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Hearth's Warming Care Package !!Spike 840[Last 50 Posts]

#Event

The event has ended! Here are the results: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/3-Hearths-Warming-Care-Package/results

Copied from an Equestria Daily post ( http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/10/announcing-hearths-warming-care-package.html ) :

It's not quite yet Halloween, which means it's time to start thinking about the winter holiday season. Smart alecky quips aside, a group of bronies have taken it upon themselves to put us all in the holiday spirit by setting up a very unique sort of charity for now seven-years-old Kiki Havivy, the little girl fighting a potentially lethal brain tumor whom Tara Strong has been rallying us around for quite a few months now.

What makes this project unique is that it's not seeking funding, but rather a much needed boost of morale in the form of stories. That's right, it's time to put our collective fanfiction chops to work for the forces of good! Check on down below the page break for the official press release, an informational video, and as a special bonus, a video that got released a few days prior of little Kiki singing, circa age 3. If that doesn't motivate you, I'm not sure what will.



Greetings and Salutations to All of Equestria!

This letter is to announce the arrival of a new brony charity project, known as the ‘Hearth’s Warming Care Package’. We have been moved by the many great things the members of our fandom and community have done for those less fortunate, and this project is a way for those without funds to give back to a cause.

For our first event, we are putting together a care package for a fan you might already know about. Kiki Havivy is a wonderful little pegasister that was diagnosed with brain cancer in January of 2011 at the age of six. She is fighting an uphill battle, and so far, the brony community has raised countless sums of money to aid her in her quest for survival, as well as the dozens of artists and musicians who gave their work to auctions and charity albums.

We also seek to do something for Kiki for those that do not readily have money to give to her cause or a skill of monetary value. To this end, we are announcing the first ever brony charity fanfiction contest. We are looking for a great story that we can illustrate, print and send to Kiki along with a package full of holiday cards, toys and wishes for her speedy recovery.

But wait, there’s more!

We have several big names in the fanfiction community lined up to judge your entries. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get some feedback on your work from some of the most respected and renown writers, on top of the chance to write for a cause. Among our judges are such names as DawnFade, Chromosome, Pen Stroke, WandererD, JasonTheHuman, The Descendant, Chaotic Dreams, PhantomFox, TwilightClopple, Thyrai, PonIver, The Sentient Cloud, Whirring Gears, Steel Resolve and even more![1]

Interested? Read on for the details and rules…
Submission Information
Submissions will be handled by the website http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me. See Rules for the rules, and FAQ for information on how the judging will take place. All entries must be received by Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:00:00 UTC.[2]

Prizes
First, all entries will be included in a bound anthology that we will send with the care package to Kiki and her family.

Two runners up will receive a commissioned cover for their story (or if they so choose, any other story they have or will be writing). They will also receive one shirt of their choice from the exquisite brony boutique at WeLoveFine.

Our grand prize winner will have their story illustrated, printed, and sent with the care package. On top of that, they will receive a 14” commissioned plush pony of their choosing (including OCs, and voice boxes available for canon characters), care of CreatedWithLove (http://createdwithlove.deviantart.com), who will also be including a plush of Kiki’s OC to send with the care package.

If you would like to be a part of this special gift for Kiki, we welcome all forms of aid. If you wish to donate money, please visit http://www.giveforward.com/supportkikiscancerfund. Artists and others who wish to be included in some way in the project are encouraged to contact either [email protected], or our project coordinator, PonIver (FIMFiction: PonIver, Skype: doughboy1337, Twitter: @PonIver, [email protected]).

We would love to include all who wish to be a part of this project, so don’t hesitate to ask! Cards, toy donations, or just some way to devote time to the project! We won’t turn anyone away.

We truly look forward to giving Kiki the best Hearth’s Warming ever, and wish her many more to come.

Love, Tolerate, and Seasons Greetings to All

PonIver and the ‘Hearth’s Warming Care Package’ Project



[1] Current judges are PhantomFox7, Wanderer_D, SleeplessBrony, TheDescendant, Unahim, DawnFade, Thyrai, PegasusRescueBrigade, and AbsoluteAnonymous.
[2] See note at top of post.
This post was edited by a moderator on .

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1105

File: 1353134103869.jpg (146.74 KB, 640x536, mlp__friendship_is_magic_part_…)

Bumping for less than 12 hours remain.

I've got my entry in. It's kind of ironic how much of a mental gear-shift it's been trying to write a My Little Pony story for kids. I hope I managed okay.

Status Report 1112

MLPchan's servers experienced a DDoS over the last couple hours, which is why the site is unavailable. MLPchan is up now but we're still trying to figure out how to configure Cloudfare to recognise the writeoff domain. Hopefully it'll be back up shortly.

Because of work or other commitments, I understand that the last few hours may have been the only time some people had to submit today. As such, the deadline's been extended by 24 hours to make sure nobody missed out.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

1114

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1138

File: 1353262902695.jpg (463.86 KB, 691x580, mlp__suited_for_success_by_ami…)

1139

File: 1353265411868.gif (2.6 MB, 320x184, 1571377_o.gif)

It's that time again, folks! This event is all about giving (and, in the case of the skilled, getting, for those less scrupulous about their motivations), so I'll be making some short reviews for each story and you're all invited (and somewhat obligated, now) to do the same.

To keep the thread navigable, I would suggest using the hide feature ( [h.] [/h.] without the periods, for the imageboard virgins around here) on your reviews if they're any longer than a few lines. Otherwise, spoilers ( [?.] [/?.] ) will suffice.
A practical demonstration.


Due to the length of the stories in this event, allow me to preface any reviewing I do with the stipulation that I reserve the right to be bored, close your story and cast my vote with a suitably low score, accompanied by a similarly short review of why you failed. A children's story must be simple by design for its target audience, but it need not be boring, nor is there some clause that states you can't incorporate deeper themes into the narrative for the older and more mature reader. In essence, "Simple" is not the same as "Boring", as things like Tetris demonstrate.

And now, without further adieu, let us… begin.

Anonymous 1153

File: 1353287811377.jpg (56.8 KB, 715x800, mlfw8392-834f3c53397480c886c31…)

There were only 14 entries back on the original-ish deadline of Nov 10th. There's now 25 entries. This is awesome. No matter whose story is selected, Kiki wins.

Since I'm an entrant in this event, and since this event carries a bit more gravitas, I'd rather not post my reviews under my name or even as "Author of", to avoid claims of slander. But having done Roger's events in the past, I can attest to how helpful it can be to get feedback. Flutteranon it is, then.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1154

There's public voting for this? I thought it was just judges for the sake of the actual contest. Will low-ranked stories not get sent on in the package? :(

1155

>>1154
The document states that all stories will be included, although I would assume this doesn't include any stories that feature themes of a violent or sexual nature.

>>1153
I'm sure your feedback will be appreciated. Mine, perhaps, not so much so, but to each their own.

1158

File: 1353297759718.png (90.6 KB, 258x258, Why would you say that.png)

>mfw entries closed at 10 AM and not 10 PM

Lt_Luc 1168

File: 1353315844122.png (359.06 KB, 1029x648, 110087 - artist zlack3r artist…)

Reviews for the first ten stories. I'll do the rest tomorrow or the day after and edit them into this post.

A Zebra in the Bed:
>“Tarnation, I am beat,” Applejack, the orange farm mare
“Tarnation” is something I’ve always felt goes at the end of sentence, like “What in tarnation?” The term means "An exclamation of annoyance", which doesn't match the usage here. Also, “I” not being “Ah”; “Ah” is a standard for the rustic accents, almost a given. Finally, that hunk of LUS is really, really ugly. Everyone that is going to read this will know who Applejack is and what she looks like, does ect.
Zecora’s rhymes are decent, and the dialogue is in character. The exposition is very telly, even for a children’s story, though. The plot itself was okay, but I never felt particularly interested, quite the opposite. Solid, but dull.


Wings
Ugh, talk about pandering. I could re-watch the same episode of Scooby Doo five times and its plot would still be less predictable than this. The exposition was a horrendous example of why telling is usually bad.


Twilight and the Snow Princess
More boring exposition. The first scene has a new paragraph that wasn’t double-spaced and the dialogue-to-exposition transitions are wrong. Sloppy writing is the hallmark of this by-the-numbers story.


A Brand New Canvas
Ah, finally, some evocative writing. Not amazing, but a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, the entire opening is just a wall of exposition instead of organically introducing his past. You have numerals in your exposition, which is a no-no. It seems like you wrote your story in the time between having the prompt made and then removed, which was a stroke of bad luck for you.


Treasure
Your dialogue bits in the first paragraph are a bit wonky. On the other hand, exposition that doesn’t make me yawn with real, snappy dialogue between characters. On the other-other hand, single-quotes for personal thoughts. Eww.
>With a look of indifference, Rainbow Dash snatched the urn with her mouth.
Hurr hurr, I C wat U did thar.
So far, this is the only story I haven’t begun skimming (or outright skipping). Good on you. The ending was a bit anti-climactic, though. Still, a good read.


The girl who loved unicorns
First of all, learn how to capitalize your title. Next, all I can think of is “The Girl with the Unicorn Tattoo”. Writing is full of errors, repetition, and is generally terrible. Next!


Sister Bonding
First of all, never say “I don’t own X” since that just makes it easier for your ass to get sued (not that they would bother with small fry like yourself) and doesn’t protect you at all. Exposition following dialogue isn’t done right. Dry and dull story as a whole.


Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak
Ugh, double-hypens standing in for em-dashes. Beginning is a lesson in everything everyone already knows. The writing in this is so basic it’s insulting, even for a seven year-old. It takes you several thousand words to reach the plot, which was hardly worth reaching anyways. There was the glimmer of a good idea, but it was buried underneath withered writing and plodding pacing.


Piece of Mind
I hope for your sake that the title is supposed to be a pun. Also, why did you restate it at the beginning? Oh look, we’re starting off with a weather report. My forecast is a 90% chance of the Blahs. The opening is mostly two huge text walls, neither of which is interesting enough to deserve so much reading time. Again, there’s an idea present here, but the lead-up is far too casual with reaching it and the opening almost seeming like a different story altogether. It long outstays its welcome and, for all of the words in it, doesn’t really seem to accomplish much of worth.


Born to Scoot
You need to learn how and when to use scene breaks. The story is a string of “X didn’t work, so let’s try Y” in an attempt to be a mad-cap romp and instead only succeeding in being a series of disjointed scenes with a weak thread to bind their poorly-conceived slapstick routines.



Dear Journal
Commas. Commas everywhere. I’m left to wonder whether this is the pony version of Captain Kirk with all of these pauses in the narration. It’s a dry, alternate viewpoint in first-person version of “A Bird in the Hoof” that never attempts to leave the safety of the box it was thought of in. A story is told and not a whole lot more happens.


Thoughts for the Future
It almost sounds like a children’s show, one of those one with still pictures and a narrator that explains everything that could possibly require even the smallest amount of thinking, just in case one of its viewers is the sort whose parents treat the TV as a babysitter as they stare blankly at the screen. Your sentence structure is wonky, with dialogue attribution being done in the paragraph before the character actually speaks. Spelling mistakes also populate it, like “take of” instead of “take off”. Spotty writing and telly navel-gazing are the hallmarks of this work.


We All Love You
Bleh, couldn’t even get the formatting right; you didn’t double-space your paragraphs. Another story that tries to use Kiki as a character. Simple writing is simple.


Going Up
>Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, there lived a pony.
Youdontsay.jpg
The opening almost sounds like the intro to Stranger than Fiction (in some regards). Did said movie provide any inspiration? http://youtu.be/WDwTQ57YyzI
I like the little asides the narrator makes. They add flavour to the proceedings and help disguise the fact that it’s telling, much in the same way Terry Pratchett dumps information (this being one of the reasons I so enjoy his work). Some of the sentences run a little long, but that’s a minor quibble.
> appearing a disappearing
Forgot to add a “n” and “d” to your “a” there.
A couple of these scene changes would be better done without a horizontal line break and instead the simple three-empty-spaces. For example, the shift from Carrot’s farm to “The Hill”.
A fun read and my favourite insofar. Good show.


Stage Fright!
That exclamation mark in the title is something of an omen, as you use a lot of them during the story. The writing is solid, beyond the en-dashes as Ezn pointed out. The plot is simple but it at least has a clear source of conflict and a goal to work towards. However, your exposition does you no favours and largely exists to impart only necessary information. It feels like you over-corrected in dumbing-down the writing for a younger audience and the story as a whole suffers for it, taking what could have been an interesting—if typical—story and reducing it to the bare necessities. The Letter to Celestia ending was rote and unneeded especially, their purpose in the show merely to earn it that coveted(?) “Educational” mark from whichever entity it is that hands out TV show age ratings.


A Party for Kiki
Oh joy, another one of these stories. I was turned off before I reached the half-way point… of the first page.


Always There in Your Heart
You need to learn how to show personal thoughts. Double-quotation marks just make it confusing to tell the difference between them and actual dialogue. It would have been better to have nothing for thoughts in this case. The story itself was bland and the writing weak.


Lessons in Friendship
Wonderful, another weather report. I find it hard to believe Twilight didn’t already know a hundred spells before she arrived in Ponyville. A thousand would have been better. Writing is boring and without anything of interest. The idea of Pinkie’s mouth running away from her was good, at least.


Playing Along
A large cast of original and distinct characters drive this story, which is good since the exposition isn’t exciting enough to carry this by itself. The plot itself is fairly deep, with the deceptively simple idea of “Twilight Sparkle wants to have fancy tea” giving way to a sort of tale on losing your childhood innocence. In addition to Twilight’s story there are bits and pieces that hint at how the secondary characters dealt with growing up (with Ser Charley and Shining Armor’s easily being the most detailed and affective), which lends itself well to imagining all of the sub-plots. There were a couple noticeable hiccups, such as the lack of scenery dressing (although, considering the story itself largely takes place in a single room and, assuming it wins, will be illustrated, this isn’t a large problem), a brief dip from Twilight’s perspective (the story otherwise being third-person limited omniscient, with some clever hints at how the toys are just extensions of Twilight) into Cadence when she threw the fish back into the pond, and a seemingly-rushed ending.
Certainly the deepest entry thus far, with only Going Up being a notable contender. This one is definitely the sort of story that can be read again to find the other themes hidden within, while Going Up is simply an enjoyable, easy-to-pick-up read. If it were up to me, they’d both win, but I think I’d have to give Going Up the nod for its slicker exposition and raw fun factor, plus it being a little more fitting for the intended audience.


The Shelter in the Forest
Well, the writing was solid. I didn’t skip (much) and while it never enthralled me, I didn’t feel a desperate need to close the window and save myself from dying of boredom. As the others have said, giving a cutie mark in one of these is a little dumb, but whatever.


Winter Lily
You use the word “snow” no less than four times in the opening paragraph, five if you count “snowflakes”.
> But this was no ordinary flower; it was special.
Well, if it’s not ordinary, one would assume as much.
>More special than a rose or daisy found at the market.
You’ve already stipulated that it’s something above and beyond your average flower. If you wanted to emphasize its rarity or other traits, then you should have used something similarly unusual, like poison joke.
>other plant. But when
Eww, a conjunction starting a sentence in exposition.
This story is pretty much all exposition, and none of it is particularly good. Bit and pieces of words picked up off the cutting floor and strung together to form sentences, which are in turn tied together to make paragraphs. The lack of a showdown between the protagonist and the dragon almost is pretty much a cop-out. All in all, the story is stiffer than the stale bread I’m eating right now.
Right, I think I’ll just recycle an old review since it more or less matches any problems I have with this story: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bDPqZCyNx_LWDrYby_yuFWzhMe4vxcXZQd3v8LjNmj4/edit


Barking Mad
I would question the necessity of that weak line break when Sweetie Belle goes to find Opalesence. The setting is still in the boutique, there isn’t a considerable time gap (as stated in the exposition) and it didn’t change the narrator’s viewpoint. In fact, you seem to be confused in general about how scene breaks work.
>the orange filly said with loads of excitement.
I wish I could muster up the same enthusiasm for reading this.
I’m inclined to question just how Sweetie Belle, by pure happenstance, failed to hit any tree or undergrowth in general while stumbling blindly into the Everfree, not to mention the change in the ground’s plant life or amount of light penetrating the canopy going completely unnoticed.
Awkward writing and some serious suspension-of-disbelief problems define this work.


My cold caught up with me here, which is my excuse for these pathetic excuses for reviews and I’m sticking to it.

Little Pinkie and Madam Pie
Well, um, at least you’re somewhat consistent with using those dashes…


Love
Well, you tried, I guess?


Pinkie Pie’s Balloons
That was a cute story. Nothing amazing, but it was solid and I’m sure it could brighten up anyone’s day just a little bit.
This post was edited by its author on .

1169

>>1168
>Also, “I” not being “Ah”; “Ah” is a standard for the rustic accents, almost a given
Luc, I am disappoint. ;_;

The Ah thing, much like Celestia's Sun and Luna's Moon, might have been clever the first time it was used in a very short fic, but now it's just uurgh. And using it for main character speech in anything longer than a microfic is really annoying (seriously, this really tarnished Calamity for me in Fallout Equestria). Accent can be shown in other, more subtle ways – most of Applejinx's thread is a great example of AJ dialogue without the annoying "Ah" thing.

Sorry to harp on you like this, but, well, yeah. I hate "Ah". And the author's not off the hook either, because I very much doubt I've ever heard AJ use "y'all" to mean "singular you". EDIT after discussion in posts below: Turns out I have, but only about 9 times ever. Make of that what you will.

I'll do reviews of the fics over this next week as well. Guess I'll just use this name and give my own story a review too.
This post was edited by its author on .

Seven Reviews Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1173

File: 1353333829363.jpg (94.75 KB, 825x825, young_twilight___smarty_pants_…)

Alright, here are my honest opinions on the fics I've read so far. Not giving my numeric scores because I can't figure those out till I've read everything.

I won't claim to be an expert on writing stories for children, but, well, this show is for children, so I think the hypothetical perfect entry in this contest should be similar in tone and feel to the show itself. Also, kids are smart, just not experienced. Spoilered for not-sure-how-relevant: When I was seven, I hated first-time reader books for talking down to me and insulting my intelligence. I really wanted to read the sorts of books my parents read to me, not the ones I was at the level of reading.

If your writing has technical flaws – a few typos, small patches of awkward wording, borked punctuation and so on – I will mention them in my review, but it won't factor into the score I give you, because most of these things can be fixed later with minimal effort.

Technical reference:
- My guide – http://derpy.me/EznGuide
- Dialogue punctuation – http://derpy.me/EznGuideDialogue | http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/
- Lavender Unicorn Syndrome – http://derpy.me/EznLUS | http://derpy.me/MusicalNames | http://trickster.org/arduinna/epithet.html (though I've seen this done more in children's fiction than anything aimed at older audiences – still not excessively, though)

Finally, I'm certain everyone in this contest wrote their fics with the absolute best and most charitable of intentions. Thank you. You're all really great for taking time out to help cheer up a sick little girl! =D …even if I don't say nice things about all your fics.

I'm reading in a pretty much random order.

Treasure
You've got some nice ideas, and I'm sure you had great plans for this fic, but the execution really doesn't them justice.

But it starts well. Your opening paragraph has a good hook, and there's an exciting, adventurous feel. But then "Daring Do and the Tomb of Horse" come along partway in, pretty much out of nowhere, and it's confusing – I think worse so for a child. The fic then continues on with the action for a while and finally ends on a boring Celestia infodump speech. Any themes or messages are stapled on rather than integrated.

On the technical side, there's a distinct lack of polish. Lavender Unicorn syndrome abounds, as do typos and clumsily worded phrases. You've also used single quotes for direct thought, which is a big no – go with italics, or just don't set them apart at all.

>Daring Do and the Temple of Horse

This title is bleh and needs to be spiced up. Preferably with alliteration.
>Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone
>Daring Do and the Griffon's Goblet


A Zebra in the Bed
Fics that describe characters we already know about have always been a pet peeve of mine, but you've got a pleasant, friendly-sounding narrative voice.

This was nice. It had some fun jokes, decent Zecora rhymes for the most part, and it was a nice, uplifting story about friendship. Most of my issues with it are technical, and those are all easily fixed. Good job, author.

You can leave the bit about Applebuck Season off the letter. Strikes me as the author trying to say "this is is different lesson, promise" than something AJ would actually put in her letter. It's totally obvious that this lesson is different anyway.

>Celestia's setting sun

In any other fic, that would be a horrible cliche worthy of six lashes for its author. However, because saying "Celestia's sun" was probably clever the first time someone did it, you're in the clear.

>She then turned around, and bucked with all the strength her back legs could provide, causing the bed –frame and all– to jump an inch off the floor before coming back down with a hard crash.

Spaces on both sides of your en-dashes-used-as-dash-punctuation, please.

Applejack does not misuse "y'all" by using it in place of "you". She only says it when she really means "you all".
EDIT after discussion in the posts below: To be fair, you only have that once or twice in the fic, and it does roll off the tongue nicely at those points. It's not something I personally like, but I won't fault you for it.

>When a friend was sick or in trouble, the Apple’s were the first to offer a helping hoof.

Never pluralise with an apostrophe.

>And, so, please allow me to make amends. May I please stay here while I mend?

And you were doing so well with the rhyming… =(


Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak
Points for alliteration right off the bat.
Your opening is rather more traditional fairy tale than media tie-in. It seems a waste to reintroduce all this stuff that anyone who watches the show will already know about. I really feel like this would be a better story for a kid who hasn't seen ponies on the TV box.

You could cut most of the first part of this fic and lose nothing.

But the second part was nice. Cliche, certainly, but good for a children's story, I think.

>Legend has it that at the very top, a grove of magical solar flowers grow, whose pedals are sprinkled with star dust.

>pedals

>Of course, she had taken a short break from her walk to enjoy a small meal of Wild Berries and Daisies.

Lose the capitalisation.

>the sound of pegasi wings flapping in the breeze

pegasus wings

>the sharp BANG of a thunderclap shook them both.

You'll want to italicise BANG.

>But she never did so, and instead the yellow filly just stood there, stiff with fear.

You've got Lavender Unicorn syndrome like this in spots throughout, and while small doses of it give off a cutsey effect arguably suitable for a children's story, it overextends sentences like this horribly.
>But she never did so, and instead just stood there, stiff with fear.
I won't ask you to purge every "timid filly" or "yellow pegasus", but do try to use her name/some pronouns a little more often.

>'I believe in you.'

>'You have a spirit as fearless as a pegasus flying through a hurricane!'
Single quotes for thoughts are horrible. Because these are actual dialogue-quote-things, just use regular old double quotes, or italicised double quotes if you want.


Going Up
Yesss, I love some Lemony Narration. And it's a story about Carrot Top (who isn't Golden Harvest!) and Derpy (I still kinda prefer Ditzy, but I guess that's canon). You're gonna have to botch this pretty bad for me not to like it at least a little bit.

Yeah, okay, you didn't botch it. I loved this. There are a lot of big words in the story, but not too many. Their presence is educational, if anything.

>But-

>but I-
Needs to be a —


Stage Fright!
An exclamation mark in the title and chapter headings for a ~3k word fic. I suppose it is a children's story.

This was nice, and very episode-style – too short if anything. I feel like you could have put more in. It might have been nice to see Sweetie and Rarity's practice, or to hear or at least find out the names of some of the songs involved.

There was a lot of italicised dialogue, and the prose was perhaps a little on the dry side.


A Party for kiki
Okay, just want to say something before I read this fic: when I was a kid and learning to read, my mother wrote me a story in which I was the main character. It was rad and I loved it, because kids are self-centered.

However, my mother is my mother. She knows me. So, I'm thinking this one is either going to work really well or be really weird… and I don't know that I'll really be able to tell which.
Yeah, um, there's really nothing to this. I'm sure you meant well, but this is insubstantial and more than a little sloppy. I'm quite certain Kiki is capable of daydreaming herself a much better visit to Equestria than this.

Title is derped. Capitalise Kiki.

You've got dialogue punctuation derps. Basically, you need to make the punctuation follow the logical internal punctuation of the dialogue.

>“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Kiki,” the girl said, “How did you find me?”

should be
>“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Kiki,” the girl said. “How did you find me?”
because otherwise you have a capital letter in the middle of a sentence.

“Are you ready,” Twilight asked.
>“I’d love to go,” Kiki said, barely able to contain her excitement.
You've also neglected to end questions with question marks and exclamations with exclamation marks. See my guide to dialogue punctuation in the links at the top of this post.

Typos and sloppy writing abound. You've got missing commas, missing other bits of punctuation, and writing that is general bland, awkward and boring.


Playing Along
This was a really nice one as well. It's the most complex/mature one I've read so far, and it gets pretty sad in places, but it's uplifting in the end. Great characters, great moments, great dialogue and a sweet message. Very Toy Story. My gut is telling me that it might be a bit too complex/weighty, but I couldn't say for sure.

Hello, OpenOffice/LibreOffice user!

>Ser Charely

Sir Charlie? If it's an intentional joke, I don't get it.

>Positively spiffing, young master

Girls are not young masters, they are young misses.

>Cadence

It's terrible, but the proper spelling of her name is Cadance.

>I'm going to go ask dad

*Dad. You need to capitalise it when it's used as a name for a specific person.

>Basics of magic

*Magic

>It was the practiced response of a husband caged in marriage and tamed by their wife.

>If there was one thing a big brother had to learn, it was when they carried
You can use male pronouns here, because husband and brother.

>“I never said[/i] I couldn't intervene.”

Derped tag here.

There is far too much saliva in this fic. =/

>Fighting the urge to taste her milk a second time, Twilight glared daggers at him.

What?


18 to go.
Post 2: >>1223
Post 3: >>1234
Post 4: >>1294
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1174

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>>1169
>Guess I'll just use this name and give my own story a review too.
>mine countenance whereupon

>I hate "Ah".

If this isn't already a Fimfic group's name, we should make one.

And woot, many stories! Will have to review them, I will.

Anonymous 1175

>>1158
I think it would be best if the website simply has a timer or something. It makes it far less ambiguous to have "ten hours missing" to "It's a UTC whatever".

Just suggesting.

>>1168
I'm guessing you are the heart of the literary parties. I mean that with all respect, you sounds like you are the cowboy of the place, or something.

>>1169
She has used y'all as singular multiple times, even just counting the first season. There are a couple in the second one too.

If I recall correctly, the official scripts use Ah as well. That I'm not sure.

The more you know.

>>1173
>There is far too much saliva in this fic. =/
This made me laugh.

>>Fighting the urge to taste her milk a second time, Twilight glared daggers at him.

I spilled my milk. I'm not even kidding.
This post was edited by its author on .

1176

>>1175
"10 hours remaining" is more ambiguous than an explicit time. I can't help it if people can't read times properly.

Anonymous 1177

>>1176
How exactly is it more ambiguous?

Having a time written involves computation and track-keeping (UTC transformation if you still have UTC, then figuring our your own local time to then subtract to that to figure out how much time you have left). while a counter is unambiguous for everyone.

You could be on Timbuktu, or in Perth, or Los Angeles, but a timer saying you have ten hours left will always mean the same thing with less mistakes because there is nothing you need other than that information.

If you are writing on a time limit, I know I wouldn't like to be wondering if I did my math incorrectly, or if I got the time zones wrong, or if simply my clock just sucks and I just haven't realized it.

Can you explain how is it more ambiguous?

1178

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>>1175
>She has used y'all as singular multiple times, even just counting the first season. There are a couple in the second one too.
I do love these episode transcripts: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/12/scripts-scripts-pony-scripts.html

You are technically correct (but only about the first season), but I still think it's bad, and here's why:
- Applejack uses "y'all" as "singular you" once in "Call of the Cutie", saying "Y'all come back now!" to Bon-Bon after Apple Bloom sells her some apples. It's a specific expression so it doesn't count.
- Applejack uses "y'all" as "singular you" multiple times in "Look Before You Sleep", but mainly as a way of annoying Rarity and emphasising their differences.

So I don't really think the usage is appropriate in the ways it's used in this fic. I apologise for my erroneous statement, but stand by my original point.

1180

>>1178
I love you for that link. They aren't official ones, sure, but that's pretty complete stuff.

Also, I admit I didn't read the story, I was just commenting from memory.

And I believe it would be more useful to find the occasions where she uses a normal plural rather than checking how many times she does X or Y, seeing how it might just be that she didn't get a chance to do it. That way we would know how often is actually used (I wish there was a way to just join all those transcripts together that didn't need me to do copy pastes of 50+ episodes).

> It's a specific expression so it doesn't count.

How exactly is an specific expression different from a non-specific expression? It's not like she is using it at a prompt of anyone else, she is doing it out of her own volition, and it's safe to assume she might use it in many other occasions too.

Also, is that a meta-opinion, or did it appear directly on the episode? Because I can't remember a reference to her using it because it annoyed Rarity.
This post was edited by its author on .

1181

>>1180
>And I believe it would be more useful to find the occasions where she uses a normal plural rather than checking how many times she does X or Y, seeing how it might just be that she didn't get a chance to do it.
Getting the total instances of Applejack specifically saying "you" is rather harder to do with Ctrl+F (and would take forever), but I get your point. Still, a quick skim of the beginnings of "The Ticket Master" and "Applebuck Season" has lines like these:
>Applejack: Rainbow Dash! (She stands up.) You told me you were too busy to help me harvest apples! (Zoom out to frame Rainbow, also up.) What were you busy doin’? Spyin’?
>Applejack: Don’t you use your fancy mathematics to muddy the issue! I said I could handle this harvest, and I’m gonna prove it to you!
"Y'all", on the other hand, returns between 0 and 3 results for most episodes, and is most commonly used to mean "you all".

>Also, is that a meta-opinion, or did it appear directly on the episode? Because I can't remember a reference to her using it because it annoyed Rarity.

Uurgh, I've gotta stop embarrassing myself like this. It's a meta-opinion of this exchange and a few others:
>Rarity: What say we go our separate ways before one of us says something she will regret?
>Applejack: I reckon y’all are gonna say something you’ll regret first!
>Rarity: On the contrary, I believe it shall most certainly be you who says something you will regret first.
>Applejack: I’m not sayin’ anythin’!
>Rarity: Nor am I!
>Applejack: Y’all just be on your way, then!
>Rarity: After you!
But still, the 8 y'alls in this episode and 1 in "Call of the Cutie" are the only "y'all as use singular you"s I could find, so I think my point stands even without meta opinion.

EDIT:
>> It's a specific expression so it doesn't count.
>How exactly is an specific expression different from a non-specific expression? It's not like she is using it at a prompt of anyone else, she is doing it out of her own volition, and it's safe to assume she might use it in many other occasions too.
https://www.google.co.za/search?q=y'all+come+back+now&aq=f&oq=y'all+come+back+now&aqs=chrome.0.57j0l3j62l2.4601&sugexp=chrome,mod=17&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
I'm not really sure how to explain this, but, well, "y'all come back now" is a specific combination of words people often use together, like "see you later, alligator" or other idioms.

EDIT2: Replying to future posts is a go!
>>1185
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ya'll%20come%20back%20now!%20Ya%20hear%3F
Usually includes "ya hear". I don't know if there's really a credible source for stuff like this, though I'm happy to concede the point in any case.
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1182

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Saging for so much meta in this here post.

>>1155
>Mine, perhaps, not so much so, but to each their own.
That's stinkin' thinkin'.
One of my fics on EQD is frequented by a commenter named Nova25, who I know at least some of you have had the pleasure of meeting. His commentary is biased, contradictory, and needlessly hostile, to the point where I'm never sure where the commentary ends and the trolling begins. (My most poignant example is not appropriate for a contest thread for a 7yo.) Even though I discard 90% of his commentary as rubbish, I quickly learned that his comments were still worth reading, and here's why: he'd tell me X is terrible, and I'd offer a counterpoint of why it isn't. While most of the time I could, sometimes I couldn't, and then I'd be left to wonder if perhaps X is terrible and needs fixing/removal. In that way, even though his personal opinion carried little weight with me, he still served a useful purpose in helping me to second-guess myself with a critical eye, and help self-assess if certain elements were really in the story's best interest. So no, I don't think there's such a thing as unappreciated feedback. And besides, Lieutenant, you're no Nova25.


>>1175 >>1178 >>1180
My opinion is that this falls into similar turf as "somepony/everypony". The show has been known to use "someone/everyone" on occasion (Pinkie did so at least three times in Too Many Pinkie Pies), but the fanfic community generally (if presumptuously) holds ourselves to a tighter guideline and considers "everyone" in a fanfic to be an error (YMMV, of course). And that's just for a made-up word. "Y'all" is a real (if colloquial) word and has real grammar rules it must follow. By citing AJ's misuse, the best you could hope for is "AJ canonically is sloppy with her grammar so long as it rolls off the tongue nicely", but that's hugely YMMV for readers. IMHO best to err on the side of caution, and just use it properly.

You can also do a google search of the wiki's transcript pages: http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Amlp.wikia.com%2Fwiki%2FTranscripts%2F+y'all

>>1176 >>1177
This point aside, the least ambiguous way (going forward) would be to register on Roger's site and set your local time zone in the settings menu. That converts all deadlines from UTC to your timezone automatically. Doesn't help much to point this out after-the-fact, but such as it is.

1185

Hey, guys, what about if we just modify our stuff to respond to each other? I think it would save on space. Place might be empty as space, but we are still /fic/.

Also, got to love them hide tags.

>>1181
Oh, I agree it's a bit hard to do it, I just found the subject interesting because I live next door to a married couple from Texas and Tennessee who disagree about the usage of y'all and it's kind of fun to watch (she was an English teacher and he was a mechanic).

Apparently, there are nuisances to the singular y'all and you can't just exchange it for all instances of you (that would just be stupid, you know), so it's fun to check on characters things like that. Fact is, she uses it, how much you want to is really up to you, as most of the points here >>1182 are right on the money about y'all. Except on the grammar rules, walk five miles and two towns will have widely different rules with it.

EDIT:
This is the first time I have ever heard that is an idiom rather than just another sentence, and your search doesn't seem to point to anything other that… could you provide a more direct link?


>>1182
That still involves you calculating how much time you have left, which as I said leaves you to have to worry about the ambiguity of your math not being bad, or you not accounting for right or wrong time zones.

It's the difference between being told you have fourteen days to finish the bridge, and that you have until the 14th to finish it. Sure, both can get you the same answer, but one gives it to you directly and doesn't involve more things (like the month, or which calendar you are using, or what day is it today, or all those other stuff).

A timer, like the one used for episodes before they are about to go out, would make checking how much time you have less far less of a hassle and lead to less confusions. I really don't understand how a process involving calculations from the part of the writer could be more precise and unambiguous than something that tells you the information directly.

Here, have a timer:
http://timer.onlineclock.net/

Isn't that clearer?
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of "Playing Along" 1189

>>1173
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wanted to make something that could appeal to both a child and their parents. In regards to complexity, well, I like to imagine that Kiki is a bright girl and decided to not completely water the story down more than absolutely necessary (some of those exposition bits were quite a bit longer before I simplified them). And of course, there's nothing stopping me from further editing the story if people feel it is a tad too complex.

>Sir Charlie? If it's an intentional joke, I don't get it

It's just a gender-neutral was of 'Sir" that's become popular as of late thanks to certain authors. If people are so against it, I could easily run a Replace on it for "Sir".

>Girls are not young masters, they are young misses.

"Master" is also gender-neutral. If a female was a master dueller, you would not call them a "missus dueller." It's just that woman were rarely the master of the house in the times where such dialect was commonplace, which explains the belief that only men were referred to as such.

>It's terrible, but the proper spelling of her name is Cadance.

That's what I had at first, then I asked someone else about it and got "Cadence", followed by my own investigation. The pronunciation in the show matches "Cadence" better, as does the source name (Cadenza). "Cadance" is the result of the marketing team causing mistake propagation that was eventually accepted as being the "correct" spelling.

>You can use male pronouns here, because husband and brother.

Yes, but those are general statements which are meant to apply to any husband or brother. As such, the use of "their" and "they" makes it plural.

>What?

To "taste something twice" means to throw up (since it's coming back the other way, causing you to taste it a second time). She had just finished spinning in the ball and this implies she was nauseous. I suppose it's not as wide-spread as I thought. Noted for changing.

>There is far too much saliva in this fic. =/

There's saliva in a total of two scenes =\

I do wish I could make edits to the story to fix those other little mistakes you noticed (Note: Bug Roger to allow for one day of editing between end of initial voting and judge voting). On my read-through I noticed one of the long, unbroken sentence parts went off the side of the page and that I had forgotten to close off my dialogue at one point. This is why you read through your story again after uploading it, me.


>>1175
>I spilled my milk. I'm not even kidding.
It made you laugh?
This post was edited by its author on .

1191

>>1189
Hey, thanks for knowledge. Guess I need to update my mind with some newfangled gender neutral stuff.

>>You can use male pronouns here, because husband and brother.

>Yes, but those are general statements which are meant to apply to any husband or brother. As such, the use of "their" and "they" makes it plural.
Hmm…
>a husband […] their wife.
>a big brother […] they carried
These still sound like concord errors to me. What is the rule about this sort of thing, exactly?

EDIT:
>>1194
Well, okay, your fic. =)
This post was edited by its author on .

1194

>>1191
Political correctness and all that stuff.

To be honest, I was just thinking of a reason off of the top of my head. When I look at them, though, their/they still sounds right. It's not her husband, it's a husband, which is unspecific. I couldn't make it specific without altering the sentence's wording and/or structure.

Lt_Luc 1200

Hey, !!Spike, do you think you could share the password needed to edit the OP with some trusted users? That way the review posts can be linked in it since people will be editing their old posts rather than make new ones to add additional reviews.

!!Spike 1214

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>>1200
I, uh… don't actually have a password. I used the automatically generated one.

Lt_Luc 1221

>>1214
Well, you're a mod. Can't you edit them in yourself, then? Actually, is changing the password within your power?

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1223

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>>1173
And here are seven more reviews. I'd rather daisy-chain a few posts together, because this post editing business is making my head spin.

Technical reference:
- My guide – http://derpy.me/EznGuide
- Dialogue punctuation – http://derpy.me/EznGuideDialogue | http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/
- Lavender Unicorn Syndrome – http://derpy.me/EznLUS | http://derpy.me/MusicalNames | http://trickster.org/arduinna/epithet.html (though I've seen this done more in children's fiction than anything aimed at older audiences – still not excessively, though)

Little Pinkie and Madame Pie.
Don't end titles with full stops – they aren't sentences.
In English, we use "s on either side of direct speech. I would recommend reading and carefully scrutinising some English books. It's really a pain to read the fic like this.

And yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the English here. It's not the utterly broken mess the weird dialogue things made me expect, but still not very good – comma splices, odd comma placement, passive voice, weird word usage and generally the type of errors you get when the writer is not familiar with English. I always feel a little bad for harping on you guys about this stuff, because I certainly couldn't write a coherent story in anything other than English, but hey, gotta worry about the end product.

The plot itself is a garbled Jekyll and Hyde knockoff: something that might have worked well with better execution, but just gets confusing here. You also have recycled-from-the-show jokes about cat ladies and dungeons/banishment.


Piece of Mind
My thoughts on the title, going into the fic: If it's a typo, I am disappointed. If it's a play on words, I'm a little horrified.
This is somewhat like my own story: I Dream of Daisies http://www.fimfiction.net/story/18234/I-Dream-of-Daisies . Not accusing you of copying (it was hardly original on my part), just making a note of it. Funny thing, I was originally going to have Fluttershy be the pony with troubled dreams in the first chapter, as you're doing here.

I really wanted to like this fic. You've got some awesome ideas and really cool moments, but it's all stifled by too-vague description, confusing sequences of underdetailed action and way too much boring dialogue. You could have a way radical Pinkie in Flutterland thing here, but you don't. And that makes me a sad pony.

A textwall is not a good way to start a story. Paragraphs should be split up with one for every idea. I could split this first one into at least three.
>Entering the marketplace and looking at everypony shopping, chatting, or just plain having fun, Fluttershy let the tune grow into a song as she let her sunny attitude overflow.
>Making her way through the stands, she let her tune crescendo as she watched everypony go about their business and waved to a passing pegasus cavorting through the air.
>Skipping along blithely, she closed her eyes, reared back and hit a high note in her jubilation before skipping straight into a package laden Pinkie Pie returning from the joke shop.
And then we have three sentences with pretty much the same idiosyncratic structure in a row. Maybe it's supposed to create some effect, but I don't see it.

And then there's another textwall. This one succeeds in totally killing the pacing of an action sequence. Most of the rest of the fic's fine, paragraphing-wise, though, but you need to break up the few textwalls that do occur.

>I remember, ‘cause that was the party for-”

>“I guess you’re right, but perhaps-”
Needs to be a – or a —

>and so after the deserts didn’t work

Two "s"s, else we're talking about dry sandy places, not ice-cream.

I don't like your Zecora rhymes. First is forced, and second doesn’t even rhyme. Poor show.

>each of the Fluttershy’s

Don't use apostrophes to pluralise things.


Twilight and the Snow Princess
This could have been a cute, if clichéd, bit of seasonally appropriate fluff, but it's really lazily written. There's no atmosphere, no personality, and a whole lot of missed opportunity (the story of Pony Santa, for example, is blurted out in two dull paragraphs). I imagine you're new at writing, and – as always – thanks for trying and thanks for good intentions, but this piece is just not where it needs to be to work as an entertaining story.

Take a look at the links about dialogue punctuation at the top of this post. Yours is quite broken.

And so's the rest of your writing. You've got typos and missing commas and incorrectly placed apostrophes and all kinds of other miscellaneous errors everywhere.


Sister Bonding
The title of this one doesn't sound right. "Sisterly Bonding"? Is that what you were going for?
The cool thing about putting disclaimers at the top of your fics is you're admitting to copyright infringement. Just know that it doesn't protect you to do that.

Have you read BobFromBottles's Sweet Escape http://www.fimfiction.net/story/43110/Sweet-Escape ? You should – he does silly Princess fights pretty well in that fic. Here you've somehow managed to dwell more on Celly and Luna telling each other how much fun they had than them actually having fun, and that's no fun for the reader. Most of the fic is dull setup and woodenly wordy conclusion.

Your dialogue punctuation is incorrect. Please check the links on that at the top of this post.

>her sisters pleas

>her sisters day
sister's

>all the while laughing heart-warningly

*heartwarmingly

You've got some odd, quite non-English-sounding word choices and some things that are probably typos.
>Luna said, with bit distrustful tone.
> but with much more lighter spirits
>But now, she suddenly had a small curiosity to read them


The girl who loved unicorns
This strikes me as pointless, especially for a little girl who likely doesn't know or care who Lyra Heartstrings is. There's no message here, and nothing really interesting or entertaining happens in the story.

I don't know how much I like the "get hospitalised then poof to Equestria" thing. I'm sure you had the best of intentions, but it really seems like something that wants to interpreted as a disrespectful thing with unfortunate implications.

Please put your title in title case.
>The Girl Who Loved Unicorns

I think there are some UK-types who would take offense to having their island called part of Europe. At least, it doesn't really seem the done thing.

>Injuries

*injuries


We All Love You
Okay, yeah, these are the kinds of fics that make me feel bad for hatin' on anything in this contest. Author, thank you for your good intentions. This is more an elaborate pony-themed get-well card than a story, but it's the best pony-themed get-well card I've found in the contest so far. I'm not voting for you to win, but this was sweet.

It is really a chore to read fics when they don't have lines between their paragraphs. And considering the rules http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/3-Hearths-Warming-Care-Package/rules told you to… yeah. This was a chore to read because of that.

Your dialogue punctuation is broken. In short, things like
>“I love you just like family.” She said.
should be
>“I love you just like family,” she said.
because the verb "said" takes the dialogue as an object and so they need to be in the same sentence.

Please see the links at the top of this post for help with that.

And then I also noticed some patches of odd wording, and your character voices could maybe use a bit of work at points, and overall this – like most stories – would benefit from another red pen read-through.


Wings
This is "A Party for kiki" done much, much closer to right. Sure, it's pandering, but I distinctly remember really enjoying my mom's pandering learn-to-read story when I was seven, so I don't think I'll fault you much on that.

I will fault you for not making it longer. If you're going to pander, put some imagination into it and have Kiki and Rainbow do a little more in Cloudsdale.

The writing is competent. I could understand what was going on and follow the action.

> Closing her eyes, the feeling of a pair of beautiful wings on her back and the tender caress of the wind as she navigated the sky filled her imagination.

I didn't know feelings had eyes.

>She ate slowly, and when she finished, took her plate and glass to the sink -almost dropping it a couple of times- and helped her mother clean the kitchen.

You'll want to use dashes properly. Your spelling looks American, so follow the Chicago Manual of Style and use an en dash like this:
>She ate slowly, and when she finished, took her plate and glass to the sink—almost dropping it a couple of times—and helped her mother clean the kitchen.
Dashes can be a bit of a pain to make, but they look snazzy.

>“Mom, this is like the corridor on our house, but it goes on forever!” Said

*said


11 to go. I'll do another post with the next six, and then a guardpony-themed post for the (unfortunate?) folks who used the revoked prompt.

Post 3: >>1234
Post 4: >>1294
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Anonymous 1225

>>1214
You can find your password over at your cookies. Just search "mlpchan".

1226

>>1168
You are no fun. Your reviews are barely more than you getting angry…

>>1173
>>1223
>the sound of pegasi wings flapping in the breeze
pegasus wings

Actually, the preferred pluralization is pegasi due to the fact it is a greek latinized word. Someone did post on Chris blog that there is actually a whole host of ways to do it, but that pegasi was the more appropriate one.

>It was the practiced response of a husband caged in marriage and tamed by their wife.

>If there was one thing a big brother had to learn, it was when they carried
You can use male pronouns here, because husband and brother.

This is a case of what is called the singular they, which is allowed and grammatically correct in both situations because he is speaking of a generic sort of husband and big brother rather than an specific one. In that situation, the they is more appropriate as it describes all of those that fit that description.

>all the while laughing heart-warningly

*heart-warmingly

That hyphen shouldn't be there. The root word for that adverb is heartwarmingly, which lacks a hyphen. Also, you can't have hyphens with only adverbs, and you can't have them with adverbs and verb (a participle almost all the time) unless they are acting like adjectives when hyphenated and don't finish in -ly. Or something like that.

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1227

>>1226
>>the sound of pegasi wings flapping in the breeze
>pegasus wings

>Actually, the preferred pluralization is pegasi due to the fact it is a greek latinized word. Someone did post on Chris blog that there is actually a whole host of ways to do it, but that pegasi was the more appropriate one.

The problem isn't the form of pluralisation, it's that the noun is being used as an adjective here, and generally you make nouns singular when you do that.
>bird wings not birds wings
>human hands not humans hands
Of course, the keyword is "generally", and that can also be argued: see the first comment here (the second time Chris's blog played host to a "grammar of pegasus" argument): http://onemansponyramblings.blogspot.com/2012/10/6-star-reviews-part-111-yours-truly.html

>>It was the practiced response of a husband caged in marriage and tamed by their wife.

>>If there was one thing a big brother had to learn, it was when they carried
>You can use male pronouns here, because husband and brother.

>This is a case of what is called the singular they, which is allowed and grammatically correct in both situations because he is speaking of a generic sort of husband and big brother rather than an specific one. In that situation, the they is more appropriate as it describes all of those that fit that description.

My argument against this is that – unless I'm again unaware of terms being gender-neutral – a brother or a husband is always male, and what makes the singular they useful is its gender neutrality. So you could also use gender-specific pronouns, and I personally think it sounds better (but not everyone will agree).

>>all the while laughing heart-warningly

>*heart-warmingly

>That hyphen shouldn't be there. The root word for that adverb is heartwarmingly, which lacks a hyphen. Also, you can't have hyphens with only adverbs, and you can't have them with adverbs and verb (a participle almost all the time) unless they are acting like adjectives when hyphenated and don't finish in -ly. Or something like that.

That awkward moment when you correct the typo but not the hyphenation…
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Anonymous 1228

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25/25 stories reviewed
Okay, let's see how editing all of my reviews into one post works out. I'll probably hit the character cap, though, making this moot. Oh well.

Piece of Mind:
Naturally, when I randomly select a story to start with, the 13k beast is chosen for me. Even after just a few long paragraphs, this doesn’t feel really aimed at the target audience. Like Ezn mentioned above, it doesn’t need to talk down to a child (nor should it) but with detailed descriptives and a large vocab with words like “extricate” and “blithely”, it may not be accessible to a 7yo even if it’s read to them.

Darn it, author, you are filling me with conflict. I’m loving the idea of embarking into Fluttershy’s mind and encountering different sides of her personality. And even though I’m not finished yet, I’m sure this would do remarkable on FimFic. But I really don’t feel like this is properly aimed. It’s a teeny bit too dark, way too existential, and just so grandiose for the target audience. I’m sorry to harp on that so much.

I spotted the Phoenix Wright and Dr Who references, nice. And the literal baggage is really cute. Argh. Post this on FimFic after the contest and get the viewcount you deserve. I’m just not sure this is the right one for this contest.


Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak:
And now the second-longest story… my randomizer is the worst. Gah, this one is cute. I like how first RD, then the Princess, then, um, Spot (heehee) is serving as a source of courage. I’m a little bugged by some of the LUS, but the pacing and slight-overtelling of the story feels appropriate for the target audience without being patronizing. D’aww and then it comes full-circle again at the cliff scene! I’m a little torn about Deus Ex Celestia’s inclusion. The always-watching vibe is a nice enough justification, I suppose, especially for a young filly on a dangerous journey, and there’s probably some maternal allegory going on there too. But I instinctively cringe at Celestia hovering above the scene and meddling. Still, Fluttershy was able to make it to the summit on her own, and that’s what’s important. Overall, heartwarming, a good message, feels accessible.


Barking Mad:
I’m having trouble putting my finger on the issue here. It seems like it might be overtelling? I know that some stories are laying it on thicker than normal, and that might be okay, but I feel like this one is crossing that line. Lines like:

[She] offered a suggestion that might cheer up Sweetie Belle.
“Maybe Scoots will be available! I’m sure the two of ya will find somethin’ fun to do.”
Sweetie Belle cracked a smile, trying to stay hopeful.

Mmm, Screw Loose? I suspected that from the title, but… I’m hesitant about major inclusion of a character from a single scene like that, especially a mental one. I guess for our purposes, I’ll read her as an OC, cuz that’s likely what the target audience will see her as.

The saidism “spoke” is getting used a lot, I’m noticing. Hmm, Rarity ran to get help but she left Sweetie with Screw? :P Overall it’s a cute story about acceptance, though the mental patient themes may make it a tad bit inaccessible and a few mechanical issues get in its way.


A Zebra in the Bed:
Celestia’s Sun. :I Goodness, she bucked the bed? I mean, it explained that she felt her personal space was intruded, and truth be told I’m not sure how I’d react if a stranger was sleeping in my bed, but that just felt like overkill. AB is coming off as nice and cute. AJ I’m split on; if I was imposed upon as much as her, I’d probably be feeling a bit sour too, but I’m not sure if I feel like I should hold her to a higher standard, what with Apple Family hospitality and all that. And AJ is being awfully snippy, like in the glass of water scene. I feel like she can still feel imposed upon without being so hostile about it.

Oh wait, we’re at the end now… and AJ’s writing the letter? But isn’t that the lesson that Zecora learned? And only because AJ explained her feelings, but not before lashing out? Dunno, that played out a little weird, IMHO. That said, the P.P.S. at the end was a happy little twist that I enjoyed.


Little Pinkie and Madame Pie.:
The dialogue punctuation threw me until I spotted Ezn’s comment about author being foreign. I guess I haven’t done enough reviews to recognize alternative dialogue punctuations. ^^ Really, though, kudos to the author. If the punctuation had been fixed, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the author’s nationality. This is better than some stories I’ve seen by native speakers. Not flawless—Ezn pointed out a few other revealing points—but you should feel proud.

The fact that all of Ponyville is out patrolling for Pinkie Pie is a little strange. Since Twilight didn’t explain what was going on, wouldn’t they be asking lots of questions? Especially when she says they may need to capture her if she tries to resist. I was also a little confused by the monster. In Pinkie’s room, she said that it wanted destruction and chaos, but all she was doing was decorating the town, right? Sure, she was using too much paint, but that’s hardly anything to fear banishment over. Overall, it was a nice retelling of Jekyll and Hyde, slightly rough around the edges, but a solid attempt.


Twilight and the Snow Princess:
A number of punctuation and formatting issues… multiple speakers in the same paragraph, homonym confusion, run-on sentences, and the like. I can understand that story-in-a-story might be a difficult concept for a children’s story, but it was still a little disappointing that the narrator told the Snow Princess story rather than Mom. It’s a sweet enough pony version of The Night Before Christmas, but it doesn’t really seem to stretch beyond that, and a lot of mechanical issues get in the way.


Always There in Your Heart:
Simple, sweet, to the point. Introducing four new characters as they suddenly appeared in AB’s dream felt slightly unsatisfying though; I feel like it might’ve been nicer if they had all offered some assurances in the waking world first, so that their reappearance in the dream could pack more punch. But that might risk sending the story off-message. Alternatively, the story could’ve just focused on AB and AJ, and still carried a lot of its weight.


A Brand New Canvas:
Celestia’s sun :I Hmm, an OC, first person, a guard pony… considering the target audience, these feel like somewhat risky choices. Mmm, Small Stature is bucking recruits and leaving craters in the wall, and pulling drill sergeant tactics like “don’t speak unless spoken to.” Sorry, I had to skim ahead to the ending. It seems like a nice enough fic, but I’m just not getting the vibe that it’s on-message enough for this event. It’s a bit too brow-beating (granted with a warm payoff at the end) and really banks on the target audience being interested in a fic about boot camp.


Lessons in Friendship:
Return of Discord? Going full-on adventure fic. Intriguing. “It seems you have gone and, oops, messed up a summoning spell.” Oh, you. Wait, Screwball? Goodness, people seem to be liking the one-shot characters. Obligatory “target audience won’t know who this is so I’m treating it like an OC” disclaimer. The hoofacure reference is fun, but you’re counting on the target audience having seen that episode. Applejack is one word. Mmm there’s gonna be some Debbie Downer (like meee) who points out that magic and love were indicated to be separate elements in the show, harrumph harrumph. And the ending felt a wee bit… dunno, unfulfilling? There’s this big buildup with Screwball summoning the magic of friendship, and then Discord just sorta poofs and they go out for ice cream the end. Perhaps the falling action is the problem.

Quibbles aside, I loved it! Parallel action and heartwarming plotlines, some Discord kookiness, the CMC do good by educating Screwball on the Elements via demonstration, and then Screwball puts those lessons to good use to save the day. In a word, delightful.


Winter Lily:
Hmm, another story about an OC guard. Same warnings as last time: OC may not appeal to target audience, story about a guard may not feel very pony. Well, my initial worries were mostly for naught as this is an entertaining adventure tale. The pony connection for the target audience feels a bit slim at this point but we’ll see. The “filly interrupting the storyteller” bit came out of nowhere and felt unwanted. Maybe if the first one wasn’t over halfway through the story. And then we see who the filly, which I suspected might be the case, but… Eh, this presentation just make the Twilight bit feel tacked on. I feel like it needs more Twilight interruptions, or maybe an intro section with Twi and Shiny, or even ax them altogether (though that would cut down on your main character connection). And the inner story was nice on its own, but it suffered a bit due to lack of tie-in… Bleh, kinda a nasty catch-22. I did like the inner story, at least.


Thoughts for the Future:
The beginning is sort of infodumpy. Since Rarity comes along later and asks what’s wrong anyway, wouldn’t it be better for them to talk it out?

“…you were trying to save my life, remember?”
“I remember, what about it?”

These lines are unintentionally hilarious.

So it seems like there was supposed to be some sort of parallelism drawn between RD and Rarity, but I didn’t really feel it. RD vented her feelings, Rarity reassured her, and she felt better. Rarity feels some similar feelings of apprehension… and the CMC tackles her and Spike hits on her… and she sluffs off on work because family and friends are more important? And then the narrator tells us what the lesson is, but… Dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I missed the connection between the RD section, Rarity section, and final lesson. Just didn’t feel cohesive enough for me, sorry.


The Shelter in the Forest:
Oh dear, flashbacks of Story of the Blanks. Oy, I know that you prefaced the mushrooms by stating she shouldn’t eat them, but the good lesson about not eating forest shrooms is kinda weakened when AB uses it like a flashlight by… putting it in her mouth. And now we’re talking about eating forest berries, oh those impressionable children D: Well aside from “stop sticking stuff in your mouth”, this was quite enjoyable. Kinda reminded me of a ponified The Hatchet. Putting some survival instincts together with some memories of lessons from her friends was a nice touch. And I did enjoy Scootaloo’s blatant lie, hehe. Overall, a sweet little adventure/survival fic.


A Party for kiki:
Mmm. I mean, as a kid, the whole concept of actually getting to meet the characters from your favorite cartoon is great. Reading a story about getting to have adventures with them is great… if the kid or someone close to them had written it. While I’m certain this had the best of intentions, it just feels weird to write Kiki as a character without having a solid grasp on her personality. As such, Kiki is sorta a blank slate character, which in-and-of-itself is fine, but you the author seemed to be really constrained by that. The party—the point where Kiki should be enjoying herself with her favorite ponies—is kept to one vague paragraph, likely because we don’t know her well enough to craft an adventure that we’re confident she’d enjoy. It really leaves it to the reader to fill in the blanks of what fun specifically she had at the party. Sorry, there was good intent here, but I feel like this either needed more research (which wasn’t available to us) or to just be more bold, craft an adventure for her in Ponyville, and gamble that she’d enjoy it.


Dear Journal:
This is interesting. Same disclaimers: OC first person journal not the best format for the target audience. This one does an interesting job by tying it to a royal visit and meeting the Mane Six from the outside, so to speak. I could see that potentially working for the target audience, who might feel excited about feeling more knowledgeable than the narrator. Roid Rage? This contest is really drawing out the minor characters! Uh, kinda a downer ending, no? He’s basically thankless, save for Pinkie’s cake, and he has a “forever alone” moment there at the end. That kinda sucks. Um. I am curious about the author’s intent in naming the guards Galahad and Mordred.


Born to Scoot:
The title reminds me of Sweetie Belle scooting across the floor. “Ugh, I’m so bored!” Hee. Okay sorry, time to read.

“she picked a cliff that was only a few feet tall.” That’s not really a cliff then, more like a ledge… eh, semantics. I haven’t read a ton of Scootaloo fics oddly enough, but the narrator calling her “Scoot” is coming across as slightly odd. “Rainbow watched her pupil with an ironic sense of pride.” Nope nope nope, I’m not going to bite. If I discuss the usage of “ironic” here, this entire thread will derail. For Kiki’s sake, I must ignore. I was about to call into question your plan of having AB and SB prank DT (it didn’t really seem in-character for them to retaliate) but the Gilligan Cut made it worthwhile. Ah, good. I was worried that the first part of this fic was starting as a fairly standard “Scootaloo tries to learn to fly” fic, but a scooter race against DT is taking it in an interesting new direction, particularly with the stakes. Mmm, the race was a little rushed though; needs more description, excitement, etc. It’s the climax of the story, after all. No, Sweetie Belle, you’re clearly not getting untied so stop asking. Not bad, not bad at all. This took what could be a fairly overdone plot, turned it in perhaps a more realistic angle, and produced a nice little moral.


Playing Along:
Two paragraphs in and this is already painfully charming. The jokes might go ever-so-slightly over the target audience’s head (because she’s only this tall, you see) but at minimum it’s a nice parental bonus. Mareibu feels a little out of place in a filly Twilight’s toy collection [Ed. though by the end when her original owner is revealed, I see what you did there], but Ser Charley is an absolute delight, and Smarty Pants has a nice feel too, with the whole “insightful notes” shtick. “Camraderie is mystical” ಠ_ಠ “IwouldlovetogotoPrincessCelestia's…” This is more readable if you use hyphens, and it still conveys the same effect. “I-would-love-to-go-to-Princess-Celestia’s…” “Twilight Tinkle”? Oh no he did not. The streets will run red tonight.

Gah, that was just… awesome. I was a bit fearful with the “grow up and discard your toys” theme being a little too close to home for the target audience, but the final scene with Caddee/Caddy (you weren’t consistent) really brought it home. There were a few derps in the last scene like missing words or one of those unhyphenated words so long that it broke the page. But pretty much every scene was saccharine (the Shining Armor scene’s banter was especially cute). Bravo.


Treasure:
Charming start, but this is another fic that worries me with its dependency on show knowledge. If the target audience hasn’t seen Read It And Weep, they have no idea what Dash is talking about here re: Daring Do. It feels like there’s an unfortunate amount of LUS going on, not in the “tut tut this is uncouth” sort of way we usually do around /fic/, but more in the “there’s only two characters here, and they’re different races, yet I’m still having difficulty following the LUS sometimes” sort of way.

“The lair of Horse. Untold riches…” This paragraph is supposed to convey what they expect, with the following paragraph indicating that reality was different. This contrast isn’t really as clear as it could be, though, probably because it’s not really until the fourth sentence of the second paragraph that the true state of the room is stated. It’s clear enough for you or I; I’m just concerned about the target audience.

Err, suddenly Trollestia ending? Wait, no, Trolluna. Hmm. Endings like this never really feel satisfying to me, because of how little the story built up toward that particular ending. There was some foreshadowing in the beginning with the fact that this was the Princesses’ castle, so it’s not like Celestia and Luna’s involvement came out of left field, completely. But it’s still the fact that 90% of the story is “Twi and Dash go on a makeshift Daring Do romp”, only for the ending to have Celestia appear and explain how everything was completely wrong and actually was part of a completely different puzzle a la Metal Gear Solid 2. I just prefer a bit more cohesive building and foreshadowing, so that the ending doesn’t feel like such a blindside. Still, this had a fun and energetic adventure through the tomb, and was fun.


The girl who loved unicorns:
Hmm, a story about how another girl went HiE, rather than Kiki herself. That could be an interesting little bit of fantasy, a la “maybe me too!” Minor quibble: the story is framed as a letter addressed to her parents, but if this were to win and become the illustrated story, that might be a slightly odd gap in the premise. “Lara Hendersing”, heehee, I can already see where this is going.

Mmm. The premise had potential, but the whole thing felt very rushed. She becomes a fan of the show on her fifth birthday, and almost as soon as we’re introduced to that, she’s forgotten the toy and is a teenager in a rock band. Then she gets hospitalized, and still treasures a toy she hasn’t played with in a decade. Then she presumably goes into a coma or dies (!!!) because instead of in the hospital, she’s suddenly a pony in Equestria. And aside from being turned into a unicorn, not much in conveyed about her new life in Equestria, which is kinda the most exciting part. There’s a good framework here, don’t get me wrong, but the story just needs more meat. Could easily be stretched twice as long.


Pinkie Pie's Balloons:
-_- Clowns… Why did it have to be clowns… Not sure if it’s just me being terrified of the blasted things, but the clown’s silliness is falling a bit flat. This story has some rather strange hidden references in it o_O Nothing wrong with that, just surprising. Mmm, I’m torn on this one. I feel like the repetition of some lines has a nice effect: “zero balloons tied to her tail” was sadder than it had any right to be, and the final repetition of “Is something wrong? You don’t seem too happy.” was a really sweet way to bring it full circle. On the other hand, the five balloons and the repeating structure of giving one away made the ending transparent from the beginning. While I can tell that there’s heart in here, the repetitive structure sorta breaks my immersion, giving me a very “THIS IS A STORY” feel, and it’s hard to connect to that heart. The morale at the end is touching, but I kinda feel like Pinkie’s friends ruin the effect somewhat by overexplaining it and possibly crushing the metaphor in the process. Dunno. Like I said, this had a lot of parts that I liked and a lot of parts that I didn’t.


Remaining reviews at >>1318
This post was edited by its author on .

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>>1173
>>1223
Another six.

Technical reference:
- My guide – http://derpy.me/EznGuide
- Dialogue punctuation – http://derpy.me/EznGuideDialogue | http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/
- Lavender Unicorn Syndrome – http://derpy.me/EznLUS | http://derpy.me/MusicalNames | http://trickster.org/arduinna/epithet.html (though I've seen this done more in children's fiction than anything aimed at older audiences – still not excessively, though)

Barking Mad
Another Sweetie Belle story, huh. Going in, this looks promising, but that's at least partially because I like onomatopoeia more than I should.

And then you recycle a joke from the show.

The writing is very bland and simplistic – too low for a seven-year-old's maturity level, I think. You've got a lot of boring, robotic sentences that make me feel like this fic is actually about Sweetiebot. It seems to get better with Screwball's introduction, but that might just be because that's where the fic actually gets somewhat interesting.

A sweet story. I guess there may be weird implications if you think about it too much, but I think at its core this fic's about acceptance and friendship.

> “Hey Rarity, can we go and do something fun? I’m sooooooooo booooored.” moped a young, troubled filly.

> “Hey Rarity, can we go and do something fun? I’m sooooooooo booooored,” moped a young, troubled filly.

> “You couldn’t possibly-”

> “How could she possibly-”
Should be a —

>Sisterhoof Social

*Sisterhooves


Lessons in Friendship
And we begin with the least dramatic return of a big deal villain ever. Dialogue in this scene is wooden, and staging completely unimaginative.

Funny how I'm reading a fic about Screwball right after one about Screw Loose.

It's amusing how much more fanfic writers care about the Elements of Harmony than the actual showrunners do.

And then we have a random OC appearance. Whatever other fanfiction Peppermint appears in (if any), I don't think Kiki's read it. This is just weird and confusing.

Okay, that bit right at the ending? That almost made me chuckle. The rest of the fic was very much a checklist story that might have worked if you'd had more of your own jokes instead of references to episodes. In a word: boring.

>Apple Jack

*Applejack
> After a bit of cupcakes, punch, games and laughter, Twilight was ready to show off her new spell.
>“Ok, everypony. For my one hundredth spell, I will summon Philomena, Princess Celestia’s phoenix, from the Royal Canterlot Gardens.”
Missing empty line.

>the ponies fears were confirmed

*ponies' fears

>bull’s eye

*bullseye

>The other pony gave a small smile, “I’m Screwball,” she then sighed sadly, “Since the day Discord created me, I’ve been traveling throughout Equestria, trying to make friends. But I have no idea how friendship works.”

>The other pony gave a small smile. “I’m Screwball.” She then sighed sadly. “Since the day Discord created me, I’ve been traveling throughout Equestria, trying to make friends. But I have no idea how friendship works.”
You might get away with putting a comma after sadly, but that would be a pretty long sigh.

You've got a smattering of dialogue punctuation errors. "grinned" is not a said-alternative.


Born to Scoot
This feels like half an episode. You've got some jokes and the bits with Rainbow teaching Scoot to fly seem of appropriate length, but the scooter segments suffer, especially the final race – it's really telly and is over almost before it begins. I also think the fic would benefit from a slightly longer establishing scene with Scootaloo on her scooter – sure, we already know she's wicked awesome at it, but a small reaffirmation of that would make this fic feel more complete.

I think playing a prank on DT is a little mean for our dear CMCs, especially as a way of "cheering Scootaloo up". I think I could see them doing it if DT directly provoked them somewhere earlier in this fic, but as it stands that bit doesn't sit well with me.

I don't really care for fics in this contest giving the CMCs cutie marks, because that's something the show might eventually do. I'm sure Kiki's a smart kid, but even I don't always want to deal with all this alternate universe tomfoolery. Still, this here complaint's more personal bias than usual.

>Rainbow flew back over to comfort Scoot. Don’t listen to her. Come on, I have another idea!”

Missing open quote.


Thoughts for the Future
This is shallower than a badly characterised Rarity. This is not a story – it is a sermon masquerading as a scene. Stuff like this is just so dull and unmemorable that it won't even get across any of the points you want it to get across.

We remember that slow and steady wins the race because of the hare and the tortoise's actions in that story, not because the tortoise and the hare have a discussion about hubris and perseverance.

> Letting her smarter or wiser friends do the thinking while she was right in the actions.

Sentence fragment – attach it to the previous sentence with a comma.

>just about everyone she’s came across knows this.

*come

>That was not without its trouble’s

>Cake’s
Don't pluralise with apostrophes.

>Sure enough, as she peered down to the ground, there was a family white unicorn. *familiar


You've got odd wording, dialogue punctuation derps and a little too much Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. See the top of this post.


Pinkie Pie's Balloons
Dash tying a balloon to a stormcloud is the most memorable thing here. Oh, pegasus–cloud interactions, you so confusing!

This was… not terrible, but pretty dull. Needs more jokes and interesting, memorable character-interactions. The plot was a checklist, but I think you could have pulled it off if you'd made ticking the individual boxes more interesting scenes.


The Shelter in the Forest
This is a strong entry. It's slow and ponderous, but by design. I can't really find much to criticise, except the very personal thing I also said to another one of these fics: "I don't really care for fics in this contest giving the CMCs cutie marks, because that's something the show might eventually do. I'm sure Kiki's a smart kid, but even I don't always want to deal with all this alternate universe tomfoolery. Still, this here complaint's more personal bias than usual."


Always There in Your Heart
Second Apple Bloom story in a row.

You can start your fic by calling her Applejack, you know.

The other fic about dreams/memories was too long. This one is too short, too simple and too straightforward. If you told me "Applejack tells Apple Bloom that her friends and family will always be with her in her heart and then she has a nightmare and they appear in it and scare away the wind", then I wouldn't have to read this story, because that's all that happens, and that's all I got out of it. Everything happens in such a straightforward way that the story doesn't even need to be told.


…so many "tight hugs". And the Apples are really representin' in this write-off.

I'll do the four guard pony fics in my next post, and then it's voting time.

1234 GOT

Post 4: >>1294
This post was edited by its author on .

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>>1173
>>1223
>>1234
And here they are: my last four reviews. My condolences to everyone who ended up writing these fics before the prompt was removed (because it was, I thought, a pretty awful prompt).

Technical reference:
- My guide – http://derpy.me/EznGuide
- Dialogue punctuation – http://derpy.me/EznGuideDialogue | http://theeditorsblog.net/2010/12/08/punctuation-in-dialogue/
- Lavender Unicorn Syndrome – http://derpy.me/EznLUS | http://derpy.me/MusicalNames | http://trickster.org/arduinna/epithet.html (though I've seen this done more in children's fiction than anything aimed at older audiences – still not excessively, though)

Love
Oh boy. While I'm glad you took the time to help cheer up a sick little girl, I have nothing nice to say about this story.

This is literally a day in the life of a boring guard pony who doesn't do anything particularly interesting or storylike, from what I could glean from the messy prose. There's no lesson, nothing entertaining, and really no point to any of it. With a good deal more coherence and development, you might have had something here, but as it stands you really don't.

Eww shipping.

The writing here is unbelievably sloppy. You've got so many errors that I'm not even going to mark them, because really, you should have proofread this before submitting it. Missing punctuation, lots of grammatical woes, typos and an all-around poor show.

Empty lines between paragraphs, please. It's in the submission rules.


Winter Lily
Your writing is absolutely robotic. Uniform paragraphs contain uniform sentences of uniform lengths and structures – many of which should just be cut. As such, the writing does not flow, and the story is not well paced. This makes me think I might just know who you are…

Yeah, no, boys are gross, and these kinds of "you'll find your princess"/"you'll be someone's princess" messages are exactly what Faust worked so hard to avoid with the show. I don't like this story.

>“I’m gonna join the Royal Guard like Quick Silver, and I’m gonna be the best guard ever! I’ll even be the captain! I’ll protect Equestria, my princess, mom and dad, and I’ll even protect you from all the scary monsters when the time comes! Just you wait!” She couldn't help but giggle at his enthusiasm. “And after I become captain, we’re gonna get married, and our love will be so strong it’ll send everypony flying with how awesome it is!

You just implied incest.

>“And you’re gonna protect her and and everything?” She asked, almost as if making sure that he meant it.

*she

>“Duh,” he gave her nose a small tap.

*"Duh." He


A Brand New Canvas
Beginning is basically an infodump, but I'm feeling inclined to be kind about that because it's not overly boring and children's stories benefit more from stuff like this than others would.

The journal portions are worthless repetition. Most of the dialogue is wooden and unrealistic. The fic ends on a worn adage.

Some of the tests are somewhat interesting, but it's really not enough to make this story worth reading with all its other faults.

Your writing is not great, and the tense flip-flops between past and present a fair bit.

>froliking

*frolicking

>Do you understand me?!?

?! is sorta okay, but ?!? is right out.

Don't type numerals in prose – put all numbers in words, except years.

>A few of the others were huddled near one of the beds talking about which guard squads they would make into

*it into

>leather bound journal

*leather-bound
You've got a few of these kinds of things. If two words are working together to describe a third one (and neither of them ends in "ly"), put a hyphen in between 'em.

>moments notice

*moment's

>it's post

*its

>Mornin

*Mornin' – you need to show us that you took out the "g".

>thats a lot of stuff

*that's

>Why isn’t the sergeant here?” A red earth

*a red (This poor pony – that's a pretty ugly colour scheme.)
Related to this: your dialogue punctuation is broken. Refer to the links at the top of this post.

>who's foal

*whose

>I check the mirrors reflection and see

*mirror's
>I check the mirror's reflection and see
DICE YO I COULD SAY THAT WAS RARE
YO HOMES, TO BEL-AIR!


Dear Journal
"A Day in the Life of a Guard" in its most basic form – this doesn't seem to even attempt to have a story, but rather goes through rote descriptions of characters we already know doing things we can already imagine them doing. It's not really interesting to read about.


Well, there we go. Finished.

There were a lot of very inexperienced writers in this competition, it seems. I'm glad all you guys took time out of your day to move out of your comfort zones and pen some pony words for a good cause. If you decide you want to do more of this writing stuff, take a look around /fic/ – we're all about helping out with that.

My top two fics by far are Playing Along and Going Up. I will fave both of those so hard when they're on FIMFiction once the contest is done.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1300

>>1234
Thanks for the feedback! (Oh look, you got post #1234!)

Per your one criticism, that's a good point. In my defense, I would say that we know damn well what her talent is. But against that… quite honestly, her getting her cutie mark is not completely necessary for the story, in hindsight. I mean, it would be a little more ridiculous than their markless performances in Show Stoppers, but I definitely could have left it out.

And can I just say that this "post feedback, edit post" thing is kinda… Well, one has to come back and check for feedback manually. Meh.

Anonymous 1301

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>>1300
Having seen it in action now, I'm inclined to agree. It defeats the purpose of the thread auto-refreshing, since a post edit doesn't update the tab name (nor should it) and since you need to F5 to see post edits. Besides, we're almost halfway through public voting and we haven't even broken 50 posts on this thread yet. I understand our phobia of hitting auto-sage, but I think we're being a touch overkill here. No need to treat each post like it costs $5 of server space.

Lt_Luc 1309

>>1300
>>1301
The idea was to just keep all of your reviews in a single post so that they would be easy to find. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted the OP to be updated with them but, since we lack the password, that's not possible without !!Spike doing it himself. I've been editing my post and was planning on doing a bump linking to it after I'd finished all of my reviews.

Author of Fluttershy & Pegaus Peak 1313

>>1168
>>1173
>>1228
I appreciate the criticism, friends. Writing for a young child was definitely a new experience, and I hope everyone enjoyed the challenge as much as I did. As it stands, I'd like to explain some of my decisions regarding the story.

For starters, some of the things people have mentioned were of no surprise. Meaning I did them knowing they would irritate your typical brony fanfic reader. That didn't stop me because I wasn't writing for a brony, but a little girl who has brain cancer. Now this could very well be me, but the way I saw it, the poor girl's life is not enjoyable right now. Though children who have to go through some pretty horrific stuff can really surprise you, as often they find more joy in life than most others. But that doesn't change the fact that her life is physically painful to live. Furthermore, she's facing a HUGE obstacle—something adults can barely handle. That's gotta be scary for her. Hence the theme of overcoming your fears. Cliche? Certainly. Poorly handled? Well, that up for you to decide. That's also why it's rather cutesy—I wanted to give her a happy escape from this world of pain she's forced to live in.

Also, I really had no idea if she has ever watched any MLP, or how familiar she is with it; so I erred on the side of caution with the opening. If anyone has a link to where it says she DOES watch it often, I'd very much like to see it, if you wouldn't mind, since I did look. And no, lot's of brony's supporting her and sending her pony pics doesn't mean she knows all about mlp.

Anyhoo, about the 'Celestia was always watching': once again, I may be wrong, but I was betting kiki spends much of her time in the hospital. I'm sure her family is there often, but they can't always be. What happens if she has a nightmare in the middle of the night? How lonely might a 7 yr old girl feel in a big ol' hospital with no family near by, especially at night? So if I could ease those moments at all by helping her to believe that no matter what, she isn't alone, and that someone who cares for her is watching over her (which I believe there to be), then I wanted to do it. Thus Celestia's involvement.

Oh, and 'lavender unicorn syndrome'? Totally, haha. Thanks for pointing that one out—to bad I didn't really realize it in time. Ah well.

A few other grammatical misses are a result of my total ignorance when it comes to coding things like italics. So I either didn't or went with quotes.

Like everyone else, I gave it me best shot, and though I haven't read anything yet, I'm looking forward to it. Should anyone else like to criticize Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak, I'm all ears—just try to make it constructional, eh?

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1315

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>>1300
And you got 1300!

Eh, as I said before, the cutie mark thing is mostly a personal bias/gut-feel thing. I didn't mark you down for it.

>>1313
>Also, I really had no idea if she has ever watched any MLP, or how familiar she is with it; so I erred on the side of caution with the opening. If anyone has a link to where it says she DOES watch it often, I'd very much like to see it, if you wouldn't mind, since I did look. And no, lot's of brony's supporting her and sending her pony pics doesn't mean she knows all about mlp.
Well, the press release calls her a pegasister, and apparently if you win you'll get a plushie of her OC as well as one you request, and, well, this is a brony charity drive that Tara Strong's also involved in, and she's a seven-year-old girl, so odds are pretty good that's she's familiar with the show. It was thoughtful of you to err on the side of caution, but I don't really think it was super necessary.
http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/10/announcing-hearths-warming-care-package.html

>A few other grammatical misses are a result of my total ignorance when it comes to coding things like italics. So I either didn't or went with quotes.

The site FAQ (also linked in the press release) http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/faq has info on that.

>Cliche? Certainly. Poorly handled? Well, that up for you to decide. That's also why it's rather cutesy—I wanted to give her a happy escape from this world of pain she's forced to live in.

Well thank you very much for taking the time to do so. All of the entries will be sent to Kiki and her family, even though only one is going to receive illustrations.

Anonymous 1316

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>>1313
>Writing for a young child was definitely a new experience, and I hope everyone enjoyed the challenge as much as I did.
>pic
It most certainly was a challenging new experience, and… oof. For my own entry, I did give it my all, but I just felt paralyzed between trying to be accessible, and not talking down to her, and full of positivity, and simple, and profound, and full of love, and… In the end, mine is the one that tastes like vanilla paste :| But oh well. As I said earlier, Kiki's the winner here, and we still have plenty of terrific stories to choose from. Yours included.

>Anyhoo, about the 'Celestia was always watching':

That's a fair counterpoint. I was mostly concerned about her inclusion from a literary standpoint and didn't really consider the message behind it. Criticism withdrawn.

>Also, I really had no idea if she has ever watched any MLP, or how familiar she is with it

I think it's a fair point to not assume a ton of knowledge, as I've indicated in my other reviews. Some nieces of a brony I know are self-described fans of the show. They've only seen the Nightmare Moon episodes, and they thought the name of the pony in my pic was Glitter Shy. I'm not trying to say that seven-year-olds are incapable of being "true fans"; I'm just saying that "fan" at that age doesn't necessarily mean the encyclopedic knowledge we older fans have, so I don't think a bit of extra exposition hurts.

>Cliche? Certainly. Poorly handled? Well, that up for you to decide.

Every idea has been done. Proper execution will make a story so delightful that the reader won't care if they've seen it before.
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Anonymous 1318

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25/25 stories reviewed
Continued from >>1228

True to my prediction, I hit the character limit on my first part. Here's the remaining six stories.

Stage Fright!:
In which Sweetie Belle is half-zebra, heehee. Heh, an interesting choice to give Sweetie Belle an interaction with Fluttershy; Sweetie puts on a brave face and yet Fluttershy is still able to rock her confidence. !!! No, stop, stop this story. The Fashionable Pirate Rarity. I suddenly want to read that story. Write that one next :P

This did a good job at capturing Sweetie’s unwillingness and contrasting it to a pressure to perform regardless. It was touching that her friends were the one to rescue her, though… I mean, you did include the fact that she started to sing along, and no one could hear. And I’m not trying to demand an ending where Sweetie rocks the competition and comes home with the gold. It just would’ve, IMHO, felt a little more satisfying if Sweetie had gotten a moment of bravery. She did technically sing a little bit on stage, but it just felt a little like she was using her friends as a shield to hide and protect her, rather than wings to support and empower her, y’know? Still, the messages of “I’ll always support you in doing whatever makes you happy; you don’t need to try to appease me” as well as “your friends will always be there for you” were both played sweetly.


Love:
Mmm. It was a valiant effort, but unfortunately there were a lot of issues here. A number of grammar issues like homonym confusion, typos, and missing words could just use some cleaning up overall. There’s also a couple of odd turns of phrase. Even in the first few paragraphs before the first horizontal line, it just feels a little… forced, hammy, I don’t know? It doesn’t sound like how someone would normally speak. Altogether, it more or less undermines a warm story about spending the holidays with family.


Going Up:
After just a few paragraph in, I am getting some serious Douglas Adams vibes. And it just keeps going. This is gonna be delightful, I can tell. Ehh… sorry, Derpy, even for you, the rote disclaimer that yadda yadda target audience may not know you or Carrot Top, etc etc. Cloudsdale only has one ‘e’. While I’m as big a fan of scrunchy-face as anyone, the joke about “unscrunching to rescrunch” is probably a good sign that you’re using too much of it. Also, bits like “obligingly proffered” might be trying a bit too hard for the irreverent narration. “Carrot Top looked down, then very quietly muttered a slightly larger number.” ehehe poor Carrot Top.

“Oh! Then I guess it was science!”
“Derpy, that’s not how science works!”

This story, man. This story. The narrator has a delightful charm, though as mentioned, it might be trying a teeny bit too much at points. Derpy and Carrot Top have a great relationship going on, and the whole story is full of silliness and warmth. Definitely a delight.


Wings:
Ah yep. While it’s a slight risk to write a Kiki story like this, with all the assumptions that are required, those are necessary risks and it’s good to see you take them. “Kiki ran next to her and jumped excitedly.” Careful, two speakers in the same paragraph here. Mildly curious that Kiki would travel all the way from her hometown to Ponyville, then fly all the way from Ponyville to Cloudsdale. I suppose that’s just courtesy to Twi and RD, but it still seemed a little roundabout. “and the door went up to let them into the weather factory” except I thought you just said there were no doors, heehee. Err hmm, did you end up running low on time? I’m noticing a lot more errors in the second half than there was in the first half, like you didn’t have as much time to proofread. Huh, the Dear Princess Celestia lost me completely. While Kiki and Dash were flying, Twilight talked to her parents about… sending her to school? With Twilight? With Celestia? And then the story ends on that unresolved question? Ehh, I’m suspecting it might’ve just been safer to strike the letter altogether and just keep it a story about visiting Cloudsdale. It was a nice little self-insert tale, but the right around the point where we arrived at Cloudsdale, the grammar and immersiveness took a dip, and the story kinda suffered for it.


We All Love You:
Derpy, minor character, target audience won’t know, and so forth. Still, at least that was just a minor cameo. Hmm, now that we’re in the hospital, it’s kind of weird that the girl is playing such a small role. I suppose you’re trying to leave it open-ended how she’s reacting, so that Kiki could self-insert, but your description of “the girl” and what she’s doing is so minimal that she sort of feels like a ghost. It’d probably be safe to at least give her some stock lines like “I love it!” or “Thank you!” and so forth. I mean, “Pinkie placed a cupcake into the girl’s hoof, and then smiled as parts of it were nibbled.” Parts of it were nibbled… by the girl. Kiki. It just feels so impersonal and cold this way. Oh, also in that quoted line, it’d be hands since you mention she’s still a human in this story. “noticing that Kiki didn't touch much of the muffins.” Nope, they were cupcakes. :P Couple of silly consistency mistakes here. Is… Did you… Wow. Somehow I think this was the only entry to break the fourth wall, and you went with gusto here! Still, it was for a super-sweet reason so it’s fine.

Definitely a sweet tale, what with everypony visiting Kiki and showering her with gifts and saying such kind things. Absolutely a sentiment that will be appreciated, I’m sure. I think my biggest complaint would still be on giving Kiki’s character a little bit more presence. I’m sure she would be able to self-insert just fine, but it’s kinda helpful to have an anchor point to do so.


Sister Bonding:
Oh, haven’t seen a disclaimer in ages. General opinion is that it’s self-evident you don’t own FIM, so it really accomplishes nothing, except looking a touch tacky. Hmm, we’re dealing with Celestia/Luna/NMM fallout? That’s an interesting choice for a competition of this nature. I’m kind of curious where you’re going with this, but at the moment it’s kind of gloomy. Ah, well at least that didn’t linger for too long. Aww, poor Luna: she just wanted to sleep, and while she did have fun, it sounds like she just got robbed of any sleep today. Hmm, I mean… I could potentially see Celestia taking value in a lesson learned from one of the friendship reports, perhaps being her motivation for the actions in this story. But for Celestia to regurgitate the letter word-for-word to Luna, it just felt a little bit redundant.

Overall it was a nice enough Celestia/Luna bonding story, but remember that warning label I’ve been slapping on several of my other reviews? “This character is a minor character that the target audience may not know or fully understand”? Yeah, I’m applying that to Luna (come at me bro). My reasoning for that is that this story is entirely driven by Luna’s strained relationship with Celestia. That’s almost entirely a fan creation—a rational one, but S1E2 shows them burying the hatchet. The target audience might be able to follow the implications laid out in this story, but Luna’s remorse is probably not given as much thought as we give it. Since so much of the story hinges on that headcanon, it’s a large risk.


I want to sincerely thank everyone for participating. No matter how well your story does, or whether or not yours will be selected, or whether you're a veteran writer or someone who wrote their first fanfic for this event, you were motivated enough to help a girl in significant need of cheer. That's a terrific showing of heart, and that heart was present in each and every one of these stories. I'm so excited for Kiki to read these and see just how much everyone cares. It may not be much, but we're doing our small part to help her stay strong, and I couldn't be prouder of everyone.

Top five:
Going Up
Playing Along
Lessons in Friendship
Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak
The Shelter in the Forest
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of Fluttershy & Pegaus Peak 1319

>>1315
>[color=green]It was thoughtful of you to err on the side of caution, but I don't really think it was super necessary.[/color]

Quite right you may be Ezn; but be that as it may, I'd still keep the opening, until I was truly sure. I appreciate the kind words though :D

And yeah, kinda didn't check out the FAQ until AFTER submission heh…oh well, perhaps edits may be made before sending.

>>1316
>[color=green]Kiki's the winner here[/color]

So true, and that's really all that matters here. And yeah, I'm sure we all found out it's more difficult to write for kids than we thought! Everyone should be proud of themselves for trying though, no matter how much they succeeded or failed at the task.

>[color=green]Every idea has been done[/color]


Ha, no matter how true that is, a part of me will always want to deny that :D

Anonymous 1320

>>1319
And THAT is how you show your newbie-ness here, folks!

1321

>>1320
And where you come from in package to boot.

Author of Fluttershy & Pegaus Peak 1322

>>1321
That's actually me making fun of myself, accidentally doing so anonymously…how ironic, no?

Author of "Playing Along" 1323

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>>1318
I wanted to make something the parents would enjoy reading, too, since I assumed that they would be the ones actually reading the story out loud to her. With that in mind, I let myself be a little more free in terms of wordplay since I'm sure they could explain anything that could confuse Kiki.

Mareibu's original owner is actually revealed in the opening scene when she mentions the tea parties she used to have with Cadence.

Ser Charley was easily my favourite character to write, although Shining was also a fun one with the big-brother-banter. Charley offered a chance to be more "proper" with the dialogue and add a distinctive flavour to the conversations. I've always had a thing for old, tired soldiers (no, not that kind of thing). Also, I'm just going to admit it, I felt my chest tighten up when I wrote the ending to Shining's scene, with Ser Charley going silent. It felt like a betrayal, the noble and ever-loyal Charley not only being left behind, but accepting it with all the finality of staring Death in the face and saying "Is that it?" It was written with the timeless quote "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away" in mind. I can only hope it will leave a similar mark on its readers. I also tried to squeeze some symbolism in there with the shield breaking, the shattering of childhood innocence, although I've never been particularly gifted in that field.

Yes, the hyphens would have made a lot more sense. I'll be sure to fix that after the contest ends.

The Caddee/Caddy difference is the result of me flip-flopping on how to spell her nickname. Noted for correction with extreme prejudice.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thank you very much for the criticism and acting as my impromptu editor.


Your review on Winter Lily made me think of this: http://youtu.be/5AuLkMBAFZg

>>1319
Just the > will make your text green.
>Like so.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of Fluttershy & Pegaus Peak 1324

>>1323
Thanks for the tip.

Lt_Luc 1345

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>>1168
There, that's the last of my reviews. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go drain my nose again.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1364

I honestly had no idea there was a preliminary round of voting for this contest. As such, I am at a loss as to how to approach these entries. I'm going to try and provide feedback based on child-appropriateness and keeping to the 'uplifting' theme, and most likely rate based on how much I actually like each story, since this is for the contest and not the care package. I think. I dunno how well I did on any of those fronts myself, so good luck to us all.

But first, an addendum. After having read all of these, I've come to a conclusion. Most likely due to the nature of this contest, it being for charity and all, a lot of these stories are… not very good, put simply. Poor mechanics… Poor ideas… Some are downright unreadable, and I gave out my first 0 score in one of these contests because of this.

But that's speaking as someone who is really involved in fanfiction. I have a feeling a lot of these authors don't write much or at all. This might be their first contest; it might even be their first fic. Whatever the case may be, I want to say to those authors: thank you. Thank you for giving your time to creating something that will hopefully help a little girl in need. The contest isn't what's important this time around; it's not even why I entered. And in the interest of not being a douchebag, I'm going to leave off commenting on stories that I simply had nothing positive or constructive to say about. Their omissions will be obvious, but what's important is that you got something written in time to turn in.

To these authors, I say: keep writing. If it's your first time, try again. If you've been trying to write for a while, don't be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of people around here willing to give it. And if you just did this as a one-time thing, then again I thank you. On to the reviews. Though seriously, why did so many people write about the Royal Guards?

A Zebra in the Bed
Boogers are always a good choice. While this takes a good bit to really get going, the situation you've placed Applejack in is a good one, forcing her to put up with Zecora like that. The peacock is a great choice. This feels over before it's over, going right into the letter from the second day like that, but I can take the ending well. Not bad.


Wings
Okay, I'm going to start by saying reading a story about someone's OC, named for them no less, that was written for that person is really freaking strange and I'm going to have to just get over my general distaste for such things right the heck now. So, with that said… Is she having trouble holding things because she was turned into a pony? I sure hope not; I'm not certain I can choke down that particular distaste… That whole opening scene is awfully dull, though. There's too much focus on mundane details, which get in the way of the plot. It's a cute idea though, and fluffy enough that it should please. Assuming she actually wants to fly, that is.


Treasure
Why are so many stories about ponies being bored and so forth? That's is not a good idea. Language level is a bit high. At least the excitement level picks up pretty quickly. This is pretty decent and held my attention, though I'm really shaking my head at the ending. The question of Daring Do's author just seems tacked on there, not to mention the explanation of what was going on really defuses the entire story.


Sister Bonding
The writing is decent, up to the POV change. This is kind of heavy for kids' fare. Admittedly, I love seeing the sisters be sisters like this, but I don't feel like the story overall is anything I haven't seen before. You definitely got the uplifting/heartwarming thing going for you, though! I had a happy at the ending.


Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak
Oh gosh, this has parts? While I would normally take offense to this sort of opening, it may very well work in this case. If I step back just a bit and pretend I don't know anything about the setting or character, this is actually a nice way to introduce everything, especially on the level this is meant to be written at. Again, I find myself really not wanting to like this story — the dry dialogue, the non-subtle narration, having members of the mane six meet up as fillies for no reason — yet I can't help but feel like this is the first story so far that really gets this contest and has been written successfully for its audience. The story itself (once it gets going) is adorable, if predictable. Fluttershy's being unable to name 'Spot' is actually a really hilarious and memorable scene. It is, as I said, a story that's been done time and again, but I think it works and I like it. It may even impact my headcanon.


Piece of Mind
And the overachiever award goes to…! Well, this wasn't a writeoff, so people actually had time to write more, I suppose! This is good for a first draft so far, though it definitely feels like a first draft given that Fluttershy 'let her song' do a number of things in a row, and also deserts. Pulling Pinkie's tail makes her hiccup? New headcanon. Spirit Walk! Now that's cool. The Zecora lines could use some work, and formatting them as couplets is never a good idea. The dream imagery in this is really compelling, and I can't help but think this would make an awesome (if long) comic. So is Courageshy just Fluttershy with Angel? There wasn't any real description for her. Given that she's called 'little one', I expected her to be a filly, because that would also fit with how the others look. She's small, but powerful. Hmm, but Joy is the filly. Ah well. This was excellent, a wonderful look into Fluttershy's psyche that I think will resonate with a young reader. It could definitely use some editing, but the story itself is charming and exciting, and definitely a strong contender in my mind.


Born to Scoot
Hilarious title. Using the word 'cartoon-like' in a story about a cartoon seems redundant. This has an episode-like feel, but to its detriment, because it really just seems to be Rainbow Dash's bit from Call of the Cutie with Scootaloo instead of Apple Bloom. Not to mention there are already a lot of stories about Rainbow teaching Scoot to fly. The ending of this is entirely weird; all they have to do is get an authority figure (uh, Rainbow Dash, anyone?) to tell DT "no, no, bad pony" and then they don't need to go through this slightly contrived rigamarole. The stakes, in other words, are not there. I will say that I at least laughed at a few spots, so that's a good sign, though more often the story is too self-aware ("her comical crash course").


Going Up
The comedic narrative is a little hit and miss, but I do appreciate stories about Carrot Top being very ordinary. I also like Derpy/Carrot Top friendshipping, with Carrot Top being exasperated at Derpy's irascibility. This is really funny, and an excellent Derpy tale. I've certainly never seen one where her cutie mark actually manifests as a talent of any sort. (No, Bubbles does not count.) This is whimsical and marvelous, and entirely well written, hit and miss narration included.


Stage Fright!
That's a very, err, descriptive chapter title. A talent search hosted by Sapphire Shores? Why did I never think of that? As far as writing a story that would be good for a kid to read, this hits it right on the nose. It moves a little fast, I think, but overall it's not bad in the least and has a great moral!


Playing Along
That Smarty Pants communicates via written message is rather adorable. This reads as a very believable look into Twilight's foalhood. Twilight Tinkle! This story is horrifying though! And sad! Though things come together in the end, it's… Augh, it's like the dark side of Toy Story! Congrats on writing a very moving piece. I'm just not sure how well it'll go over in the end!


Winter Lily
Interesting fairy tale feel to this. There are some weird turns of phrase ("god-like appearance"?) and a tense shift. I was going to say this was just all right, but the midway point revealing that it's being told as a tale made me enjoy it more. This is actually pretty cute, and I liked the ending, despite the oblique show jokes.


Barking Mad
This is the weirdest idea ever, and I appreciate it for that. The ending is a little weak, and the story feels rushed from the point where she brings Screw Loose home, but seriously, for sheer novelty alone, this is worthwhile.


Pinkie Pie's Balloons
Oh, is that the clown pony from Hearts and Hooves Day? Because that's a good name for him if it is!

…WAIT. YOU JUST DID THAT SCENE FROM THE ROOM. OH MY GOD. You win the entire contest.

Despite using a "X thing happens with each character" plot, this one actually works, I think. I honestly just like the idea of Pinkie doing something random that then benefits her friends like this. And I'm glad the Room reference was not the be all and end all of this story.


Top five:

Going Up
Playing Along
Piece of Mind
Stage Fright!
Pinkie Pie's Balloons


And is anyone else having issues with the thread watcher not updating, or is that just me?

Author of Piece of Mind 1365

Well, you caught me. I had the idea already before the contest came along. I decided to use the contest as motivation to actually finish it. I will definitely give it some heavy polishing and work on my atmosphere. Writing under a deadline is harder than I thought. But at least I know what's wrong with it now.

Lt_Luc 1366

>>1364
The thread watcher is glitched from the server swap. You can read about it on /site/.

>…WAIT. YOU JUST DID THAT SCENE FROM THE ROOM. OH MY GOD. You win the entire contest.

I must admit, I hope you're joking. A reference doesn't really deserve such a over-the-top reaction, IMHO.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1367

>>1366
To be perfectly honest, it was actually far too close to the movie for comfort. And, had it been continued, i.e., The Room with ponies, I certainly would not have appreciated it.

Mostly, I'm just excited that someone did that. It's fun!

1370

>>1367
C'mon, I can't talk about my entry. This contest is confidential! Anyway, how's your /fic/ life? Regarding that, yes I'm going to Tartarus for including a Wiseau reference in a children's story. In all honesty, it was not originally written as a reference, but was merely a subconscious-driven coincidence. When I noticed all of the similarities in their exchange, however, that was when I added the dog to the scene. No willpower. Sorry. Not really sorry.

I'm happy that I made your top five! Thank you! Frankly I had shared the concerns that the other reviewers have raised, namely that the story was a bit bland and repetitive. I have fond memories of books from my childhood, however, and this story was my experimental attempt to capture that simple, repetitive, yet joyful essence. I hope she enjoys my story, but I know that she'll enjoy whichever story wins!

Anonymous 1371

Well, I wrote up some stuff, but reading over the other reviews, I feel like I'm missing some kind of unwritten standard of judging here.

So I'll just say that I think Playing Along is a big cut above everything else.

Author of "Playing Along" 1378

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>>1168
Yes, I've never been particularly good with exposition except when it's the irreverent sort. My talent lies in dialogue, so making the narrator a character in and of themselves makes things far easier for me.

I'll have to look into fixing those problems you mentioned. I noticed the Cadence one myself, but the urge to throw it in there defeated my apprehension to stick to Twilight's viewpoint. I am weak :(

The ending is… yeah… It could definitely use some closure. No arguments there.

Ehh, I can live with second place.

>>1364
>Dark side of Toy Story
Really? I would have imagined Sid mutilating toys in the first movie and the incinerator scene in number three would trump this. I figured if Toy Story, the film that is practically the de facto children's movie, could get away with those little bits of nightmare fuel, I could manage to handle a child losing their imagination (and regaining it, of course, since this is for a little girl) without too much backlash.

Thank you. I can only hope it's taken as what I intended it to be; a lesson in holding onto that eternal youth, because once it's entirely gone there's no getting it back.

>>1371
Much obliged. And I don't think anyone would object to you posting your thoughts, whatever they may be.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1380

>>1378
That's precisely the kind of mental process I was anticipating had led to this outcome.

And yes, it was repetitive, but out of all the repetitive fics in this contest, the ones where each character had to have their own scene, this was the best. Which isn't much of a compliment, I realize, but there you go. I think what I really enjoyed was Pinkie's character development throughout; we don't often see her in this kind of role.

>>1370
By that, I specifically mean she was killing the toys by actively disbelieving in them. That is dark, man!

This story affected me deeply, and I'm not the only one.

Author of "Playing Along" 1403

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>>1380
She didn't want to. At best you could charge her with unwilling mantoyslaughter since it was a third party each time that influenced the change (barring Smarty, and Twilight obviously showed how much she cared about her once she had realized her mistake), assuming you could classify it as "killing". Besides, for there to be triumph, there must first be strife. Something that has to be overcome, and I'm sure you'll agree with me that using a fancy tea set is, by itself, not the most meaningful of conflicts.

Also, you seem to have mixed up your message replies :P. Took me a second to figure out who you were talking to.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1412

>>1403
Oops. That's what I get for loading both replies at once.

Anonymous 1427

>>1378
If you say so. Guess at least you're interested.

A Zebra in the Bed
Opening a bit clunky. The details surrounding the harvest seem like they might be a big deal, then get glossed over with little left to imagination. In fact, description in general feels like a long list of overly matter-of-fact details. A good example of when you break away from this habit is describing Pleasant’s squawking.

I’m not so sure Applejack would shrug off Apple Bloom’s urges to be quiet. Or not without at least coming up with a semi-plausible explanation. Or if it’s because she’s too tired, show how that influences her decision.

Also seems pretty drastic for her to go kick the bed without first checking the occupant. For all she knows, it could be one of her cousins visiting. Another oddity is how she didn’t seem to make the connection to what Apple Bloom had said earlier.

Dialogue is probably your strongest part of the story. It’s generally in character and well structured, although there are some bumpy parts (start of the story and some of Zecora’s rhymes feeling a little forced, in particular).

Applejack sleeping in her bed again without changing the sheets is honestly pretty disgusting. And her not doing so seems rather questionable.

The ending had that warm and cute vibe, but getting there, especially with how Applejack got sick, felt rather contrived. The lesson itself is a very good lesson, though.


Wings
The story opens with an ambiguous pronoun and clunky sentence structure, which is a bit off putting.

It also feels a little weird to see Kiki referred to and characterized as a pony. It’s a rather interesting gambit, as I think this could come across as obnoxious in its presumptions. On the other hand, this could be exactly how she feels, so who knows?

The description is pretty matter-of-fact and rather telly at times. I get this vague feeling of cute and warmth from the social interactions, but the story doesn’t feel quite committed to them. It could use some spice to give it more energy.

Also, the lack of description for the appearances of each OC is a bit troubling. I had some difficulty envisioning the scene since I was trying to picture several ponies who were effectively blank slates.

You may want to name the small town to disambiguate it. I thought you were referring to Ponyville on first glance.

Dash feels generally in character, with my only gripe being she spoke a bit too stiffly at times during the Cloudsdale tour.

It’s rather jarring for a story that spends 95% of its focus on Kiki to end with its focus on Twilight. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m picking up a bit of meta-writing in the letter. And while I think it’s a sweet gesture, it also comes across as rather forced.


Twilight and the Snow Princess
The opening scene is a little bland. It starts with a big broad stroke that seems to set up the rest of the scene for some vibrant detail, but then the paragraph ends.

The description is very plain. I acknowledge that Twilight might not notice as much in her hurry, but the whole thing still feels too telly. It might help if we got some of Twi’s thoughts to break things up. Like perhaps she could be dismissive of the decorations as she passed by.

Wait, if Twi’s on the balcony, why does her dad have to open the door to get to her side?

Careful with your dialogue spacing. You mashed Twi’s dad’s line into Twi’s own dialogue and that really threw me off.

The discussion between Twi’s mom and dad was a little weird. Particularly because they talked as though they’d never put out presents while Twi was distracted before.

For something that shares part of its title with the fic, I really felt like you glossed over the book Twi’s mom read just a little too fast. Especially since the entire next scene bases itself off of the story. Generally speaking, I think the Snow Princess could have used a bit more characterization to set her apart from being just a Santa Claus expy.

Also, I’m a little confused by the plush. Is that supposed to be a plush version of Twi (kind of creepy if it is)? Or Smarty Pants (not purple)?


Treasure
Opening is a little plodding.

Vocabulary may be a bit high, but it’s hard to gauge. Particularly for a fanfic for a show that makes a point of not dumbing down for its audience.

Got a few awkward sentences here and there too.

The first part of Celestia’s explanation seems unneeded. It feels like a sort of “don’t worry, the ponies weren’t going to die” kind of disclaimer. But I wasn’t really thinking about it during the story. There was danger, yes, but I didn’t think they would actually die.

The foreshadowing for Luna’s authorship was sort of weak. Needs stronger ties to Luna herself or perhaps Mare in the Moon.

Otherwise, the banter is fun and the rest of the pacing is good.


The Girl Who Loved Unicorns
Your title lacks capitals (note how I wrote it).

The opening feels a bit awkward to read and by this point in the fandom’s age, the hook is a little cliche.

Got a bit of a backstory dump going on there. The whole moving portion doesn’t really add much to the story. Neither Lara nor her parents get much for characterization, as the passage glosses over the majority of the details.

The next two sections are a little better at giving us glimpses into Lara’s personality, but it’s encased in a mess of awkward grammar and jumpy pacing.

After that, it continues much the same, except I feel the pacing gets even more rushed. There’s next to no time spent on Lara’s experiences as a unicorn and then the fic just abruptly ends.

In the end, I did get a bit of a feel for Lara’s character and I like how you chose to talk about her special talent in music over some of the other more memetastic aspects the fandom has adopted. But you didn’t really do much with her and the rushed plot is actually pretty depressing.


Sister Bonding
Bit of a nitpick off the bat, but there wasn’t supposed to be any meta text in the story.

The description has potential to be colourful, but as it is, it’s very telly. Try to show, rather than explain, Luna’s emotions.

A lot of things get overly matter-of-fact style descriptions, which makes them rather dull to read about. This is especially apparent when the water fight starts.

The sudden mid-scene jump to Celestia’s POV was a bit jarring.

Some of the later sections really feel like they didn’t get a proper grammar or typo check. The pacing felt a bit like it was starting to rush too.

Celestia’s dialogue felt a bit off at first, but as the fic progressed, she sounded more like herself. I think it might have been how you were structuring her sentences.

I definitely like the idea of both princesses just letting down their hair and taking a day together. I think you could get more impact if you slowed down a bit toward the end of the water fight to show more of either sister’s emotions. As it is, I feel like you rushed past a major opportunity for some d’aw moments.


Born to Scoot
Using “rocketing” and “like a bullet” in the same sentence if a bit of a conflicting image. Just choose one and use something more generic in the other’s place.

“Cartoon-like” is probably not a great term to be using for a fic based on a cartoon.

Considering all the things she’s done, I don’t think Scoots would be afraid of a cliff. Especially not one that’s only a few feet tall. I get what you were trying to do with this scene, but unfortunately, sight gags like that don’t tend to work very well in written text. An accompanying illustration could help with that, but still doesn’t answer the question of how Scoots could be so freaked out about something so small.

You’re inconsistent with your description, lapsing into telling at some key moments where more focus and colourful imagery would improve the impact (for instance, when Scoots is launched off the teeter-totter and comes back down, we get a bit of build up and then you just about gloss over the results).

I question the in-characterness of Dash being distracted by Diamond Tiara’s scooter. Especially considering she jumped right in and went full bore when Fluttershy was being bullied. Being distracted by shiny things is more of Rarity’s schtick.

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle being so vindictive feels rather out of character.

You really didn’t give the race much focus for how big a deal it seemed to be. It lacked tension and really could have used some expansion to at least touch on more of what a racing rivalry would be like between Diamond Tiara and Scoots.

Some of the dialogue was pretty good, but I think you leaned too much on your gags and absurdity to carry the story. Quite a bit of it gets overplayed and feels rather flat.

I do like the theme, even if it feels weird ending a big ball of crazy on something more serious like that.


Dear Journal
The first section of the journal was a little too utilitarian. Galahad was mostly just stating stuff that happened without commenting too much on it. The party portion was a bit better, especially getting to see how he drew his conclusions when he met Rarity. After that, though, it kind of felt like it was rushing to reach the end.

Aside from that, there wasn’t much as far as description goes. Maybe Galahad doesn’t care to record it all in his journal, but I’d expect to see at least something in the parts where he seems to get excited.

I guess the thing about this story for me is you have this character and you show a bit of what he’s like, but then nothing really happens. He’s on the outside looking in when it comes to any of the potentially major events and even then, sometimes he doesn’t even get to look in.


Thoughts for the Future
This story could have done with another spelling and grammar check or two. That aside…

The establishing paragraphs give off a rather stream of thought vibe. But the narrative’s just telling us exactly what thoughts are going through Dash’s mind and comes across as rather listless. What is Dash’s imagination doing with these thoughts? Is there any accompanying physical anguish? Show both of these would go a long way in improving the emotional impact.

Dash’s inner conflict seems to get resolved rather fast by Rarity. Which is rather jarring, considering how many paragraphs the opening of the fic spends on it. I would expect the conversation to last much longer than it does.

Then the story abandons Dash and starts following Rarity around, which feels really disjointed. And the common theme just really isn’t enough to hold it together. Perhaps Dash could accompany Rarity and find her inspiration in what Rarity sees?


A Party for Kiki
This fic opens rushing ahead as though it really has someplace else it wants to be. The setting is barely established when Twi abruptly shows up to whisk Kiki away.

Additionally, the descriptions are pretty telly and stuff that could maybe use a bit more focus (such as the purple ball or how Kiki is feeling coming downstairs for the surprise), get glossed over.

Since it features Kiki, there’s also a bunch of assumptions at play. Which, depending on how on they actually are, may come across as obnoxious. Perhaps doubly so since this is Kiki the human and not an interpretation of her OC.

The party itself feels way too glossed over. We hardly get any interaction at all between Kiki and the main six. This is Kiki’s big wish coming true, isn’t it? So give it more focus. Extend the scene.


Always There in Your Heart
Sentence structure is clunky, particularly in your tendency to overuse adjectives. Be careful of how many you use, because they can bog the story down.

Descriptions are a little too plain. While you do have a few more colourful ones (opening sunset), it generally needs more spicing up.

I’m curious as to why you went with something as plain as a heavy wind as the dreaded object of Apple Bloom’s nightmares. If it were a tornado or a hurricane, I’d understand. But as is, it just doesn’t feel particularly imposing.


The Shelter in the Forest
I think your opening paragraph tries to say a bit too much at once. You half-gloss over each detail with a pretty simple sentence, which does little to build tension.

Pacing and description are a bit better after that, but I’m still just barely connecting with Apple Bloom. I’m just not really getting a sense of the fear in her mind. More insight or spicing up the existing descriptions would probably help.

With the quote you made for Pinkie: it would be helpful if you gave an indication that it’s from her before the line rather than after. Thanks to the previous quote, I started reading this one in Big Mac’s voice.

You have a habit of doing something that could be used for showing and then immediately explain it, turning it into telling (for example, “skin crawling in fear.” would be just fine as “skin crawling.” for getting across that she’s freaking out).

The part where Apple Bloom hears Applejack is a little confusing and bland. It goes from an exchange of shouting to Apple Bloom already emerging from her lean to. There’s this opportunity for this big, hopeful moment from her and you skipped right over it.

Getting her cutie mark felt tacked on. It hadn’t gotten any other mention during the rest of the fic, then extended the story after the main conflict had been resolved.

Still, overall it was fun and I particularly liked how she found inner strength through thoughts of her friends.


Playing Along
I would like to have gotten a little bit of description of Twi’s guests earlier in the story. While the colourful names help, some of them feel a little too human and I find myself picturing terran style Barbie like toys that may or may not belong in Equestria. Running into the little descriptive tidbits later on made me have to fully reevaluate their appearance, which was more than a little distraction. While I do get a bit of an impression that the description may have been put for to contrast between when Twi sees her toys as friends and as just toys, I think that makes describing their appearance to her when she see them as friends the much more important.

“It was the practiced response of a husband caged in marriage and tamed by their wife.” is a really weird observation for Twi to pick up on. At least at her age.

Ew at the spit and lettuce speck bit (even if it is amusing).

The part where Twi’s dad discusses the difference between toys and friends: heartrending.

The opening to the Cadance-Twi scene feels just a little overloaded. I think there might be too much mental information from too many different sources.

Overall, there were a few rough patches, but generally speaking this story is very well crafted and incredibly cute. Loved the character interactions (Ser Charley, especially, was just plain fun) adn the theme. Would definitely read again.


Going Up
I think you might have overplayed the rambling nature of the narrator. I caught myself drifting into skimming mode a couple times.

The story’s sense of setting is pretty weak. I often got the feeling like I was just watching Carrot and Derpy mess around in a vacuum. At least until they reach The Hill. Which is pretty far into the fic.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole fourth wall bubble physics handwave thing drawing attention to itself. I didn’t find it particularly funny, but it still fit okay. I suppose I’ll just call it slightly distracting.

I feel like the pacing really drags for the first half of the fic (possibly due, in part, to the aforementioned rambling narrator). There’s a whole lot of telling (the mini-backgrounds) with only sparse interactions to break it up. Then while the interactions pick up, the pace continues to be a bit plodding. I kind of wonder if it was really necessary for Derpy to do the “obscure question, then dash off” twice.

The second half, on the other hand, is really sweet. Their friendship is quite cute and I really got a sense of how grateful Carrot felt.


Stage Fright!
The first singing lines for Sweetie come across a bit odd. Not only did the said tag throw me off, but the rhyming had me thinking of Zecora. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a sleight of hand to follow along with Sweetie in not realizing she started singing until Rarity points it out. However, if that’s the case, I feel like it didn’t really work.

I feel like I’m not really connecting with Sweetie here as much as I should. I think it might be that too much of her emotion is telling.

I also feel like you really started rushing the pacing after the halfway point. Like you wanted to get to the part where Sweetie freezes up (which was done fairly well) and then speed off again as soon as it ended.

The whole resolution was pretty off the wall, but it was rather sweet for Apple Bloom and Scoots to bail her out like that.


Pinkie Pie’s Balloons
Helping Applejack seemed a bit contrived, since she’d proven to be a good salesmare in the past.

The scenes get too formulaic and it doesn’t help that the way they open, dispense the balloon and end, all draw attention to that fact by basically being copy and paste lines. I feel like this detracts from the impact of “the best balloons” lines, which are the important pieces of repetition.

The description gets a little telly in places.


Love
This felt like it wasn’t even proofread at all.

Aside from that, the fic also feels like it’s in too much of a hurry and tripping all over itself.

I can see something of an attempt at a theme, but it’s thoroughly buried in writing errors.

Anonymous 1428

>>1427
Continued from due to character limit.

Winter Lily
The opening is a little info dumpy for a fic that jumps right into the action.

The exposition tends to be rather telly, especially when it’s a chance to explain the motive behind an action. This tends to disrupt your tension. The awkward sentence structures don’t help, either.

Quick Silver’s quest seemed a little too easy (the avalanche didn’t even stir the dragon) and the post-flower acquisition section felt really rushed.

The framing device probably could have worked, but you overplayed it with all the exact predictions of what will happen in Canterlot Wedding.


Barking Mad
Awkward sentence structure with telly exposition. It gets a little better once Sweetie reaches the Everfree, though. Gives me the impression you were rushing to get to that scene.

I think your choice of unlikely friends is rather amusing. But I feel like the pacing doesn’t really allow the relationship to develop beyond a bit of shallow bonding.


We All Love You
The opening is immediately bogged down by a big wad of telling. And the telling continues through the rest of the scenes.

The whole gesture of Kiki getting inserted into the story to get encouragement from everypony is a sweet thought. However, it feels rather hollow since she barely reacts to anything.


Little Pinkie and Madame Pie
What’s going on with the dialogue punctuation? Hyphens normally aren’t used for that.

You’ve got a fair bit of clunky sentence structure going on too. The pacing is a little jumpy and you have a tendency to add that Spike had done something a while back when the scene was still going on and could actually shown Spike doing whatever action.

I’d think the party vandalism would make Pinkie a prime suspect off the bat.


Lessons in Friendship
The opening feels like it’s rushing to get to the party. It feels like it’s tripping over itself trying to provide the bare bones detail for a half dozen different things in as few words as possible.

Twi’s spell strikes me as something strangely specific. Even moreso than some of the show’s fare.

A catapult seems like a really weird thing for Big Mac to have just lying around ready to lend out.

Some of the dialogue (like Cheerilee’s) feels unnatural. Probably because people typically don’t talk like that.

Many of your scenes lean heavily on direct references to the show. And those references kind of take over and overshadow the rest of your prose.

Some of the gags are quite amusing, though.


Brand New Canvas
Opening with a bunch of “as you know” info dumping is a bit off-putting.

Watch that tense slippage. You go from past to present all in the course of the first two paragraphs. And then back to past a few paragraphs down.

The protagonist’s life story was a major tangent and not really the best thing to throw at the reader right off the bat.

The trolling drill sergeant is pretty amusing.

The journal entries are totally redundant since the scene they describe just happened and the scenes themselves have way more content.


Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak
Well, the opening reads elegantly enough, which helps to hide the basic recap info-dumping going on. Which I might add, feels odd to put at the start of a fanfic.

Fluttershy talking to herself feels a little weird. Probably because she doesn’t really do it in show.

The part of the mountain where Fluttershy traveled on her own dragged a bit. I think it was because without Dash or Angel, there’s nothing to break up the exposition.

I’m curious as to how exactly Angel helped Fluttershy climb the root. You gloss over it and all I could really think of was the ridiculousness that would be Angel muscling her up over the ledge.

I have mixed feelings about Celestia’s hovering over Fluttershy’s shoulder. On the one hand, it feels in character, but on the other, it’s also kind of like saying “don’t worry, I won’t kill Fluttershy.” And that’s a worry I wasn’t sure I ever had.

I loved the Dash-Flutters and Flutters-Angel interactions (especially Angel’s wordless snarking). They were easily the most fun part of the fic.


Piece of Mind
Wait, Fluttershy breaking out into skipping and singing in the marketplace? That definitely strikes me as more of a Pinkie thing.

Mind your paragraphs. The second big one needs to be split in more than a couple places.

The nightmare section just feels like a reiteration of the associated episodes, except without the respective resolutions.

The pacing dragged a bit, especially after the nightmares. I wonder if there’s some portions of the dialogue you could condense?

You made Fluttershy’s mind kind of horrifying. :|

That said, did think the nicknames for all the aspects was cute.

I can’t help but think the state of Fluttershy’s mind was a major over-reaction to the accident and that the correlation between it and scaring the bunnies is rather weak.

Anonymous 1433

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>>1427
>>1428
Those reviews were good! Not sure why you felt hesitant about posting, but I'm glad you did post in the end. I appreciated your feedback on mine, and I'm sure the other authors will feel that way too.

Author of "Playing Along" 1441

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>>1427
>I would like to have gotten a little bit of description of Twi’s guests earlier in the story.
I flip-flopped on the guests since I'm not the best with descriptions. I try to introduce things organically and, if it doesn't have any real bearing on the story, I lose it since I have a tendency to go too far when I get into the minutia. Plus, I figured if this won, describing them wouldn't be an issue since they'd just be drawn. Of course, to get to that point, I should have them described so that I win :P.

>While I do get a bit of an impression that the description may have been put for to contrast . . . I think that makes describing their appearance to her when she see them as friends the much more important.

Making a disparity between how Twilight sees them and their actual appearance as a toy was part of it, yes.

>“It was the practiced response of a husband caged in marriage and tamed by their wife.” is a really weird observation for Twi to pick up on. At least at her age.

Well, it's a third-person narrator that is only focusing on Twilight, but point taken.

>Ew at the spit and lettuce speck bit (even if it is amusing).

I tend to have gross-out humour in my stories. It comes naturally to me
>Picks nose and flicks his finger's findings into the garbage
I have no idea why.
I did, with all truthfulness, do that as I read your reply, although in my defence I do have a cold right now.

>The part where Twi’s dad discusses the difference between toys and friends: heartrending.

Your tears. I desire them.

>The opening to the Cadance-Twi scene feels just a little overloaded. I think there might be too much mental information from too many different sources.

Would you have any suggestions for fixing that? I could have the scene start as they're entering the house, but I wanted something to show just how excited Twilight is and show that there was an outside world beyond her room when it came to scene settings.

>Overall, there were a few rough patches, but generally speaking this story is very well crafted and incredibly cute. Loved the character interactions (Ser Charley, especially, was just plain fun) adn the theme. Would definitely read again.

Thank you very much for the compliments! Making a story good enough to be read again, I think, is something any author worth their salt (ink?) should strive for. I'll break out the fine-grit sandpaper and smooth out those edges you and the others pointed out.



I don't know why you were so iffy on posting your reviews. I thought they were excellent and it definitely shed some light on a few areas that others (and myself, most importantly) had missed. Many thanks for spending the time to note them.
This post was edited by its author on .

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1444

>>1427
Thanks for the review.

On the show vs. tell, I figured it was worth doing for the intended audience. Or at least, that's what I told myself at the time. Was trying to be unsubtle. Don't really know what I'm doing, herp.

I have plans to post this story on fimfic once the contest is over, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't actually put this feedback to use and publish an edited version. Not sure if that would be against the spirit of things. Something to think about!

Reviews 1445

Okay then. I've read all of the stories, and done my voting. Along the way, I've compiled a few notes on each of the stories, which I'm going to go ahead and call "reviews."

For those of you who are familiar with the kinds of reviews I normally do… these aren't like that. What I've got are by no means comprehensive, nor are they even necessarily all that representative of how I voted (in that, at least in a few cases, I don't think it would be easy to tell what number I assigned a story based on what I wrote)—they're simply a few observations and suggestions for each story which I typed up as I read. In other words, don't expect two pages of focused, hard-considered analysis for these fics.

A few "before we begin"s: first, thank you everyone for participating. Even the people whose stories I wasn't all that enthralled by should know that I'm happy they participated. And more to the point, I'm sure that Kiki will be, too. Second, I submitted a story. To get around the whole "don't reveal which story you wrote" thing without just calling myself "the author of ___," I got a friend to comment on my story, then summarized the main bullets in my own vernacular and listed it along with all the other reviews. Is that okay? It feels weird to me, but it's what I'm going with. Third, I've deliberately avoided reading other people's reviews to this point, so as not to color my own. So, if my advice is echoing everyone else's, sorry for the repetition. And if by chance my suggestions are opposite another reviewer's… oops? You'll have to figure out who's giving bad advice, though given the expressly casual nature of my comments, I know who I'd give the benefit of the doubt to.

Lastly, I've been compiling the notes in a google doc. I'm far too lazy to try to port over 5k words into comment box while figuring out formatting stuff, so instead, here's the link to the doc. Hope at least some of you find this helpful, and by all means let me know if there's anything about which I've been unclear, about which you disagree, or about which you'd like to otherwise engage me over.

THE REVIEWS:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rjXzoRgSy2w2AyxYUw4H7gCEdQ_l8BoEb5KGWTC4pMc/edit

1446

>>1445
This is just theory, mind you, but you can probably use Fimfiction's GDocs importer to format a post here from a Google Document since they both use BBCode (for now). The times you would want to will likely be few and far in between, but the option is there.

Anonymous 1448

http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/90327 (PonIver's blog on FIMFiction)

"The public has until the end of the week to vote on the Hearth's Warming Care Package contest, so get on it. I was talking with Kiki's mother the other day. Kiki isn't doing well. She's very unresponsive after her hyperbaric chamber treatments, but she was reading some of the entries for her and told me that she was responsive and alert while she was reading them. I nearly cried when I heard that. Okay, I sobbed like a little girl… Charity link (http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me)"

Anonymous 1453

>>1441
>I flip-flopped on the guests since I'm not the best with descriptions. I try to introduce things organically and, if it doesn't have any real bearing on the story, I lose it since I have a tendency to go too far when I get into the minutia. Plus, I figured if this won, describing them wouldn't be an issue since they'd just be drawn. Of course, to get to that point, I should have them described so that I win :P.
Ah, good old catch-22s, huh? I'm pretty convinced it would improve the pay off later in the story, though.

>Would you have any suggestions for fixing that? I could have the scene start as they're entering the house, but I wanted something to show just how excited Twilight is and show that there was an outside world beyond her room when it came to scene settings.

I think it's more to do with how much focus you give the random wildlife, which goes so far as to include their thoughts.

>>1444
It's a tough thing to gauge. Especially without knowing Kiki.

And I don't see how improving would go against the spirit. Plus Kiki can benefit from any revised versions.

Author of "Playing Along" 1454

>>1445
Madam Frillyfrock's accent was a bit thick, yes. That's the main reason she was "killed off" first since I doubted people would be able to stand reading her dialogue for very long.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. If the guy that makes it his business to review six-star stories likes this, I think I'm off to a good start ^_^.

Oh, and speaking of the blog, you might want to update your writing resource link for /fic/ from Ponychan to MLPchan.

>>1453
Yes. I'll look into adding some minor descriptions for the toys during the opening scene.

Hmm, yes.

>No Calvin and Hobbes Twilight and Smarty pic this time since my bandwidth is bein' sapped by multiple concurrent downloads. I was running out of them, anyways.
This post was edited by its author on .

1461

>>1445
Great reviews as usual. Glad to see you participating on both sides of the equation.

>Guard prompt

Yeah, that was a very unfortunate prompt. It really ended up sabotaging a few of those entries.

>I got a friend to comment on my story, then summarized the main bullets in my own vernacular and listed it along with all the other reviews. Is that okay? It feels weird to me, but it's what I'm going with.

Ah, that's a clever way to do it. Though, I've always been an advocate of attempting to self-review, since there's some value in it. When you bury your story in the middle of 24 others, it's possible to trick your brain and read your own story with reviewer goggles.

>So, if my advice is echoing everyone else's, sorry for the repetition.

Nah, not at all. There's extra value in seeing if one comment is echoed in every review. It's likewise valuable to see if reviewers disagree on any points.

1468

>>1454
I think you mean "writing resource link for /fic/ from just Ponychan to MLPchan and Ponychan", seeing how there are still reviews going on there.

And you are too easy to figure out.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1472

>>1445
Oh wow, it's Chris! :D FYI, I've done self-reviews without posting as "author of" before, usually just as a series of self-criticisms and "I could have done this better"s masquerading as a third-party review.

Having heard the criticism about the cutie mark twice five times (herp) now, if I revise this, I'll change the ending. "Straightforward" is the word I've been failing to use in describing my approach to this contest. That's precisely what I was going for. Thank you very much for this review!

>>1448
Oh gosh. That's not good. :( I had no idea her condition was so poor. At least she's reading the stories…?

>>1453
That brings up a good question: is there any sort of editing round, be it self-imposed or otherwise, before the stories are printed? Even if only for mechanics, a lot of these stories could use it.
This post was edited by its author on .

Ezn!RAopYJNHZ6 1475

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PUBLIC VOTING IS CLOSED

Here are your finalists:
Born to Scoot
Fluttershy and the Perilous Pegasus Peak
Going Up
Pinkie Pie's Balloons
Playing Along
Stage Fright!
The Shelter in the Forest
Winter Lily

Well done to everyone who participated! The final results will be released a week from now, on Sunday 2nd December at 6PM UTC.

Axis of Rotation 1476

>>1475

I second that. While the 17 who didn't make it to the finals are undoubtedly disappointed, try not to be. Kiki still gets to hear ALL our stories, and that's an awesome win if you ask me. Besides, who knows what HER favorite will be? It might just be yours.

Anonymous 1477

I find it odd, to say that least, that there were eliminations from the the public voting round, as this effectively lets the public influence the judges.

I suppose that could have been the point, but the IIRC, the rules and EqD post weren't particularly forthcoming with the information. In short, I was very confused.

Author of The Shelter in the Forest 1480

>>1477
That's how judged writeoffs work.

That's a heck of a cutoff though! 8 out of 25? Wow.

Lt_Luc 1481

>>1475
I'm wishing we could see the public ratings on the stories.
Roger, is it possible that authors could request their public rating to be mailed to them, or is patience the virtue of the day?

>>1476
My sister thought Spy Kids was a movie worth watching every day, so who's to say what a kid will choose?

>>1477
Well, if the contest is going to be decided by the judges only, then having all of the stories be passed to them while also having public voting wouldn't have made any difference. The public voting was to narrow down the field.

>>1480
Honestly, only four or five stories were good enough for me to read without skipping chunks. And in the end, this really is a two-horse race (puns!) if the reviews are anything to go by.

Anonymous 1489

>>1480
>>1481
Heh, guess that's me showing this is the first time I've read anything for a competition of this kind.

Still would have been nice to have what is taken for granted laid out in the rules so those of us poking our heads in for the first time would know what was going down.

1501

>>1477
While not technically the rules page, the main voting vs judges reviewing process is described on http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/faq#How-does-it-work Admittedly, it wasn't mentioned how many stories would promote to the judges round.

>>1481
>I'm wishing we could see the public ratings on the stories.
I'd like that too, though I'd wager the scores for the eight finalists are hush-hush for this week, to minimalize bias for the judges.

>And in the end, this really is a two-horse race (puns!) if the reviews are anything to go by.

It definitely seemed that way from the reviews that I read, though from Roger's events, it's not unprecedented for the public and the judges to disagree on #1, so it could technically be anypony's race.

Considering that probably none of the judges are leaking their reviews, this week will be a long wait :<

Axis of Rotation 1503

>>1481
I loved Spy Kids as a kid—that movie was the best. Haven't seen it in like a decade or something, though. Seeing it now would probably ruin my memory of it, ha. Either way, I Ilike your sister's tastes!

1505

>>1446

Huh. I would never have thought of that—I guess if this sort of situation comes up again, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the tip.

>>1472
>>1468
>>1461
>>1454

Glad you all enjoyed; my pleasure, I assure you.


By the way, question about the site hosting the writeoff: it says I have a hugbox score of 4.42. What I can't seem to find is some indication of what this number means, and whether or not it should alarm me. Would anyone mind cluing me in?

1510

>>1505
It's the average of the ratings you've given to all the fics you've voted on.

1533

Protip: A hugbox score of <5 is good, the lower the better.

Brutally downvoting "meh" stories makes your 8s, 9s, and 10s matter more. You are equally promoting your favorites and "harming" your least favorites.

1536

>>1533
Using the full spectrum of available scores makes your vote have a bigger impact.

I rate them relative to each other, which generally means there's at least one 0 and one 10. I think the "ideal" hugbox score would be 5.

The variance in someone's votes are more important. Actually, I might make that the shown stat instead. ;)
This post was edited by its author on .

1537

I think of it this way: When I'm brutal on stories I didn't like, then not only does it make my 8s and 9s matter more, I'm also saying that I don't think my 5s and 6s are quite as bad as the bad ones.

1544

>>1533
I don't think I've ever awarded a ten. A few nines, but a ten suggests perfection, which is rather difficult under a time limit. That said, I'm very harsh on stories I don't like; mercy does not exist in my dictionary. This write-off had plenty of stories that got my hammer and only one that I properly enjoyed.

Axis of Rotation 1549

>>1533
>>1536
>>1537
>>1544
Now I'm very interested to hear: what is your guys' personal reasoning for being "brutal" or without mercy when it comes to voting and/or reviewing fics that you don't really like? I'm not trying to point a finger here; rather, I'm curious to know how much good you think you're doing, or not doing. Care to let me inside your heads?
This post was edited by its author on .

1551

>>1510

Ah, much thanks!

>>1536
>>1549

Personally, I set my favorite and least favorite stories as the standard for 10 and 0 respectively, then placed everything else accordingly. Obviously that's not how everyone arranged their votes, and I am insufficiently mathematically inclined to say what impact (if any) this has in terms of ranking results. For the absolute scores, of course, it's easy to say what difference it makes, but the absolute scores don't really matter.

Lt_Luc 1553

>>1549
I rate mine based on how much I enjoyed it, not in relation to the others. A five generally means it was readable and that I didn't skip (much). Seven and up are stories I read through in their entirety, derived some measure of enjoyment from and, most importantly, I didn't feel like my time was wasted reading it. Three and below are either mechanical and stiff or are full of errors in regards to the writing's mechanics. A one is where both of the criteria for a three are present.

Axis of Rotation 1559

>>1553
Ha, yes, that is quite different from how one would normally vote, I imagine. But I like it—it's certainly an interesting way to do it. And to be honest, I tend to compare fics too, though I guess that suggests I'm an experienced member here, which I'm not—this was my first contest. I'm used to simply giving a fic a thumbs up or down.

>>1551
This might be a little long so I'll hide it.
That's definitely a solid system too, one you can just lay over a bulk of fics and sort them through with—it also suggests that you're consistent. Though it sounds like you don't always finish a fic, and yet you'll still vote on it (correct me if I'm wrong on that).

Now while I totally get why you'd do that (some things are just painful to get through), I gotta ask: does that seem fair to you? I mean, to me, that's akin to reading a review for a movie, and then finding out the reviewer only saw the first 15 minutes; or a videogame where the person played about a third of the game or even less, before passing their jugement, which does have an impact on things. I feel like in those situations, you would discard said reviews; in the case of games, I've seen it come up before and people were pretty angry, until they learned it was just a false rumor. If you don't mind me asking: what makes your case different?


Not to keep asking questions, but I figure we all enjoy talking about fic related things here. So: how dispassionately do you guys judge? Both of you mentioned rating fics based on how much you liked them (and I do the same); does this mean that if you come across a fic you don't like—say it's a ship fic, which you abhor—do you still downvote it, despite however well it's written, paced, thought out, etc? Or in a case like that, do you look past your own tastes and give it a good vote?

Axis of Rotation 1560

>>1559
Oh for craps sake—I got the responses backwards! Ugh…sorry guys.

Lt_Luc 1562

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>>1559
Well, the first and foremost rule of writing I take into account is "Make the opening interesting". You could have the most epic story in the world a few pages in but if your opening paragraph is a piece of crap people aren't going to stick around to find out.
Also, by "skipping", I mean I skim the story, pick up on things that look important and fill in the blanks. You can build a fairly comprehensive idea of a story's plot and developments with only a fraction of the words if you're good at deducing, at least when it comes to stuff as simple as the works seen in this contest.

I attempt to separate my prejudices from my rating. I don't like clop, but I've read stories that were good that involved it (not revolved around it, mind you) and enjoyed them. If it makes me uncomfortable, well, that's where the aforementioned skimming comes in. Some stories I loathe for what was a good idea wasted by poor execution. My Little Dashie, The Conversion however-you-spell-that-word-that-starts-with-a-B, and Past Sins all coming to mind in that regard.

>>1560
Post editing is a thing, you know. You can find the How-to in the sticky, I think, or at least on /site/'s sticky.

Axis of Rotation 1563

>>1562
Oh, I tried, haha—things got messed up. Crap happens.

Anyway, those are some good points. As far as a beginning is concerned, I can get over a bad one; personally I struggle with openings. So coming from that angle, I understand that the start of a fic isn't necessarily an author at their best, and the fic could really pick up afterwards. It's happened plenty of times.

Glad to hear you skim instead of skip, ha. I just think it shows the author a little more respect than not reading part way through—I mean, I would like people to at least read through my own fic. But I'm not perfect here, either.

And yeah, keeping personal tastes out of it is tough—I'm still working on it.

Anonymous 1571

Thanks for the review, many of your points were very true. Also, I agree that it should have been "…", it's the standard for English after all
(oopsie, posted an unfinished msg before).

Lt_Luc 1695

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http://youtu.be/jK_zGY996to
A little bit late, but still.

Lt_Luc 1743

I would love to get some context for the judge's ratings on the stories. Seeing as how the press release explicitly promises "feedback" and all. Having a 1.5 point lead in the user reviews, with an average of 8 points, then receiving -5 brings up some questions.

Results 1744

Check 'em: http://writeoff.rogerdodger.me/event/3-Hearths-Warming-Care-Package/results

Winners will be contacted by email about prizes shortly.

1748

Congratulations to the winners! Although it may not have been my personal favorite (though it was in my top three), it's easy to see why Pinkie Pie's Balloons won—of all the entries, it did perhaps the best job of creating a structure which would appeal to young readers. I don't doubt that Kiki will enjoy all three of the top entries. For that matter, I don't doubt she'll be excited to see everyone else's stories; remember, every entry will be printed and sent to her, so even if you didn't win, you've still done a good deed.

I was a little surprised by the dramatic differences between the judges' ratings, I admit; Born to Scoot was rated the top story by SleeplessBrony and the bottom story by AbsoluteAnonymous, for example. It would have been nice to have their comments, to see what it is that they saw differently in that example (and generally). Maybe something to consider for next time?

In any case, kudos to the organizers and judges for running the event, and to everyone who participated.

1749

>>1748
Judges providing feedback is their prerogative, at least by the rules of the site.

I certainly agree that seeing their rationale would be nice, because a big part of why these events are great is that everyone gets a lot of thoughtful feedback on their stories. In the past my judges have (mostly) given it willingly.
This post was edited by its author on .

Present Perfect (no trip lol) 1750

I had hoped, as the stories went off to the judges, that they would consider suitability for comic format in ranking their choices. I daresay they have, and Pinkie Pie's Balloons was probably the best choice they could have gone for. Well done, judges!

Thank you, MLPchan and Roger, for hosting this amazing event. I'm honored to have been part of it.

I guess my next thing is, what happens now? Is there an editing round for the stories before they're bound up? Will this thread be updated with the final efforts of all this? I'm very interested in what happens with all the fics. :)

Lastly, a little bit of extra thanks to Chris for being amazing and writing Going Up, which was by far my favorite story. There was an awful lot to enjoy in this contest.

Axis of Rotation 1752

Congrats to PavFiera, Lt_Luc, and Ezn for making top three! And applause for everyone who participated—awesome job guys, and well done. I mean that.

>>1748
Honestly that doesn't surprise me at all. I doubt anyone involved is a professional story writer/editor, or even has kids (myself included here). Personal taste also played a large role, I'm sure. No offense to all who voted.

Either way, I'm not complaining, since I understood this before going in. I'm just happy Kiki gets a bunch of stories to have read to her.

Lt_Luc 1753

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>>1750
It's not a comic, it's illustrated. I would imagine something like the Winnie the Pooh books, with a page of writing and a page with a drawing of the scene.

Thank You! 1765

I'm currently swamped with work, but wanted to take the time to say congratulations to our winners and thank you to all participants who either entered or voted in the public round.

I and my crack team of editors are scoruing the stories to clean them up before the big publication and my illustrator and his team are excited to get to work on our grand prize winner. I will be contacting the winners in the next few days to arrange delivery of their prizes.

What you have all done is going to make a sick little girl very happy, amd you should all be proud. This project has been exhausting for me and the help I've received from Rogerdodger and many others is immeasurable as well as the donations of toys and cards people have sent to the package.

Love and Tolerate
PonIver and the Hearth's Warming Care Package

Present Perfect (no trip lol) 1777

>>1753
This makes far more sense than what I was thinking! Making any of these into a comic would have been a ridiculous, time-consuming amount of work!

Pav Feira!ToolDoTeR. 1815

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Wow. Well, now that I've had some time to reflect on it some more curse my insomnia, I want to thank the judges and everyone who voted. It's a huge honor to have been chosen, and it was a huge shock to find out. I believe my initial instructions to Roger were to "math it again." And he did. Still, I stand by my original statements at >>1153. Since all of the stories are getting sent to her, including the stories I liked better than Pinkie Pie's Balloons, she still comes out as the winner. And heck, we're just trying to guess what she'd like; her favorite might well end up being a story that wasn't even a finalist. So, everyone should still feel proud for having participated.

That said, I'd absolutely love it if the judges could post a quick blurb for each finalist, to show their individual rationales. Even a sentence or two per story would be great, here or on FimFic or wherever. It's just that the deviation on the judge votes were so wiggedy-wack. Every story received a spread of at least five positions, with the majority having a spread of seven or eight. (By a spread of seven, I mean as in one judge giving the story second place, and another giving it eighth.) Not to mention the discrepancy against the public voting results. And yes, >>1752 touched on personal differences, which is perfectly valid and almost certainly what happened here. Still, I'm sure I don't need to explain the value of getting feedback from one reviewer saying "this is why you were my favorite", and feedback from another reviewer saying "this is why you were my least favorite". :)

I also loved the fact that I didn't recognize the names of so many of the entrants. It's great to see new faces, and I hope y'all stick around now that the contest is over.

>>1752
>Pav Fiera
lol, dammit Roger, look what you've done. Explaining the joke: the website deliberately and sadistically letter-shuffles my name and a few others', like Ion-Sturm and Present Perfect. Hit F5 on the result page a few times and you'll see it.

I understand why several people found the reference to The Room: fairly overtly written, and a subject matter many of us know. But I have to say, I am disappoint that no one figured out the deal with the name of Fluttershy's robin. No, not a reference to the William Hall book.
This post was edited by its author on .

Present!PeRFeCt9JM 1817

>>1815
>I also loved the fact that I didn't recognize the names of so many of the entrants.

I was pleased by this, too. I think more people were willing to stick their necks out for the charity aspect. I hope they didn't get scared away from writing more by the contest!

1820

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>Pav Fiera

Axis of Rotation 1842

>>1815
>>1817
Oh don't worry, I plan on sticking around, forEEEEveeerrr!

Dekiel/Coobie 1845

Congratulations to the winners! And thanks to everybody who participated, I'm happy we could do something for Kiki. I hope she'll enjoy the stories, especially the grand trio. Also, that's it for the first full fledged story (I guess I can say that)I've ever finished. Now I know a whole bunch of new 'what dos and what do nots' that will surely be helpful when I get to writing something next time.
Thank you again, everypony!

DawnFade!XqWRrTglb. 1900

I've never posted here before, but I thought I'd come by to offer my congratulations to everyone who participated. Judging those stories was a lot of fun, and I'm glad to see others felt the same way about Pinkie Pie's Balloons.
The simple prose, recurring lines, and clear message made it a clear choice for me. It really seemed like something out of an actual children's book, which was something I kept at the forefront of my mind when judging the entries. Well done!
(Also, was anyone else imagining Kiki's mother reading the stories to her? That was another thing I did while judging.)


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