I think) you meant, instead of phrasing it through an unwieldy metaphor that makes no rational sense in its current form given that rusted nails are not capable of human or equine speech?

Moreover, the plot itself, as I believe was mentioned in several reviews prior to mine, hardly matches up at all with the world we know from canon, not to mention the whole “New Lunar Republic” thing in any context is perhaps an even more undesired cliché in this fandom than Sad Derpy before this. I can give you a couple points for at least the effort to do something out of the ordinary with the style, but the fact that I can only do that much should send a clear enough message that, regrettably, it didn’t work. 2/10


14. Perseverance

Man, what the hell’s with the streak I’ve got going here? This is another plot that’s as old as the fandom itself, and one that ends without any real resolution to boot. I can give a small amount of credit for the way Rainbow Dash encourages Scootaloo, but even THAT’S not all that original either; it’s just something that shows you tried to spice things up a little bit. Unfortunately, a few sprinkles atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream does not a sundae make. There’s little else positive I can say about this, so I’ll stop now and hope for a bit more originality in the next fic. 2/10


15. I’ll Always Take Care of You

And… all right, there we go. I can definitely say this one had a creative twist to it. Good deal.

If I recall correctly, a lot of people compared this story to “My Little Pumpkin”, and in retrospect it’s fairly obvious why. Despite their similarities in tone and narrative, though, this one possesses something its predecessor in my reviews here didn’t, and that is quite simply sincerity. “My Little Pumpkin” was forced and contrived from start to finish: its adherence to its single awkwardly repetitious narrative device made the ultimate progression and conclusion of the story painfully obvious. This one, however, had a more natural feel to its development. I didn’t get a sense that we were seeing what the author wanted to show us, but rather what the narrator wanted us to know based on which memories of her mother she valued the most. It’s a seemingly simple thing in concept, but an altogether difficult one to pull off in practice.

With that being said, the events themselves still could’ve used a bit more structure to them, as the tone fluctuated wildly between normal childhood struggles and a life-altering trauma that resulted in some pretty severe and gruesome injuries. I also suppose that “My Little Pumpkin” does have this story beat in terms of proper escalation towards its conclusion; I saw the death at the end of that story coming from a mile away, but that’s still better than it coming straight out of nowhere without any hint at what might’ve caused it or its context in the narrator’s life, as it did in this story here. Still, though, were I to pick between the two of these thematically alike entries, I’d go with this one by a small but palpable margin. 4.5/10, rounded up to 5/10 for the voting.

REVIEWS (4 of 4) Author of "Everything Loops" 6086

16. Erase and Rewind

And just as I start wondering where the originality in these writeoff entries went, I suddenly and fortuitously find it. It’s here. All of it. Every single ounce of creativity, imagination, and innovation in the entire competition. You stole it all in the dead of night, and packed it into nine thousand words of what might be one of my favorite stories I’ve ever read in the fandom.

It’s funny, I think, that I feel so strongly about this fan fiction when, by all accounts, it’s hardly a fan fiction at all. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the nature of this craft: those writers best suited for serious publication are the ones who’d feel limited by merely sticking with established canon, who instead fill their fics with original characters and situations that wouldn’t seem out of place in a completely separate short story. This is, as I’m well aware, an immensely pretentious thing to claim given that my own entry to the writeoff fits that same description to a T, but hey, it’s a theory.

In any case, it’d be redundant—though thematically appropriate, I suppose—to say now that I absolutely adored this story, but… goddamn, I absolutely adored this story. Authorial voice can be communicated just as effectively through dialogue and character presentation as it can through prose, and every whip-smart remark and deceptively clever quip from both of your central characters only made me love reading about them more with each line. It’s a mark of a truly outstanding character when their development happens without even them realizing it, let alone the readers riding along with them, and the subtlety and speed with which you were able to construct a strange, solid, and thoroughly believable relationship here is awe-inspiring. I was told this story was the one to beat before I started reading through the entries here, and I’m hard-pressed to disagree with that assessment now. 10/10, and you’d best put this on FIMFiction soon so I can do you the pleasure of a favorite and follow.


17. Quotidian

According to my Dashboard widget, “quotidian” is an attributive adjective that means “of or occurring every day” or, in the words of your narrator, “mundane”. It’s a clever title, I think: an uncommon word that describes commonality, chosen to identify a story about everyday events occurring in a fantastical setting. And yet, it brings with it a certain degree of aloofness with it; while I was pleased with the title choice once I knew what I meant, I did still have to look it up first. And in a way, that’s the only criticism I can give this story: at heart, it’s clever and fascinating and incredibly unique, but at the same time, it’s paradoxically too much so, in the sense that I find myself feeling as though something was missing even though I’ve got a good sense at who your narrator was and why you were so careful about the things he didn’t say.

Perhaps it was the conceit behind the story, the notion that the narrator was breaking the fourth wall in a way that’s just the slightest, most inconsequential bit off-putting. Perhaps it was the tone of the narration itself, just a hint too organized for the mind of a narrator so obsessed with and entertained by chaos. Perhaps it was even the ultimate purposelessness of the events within the narrative, intentional and appropriate as that trait indubitably was. I can’t decide precisely which one of those reasons is the one that’s sticking in my head and keeping me from giving this a perfect score; it may be one, all, none, or something else entirely. Rest assured, I did thoroughly enjoy reading thi, and I’d love to pick your brain about how you went about constructing it, but reviews are a place to voice objections, and not being able to fully vocalize mine yet seems a poor excuse to give you nothing to work with at all. 9.25/10, rounded down to 9/10 for the voting.


18. Perchance to Dream

First of all, I want to start out by saying that I feel really bad about what I’m about to have to say, but here goes: out of all the stories in the writeoff, this is the one I simply couldn’t bring myself to finish, and unfortunately it wasn’t for lack of effort. I’m not sure if there’s a nicer way to say this than “I was bored to tears and honestly couldn’t will myself to keep pushing through even for the sake of courtesy”, but that’s the most accurate assessment I can give this thing, and precisely what I’d just have to phrase in more nebulous terms if I couldn’t just throw it out at the start right here.

As best I can tell from the 14 or 15k words I got through, your biggest problem was that you were trying to do too much with too little. Ron Swanson once said, “Never half-ass two things at once. Whole-ass one thing,” and that is exactly the problem this story had: the author was trying to whole-ass about a dozen things at once, and they ended not getting close to pulling off any of them as a result. You introduced Babs’ extended family all at one disorganized lump at the start of the story, and never spent enough time with any one of them to let their personalities grow beyond one-note caricatures, nor did your characterizations of the CMC and Applejack have enough pop to them to make them sound entirely true to their canon selves.

Populating a story with a large and unique cast is a difficult but feasible challenge, and is especially necessary in a slice-of-life story, which must inherently revolve either their everyday lives or their interaction with the place they call home. I can see you tried for all that, and in little spots here and there you got close to succeeding, but the lack of narrative direction had me skimming things from 5k words on and ready to bail entirely by the time I hit the halfway point. I pushed on far enough for what I guess was the actual plot to kick in (that is, the issue Shady Blossom had with the thestral cult), but even THAT failed to register any real interest. By all accounts, it should’ve been interesting, but like so many other things in the story, it was just TOLD to us, just presented dryly and without real conviction like a skit playing out in a Gen Ed lecture course on “Manehattan History and Culture”.

A good slice-of-life story should feel alive in its own right; when you pick at the words that make up the narrative, they should vibrate with their own peculiar rhythm, hum in tune with the tone and cadence of the ordinarily extraordinary place your characters inhabit and slowly come to embody. You’ve got a cast, a set, and twenty-three thousand words of motions to march them through, but instead of combining their attributes and letting each one strengthen the others by its very presence, you tried to focus on each individual one all at once, and in doing so made sure that the sum of the parts was far less than their whole could, and by all rights should, have been. Abstained from voting since I didn’t finish the whole story.


19. Desert Rose

Well, I’ll say this: you’ve got style for sure, and for much of the story I was ready to give this as close to a maximum score as I could reasonably allow. By the end of it, however, a few things stuck in my mind and knocked my final opinion down a couple pegs, not enough to ruin the experience by any means but certainly enough to mention as weaker points here in this review.

Initially, I couldn’t get enough of your two main characters. Altair possessed a perfect balance of childish naivety and royal pretension to make him a fascinating character to observe as he tore his way through the world you’d stuck him in, and his early interactions with the titular character practically sang me a tune of tension and intrigue. As the story went on, however, the driving force behind the piece fell apart, even if the construction and thematic stylings didn’t. Although Altair did change over the course of the story, he wasn’t dynamic: Desert Rose had to all but tattoo his biggest revelation on his foreleg for him, and his fight with his father was about as straightforward a delineation of “the hero is right and his suppressor is an unreasonable dick” as you’ll ever see. In addition, I found myself wishing for a little more clarity at the end about what precisely Desert Rose actually was; I picked up on a few implications and I understand that it was almost certainly your intent to leave her true identity vague and unresolved, but without any visible impetus for her latching onto Altair and imparting the story’s primary lesson onto him, I’m not entirely okay with the lack of authorial explanation of her character. Given all that, plus the fact that this thing really wasn’t even thematically related to the canon show, I can’t really justify giving this a perfect score. I did like it, let me assure, but too many parts were lacking for me to pick this as a favorite to win. 8/10.


20. Refrain

I can’t decide whether I’m glad I saved this one for last or not. On the one hand, it’s the longest story in the whole writeoff, and that certainly made for a bit of trouble getting through in time to vote before the poll closed and the results came out. On the other hand, it wasn’t really trouble at all, because this is one of the few stories for whom I knew the author beforehand, and this was every bit as fantastic and heart-wrenching as I trusted he would write it to be. I suppose there’s some validity to complaints about it being not that thematically related to canon, as well as a couple specific events within the narrative. Personally, however, I don’t agree with those assessments: this is a perfect example of a story whose style and substance outweight its tenuous relation to its source material, and the scene that provoked the most controversy in other reviews still fits in with the general theme of the story, squeamish as it may have made some readers all the same. Along the same vein, the unclear progression of time after Octavia’s decision at the end of the story makes it easily believable that she could’ve logically pulled it off, so I can’t complain about that either.

In fact, there’s very little I CAN complain about at all here, aside from the fact that I’d put good money on this fic winning the whole damn thing. Mind you, I’m not that broken up about it, or even that jealous; I’m at a stage in my writing career where I’m happy with what I know I’m capable of producing, and I can earnestly enjoy great writing without necessarily feeling the need to live up to it. I suppose giving this a perfect score would imply that I need to choose between this and “Erase and Rewind” for my favorite fic in the writeoff, but I don’t particularly feel any urge to. Instead, I’m just going to say thanks for all the fics, guys, and whoever ends up winning sure as hell deserves it. Great turnout all around.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Great Contest, Everyone 6094

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Woah. Alright, I'll use the character and mythology elsewhere. I've pretty much given up on EHIS as an independent story, though.

D'oh! Rose Writer was G-Vizzle.

Well, I stand by my word. Still wub u, Golden. <3 Congrats on third place.

And look at that! Unfamiliar names taking First and Second! I hope you guys stick around.

Confound you, Dublio. I wanted Most Controversial.

Final Results 6095

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And I… didn't get a medal, but I got fourth!
Considering how flawed this was? I feel really happy about that.

I'd like to congratulate everyone who made it ahead of me. You guys did some fantastic work.

For everyone else, you guys worked really hard, and I hope we all at least got a positive experience out of it.

>Ether sounds like a complete dork.

Author of "Erase and Rewind" DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 6107

Erase and Rewind got first place. Immediately ahead of Refrain. Which turns out to have been written by NTSTS.

I feel as though I have been lied to. By whom, I know not. I feel neither hostility nor injustice… just a strange, subtle whisper of melancholy.

Ahem. Sorry. I seem to be running on 40-weight angst at the moment.

I need to sort out my thoughts before I post anything too lengthy. Actually, no: I need to get three consecutive hours of sleep. Whatever I do post, the TLDR version will be the same: as with my previous entries, my greatest reward was simply to have participated. No, seriously: It was amazing to have so many others reading and reviewing my work. I value every comment and suggestion I was offered… including Present!Perfect's, which–despite being the least positive that I recieved–I pretty much agreed with on many levels. Of course, it was also immensely satisying and rewarding to read such a diverse array of other people's works. It is a solid, undeniable truth that good writers read, and I don't do nearly enough of that these days, dangit.

For those writers whose stories were ranked poorly or treated harshly, I am begging you on my knees: I know it must like hell, but please do not give up writing. The secret to getting really good is to make as many mistakes as possible as quickly as possible. Get'em out of the way as soon as you can! Learn from them, and keep on writing. Would you like to know how I got this good? I've made more mistakes than you have. That's about it.

Thank you, all. I'll probably babble on at length tomorrow, once I've had some sleep.

NTSTS 6108

Grats on your first place finish, mang. Well deserved. Hope to see your fic in the EQD inbox some time soon.

Aquaman 6112

As long as we're commenting on our positions in the final results: I banged out 15k words over a span of 27 hours, finished three minutes before the deadline, never got to edit, and had to have a couple admins fix my formatting so it was even readable… and I ended up 6th out of 21 entries? In one of the strongest writeoffs I've ever heard of?

I will fucking TAKE that, thank you very much.

Results Roger 6117

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Congratulations to everyone who participated. The turnout this time around was fantastic. I'm especially impressed with how some of these reviews are longer than some of the entries.

Gonna put a minific write-off up sometime soon. As always, feedback on how these operate is appreciated.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 6129

I actually expected to place slightly lower than I did. Practically anything that's an excuse to not write my two ongoing stories winds up becoming an experiment for me, as did my story this writeoff.

The thing is, a lot of people on this board tend to have a narrow mind about what works. Not as much as on many other writing forums/boards, but still somewhat narrow. When I go and read bestsellers and classics, I sometimes amuse myself by thinking about how many people on this board, were they to review the work without knowledge, would ridicule perfectly fine things in it.

I had a conversation about this, and about why “show; don’t tell” is a terrible piece of advice that’s given to novice authors without a proper explanation. The reason being that show; don’t tell is a guideline, not a rule. Almost all writing “rules” are just guidelines. I see so many authors who get tangled up in this web of rules and then stop looking past when they’re broken to see if there’s a reason why, or if the breaking of the rule actually detracted anything.

To look past it, consider the alternatives, consider if what is written is pleasing to read, and then consider why the author chose to do what they did. There’s usually a reason they did. Maybe it failed, maybe it worked. But if you dislike something just because you should, well, you wouldn’t be on a pony board reading this, would you?
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Holy cow, third place! That's two places better than last time!


But all self-centered joking aside, everyone in this competition did great. Like Roger said, turnout was amazing, and there was a lot of good stuff here. Whether you ultimately scored high or low with your fic, remember one thing: if you hadn't written anything, then all you'd get would be a zero.

So a congratulations to everyone who submitted something, a special kudos to Zaraturvara and NTSTS grumble grumble winner assholes grumble, and best of luck to anyone who'll now try and get their story on EqD or FimFic.

See you guys next time!


Can I have one teeny-tiny suggestion? Put a link to the main page of the write off (http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16 in this case) to the list at the top of the thread OP, so you can go to the event page without opening the thread. It's just something that peeved me for a while now.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6146

I am so incredibly stoked.

Guys, this is the most successful writeoff since probably the very first one.

The quality was huge. We had great writers participating for the first time. There were more votes than stories. People were giving real feedback!

I cannot express in words how happy this writeoff has made me, and that's what's really important. I can't wait for the next one! Thank you all for making this a great experience!

As for me, I finished right where I thought I would. I think my mistake was choosing this story for a writeoff; even as I was working on Sethisto's Saxophone, I found myself going, "This is terrible, no one is going to like this." I needed a whole lot more time to sit down and hash out those issues as I found them, which simply was not available. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback, I've taken it all to heart. But seriously, all I care about is that this writeoff rocked. :D
This post was edited by its author on .


Undeniably. Let's hope that this standard of quality and participation continues in the future.


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Any chance of getting those fancy-schmancy spreadsheets you like to make so much?

Fancy mathematics.


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Damn… I was at least hoping for most controversial. I guess people were more "meh" on my entry than a I thought. Oh well, congratulations to, well, everyone. This write-off went pretty damn well, and had a surprising number of excellent entries.

REVIEWS!!!! (Update) Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 6224

Okay, sorry to do this, but the short version is that I'm going to renege on most of these. I only got four requests:

Lyra's Stalker
Request was withdrawn.

Sedisti Saxo
Fairly long story, but I'll take it. I'll try to have something posted next week.

Everything Loops
Man. I usually end up doing about 5 of these reviews at an average word count of 5k or so. Y'all are killing me. I'll try to get to this one, but it'll probably take me a week or so to get through it in that much detail, and while I like suspense stories, gore really isn't my thing, so I'm not going to be motivated to knock this out with much speed. If you don't mind waiting 2-3 weeks for a review and having the more abstract stuff pretty much amount to "I don't really like this kind of story, so it's hard to put my finger on anything specific," then I'll follow through.

Perchance to Dream
And then this thing. I can line-by-line about 5k in one evening, and that's if I'm enjoying the read enough to keep me on task. So this would keep me occupied for at least 5 nights, and that's if I do nothing else—no writing, no reviewing, no pre-reading. You know how long it takes me to do GaPJaxie's chapters, right? So I'm sorry, but I can't take this one on, unless you don't mind it being very gradually, like over the course of 6 weeks or so.


I've waited months for my Pirene stuff. For an in-depth, detailed review of Perchance? I'd be willing to be patient.

I'll try to finish the new version as soon as I can.


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Just read your story. Very interesting, a little thought-provoking, and an ending that made me curse you for where it, well, ended. You terrible tease, you. I'm afraid I can't offer much in the way of advice or critical analysis in exchange for you giving me a good twenty minutes to blow off; my expertise lies in making bad into good, not great into excellent.

Roger 6234


What kind of data are you after? Spreadsheets are not usually the best way of presenting data.


Probably score distribution. I'll like to see those, too.

Roger 6238

I think I'll make some box-and-whisker plots for that.

Review of "Sedisti Saxo" Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 6648

>The wind whistled past her ears, drawing her words away into the creamy orange of dawn.
Some misplaced modifiers are more innocuous than others, and this one isn't bad. But it does say that her ears drew the words away. It could be clearer as "The wind whistled past her ears and drew her words away…"

>looking for the telltale river mouth

Something about that phrasing sounds odd, but I'm not sure what an improvement would be.

>She was momentarily confused

I'd like to see more of a reaction from her than a tell.

>downward descent

Is there any other kind?

>pastoral, with a windmill and barn

This warrants more description. Just those two things isn't quite pastoral. I'd expect some description of the landscape, maybe animals that are around.

>She calculated that she had eight pony lengths to go. The slope was only about four ponies high, but it was angled in a way that a more knowledgeable pony would have termed exponential, and the path to travel was far longer than the rise.

Something about this is rather cold and analytical. And "calculated" implies she knows the function of the slope and knows how to compute arclength of it. Seems like "estimated" would be a better choice, with the following explanation showing that it was more than a blind guess.

>She might have sworn that was the moment when everything changed, too, had she thought about it.

The first and last parts of the sentence feel redundant in a strange way.

>Temples built on volcanoes didn't suddenly start looking like your childhood home.

I know it can be difficult to rephrase, but you haven't established a narrator that will speak to the reader, so it's awkward when it happens. You could use "one's" here.

>everything would be fine and she could go home again

Comma betwixt the clauses.

>Think of the rock farm. This is just like when you were a filly.

The former is borderline as a limited narrator, but the latter really needs to be rephrased or cast as a direct thought.

>she lay in the cool grass as the morning sun washed over her, just taking deep breaths

Another misplaced modifier that made me do a double take. It sounds like the sun is taking deep breaths.

>This… Is the place… All right

Given that this can be a syntactically correct sentence, you don't need any of the latter two capitalizations.

>They were all the more reminder she needed as to the river's effects on unwary travelers who sought to drink from it.

I get the gist of that sentence, but it doesn't really parse for me. Some odd phrasings.

>The trees overhead were the last between her and her goal.

By emphasizing the "overhead," it makes it sound like her goal is up.

>W is for… Water

Again, you don't normally capitalize after an ellipsis unless it necessarily begins a new sentence. Remove the ellipsis, and this makes sense as is.

>She rolled to her hooves and shook the grass off herself. "Silly pony, stop getting distracted! It's not just the river that's gonna make you forget why you came out here!"

I wonder if you couldn't accomplish as much with direct or, preferably, indirect thought here. It's always an odd conceit to have a character speak to herself for more than a few concise utterances.

>Yet even Rainbow Dash had looked scared after they returned without Pinkie. Seeing such a brave mare look so helpless had been the galvanizing moment for Derpy.

I'm giving you some leeway on being telly here, since it's set as a fleeting reminiscence in Derpy's head, and she's too rushed to reflect on details. But it's getting to be a bit much with all the blunt emotional states you're throwing at me.

>Ditzelina "Derpy Hooves" Doo

Oh, snap.

>just a few useful facts about Tartarus that began and ended with the river because she had gotten distracted from the book

Maybe you'll touch on this later—If that's really as far as she got, how does she feel about it? Confident? Or that time is of the essence, and she can't help it? If the latter, why wasn't she able to force herself to pay attention, since it's obviously important to her?

>Ahead, beyond the river and the cairn and the golden gates that lay between them

It's odd that these aren't in order. This and that and oh wait, there's something between them.

>laying in wait

Lay/lie confusion.

>Funny, that;

Feels more like a dash here. What comes before the semicolon is distressingly unlike an independent clause.


If you want to use this style, that's okay, but you more commonly see double quotes when it's not inside a quotation.

>anything more dangerous than particularly large spiders

Seems like there's a story caught in the back of my mind that this could be referencing…

>in hindsight

This is an odd conceit for me. I realize the story is in past tense, and thus everything is hindsight, but it's a bit self aware of the narrator to say so, particularly since she's still in the moment. This paragraph smacks of Pratchett, but his narrator adopts a conversational tone throughout the story, so it doesn't stick out when he pulls this. Here, it just felt out of place.

>and tell both of them that everything was going to be okay

Both of whom? She's including herself in that? Feels odd, given that she'd been narrating herself as a "she," and now feels a little detached. However there's not an elegant solution in the world of pronouns.

>she then flew home

Shift from the past perfect tense you'd been using in this paragraph.

>ponies braver than she. Until this moment, that was as brave as Derpy thought she'd ever need to be.

Repetitive, and I don't see a stylistic reason for it.

>Though the waters obviously flowed

How so? You're giving us evidence that it doesn't appear to, and we're missing all these "obvious" cues that it is. Are objects drifting in it? Is it making noise?

>It sailed silent

An adjective doesn't really parse there. Recommend "silently."

>who observed it with an unwavering gaze

You've described him as bones. Unless he holds the thing directly up in front of his face, or his head is tracking along with it as it moves, how does she know where his gaze is? She can't watch his eyes.

>if the being before her possessed skin, it would have raised an incredulous eyebrow at her

I get where you're going with this, but it sounds odd to say if he had skin, then something that's not skin would have been there, too.

>Heedless of her prior temerity

And now we go purple. This just feels out of character with Derpy, unless you're trying to paint her as an intellectual. But she had trouble with the book, so that wouldn't seem to be the case. It'd also work if you were going for it deliberately as an amusing juxtaposition, but you'd need to have been keeping it up through the whole thing so far. It just came out of nowhere.

>The ferry pony's head following her sluggishly, as though the creature's long existence had made it unused to surprise and it now had to remember how, precisely, to react.

That's a fragment, and I don't see a stylistic reason for it. I think you just made a typo in the first verb.

>Derpy's adrenaline fueled her dive into and then past the muffin, which she caught neatly before landing on the opposite riverbank.

I don't get what happened. She dove into the muffin, then past the muffin, then caught the muffin. I must be missing something.

>"He was funny!"

And this further convinces me that the brief burst of purple was a bad idea. It's also making her seem oblivious, which doesn't match the earlier description of her huddled in the closet with her daughter. One blunders her way through danger, and the other is acutely aware of it.

>Sweat plastered her mane against her eyes

I hope you didn't mean that literally. It sounds painful.

>Such thoughts were best kept to oneself, though. Her father had always taken a hard eye to criticism of the "family way."

Just wanted to point this out to show that here, you're following my advice of avoiding "you" and using double quotes.

>joyless drudgery

Feels repetitive with the use of "joy" just two sentences earlier, particularly since you're not doing anything in the narration to emphasize that repetition for some purpose.

>She shoved hard and the boulder slid forward

Gimme a comma 'twixt the clauses.

>as though looking at something that should not exist

Yeah, you're channeling Pratchett all right.

>under the gaze of the gates' guardian

At the very least, this is begging for an "and," but it feels out of place and meandering. It feels like an afterthought.

>The three heads of Cerberus snarled down at her

This comes out of nowhere. The narrator never said Derpy was expecting to see him. We just had a description of the gates, and then, oh look, there's a giant dog here. Ho, hum.

>Derpy could not be certain that was not now in mortal danger

Missing word.

>squealing in fright

These "in emotion" phrases are almost always superfluous. I'm still seeing more blunt information about character emotions than I'd prefer. There's a lot of it in this passage. And yes, i know Pratchett does that all the time.

>a more appealing prey

I don't think the "a" is necessary.

>No, my precious muffins!

Somehow, that feels a bit cliched an unnatural.

>with a clink

You used that sound effect recently enough that it's stuck in my head.

>twitching slightly, feeling rather frizzed

It can be clunky to have like elements stacked. If you just made it a compound one with an "and," it'd probably flow better.

>weeks that she could have spent growing closer to her mother, her primary caretaker during that stretch

Something here is counterintuitive. She could have been getting closer to her mother during her recuperation, but it was exactly what gave them the time to do so. Are you saying that without the injury, they would have spent time together? Because that's just everyday life, and she hadn't gotten closer to her mother in every other instance of that.

>by her

Cut this bit. Unnecessarily passive, and the reader will assume it anyway.

>Her step quickened to a trot

I can't see her doing anything more than picking her way ahead gingerly if she can't see the way.

>Derpy realized, horrified

I'd rather see her reaction that have you summarize it.

I'm also noticing a lot of "as" clauses by now. Ctrl-f tells me you have 54 instances of the word. That's not awful for the word count, but if you look at where they are (depending on your browser—Chrome shows me dashes in the scroll bar where matches occur), you use them in clusters, so they feel locally repetitive.

>A pool of lava fed by a falls from beneath her hooves fed three molten rivers.

Repetition of "fed."

>The words seemed to be taken from her mouth rather than produced by any force of her will.

This is worth expanding on. The sensation of it being torn from her, the surprise that it could be mandated…

>Who said she couldn't save Pinkie, some creepy monster with no sense of personal space?

Well, I can't say this is wrong. I'll be the first to admit it may just be personal taste, but Derpy's passages feel schizophrenic. She oscillates between being gravely serious and flippant, and it's not played for comic effect really. It just leaves me confused.

>The Lord of Tartarus watched her go, and chuckled.

You don't need the comma. In my opinion, it's not even necessary for sorting out who did what, but you could add in a "he" if that was your concern.

>who she recognized immediately


>even if she couldn't believe the her presence here


>Pinkie's brows furrowed.

Generally, this refers not to the eyebrows, but to the forehead. So, "brow." Singular.

>posterior snugly, impeding her extrication

Second use of "posterior" in a small space, and another example of your verbiage creating a disconnect with your characters.

>She began to push with her front hooves against the sign, grunting.

Sounds like the sign is grunting.

>I was the only mare crazy enough to fly into and out of Tartarus alone, and I knew a plan would take too long to make

In case I never get the explanation, this is some huge suspension of disbelief. Why does she have to go alone? Why is time such a factor?

>so I did that and now here we both are!

Comma betwixt the clauses, please.

>It wouldn't be fair to– To

You and those double hyphens. And with a space after it, no less. And that second "to" doesn't need capitalization.

>The pony you're helping is gone, the big creepy guy even told me so!

Comma splices in dialogue. Some people don't care about them. I do. There are a few others.

>The force of Derpy's incredulity knocked her to the side

That's kinda weird. An emotion dislodged her from the sign? May need some more explanation as to exactly what happened.

>The grey mare shrank back from the force of Pinkie's voice.

It was unattributed dialogue. Give me something to relate how forceful it was. There's nothing to suggest it was more than matter-of-fact.

>She ignored it and continued.

And shrinking back isn't exactly ignoring. There must have been some transition.

>Pinkie's shoulder slumped.

Just the one?

>Pinkie turned her head and the boulder slipped

Comma, please.

>"Pinkie, your leg!"

Wouldn't Derpy be making a fuss all along? There's the initial scream, but then nothing until it's already healing.

>Pinkie couldn't keep the irritation from her voice.

Or off her face? Hint, hint.

>Over her lazy eye

I remember Cassius getting pissed whenever people said that's what Derpy had…

>the effect was comical

To whom? Not Derpy herself. Pinkie's not in a humorous mood. The narrator? Most recently, he's been in Pinkie's perspective, and it shouldn't be unique to him, anyway. To the reader? I have no evidence that it was comical other than the narrator's word.


Fix these, or I'm going to find 1,000 potatoes.

>I saw all kind of creatures being tortured when I came here.

Repetition of "torture." If you do something to acknowledge and accentuate the repetition, it can work for you. Something as simple as italicizing "kinds" could work (yes, I suggest making it plural).

>Derpy rolled her good eye

I'm not sure canon has her wandering eye consistently on the same side. I know fanon doesn't. That is to say, I'm not sure she has a bad eye.

>Pinkie smiled for the first time in what felt like ages. "Okay, Derpy."

Wow. She was easy to convince.

>The ground was now a rushing stream of water beneath them and they slipped with each step.

Comma between the clauses.

>Pieces of what appeared to be roofing tiles assailed them.

How did they notice what they did or didn't seem to be? They were very pointedly ignoring everything else that was going on.

>Derpy did her best to knock them away with her wings, and saved them from the worst.

And this time, you don't have to have the comma. If you want it there, it's okay.

>Pinkie collapsed onto the stone

How'd she get on top of it?

>Come on Derpy

Comma for direct address.

>because I know rocks and stuff because I grew up on a rock farm

The nested "because" phrases feel repetitive.

>Sissy Hooves told me he'd be right back and he left me there!

Kind of the whole Hercules/Atlas thing revisited, no?

>Gently, she scooped Derpy up onto her back and trotted for the river.

Well, now that does beg the question of how they'll get back across the river. At least until Derpy wakes up.

So, after all that, I think I pretty much covered everything I wanted to say. I don't have many general comments, because there were opportunities to bring them up in specific instances. I guess my main points would be: It never really committed to the humor, so what was there felt halfhearted and out of place. There were some odd character disconnects, like rapid mood swings and diction that wasn't characteristic of Derpy in particular. The narrator's perspective wasn't always clear, and while for the most part, you never delved deep enough into a character's head to have him basically speak in that character's voice for her (and thus the transitions didn't feel too abrupt in the scenes that contained both Derpy and Pinkie), it's still worth considering whether these shifts are necessary, or whether that connection is being harmed by backing off into a more objective viewpoint at times. That's not to say that there's a hard-and-fast rule governing such things, or that I found it to be the case in any particular instance, but it should always be something on the writer's mind. And while the storytelling style you adopted can tolerate being relatively telly, there was too much of it for my taste. So what happened to Sissy Hooves anyway? Any relation to Derpy? And why not Sissy Fuss? Heh.
This post was edited by its author on .

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6656

>>Ahead, beyond the river and the cairn and the golden gates that lay between them
>It's odd that these aren't in order. This and that and oh wait, there's something between them.
A pluralization error; the gates are between the cairns. I changed it up to take out the construction, though, so there's no risk of confusion.

>>anything more dangerous than particularly large spiders

>Seems like there's a story caught in the back of my mind that this could be referencing…

>>and tell both of them that everything was going to be okay

>Both of whom? She's including herself in that? Feels odd, given that she'd been narrating herself as a "she," and now feels a little detached. However there's not an elegant solution in the world of pronouns.
Yeah, she's including herself. I could maybe emphasize that? I'm not sure how much detail this needs to be given though.

>>The three heads of Cerberus snarled down at her

>This comes out of nowhere. The narrator never said Derpy was expecting to see him. We just had a description of the gates, and then, oh look, there's a giant dog here. Ho, hum.
Well, he is the guardian of the underworld. Unless you've never seen Keep Calm and Flutter On, that should be a thing that the reader knows. So, he's there, and I'm not sure what else could be done.

>And yes, i know Pratchett does that all the time.

Dammit, I've never read Pratchett. >:| Well, I did once, but that's not enough to make a study of his style.

Guilty as charged on the 'as' thing. That's one of my long-standing tricks to change up sentence structure.

>>Over her lazy eye

>I remember Cassius getting pissed whenever people said that's what Derpy had…
Cassius isn't here right now…


>Fix these, or I'm going to find 1,000 potatoes.
I hate you.

>>Gently, she scooped Derpy up onto her back and trotted for the river.

>Well, now that does beg the question of how they'll get back across the river. At least until Derpy wakes up.
It's the end of the story and I ain't gotta explain shit! >:V

>So what happened to Sissy Hooves anyway? Any relation to Derpy? And why not Sissy Fuss?

Reaction 1: Sissy Fuss! That's so much a better name!

Reaction 2: Holy shit, this could be the reason Derpy has to be the one to go! It would change the story a whole heck of a lot, but if Derpy had some connection to the guy, that could, in some way or other, solve the whole issue. Wow. Thank you. :D

Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 6657

>Well, he is the guardian of the underworld. Unless you've never seen Keep Calm and Flutter On, that should be a thing that the reader knows. So, he's there, and I'm not sure what else could be done.
It's more that Derpy didn't act surprised to see him, but the narration was still worded as if she wasn't expecting him to be there.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6661


Anonymous 6744

So when's the next writeoff? July 19th? Then it'll be like two months since the last one. That sounds good, yes? :3

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6746

Remember, we had the minific writeoff not that long ago.

Anonymous 6748


Aww. :(

Anonymous 6860

Any word on this?


Just waiting on sorting out some possible prizes for this round.

Unrelated note: I can easily rename/merge artist names now. I presume that some people, like Golden_Vision and Golden Vision, would benefit from this (although they'll have to tell me who the real one is, so to speak).

Also, you can get .epub output of the stories now, thanks to Kazune. Links are accessible via the /fic/gallery page.

Anonymous 6863

Sweet. Luv ya, Roger. <3

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6864

Just please remember Bronycon is next weekend. D:D:D:

Azusa!fG2qnvpWXU 6866

File: 1374727287665.jpg (101.1 KB, 800x1001, Rainbow Dash133157125148.jpg)

>Just please remember Bronycon is next weekend.
>mfw I won't be going.

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