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File: 1369417935243.png (566.57 KB, 900x675, random_pony__by_vunlinur-d5jcf…)

Write-off: Round n 5597[Last 50 Posts]

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.


Times
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


Submissions
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
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


Rules
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.


Voting
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

5598

File: 1369419813198.png (214.93 KB, 687x1000, 212508__UNOPT__safe_lyra_seapo…)

Aw, yiss.

Snarkle(at)Office 5600

File: 1369422042117.png (16.08 KB, 140x192, pony_swag.png)

Sign me up. I might even be able to participate.

5601

File: 1369423389630.jpg (98.76 KB, 459x455, 315945__UNOPT__safe_solo_lyra_…)

I haven't participated in one of these things for a while. Time to remedy that. I'll be entering too. :3

Axis of Rotation 5602

Well, I never know how life is gonna go, so I hesitantly sign on for this. I really want to do it, having missed the last two, so we'll see how it goes. Looking forward to it!

5603

I'm going to try to participate in this one.

5604

File: 1369433426192.jpg (39.95 KB, 410x308, 11174210_gal.jpg)

An excuse to get off my lazy flank and do something? Genius.

Count me in.

theworstwriter!cGl3f2NaNw 5605

I haven't ACTUALLY done one of these in a while. I've SAID I would a few times, but it hasn't been in the cards.

Let's force it! I'mma make rules like "can't eat food until I write X words" and just FORCE it to happen! This is the BEST idea I've ever had!

5607

Count me in and bring it on…

5609

File: 1369436333247.gif (160.13 KB, 300x369, ede.gif)

Put me in as a definite "maybe".

5611

Oh, yay! Time for my second attempt at one of these.

Whitty 5615

Alright, I'm in. Hopefully…

Corejo 5616

File: 1369449892850.png (28.73 KB, 83x100, Ninjascoot 110x75.png)

We'll see if work allows and inspiration gifts me with words. I'm tentatively in.

5627

YES!!
Count me in!

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5631

Huh, so it really is round n.

Dat starting time. And here I'd hoped to submit a few prompts. :(

Subject goes here DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5650

I'm'd like to can participize, so's'll leave a comment and be's added to lists.

This is a good plan.

Except without the "plan".

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5680

Less than 24 hours to go! Who's excited?

The answer is Dublio. Dublio is excited.

5682

File: 1369935228432.jpg (36.68 KB, 500x349, fbf.jpg)

>>5680
Meh.

DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5683

>>5609
Clearly, the Ion-Sturm can only be tantalized by the prospect of a heaping bowl of spaghetti.

5684

File: 1369937487951.png (192.09 KB, 1022x309, HQZbUjj[1].png)

DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5685

>>5684
Thanks, but I *already* know why writers never explain where they get their ideas from.

Anonymous 5686

God, I hope the prompt is a good one.

5689

Sign me up, dude!

5693

File: 1369963784206.png (115.47 KB, 900x450, dancing_lyra_and_bon_bon_by_ro…)

I have to be excited. I haven't done any fresh writing in ages, so now's my chance to make a full-fledged story.

Come on! 4.5 hours left till it starts! (2.5 hours till we submit prompts, I think)

DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5694

Dear mister Dodger:

I've participated in this twice before, and used a different pen-name to maintain my anonymity. I just noticed that both of these fake names are listed on the scoreboard, with my prior accomplishments split between them. Is this normal?

5695

>>5694

Yup! The same thing happened to me. :V

DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5696

…Mysterious mysteries.

I seem to be one person on the user list, but two people on the Scoreboard.

5697

>>5694
>Is this normal?
Yes.

The idea is that when you use a different author name it is for all intents and purposes a different author submitting. If I merged the results, people could deduce everyone's pen names.

DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5698

Totally understandable. But is there anything to be done about it after the event is concluded? It'd be nice to have a way of listing all my miserable failures magnificent accomplishments in once place.

Hm… does the scoreboard also host the results of non-anonymous events?

Whitastic 5699

Half hour until prompts, guys.
Let's make them bad.

5700

>>5698
Author names aren't revealed until the event is over. If you only want your author name hidden for the duration of the event, that already happens. You shouldn't be using a pen name.

Similarly, I can't post-hoc merge two name's results because people could abuse it. For example, someone could submit as "Anonymous" and only ask to merge should their submission perform well.

The purpose of the author field is to allow people to effectively submit as another author. It is like that in every way, except that both names are internally recognised to be yours.
This post was edited by its author on .

Whitastically 5701

Inb4 decent prompts.

DuncanR!S7UtV5RVbs 5702

File: 1369973027974.png (148.86 KB, 900x735, trombone_is_serious_business_b…)

Ahh: it's a feature, not a bug. Completely understandable.

What makes this hilarious is that the "pen-name" I used is my real life name. It's preventing me from impersonating myself.

Anonymous 5703

When voting on prompts: will we eventually run out of judgments to make, or does it go on forever?

Dublio 5704

Goes on forever. Kinda like browsing Reddit or Imgur.

5705

Well, it goes on until the voting closes, at which point the highest rated prompt is chosen to be the event's prompt.

Dublio 5706

Prompt is "Time and Time Again."

Tactical 5707

Ugh.

Some really shitty ones were near the top.

Still didn't muscle one of my own to the top, but this seems like am interesting one.

Immute Bodement!eHoaB9uzh6 5708

…Sigh.

First person to submit a Dr. Whooves story will be soundly trounced. In the face.

5715

File: 1369996158813.png (128.53 KB, 900x722, pinkie_sad_face_vector_by_term…)

5716

File: 1369996774691.jpg (39.36 KB, 462x462, 9842381_gal.jpg)

>>5715
Don't listen to that meany-pants.

Though, if there's just one DW fic in the lot, you'll be the prime suspect. c:

>>5706
*brain broke*

Dah, it can never be something interesting, can it? Oh well. I can deal.

Lesdodisthang.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Desert Rose" 5717

Wow. I'm already up to nearly 1.5k words. Looks like this is going to be a long one.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5718

rargh this prompt is so crap >:E

Had to say it. :B It's in the contract.

5719

File: 1370019506225.png (7.49 KB, 144x150, 80s_cheerilee__do_it_filly_by_…)

>>5718
Oh, stop being such a whiner. I came up with an idea while on the piss pot today, so you're just not thinking hard enough.

Author of "Desert Rose" 5720

2,500 words already. Huh.

>>5719
What are the chances that this idea involves potatoes and/or overly-critical French restaurant critics?

Time and time again, I return to sample the dregs and drivel of these inferior establishments.

MintyRest!xMcCHESToY 5722

>>5720
Whelp, I'm chucking that idea now.

5723

File: 1370022493627.png (89.97 KB, 465x347, Potato.png)

>>5720
Heh, good one, but no.

Author of "Desert Rose" 5724

File: 1370022678544.jpg (8.04 KB, 265x190, oh-shit-applebloom-my-little-p…)

>tfw when you predict that your fic will be 17k words

Whitful 5726

>>5706

Ugh, goddamn. I'll pull something out of somewhere.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5729

>>5719
It wouldn't be a writeoff without someone complaining about the prompt. :B I am willing to be that guy.

Also, I had not yet begun to think. I am write now. :D

Don't Have a Title Yet Author 5734

File: 1370102477228.jpg (245.23 KB, 1200x850, cutie_mark_crusaders_z_by_kp_s…)

I must confess, this has got to be one of the most enjoyable pieces to write I've done.

And there's a section written in First Person Third Person Limited. Have fun with that one, reviewers.(Now I just need a mirror scene prologue with second-person future tense with the events listed backwards.)

I am enjoying myself far too much for this to be actual writing. Be forewarned, this story is silly and will probably have humor no one's going to get, but I'd say it's still totally worth it. Even if I get the wooden spoon.

The narrative is probably also too close to my everyday speech, so that might compromise my anonymity, but I don't really care. It was fun

Author of "Desert Rose" 5736

File: 1370121862915.png (348.09 KB, 878x910, it__s_over_9000_by_dementedpro…)

>tfw wordcount

5738

File: 1370123567970.jpg (202.57 KB, 1920x800, 19.jpg)

Don't think I'll have an entry for this one. My story idea wasn't good enough to demand writing, unfortunately. Best of luck to everyone else who participates, though!

5739

File: 1370126522305.png (2.6 MB, 1800x923, epic_battle_by_nastylady-d4we0…)

>>5738

Sorry to hear it. Thank you for the well-wishes. Many of us will need them.


I await everyone's lovely submissions.

5740

I'm putting one together. Hopefully I'll be finished in time.

Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5741

Well that was… an experience.

I finished much sooner than expected. I suppose every minute I spend not writing seems like three minutes spent not editing and proofreading.

Maybe I should run it through an automatic language translator a few times, back and forth, just to be sure…

Author of What's Possible!sp6NunbEGs 5742

File: 1370188980128.jpg (113.71 KB, 894x894, passed_by_jack_a_lynn-d5l72am.…)

Title pending, since I think it sorta sucks.
Just want to say I'm in, and hoping to finish my fic early this morning so I can get it edited and submitted later tonight.

Axis of Rotation 5743

Man, I haven't even started writing yet; life just bounced on in this weekend. What should I do?? Ack, I think I'm still going to give it a shot, but I doubt I'll have anything in time D:

5744

File: 1370196163689.jpeg (60.71 KB, 500x998, i.chzbgr.jpeg)

Dublio 5746

File: 1370196935056.png (173.7 KB, 900x450, weirdsittingn1298584660.png)

>>5744

Nonsense, there's always time! You still have slightly less than 12 hours at the time of this post!

5747

File: 1370200610522.jpeg (183.96 KB, 1311x958, 20_32_43_237_file.jpeg)

>>5743
Last time I wrote a write off entry, I completed the entire thing in under eight hours. That said, it was an abomination the likes of which should never be called literature so as not to compare it to much better stories, like the Eye of Argon. It's your call.

Tactical 5748

I have… an outline. Sort of.

I, too, tend to write my entries up in a four or five hour last minute sprint, so matbe ill get something out.

Anonymous 5750

writin' all dem pony words

Dublio 5751

File: 1370212425596.jpg (64.29 KB, 650x600, 109261__UNOPT__safe_lyra_plate…)

tfw when you realize that everything you write is an abomination.

Anonymous 5752

>>5751
>Votes 10 on all stories to ensure Dublio gets a good score.

5753

File: 1370217675656.png (261.26 KB, 500x512, tumblr_mlnx53v6PZ1s3zuxeo1_500…)

>>5751

Shh. Only hugs now.

NTSTS 5754

File: 1370220044189.jpg (28.33 KB, 724x447, Pinkie Pie Rainbow Dash Cute H…)

>>5751
There there.

It`s going to be okay.

5756

File: 1370222200143.jpg (118.97 KB, 1280x905, 312915__UNOPT__safe_rainbow-da…)

>>5751
So long as your story isn't a find and replace of a bestselling book, I think you'll be okay.

NTSTS 5757

>>5756
>"Fifty Shades of [TIME AND TIME AGAIN]", an original fansfiction by Dublio

Author of Simple Awareness (formerly "What's Possible")!sp6NunbEGs 5758

File: 1370225045922.jpg (2.27 MB, 2597x1807, commission___kindred_spirits_w…)

Woowee! All finished! I couldn't think of a good title worth jack-diddly.

Dran Kito 5759

I probably won't be able to submit anything this round. My pc blew up last weekend and I only got it working this weekend, including a fresh install of the OS and everything else (/sigh). I'll try and read and give scores to all the submissions at the very least!

Author of "Desert Rose" 5760

Finally—*heave*—finished—*pant*

It only took me the full part of all three days, but I'm finally done, clocking in at just over 17,000 words!

I pity the poor sap who chooses to read my submission.

sage 5761

It's really hard to find a good name for this fic, okay?

NTSTS 5762

File: 1370232208897.gif (218.21 KB, 303x291, Pinkie Pie Excited Animated.gi…)

5763

File: 1370233566630.png (132.11 KB, 511x557, twixie.png)

Welp, discovered that this write-off was happening about 5 or 6 hours ago, and barely managed to get a fic done in time. Was it rushed? Hell yeah it was. Is it terrible? Probably. But is it at least sillier than a pair of toucans salsa dancing at a gay night club? Damn skippy…
This post was edited by its author on .

5764

File: 1370233795248.png (1023.05 KB, 1120x700, 285477__UNOPT__safe_trixie_wal…)

>>5763
My first write off entry was a Random/Comedy; it was awful.

Anonymous 5765

le

Woof... 5766

File: 1370234185865.png (990.71 KB, 1024x711, twilight_is_exhausted_by_silve…)

Plowed through it in 48 hours. Took only two brief sleeping breaks, some dinner breaks, GMed one GURPS game, and played in one Ponyfinder game. My poor arm.
This post was edited by its author on .

5767

Don't post wordcounts publicly. It compromises anonymity.

theworstwriter!cGl3f2NaNw 5768

This… is bad. I'm going to force myself to finish since I've dropped out of too many of these now, but fair warning to you all - this is not good.

5769

Obviously rushed! Crammed into a fraction of the space it should've taken and with the back end lopped off! Not nearly enough time to correct that before the cutoff! Grind away until the buzzer and shoot at the last second and still fall way short! Wooden spoon!

Anonymous 5770

File: 1370237357498.png (98.14 KB, 800x600, Rarity Excited Face.png)

There's only half an hour to go. Why isn't everyone more EXCITED?!

theworstwriter!cGl3f2NaNw 5771

>>5768
Done. I regret everything. I will also force myself to finish the next one of these I enter, but hopefully I will have been less lazy and horrible in the time leading up to that one so that it comes out halfway palatable.

Maybe I can pull 15th place here?

Good luck everyone else.

Anonymous 5772

File: 1370238890162.png (543.04 KB, 1444x1600, derpy_happy.png)

>>5770

I'm definitely excited. :D

Anonymous 5773

>>5772
SO EXCITED

Corn 5774

>>5769
You and me both.

Anonymous 5775

File: 1370238957525.gif (3.21 MB, 453x349, Twilight Sparkle Excited Anima…)

Axis of Rotation 5776

DAHM! Not gonna make it D: Ah well, gave it me best shot. Best of wishes to you guys out there!

*goes into a corner and sobs*

Anonymous 5777

File: 1370239242691.png (141.15 KB, 900x1549, Pinkie Pie Gasp.png)

>>5776
Don't say that! You've still got… five minutes! Don't give up!

Axis of Rotation 5778

>>5777
Oh, I'm still writing–but it won't be enough.

Anonymous 5779

File: 1370240393881.png (237.31 KB, 1600x1176, weekly_vector_7__party_cannon_…)

Let the games begin!

5780

Well if these aren't all smacking me and putting me in my place… maybe I just so happen to have clicked on several of the top end ones in a row by coincidence, but man…

I have GOT to start writing again if this is indicative of what people in the fandom are capable of in a single weekend now. I was bad before, but now I'm a cripple by comparison.

Hats off to the writers of the fandom for raising the bar. (or lady luck for sending me down all the highest quality links in a row)

Dran Kito 5781

2/3rds of the total word count belong to 1/3rd of the stories.

Anonymous 5782

>>5781
yeah well YOUR FACE!

is anyone else worried that no one will even read the longer stories

5783

>>5782
"Nobody" will be incorrect.

I have consumed all of the stories under 5k and one of the stories over 10k. I will consume them all.

Author of 'Refrain' 5784

>>5783
And here I thought I was a fast reader. Good clip there, sir, though I'd worry that the author's might not get the most valuable feedback from such a frantic… 'digestion'.

Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones 5785

From the few fics that I've read so far, I'm willing to bet that mine is the only one that went the completely silly and absurd route. I am confident that I will at least be "that one weird fic" in this write-off, and if not, well… I got nothing, cuz I sure ain't winnin' anything.

Author of 'Refrain' 5786

>>5785
I'm just going over yours now, and I have to say the opening description made me raise an eyebrow. Still, there's the whole rest of the story to go, so lets see what we get.

5787

[?]>>5784
Oh? Well let's assuage and/or confirm those fears via feedback on what I have already finished! MEAN CRITIC HAT ENGAGE

Perchance to Dream:
Not read yet.

A Hiccup In Time:
Fairly clean, moves at a solid pace that is - at times - a tad too quick, and doesn't let up with the style of humor it's going for. This is a form of time nonsense (and I use the term endearingly) I'm quite familiar with and fond of, and for others who enjoy such a rollercoaster of "If I didn't not stop myself from undoing the undo then I willn't won't not have undone the not doing" and "Six of me disagreed with the other twelve" will find themselves pleased. However, that is NOT for everyone. There are those who just don't like this kind of thing at all and they'll quickly brush this one off. It's all down to the proportion of the readership that lands on either side of that line, but I know where I stand. This is good and strong.

Desert Rose:
Holy mackerel, that's a big wall of text. And I mean that in a good way and a bad way all at once. It's legitimately impressive in a Skirtsian way that you've put out so much (fairly beautiful) text so quickly, though I admit there are two that are larger still I haven't looked through yet… Regardless, I have to give you props for at least that, if not more. The more being in a lot of the very finely written passages and excellently placed details here. The writing is a little languid, which is not necessarily a flaw depending on the structure of the story, but pretty great. The problem is the plot. It's not enough to justify so many words. While what you wrote was written well, it's largely unneeded fluff. You can claim worldbuilding or character development, but I just don't buy it here. You did too much for too little payoff. You got too caught up in the writing and didn't edit it back down. That's the common phrase they say, that editing is removing huge swaths of what you've got. I personally don't usually have this problem, as I can rarely write enough to say what I want to say, but I understand the wisdom of it - and it applies so very clearly here. This needs to be pared back and reduced by at least five thousand words to be palatable to anyone who isn't just in it to dance over syntax and word choice.

Lyra the Stalker:
This feels like the author didn't really have a story in mind as much as one little hook to play with, and that one little hook didn't blossom enough. For the events that occur, it's put together competently enough, but I don't think even flawless execution would make this particularly noteworthy other than said flawlessness. Its connection to the prompt is tenuous.

My Little Pumpkin:
This was fairly sweet little piece that stayed on message didn't really falter. Solid, good, possibly very good, but not astounding. "Not astounding" is not an insult, it just means that I'm not likely to remember this as especially interesting or good after the contest. Ending didn't have quite the impact it could have if it weren't as predictable, but given the prompt and the format of the first couple entries, there wasn't really much question where it would have to go.

Circles in Circles:
I see what you went for here, but you moved way too fast and you left some loose threads hanging that really need cleaning up, especially given the time-stuff nature of the thing. Whether or not they actually interfere with the timeline, they need to be left in one of two states: completely resolved, or tied off in a clean knot that the reader won't get hung up on. Some questions need answering, and others don't. Leave all your questions in the form of the former.

Sedisti Saxo:
Not read yet.

Timeless Advice From a Momentary Test:
Not read yet.

Corn:
Eh, it's pretty well-written, but it fails to grab my attention. Much like corn is fairly versatile, but fails to excite my tastebuds.

Everything Has Its Season:
This was a bit more abstract in a way that I can't say is a positive thing. It's very nebulous in all the not-right places. Now I'm being careful here not to say that it's abstract in a negative way or nebulous in the wrong places, because that's not strictly true. I was never irritated by the oddities, I just regarded them indifferently. The main connection to the prompt was not explored nearly enough for the character and situation given. It was mentioned and dusted off instead of used as an engaging device. Eh.

Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones:
I don't know what you think you were trying to do, other than "make the funny," so I can't say whether you succeeded. There were some genuine chuckles in here, but overall I was just left feeling bewildered by the "wait, what?" nature of the thing. Prompt connection is weak.

What is Possible:
See notes on My Little Pumpkin, minus the bit about the ending. It was a good delivery on a solid idea that should do well. The ending was fine.

Unappreciated:
Start to see the notes on What is Possible, but then stop and turn around and lower the whole thing a few notches for fairly bland/unoriginal premise. Also, just a notch or two lower overall regardless of this alteration. In a different fandom, in a different environment, maybe. But here, not so much. You would need heavenly execution to rise above where you're starting from.

War Horse:
It's written decently enough, but it's trying too hard to be serious and coming across like a teenager putting on a false face of maturity. There's no part of this that ISN'T dripping (dripping may be a bit too harsh, but I don't have a better word right now) with "take me seriously." The necessary glue between this attitude and the pony universe was not applied. Such glue does exist and has been used successfully in the fandom, but not here.

Perseverence: Don't Give Up, Scootaloo:
See notes on Unappreciated, almost exactly.

Erase and Rewind:
Not read yet.

I'll Always Take Care of You:
See notes on My Little Pumpkin, but amplify the note about the ending by a factor of ten. Nearly ruined it with how forcefully it hammers in the "ARE YOU SAD YET?!!???"

Quotidian:
Not read yet.

Refrain:
Not read yet.

Everything Loops:
This was pretty cool in a couple of ways. The only real complaints I can level against it are a much weaker form of the "srs bsns" problem I mention about War Horse and some minor quibbles about constructing the loops to keep the timeline simultaneously full of the right amount of ambiguity to keep the readers thinking and straightforwardness to keep them from getting lost. Don't get me wrong, it does an admirable job of both of those things, hell, an amazing job given the time limit, but I still have to say that it could use some more work on both.

Time and Time Again:
My complaints here are some of the same problems I had with "Everything Has Its Season," but I felt that, while MORE abstract, those abstract bits were handled better. That said, it was almost ENTIRELY abstract bits with very little in the way of concrete content, which is always a dangerous route to go. For many, many readers, it just won't resonate, and for many who do "get it" in the right way, they still might not be satisfied because such levels of abstraction are by nature insubstantial unless they're of epiphanic quality - which this is not. That's no slight. There are very, very, VERY few abstract treatises that can really move people to epiphany.

Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones 5788

>>5787
My basic thought process, was, "Holy crap, I have 5 hours to crap something out. Guess I'll just write whatever I can think of."

I didn't enter because I was trying to write anything deep, just something fun and silly. Plus, it's fun to enter these contests, even if you have no desire to win.

Perchance to Dream 5789

Already know a few problems with my fic. The price of coming in under the wire with a huge story. Still, here's hoping.

Looking forward to reviews!
This post was edited by its author on .

5790

File: 1370251887060.jpeg (192.29 KB, 640x480, Writer_Waiting_1.jpeg)

And here I thought that breaking the wordcount record would mean something to you guys. Yet two people did it in the same write-off and ya'll go "ugh, more stuff to read."

Just kidding, of course. Now I feel extra ashamed that I couldn't enter. I'll try to read through as many entries as I can to review and vote. Here's to some good fiction (I hope).

Author of 'Refrain' 5791

Posting reviews/thoughts before I'm done, because apparently someone wants me to.

A Hiccup In Time


Nice enough story that didn't particularly stand out with a grand revelation - had a pleasing pace and a comfortable resolution. As it was in the story, some of the description/detail was a little confusing at times, which is sensible, though not necessarily a benefit to the reader. The ending felt a tad abrupt, though I thought the method of the conclusion was clever - just the pacing after said conclusion that seemed to whizz by.

Decent fic overall, though nothing emphatically engaging. 7/10.

—————-
Lyra the Stalker


This story made me laugh out loud a few times, but seemed to be lacking outside its several punch-lines. Twilight and Lyra's behaviour both seemed too strange to believe, and Twilight didn't seem like Twilight at all. I was willing to make concessions for Lyra's oddities, but her personality didn't feel 'sold' enough to me. The pacing was a little breakneck in parts, though it seemed to match the tone of the story well. Several issues with sentence construction, making them just sound odd or uncomfortable. A few instances of 'she [verb]ed in [noun]' construction, which should be avoided, as your action mostly spoke for itself otherwise.

Enjoyable, but in definite need of some polish. Did love the two lines I alluded to though. 6/10.

——————-
My Little Pumpkin


Firstly, while I appreciate the use of parallel structure here to adhere to the prompt and communicate the theme of the story, it felt a little overdone, especially because the original format that was sampled repeatedly wasn't that strong. There was a very 'telly' feel to the narration, and a use of adverbs to carry the weight of description. All in all, I would have preferred to see subsequent scenes developed differently, instead of following the format exactly, as it left a bit to be desired. Some of the writing in particular seemed to be trying too hard to be overdescriptive. Lastly, while the culmination of emotion in the story is fitting, given the structure, it felt a good deal was combed over in the amount of scenes that seemed 'missing', though I imagine too many more would have completely done away with the readability of the format. The hospital scene felt nice enough, but a bit cliche at the same time.

Interesting experiment with formatting, but in need of some work in several key areas. 5.5/10

———–
Circles in Circles

While I didn't find a great many mechanical faults in this story, the dialogue really stood out to me like a sore thumb. Nopony seems in character, and it pretty badly effects the readability of the narrative. Dash doesn't seem like Dash, Pinkie doesn't seem like Pinkie… Twilight is passable only because she's a vessel for the premise. What was more frustrating was that, while we're treated to a lengthy scene setting up the crux of the story, it concludes almost immediately thereafter, an in a sort of groan-inducing roundabout. It takes a cool idea and sort of shoots it in the foot, only hampered further by the fact that Dash's dialogue in the last scene feels awkwardly unlike her.

Passable mechanicaly, but certainly in need more of attention to the dialogue, and to the execution of the premise itself. 4.5/10.

———–
Sedisti Saxo

This one was my favorite so far, but it felt like it gut-punched me in a few areas that I was really invested. It got off to a slow, perhaps unnecessarily ambiguous start, but once the premise became apparent I was really interested to know the details. Pinkie's musings on her family while she was pushing the rock were a great element to tie the story together. But, right as the moment of triumph approach, I feel like Derpy became a flying deus ex machina - none of her reasoning or dialogue seemed to fit what her personality was up until that point. That was smoothed over by the combined effort of her and Pinkie as they pushed… but then the dialogue became awkward and unrealistic again when Pinkie started going on afterwards. It swung back when she told the story of how she got stuck in the first place, though. The conclusion was alright, but not particularly rewarding, despite the accomplishment that preceded it.

All in all, I liked this story a fair bit, but I feel it could use some smoothing out. The other problem I had was the use of the narrative voice - it didn't often match the characters it was being tied to, and felt incongruous or self-indulgent as a result. Loved the idea of Tartarus being expanded into a proper pony hell, though, and would be interested to see that explored more. 7.5/10.

—————-
Timeless Advice From a Momentary Test


This one was pretty rough to me. While the idea was an interesting one, albeit one that's been done to death in other instances, the execution absolutely killed it for me. Overdescription, telling us everything about the situations and characters rather than showing it… it felt like the story could have half as long if all the unnecessary wording and exposition was cut. The dialogue and narration all felt kind of unnatural, and it seemed like nothing was content to stand on its own - every time we were given a moment or an idea, the narration just hammered it into hour heads. It also struck me as odd that, despite this being in an era that Luna is acknowledged to speak from in her future appearances, why aren't the characters in the past using Old Equestrian?

Telly exposition and a not entirely engaging take on it. Might do to fix up the dialogue as well. Also, noted that hyphens appeared to have been used instead of the proper en/em-dashes. 3/10.

——————–
Corn

God, what an ending. You bastard.

I liked this one a lot. It has a delightful minimalism, though there was a bit of over-tell in some of the descriptions - using adjectives to give us other ponies' reactions and expressions when letting them stand on their own would do fine.

But I can't, in good conscience, let that end slide. I know there's a great deal to be said for unsatisfying endings in some context, but that was too much. Beautifully frustrating in a way, but otherwise too over the top. At least give us something, eh?

Still, liked this one a ton regardless. 8/10.

————-
Everything Has Its Season


I can feel the Practchett dripping off this one, and if I'm wrong I'll eat my hat.

While the ride along the OC personification of death was delightful, I don't know that there was enough substance to the scenes otherwise. A great deal of omission in service of the brevity of the story… and, as an aside, everyone elses dialogue felt painfully wooden or out of character. I could tell the author was having fun with the comedic japes from his character, but the rest needs to work in service of it as well. Also, there were a fair few instances of just simply telling us what other characters were thinking/feeling, which is a bit odd when we're supposed to be inside the camera of this singular character. There's a possible pass, as he's no doubt omnipotent in some fashion, but I'd say that shouldn't buy clumsy storytelling.

After ironing out the dialogue and maybe fleshing some of the story out in terms of substance, I could see this being wonderful. As is, it's simply quite good. 8/10.

——————
Rocks, Boomboxes and Kidney Stones


This one definitely got me laughing, though I felt the ridiculous was a bit over the top in parts. Also, the dialogue, while in service of the story's attitude, was inconsistent in its tonality at points - sometimes it felt naturally absurd, but other times was forced or awkward. The twist at the end was grand, though the steps getting there in the scene before were a little odd, and I don't know that they entirely worked. This story felt like it could have benefited just a little more from some padding to give us some more background info, rather than just alluding to it.

Overall, good read, though there were some mechanical errors to touch up, and it could definitely do from a good polish for consistency. 7.5/10

————-
What is Possible

This one was pretty gripping up until the big introspective exposition dump at the end, where it kind of removed its hooks. I think the dialogue with Celestia is a good format to look for meaning, and I liked that Twilight didn't just suddenly 'understand' - until, of course, at the end, she did. I think this fic could do with some subtlety towards the end, rather than just beating the audience over the head with your intended message. Also, while we're in a first-person camera a lot, there are a few instances of description that are unnecessarily telly, both on Twilight's part, as well as her observation of Celestia and other things.

Strong until the end, but could be a wonderful contemplative piece if that was toned down a bit. 6.5/10

——————
Unappreciated


This didn't really feel like a story to me. There's conflict, but no resolution, and the narration we're given inside Derpy's head doesn't feel at all like the personality she has elsewise (the one we're introduced to). It also plays pretty heavily on the whole 'Derpy is functionally retarded' thing - but what happens tomorrow when she screws up again? If it was trying to inspirational, it just made me kind of sad.

Not a ton of mechanical problems, but the conceit of the story really didn't do it for me. 4.5/10.

——————
War Horse


This doesn't even feel pony to me, and ye gods was it purple. I hesitate to use that words in most instances, but the description dragged on and on and on, and my attention went with it. Definitely chanelling 'Eye of Aragon' here, for me.

Can't say much more about this other than it was really just not my cup of tea, and overdescriptive to the point that I glossed over much of it. 3.5/10.

———————–
Perseverence: Don't Give Up, Scootaloo

This is a very well told story, but it's remarkably cliche, and something we've seen quite often. Also, it doesn't feel like it ended properly. Not much I can say about it, other than… eh.

6.5/10.

——————–
I'll Always Take Care of YOu

- could cut this line: "It was the only day per year that I could visit my mom." and it would make the opening much stronger.
- Very proceduraly phrased.
- Description/narrative is very dry
- Tense changes

Yeurgh. This is too much. It's really turning up the sad dial to eleven, and none of it feels earned. We don't have a sense of emotion built up with the characters, and there's a lot of clumsy/dry narration that doesn't do much other than just drag us along. Several poorly chosen sentences as well, notably 'it was the only day per year that I could visit my mom," and "and walked into the cemetary" - some things are better left unsaid, and some should warrant a care to detail when they're meant to be pivotal.

The mechanical execution wasn't unbearable, though I did notice tense changes here and there… overall, however, this is just a big ol' pile of cliche 'be sad now', and it sat pretty sourly with me as a result.

4/10.

————-
Time and Time Again

I was really surprised by this one. Going into a story named after the prompt, not sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this. This reads more like an epic poem than a story to me, and I'm really appreciative of it. While the voice is initially a bit unsettling, I fell into it easily - which is why, when in parts, it slips into a more realistic dialogue, it sort of lost me. The tone is inconsistent when it gets past the middle, notably when Celestia is referring to her sister and more 'earthly' events. It was also a bit of a disconnect to note that the speaker was Celestia in the first place… I feel there's some more elegant way to tie it around, or to make it all seem real. Also, the authorial voice in the beginning of the poem/story feels very masculine to me, which is why I had trouble reconciling its eventual origins.

All in all, really enjoyed this one. It does need some work in thematic consistency and there were some sentences that tripped me up, but other than that I think it's a lovely, beautiful fable contextualized in the world of ponies. 9/10.

—————-
Erase and Rewind

GAAAAAAAAAH THIS ONE WAS SO GOOD GHHAGHADG

It's the sign of a good story that makes you furious at its author for being so talented.

The ONLY critique I have to lobby against this story is that 1) we're not really given a good sense of Rewind's age, and 2) as a result of that, her dialogue could seem a bit odd, though we're conceding a great deal as a result of the fic's premise. Oh, and 3) I guess is that I could see an entire novel series based on these characters, and I'm incredibly frustrated there wasn't more.

Other than that, fantastic marvellous stupendous and damn you. 10/10.

And with that, I've still got more to read.

Everything Loops without shitty formatting Anonymous 5792

http://pastebin.com/gDB3JDnK

For those of you who can't stand Everything Loops's formatting. (This is the same thing as what's on the writeoff page, but I s:\r\n:\r\n\r\n:g and s:\t::g'd. That is to say, I added breaks and removed tabs.)

I am not the author of it, but I figured it'd be easier on some of your eyes.
This post was edited by its author on .

5793

>>5792
Thanks for that. I've edited the story on-site with this, also making the dashes and scene breaks proper (s/-‌-/\x{2014}/g; s/• • •/[hr]/g;).

I don't want this to be some kind of precedent where I or other people fix your stories for you.

To be frank, it would do you as authors well to learn the basics of regular expressions so that you can do these things quickly yourselves. The author in question here had three minutes left, and it took less than a minute to do the substitutions.

PM me in IRC if you'd like some help (or consult Google). Anyone can pick it up in less than an hour.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Desert Rose" 5794

Some reviews! Whee!

A Hiccup In Time: 7/10
This was really just a fun story. Twilight was perfectly IC throughout, and adorable to boot; she was a frantic little ball of neuroses and "science!" (the "committees" were a very nice touch, and something that only she would think of) that was very enjoyable to read. The resolution was something that I didn't quite see coming, and the humor in that (as well as with the original case of hiccups) was done well. I did think that parts (such as the resolution) had too slow of pacing, but that's to be expected, given the circumstances of the competition. All in all, a very fun read, and a great way to start the voting round for me.


Desert Rose: ∞/10
Ahem


Lyra the Stalker: 5/10
So I think I can sum this story up in one sentence: Creepy Lyra is Creepy. And that much was wonderfully done, all in the style of your average cheesy Nickelodeon/Disney live-action sitcom. Lyra was delightfully insane, Twilight delightfully disturbed, and each character nicely written (though I do feel bad for poor Sparkler, as well as Lyra's mother, whose daughter has suddenly vanished). My favorite moment came when Lyra, in a trash can, somehow threw herself clear across the room; the mental image induced at least a small snort of laughter, I'll admit.

There was an abundance of awkward, or at least overly simple, sentences. Some typos, here and there ("yea"? Can you just not?), and sometimes the words you used could be a bit odd. All of the characters also felt a bit too much like caricatures, as well. It wasn't always the easiest read, but it was certainly one of the more entertaining. I winced sympathetically when Twilight erupted at Lyra, and shivered at the ending. Lyra is the creepiest motherfucker I've ever seen.


My Little Pumpkin: 7/10
God dammit; this gave me all of the feels. But, more importantly, it was fairly well-written as well. From start to finish, I absolutely loved the relationship that you gave to Pumpkin Cake and Pinkie, and although there were a few rough spots, diction-wise, as well as more than a few moments where the storyline stuttered, I found myself with moist eyes and a choked-up throat at the end. Very well done.


Circles in Circles: 3/10
So, I'd like to start off by saying that, in the original experiment, I had no idea what Rainbow Dash did. I'm still not entirely sure, though I think it has something to do with chain links (kinky) and a…mechanical watch? Oh, and flying really fast. Nice technobabble, and both characters felt fairly IC (though Twi was quite flat, I thought). There were some grammar mistakes scattered throughout, as well as quite a few awkward sentences and oddly chosen words. The pacing was really weird; I thought things progressed far too quickly—you had a tendency to just skim over entire scenes with a shrug of your shoulders. I did like the ending, though I really should've seen that coming. Poor Dash, though…
This post was edited by its author on .

Author: "Everything Has It's Season" 5795

File: 1370260688322.gif (112.45 KB, 500x385, tumblr_mhe06eud0A1s0sz7go1_500…)

>>5787
>review

Mm… I'll keep your noncritical critique in mind when correcting my unbadness.

>>5791
>other review

First, it was Fortune, not Death. (Unless the narrator has dissociative identity disorder, which I wouldn't count out.)

Second, the last scene was in third person from Twilight's perspective with "I" being the narrator (from a Doyalist standpoint), but it was actually the narrator just knowing already what Twilight would experience during a certain situation (from a Watsonian perspective).

Ah, and about that dialogue and characterization. I really need to fix that; I poured so much into one I neglected to spare any for the other characters. You are also correct about it just not having enough meat on it. It's a sad habit of mine, one I need to kick. If you have anything in particular that you'd like expanded, please do say.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5796

>>5781
>2/3rds of the total word count belong to 1/3rd of the stories.
Son, I am fright. c.c

Now I have to decide if I want to leave off posting my reviews until the contest is over, or pretend to review my own fic. Because I'm feeling lazy and don't want to change my posting name.

Author of "Desert Rose" 5797

File: 1370268631711.jpeg (8.89 KB, 168x300, images.jpeg)

Author of "Desert Rose" 5798

>>5787
Thank you very much for your feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the writing itself, and I will admit that I got a bit of a "Skirtsian" vibe (as you've put it) when editing.

I'm a bit unsure of what you think I should shave off, though—off the top of your head, are there any scenes that you felt were absolutely unnecessary, or just needed to go?

Perchance to Dream 5801

File: 1370276882430.png (Spoiler Image,302.42 KB, 877x1023, NightGuard.png)

I'm tempted to discuss my own perceived flaws in the fic, but I don't want to taint anyone's opinion just yet. I do feel like there's huge room for improvement - once I polish it up, I'll almost certainly expand some sections and clean up the foreshadowing.

Hopefully, not too many people are frightened by the huge word count. It would feel pretty disappointing to work so hard and get only a couple reviews.

5802

File: 1370277006358.jpeg (488.55 KB, 1200x1188, 271275__safe_humanized_babs-se…)

>>5801
While you wait, I'd suggest rewatching One Bad Apple a few times.
This post was edited by its author on .

More Reviews! Author of "Desert Rose" 5803

Perchance to Dream: 8/10
I just want to start off by saying that I absolutely love Babs, and think that she's underused as a character. There're more than just four CMCs, dammit! That said, I wish that there was at least one scene in this showing the full Manehattan branch of the Crusaders, but that's beside the point.

I may have missed it, but I think you should have done much more in the beginning to point out what Shady looked like and why this was a problem. I had no idea what a thestral was until you mentioned Luna and Nightmare Moon; of course, I quickly realized, "Oh, they're the Night Guard guys! Right." Her tone, however, was very nice, especially with the way you gradually deepened her emotional state and feeling of panic. I loved the way that you equivocated the Order of Eternal Night/Thestrals to some bizarre mix of the Black Panthers and (if I may) Al Qaeda, whether you intended to or not. There're some great social and political issues in there, as well as a fair amount of commentary that, while not quite politically revelatory, was quite nice, all things considered.

If Velvet Curtain doesn't sound like some kind of stripper's stage name, then I'll eat my boot. Regardless, all of the other characters were great: Dandelion and the other little Seed was adorable, and I loved the whole family, especially the dynamic between Lin, Babs, and Shady. AJ's accent was just right for most of the fic—not too much, but certainly noticeable—although you did have some slip-ups where she sounded more Shakespearian than rural. I would've liked Babs to have more of a distinct voice and accent, but I guess you can't have everything. Luna was also awesome (she always is).

Plotwise, I'm not quite sure what happened with the "pegasus spy" or whatever; maybe it's my fault, but I can't help but feel as though I need to reread that section in order to understand what exactly happened there. Some scenes felt a bit rushed, while others felt a bit too long (like with AB's "history lesson" conversation at the beginning, which really was just extra fluff). There were some weird sentences throughout, but seeing as your fic was even longer than mine, I think I'll cut you some sack in the editing department. And god…that reveal. I had suspected it ever since the first "crime," but the emotional power that you put into that scene, as well as in the flashback, got to me all the same. I do wonder when she got the chance to slip away to cause the first act of vandalism, though (I'll have to reread). All in all, a very good story that was worth the time it took to read.


Sedisto Saxo: 7/10
I didn't take any notes while reading, so this review is just going to be stream of consciousness.

I have to start off by, at the very least, giving you some props for a fairly well-done character study of Pinkie's relationship with her family. It's something that not a lot of people tend to think about, and Pinkie's regrets aren't usually a topic for writers to address (unless they relate to the Mane Six). However, my biggest gripe with this came from the addition of Derpy. Although I liked her—and her character, and her presence in the climax, especially—I never felt as though her presence was particularly justified. I wanted more of a reason for the Elements to have left her behind; some reason why Celestia, for example, hadn't just gone down and ordered Mr. Poni Satan to release Pinkie to them.

There was quite a bit of mood whiplash back and forth between the Pinkie and Derpy sections, as well as even within certain scenes of the latter, but I think the tone was balanced fairly well. The setting of Tartarus was drawn up nicely, as well as each stage of Derpy's journey. There were quite a few bits where I thought that the writing itself wasn't quiet where I would have wanted it to be, but a lot of the characterization made up for it. A lot of the piece as a whole felt a bit odd to read, especially in the beginning when I didn't really have any context for what, exactly, I was looking at, but it was well-done nonetheless.


Timeless Advice From a Momentary Test: 3/10
Guh. I really want to like this—the idea is a very nice one, I admit—but the execution is fairly clumsy and poorly thought out. To be fair, you set it up nicely (though I thought that Discord's conversation with Twilight felt very forced and "plot-device"-ish). The middle, though, felt very rushed and under-developed. I wanted much more from the test. I wanted to see why "power" had made it over "competence", and how, exactly, the test was supposed to affirm Celestia's right to power. Oh, I understand the Starswirl bit, but he was so off to the side and so inconsequential that he (and his bet) pretty much didn't matter at all.

Celestia's "talent" of magic dealing with the sun was something that just kind of…didn't have much set up. We just had to take it for granted that, "Oh, this is Celestia; of course she can control the sun." It takes the entire unicorn nation to move the damn thing! Luna was pretty much a non-entity, and the pair's characterization beyond "happy sibling alicorn friends" just wasn't there.

Twilight's lesson would have been nice, but the resolution didn't really work, the "moral" felt kind of forced, and I had no idea what the hell cough drops had to do with anything.

I feel as though all of my problems with this fic can be summed up in a single question:

What the hell is a bloody magic field?

Response to Desert Rose review Perchance to Dream 5804

>>5803
Hah, sweet, you nailed a lot of the problems I had with the fic, personally.

Let's see, one point at a time…
As for Babs, I definitely intend to fix her voice up. She's tricky, since a lot of her portrayal in her own episode was tainted, and her spots in Apple Reunion were brief, but that's hardly an excuse. I already knew there were problems, but I left that for 'if I have time after it's done' since she's actually a side character in this, but by the time I'd finished I had no time left!
I, too, absolutely wish I could have had a shot of the Manehattan branch. I'll add that in once I fix it up for FimFiction - that was in the stage where I was in a hurry to finish. Seriously? I should have cut a chunk of Coneigh Island for this version, and put it back in for the FimFiction edit once I do that. Frankly, I was about half dead when I was done, though >.>

I thought the leathery wings would make it clear enough, but I've seen more than one person confused. I'd like it if thestral were more widely accepted as a name for the bat ponies, but, hey, no excuse for sloppy description. I did make it intentionally vague at first, but I'll make that down as an area for improvement.
You're absolutely right in that there's a strong vibe of terrorist and nationalist groups in there. The scenes where Shady remarks on how she feels put upon for trying to fit in with other ponies is meant to encapsulate the feeling there - echoing how Zecora was treated by the Ponyvillians was very deliberate. I'll make sure to put a finer point on that. Ponies are nice, but they do have a habit of alienating other races, which, it seems, comes from a place of uncertainty and ignorance rather than malice.

I'm not going to say too much about Velvet Curtain's background, in case she comes up in a follow-up fic, but let's say that sometimes an actress has to do what she can to make it in a difficult world :D

And you know what else was severely cut for time? Petite Noir.
I had intended to have a couple scenes where she was finding holes in Shady Blossom's story, but I was on the clock and desperately running out of time. I smashed her into the final section, leading up to the moment where Shady cries out for help. Rarity, too, got truncated in the final rush.
For example, she was supposed to deliver the part where Shady Blossom was only at the bar for part of the time she THOUGHT she was, this was to reveal that her split personality had taken over when she'd gotten a few drinks in and ran off to do the vandalism.

To explain the pegasus press spy, his name in my head (if not in canon) is 'Red Herring.' He was there to give Shady a false sense of security and an outlet for her growing sense of split-personality paranoia.

As for all of the positive stuff, thanks! I'm glad to see the important emotional core of the story is intact. While I might have been happier if the pacing was better, and if the technical aspects were tight, knowing that the core of the story works for at least some people means that I can feel good about fixing this up properly.
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Reviews part one 5805

File: 1370281457629.png (454.28 KB, 459x455, SquareSeriesLyraHeartstrings.p…)

Okay, for this you get two screens to hook me. That’s the only way I’m going to even read half these stories. If anyone wants a longer review, I’ll be happy to go over any of these again with a more detailed review after the voting’s over.

Perchance to Dream
>“How can’t you have?” the pegasus filly protested.

I didn’t realize at first that this was Scootaloo saying this, since Shady is also a pegasus. At first, I thought you were implying that Babs was a teen pregnancy.

>The mare’s hoof lodged firmly into her mouth,


Not sure if Applejack…

Much of your sentencing is awkwardly phrased. And Babs, my favorite Crusader, just doesn’t sound right.


A Hiccup in Time
The second and third acts were very funny, but most of the jokes in the first fell kinda flat for me.


Desert Rose

The first two pages did nothing to show me why I should care about what happens to your OC. I couldn’t connect with him in any meaningful way.


Lyra the Stalker
>Lyra wobbled to and fro, doing her best to keep the stack of textbooks on her back balanced.

Why doesn’t she have a bag or something?

>“Noooooooo!” she cried.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaLxFIVX1s

>Thirty minutes before seven, Lyra adjusted her tux and made her way towards Twilight’s house.


Yay! Lyra’s wearing a tux!

Really cute and funny. A few parts need to be flashed out a little though.


My Little Pumpkin

>A unicorn foal cried.

*Groans*

>"Pound Cake is fwying. He says I can't fwy too. I want to fwy!"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suf0Jdt2Hpo

>"Don't you worry about a thing; just leave it to your Auntie Pinkie!"


Hmm…

Yeah, this story is way too predictable. It’s not sad when I already know how it ends.


Circles in Circles

>“You know what? Nevermind. Right now I just need to get some food in me and figure out what I’m gonna do today,”

Se she’s eating cupcakes?! Rainbow Dash is an athlete; she wouldn’t eat junk food in place of an actual meal.

>Princess or not, I’m not even in your league when it comes to flight.”




No, there is no possible way that Twilight is a princess who still lives in Ponyville. Not unless she’s princess of Ponyville. Like, in place of the mayor.

Well, that was pointless…
This post was edited by its author on .

Moar Reviews 2: Electric Boogaloo! Author of "Desert Rose" 5806

Corn: 7/10
I guess I liked this. It was done well enough, and wasn't really painful to read. In fact, in places, your prose was actually quite enjoyable. Your protagonist was interesting, the 1st PoV executed nicely, and each scene flowed very well.

My problem, though is with the plot. I get that you might be going for some sort of commentary on life and expectations, but there really wasn't any sort of payoff. There wasn't really any sort of climax or point to the story. There was barely any development of character or narrative. It just kind of…was. Like a single clip of a much larger story—it frustrated me that I only got this small, inconsequential snapshot of what should be a much wider image. I'm feeling generous today, though, I guess I'll give you this score and leave it at that.


Everything Has Its Season: 2/10
Wat.

That is my one reaction to this fic. In short, I have no idea what I just read. At first, I thought that the PoV narrator was Discord, but I was soon disabused of the notion. I have no idea why you thought it necessary to introduce these gods into Equestrian history, but I would have been fine with it had the execution actually been pulled off. As it was, "Fortune" had a terribly inconsistent voice (going from, well, deity words to "Ya" and "my man"; I had the constant feeling that I was listening to some fucked-up meld of an Abridged Series Jaden Yuki and The Great God Om.

There was no characterization in this (what the heck was up with Spike?), no clear conflict, no clear progression of thought or storytelling, and the only real thing that I took from this was that, apparently, you've read the book Mort. Or something. I really just have no idea. Your OC was annoying, obnoxious, self-assured, and without any real form or character: i.e., everything in an alicorn (?) OC that everyone loves to hate.


Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones: 1/10
>backhanded pimp-slap

From those words, I knew exactly what to expect.

This story really doesn't deserve anything more. I don't review crackfics.


What is Possible: 9/10
I really liked this. It was a sweet little introspective look at who Twilight and Celestia are, and what made them into what they are today. I have to say that I found myself nodding along with Twilight's reasoning for much of the fic, and still find it difficult to fully agree with Celestia even now. When someone's loud, obnoxious, and moronic, it's easy for me to dismiss them, and it's troubling to think that I might have been making a mistake for the past few years of my life. But that just goes to show how well-done this story is: the characters are believable, the narrative voice clear and concise, and the moral executed to a point that few stories manage. Very good job.


Underappreciated: 4/10
To begin, the plural of "pegasus" is "pegasi." And secondly, I've read this story a dozen times before. "Derpy is sad, her employer/RD hate her, and Dinky gives her muffins" is such popular fluff that it's a genre into itself. There's not even much here that's interesting, either. Sure, she messes up, and we're expected to just feel bad because, "Oh, poor Derpy :(" Then she gets almost fired, and it's time for the sadface again. And then Dinky! Feels1!!1!

Mechanically, this was okay. Stylistically, it was nothing terrible, nor anything impressive. But as I said before: I've read this fanfic already, and to be honest, it really didn't feel like reading it again was worth the 2k words that it held.
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Research Notes: Manehattan Perchance to Dream 5807

File: 1370296753275.png (229.64 KB, 616x402, New York 1930.png)

Since I didn't have much time to begin with, I didn't have a lot of time to do research, but I thought I'd share a little bit of what went into the fic (non-spoilery, don't worry if you haven't read it yet).

Specifically, the parts of the fic that had to do with portraying Manehattan:

Videos of early NYC
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEykTo0n9yk - got the inspiration for the little park hoofball game here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjPoW2Ytt9o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkqz3lpUBp0 - I really wanted to have a crazy taxi scene in there, but cut for time. However, that did encourage me to put in pony-drawn carriages.


Luna Park in Coney Island. Totally a real place, how could I not use it?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_Park,_Coney_Island
Obviously, I modified it a little bit. Kind of wanted to show a few scenes there, but I had to cut a lot of the Coneigh Island stuff to balance the fic out.


Brownstone homes


MLP Manehattan Pics:


Really, a huge part of this fic for me was getting into the spirit of a city we've heard about and only seen snatches of.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author: "Everything Has It's Season" 5808

File: 1370299190769.png (203.56 KB, 838x953, princess_fluffle_puff_by_youki…)

>>5806
>another review

Excellent. I love you, too, Rose Writer. <3

To be entirely clear, this was neither trollfiction nor crapfiction. It was a legitimate whateverfiction of my own brand of humor. Strong feelings about it are good feelings, in my mind.

What you call inconsistency I call having more than two dimensions.

But, yes, I concede that the other characters are about as stiff and uninteresting as planks of whitewashed cardboard.


Oh, and I broke Spike. Sowwie. It was an accident! I swear! I'll put him back together…


Wait, where do all the little green bits go?


In other news, the only Pratchett book I've read is Nation.


2 bed you dint liek mai oc i spened so much tiem on it with red and black stripes and a zebricorn wit wings an it haz magics and it sexd celestia on the sun


Honestly, what use would a near-omnipotent being have with wings and a horn? They'd just get in the way.



P.S. Thank you regardless for the review and the diddly-duces. I think three is a prettier number, honestly, but two is nice too!
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 5809

File: 1370299537423.jpg (125.67 KB, 900x900, Fluttershy Sad Crying Rain Pud…)

>tfw no one reviews your story :(

Author of "Desert Rose" 5810

>>5809
>tfw who are u

Anonymous 5811

>>5810
Probably the author of one of the behemoths.

Moar Reviews 3: Sequelitis Author of "Desert Rose" 5812

War Horse: 6/10
Well, this was certainly well-written. I first began to gain an inkling of the speaker's identity—or at least his associations—about two-thirds through. However, as good as the foreshadowing was, I could not pin down, exactly, what it was actually discussing. This story felt so opaque—so alien to what I'm used to reading—that the subject matter just didn't strike me as anything important. The language was nice, and the characters interesting (I suppose), but I didn't really understand what was going on. Was this in the early days of pony history, before the rule of the Princesses? Or, as I suspected, as a reaction to Luna's banishment after her war with Celestia? But what was the point of the army? The invasion? The general? The filly? What is the context?

And above all: how, exactly, besides a few horse-related words and names, is this related to My Little Pony?


Perseverence: Don't Give Up Scootaloo: 3/10
You misspelled "perseverance."

Anyways, this was nice, I guess, as a motivational bit for Scoots, but there wasn't really any meaningful resolution or payoff. The characterizations were fairly flat and incomplete, though Scoot's feeling of helplessness kind of worked, I guess. The whole thing felt more than a bit juvenile, narratively, which wasn't helped by several typos, incomplete BBCode, and the first use of "Phootooty" in a meaningful writing competition.

(Meaningful. Ha!)

Anyways, this is kind of like Unappreciated. It's been done, it's kind of juvenile, not very impressive, and without any real payoff at the end. Sorry.


Ease and Rewind: 10/10
Fucking hell

This was easily one of the best fanfictions I've ever read. I have no idea if Erase's disorder is real or not, but I want to believe that it is because you did such an amazing job of portraying it. And—gah! Rewind is perfectly believable for a child that's been desensitized to death after so long (Series of Unfortunate Events style), and Erase…god, I love the two of them. This was incredibly paced, amazingly characterized, and I just can't get the damn thing out of my head.

And the ending is just perfect. We don't need to know if he dies, and quite frankly, I don't want to. It's perfect as is, and I wouldn't have you change a thing.

PS: People say Inception is a mindfuck? They need to read this.


I'll Always Take Care of You: 5/10
Dinky and Derpy is a nice relationship that, unfortunately, is overdone in most fanfiction. I will admit that I saw the ending coming from the first scene of this story, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it was poorly or clumsily written (though I did, however, catch quite a few lines that made me stop and shake my head, "my tongue [that had been] deprived of moisture" foremost among them). Overall, it wasn't a bad story, though it was quiet stale as a concept and didn't try for much (not that it needed to) beyond a simple "feels" fic. It's not one that I'll remember, but not one that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
This post was edited by its author on .

5813

Yeah, reactions are about what I expected. I even called it out as I was submitting it that the entire back end was lopped off.

Go me.

Author of 'Refrain' 5815

New Review thingy;

Everything Loops:

This one had me excited, but a bit back-and-forth in places. For one, I love the writing style. It has such a character and a charm to it, which is something exception in setting itself apart. Reading it made me feel like I was getting a voice from the author, which was appreciated. What's more, the description was aces. Feels like if I need someone to finally do a proper crossover with Amnesia, here's where I should go.

There were a few instances of sentences, though - just sentences, mind - that stood out like sore thumbs amongst the rest of a great story. Just ones that felt like they stripped away all the mystery of the description - 'Red like blood' was the one that stood out for me in memory. Like, yes, we know it's blood. There were a few instances of giving us glimpses into other characters' heads as well, but those could all be easily patched up.

I think the ending worked well for what it was, though unfortunately, because we're traipsing around through this horrifying scenarios, it didn't have as much impact as it could have. We don't get a chance to identify with the character, and if I was going to make any major suggestion, it would be to both give us a little bit of build up before the loops begin (set the scene to be normal, classic horror movie, and then pull the carpet out), as well as to give us a better sense of the looping, what it's doing to Sparks' mind, what he's feeling through all of this, what he's like… as is, this story is a watershed in creepy scenarios, but it didn't quite have the 'oomph' it could have as a result of being a bit detached.

Still, a highly enjoyable read, and again kudos for the so clearly defined style. A little bit more buffing in the areas I felt were lacking and this one would be rock-solid for me. As is, 9/10.

5816

Doing these one by one because gosh are they long. Dunno if I can finish the rest any time soon, but will do my best to get to 'em.


Perchance to Dream:

This one was a fun ride. Right off the bat, the style struck me as delightfully crisp and not at all painful to read. As I read further along, I thought I found trickles of inspiration seeping in… this had a Rowling vibe to me, though given my last authorial influence guess being wrong, I'm prepared to be told otherwise. What was interesting was that, in the span of only 24k, you managed to create an interesting set of characters and make me care about them, which I applaud you for.

Near the end, I felt really engaged in the story, but I can't help but feel like the conclusion was a little bit rushed, or just not as… interesting as the part that came before it. I feel like a little more exposition and maybe a less convoluted deus ex machina would have been nice.

There was some mechanical stuff - places and characters missing bits of description, uses of phrases using the [verb]ed in [noun] construction, when you can usually just let the action to stand on its own, and some instances of unclear object/subject reference. Applejack said 'tis' once or twice, which I don't think she'd ever say, and Shady's use of 'yeah' felt off to me for some reason.

Also, I'm not sure if this was intentional, but Shady seemed like a total MILF to me. I have no idea what else to do with that, but there it is.

Overall, solid fic, albeit one I had some narrative issues with and am not quite sure how to recommend fixing. For what it is, it's near the peak of its exeuction, though there were bits here and there I would have liked to see expanded. If nothing else, you've set up an interesting mythos that could be developed in further stories. Also, as noted by a previous reviewer, a clearer picture of what exactly a 'thestral' is at the beginning would have been nice.

8.5/10.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 5817

File: 1370327910709.png (815.95 KB, 1600x2202, 12f76067b6ce01a28722169d540a7d…)

For people planning to post reviews who haven't yet: don't post them as 'author of X'

It occurred to me, seeing azu review as himself, that it would be a very good idea for future contests if we posted reviews + rated stories unanonymously, or at the very least, under a different handle than the one we use for the fic we authored in the contest.

My thoughts on this, are that if given a critical review by "Author of Story X", the writer may be subconsciously or not-so-subconsciously spurned to be more highly critical of that author's work because of the poor review they received from them.

Suggestion in summary:
The handle you use to post about the story you authored, should not be used to review the other write off contestants (though it can be used to reply to reviews of your entry). The handle that you use to post reviews and comment on other authors' entries, should be a second handle, whether it's your real one or a second made up handle, so that your reviews aren't linked in any way to your entry.

Why:
I'm not saying I think any of you are petty enough to rate someone's story poorly just because they rated yours poorly. But I do think it's possible that it could be a subconscious factor, and I also think that if someone generally outside of /fic/ decides to enter, this rule would help prevent something of the sort.

The reason this would have to be a rule, of course, is that if only a few people post reviews not as 'Author of X', then by process of elimination you could pretty easily narrow down which /fic/ regular wrote which entry. There's essentially no reason to post reviews of entries as 'author of x', and all it does is take away the anonymity of the contest.
This post was edited by its author on .

5818

>>5817
To me, this is the same as saying "don't post reviews because it might colour other people's perception of fics if they read the review first."

It's a bit drastic and unnecessary, to me.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 5819

>>5818
But there's absolutely no reason to actually post your reviews as 'author of x'. All it does is screw with the anonymous aspect of the competition.

> this is the same as saying "don't post reviews"

hardly. This is just saying "post them under a handle not linked to your entry"

>It's a bit drastic

I don't see how it's drastic at all. All people would have to do is make up a second fake handle, or use their actual handle. It's drop dead simple and obvious, actually, and I'm surprised it isn't the norm now that I think about it.
This post was edited by its author on .

Response to Second Review Perchance to Dream 5820

>>5816

Thanks a lot! Specific response hidden behind the button:
"As I read further along, I thought I found trickles of inspiration seeping in… this had a Rowling vibe to me, though given my last authorial influence guess being wrong, I'm prepared to be told otherwise."
Huh, not that I had noticed. I have read Harry Potter… several times, but if there's an influence there it's unintentional. I did enjoy her writing, though, so maybe there's a thread of it.

"but I can't help but feel like the conclusion was a little bit rushed, or just not as… interesting as the part that came before it. I feel like a little more exposition and maybe a less convoluted deus ex machina would have been nice."

Hit it in one. The conclusion was way, way more rushed than I liked, and I want to rewrite this to both A) foreshadow Luna's presence in this fic better and B) deepen the consequences. Unfortunately, I was pretty much on a 'write or die' schedule, and I barely made it in time with what I had. A friend of mine, with whom I was bouncing ideas, really pushed for Luna's interference the way it happened, but I was never really satisfied with it. I'll see if I can't come up with a better alternative in the rewrite.

"Applejack said 'tis' once or twice, which I don't think she'd ever say, and Shady's use of 'yeah' felt off to me for some reason."
I'll keep an eye out for those again. Right now, I'm going through the fic line-by-line, marking out Babs's dialogue and putting special consideration on her, AJ, AB, and Barry, since they're the only ponies with a heavy written accent (though Shady herself has a strong Canterlot accent, it's not important enough to note.)
Well, okay, Luna has her Archaic Speech going the first time, and then her mild post-Nightmare Night accent the second time, but that's a different bag!

"Also, I'm not sure if this was intentional, but Shady seemed like a total MILF to me. I have no idea what else to do with that, but there it is."
Well, hey - Velvet Curtain did point out that she had the look. Night time terrorism really keeps a lady in shape! Barry could also barely keep his hooves off her.
If you were wondering, she's in her very late 20s, while Babs's father is in his early 30s, having had Lin Seed pretty young (who is around 14ish.) I envision Applejack and co as early 20s (19 or so for Rainbow. 24-25 for Fluttershy) and the Crusaders as around 10.

Nicest thing about your review? It largely hit points that I was already aware were shaky - actually, that's not a great thing in the abstract, since I should be advised about flaws I don't know about, but it does mean that I am on the right track.
Thanks!


On a related note, ugh. I don't know if some of you have had time to do extensive editing on your entries, but I'm cringing at some of the obvious errors I made. *scrub scrub* Out damned spot!
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Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 5821

Quick explanation/reasoning for my rating system:

Writing Style/Mechanics: 3 points
Plot: 2 points
Characters: 2 points
Literary Device Use: 1 point
Overall Cohesion: 2 points

So basically:
Writing = Writing Style/Mechanics + Literary Device Use for 4 points
Story = everything else for 6 points

This places what I feel is the correct weight on both storytelling and the mechanics side of things.

Writing Style/Mechanics: This includes flow, grammar, logic, and how well you can string from one sentence to another, basically. It does not include typos and minor spelling mistakes since I don’t believe that should hold any weight unless it actually becomes a real issue with the story.
Plot: This is a completely subjective measure of how good I think your story idea is, and a not-as-subjective measure of how well your story is paced. Originality will earn some leniency here.
Characters: This is a measure of how appropriately characterized your characters are and how well you define their characters. OOC won’t inherently lose points here if there is clear reason for said OOC behaviour. (You want to write a doctor horrible Fluttershy fic? I’ll be okay with that.)
Literary Device Use: This is sort of the final, hardest point to earn of writing style/mechanics. This will probably be a zero unless your story is a 7/10 or above. A full point in this regard will probably only ever be given to a 9/10 or 10/10 story. To earn a point in this you have to show understanding of literary devices and make use of them in a good way in your story.
Overall Cohesion: This is sorta similar to execution. It’s similar to Plot in that it also evaluates pacing, since pacing effects both the plot and the cohesion of your story. You lose points here if you botch the ending, if your story doesn’t feel ‘tightly contained’, and if some of the events in your story felt contrived/cheap.

With that done, onto reviews:

Perchance to Dream

The beginning lacked any kind of draw into the story. Characters spoke, a lot, but a lot of it didn't seem to be going anywhere. It was just chatter, chatter, chatter. It did have the end result of fleshing their characters out extremely well, so I gave you full points for that, but you took far too long to do it and so the pacing suffered. I'm spotting quite a few sentences that stumble, but most of the cases aren't too bad, usually ranging from pronoun confusion to awkward flow of logic. There's a lack of literary device–which not every story needs, but I have decided to include in my newly pontificated rating system. I spread the lost point from the dithering pacing over plot and cohesion, since it effects both. Another half point was taken off plot for the lack of hook in the beginning.
I will say that I only read up to about halfway through your story, but I felt that I had a fair enough idea from what I'd seen, and I also felt that ~10,000 words is enough to judge a story by.

Writing Style/Mechanics: 2/3
Plot: 1/2
Characters: 2/2
Literary Device Use: 0/1
Overall Cohesion: 1.5/2

6.5/10



A Hiccup in Time

A pretty good idea for a comedy fic. The idea itself has potential, but the execution here doesn't fully explore it. For one, the comedy exists almost solely on the situational level. There's a lack of humor in the narration and dialogue to go along with the humor of the situation, and that is where a lot of the potential is lost. The narration is, well, missing narration. Frankly the scene breaks are a bit much and a bit rapid. There probably should have been a slower build up, with more dialogue, during the first few initial 'hiccups'. Then, you could feel free to skip ahead on the next hiccup to hiccup thirty six. As is, everything moves a bit too fast for us to laugh at what's happening. The plot doesn't take enough time to make fun of how ludicrous it is.

Unfortunately, I probably have higher standards than most when it comes to comedy, so take this as a highly critical review.

Writing Style/Mechanics: 1.5/3
Plot: 1.5/2
Characters: 1/2
Literary Device Use: 0/1
Overall Cohesion: 0.5/2

4.5/10


Desert Rose
Okay, first things first. Are the hand carried stalls sometimes used by royalty actually called 'litters'? God that's so ridiculous sounding. When I first read it I couldn't help but picture him being carried atop a litter of puppies through the marketplace.
Ahem, moving on.
I can tell within the first half page that you know how to write. It's refreshing to see the pianist analogy working here. In another 2 pages I can tell the dialogue is snappy and just 'clicks'. That's the best way I can think of to describe it, and what I mean by that is that the dialogue is revealing of character, curt, and interesting. More pages down, we see the prince acting like a spoiled brat–but a relatable spoiled brat. Something that isn't always easy to pull off, and you did quite a good job of it here. The eventual romance between the prince and the desert rose was compelling and great to read. The ending for this fic, however, doesn't really… say anything? I'm not entirely sure what you were going for with it, most of all with the last scene. After disappearing for forty five years, she shows up again. But it's not entirely clear whether she shows up to see him, or whether it's for his funeral.
I think you would have been best off cutting that final scene, and having him never see or hear from her again. Simply having in summary that he would always remember his time spent with her, and what she taught him. As it is, if you simply cut off the last scene with Desert Rose, the story would be much better off.

Writing Style/Mechanics: 3/3
Plot: 1.5/2
Characters: 2/2
Literary Device Use: 0.5/1
Overall Cohesion: 1/2

8/10

More Review 5822

Desert Rose:

Not sure how to finalize my thoughts on this one. It was a delightful read, and one I was more engaged with than a great deal of the other stories. It certainly didn't feel as long as it was. That said, I think I have some issues, though I'm faltering with them. For one, though they blend almost seamlessly into the rest of the narrative, there were a fair few instances of adverb overusage and description that was giving us information that stood fine by itself. In addition, or as an extension of this, italics were used far too liberally in my opinion, and they actually detracted meaning in several instances, rather than adding to it.

The whole thing is a great exercise almost like a period fiction, and it's adherent to that period and place almost perfectly… but it loses a bit of engagement as a result, because it's a tale that becomes a bit rote by its conclusion. Speaking specifically of the conclusion, the ending of the story fell a bit flat for me. I think I would have prefered to see it end a good deal before it did, during the speech, or just after. It sort of detracts from the impact of the ending revelation to just traipse all that way afterwards.

Good, really good dialogue later on, and again, good job maintaining interest throughout. One of my favorites, though the bits that stood out weakened it a great deal for me. 9/10.

5823

File: 1370342145540.png (165.11 KB, 350x376, winx-club-bloom-122.png)

>>5817
>>5819
Just to be clear, you appear to be arguing two points against reviewing as "Author of x":

- People may punish those who give them bad reviews.
- It makes determining the author easier.

I think the first point is salient, but for the second your provided solution is not much better and even possibly worse. People posting their usual names by their reviews gives extra information that is useful for deducing or inferring who wrote what. In particular:

> The reason this would have to be a rule, of course, is that if only a few people post reviews not as 'Author of X', then by process of elimination you could pretty easily narrow down which /fic/ regular wrote which entry.


This is only true if people are posting with their usual names. Post with another name and you've solved this problem.

I try to make the rules agnostic of this particular community's structure, so "Don't post reviews as 'Author of x' " isn't something I'm inclined to add.

If you're concerned about people retaliating to your reviews, post them as "Anonymous".

Author of "Desert Rose" 5824

>>5821
>>5822
I'm very glad that you both enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun writing it. As "an exercise in period fiction"…that's pretty much true, given that I'd been listening to Arabian-style music for the past week beforehand.

As for the ending (specifically, Desert Rose's reappearance), I did suspect that it might be kind of weak. To be honest, it was mainly in there to drive the point home about "Time and Time Again;" if you think the story's stronger without it, it's easy enough to remove.

Thanks again for reading!

EDIT: I was also trying to imply throughout that Desert Rose was a spirit of the desert, rather than a flesh-and-blood pony. I guess I just really wanted that last scene in there to reaffirm that idea. Ah, well.
This post was edited by its author on .

5825

>>5823
I'm not particularly worried, I just think it could prevent a cock-up before it happens.

And your point about using actual handles being no better is true.

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 5826

>>5824
> I was also trying to imply throughout that Desert Rose was a spirit of the desert, rather than a flesh-and-blood pony.
If that's the case, you could leave in the ending if you instead have something towards the end more clearly insinuating she's a desert spirit.
If you hinted at it a bit more strongly when Altair is asking her where she's from. "I'm from the desert, of course." or something of the sort. If you did that then also had her do something that seems supernatural, like escaping from her cell and vanishing while a guard is standing watch.
"Where is she?"
"I-I don't know my prince. I never once left my station nor heard anything from her, but I turned around to discover her gone!"

Or something. Basically make the spirit thing more than just a note tacked on at the end, if you want to roll with it.

Author of "Desert Rose" 5827

>>5826
Hm…the thing is, I still want her identity to be subtle, with hints and clues pointing the way (up until the end, I guess). Maybe I'll just remove the ending anyway and drop one or two more hints in the rest of the story to make up for it.

Partial Response to Partial Review Perchance to Dream 5828

>>5821
I'm really more interested in a total package review - if you only read the first 10k, that review doesn't include anything about the ending or the totality of the story. I will note that you didn't like the pacing, though, I'll see what I can do to improve that. One might say that the full point should be delivered within the first 10k words, perhaps, but I think there's room to be said for deceptive storytelling. Indeed, the entire point of the first 10k was to make it seem like a completely different story.
Now, I will say that if I were doing this contest again with its restrictions, I would have cut a chunk of that initial 10k. It unbalances the story in a way that I did not intend nor appreciate. The ending became rushed and part of the initial buildup was wasted on that.
It is indeed very important to make sure readers aren't lost early on.

I would like to see if you'd read the rest of it and give some commentary on that.
This post was edited by its author on .

Anonymous 5831

>>5824
Thanks for spoiling when I was only 40% done! :|
I'll finish anyway, post some reviews soon.

Reviews 01 through 05 Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5838

Posting these five at a time. Yes, I have every intention of reviewing every entry, in alphabetical order. Be patient.

Review of "A Hiccup in Time"
Technical: Spelling, grammar and punctuation were, as far as I could tell, near flawless… though you left in a "br" instead of a properly formatted ruler.
Concept and Plot: When I "got" the premise, I giggled. When I got to the point where they were "passing out orientation pamphlets", I snickered. The problem-solving methodology appears to be expanding to meet the needs of the expanding problem-solving methodology. How long until Twilight Sparkle has her own zip-code?
Style and Flow: The descriptions of what Twilight was thinking were a tad distracting and confusing: better to have her do some internal monologue, instead of leaving it up to the narrator. Or maybe go full-on first-person. Nothing serious, though, and it wasn't enough to distract from my enjoyment.
Anything Else? Ending was a tad… meh. I kind of want to imagine the future consequences, or have something become even worse. I guess we'll never know. In the end, though it was a nice bit of fluff that I enjoyed much more than I should have.
Did it match the prompt? To a tee!
Words I had to look up: "Asymptotically." I think Twilight used just enough fancy words and jargon, without tripping me up.

Final Score: 7/10


Review of "Circles in Circles"
Technical: Nothing I could precisely identify, but something's wrong here. I feel it.
Concept and Plot: Simple enough, but… whyyyy? I get that you're trying to invoke a scientific idea to evoke a whimsical and silly event, but even that requires some cohesion and believability. Add to that a complete non-ending, and… I dunno.
Characters and Dialogue: Ugh. The characters weren't merely out of character: they were talking like bad actors. The writing in general is disjointed and poorly composed. I get the feeling you were doing this on purpose, but it feels like you're just trying too hard. Sadly, it takes years of hard work and dedication to write like a ridiculous moron.
Style and Flow: This isn't writing. It's typing. If anything, it almost felt too short. Too brief.
Anything Else? Nope.
Did it match the prompt? Sort of. Strictly speaking, when I hear "Time and time again," I think of multiple repetitions. This involved only a single repetition. Which I wouldn't normally complain about, except we never see the consequences.
Words I had to look up: None

Final Score: 3/10



Review of "Corn"
Technical: No spelling or gramm… wait. Start me off with a sentence that makes me absolutely starving for corn on the cob? Damn you, Pavlov!
Concept and Plot: Hold on. I'm two-thirds through, and I still don't have the protagonist's name yet? What does that mean!? And we don't even know the sister's name. Actually, I don't think you ever mention a single name throughout. What the hell!?
Style and Flow: AAAARGH *clutches own chest* MY FEELS
Anything Else? Wow. Just… wow. I love it. I love everything about it. I love the idea, the execution, the characters, the atmosphere, the slice-of-lifeness… well, okay. The ending was slightly unsatisfying-in-a-way-you-didn't-intend, if only because it's not quite tragic enough. He gives up his quest, but seems to come to peace with it. It's not really happy, but not really tragic. Just sort of adequate. If it were me, I'd hack off the very last paragraph. But it's not me, goddammit, so you can do whatever you like with it.
Did it match the prompt? Yes indeed. The sense of repetition, coupled with the absolutely lurvely backstory exposition, lent the story a remarkable combination of bleakness and hopefullness.
Words I had to look up: None. But I feel strangely compelled to find out what "black corn" tastes like, and where it's grown.

Final Score: 9/10


Review of "Desert Rose"
Technical: Keep noticing bits of dialogue ending with commas instead of periods, in front of stuff that isn't attribution. Hm… also saw hard scene breaks that felt more like they should be weak scene breaks.
Concept and Plot: Y'know, the idea itself is plain enough, but I got a really poetic feeling from the whole thing. The characters and events are pretty predictable, but there's a sort of timeless poetry about it all that sucked me in and kept me going. It felt like you'd picked an old story to re-tell in your own words… a very old story, timeless and classic. In many ways this story is the opposite of "Perchance to dream", which I feel had a superior premise but was lacking in sentence-flow and readability.
Characters and Dialogue: Characters, meh. Dialogue, yay! I want to say your story containsboring, unoriginal characters… but I can't help but feel that you drew upon archetypes instead of stereotypes. The shiftless prince. The loyal servant. The unattainable, inscrutable beauty. The dialogue, likewise, made the characters seem real and made it easy for me to distinguish between them.
Style and Flow: I'm not even a page in, and I gotta say: I'm really diggin' the whole middle-eastern theme. It's all "arabian nights" and stuff. Mmm… hummus and curry. More importantly, the descriptions are lavascious and succulent without being convoluted and annoying. This is the story's strongest point by far.
Anything Else? I did notice another reviewer skipping this story over because he/she had no interest in the character. That reviewer does not know what he is missing, and I have not the patience for his ilk. This is clearly very subjective, but it worked for me. I had no trouble reading this story front to back: I took only one break, just before the end, and I was eager to finish in the morning. That's an accomplishment.
Did it match the prompt? Took you long enough, but yes. Good enough for me.
Words I had to look up, but were cool: None. If the story has any flaw, it was this: it never challenged my thinking. None of the twists surprised me, and the moral of the story was predictable. I still found it satisfying.

Final Score: 8/10


Review of "Everything Has It's season"
Technical: No problems with spelling, grammar or punctuation I could find.
Concept and Plot: Ugh. It feels like you're trying to merge two different mythologies in a sort of "see what happens" scenario. The first problem is that they weren't merged effectively, at all: it focuses too much on this new OC smashing his way though the canon of Friendship Is Magic, giggling all the while. The second problem is… the thing you're trying to introduce? I don't find it very interesting. I like the mythology of MLP:FIM. I like it specifically because it's not the same tired old cliches of "the angry old testament" or "the gods of olympus are total dicks". It offers us a genuinely benificent quasi-religion, led by a goddess who isn't preachy or arrogant.
Style and Flow: How exactly does somebody "made as if to respond"? Even without the problems listed above, the storytelling alone needs some work. Kinda clunky and inelegant.
Characters and Dialogue: There's something smarmy about this protagonist… something about the way he chuckles, his know-it-all smile, and the way he wastes the first line of the story with tuneless humming. If you were doing this on purpose, be warned: He doesn't come off as a magnificent bastard. Just the regular, garden-variety kind of bastard. And the humming is still annoying, even if they're used as book-ends.
Anything Else? "Death" and "Dementia" are characters, now? Personifications? You're not ripping off Neil Gaiman, are you? Even so, we don't learn anything about these "old gods" that could make them interesting or compelling or frightening. At least do a better job of convincing me that they need to be taken seriously.
Did it match the prompt? Not to a discernable degree. This seems kind of serious, actually… shouldn't this story be disqualified? Is there something I missed?
Words I had to look up: "Quadrarchy." I'm not convinced it's a real word.
Final Score: 2/10

Reviews 06 through 10 Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5841

Stupid formatting problems… I'll get this right eventually.

Review of "Everything Loops"
Technical: A missing word near the start, and an extra word near the end. Otherwise, flawless. Nothing to complain about at all.
Concept and Plot: Started out pretty contrived. You mentioned a haunted hospital right off the bat, so I naturally assumed a "Scientist VS Ghosts" story. Oddly, as with "Perchance to Dream," I feel like you waited until the halfway mark to hit me with the first interesting plot-hook… I know all sorts of wierd-ass stuff was going on before now, but for some reason the scene of the city on fire was the first thing that really tugged at my imagination and curiosity. Up until then, it was all about ghosts and zombies and "it was all just a dream," all of which are well established tropes. I'm not sure what makes the "city on fire" moment so iconic for me… perhaps it's the sudden, jarring difference that as me asking questions: Is this a real zombie apocalypse? Is Sparky going clinically mad? Is he literally in pony hell? And now I'm asking about how and why he got into this mess. It literally goes from hot to cold… snow to fire… and the introduction of the immolated colt gives us our first possible antagonist. For some reason, this is the point at which the story becomes compelling.
Characters and Dialogue: Nuthin' to complain about here, certainly. Sparky makes for a pretty good curmudgeony everypony. I especially like the crazy-and-he-probably-knows-it doctor he meets during the third nightmare sequence: he brings a jarring sense of reality and continuity to an otherwise dream-like scenario. The dialogue is good, but they don't quite talk like actual people. The conversations are all slightly "serves a purpose." At one point, somepony blatantly states "you're not dreaming," which left me grumpy: this fact was already beautifully implied, and stating it plainly ruins it. I suppose the implication that he's reading his mind partly makes up for it.
Style and Flow: Hard to describe, but the narrator is a teeny bit too chatty. Like he's hovering into first-person narrative. It feels like your story has… swagger. Is that good, or bad? No idea. But it is a little hard to swallow: longish sentences, and longish paragraphs. Might just be me talking, but the story could benefit from saying more with less.
Anything Else? I think the problem I'm trying to describe is… a sense of place. The descriptions are rich and extravagant, but I always felt a little lost. I couldn't really picture the scene in my mind, nor could I clearly imagine how events were unfolding. Things weren't clear enough, which made it hard for me to stay anchored.
Concept and Plot, Revisited: Holy shit. You know what? The last 20% of the story makes up for most of my earlier complaints. The big reveal at the end tied everything together with an impressive mind-screw that had me genuinely spooked. The story was worth the ending. It was a rough time getting there, but it was worth it. I wonder if I would have figured the twist out myself if the beginning hadn't seemed so disarmingly conventional early on.
Did it match the prompt? The ending makes use of it magnificently.
Words I had to look up: Not quite a look-up. I was going to complain about an all-caps "or" randomly plunked in the middle of a sentence for no reason. Then I remembered that OR stands for Operating Room. I facepalmed.

Final Score: 8/10



Review of "I'll Always Take Care of You"
Technical: A few extraneous or repetitive words. Defenitely too many commas. And characters sure seem to "beam" a lot.
Concept and Plot: What is it about Derpy and Dinky that attracts such tragic tales of being misunderstood? Why do we never get stories about Derpy being competent and confident? It's like an actor stuck playing the same kind of role, over and over again. In the end, your choice of plot doesn't really annoy me much… but the more common a cliche is, the harder it is to do it justice. And by now, this one is common enough to be hard as neutronium.
Characters and Dialogue: I can't say that I grew particularly attatched to these characters. The dialogue, as well as the narrative, was just too up-front and straightforward. It left nothing to the imagination.
Style and Flow: The story, much like the title, is cutsey-cheesy and it knows it. I likes me some cheese now and then. The problem, though, is that it's straightforward to the point of being anvilicious. I'm reading a story where the characters have feels, but I don't get any feels myself.
Anything Else? To your credit, the twist ending defenitely elicited a feels from me. But it could have been so much more…
Did it match the prompt? Now that I think back, no. Not to a discernable level. There is the sense that Mother is always taking care of baby, but it's not so much "repetition" as a continuous, ongoing responsability. Baby visiting Mother at the end is sort of a repetition, but more of a "thematically ironic trading of places." I dunno. Am I making any sense?
Words I had to look up: None

Final Score: 3/10



Review of "Lyra the Stalker"
Technical: As seems to be the case, no problems that I could detect. Either there weren't any, or there were few enough that they didn't distract from the story.
Concept and Plot: Wow. This is so dumb. This is… really dumb. Now she's hiding in a trash can, talking out loud to herself? Heh. That's actually pretty… ahem. It's dumb. Yes it is. Authors should write serious stuff, about wars and crushing existential angst. Bad author! Naughty, wicked author! You need a spanking. And tell me what you're wearing…. slowly.
Characters and Dialogue: Bouncy, cartoony whimsey. If you're going to do it, though, you may as well go "all in". The dialogue was somewhat mechanical, especially the exclamations. Nothign to get attatched to, but nothing to be disappointed by either. For some reason, I found it both odd and refreshign that nopony even mentions the possaiblity that Twilight might not be gay. Or that a gay couple could attend the Spring Formal without anyone so much as batting an eyelash. No forbidden lesbian angst here, thank you very much. Just a goofy stalker with a crush.
Style and Flow: Kinda mechanical, actually. Going from point A to point B. Made me feel like I was reading a children's story. Which is sad, because children make for smarter readers than you'd think… they just have smaller vocabularies.
Anything Else? You know, I don't generally go for empty carbs… and this story has to be the epitome of light, fluffy, silliness. Extremely subjective, and the plot doesn't have nearly enough hook or readers who don't like silliness. Not my usual fare, and I wouldn't go back for seconds, but I did giggle once or twice.
Did it match the prompt? Sort… of? It's clear that Lyra stalks Twilight, over and over. I guess that'll do.
Words I had to look up: None

Final Score: 6/10


Review of "My little Pumpkin"
Technical: No problems that I could notice. Can't complain.
Concept and Plot: Extremely straightforward and predictable. I can tell from the very beginning I'm being set up for some feels. Everything about this story feels distilled to an absolute minimum, and I'm rather surprised that someone attempted this with such a tiny word-count.
Characters and Dialogue: They don't seem like "characters" so much as caricatures… windows into a theme. Which is what characters are anyways, except they're usually dressed up with individual flaws and traits to distract the reader from what's going on under the hood.
Style and Flow: Feels a bit rough. Unrefined. I also get the feeling that the phrase "An X cried" was supposed to serve as a mechanism for thematic repetition… a noble endeavor, but the tool isn't being used to the fullest extent. The most egregious problem is the introductory segment, which nearly turned me off the story completely.
Anything Else? Actually, you know what? Screw it. I'm going to allow myself to enjoy this story whether I like it or not. I will treat it as a passage of poetry desperately masquerading as prose, and will argue to the death that the minimalist approach and mechanical repetition of key phrases are good things. It could have been executed a little more effectively, but I've read enough of Ray Bradbury's short stories to know that sometimes less is more.
Did it match the prompt? Yup.
Words I had to look up: "Funnel Cake." I'm trying to remember if it's the kind of dessert you make by squirting big long spirals of raw cake batter into a deep-fat frier, like the kind they have at that one italian pizza place I went to years ago for a birthday party… someone else at the table ordered it, and I only now wonder what it tastes like.

Final Score: 7/10


Review of "Perchance to Dream"
Technical: Spelling, grammar and punctuation were, as far as I could tell, near flawless.
Concept and Plot: Very good. Excellent, even! Even though the main plot-point arrived way too late, it hooked my interest enough for me to see it through to the end. And said ending was most impressive. I must admit, I didn't think for an instant that the photographer pony was ever really the villain… of course, that only heightened the suspense.
Characters and Dialogue: Ugh. You introduced a ton of characters right off the bat, but I never really got attatched to any them. The names kind of blurred together a bit. I was pretty sure Shady Blossom was the focus of the story, but you spent so much time on her family that it made me a little dizzy. In fact, I'm pretty sure you could have cut out the cutie mark crusaders entirely and found some other way to have Applejack visit Shady Blossom. You got us all salivatin' for a CMC story, but they don't serve much purpose at all after the halfway point.
Style and Flow: The most problematic element by far. Sentences were much too flowery, and didn't flow very smoothly. I spent almost the entire story trying to skim ahead, forcing myself to read. There was also an unforgivable amount Show-don't-tell on so many levels. Everything from telling us character's thoughts and feelings, to explaining a major plot point in a soliloqy (Shady Blossom flat out tells us what's up with her past. Why couldn't we have the CMC's investigate, instead?). A story concept like this depends on cultivating emotions in the reader. Not dictating them.
Anything Else? Much too long. Cut down to half. Maybe even a third. Of course, if a reader likes your method of description and characterization, the length won't be a problem at all. This may be a style choice… but it still took you twelve thousand words to hit me with the first significant plot point.
Did it match the prompt? A little, I guess. Good enough for me.
Words I had to look up: "Brownstone." I know I complained about the length, but… I absolutely love the detail you put into the city!
Final Score: 6/10

Response to Next Review Perchance 5843

>>5837
You are right in that Shady Blossom is indeed the central character. Really, though, I don't think we can have a Manehattan fic without the CMC, it just wouldn't be right! Sadly, there was so much I had hoped to do that I ended up not being able to do because of the restrictions. It is sad.

Right now I'm looking at a document full of notes on how to better integrate those characters into the narrative, particularly the CMC scenes that I had to cut for time. Short version: I love a big cast and I want everypony to become involved when I fix this.
Indeed, here's the header of one of my notes:
A lot of important characters who get established do not contribute meaningfully to the final segment.
This is followed by individual character treatments.

I'm wondering how much of the ending I'll have to chew up, because, yeah, waaaay too much telling. Crunch time makes fools of us all.

If you think my grammar and punctuation were flawless, though, you are clearly mad :D Spelling, though, yeah, I'm good at that.

As for length, what I'm thinking of doing is introducing a false dilemma early on - a conflict that seems like it's important, just like this fic pretends to be a family comedy/drama at first. This will be balanced by an expansion of the later parts. The whole thing will be broken into chapters.
This post was edited by its author on .

A Hiccup in Time 5851

>>5821
First of all, to do well in a competition, you basically have to write something that will appeal to as broad a group of people as possible. So I've already shot myself in the foot by writing a comedy, since it's the thing that's hardest to get people to agree on. So I don't expect it to do any better than middle of the pack, and I had fun writing it. I didn't have much time this weekend, and threw it together in less than half the time I'd usually take.

So if you didn't find it funny, that's okay. It's your prerogative to do so, and vote it accordingly. But it might have been better if you'd left it at that.

>For one, the comedy exists almost solely on the situational level. There's a lack of humor in the narration and dialogue to go along with the humor of the situation, and that is where a lot of the potential is lost.

Wow. That's a very narrow definition of comedy. There are plenty of examples of comedies where the humor resides entirely in one element of the story. It's like saying a sad story wasn't good because it only had a death, and should have also included some financial ruin and emotional abuse. You can effectively play with as much of the spectrum as you like. There's little to no comedy in the dialogue itself, because… well, it's not supposed to be. Twilight's not at all amused by her situation, so she's not going to be making light of it. The only character who finds any of it entertaining is Spike, and he's keeping it under wraps for Twilight's sake. It's a valid setup. If you don't like it, that's a perfectly fine thing to say, but you can't call it wrong.

>Frankly the scene breaks are a bit much and a bit rapid.

That's the point. This is all going by quite rapidly for Twilight, and it's well within her perspective, so it reflects that. There are cues that the amount of time she spends in each loop varies, and is sometimes quite short. The reader's whisked along as quickly as Twilight is.

I don't know why people are so afraid to couch things as opinions. If I catch a misspelled word, that's pretty black and white. But if I say I found a story boring (note the phrasing: "I found this boring" versus "This is boring"), I'm going to do myself a disservice by overexplaining it in a manner that tries to sound objective but opens itself up too much to dispute. Unless you're a reviewer with enough reputation to convincingly argue "I know this is what most readers prefer" (and I don't feel like I'm there myself, fwiw), it's much more effective to say "I found it boring and here's why" than "It's boring, and that's because you did these things wrong."

I couldn't decipher the comment about the narration. There is none? I have no idea what that means. It's third-person limited POV. It's all Twilight's perception of what's happening, and it's… well, narrated that way. I don't know what else to say. Is it just that you have a preference for a more objective narrator? If that's the case, it's fine, but just say so.

>Unfortunately, I probably have higher standards than most when it comes to comedy, so take this as a highly critical review.

Is that fair? I'm not trying to be confrontational about this at all. It's an honest question. One vote isn't going to alter the standings, so if most people disagree with you, you're an outlier, and if a number agree, then it's a validated assessment. Either way is fine. But seeing as how you're the one posting about avoiding bias in these reviews, is it good to treat some fics more harshly than others (or admit to it anyway)?

TL;DR In a competition like this, it's perfectly fine to be swayed by your personal tastes. Just be frank about that instead of trying to present your preferences as fact.

There are things in there I was already aware of and some things I categorically disagree with, but that's on me to deal with. I do appreciate the time you put into giving feedback.

Hiccup in Time Review Anonymous 5854

Short version: Liked it but had some serious flaws in my mind. See below for details.
I have to approve of you using asymptotically, I love new vocabulary words. I'm not entirely sure it's being used properly in this instance, mind.

Way, way too many ellipses… It could have been worse, but still… still…

Twilight is sounding a little off. I would normally expect her to be a bit more long-winded and better at explaining her actions, if not the reasoning behind them. See the episode you're referencing: It's About Time. Arguably, everything she's doing there has a purpose, but only if you accept a certain level of insane troll logic.

Why didn't she address the issue of stable time loops from the get-go? It's About Time established that, at least as used in that episode, the spell Starswirl developed created such a loop. The fact that Twilight didn't show up ten minutes before casting in the original paragraphs should have clued Twilight in that something was wrong.

Now we get to the cracked portion…

Twilight's voice improves here, I'll say that much. I can easily imagine Tara's voice acting here.

Now that the fic has found its stride, I can see some real care and attention to the construction. At first, the fic felt lazy, but now it actually takes some thought to understand what's going on.

Honestly, it's hard to say what I think of the meat of the fic, when you get right down to it. The funniest parts where were Twilight was feeling exasperated and calling out her different prior parts for the antics she herself had performed. There's a lot of inherent comedy in the situation, though, at some points? I think it gets a little brushed over.

Ending felt a little weak. The bit with Rainbow was great early on—classic, even—but when Rarity and Pinkie Pie came along to do what she had done, they were too late to the party (literally) and their contributions weren't all that funny.

Overall, felt the writing could use some improvement, but the meat of the story was engaging and funny, if a bit lacking here and there. Beginning meh, ending meh, middle pretty decent.

5856

>>5851
What benefit is there to arguing against someone's review of your story? 'Authorial defense' is a dangerous preposition, because it implies there's something about your story that only exists by virtue of explaining it, or that you're condescending to the reader by asserting their opinion is 'wrong'.

You're free to do as you please, but in the future you might want to reconsider what countering a critique of your work says about you, and it, in the first place.

Anonymous 5858

I just realized: we didn't have a single story submitted about Dr. Whooves.

I'm so proud of you guys ;_;

Anonymous 5859

>>5858
From what I recall of the #fic discussions, this was a narrow thing.

5860

>>5856

The benefit is understanding, and debating the points of your story with a reviewer is highly encouraged on this board.

Until the problem is solved, a writer continues to make mistakes. By presenting counter-arguments, we learn how they think, and can help them change it so that they might write in the best way for success. Unless we hear why the story is written like it was, we cannot understand what they did wrong that made us not like it.

And, also, reviewers are not infallible. We make mistakes. We have opinions and personal beliefs on how stories work, no matter how hard we try to be subjective. Debating points, in a calm and rational manner, allows us the opportunity to see our mistakes and correct ourselves so that the writer can be given the best tools to use on their own creation if a mistake was made, or a point of reasoning unclear.

We are not the law. Just a tour-guide. You have to help us help you.

>>5851

>Unfortunately, I probably have higher standards than most when it comes to comedy, so take this as a highly critical review.


>Is that fair? .


Life is very rarely fair, and your audience is not going to be easy to predict despite your best attempts. I, for example, found it a hoot and greatly enjoyed myself.

Though, I will agree with SLP in that it’s a pity you could not have taken just a little more time with the scenes so that they went down a bit better. Not too much, perhaps, but a little more meat in some of those scenes would have allowed us to fully absorb and appreciate the humor of the situation far better. Giving us time to breath, as it were.

And also, just because a comedy works on one level doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be given layers as well. It creates depth, and shows you’re not just a one-trick pony.So to speak A joke over-used quickly wears out its welcome. This was short enough that I wasn’t bashing myself in the head with the whole hiccup gag, but I didn’t exactly bust out laughing the whole way through. There was a sort of predictableness to it after a while, and I am personally unfond of time-travel as a plot-device to begin with, so add a layer of confusion to the mix and it sort of drags the story down a bit.

However, despite what you may think, I imagine SLP was indeed giving his opinion and not some attempt to present them as “fact”. As I said earlier, we are not the law of what makes a good fic, but you should listen to what someone has to say, and not ignore them merely because they took a strong dislike to something.

SLP read your story, and therefore gave up some of his personal time for it. This is what he thought of it and those were his reasonings. Whether they are “professional” grade or not really means little, because one way or another, they are still his opinions.

Even professional criticism is all based on opinion. No-one actually has “facts” on what makes something good, they just have opinions that happen to be the most accepted ones at that time. Twenty years from now, all of these could be pure literary gold, just depending on what happens to the culture, or utter trash.

Take his words with a grain of salt. And know that, in the end, he doesn’t have control over what you do with your life or your writing. He’s only one of many voices, trying to guide you on the path to success. How you choose to take that advice is what will decide where you go, not the advice itself.

part 2 Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 5862

File: 1370412862205.png (109.41 KB, 900x800, ____by_thatsgrotesque-d4xi9hf.…)

For rating system, see: >>5821

Lyra the Stalker

The writing could definitely work. There's some descriptions that just don't work, or are just badly imported descriptions of cartoon tropes. The writing wasn't error free, either. However, the idea I can kinda picture. We don't really know why lyra follows Twilight back and forth from Canterlot to Ponyville, and this is a pretty funny way to think of it (even if lyra isn't the only one who seems to magially follow her around). The whole story does suffer a bit from the writing, frankly. Hopefully this can be a bit of a learning experience to work towards improving that.
Writing Style/Mechanics: 0.5/3
Plot: 1.5/2
Characters: 1/2
Literary Device Use: 0/1
Overall Cohesion: 1.5/2

4.5/10


My Little Pumpkin

It’s satisfying seeing a shorter story that says a lot in this contest. The writing was solid, but not effortless and flowing. The idea was executed very well, so you get full points on cohesion for that. Still, we know pinkie, but pumpkin cake didn’t really get a chance to establish connection to the reader in the story, so there wasn’t as much of a tug when we saw her loss. It’s a fairly good short story, but not really wow-ing or deeply moving or anything.
Writing Style/Mechanics 2/3
Plot: 1/2
Characters: 1.5/2
Literary Device Use: 0/1
Overall Cohesion: 2/2

6.5/10


Circles in Circles

Heh, not a whole lot to this story, but there doesn’t really need to be. It’s a fairly basic, entertaining case of a time loop with Dash being Dash. It’s short, it’s simple, it’s entertaining. It does exactly what it sets out to do, so I’d say it succeeds in that regard.
Writing Style/Mechanics 2/3
Plot: 1.5/2
Characters: 1.5/2
Literary Device Use: 0/1
Overall Cohesion: 2/2

7/10

Soundslikeponies!bQsJPGMNfw 5863

>>5851
>First of all, to do well in a competition, you basically have to write something that will appeal to as broad a group of people as possible. So I've already shot myself in the foot by writing a comedy, since it's the thing that's hardest to get people to agree on.
Writing comedy isn't shooting yourself in the foot in these contests. People just seem to believe that because I suspect they turned out to not be very good comedy writers. Which is nothing to be ashamed of.

The story lost a point off characterization because I felt Twilight was off. You didn't really manage to nail her speech, or quite nail her character, in my opinion. The most notable flaw of the fic was actually how jarring and (again, in my opinion) poorly paced it was.

>That's the point. This is all going by quite rapidly for Twilight, and it's well within her perspective, so it reflects that.

That doesn't mean it works for the reader.

> It's third-person limited POV.

That doesn't mean you only narrate what Twilight focuses on, leaving little detail about everything else. That doesn't make for any kind of imagery or vivid ideas of what's happening in the story.

>Is that fair?

Yes. When I say "my standards for comedy are higher than most" frankly, what I want to say is 'most people have low standards when it comes to comedy, and I don't.
I was raised with british comedy, written comedy, and all the word-wit of the time. I'm very familiar with how comedy works, so let me just say,
>Wow. That's a very narrow definition of comedy. There are plenty of examples of comedies where the humor resides entirely in one element of the story. It's like saying a sad story <etc etc, bad analogy>
No, that's not how comedy works. Comedy writing is carried by the dialogue, the plot, and the narration being funny. The whole story tries to be funny when it can. Trying to be funny through only situation, through only narration, or through only dialogue usually makes your story humourous rather than funny. A story can be perfectly fine being a humourous story, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a comedy. In the case of your story, it needed to carry a full comedic stance, but fell short, because it was only humourous. By limiting where comedy could be present in the story, you essentially chopped one arm off before going to the rugby match.

The 4.5 will be rounded up to a 5, by the way. The comedy didn't nearly play a factor into my rating of the story as much as the pacing did. (And even though I consider myself a decent objective authority on the subject, I don't feel I should put too much weight on it).

A Hiccup in Time 5864

>>5821
>>5856
Well, now that I read back over my response, it certainly sounds that way. I didn't say the critique was wrong. I did bring up a couple of points I genuinely didn't understand, but the rest was pulling out examples of where I'd like to see more from the criticism, particularly since this is the first one I saw that attempted to be more analytical than general impression. The reviews are why many of the participants come here, so I was hoping to make those reviews more effective and "critique the critique," as it were. It's certainly an opportunity to improve one's writing, so why shouldn't it be an opportunity to improve one's reviewing as well? I remember seeing starred reviews in TTG where the reviewer wanted feedback as well, and that's what I hoped to accomplish.

Take the point about comedic delivery, for example. SLP clearly believes I should have used all three elements he mentioned. Is that because he thinks it's a fundamental rule that I've violated? Or that it's okay to use only one or two of them, but I needed all three in this case for reasons X, Y, and Z? Or that it's a personal preference and a justification for giving a certain score, but that he wouldn't call it an error? Anywhere in that continuum is an acceptable answer, but knowing where will have a huge effect on how I interpret and use that feedback. To use an extreme instance, consider the ubiquitous "MOAR!" comment. What do you do with that? If you knew why the reader said that, there might be some enlightening nugget to take away. Personally, I find it more helpful to have a single issue explained in detail than a long list of bullet points, though that may not be the case for most people. I actually agree that more depth to the comedy would be a good thing, but was beyond the scope of what I could accomplish in the time I had, and it's something I can work on at my leisure.

So, SLP, I in no way found your review to be false, insulting, or something to dismiss, and I hope you didn't find my response to say such, since that's not what I intended.

The quick versions, which are hopefully clearer:
1) the humor issue—as described above, where are you coming from on this?
2) If something's your opinion, don't be afraid to say so. The writer can still use it, but it's helpful to know that you didn't like a character because you found him annoying versus you didn't like a character because he violates one of Vonnegut's rules. Sometimes the opinion is worth more than the broken "rule."
3) the scene breaks—did you consider that they were there to create an effect? Did they do so, or is there a competing interest that you place more value on?
4) I genuinely didn't understand the comment about the narration not being narration.
5) being tougher on comedies—ideally, you could account for this, but that's neither here nor there. I just wouldn't recommend admitting it.

EDIT: And SLP's already followed up as I typed this. Okay, I see more of your reasoning behind this. I emphatically disagree on a couple of points, but what author doesn't?

>>5854
You've pretty much hit on all the issues I had with it. I would argue that Rarity and Pinkie didn't quite serve the same purpose as Dash, but that's moot if they weren't effective anyway.

And "asymptotically" is frequently used in that sense: getting within any arbitrary distance of something, but never actually reaching it. As in, if she went back ten minutes, she could stay eight, if she went back 4 minutes, she could stay 3.5, if she went back 1 second, she could stay 0.9 seconds… She can get as close to her original departure time as she likes, but she'll never get all the way there. It's nerdspeak that gets thrown around my circle of colleagues a lot, and it honestly never occurred to me that anyone would need to look it up.

Thank you for your feedback.

>>5860
I agree with what you're saying, and I'm using "fact" a bit loosely, insofar as no rules in writing are absolute, but there are quite a few rather rigid guidelines that come as close to fact as you can. For instance, I can factually say that a word might be misspelled, but the author can say he meant to do it that way because he was imitating Applejack's accent. There's an exception to a pretty cut-and-dried rule, and it's much more common to see effective violations of the aforementioned Vonnegut's rules, though by being formalized, it's easier and common to present them as fact. On the other end would be my simple opinion that a character was unlikable, but it can carry enough weight to be convincing if I justify it. That's all I meant.

And since I seem to have made things worse instead of better, I'll go back to lurking.

Anonymous 5867

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>mfw entering the write off

Anonymous 5868

>>5864
I figured it out. I've used the concept myself by description ("as if approaching a limit"), but never the term. But hey, never too late to pick things up.

Anonymous 5872

File: 1370433954675.png (475.58 KB, 1250x699, Rarity_and_Pinkie_Pie_smile_hu…)

I_Post_Ponies!7ZxXoTz/pI 5875

File: 1370439037057.png (104.3 KB, 678x477, sittingnstuff.png)

21 submissions and 151k words? It's been a while since I've looked at a write-off, but that seems like a pretty good turnout. I'll see if I can't do some reviews.

Anonymous 5879

File: 1370449365651.png (736.07 KB, 5000x3727, 13409__safe_rarity_applejack_v…)

>>5872

All of a sudden, Applejack turned into Rarity! I think this pic would work better.

Moar Reviews 4: Buy Our Merchandise! Author of "Desert Rose" 5882

Quotidian: 9/10
Okay, so let me just get my problems out of the way quickly: I thought that you let the narrator ramble on in his monologue for a bit too long toward the ending, and I found more than a few grammar mistakes, at least in the beginning.

With that said, this was a wonderful read.

It was entertaining, interesting, and subtle. It was nicely-characterized, which I thought was one of the most important bits. Put together, this story was a very nice look at every possible shade and tint of MLP, analyzing many of the different characters and settings that we have available. From Applejack's thought process, to the Cakes' marital dispute, and even to RD's little psuedo-philosophical treatise, I felt that everything was relevant, well-executed, and above all, interesting.

I looked up "Quotidian" on the Internet, by the way—it means "everyday," or "reoccurring." It occurred to me that the title, while relevant to the plot, also held great significance to the things that you showed within that plot: the everyday parts of life that we don't usually consider when discussing an "epic" story. But worrying about the family, glossing over romantic tension, and thinking back on old friendships aren't unimportant things—for most people, they're the only things that they have. It's something that we need to remember, that "everyday life" is everyday for a reason. It's relatable, it's important, and you've done a wonderful job in showing that here.

Oh, and I absolutely adored the narrator (who I took to be Discord)—his voice was perfect—and his interactions with the "reader" (who I wasn't quite sure about) were always spot-on. The unique formatting was also very, very good. Bravo, my good sir. Excellently done.


Time and Time Again: 8/10
So, I'm not quite sure what to think of this. I certainly enjoyed it, as I do most poetic/pseudo-mythological works set in front of me. I liked the ideas within, and I liked the proposed characterizations. I'm sure that some others will say that you were "trying too hard" and object to your pseudo-philosophical language, but I liked what you had to say, and I certainly, again, enjoyed it.

So, before I get caught in a tautology, I'll just go with my gut. I liked this. It wasn't perfect, nor was it quite what I might have expected, but it told a story of its own and was quite well-written, and I think it deserves this score just for that.


I'll read the other two later; I just wanted to get these out of the way

I heard there was a write off 5885

File: 1370462394233.jpg (35.96 KB, 529x485, 1297559520610.jpg)

I read a few, planing on finishing all of them before voting, so far 6.
My judgment is based mostly plot, how it's passed onto the reader and how well the author used the amount of words he decide to use. I care little for grammar and sometimes spelling, since I'm nowhere near as good as most of the participants.
Also, I'll include my opinion if the story could be somehow expanded.

So here we go(semi alphabetic order):

Circles in circle
The prompt obviously encourages some time manipulations. The plot was overly simplistic, nothing said, really easy to guess what will happen next. In the end, it's a fic that will be forgotten as quickly as RD forgot she went back in time.
The writing was easy to read, I don't remember any moments that I wanted to skip (aside from where the ending was painfully obvious) or had to reread something. The ending was very straightforward, so there's no chance to turn this into a longer fic, unless changing a lot.
On a side note:
Why was Pinkie Pie there? Aside to reach the 2k minimum


Corn
As the second fic I read from the write off, this was a huge jump in plot quality. It had this nice mysterious vibe around it, giving just enough to keep me interested, but not enough for me to guess which way was it going.
I really liked the descriptions, added that realistic feel to it. Heck, even after a month I will probably be able to remember at least some detail about how her mother cooked corn.
Can this be expanded? Yes. Should it? Depends on what turn the author wishes to make, but I'd say no. This is a wonderful short read.


Desert Rose
Oh Sweet Celestia, where should I start with this one. First thing, the whole plot could have been achieved in less words. The plot itself was kinda interesting to follow, but not entirely. It was a tease, but not a tease that I was happy to put up with for long.
I had a feeling that the author changed his idea somewhere in the middle. First, we have two dreams, that are so painfully obvious, I wanted to slap the prince for being so stupid. Later, we don't have any kind of dreams, which makes it seem like the two at the start were kinda shoehorned ( see http://youtu.be/nbsWQqnWS_s ).
The whole interaction between the two was weak, neither of the two seemed real in the "relationship", aside from when prince is taught a lesson by the mare, but even that part felt like it didn't connect well.
Then we have the whole father situation and ending.
Expanding? No. Why? He's dead.



Erase and Rewind:
I like the idea of the story. It kinda reminds me of some other idea I've seen/read, but can't really recall where.
This story felt really segmented into three parts or actually just two:
Rewind's tragedy and Erase meets Rewind (which includes Erase's little intro).
I'm not sure if this is bad or good, but it works. The story had flow in each of the segments and I really enjoyed it.
Expand? Yes, please. Why? Cause I want to know if he managed to cross the road or not.


Everything Has Its Season:
This was interesting plot wise. I don't mind a plot that I don't fully understand, frankly, I don't care, as long as you can write it interestingly. That said, it did leave me lost at times.
Taking into account that this story just went over 2k the flow is rather nice. Introduction, some explanation, reveal and a question to round it up with. Also, interesting mentioning of Коще́й, not out of place though.
Can this be expand? It's a possibility. Should it? I like how the question is set and it's up for the reader to answer what will the characters answer. Also, I don't believe there could be more added to the idea, unless we'd get more background of the gods, etc


Everything Loops:
Another obvious shot at the obvious prompt. Plot not so original, but still interesting to read. Could have been better if it was shorter as the "loop events" started to get boring after the first one.
Questions were popping up in my head faster than the story could even try to answer them. Also, being a Doctor Who fan, I couldn't help but to wonder if this is somehow related to him, as main character was called out as simply "Doctor" a few times. Also, the ending felt really rushed, compared to the long middle part.
Side note:
I'm not a horror fan, it just doesn't affect me when it's in words.
Expanded? Not really. Why? It's a loop, unless the author wants to write the same thing over and over again, just with slightly different words.


That's it for now. Tune it next time, when I'll read a few more of them.

Author: "Everything Has Its Season" 5888

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>>5838

Oh, sweet. Now I have di-diddly-duces. Two more and I'll have every duce in the deck!

>How exactly does somebody "made as if to respond"?


Would that thou couldst comprehend mine writing.

>I like it specifically because it's not the same tired old cliches of "the angry old testament" or "the gods of olympus are total dicks". It offers us a genuinely beneficent quasi-religion, led by a goddess who isn't preachy or arrogant.


You are presupposing Equestria as a theocracy.

>There's something smarmy about this protagonist… something about the way he chuckles, his know-it-all smile, and the way he wastes the first line of the story with tuneless humming.


Exquisite.

>"Quadrarchy." I'm not convinced it's a real word.


I am sensing an acute lack of humorglobin in your bloodstream.

>At least do a better job of convincing me that they need to be taken seriously.


But the ponies don't take them seriously. They haven't in a really, really long time. They're a bunch of licentious drunkards who smack each other around when they don't get along (which is rather often). Hence, "a terrible influence to the foals".

>>5885
>next review

Mmhmm. Yes, I agr—

>Коще́й


Wat.
This post was edited by its author on .

I've been listening to your words 5889

File: 1370466692420.jpg (10.5 KB, 138x171, 1297615434171.jpg)

>>5885

Seems like I'm gonna add 4 more, since they were short and I just finished reading them.

Hiccup in Time:
Twilight messes up a spell, but this was fun. I think it was the first fic in the write off that made me laugh a few times. The character(s) were nicely done, the story itself was amusing to say the least. The flow was there, nothing felt out of place.
Expand it? Nope. Why? Cause ―hiccup.


I'll Always Take Care of You
Obvious plot with obvious characters doing obvious things. Obviously.
Sorry, but maybe it's a grammatical masterpiece, but there was nothing in the story that made me even want to continue after I read that Dinky was buying flowers.
Expand it? No. Why? There's nothing to add.


Lyra The Stalker
Well, it's what it says on the can. Aside from Twilight acting out of character. I appreciate the comedic value of the piece, but nothing more.
Expand it? Maybe. Why? It could be a nice set of chapters where Lyra stalks a different pony each time.


My Little Pumpkin
Another attempt at tear jerking same as "I'll Always Take Care of You". Only using Pinkie this time.
This story can be summed up with: "Pumpkin Cake cries, Pinkie comes, cheers her up. Lather, rinse, repeat until Pinkie dies, only for Pumpkin to understand how important Pinkie was in her life.
Expand it? Nope. Why? Cause there's little to tell, unless the author wants to make a twist and show how the "new" Pinkie is growing up with her granny, but that could be a completely different story.


To be continued…

5890

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>>5888
Коще́й = Russian spelling of Koschey

You're obviously not TheNumber25

5891

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>>5890
I'm curious as to where you saw Koschei the Deathless in my fic.

I derped 5892

File: 1370467161461.jpg (12.09 KB, 225x225, 12952051878.jpg)

>>5891
I saw Zmey Gorynych and for some reason it stayed in my mind as Koschey, oh well. Please forgive this fool.

Anonymous 5893

File: 1370467236755.gif (53.1 KB, 300x150, Derpy Chasing Cursor Animated.…)

Author of "War Horse" 5894

>>5787
>>5791
>>5812

Well, lesson relearned: don’t take moments out of as-of-yet unwritten story projects and use them for write-off entries. Without context, they make no flipping sense what-so-freaking-ever and are confusing as all crap.

Bad author. Very bad author. Look at the mess you made.

Fairly judged on that point and guilty as charged. Sorry about that.

>>5787

In my defense, the character is somewhat supposed to be that way. He call himself “colt wearing the skin of a stallion”, and a heavy sense of the melodramatic is part-and-parcel of his character, as is a very serious state of mind.

Out of curiosity though, how would you describe this necessary “glue” to fuse the pieces together in a slightly less over-the-top manner? Is it context, word-usage, or something else entirely?
This post was edited by its author on .

Reviews, part 1 Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5896

Let me begin by saying I am so very, very impressed and pleased with this crop of entries. Everything was written well, and quite a few were written extremely well. Gone were the usual standbys of “good lord, can’t you at least spellcheck?” and “wow, this is so very rushed” (not to say that there weren’t typos and pacing issues), which means almost all the problems were conceptual, and that, I think, is why I have so much to say about these entries. In fact, my most common complaint is “This isn’t a pony story”, which honestly isn’t the worst criticism you could hear about a piece of fanfiction.

This is maybe the best writeoff ever, and all your hard efforts have not been in vain.

And now, le epic entry reviews!

Refrain
First, congrats on beating the old record for longest writeoff fic. (Twice!)

For a first draft, this holds up pretty well; for a second draft, well, you missed a bunch of stuff. Mechanics issues aside, this is a marvelous example of both pacing and character building. Octavia’s story really spoke to me, doubtless because I’ve known people who have lived lives like this, and had parents like her mother. Good lord, what a piece of work! She’s a brilliantly crafted character, and rings true, as pretty much everything about this story does.

Two spots I want to point out. First, the attempted rape scene. I had kind of anticipated something like that happening from the moment she accepted the invitation to prom. In that regard, it’s a fairly cliche happenstance; it also doesn’t seem to serve any purpose in the story other than adding a little drama. At the moment it comes into the plot, I was busy anticipating finding out that her mother had lied about Grace Note’s death, due to the song being played from the music store. (The moment he was introduced, I knew he was going to die, likely offscreen, on account of his being old and kind.) I guess I could make a one-and-a-halfth spot out of Octavia’s reaction, or lack thereof, to his death. Her character throughout seems to be one of lost emotions, but if she would react to anything, I’d think it would be that. Though, perhaps that she didn’t is the point.

Second would be the ending, after she sees her mother in the hospital. It does feel a tad rushed, number one. Number two, it’s really hard to believe that she could suddenly pick up an instrument she hadn’t touched since preschool and play it. The explanation I gave myself was “it’s pony magic”, tied into her cutie mark/destiny. But as that explanation is not provided by the narrative, it points to another issue: this isn’t really a pony story. You could change just a few words and have a perfectly serviceable piece of original fiction. Even the mention of experimental unicorn magic could be humanized easily. The only thing that really makes this pony is the idea that Octavia has a deep and magical connection to the cello, which remained unfulfilled until she started taking control of her life.

That said, I enjoyed this deeply. It fulfills the standard “good longfic” spot of the writeoff.


Corn
I really love the title of this story. It’s just… “Corn”. There’s a story called “Corn”. Wow. Sad to say, I find this story unfulfilling. It’s a lovely meditation on memory, but ultimately just a snapshot. I feel like I’m missing something, but I also feel as though I haven’t been handed everything I need. Why the drive to find her sister? How did they get separated? Has she really just been searching and doing odd jobs for seven years? Also, like Refrain above, it’s not an overtly pony story. Change “cutie mark” to some other personal symbol and you can replace everyone with people, no problem. Still, it’s very well written. If anything, it may just be missing some character for our narrator; as she is, she’s a pile of memories and not much else.


My Little Pumpkin
Well, you’ve wrung a bunch of tears out of me, so I hate you now. That’s pretty much the easiest way to do it. The baby-speak is a little offputting, and I have to ask, if Pumpkin is old enough to talk, why can’t she levitate herself? Did she forget how? The big problem in this fic is the massive time skip between elementary school and single motherhood. Admittedly, you have maybe the right number of scenes to play out the story without getting overly repetitive, but still, something in between might have helped. I mean, how the heck did she end up like that?


A Hiccup in Time
Finally, a story about time travel! Here I was afraid we’d shied purposefully away from anything vaguely rhyming with “Wocter Shmooves” and all written about music instead. You handled the Too Many Twilights scenes in hilarious fashion. However, I have a bone to pick with this story: namely, time travel as we have seen it in the show is deterministic. Unless I’m not following it properly — which is entirely possible and would be its own issue in that case — the second Twilight should have shown up while the first one was eating, perhaps even before she made the decision to cast the spell. That we saw one Twilight going through the same scenario over and over, changing it every time, suggests non-deterministic time travel. I’m not sure how much that matters to other readers, but I for one am a severe nerd, and it is a transgression up with which I shall not put! I enjoyed the story regardless.


Perseverence: Don’t Give Up, Scootaloo
I feel like this was written prior to Sleepless in Ponyville, since Rainbow sort of already agreed to teach Scoot how to fly in that episode. At least Dash takes the proper Scootalove attitude toward her. That said, not a whole lot happens. I’ve seen far too many “teach Scoot to fly” stories where she just gives up after one session. In this one, that happens, and then they have ice cream and Rainbow Dash tells her a big fib to keep her spirits up. There’s no real meat or conflict. Sweetie’s declaration at the end is funny, at least, making this the first entry I’ve read wherein the ending actually worked..


Perchance to Dream
Two words describe this story: wasted potential. Apart from a few flubs — “smugest”, the continued irritating and unnecessary elision of the t in “ain’t”, a line about Dandelion that should have referred to Hop — the mechanics of this story are near flawless, a doubly impressive feat given its length and the timeframe in which it was written. But while I like the dynamic of this extended family you’ve made for Applejack, especially the too-true Lin Seed, the story quickly begins to fall apart under scrutiny. At the center of this is Shady Blossom: she is just too perfect. She’s a beautiful actress, a supermom, skilled in potions and alchemy, and a devoted member of a secret society meant to honor Nightmare Moon. Her only flaw seems to be that her past, both personal and racial, haunts her. You see where this is going.

And the whole thing with the thestrals — a link to Harry Potter that does not sit well with me — just doesn’t hold up. I might have bought it if not for that line about other ponies acting toward them like they did in tribal times. There was no fourth tribe. I’m sorry, the bat-winged ponies are a definite loose thread from Luna Eclipsed, but I can’t buy this explanation for their existence.

One more thing I can’t buy is the ending. Shady had a hidden second personality? Talk about writing traps; multiple personalities are one of those cliche things that writers continually cannot get right. I didn’t believe it at all, and it almost ruined the story for me.

Call me cynical, and I am, but all I see when I look at this story is a transparent attempt to dump a bunch of headcanon on us through an OC-shaped conduit. Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy reading it; I just can’t rate this terribly high for all the pitfalls it’s gotten itself lost in.


Desert Rose
A fanciful tale of royal romance that I really got caught up in when I didn’t expect to, thanks in large part to the well-imagined Saddle Arabian setting. I found the interactions between Altair and Desert Rose reminiscent of those of the titular character in The Glass Blower, to which I would compare this favorably (though, admittedly, I didn’t like that story much; this is far better). I can, however, tell when you started running out of time. If you kept with the same easy narrative on a rewrite, you could with no problem expand this to twice its length. The gap between Desert Rose being freed and Altair’s speech feels too brief to really sell his transformation; at the very least, it needs some sort of reflection on his part so that we can see him making the logical leaps to fill in the holes in his own mind, not to mention sell the moral just a bit harder. The ending likewise feels threadbare, and I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to take away from a lifetime spent waiting for this mare to come back. That’s where you’ll want to focus most on revision, to give the ending a lot more oomph and purpose. Still, an excellent tale by no small stretch.

Reviews, part 2 Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5897

Erase and Rewind
The first scene was wonderful because I pieced it together as it went; the only variable was whether there was wonky time magic involved or just a series of repeating events. Erase is envisioned brilliantly, if a tad confusing. Missing for me are two major things at this point: the logical leap from “You should get laid” to “I’m going to adopt a daughter” (I mean, it eventually comes down to “You need companionship”, but that still doesn’t suffice), and a slightly more overt indication that he actually adopted her. I was very confused by the whole adoption process, to be honest, given that the parents at the start had seen her numerous times prior to actually bringing her home. I took Erase’s excuse of “It’s faster if you submit directly to the registry” to mean that he’d just skipped most of the preliminary “Hello I would like to adopt and am not a serial killer” rigamarole.

So here we are at the midpoint of the story, the start of the final long scene that takes up a good half of it. This is, I noticed, where the editing started breaking down, so you’ll want to look over that. But it’s also where my big problem with this story lies: it’s just a long philosophical dialogue. You’ve got a filly who is way too mature for her age, to the point where even her troubled past doesn’t quite suspend my disbelief toward her character. You’ve got a guy with a mental problem who seems at turns entirely aware of it and entirely disconnected from it, when the narrative requires him to be so. The more I think about it, and admittedly this is coming from someone without a background in psychology, the less it makes sense.

I think the problem, after a quick jaunt to Wikipedia, is that you didn’t explain hyperthymesia very well. At first, it does seem like he can’t remember anything, as Rewind continually suggests. And then when it becomes apparent, only through his words, mind, that he remembers everything all at once and can’t differentiate memories, that leads one to assume that he’s suited for his job because he can memorize facts and figures. But this simply isn’t the case. And then we get to his views of time, and that’s about where the bottom dropped out for me. It just doesn’t make any sense, nor does it seem to have any bearing on whatever narrative might be left at this point. It’s just a story about people talking, and I hate those because there is generally little to be taken away from them.

Which brings us to the end. Here, I could call you out for the lack of resolution… Okay, actually I will, but not because nothing is resolved. Usually a resolution-less ending leaves open reader interpretation because what happens to the character is not as important as what they learned (and also the author likes bathing the tears of frustrated readers). But in this case, the lack of resolution only points out how unfocused this story really is. Erase’s character arc is about finding companionship; Rewind’s is about breaking a cycle, and in doing so, coming out of a depressed view of life as an inevitable series of hardships. But the non-resolution is solely focused on Rewind and doesn’t touch Erase at all.

But then again, this isn’t a story about characters, which I find slightly irritating, if only because you have two very interesting characters here who are absolutely wasted in the course of the story. They each get a scene of setup, then they come together and spend the rest of the word length talking. So I’m calling that non-resolution for what it is: total bunk (to use a kind term). It doesn’t serve any purpose beyond a misdirected attempt to elevate this story above your standard fanfic. Because whether he lives or dies (and I’m of the mind that Rewind’s curse, whatever it is, did not spare him), nothing was learned and there’s nothing to ruminate on. Okay, so maybe it’s a treatise on taking life day by day and living in the moment and whatnot, but that’s awfully trite as messages go, and this is a damned strange way to get to it.


Everything Loops
Really great, creepy atmosphere, which is not something easy to do in writing. I kind of figured the stallion was Sparks, and I like how that plays out at the end. That said, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this was. The plot is somewhat telegraphed by the opening scene, and otherwise fairly predictable, with Sparks the skeptic scientist archetype. This story’s strength comes from, as I said, capturing a Hollywood horror movie on proverbial paper. But though I enjoyed it, I have to ask: what’s the message here? “If you’re not a perfect surgeon, you’ll be doomed to be haunted by guilt for eternity?”


Unappreciated
Let me tell you something about emotional manipulation: it is detestable when a character in a story does it to another, and worse when a story does it to a reader. This story consists of two instances thereof: “Look at Derpy, isn’t she sad?” and “Look at Dinky, isn’t she cute?” This might not be so bad if the story actually presented something new, but it doesn’t. It’s just sad Derpy going home to get cheered up from being so sad. There’s nothing here to sink one’s teeth into. The mechanics are decent, at least, minus some telling and an awkward phrase or two (“as they massaged their broken appendage”), but that’s really all I can say for this.


Quotidian
I’ve written short essays about a few of these entries, but this one will get merely a few sentences, because the narrator was so irritating to read that I was consumed with anger. Not to mention I dislike being told what I’m doing when I wouldn’t do those things. I also can’t say much for having things that I have just read be explained to me. I honestly had no incentive to keep reading this. I hope this was meant as an experiment, because from where I stand, it failed.


Sedisti Saxo
The blend of Greek and Christian mythology in this is… weird. (I don’t think people were generally tortured in lava pits in Tartarus, were they?) There’s a lot of tonal whiplash between scenes, too, with Pinkie’s introspective angst contrasting sharply to the far goofier scenes featuring Derpy. Except when those scenes get dark and spooky. So, yes, tonal issues all over the place. I do think Pinkie’s character arc was interesting, though. At first, I was telling myself, “Well, it’s your standard sad Pinkie junk unsupported by canon”, but… well, we never have actually seen her parents since she came to Ponyville. Maybe there’s something to be said for that! Derpy’s half of the story isn’t quite as well thought-out, though. A bit more background about her dealings with the mane cast might work, especially since using her as a seventh wheel is pretty strongly fanon. I did get a kick out of her vanquishing creatures of the underworld with muffins, though; that’s fanon working for you instead of against you.


Lyra the Stalker
This is definitely paced a little fast. There’s a certain comedic mania to it, in parts, but at others, like Lyra telling her mother that she’s going to Ponyville, a bit more thought and time for the events to unfold is needed. There is also too much reliance on in jokes and show references (flames appearing in Twilight’s mane?), lending an air more often than not of trying too hard. That said, my inner shipper delights at the idea of Lyra being obsessed with Twilight when they were in Canterlot, even if she just had to bump into Bon-Bon at the end (and this coming from a die-hard LyraBon shipper; it was just too predictable). So while this has flaws, I think I like it more than I should.


Circles in Circles
I appreciate what you tried to do, but the effect falls flat at the end. This story also suffers from a lot of what we call “talking heads”, that is long stretches of characters talking while not doing anything in particular. Given that this is just a long string of “ponies plus physics”, there’s not a whole lot of character or anything else to actually latch on to. Actually, what there is is a good bit of fridge horror, because it seems Dash has trapped herself in a time loop with no way out. Seriously, when does she leave this sequence of events?


Timeless Advice from a Momentary Test
First off, this is a really, really neat story. You’ve just demonstrated for me the value in having Discord as an ally. The execution could use some work, though. Most notably, the test scene was handled rather simplistically. (Not to mention, putting the governance of Equestria on a bet?) Some expansion of the Triumvirate would definitely be in order. I was just a tad let down at the subtlety of the ending, too; it most certainly felt rushed. But, again, I rather enjoyed this, and as a side note, Discord’s dialogue was written quite well.


Everything Has Its Season
This feels like the first chapter of a longer work, really. What’s set up is far too interesting to leave off where you did. My only complaint would be the frenetic pacing, due in part to your narrator’s fast-talking nature. But that said, you did a rather impressive job shoving a bunch of completely outlandish headcanon at us in that short time space. A bit more of the “visiting Twilight numerous times” scenes is definitely in order. And, like I said, chapter two.


Time and Time Again
I’m not always down for the entries that consist of nothing but mythical “so the world begun” tales, but this one I like. I have two criticisms. First, the narrator’s voice doesn’t sound much like Celestia, and I was confused at first as to whether she was actually speaking, or if it was some other, older entity. The diction and word choices are all so epic and grand, it just doesn’t come across as anything from the show. Secondly, this is really similar to the creation story told in Eternal. I wouldn’t know that if I weren’t reading it right now, but it’s true, down to Luna emerging from the sea and Celestia being named “The Eternal Sun”. So, uh, maybe change a few things? If there’s a particular strength in this story, though, I’d say it’s Discord’s part. Taking him from formless chaos and binding him with language, as she says she did, was a pretty brilliant idea.


Rocks, Boomboxes and Kidney Stones
This story is so incredibly nutty, so ballsy that I can’t help but enjoy it. The characterization for Trixie may not jive with anyone else, but I for one can really get behind her being so off-kilter and slightly mad. The ‘twist’ near the end was great; I absolutely did not see it coming. That said, you could definitely ratchet up some of the jokes. For instance, in the first scene, there’s an exclamation, but it’s not clear who’s saying it or why (I imagine it’s somepony off “camera” getting hit with the daisies, but we need to see that). Also I’m not sure if I should give you credit for knowing “Escape” well enough to make a reference to it, despite me hating referential jokes. There’s a good bit of talking heads dialogue in this, and those stretches where we get nothing but two characters dialoguing could definitely be spiced up with some body language. Short comedy fics tend not to do so well in writeoffs, but I hope this one can break that trend.


What Is Possible
Hard to pin down. The story-within-a-story-within-a-story is really interesting, but doesn’t seem altogether connected to Celestia’s words. The story-within-a-story is likewise good; I think the best part might actually be the little bit about Celestia calling Twilight “my faithful student” whenever she gets called “Princess”. The moral at the end is pretty heavy-handed, though, and feels like the author talking to the reader, despite how much the intended audience may need to hear it. That said, overall, this story is very good, but I can’t think of any way to make it great, which is what it needs to be. I may just be running out of advice at this point.


War Horse
Good things: the interaction between your narrator and the girl. Her role in particular was interesting to watch unfold. Not so good things: not really a pony story, could be about anything. The narration was a rather poor choice, in my estimation; there’s no need to be so dense and verbose when you’re not even writing three thousand words. The “truest friend” business. It became obvious fairly quickly that he was talking about an inanimate object, and the reveal near the end really didn’t carry any weight. Why would he personify his armor that way? Yes, it’s obviously served him well, but it doesn’t reveal much about his character, other than he may be a little off. I just don’t think this sort of story sits well with me.


I’ll Always Take Care of You
You could read my comments on Unappreciated and most of them would apply to this. It’s just a snapshot of “aren’t they so pathetic?” meant to wring emotions rather than tell a story. It’s obvious from the first scene that Derpy is dead, at which point I more or less stopped caring about anything that happened in the story. What does bother me is, why is there only one day a year that Dinky can visit her? You make it sound like the cemetery is closed the rest of the time or something. To make a story like this work, you have to withhold information while weaving a narrative that draws the reader in regardless, so that they won’t suspect until near the end what it is, exactly, that Dinky is doing. I don’t have any suggestions for how to do that, of course. Just, if you’re going to pursue a theme like this, that’s been done to death by now, try and elevate it to something more substantial.


Top Five:

Desert Rose
Refrain
A Hiccup in Time
Everything Loops
Rocks, Boomboxes and Kidney Stones

REVIEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pascoite!uxy6g7ov9I 5898

Okay. Y'all know how this goes by now. If you don't: I review. There. You're caught up.

Anyone who wants a detailed, no-holds-barred, line-by-line review, drop yo tag below.

Ground rules:
Well, there really aren't any. But as much as I'd like to review every story, I simply don't have time. I usually try to do 5 of these or so, but not sure I'll even have time for that, so… I'll promise 3 plus any more I can reasonably get to within the next week or two. I'll compile a list of those who reply. Just give me the title; I don't post reviews until after the results are reported, so I'll know who you are by then anyway, and I probably won't even do the reviews until after then.

So throw your name in the lottery if you're interested. I'll pick out a few to do, and I'll give preference to the following:
Shorter stories (Hey, I don't wanna kill myself line-by-lining 25k if I don't have to!)
Authors who are new around here and may not have gotten a quality review before.
Stories that look like that extra leg up could get them to EqD quality.

Good luck, everyone!
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Everything Loops" 5899

File: 1370472220255.jpg (18.36 KB, 480x360, hqdefault.jpg)

>>5897
Since I fully intend on reworking my fic so I can send it to EqD (read as: actually editing it for the first time ever rather than frantically throwing it at the writeoff submission box in a mad rush to get it in on time), I'd love some feedback on my entry if you get the time. I'll admit that it's not really up to my usual personal standards due to the pace at which I had to slam it out for this; that being said, don't cut me any slack for that. I want this thing in top shape before the ficbox sees it.

That being said, I would like to reply to something >>5898 asked about it: "What's the ultimate point of all this?" To that, I say with complete honesty: "There isn't one." All I wanted to do with the fic was have a go at writing full-metal horror without the burden of it having a greater message behind it. It's an exercise in atmosphere much like Amnesia: The Dark Descent was; there's very little exterior meaning to the plot other than what's plainly presented in front of you, and ideally that will be enough to carry the fic all on its own once it's patched up a bit in the post-writeoff period.

tl;dr my fic's basically a "Plot? What plot?" with psychological horror instead of horse dicks

Response to PresentPerfect Perchance to Dream 5901

>>5896
See Below:
>"At the center of this is Shady Blossom: she is just too perfect. She’s a beautiful actress, a supermom, skilled in potions and alchemy, and a devoted member of a secret society meant to honor Nightmare Moon."
She's a failed actress who is getting a second shot, her skill with potions is her cutie mark, and I'm not sure I'd call 'being a devoted terrorist' a positive trait. That she's a nice mom is the one thing she really claimed for herself, and is the key to her redemption, so-
…let's go over that one again, you're calling her being an arsonist and a terrorist one of her better points? I wonder what your basis of comparison is…

>"And the whole thing with the thestrals — a link to Harry Potter that does not sit well with me — just doesn’t hold up. I might have bought it if not for that line about other ponies acting toward them like they did in tribal times. There was no fourth tribe. I’m sorry, the bat-winged ponies are a definite loose thread from Luna Eclipsed, but I can’t buy this explanation for their existence."

I like the name 'thestral' better than I like 'bat pony.' I compare them to zebras, which are a race similar-to-but-not Earth ponies. Uncommon but present. I, personally, like the idea that they're a night-adapted subrace of pegasi, whose association with Luna was a natural one. They get the same treatment as zebras, effectively. I didn't like the idea that Luna/NMM had created them nor that they were just illusions.
If you don't like them being a sidealong race to pegasi, sure, that's your prerogative. As for them being a 'loose thread,' well, not much I can say to that. They're there and there's been no explanation for them, I call that an open sky.

For the split personality bit - well, I can only disagree here. Now, I'm not one of those nuts who think that split personality is a thing that exists in the real world, but this is a special situation.
I think we'll just have to disagree on taste terms on this one.

>"Call me cynical, and I am, but all I see when I look at this story is a transparent attempt to dump a bunch of headcanon on us through an OC-shaped conduit. Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy reading it; I just can’t rate this terribly high for all the pitfalls it’s gotten itself lost in."

No, I won't call you cynical. Presumptuous, maybe. This is the one point in this review where I think you step beyond critiquing the story and start insulting me. This right here has nothing to do with my story and is a ridiculous assertion.
I'll just keep this simple: No, I wrote this because I wanted to write a story about a loving person who had a past that came back to haunt her and attempt to tear her life apart. I loved putting together the setting of Manehattan, and that was reason enough for me to write it there. I liked toying with the idea of Nightmare Moon having had a cult, and seeing if I could put something around it. I enjoyed writing this story for its own sake, not to push my tastes onto others.

I get that you didn't like the story, but, seriously? Don't start trying to visit my intentions.

Thank you for your (story-related) criticisms. I do like hearing from people that didn't like the story, truly - it shows where the flaws are better than the people who like it.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pas-Review Perchance to Dream 5902

>>5898
Hey, Pascoite. I would definitely be interested in something like that, though I don't know how much help it would be. I've already made a fair number of alterations in my own copy. Perhaps if you'd like to look over the altered version I'm editing and fixing?

Author of Lyra the Stalker 5904

A Pascoite review, eh? I do so love those. I'd like to formally request one, if you have the time. Every little bit helps on the journey of becoming a better writer, after all.

Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones 5907

>>5897
Hey, someone actually liked my stupid fic!

When I realized I didn't have a whole lot of time to write a story, I figured I could go one of two ways: sad or funny, because both are fairly easy to write if you don't have a lot of time and aren't overly concerned with sending a message. Both only need to elicit one emotion to be successful, and both have a litany of easy ideas to work from. When I chose the comedy route, after writing about 600 words of a sadfic and then realizing that it sucked, I decided that I was going balls-deep with it. It was going to be absurd, ridiculous, and downright silly, and I was pretty sure that that wouldn't sit well with most people. I knew that going in, and yet I still did it because I didn't write this fic to win the contest (not that I would complain if I did), but because I wanted to write something that I thought was fun and entertaining for the short while that it's with you. So, I understand why people wouldn't like it, and I accept their criticisms, but I'm glad at least a couple of people enjoyed it for the silly pile absurdity that it is.

All that being said, I agree with your criticisms as well. This was written in mere hours, so it could definitely use with some extra lovin' in the joke department, as well fixing the talking heads. At the time, I wasn't so much concerned with what their bodies were doing so much as I was concerned with finishing on time. I do intend to go back and give this a bit more substance once this contest is finished, though. Hopefully by then I'll have devised a way to make it less sucky and more funny.

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 5908

>>5899
>"What's the ultimate point of all this?" To that, I say with complete honesty: "There isn't one." All I wanted to do with the fic was have a go at writing full-metal horror without the burden of it having a greater message behind it. It's an exercise in atmosphere much like Amnesia: The Dark Descent was; there's very little exterior meaning to the plot other than what's plainly presented in front of you, and ideally that will be enough to carry the fic all on its own once it's patched up a bit in the post-writeoff period.

Oh. In that case, you succeeded brilliantly!

>tl;dr my fic's basically a "Plot? What plot?" with psychological horror instead of horse dicks


A huge relief.

>>5901
There are some really good ideas in your fic, no argument there, I just don't think you pursued them in the best way, namely, by creating a Mary Sue. (I left out the obvious trait: that your central character is related to three major canon characters. That's always a bad sign.) And being part of a group that "hurt ponies" isn't a good thing, per se, but in light of all the other Sueish traits, it comes off as "edgy", especially since their actual activities aren't really gone into beyond that. It's just a secret organization dedicated to living apart from the rest of society and worshipping the night. Kind of like me and my friends in high school. You have every right not to agree with me, but there is my reasoning. The gradual dawning about halfway through the story of just how perfect Shady Blossom is absolutely ruined it for me.

Do forgive my presumptuousness. When you read a lot of stories, you start getting a sense of what writers were trying to do with their work. Whether or not that's actually the case, well, that's another story.

Response-Response Perchance to Dream 5909

>>5908
Thanks, that helps. Our talk was also very helpful, thank you.

Author: "Everything Has Its Season" 5918

File: 1370526302106.jpg (31.44 KB, 400x225, image.jpg)

>>5897
>presreview

All my yes. I will do this.

~squeee~

Desert Rose Review Anonymous 5929

File: 1370566580182.png (294.83 KB, 900x675, saddle_arabian_mystery_by_doct…)

Hooo boy, I wrote a ton. I've cut it down to my final assessment, I'll send you the full review when I find out who you are.
Enjoyed it. For how little you had to work with, you established a setting that I would call a start - there seem to me to be a fair number of holes. It also feels shockingly limited, for how much you say. With a little work, it could be a lot more. I also liked your use of imagery and metaphors, where you had them. So, you know, over all an enjoyable right, but…

Well, let’s get the greatest negative point out of the way: Prince Altair. Now, I think there is something to be said for a protagonist who is an ingenue, but for me, at least, Prince Altair was so unlikeable that I really wished for most of the story that I was reading it from someone else’s perspective, such as Habiib, who was a far more interesting person for how little we saw of him. Altair was so utterly unsuitable for carrying this story on his shoulders that it distracted me terribly from everything else. Aside from being a spoiled brat, he was as dumb as toast and, even after he had learned some lessons, he wasn’t a real actor in events. By the time he’d learned anything useful, he was consigned to reacting to the world rather than making choices. If he had any redeeming qualities, I didn’t see them. The fact that he basically kidnapped her is villainous, even if he made up for it later.
I didn’t really feel any chemistry between them. Altair remained a star-struck twerp from start to finish, and if Desert Rose found something to like in him, it certainly didn’t come across.
Speaking of Desert Rose, I liked her, buuuut… well, she really doesn’t have much of a personality for most of it. I get that she’s some sort of ethereal entity, but her origins are so shrouded in mystery that I can’t even see the shroud. Why is she a merchant sometimes? What’s she doing hanging around as an Equestrian? Why does she have a cutie mark of the sun? Does she have any actual desires of her own? There’s tantalizing hints, and then there’s burying your character so far in the sand they hit bedrock.

Also, I think you may have gone sideways a bit with the prompt. Though she comes back, it’s exactly once, and we have no hints that she’s done this before at any point. Maybe if she’d shown up a few times over the decades, I might have caught it. As it is…

Ultimately? I feel like there were a lot of wasted opportunities. Now, obviously, if I had been asked to write something like this I would have written it entirely differently, but how’s about a couple alternative possibilities?
1) Altair is more independent and sharper. You have a character who is a classic Princess in a Tower but he has literally none of the appeal of that traditional cliche. Make him smarter, let him chafe at the boundaries of his life more. Sure, have him kidnap Rose again, but tone down the implied Enslaved Rape vibe I got there. That’s tricky to do right, but I think you’re a good enough author.
a. You know what was pretty common for Arabian princes? Them being warriors and poets. They had the finest tutors in the land and made names for themselves as heroes and scholars. Give Altair one or the other of these (and establish his tutors as extant so it’s clear how he got them.)
2) Give us more hints about who Desert Rose is and what she wants. If Altair is smart, let her be as smart as he is but with the wisdom of ages to refine it. They could a) spar with words or b) she could open his eyes to the world in a way that he never could have imagined. I think you intended to have b), but it feels like Altair is too much of a twit to get it
Two versions of her are relevant:
a. Has she been here before? Who did she meet? If she’s been places before, have her wistfully remember them. In this case, Altair can’t really offer her much, but that isn’t a bad thing. In this version, Desert Rose is more of a mentor - she’s his first crush, and she shows him a new way of looking at the world and teaches him how to love. It's a first crush, and that can be beautiful.
b. If she’s new, you have another direction to go with: she’s a spirit who hasn’t experienced life as others have before. Let Altair show her what it means to be a living, flesh and blood person. Let their romance develop on equal grounds. In this case.
3) More Habiib, maybe more side characters if it wouldn’t be too distracting. Habiib is a good character who is completely wasted for most of the fic
a. You know who’s a good set of characters missing from this? Zahan and his daughter. That’s an obvious antagonist that I think you’re missing out on. Zahan’s daughter can feel jealous, and Zahan has substantial political reason to whore his daughter out to Altair.
b. Here’s a thought: let her be the cause of Desert Rose’s imprisonment. She can slander or frame her. That would be waaaay more believable.
c. His father, Rigel, is the current antagonist, but I would commute him to a more distant figure. Make Altair’s rebellion smarter, too - as it is, Rigel kicks his ass without even looking.
4) The Future. Look, if you’re going with Altair aging, you need to have her show up now and again. This is Peter Pan and Wendy stuff right here. She’s the strange faerie from beyond the dunes and he’s pining for the beautiful, magical world that she showed him. Best of all, have her show up at his funeral. Guide his kids. Yada yada.
5. Expand on the setting. Polish it up and give us more insight into the Saddle Arabian way of life. I could seriously dig it if it were done well.


I’ll say this, at least, Author of Desert Rose - you got me inspired, even if I didn’t care for the execution. Polished up and improved? Now, that could be a love story.
This post was edited by its author on .

Reviews 11 through 15 Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5936

Review of "Perseverence: Don't Give Up, Scootaloo"
Technical: Two formatting issues. Otherwise, nothing too serious.
Concept and Plot: There's only one thing about the plot that interests me in the slightest, and that was Rainbow Dash's last two lines (and Dash eating the ice-cream). The rest of it just felt… trite. Like an excuse to give Scoots and Dash some hang-time. This wouldn't be so bad, if they'd actually done something new and interesting; something that hasn't already been explored. But no: it's just flying lessons and pep-talks.
Characters and Dialogue: I… suppose I can't complain about out-of-character dialogue or behavior. If anything, they were too close to their show-concepts: It felt like the characters in your story were caricatures of the originals. This wouldn't be a problem at all, if you had them doign something interesting.
Style and Flow: The weakest element by far. Sentences are too short, too blunt, contain too many commas… stilted wording, passive voice… it was all just too mechanical for me to enjoy on the sentence or paragraph level. If it had been a long-fic, I would have stopped halfway through.
Anything Else? I rated this story pretty low but, as with all reviews, my personal opinions weigh heavily on the results. You can fix the style and flow simply by improving your skills and finding your voice as an author. But how do you fix the concept and plot? Find a better audience. Find readers who like Dashaloo friendshipping.
Did it match the prompt? Certainly, yes.
Words I had to look up: None

Final Score: 4/10


Review of "Quotidian"
Technical: One instance of a repetetive repetetive word. Everything else appears to have been on purpose.
Concept and Plot: Hm… intriguing enough. But an idea like this hinges on the execution. I must say, the middle of the story dragged on a bit: I felt liek we were visiting each of the six main characters because… well, just because. Can't leave anypony out, right? I know we saw a unique temporal disturbance each time, but still: the nature of the disturbances, though interesting and unqiue, didn't really give us anything we could use to untangle the knot.
Characters and Dialogue: Meh. Everypony seemed to be in character, but the story didn't really explore them in any new or interesting ways. For me, though, the really interesting characters were The Narrator and The Listener. The Guide and the Tourist. Or perhaps, I thought, the Master and the Soon-To-Be-Apprentice. Who are they? When I started reading, I imagiend it in the voice of Alfred Hitchcock. Then I wondered if I was being led about by Discord. The true identity of the narrator kind of came out of nowhere, and felt a little disjointed.
Style and Flow: This is the story's greatest strength, and it's going to be hit-or-miss. Some readers will like it, while others will turn up their noses. This sort of "following along, being talked to" narrative would normally raise my hackles, but I feel like you did a very decent job of pulling it off. I'm also glad I persevered through to the end of the story, because it paid off near the end.
Anything Else? Looking back on the "concept and plot" issues, there was one thing that occured to me ater I finished reading. At first, the Narrator seems like a royal dick. Midway throguh, we suspect that he might feel a genuine pang of helpless regret. At the end, though, I felt as if he might have been trying to teach me a lesson… he showed us all the horrible things that might happen, and then he fixed them all with a single, tiny nudge. I felt like he was trying to show me the gravity of the situation. It's similar to what "Perchance to Dream" was trying to accomplish. The difference is that your Narrator ends up being sympathetic.
Did it match the prompt? Most of the temporal disruptions–including the one that triggered the rest–involved repetition. Good enough for me.
Words I had to look up: "Quotidian," suitably enough. It's right there in the title, too. Oh what a poor, cynical, untrusting soul I am.

Final Score: 8/10


Review of "Refrain"
Technical: One homonym. One missing "of". One chunk of dialogue attribution atttched to the wrong sentence near the end. I'm not surprised these snuck in, given the length of the work, and they certainly didn't detract from my reading experience. There were an awful lot of commas, but that's more of a personal annoyance.
Characters and Dialogue: Character-wise, I spent the first eight pages without any names at all, and then you drop the protagonist's name without any warning. Give me a little warning, next time! The characters were a little archetypical. The dialogue, however, was marvelously minimalist. The protagonist does have a habit of "almost crying" a little too blatantly.
Style and Flow: There's so much beautiful, rich description here, all laden with emotion and meaning. Despite all my stuborn infantile petulance, despite my jittering attention span, I know that this is well written. Superbly so. There were a lot of places where it was just too much, but inspite of that I still wanted to read this so very badly. I wanted to be immersed in it.
Concept and Plot: It's a solid enough premise for a "back when I were a lass" story, and it's a universally cringe-worthy enough message that anyone could sympathize with the protagonist. You kind of went straight for the jugular here. But why, why oh why, does this need to be stretched out over twenty-four thousand words? I haven't even gotten a fifth of the way through, and I feel like the story could have been compressed down to six or eight thousand words. I'm convinced this is prejudicial bias on my part: once I learned certain details (the protagonist's identity, the mother's motivation) I felt like I knew exactly how everything was going to pan out. Even if I turn out to be totally wrong, and I almost certainly am, wading through this much text feels like a chore. The ending is a far and distant place, and I'm not sure I'm comfortable wading through this much childhood trauma.
Anything Else? You know my complaint about how I wanted to like it, but couldn't slog through it? After I reached the halfway point I stopped wanting to enjoy it and began to actually enjoy it. The rich, extravagant narrative ceased to be an obstacle entirely, and I was drawn into the unolding events as most readers can only hope to be. Perhaps it had something to do with the piano music I began listening to while reading. Perhaps it was the introduction of another character for the protagonist to interact with–Grace Note, I remember distinctly. Perhaps it was the glimmer of genuine appreciation the protagonist showed, however briefly, for the instrument: wouldn't it be the perfect tragedy to both hate and love the exact same thing? Or maybe I was just off my meds or something. No idea.
Concept and Plot, Revisited: Only now that I've read the entire thing do I appreciate the series of events you chose to portray. Once I reached the quarter-mark, things felt… I don't know. Original. Unpredictable. I kept worrying that you'd conclude any given section by whipping out some sort of ridiculous, hackneyed cliche or plot twist, and yet it never really happened. Or if you did, you wove it in well enough that I didn't notice. The scenes, though bleak and barren, depicted things that I was interested in. Ultimately, the only complaints I have are the beginning (which seemed interminably long to me at the time but now that I'm blessed with hindsight, I'm not so certain) and the ending (which doesn't really surprise or challenge me in any way, but still serves up a bittersweet "happy" ending).
Did it match the prompt? Possibly the best match of any story I've read to this point, thematically speaking. I especially love the parallel drawn between the metronome and the Electroencephalocardiogram device.
Words I had to look up: "Sour grapes." I never actually looked it up… I already know what it means. But I did perform a double-take almost immediately after reading it. What a marvelous, subtle touch.

Final Score: 10/10
This story is better than my own. If it ends up being ranked lower than or equal to "Erase and Rewind", I will feel as though I have been lied to. By whom, I know not.


Review of "Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones"
Technical: Nothing I could detect. But by now it should be obvious I'm not an expert proofreader.
Concept and Plot: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/index.html
Style and Flow: http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~beatrice/humor/worst-analogies.html
Characters and Dialogue: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JerkassDissonance
Anything Else? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZiIBMRNtLs
No, seriously. What do you think of it? Okay. It's not that the story needs improvement, per se. It's a fun, fluffy piece of cotton candy, and it is what it is. There were flaws: The "saidisms" got irksome pretty quickly, and many of the sentences could have been smoothed out or split into two. But this suggests a new or inexperienced writer who hasn't smoothed things out yet. That, or an experienced-to-the-point-of-burnt-out novelist who woke up one day and decided to chuck everything out the window, make that "bdbdbdbdbd" sound with their lips, and do whatever they wanted: (A whole novel without using a single noun? Sure why not! If this story turns out to have been written by the former, well, the best cure for that is simply to keep on writing just like the rest of us (if it's the latter? As you were, soldier). I ranked this story kinda low for matters of flow, but make no mistake: I read, I laughed, I liked. I comma-spliced.
Did it match the prompt? It's implied that Trixie has been doing this repeatedly in the recent past, but it doesn't really factor heavily into the story as written. It is, however, clearly implied that she'll be back again tomorrow for the same ol' same ol'. Good enough for me.
Words I had to look up: "Piña colada." It only now occurs to me that I don't know what the exact ingredients are. Pineapple-coconut-enchilada? Nor have I ever actually heard that particular song. This must be set right.
So it turns out "colada" means "strained". It's not an ingredient at all. Pina Colada is just strained pineapple juice with nothing in it. Every day, my world empties a little more.

Final Score: 6/10


Review of "Sedisti Saxo"
Technical: Nothing I could notice.
Concept and Plot: You certainly started with an interesting seed, but there's so much wasted potential here. I'm still confused as to why it had to be Ditzy Doo, and there was no last-minute "the power was in you all along" or "you have a unique character trait that most people think is a flaw or disadvantage, but you can turn it to your advantage. I also feel like Ditzy's journey through hell should have invoked all sorts of deeper meanings and secret truths. Instead, it felt like I was a tourist trying to hit all the hilights in a single afternoon. It's kind of wierd to see a character explore the accursed afterlife without any deeper meanings or bellicose moral rants. To be honest, the story felt like a "Derpy saves the day" indulgence. The story doesn't try to scratch any deeper than that.
Characters and Dialogue: Characters felt kind of shallow. It was hard to get too attatched to them. I will say you did a half-decent job of portraying Pinkie Pie's thoughts about her family, as well as the memories she regrets. Unfortunately, little of what happened was in character: Why would the mane six send Ditzy off to save the day, when they're supposed to be the heros of the show (could have been explained, but wasn't)? Why is Pinkie Pie all super-depressing and stuff, when she should be using her cheerful giggly cartoon powers to break out of hell herself? Even Derpy isn't fleshed out very well, beyond being "the littlest pony that could." Her disability was little more than a pity-coupon.
Style and Flow: Oy, vey. You've got a ways to go to polish up your skills: I'm hearing a lot of passive voice, and many descriptions or turns of phrase feel too blunt to me. It's trying just a little too hard to be eerie and grim, and it isn't willing to let me feel dem feels on my own. There's also a ton of cutsey and adorable bits mixed in with the grimdarkness, but it isn't blended well enough to serve a useful purpose: there's no contrast or juxtaposition to make things shocking or unsettling.
Anything Else? I think it's obvious I'm not very happy with this story. Not on any level. A quick scan, however, reveals that a few other reviewers gave this story a decisive thumbs up. Based on these datums, my advice for you is twofold: First, improve your skills… by writing more. Keep writing! Don't give up! Secondly, find better readers. Find an audience who wants what you're selling. Write for yourself first, and them second. Don't ignore sound advice, but don't let readers like me get you down. Seriously.
Did it match the prompt? Certainly.
Words I had to look up: "Sedisti Saxo." Suitably enough.

Final Score: 4/10

Author of "Everything Loops" 5937

>>5936
>>5791
Now kiss.

5938

File: 1370576268693.jpg (10.98 KB, 300x300, KB-PinaColada.jpg)

>>5936
A piña colada is an alcoholic beverage consisting of strained pineapple juice, cream of coconut and rum… and it's delicious.

Author of "What is Possible"!sp6NunbEGs 5943

File: 1370580556896.png (767.03 KB, 991x934, my_faithful_student_by_mewball…)

>>5791
>I think this fic could do with some subtlety towards the end, rather than just beating the audience over the head with your intended message.

This was sort of an experiment with a blunt delivery. The narration was that Twilight is telling the reader the most important lesson she learned, and passing that lesson onto the reader. She starts by telling it as a story before explaining what her interpretation of it was. It's meant to be direct, like how a speaker would be to the person they're speaking to. That's why there was so much intentional use of 'you' in the last bit. It's not meant to beat you over the head, it's meant to be plainly tell you, and it's there that the story stops entirely being a story and becomes something… Well, I'm not sure what to call it, but I'll call it something else.

Mostly I wouldn't call it beating over the head, because it's not trying to be subtle or show or anything. And I furthermore wouldn't call it beating over the head because it isn't redundant. It elaborates on what Twilight further learned from the idea Celestia planted in her mind.

The goal with the story was to lure the reader into the story and then make them drawn to think.

>Also, coverart.
This post was edited by its author on .

5946

>>5943
It's all well and good to excuse a proposed shortcoming with 'well I did it on purpose', but that doesn't mean it's a good way to tell a story.

If you wanted to pull away from the beautiful minimalism you were working on up until that point, that's up to you, but I feel it weakens the story greatly. We read stories to experience and think about them, not to be told by the author: 'Oh, by the way, did you consider THIS?'

Author of "What is Possible"!sp6NunbEGs 5947

>>5946
>not to be told by the author
>>the author
It's narrated by Twilight. It's all narrated in her voice, as I would imagine her saying it. One of the advantages of first person narration is more direct statement, since essentially the narrator is in conversation with the reader.

>but that doesn't mean it's a good way to tell a story.

>>a story
Again, that wasn't my goal with this fic. It's almost more of an essay structured around Twilight's story in the middle.

I'm breaking the 'rules' in a way I think fits, basically.

5948

>>5947
YOU'RE the author. Everything you write in the story is told by you. >.<

If I wanted to read an essay, I'd read an essay, not a story. Essays are not fiction, even if they are fictional in nature.

Whatevs. Obviously you won't be convinced. No sweat off my back if you don't agree with me. Just think you might want to consider what 'storytelling' means in a place about fiction writing, and what your adamance about your works integrity says about your knowledge thereof.

Reviews: Part One Author of Unappreciated 5952

File: 1370590379621.jpg (63.25 KB, 600x419, 24621 - book derpy_hooves dink…)

Everyone else is doing reviews, so I thought that I might as well try some too. Since I waited a bit too long, it's kinda harder to find things that other people haven't already said, so consider the reviews just my thoughts as I went through the fics.

Forgive me in advance if I mess up the formatting. I'm new to mlpchan. Don't use it much, I'm afraid. Thank Gushnor for the edit button.


Perchance to Dream:

Applejack and the Cutie Mark Crusaders visit Babs Seed, Shady, and the rest of her family. Later on, something is amiss as a mysterious intruder breaks into their house and leaves weird messages. Stuff happens, they figure out who's behind it, and Luna saves the day.

The story was cute and heartwarming. I liked how you introduced us to her family and how it felt like a slice of life fic in the beginning. The story shifts about halfway through and makes the first half stick out more (Happy glimpse of life before the tragedy).

I do have to say that I was confused by the Thestral thing at first though. I had a different picture in mind and didn't realize you were talking about Luna's night guards until later on. Luna's appearance is also rather sudden and some parts seemed rushed and other parts went on for too long. But seeing as how this is a writeoff and you wrote so much in so little time, it's understandable.

Most of the other points about how to fix your story have already been explained in all of the other posts, and you seem to have it covered already, so I won't say any more. I definitely think this story will turn out great after you fix up those previously mentioned issues from the other reviews.



A Hiccup in Time:

Twilight tries to use the time spell after some modifications, but has the hiccups so things don't go according to plan. Now she's stuck in a room with a bunch of other Twilights as she tries to make a plan.

A short little fic that was a comedy and made me laugh a few times with how adorkably cute Twilight was. It reminded me a bit of the time shenanigans that theworstwriter used to write about from over a year ago. I loved the "Way-too-many-Twilights in the same room" part as well.

For what it's worth, I enjoyed reading this little bit. It feels like something that might happen in the show. Time travel stuff aside, cause it's so confusing to think about all of the ramifications thereof. Sheesh, head hurts just trying to think about it.



Desert Rose:

Every time I hear the name "Altair," I keep thinking of Assassin's Creed. Anyhoo, this fic is about a bored prince finding a mare attractive and doing his best to please her. At first, he gets rough cause he wants to get what he wants and then softens up later. But then a little accident happens and there's a misunderstanding and the High King boots her out of the kingdom, then the Prince spends the rest of his life waiting for Desert Rose.

The dialogue definitely sounded like it came from that kind of setting (Arabic? I don't know how to describe it.) I thought the small exchanges with Altair and his servant were nice, especially the part where the servant thought he was being hit on. I had chills during the shouting match between Altair and Rigel. I really liked their back and forth. I also thought the ending was sad, but I suppose that if Desert Rose was really the desert, she wouldn't have been able to be contained.

While there were a few things I may not have liked, I still enjoyed reading the fic. But the things I didn't like have already been pointed out in the other reviews, so I'm just going to say this instead. When I first started reading this, I wasn't really that interested in the story. But as I went on, I changed my mind and it even surprised me by the time I got to the end. I'm definitely glad I had kept going.



Lyra the Stalker:

Lyra falls in love with Twilight and follows her around. I thought this was a funny piece, but some scenes could certainly be expanded upon to give this more bite. The concept was silly, but whatcha gonna do? For obvious reasons, I enjoyed reading this fic.



My Little Pumpkin:

It's a sadfic. Pumpkin grows up, while her auntie Pinkie Pie takes care of her. We get glimpses through her life as they grow older. Because of the prompt, there was no doubt about what the ending was going to be like. It's a nice short little fic. Yummy yummy bite-sized.

I'm not sure what else to say about it. Since I wrote a sadfic too, I obviously thought this story was also sad and it made me a bit sad for reading it. But that's okay, because being sad is a part of life. If we didn't have the sad parts, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the happy parts as much.

But I guess that's neither here nor there. The only thing I did notice is that some people might not have liked your fic cause whenever you get a sadfic, there's a problem with emotional manipulation. If you're too blunt about it, then it doesn't work. (Like mine! I messed up. Sorry!)

As for how you did on that front, I have no idea. I'm kinda a sucker for sadfics, so they normally make me sad anyway.

Boy. I repeated that word a lot here, eh? Sadsadsad.



Circles in Circles:

A cute little story where Rainbow Dash does a sonic Rainboom and travels back in time, thus connecting the start and finish of the fic.

This feels like it's missing a piece near the end. Just something off. Can't put my finger on it. Then I looked up and you already admitted that same thing, so that explains that. You also said it was rushed, and I agree. There were some loose threads and that's always fun when it comes to timey things.

That being said, please don't be disheartened for entering into the contest. At the very least, you managed to get an entry in on time! Others… weren't so lucky. So it was rushed, who cares? The feedback you're getting, it's invaluable. When the contest ends, go back and fix up your story with the feedback and I'm sure others will be able to enjoy your story too. :3

But regardless of what you put down, I still liked reading it. Keep up the good work!



Sedisto Saxo:

Derpy goes to Tartarus to rescue Pinkie.

I kinda thought it was slow at first, but it eventually picked up. I thought the scenes between Derpy and Pinkie were a huge shift, but what can you do? Exploring Pinkie's relationship with her family certainly was something, though. You don't often see that in fics. The idea of your Tartarus being expanded is also a neat idea.

I wish I could say more, but I agreed with lots of points already pointed out in the feedback. So let's just say I enjoyed reading this, and after you smooth it out a bit after the competition, it'll be in tip-top shape.



Corn:

A pony obsessed with finding his sister. With nothing to go on except the smell of corn and the fact that she was an orange earth pony mare, he searches forever onwards. Left with vague memories, he doesn't even remember what she looked like, or sounded like. Still, he presses on.

Finally, he finds a pony that looks like her sister, but alas, it wasn't her. So he continues on, forever wondering about his sister and her love of corn.

I liked reading this story. It felt like a smaller part of a bigger piece. No names are given in the story, so all you have to rely on is the narrator's voice. It had a good 1st person PoV. It's well written, that's for sure.

For a rushed piece, it's pretty surprising what you ended up creating. I'm pretty sure that ending was only put there because you had to finish something, because it doesn't resolve anything. Seems like an unsatisfying ending.

Still, it's always better to rush and finish a piece than it is to just quit halfway and never submit something. That way, you can always use that feedback to fix up your writing later.



Everything Has Its Season:

Hmm. I have absolutely no idea who this guy is. He seems like a know-it-all jerk. For a minute there, I thought he was Discord. This story kinda messes with the mythology of everything we know about Friendship is Magic and I'm not really sure what to say.

Still, thanks for completing an entry. It's always good to see when people submit to writeoffs cause then you can get all that delicious feedback on one's story. Nomnomnom all the feedback, then use it to make your own writing stronger. Do it! Believe in yourself! Never give up, never surrender!

I… really wish I had more to say about this story, but I can't really think of much. Sorry. :(



Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones:

A silly little piece where Trixie tries to get into Twilight's house and there's a bit of a misunderstanding and some wacky hijinks. It did feel a little overly ridiculous sometimes, but I suppose that was the point. It also felt rushed, which it was since you pointed out that you wrote it in six hours, so it shows. Still, good thing you managed to get an entry in on time eh?

At least now you can use the feedback given to you by the other reviews to help your story stronger (if you so choose). If not, at least it was a fun little excuse to write and that's all you need, right?

Anyhoo, I liked reading it, so there you go.



What is Possible:

Twilight tries to understand a lesson that Celestia has given her and only after making friends at Ponyville and after so much time later does she actually realize it.

A nice contemplative piece. I thought it was interesting until the ending where it felt like an infodump, but besides that I still liked it. Maybe the ending just felt a bit too blunt to me, I'm not sure. (Yes, I know. Funny considering it's coming from me). Not much to say otherwise, though



Unappreciated:

Well, I don't really know what to say for this one besides "Pick a different concept to write about." There are a lot of problems with this one, but I don't think the story can be saved. Sorry. Just throw it on Fimfic and move on.



War Horse:

It's kinda hard for me to relate this to the pony universe, so I'm not really sure what to say about it. It didn't really feel like my kind of story, so I think it would be unfair to judge it harshly because of that. It might have felt over-descriptive to me, but at least it was well-written. I have to admit that it was a bit hard to follow along because I wasn't sure of the time period.

Regardless, thanks for submitting an entry. More writeoff entrants is always good!


Perseverance: Don't Give Up, Scootaloo!

Overdone concept, cliched. Just like my story! Well, the other reviews already pretty much covered everything already. It'd be pretty weird to repeat the same exact thing, ya know?


I'll Always Take Care of You

Can't say much that hasn't already been said. We have the same issues anyway. Same characters too! So… yeah.


Timeless Advice From a Momentary Test:

This story seems like it had a lot of description and tellyness. On the bright side, I thought it was funny how Celestia gave her a box of cough drops later, which shows that perhaps she knows more than she's letting on.



Time and Time Again

Don't know what to say about this one. Although I have a sneaking suspicion as to who the author is. His ticks just sorta ring out at me. Sounds more poetic than a story. I have to say that it didn't really interest me cause it wasn't my cup of tea.


That's seventeen stories down! I'll read and review the last four stories tomorrow. :3
This post was edited by its author on .

Response to Unappreciated Perchance to Dream 5953

>>5952
Yeah, I'm starting to run out of new stuff to find. There's some people who have more intense criticisms I want to follow up on, definitely, but I've collected so much stuff already!

I'm glad you noticed the contrast, that was very deliberate and meant exactly as you noted. I think I even know how to write the FimFic synopsis such that it preserves the surprise.

Moar Reviews 4: Final Ponedown Author of "Desert Rose" 5954

Refrain: 9/10
I want to give this a 10/10 so badly. You have no idea. It was incredibly written, wonderfully characterized, and excellently paced. It read like one of the biographies that teachers might make you read in an English course, but actually interesting. I absolutely despised Octavia's mother, of course, and found it quite, quite annoying that she never got any sort of comeuppance, but that's not why I left off a point. That's life, isn't it?

No, you lost a point because, for all of the perfection in the rest of the story (you made me feel things! Without trying to manipulate me with angsty Derpy!), the ending was just too abrupt. Too unclean. Too…not.

See, Erase and Rewind can get away with that whole kind of incomplete ending—that's the whole point of it, after all. But in a story like this, we need something more akin to resolution. Something that shows development in character. You can't keep Octavia a static punching ball who finally gets the chance to try the cello and doesn't change—she needs to be developed as the result of that. Even if you keep the final scene the way it is, it needs to be longer; more of a revelatory moment instead of an "oh; that happened" kind of scene.

Regardless of my other objection(s), this was just amazing. I forgot that I was reading a fanfiction at times, given how maturely-done this was. From mother's drunken rages and revelries to the near-rape at the hands of Charlie Coal (which makes me wonder about the Octavia's own father, given her mother's insistence on the prom date…), they were more than just characters—they were people (er, ponies). So bravo, my good author. Very nicely done.


Everything Loops: 8/10
So I really did like this. It was well-executed, nicely paced, and I always had a good feel of who the protagonist was. The horror raised goosebumps on the back of my neck (happily, I read this at 9 AM in a crowded room), and the setting of the hospital was done very, very nicely.

I do, however, have to dock you the two points for simple opaqueness and lack of clarity. Simply put, I didn't quite understand where the several "places" where, nor did I quite understand what the purpose of the loop was (nor what its motivations/reasons where). I read a comment by you, the author, earlier that it was meant to be an exercise "similar to Amnesia" (which I agree with for the most part), but the problem is that you went too much in the opposite direction than those fics for whom everything is explained. Emotionally, this piece did what it set out to do, but I didn't follow along with the Doctor's revelation, and the concept of the "loop," as well as its purpose, never really made sense to me—if felt like far too much of a genre shift from "haunted hospital" to "scifi horror", and without much apparent justification.

The ending did give me shivers, though. "Everything comes full circle" indeed.

It's good; I'll give you that But it needs more to back it up.


And with that, I'm done with my reviews! Votes'll be submitted in a few minutes. For those of you still slogging through these fics, have fun! You have a lot of good stuff ahead of you. I eagerly await the results and author identities come June 13th. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this competition.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Everything Loops" 5956

>>5954
Yeah, that issue with clarity is what I expected to get points off for. In all honesty, I'm just happy the rest of the story held up well enough on its own that the barebones ending I slapped together with the thirty-ish minutes I had left before the submission deadline didn't detract from it too much. Had I had time to edit and look things over, I definitely would've gone back and cleared up the hospital's backstory and the meaning behind the places Sparks traveled to, so I'll take all that into consideration when I rework this for an EqD submission.

Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5976

>>5937
Monsieur, please. This dress does not come off.

For less than a million.

Rerviews 16 through 20 Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5984

Review of "Time and Time Again"
Technical: A single error. Can't remember what it was, though. Nothing to worry about.
Concept and Plot: Does THE SHARMAT know you snuck a peek at the mushy poetry in his diary? Or did you read up on the Thirty-Six Lessons of Celestia (Sermon 15 in particular)? In all seriousness, this feels more like an homage or an inspiration than a rip-off. Even if I hadn't indentified the source material, I still would have enjoyed it. Also, the ending gave me a sense of purpose that I didn't expect and found satisying.
Characters and Dialogue: Heavy on the poetry narrative, but that's the entire point. It's as if HP Lovecraft downed a zoloft and wrote an epic creation myth for colorful cartoon ponies. I'm also glad you left the identity of The Listener unspecified… thank you for trusting me to figure it out on my own.
Style and Flow: The poetic flow was marvelous indeed, though there were a few spots–here and there–where the Narrator seems to fall back on clunky bits of everyday turns of phrase. These momentary lapses were far between, but still jarring.
Anything Else? Yay! I'm not the only person who liked that game! I still didn't let it cloud my judgment of this story, though. I liked it on its own merits.
Did it match the prompt? Erm… there was the, ah… well. I guess an argument could be made for the repeated battles between Celestia and Discord. But that's kind of stretching it thin.
Words I had to look up: I actually didn't have to.

Final Score: 7/10


Review of "Timeless Advice from a Momentary Test"
Technical: You have a habit of putting dialogue attribution on it's own seperate line, above the dialogue it's trying to attribute. There were other flaws sprinkled about (one extra quotation mark, one missing space, etc) but overall, technical issues weren't a problem.
Characters and Dialogue: A little vanilla. It does what it needs to do, but does nothing to bend or break my expectations. I do find it a little odd that Twilight manages to meet the most famous and influential ponies of Equestria's pre-classical age, without even the slightest mention of "if only I could interview them in person, it's the chance of a lifetime, but no, I mustn't alter past events." Now that I think of it, the members of the triumvirate seem like one-dimensional jerks… I know they were portrayed as jerks in the episode, but at least they were two-dimensional jerks. Even though Starswirl dispenses their comeuppance, it's all rather contrived.
Style and Flow: Some serious show-don't-tell problems. There were also a few too many commas for my taste, and a tot of passive voice here and there. One or two of the descriptions were either too spare or too vague… I sometimes felt confused about where I was and what was happening.
Concept and Plot: This is the story's greatest strength. It's a fantastic premise, a fantastic plot, and I think it has the potential to evoke some serious feels and whoas. If anything, that's the problem… you've bitten off more than you can chew. A story like this depends on subtlety and elegance of writing, and even a master writer will have trouble doing it justice. But as much as I complain about the execution, it's far better to aim too high than too low. I hope you keep writing.
Anything Else? Put this story away in a secret place, forget about it, and keep writing for a year or two. Then take it out, dust it off, and read it again: re-write the same idea from scratch and compare the two results, and you'll see how much you've improved.
Did it match the prompt? Yup.
Words I had to look up: None.

Final Score: 4/10


Review of "Unappreciated"
Technical: One instance of using an ellipsis instead of an em-dash. One msising space. Nothing worrisome.
Concept and Plot: Yet another Derpy-fest? All right… but I'd better be impressed.
Characters and Dialogue: Adequate, but it feels like it's trying too hard. Derpy is too angsty, her boss is too harsh, Pinkie Pie is… well, she's pinkie Pie. Can't complain about taht
Style and Flow: I really wish nobody had explained to me exactly what "show-don't-tell" is, because now I see it everywhere. I was much happier when I was ignorant. This story already reminds me far too much of "Perseverance: Don't Give Up, Scootaloo:" it's using a bunch of tired old tricks and gimmicks to make me feel, but it doesn't actually deliver.
Concept and Plot, Revisited: That's… it? Seriously? Wow. The ending was so sudden and unoriginal that it actually surprised me by not surprising me. It feels like this is merely a fragment of a story.
Anything Else? It hurts to say it, but I think this is my least favorite of all the stories. "Perseverance" had more flaws, but at least it went somewhere. You know the phrase "man's reach exceeds his grasp?" It's a metaphore or how we can reach out and just barely touch something, even if we can't close our fingers around it fully. We can touch on ideas and concepts without being able to master them fully. This story, however, isn't reaching half as far as it should.
Did it match the prompt? It kind of paid lip-service to the prompet, but didn't incorporate it into the story.
Words I had to look up: None

Final Score: 1/10


Review of "War Horse"
Technical: No issues that I could detect.
Concept and Plot: There's a story under all this, I'm sure of it. I think this is the first time I've read a fanfiction without being able to figure out what the hey was going on. I don't think I'm clever enough to enjoy this story. The "friend he keeps talking about: is it some kind of undead construct that he can posess or inhabit? Why is he going to war? Who does he work for? All these questions, and more, go completely unanswered. Are you tantalizing me intentionally, good sir?
Characters and Dialogue: This is wierd. I like to group Characters and Dialogue together, because the latter is a window to the former. But in this case, the dialogue and narrative did nothing to advance the… everything else. I hesitate to call it a story. It's more of a scene or vigniette.
Style and Flow: Yikes. Laying it on thick, aren't we? I likes me some verbosity, but this is bordering on pretentious. For awhile I suspected the protagonist was King Sombra, and that this story existed purely to give him as extravagant a vocabulary as possible, as a hilarious contrast to his monosyllabic behavior in the episode… but something tells me this was written in earnest. The story doesn't even have a plot: it's just the protagonist, talking. Stuff happened, but nothing happens.
Anything Else? My god… this is what Present Perfect hated about my won story, wasn't it? "Ponies talking about stuff" isn't the same as "story about interesting stuff."
Did it match the prompt? Was it even trying? There's mention of repeated attacks on other villages, but that's not story. That's just a mention.
Words I had to look up: None.

Final Score: None. I'm waffling between giving this story a one or a seven. There were things I liked about it, but it just doesn't feel complete or relevant. I fear I must decline to pass judgment… which is actually of the most insulting and disappointing thing I can imagine hearing from a reviewer. If it's any consolation, I think this would make a great seed for a longer story. Just remember to cut back on the vocabulosity a bit.


Review of "What is possible"
Technical: An errant "in" at the end of a sentence.
Concept and Plot: You know, this is exactly the sort of story premise that's normally very difficult to do properly. It sounds boring and saccharine and uninteresting. What matters, of course, is the execution.
Style and Flow: As mentioned in a previous review of mine, http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/. This time, though, I'm not being quite so quirky and silly. Be aware, author, for you balance on the edge of a thing that is really thin and sharp and has an edge that can be balanced upon and is also really dangerous when you fail to balance upon it properly. You're crafting some really impressive scenes and events, and I really enjoy the mood and atmosphere. I, the reader, am invested in your story and that's not easy. But the wordy descriptions are thick and/or blunt in many places: a few lines went so far as to deliver their true inner purpose by beating me over the head with it.
Characters and Dialogue: My favorite parts were the dialogue between Twilight and Celestia: it gives us insight on the past without falling into exposition, and gives us a sweet and unassuming look at their past relationship without being trite. This seems to be yet another case of me ranking a story highly because I enjoyed it enough to overlook it's flaws.
Anything Else? This is a good story, and you are a good writer. With hard work and determination, I think you'll make a great writer. This isn't just some pulpy, mindless attempt to be polite, or let you down easily. I genuinely think there's a touch of something really great here. I see a lot of the same problems I've been struggling with myself, and I don't think I'm a good enough editor or reviewer to help you solve them.
Did it match the prompt? Eh… not really. There's a flat-out mention of it at the end, but it isn't really woven into the story.
Words I had to look up: "Sweetbread." It's pancreas!? TWILIGHT WAS EATING MEAT! THE HORROR! THE HORR–no, wait. That's… yeah. Twilight was eating sweet loaf. That's, uh. That's just bread. Nevermind.

Final Score: 7/10

Great. Now I'm starving for a loaf of glazed lemon cake. See what you've done, you monster!? I hope you're happy!

Author of "Erase and Rewind"!eHoaB9uzh6 5985

>>5938
Hm. That seems like a waste of strained pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and a clean glass.

Author of Unappreciated 5988

Erase and Rewind

There's a pony that has extremely bad luck and every time she gets adopted, her adopted family dies, and another pony that has problems with memory and time. Not a problem with remembering, but a problem with remembering too much, all at once. People need to forget things. If they didn't, their minds would probably explode from the overload.

From Rewind's dialogue, it feels like she's either really smart or a bit older than a normal foal. Erase seems to suffer from a mental disorder that's a bit hard to identify and understand. The most I can figure out is just "something involving time" and remembering everything.

Wow, this fic was extremely good. I really enjoyed it. I'm torn between the fic staying as it is, or being expanded though. On one hand, I could definitely see reading more about this pair of characters but on the other hand, continuing the story would set a concrete ending for the fic the way it is now. The reader doesn't know what happens next, so they'll try to provide their own answers for it. Does Erase die? We don't know. Providing an answer to that would take out the mystery. Of course if you did continue and Erase managed to live, it seems like Rewind's curse didn't activate for whatever reason. Was the point of the story for her to ignore the past and stay hopeful for the future? Did the curse try to kill Erase, but then he managed to survive? I'm not really sure what you were trying to say with the story here.

Still, like I said. I liked it. A few parts of the dialogue was a tad annoying with the repeating, but that comes par for the course due to the disorder. It felt like most of it was dialogue, so I'm going to pretend it's like a dance of swords, but with words instead of metal blades. What you plan to do with this story after the competition, I'm curious to find out.


Quotidian

I tried to read this one several times, but it just didn't really jive with me. I admit that I've never read a story like this before, but I didn't really like it. The narrator felt condescending and obvious. It feels more like it could be a voice-over in a movie, but in text it comes off… odd. It wasn't my cup of tea.


Refrain

Wow. This story blew me away. The narrator's voice was spot-on and sounded like Octavia. I've known people with overbearing parents like that and sometimes you want to scream, but you don't because you have known nothing else. But eventually, it grows to a boiling point and the occasional things slip out. This feels like you have some experience with this matter concerning the whole "must practice diligently to become great" part. But if you don't, that just means the writing convinced me that you did. Kudos on that.

Towards the end, it does start feeling like the ending gets a bit rushed, but I blame that on the wordcount limit since you pretty much capped it. Whatcha gonna do? There were also a few mechanical errors, but expected cause the story is so freaking big. It did seem weird that she can use the cello so easily if she had never touched it for years upon years, though. This sounds like a story that would work great for original fiction, now that I think about it.

As for the length, I actually held on throughout the whole thing, which is amazing considering. It drew me in the entire time. It told a story of a tragic childhood, and the events that eventually shaped Octavia to who she eventually became. I think this is my favorite story for this write-off.


Everything Loops

This was a very chilling piece. I liked how the main character's voice came out in the story and all of the descriptions of the monsters. Loved the writing style as well as the plot twist at the end, the gradual onset of insanity, and the way the scenes unfolded.

I was clinging to the edge of my seat through the entire story, and I'm glad to have read it. If this is what you consider to be "not up to your standards" then I should go read the other things you've written once your name is revealed, cause they're bound to be just as deliciously yummy.

Towards the end, you can tell it was rushed because there was a lot more typos, but expected since you did it in the last thirty minutes before submission. Since you're gonna try to fix it up for an EqD submission, I shall look forward to seeing it up there.

God, I want to say more but it'd just come off as blindless praise. So let's just say that this was one of my favorites in this competition.


And that's all of them. This writeoff was incredible, definitely enjoyed writing for this. Hope we have another soon!

Lyra the Stalker Review Anonymous 6029

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Can't say this is a great review, but here you go:
Lyra, defeated by her lack of saddlebags.

It seems you’re trying to capture the vibe of the show, I’ll say that much. Cartoony, really. Anime sweatdrop, seriously? Crash-into-Hello?

Scene where Lyra yells at someone and nothing happens. Feels a bit wasted. The scene where she pops out of the trashcan and surprises a purple unicorn is confusing, because you never SAY that the purple unicorn isn’t Twilight. The implication does become clear, but you spent so much time referring to Twilight as a purple unicorn that I got used to it. Purple unicorn.

‘Time passed like a slug travelling in a sea of molasses.’
One in a morass of weird metaphors.

Severely out-of-character Spike and Twilight ahoy.

Not sure what to say about this one. It was clearly based on the image posted with this review, and it’s a premise that’s got some promise, but I just felt kind of bland reading it. The image of Lyra waving to Twilight and then looking upset at her basically brushing her off was always intriguing to me, and you do try to run with it, but… didn't really do it for me.

I bought the connection to the Time and Time Again premise. Didn't much care for the writing over all though.

Anonymous 6030

A review of Refrain.
Now, in spite of myself, I found myself reading more than half of this story before I put a single word to these of notes. It’s normally my wont to begin commenting from the very beginning, and pick out all the little things that bothered me. That’s not to say that I agreed with every little thing, nor that I failed to find any flaws, it’s just that I allowed myself to be, for the first time in this competition, swept up in the material. I put on some Bach cello suites and let it carry me along with the piece.

There is, however, one point at which you managed to jar me completely out of the experience:
“I’m playing this Goddess forsaken instrument every day is to make you happy.”
It’s not the misplaced ‘is’, which I skipped over completely. I suspect there was a missing ‘The reason’ at the beginning, but that’s not important. It’s Goddess. A word that has never appeared in MLP and seems vividly unsuited to it in so many ways. Assuming it refers to Celestia - an assumption I feel quite safe in making - it is an appellation I absolutely cannot imagine her taking. Even leaving aside the problems in trying to define Celestia as a goddess, you simply don’t see any sort of religious apparatus in Equestria. That ponies swear by her isn’t that unusual - there are secular figures in some languages who are sworn by, after all, and she’s a mighty figure from the past. Moreover, Twilight made a very key point about how ‘supernatural’ things are not real! Does your definition of a god have nothing to do with supernaturalism? If so, why bother with it at all? Why not just say ‘Sun-forsaken’, ‘thrice-damned’ or some other variation?
Perhaps one could say that it’s merely a pet peeve of mine, and it is, but until I hear somepony in the show refer to her as a goddess, I won’t like it.

*click click*
The sound you hear is the reader reacting to the sudden rape scene present in this fic. I call it a rape scene because, even though there was no penetration of any sort, Octavia was definitely raped.
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting a live sexual organ to be present in any of these stories, considering the rating. Charlie humping on her dress was fairly grotesque.
Precisely what I can say about this scene is unclear to me at this time. It’s the first scene in which we actually get very little in the way of analysis from Octavia herself, too. There are comments I can make about how it started, but I will wait until I am done before I go into that.

And finished, so, let’s get into this…
There is a quality to this story that reminds me of older movies and books. The way it began and the way it progressed struck me very much as the sort of languid, reminiscing air that characterizes certain accounts of a person’s life. The dim recollections of memory, the progression from states of early innocence to older wisdom. The story carried me in a way I hadn’t expected others to do so. This is a memoir, pure and simple.
One thing I can say that you truly captured was the process of learning. In my mind, I pictured Octavia’s mind as a cloud of potential, settling down like metal fixing to a substrate, forming little patterns that hardened and wired. A peculiar image, I know, but a fitting one I felt, as she evolved from an uncertain filly to a staid, if still trembling, mare.
Emotion is the key to this piece, and it is carried through the narrative in a way I think few authors can manage. I could easily hear this in a dry, quiet voice, one aching from unfathomable pain. Very little is shoved into the reader’s face - instead it builds and collects until you see it palpably there on the screen. I’m quite glad I was listening to a cello composition, for all that Octavia plays precisely one note on a cello throughout the entire piece. It was the music of her soul, and it was trying to play through her the entire time she was battling with that infernal piano.
And let us not forget the characters. We had so very few, for all that this story was the longest of them all. I’m a glutton for characters, certainly, but I can also appreciate the sort of depth one can achieve with a few. Three characters truly stand out, of course: Octavia herself, her mother, and Grace Note.
It’s funny, really, but I had at first hesitated to put Grace Note on here; in absolute terms, it might seem as though he was little more than a foil. Ah, but what a foil he was! Not only did this elderly teacher introduce Octavia to the true joy of music and guide her faltering hooves into the first, tremulous steps of artistry, he came to be her only true friend and ally, even after his passing. Let us not also forget the little touches of character that made him real: the wispy strands of his beard, so deeply embedded in Octavia’s memory; the way in which he quietly encouraged her; the manner in which his old bones responded to the filly’s prompting. I would like to believe that the mournful playing of his finest composition after his death was his way of reaching out to her, one last time.
Octavia is notable, of course, for being the mare through which this is told, for being the focus of her own life story. Octavia is sad, tired, hateful, desperate, frightful, determined, and quintessentially alone. So rarely can we describe joy to her, yet there is a joy to her nonetheless. Fighting through the suffocating chains of her childhood, she slogs through her own life. So rarely is any choice truly her own, yet she never seems to me to quite have given up. She is resigned, but unbroken, and the first time she truly makes a choice of her own it is one to pick up the thing that she loves and makes her complete. For once, I feel that a teenager steeped in despair is one who truly meant it.
While we speak of control, however, it would be remiss not to include the present of Octavia’s mother. This unnamed mare is, in perhaps the truest sense of the word, our antagonist. Perhaps once upon a time she had been a mare of note, able to shatter wine glasses with her voice - a supposition I make without any recourse to special knowledge provided by Octavia - and capture the hearts of many, but now she is a bitter figure. Indeed, she is empty, and any virtue she may have had is lost to her. I name her vile, and vile she is, for she is every inch the epitome of the washed up drunkard parent: beating her child and destroying her life at every opportunity. Her sick paranoia crushes Octavia’s development and her fumbling incompetence scrabbles to hold her back. She views her daughter as little more than an outlet for her own frustrations, and her fumbling attempts at affection and pride seem the dying gasps of an aged spider, as indeed they prove to be, when cancer creeps up and steals her away. I would say that the word that describes her best is ‘regret,’ and I can safely say that if there is one thing I regret in her presence, it is that she never has an opportunity to become fulfilled again. For all that she was the phantom stealing Octavia’s life away, I wish she could have seen her daughter truly become her own creature, and experience the beauty there for herself. Regret.

That said, let us at least touch on what I feel are the most evident flaws. I’m not really the person to talk about grammar and sentence structure, nor typos, though I did see some problems in each. It was good enough that I was not distracted. Therefore, I will largely ignore that.
The first criticism I might deliver is something of a nitpick: why is this taking place in Ponyville? Leaving aside popular hypotheses about Octavia’s origins, which I do not care about, I do not understand why Ponyville was chosen. There were precisely two Ponyvillian characters in the entire fic - Minuette and Doctor Stable - and literally no scenes took place anywhere recognizable in Ponyville. The hospital and the school house may have been the same ones, but they were so hopelessly generic they could have been anywhere. Octavia spends the entire story in just a handful of places and they all could have been anywhere. Furthermore, where is the high school in Ponyville? Sure, we might say that it probably has one, but we really have no idea.
That leads me to one minor problem which sticks out a bit, and that’s that this didn’t really have to be a My Little Pony fic at all. Hooves and named background characters aside, what really happens here that couldn’t have happened in the real world? Unicorn magic? Never actually occurs, as far as we can tell. The inclusion of a high school, a concept never even mentioned in MLP until Equestria Girls, joins with some curious things, such as Octavia’s broken down house, her tasteless meals, and other things to seem vividly out of place for Ponyville. Even taking into account her mother’s controlling nature, how is it that so many foals are turned off by her? How can they not afford decent meals when good food appears to be cheap and abundant? Just how disconnected are they, how twisted and unlikeable is her mother, that they never get anyone to help with their pipes? Ponyville comes across in your fic like a modern suburb, not anything like we’ve seen in the show.
Perhaps more dire, though, is how one-dimensionally the remaining characters stand out. Minuette is almost an exception because you can see a lot of nascent depth there, yet she’s essentially snipped out of the narrative. Now, we can, of course, say that this is the fault of her controlling mother, who extorted her in the most tragic way I’ve yet seen, but it seems totally out of place for the Minuette you established to just leave it at that! Seeing that sort of pain in another pony, why did she never try to confront Octavia again? Why didn’t she talk to her parents or other ponies? Maybe it was your lack of time, because a scene of somepony confronting Octavia may have added a little color to this fic that it was in need of. Doctor Stable, Concerto, and other one-off characters aren’t even worth mentioning except for how they impact Octavia’s mood.

Now, for the ten ton elephant in the room… the rape scene.
Having finished this story, as I said I would do before commenting further, I can’t for the life of me understand why it is there. It is so fantastically dark that I can hardly believe this Charlie Coal figure belongs in MLP at all. I understand the name is some sort of creepy toy grill that Hasbro has? Utterly irrelevant to his character, at any rate, which is as bland as the bullies Rainbow Dash dealt with. No, what’s alarming is that you felt the need to put this in here and have us experience, with Octavia, the sensation of being raped, of having a boy force you to put your sensing limb in contact with his erect self and then come very close to pinning her down and screwing her right there in front of Grace Note’s shop.
Oh, sure, we can talk about how her mother badgered her into a bad decision, but it seems largely irrelevant. The subject is never brought up again, Octavia never really comments on it, she never really changes how she treats life afterwards. It’s possible that I missed something, of course, and if I did, please correct me, but I fail to see how this scene had any impact other than disgusting the readers.
If I had one great, big, honking recommendation, it would be to cut this scene entirely. If you can find a way to fit it in better - well, that’s bleak, and I think it ill-fitting to the theme you have going - that would be acceptable.
One great big discordant chord in your little symphony.

Well done, nameless author of Refrain. I’d like to shake your hand when I find out who you are. I don’t think this was perfect, but I loved it nonetheless. Though I have a distinct bias against short fics, yours is the best one I’ve read so far… aside from mine, of course~!

EDIT: Looking at the prior reviews posted before mine, I can indeed see some things I might have missed. I would count it remarkable that we all hit such similar notes - that should give you room to improve on, eh?
1. Feels like Original Fiction (embrace that? Submit it to an anthology somewhere. We won't tell :3 )
2. Octavia's buildup to the cello needs more lead-in. She can't be just a punching bag.
3. Characters need more fleshing out
4. That gods damned rape scene needs to go or be altered


Everyone who hasn’t yet read this fic because it’s the longest one there is? Shame on you. Go read it at once.

>tfw your review is longer than several of the posted stories.
This post was edited by its author on .

So I'm back 6031

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>>5889

Perchance to Dream took me way longer than I thought it would

Perchace to Dream
So the plot was kinda interesting, thought I had a feeling that the author wasn't sure where he was heading with it. The story seems rather slow before the "main thing" happens, I can understand that it was for the sake of introducing the characters, but moving the "event" a bit earlier would probably be better or just cutting some things down from the start.
I liked the jokes in this one, the characters were rather nice, even if they were in the background most of the time, there was some feeling to them.
Expand it? Maybe. Why? It would be kinda interesting to see what happened to the lives of other Ther<whatchamacallthem>


Perseverence
Woohoo, a Scoota-fic. Nothing else to say. Short, straight to the point. A bit random? No real plot. The ending didn't really wrap or answer any questions.
Expand it? No. Why? The entry as it is doesn't hold ground, so expanding it would probably mean writing anew.


And that's it for now.
This post was edited by its author on .

Perchance to Dream 6032

>>6031
No, I knew. The opening had two purposes: 1) Establish the characters so it would matter what happened to them and 2) deceive the reader into thinking this was a family dramedy.
Of course, that's not to say I shouldn't have cut it down.
This post was edited by its author on .

reviews Writer's Block 6035

File: 1370922964773.jpg (9.69 KB, 225x225, Pinkie and the Brain.jpg)

Here are some reviews I did, via a private request. I don’t plan on making anymore at this moment, but hopefully we’ll see some of you in the TTG soon enough with your fics.

Perchance to Dream

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1utZgg9ECghgwnA0JmFxYnwwydCvuO8Wn8h-Lic3MT1I/edit?usp=sharing

Sedisto Saxo

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1akpm6CcW5eGQkzQIJ-YovEiebclfy4AJUr7u4xLAFIA/edit?usp=sharing

Timeless Advice

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S0-HCdhZ019Wn7AtCie1LUNqaScfyEKGBntMW77CpSk/edit?usp=sharing

Perchance to Dream 6037

>>6035
I'm already going to be talking to you in person, so there's not a great deal to say here. I do think you've misinterpreted a couple things, but that those misinterpretations demonstrate fault on my part for not making some things clearer. I'll be making the minor changes you pointed out and discussing with you aspects of the rest later.

You've probably given some of the most useful criticism thus far, really.

6039

File: 1370995102051.jpeg (154.14 KB, 640x480, Writer_Pondering.jpeg)

I’ve finally found the time to read through the entries and offer my feedback. And let me say, the turnout this time is surprising and actually pretty scary. I’ve mostly avoided the other reviews, but from what I gather, the quality of this write-off is uncharacteristically high. If that is so, I am going in with higher expectations, so my standards will also be higher than usual. I don’t expect to leave any story without criticism, and the worst will receive a one come voting.

Here’s the first batch (in a completely random order):

War Horse:
A dialogue between a soldier and a girl from a besieged village.

Right off the bat, the intro is purple and somewhat confusing. The dialogue is unnatural in both diction and syntax, and it fails to characterize. Emotionally, it’s all over the place, with fear turning into burning anger and back to quivering fear too quickly to be believable. The narrative voice is distracting and far too flowery, and its intrusion into dialogue is probably what ruins it. There is an attempt to describe the war taking place and the reasons for it, but it is too vague and mired in flowery language to paint a coherent picture, let alone engage the reader. I only understood that it had something to do with Nightmare Moon, and the rest of the characters mentioned still remain a mystery. There isn’t much in terms of plot here, as while there are characters, a setting and a situation, there isn’t really ay actual change. The story merely describes a static picture: here’s this stallion, here’s this girl, here’s what’s happening and why. He gives her a flower and reminiscences on his duty, and all of it changes nothing in the end.

Now, unlike others, I don’t believe that this fiction doesn’t have enough to do with MLP. You do make an attempt to link it to the setting. The true failing is with the execution. More fleshing out, less confusion, and you could make something out of this idea.


Lyra the Stalker:
Lyra gets a school crush on Twilight, proceeds to be creepy.

The worst problem with this fic is the pacing, which is way, way too fast. This is mostly due to a dearth of description, which doesn’t even attempt to paint anypony besides Twilight and Lyra (and Spike, I suppose). The lack of description also means that the setting turns into a generic High School more suited for EqG than MLP. It’s a shame, because I’ve actually liked the few metaphors used throughout. You get a point for that. The plot progresses on a pace more convenient for the author than the story: first Lyra couldn’t catch Twilight anywhere, and then she just suddenly corners her at the lockers? In the end, the speed just hits terminal velocity. There’s also a distinctive lack of a narrative voice, but the worst thing about this fic is that it’s just not that funny. While the beginning at least attempts to set up comedic situations, like the scene with the trashcan, the rest becomes literally nothing but a straight line from point A to point B with splits between them. I have a distinct feeling that you’ve run out of time.


Refrain:
The story of Octavia’s childhood, and how she learned to forgive her abusive mother.

Now the competition’s picking up. The descriptions work, and are thorough, but I’m not entirely sure if there is just the right amount of them. One thing that stuck out to me was when the very first paragraph had two comparisons of the voice: to the cloth and to the glass. In my opinion, the glass comparison is unneeded. Very good job on the syntax and diction of the narrator, as it does read like the speech of a high-class pony. The problem is, it doesn’t seem like it “works” all that well for narrative, at least in the beginning. The arduous sentences overstay their welcome quickly, which, together with the overabundance of description, slows the pacing down, although it gets much better towards the middle of the story. Tweaking the narrative voice would do you well, even if it results in a difference between dialogue-Octavia and narrator-Octavia. Speaking of which, I’m not entirely sure why the narrator’s identity was withheld for so long. I expected the reveal to have some significance by the time it happened, but it was mentioned almost off-handedly, like you’d expect it to be in the first or second scene. The dialogue’s not bad, but not exceptional either. The story is carried through narrative, giving characters little time to shine through their speech, and when they do speak, there isn’t a lot of characterization happening. None of this is severe enough to ruin the story, however.

One thing that I picked up early on was that I didn’t feel much reason for Octavia to hate the piano so much, so suddenly. Of course, the reason is explained in the scene before her birthday, but we skip through the time it takes for her to gain so much hatred for the instrument, so it doesn’t hold up that much. The effect would have been much greater if we saw a scene that prompted Octavia’s hatred.

The plot has a tendency to wander in scenes. I first noticed it when Sweet Breeze tried to play with Octavia in school. This followed into the scene with Coal—which, not accounting for the content matter, didn’t seem to me any more misplaced than the scene with Sweet Breeze—and to Minuette’s scenes, although those were arguably better because they did tie into the theme when Octavia’s mother intervened. I understand that those scenes are used to paint a fuller picture of the protagonist’s misery, but they still feel extraneous. Not to mention that the overall mood set by the main scenes alone was already bleak enough. This is a pretty big complaint, as I don’t believe that such dark stories are in the spirit of MLP. Making the lighter portions lighter would make for a good contrast and make the whole piece easier to take in.

All in all, this is a powerful and very well-written piece that managed to grip me and elicit an emotional response. The problems I mentioned did make me lower my score, but I expect this story to stay in my top-three for this competition—and only because we have such an amazing turnover this time. If I were you, I’d reduce the length by a third or even half to make it that much stronger and put more emphasis on the main plot—Octavia’s relationship with her mother. Still, good job.


Only these three for now. I’ll try to read and review all the others tomorrow, while there’s still time to vote.

Anonymous 6041

Everything Loops
I think you got a Japanese ghost story in my Scrubs: Canterlot episode.

Well, look at that. A flayed-open body. I go from a fic with a rape scene to one with a split-open person dying in front of me. I suppose a frank description of a medical procedure done wrong doesn’t really qualify as ‘grotesque content,’ but you, sir, manage to hold to that line so tightly I’m surprised you aren’t considered married already. Following this up with one of the limbo specters from Deadly Premonition…

Now suddenly we’re in the shining. “Come play with us, Sparky. Forever, and ever.” Then suddenly Pyramid Head the Pony (only in bandages and a gurney.)

Man, someone get some Langoliers in here. Cleanup on time aisle 9.

What am I reading, here, a horror anthology?

I like that you seem to be using the same year system that I do - counting from the imprisonment of Nightmare Moon, if I’m not mistaken. Guess that would make Doc Sparks 30.

Oh, yeah, that’s wonderful. See someone age to death in front of you. Hope he didn’t just accidentally kill that poor mare.

And thus, a stable time loop.

So uh-

Yeah, that was a story. It happened. Kinda weird and depressing. Sadly, like a lot of horror stories, it ultimately didn’t make much sense and was really just there for shock value. I’m not trying to denigrate you, understand, but I didn’t really feel attached to Doctor Sparks so it was hard to care when the walls started bleeding.

Maybe others will disagree with me, but I think this one exceeds the content rating. Kinda wish there had been some sort of content warning beforehand, but I felt committed to continue. I’m not particularly squeamish about the stuff depicted, but I like to be prepared for it. I particularly don’t like seeing it in a pony fic.

Aside from the rare inclusion of magic and pegasi and the mention of major cities, this honestly doesn’t feel like a MLP story. It feels like a normal, contemporary horror story.

Author of "War Horse" 6042

>>5952
>>5984
>>6039

Bah. Too frugal one minute, too purple the next. I swear though, one of these days I will find that blastedly happy medium.

Bah.

To answer several questions:

-Yes, to be perfectly honest, this really is more a scene than a story. I should have found something different to submit, but this popped up, and so I tried it. Part of an inspiration for one of my longer works, and what will indeed likely become a part of some future project if I can mesh it in. Somehow.

-My connection to the prompt lies in the lines:

>Peace cannot be kept eternally bright, as can neither justice nor truth. They must be fought for, and continuously brought up from the depths of darkness. And though each time wears us down and strips away another layer of that naive veneer we attempt to coat our hearts within, we shall continue to fight for the true light as long as we live and breath.


Basically, the fight for good (or, in this case, his definition of good) never truly stops. Instead, there are simple lulls in it, moments of calm before the storm again rears its ugly head.

-The “story” here was supposed to be something along the lines of:

Following this character at the beginning of when he is making a kingdom for himself, all so that he might return to Equestria and defeat Celestia with a large army of his own. The girl is among the first villages to fall, and is now pleading with him to spare hers, even though he’s essentially destroyed her whole world by this point. (Hence, the severe emotional swing between anger and terror. She wants so bad to hurt him, but if she tries, and fails, she holds little doubt that he will wipe her, and the remnants of her village, from the face of the earth.) But, because she has a pair of younger siblings, she now has to swallow her pride and pain and get this villain to stop.

As for the whole “armor” bit, that was a thought that, essentially, after a severe falling out with Celestia over Nightmare Moon, it’s the only thing he can trust anymore besides family. His own family is not around here to support him at this moment, so he clings tightly to the only identifiable source of their love: his armor, made by his father. It is the closest thing he feels he can call a true friend anymore.

This villain values loyalty above all else, as it is supposed to be a massive part of his character, and he is giving up everything he takes joy from in his life in pursuit of that loyalty. He knows what he is doing is terrible, but he does it because he feels he has no other alternative.

Erase and Rewind Review Anonymous 6046

Videocassettes. I suppose those were needed in an ‘Erase and Rewind’ fic.
Elevators don’t bother me, we’ve seen Manehattan after all.
Use of swear words in a pony fic - I actually don’t think these are not present. I think they’re fairly uncommon, though, so maybe Erase is just foul-mouthed. Not really a mark against.
Radios? I don’t think they have radios. Is this set in the near future or something?
Cubicles. Briefcases. Flashing a badge.

What’s with all the write-off entries that are set in what feels like a version of contemporary America?

Well, I suppose it has an orphanage - we don’t have those any more in the US.

Sperm banks in Equestria!

So okay, let’s talk about this one.
The ending is very appropriate, because one thing that defines this story is that a lot of things seem to go somewhere and yet you never really see where they end. Threads arcing off into infinity, really. Will she ever see her friend Copper? Do they get home safely? What’s causing Rewind’s tragic life? Does Rewind help Erase cope? Do they build on this spark of affection that grew up between them? Does Erase try to find a mare? What ever DID happen to those TPS reports?
Erase is all right. He strikes me as not too far from a sociopath - I’m almost wondering if you meant to use that instead of schizophrenia. Of course, schizophrenia does not have to be accompanied by hallucinations, and at least some of his symptoms are coherent with the stated diagnoses. I have some familiarity with hyperthymesia cases, and if I were to say any part of this needs to be changed, I would edit this to clarify it as autobiographical memory - usually starting somewhere later in life, at fourteen was the one case I can recall well enough to remember. Honestly, my greatest problem with him is that I don’t really know what he wants out of life. We spend time in his head, but it’s not clear why he wants a daughter or why he does anything for her. All I can imply is that he’s lonely and wants someone to care for. And, you know? That’s pretty admirable. Probably makes it a good thing you didn’t choose sociopathy then, actually.
Rewind is a treasure. Burned one too many times and all calloused over. She’s afraid of one thing: trusting others, because getting attached means seeing them get hurt. Clever and funny, she provides most of the humor and entertainment in the fic. Also strangely immortal. I’d say more about her, but, really, she stands on her own - for all that she sits on somepony’s back for a goodly part of it.

So two things I think really kind of put me off this one:
1) Setting. This feels like Equestria, but I have to wonder if you’ve set this at some point in the future. I’m not sure why you used the setting elements you did, either, since they ultimately had nothing to do with the fic itself.
2) Emotion. Aside from Rewind’s resignation, this fic is about as dry and passionless as Granny Smith’s love life. Now, there is something to be said for being subtle, and, certainly, at the end we got some genuine affection and uncertainty, but your peculiar choice of duotagonist has left me feeling like I just bit into an ice cream sundae, only to find dry concrete underneath. At the least, that means that my family isn’t about to be blown up by a meteor.


>What’s with all the write-off entries that are set in what feels like a version of contemporary America?

I know Equestria can be a little schizotech, but there have been a number of fics that seem to completely ignore already established norms. Too contemporary and it ends up seriously breaking the vibe. Too archaic and you risk looking ridiculous.

Anonymous 6047

Sedisto Saxo
Oh, this is just fantastic.
I might be a little concerned about the content at some points, but this is just great. The world-building alone is worth it. The details of the gate are something I’ll have to remember. The very use of the phrase ‘ruinous anvil.’ Oh, I’m sure someone will tell you that it’s telly, but screw them. The comedy with Derpy is just the right level for it not to be obtrusive, aside from the plaintive cries of ‘muffin!’ which can get so tiring. Not that, you know, she didn’t moan it in Applebuck Season in the show anyway. I wouldn’t use most of this, too much of Christian hell up in here, but it’s a nice start.
There’s a lot of interesting themes here. Pinkie’s torment by reminding her of the worst parts of the farm? Sisyphus never had it so bad. All he had to deal with was boredom and getting tired and crushed now and then. Pinkie Pie has to deal with how her life was never satisfied at all.
Sissy Hooves himself is disposed of rather callously and pointlessly. He seemed to exist solely to get Pinkie Pie into that. Honestly, I feel this diluted her sacrifice considerably.
The writing sucked me in at once and kept me there.

One complaint? Eternal punishment is severely against the theme of MLP. Of course, they proved that by helping others overcome their problems, you can evade even that stricture.
So - I assume this starts the part where they go back and save all the others? Because, seriously, that ain’ cool.


And now for a bunch of short fics. I, honestly, am not a fan of short fiction. This isn’t to say that fiction with a small word count is bad, per se, it just means that a lot of what I look for in fiction is missing by the very nature of the piece. Hopefully, I will be pleasantly surprised.

Rocks, Boomboxes, and Kidney Stones
Uh oh. Twixie fic. *buckles in*

North by Northwest, eh? I could take a little Cary Grant in my MLP. Gods know he had enough LSD. Brace for the Hitchcock cameo.

C’mon, Trixie, you’re failing at this. Rainbow Dash breaks in there literally every day, and you can’t manage to get in once? Maybe Twilight just loves Rainbow more than you.

Are you the same guy who wrote Lyra the Stalker? Because this is two ‘Creepy Mare Stalks Twilight in Cartoony Fashion’ fics so far.

A compact disk. In MLP.
*inhale*
*exhale*
Hoo boy. Okay. I’m good to continue.

All right, so. I suppose that was a little funny. Not very funny, but kinda funny. The technical aspect was sufficient as far as my meager eyes could tell.
Tenuous, paper-thin connection to the prompt (the ‘time and time again’ part had ALREADY happened before it started.)

Silly crack fic, took me about 5 minutes to read and digest and hardly worth the effort. Moving on.


My Little Pumpkin
Oh, thank goodness. A short fic I could enjoy, however flawed.
This really kind of encapsulates why I hate bite-sized fics like these, though. Something like this deserves a full treatment, because there’s a lot of emotion and power that can be had in it. It could have been that fic, that really tugged at the heart strings.
As it is? It’s like a seed, the first few threads of something greater.

Pinkie doesn’t really feel like Pinkie Pie here. Oh, sure, I can totally believe that she can and will deliver that degree of emotional support to Pumpkin Pie now and in the future. It just doesn’t sound like her, though - which, really, is emblematic of the fic’s problem:
It has no characters.
Oh, sure, it has people in it and they do things, but really it’s just a series of events featuring Pumpkin having trouble coping with life and Pinkie swooping in to save the day. It comes across as a commercial rather than a story with real flesh-and-blood people.

At the least, you automatically earn some points in my mind for this fic making more sense than Boomboxes did.
You know what another problem was? Repetition to the point of laziness. I get the theme, but seriously - felt kind of boring. I notice prior reviews tend to vacillate between ‘agh this made me cry’ and ‘meh.’ I’m in the latter category, but with a ‘you can do better’ caveat.


Circles in Circles
When this Rainbow Dash hits eighty-eight miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious shit.

Voices seem a little off at times. I think your stable time loop logic may be a little short-circuited, too, since there’s no exit point - if this really was going to continue, then the local Rainbow Dash should continue growing older.

Aside from those two minor issues? A decent read, very easy.


Corn
Before I talk about this fic, let’s talk about an oddity I’ve seen in some MLP stories:
Money
Oh, sure, we all see it in the show. It’s clearly important. Let’s question a few things, however…
1) Do you really think anypony goes hungry in MLP? I’m sure if a hungry traveler went to any house in Equestria and asked for a bite, the owners would happily share.
2) Travel. It’s not very hard. Ponies are rangy, durable animals who can go long distances, even in the show. Foals play outside town without the slightest fear of being gobbled up. Applejack, as a filly, walked all the way to Manehattan and no one batted an eye

Honestly, what do you think is going to happen when a pony runs out of money? Their quality of life may suffer, but nothing really holds the itinerant back as it does in our world. Equestria’s no utopia, but it is a pretty safe place.

Buuuuuut…
That’s minor. Irrelevant, even.
This is very nearly the best thing I’ve read here. I was getting worried that all the good times were gone.
Wistful, a little sad, maybe even a little pathetic. Corn sucks you right in with gentle, descriptive writing and a distinct mood. It’s poignant, sweet, and full of little touches that really elevate it. Were it not for the fact that it triggers one of the main reasons I hate short fiction – continuity – I might be forced to consider rethinking part of that. As it is, this story is incomplete, and it deserves to be told in full.

I might add to my earlier comment that your vision of Equestria here is just a little too bleak to be believed. Maybe everywhere outside Canterlot and Ponyville is grey and miserable? I kinda doubt it, honestly. As I said, Equestria is no utopia, but it’s a secure, fruitful land with a lot of satisfied ponies in it. It’s a little hard to believe that so many of these ponies would be so grim-fraced and unhelpful.
This, really, suffers from the same flaw that Refrain and a few others did: it could have been original fiction.

All in all, too short, but it was entertaining at least.


Everything Has Its Season
Is… is this an Endless crossover?
Man, forget about content warnings for gore and rape, where’s that crossover tag when you need it…

>There was an inscrutable expression on his features.

Yeah. Yeah. I’m right there with you, Spike.

>“Equestrians haven’t had gods in over three thousand years.”

Exposition fairy, attack! Took you long enough to get here.

Awful. This is a fic where things happen and no one really cares. Worst fic I’ve read so far.
Go compare this to Sedisto Saxo for how to do proper world-building. Bland exposition does not a setting make.
Compare this to Corn for how to do proper emotion. Weak, barely-noticed cheap shots don’t create drama.
Compare this to virtually any fic here for character-building. A lame main character pulls us unwillingly through.
Finally, compare this to the show for voices, because I don’t even know who these people were who were pretending to be ponies (and a dragon) we know.


Technically, now, I’m done. I’ve read more than half of these. Still, I’ll try to finish the rest after work and before voting closes. Let’s hope there’s a few more diamonds in the rough before the end.

Author: "Everything Has Its Season" 6048

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>>6047
I imagine a boulder must have fallen upon you as a child, crushing out all the fun from your body. Learn to let your hair down on occasion, eh?

Though, honestly, I can take and apply most of your criticism. The only thing I truly have trouble with is this:

>A lame main character pulls us unwillingly through.


I will have to ask you to defend that statement. In particular, I want you to defend the phrase "lame main character". The character might be annoying, but it is neither crippled nor lacking in character. If you meant, of course, that it was simply a poor character choice—a scrappy—then I wouldn't have as much of an issue with it. Not everyone will like every character, and I am taking pains to revise the story so that the others are better characterized.

But the main viewpoint character is the heart and soul of the piece. It is the reason for the existence of the piece, and the piece would collapse without it.

This means that people who don't like the character will not like story. That's fair. But the character is the premise, and, without it, the piece would not be this story at all, but something completely different.

Anonymous 6049

>>6048
What, you mean like the fun I had in Circles, Sedisto, and Corn? :D

Strikes me as a Marty Stu insert. Has a history with all of the alicorns and is the chosen messenger of the gods. Defies Celestia and co immediately and threatens them without consequence. Makes off with Spike merrily.

Oh, I'm sure there's an interesting character buried somewhere here, Everything, but the problem is that we get a glimpse of him that's so brief, all I see is someone who irritated the piss out of me. There's little establishment for all that there's tons and tons of awkward dialogue where he gets to run roughshod over established characters like it's nothing.

6050

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>>6049

I see your point.

The rock fell on you between readings.

6051

>>6048
>But the main viewpoint character is the heart and soul of the piece. It is the reason for the existence of the piece
Nobody ever said you can't have a feeble heart nor a feeble soul. Guess what kind of story comes out from that? /shrug

Anonymous 6052

>>6051
Well, I wouldn't put it quite that way, but it is more or less what I'm saying.

Author: "Everything Has Its Season" 6053

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>>6051

The whisky is agreeable but the meat has gone bad.

In other words, this story has no redeeming value.

Which means I might as well scrap it and start something else.

Is that what you mean?

Anonymous 6055

File: 1371064537980.gif (495.25 KB, 500x281, Big-Macintosh-Excited-Yes-Nod-…)

Author of "Everything Loops" 6056

>>6041
I won't argue against the assertion that there's not much depth to my entry. I've said before in here that I was aiming for nothing more than campy horror in all its kitschy glory.

However, I don't think it's entirely fair to say it's not at all a pony story. As was the case with Erase and Rewind, the connection to canon is thematic rather than explicit, with the critical junction occurring with the kinds of things that are causing Sparks' descent into madness through the loop: that is, the societal importance placed on friendship and helping others out in time of need, and the intense guilt associated with situations where that simply isn't possible. The type of events of the story don't perfectly match up with those depicted in canon, but my counterpoint would be that the moral backbone of the story absolutely does.

On the subject of Erase and Rewind, though, I find it baffling that you had a problem with the story apparently not going anywhere. Beyond the fact that the relationship between the two titular characters is most certainly dynamic, with a marvelous subtlety and wit about it to boot, I feel like it's all on you that you seem to have completely missed the thematic rationale behind the story's construction. In fact, I could say much of the same about your reaction to my own story, as well as… well, to be frank, there aren't many things you said about the other stories that I DO agree with or even logically follow, not the least of which was your remarkably unjust lambasting of "Everything Has Its Season". (On that note, actually, way to act like a complete prick to its author just now as well.)

You told that author that they should look at "Sedisto Saxo" for a lesson on worldbuilding, a story which gave no rationale for the positioning and relationships between its characters and hardly added anything that wasn't a trite retelling of ancient Greco-Roman mythology. Then again, given as you appear to think the classically tortured character of Sisyphus "didn't have it so bad" and that he seemed to exist solely for Pinkie Pie's sake, I'm inclined to believe you don't even have a basic grasp on Greco-Roman mythology to begin with, which in this case would invalidate, if my math is correct, literally every bit of praise you gave this fic for its creative construction of Tartarus.

Then, you told that author to look at "Corn", a regrettably dry, routine fic that never develops enough of a unique style to make up for its nonexistent plot and static characters, for an example of how to "do proper emotion". At this point, I'm actually beginning to question whether we even read the same writeoff entries, because we seem to be describing entirely different stories, and I find it hard to believe you could wring that much emotional depth out of a story in which there is precisely none to be found. I could perhaps have excused this as being due to a lack of experience with truly invigorating slice-of-life writing, but given the way I've seen you react to the author of "Everything Has Its Season" just now, I'm not feeling nearly as cordial. I'll grant you that said author didn't exactly come off as a paragon of civility themselves, but responding in turn makes you look no better, especially when it's in the act of defending what I presume you want us to see as legitimate criticism penned by someone who actually has half a damn clue what they're talking about.

At this point, I'd like to extend an apology to the authors of "Sedisto Saxo" and "Corn"; I realize I've been excessively harsh on your stories here, and I'd like to emphasize that your entries are not without merits as well, and that neither of you even vaguely resembles a lost cause as far as writing in general goes. That being said, I remain in vehement disagreement with what this reviewer has claimed about your stories and those of other entries in the writeoff, to the point that I'm genuinely upset at what some of you might erroneously believe in light of those claims. I hope I've expressed that with a high degree of clarity here.

>Because, seriously, that ain’ cool.


And… yep, now I know exactly which writeoff entry you wrote too. Figures, oddly enough. That was the single entry I honestly couldn't bring myself to finish for how disorganized, sloppily characterized, and flat-out boring it was to slog through. Suddenly, a lot of things that just happened started making a whole lot of sense.

6057

>arguing about reviews to your story

Protip: Reader reactions are more important than what you think about your story. You don't have to agree with all of them, but whining about it makes you look like a dork.

:3

Author of "Everything Loops" 6058

>>6057
I couldn't care less about what they/you think of my entry. I'm much more concerned with what they/you are telling other people, and only because I'm not sure anyone involved realizes how contrary to reality their/your statements are running.

Anonymous 6059

>>6058
That's not me, Loops. I'll answer you in a second, hold your ponies.

6060

>>6059
Yeah, anonymous reviews are really confusing.

6061

>>6058
What could they be telling people other than their opinion?

Followup to Followup Anon Reviewer 6062

>>6056
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

>>6062
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

>>6064
I understand. I'm pretty sapped myself. No hard feelings.

Author: "Everything Has Its Season" 6066

File: 1371079606242.jpg (171.13 KB, 797x596, formal-apology.jpg)

>>6056
>>6062

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.

6067

>>6066
>>6065
>>6064
Now everypony hug :3

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6068

>>6067
>Now everypony hugkiss :3

FTFY

6069

Anon Reviewer 6074

>>6066
No problem. I hope I didn't come across as too personal.

>>6067
Aww, c'mere *yoink*

6076

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6079

File: 1371088996496.jpeg (118.1 KB, 640x480, Writer_Melancholic.jpeg)

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.


Unappreciated:
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.


Perseverance:
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 .

6080

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>>6079

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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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>>6084

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

>>5806
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

>>6107
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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http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/16-Time-and-Time-Again/results

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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6137

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Holy cow, third place! That's two places better than last time!

*coughs*

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!

6138

>>6117
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 .

6147

>>6146
Undeniably. Let's hope that this standard of quality and participation continues in the future.

6156

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>>6117
So…

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

Fancy mathematics.

6159

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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.

6226

>>6224
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.

6232

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>>6107
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

>>6138
Sure

>>6156
What kind of data are you after? Spreadsheets are not usually the best way of presenting data.

6237

>>6234
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.

>'home'

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

whom

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

Typo.

>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.

>I–

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.
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Present!PeRFeCt9JM 6656

>>6648
>>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…
Intentional!

>>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…

>>I-

>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

>>6656
>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

>>6657
Gotcha.

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

>>6744
Remember, we had the minific writeoff not that long ago.

Anonymous 6748

>>6746

Aww. :(

Anonymous 6860

Any word on this?

6861

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)

>>6864
>Just please remember Bronycon is next weekend.
>mfw I won't be going.


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