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File 133966170916.png - (2.37MB , 1074x1385 , Whoreadsthesetitlesanyways.png )
106717 No. 106717
#Reviewer #The Training Grounds
What is a sage? A miserable little pile of lacking bumps! When we hit 400 posts, The Training Grounds automatically sages and dies far too young. But enough talk! Have at thee a review!

Greetings all, and welcome to the Training Grounds, the review thread for all authors, reviewers, proofreaders, and editors, both newcomer and seasoned veteran alike. It isn’t the only such thread, but it’s usually the busiest! (Previous edition of The Training Grounds: >>103159 The sticky, which contains important information: >>98618)

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Helpful Documentation
Sithicus Helpicus: Several takes on the same paragraph of text by multiple authors. http://bit.ly/ovOXpn
CerealVelocity's Writing Guides: These focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation. http://bit.ly/pP8OzY
Escher's Hints: A general purpose improvement guide. http://bit.ly/o8voUF
The Review Board: Check this document for the latest list of reviewers and threads. http://bit.ly/rtOSx7
The Editor’s Omnibus: Writing wisdom, wrung from the willing, wrought with wit and worry: http://bit.ly/u6aY7T
Townson University’s Online Writing Support: illustrated assistance in most aspects of grammar, syntax and punctuation: http://www.towson.edu/ows/index.htm

How to request to be a queue maintainer:
Note: you don’t have to be a maintainer to help out reviewing in this thread. What maintainers do is update and maintain the queue spreadsheet. If you review in The Training Grounds on a regular basis, and would like to help out maintaining the queue:
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3) When you’ve been given editing permissions, you may delete your random post.
374 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 110375
>>110156

Oh cool someone finally taking a look at my fic.
>> No. 110385
[Grimdark] (sort of)

When Kite, a young pegasus from Cloudsdale, finally earns his cutie mark, he finds that it isn't quite what he had in mind. Claiming he's been given the wrong one, a pair of ponies show up and offer to take him to a place where he can have the mark changed.

Chapter 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xLSRxITLwRnOBz3KyoKu0ERxNXDXH8aP2B_o-cN4lN4/edit

Chapter 2: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GqtfVxhnGa6CUkuSwV5n0W6ZHeGqNCScB58vCSwjmEI/edit

Grammar probably needs some work. Also previous reviewer reckoned that both chapters needed some trimming. That's been done quite a bit but see if any more is needed.

I'm also claiming: >>109247 aka Pinkie Pie's phenomenal ponytech party.
>> No. 110391
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110391
>pic

Confound this thread... it drives me to review too much fanfiction. Dammit, I need a drink.

Oh, I finally got a tripcode! Go me.

For ease of reviewing, I pasted your story into my own Google Document. Comments can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14BgLivXgYToPXyV89W7oJ6-sJYMJWaGZ_2GleWhGol8/edit?pli=1

My overall opinion: a standard MacinShy shipfic, but with atrocious grammar.

I commented on almost the entire story, but I stopped toward the end for the sake of my own sanity. Your major issues revolve around:

1) Ellipsis...spacing...and...overuse...yeah
2) Lack of commas or, misplaced commas
3) Fluttershy's characterization
4) Not usin apostrophes when you truncated words ending in "ing"
5) Telling
6) Pacing (to put it delicately, this story was like getting a cheetah ride to the Normandy while it's going through a Mass Relay jump to get to a NASCAR race)
7) Constant Lavender Unicorn Syndrome

Yup, I think that's about it. Technically speaking, this story needs quite a lot of work.

In bocco al lupo.
>> No. 110393
>>110385

Dammit, I wanted that fic. Well, I suppose I'll claim yours, then.
>> No. 110413
>>110363

Thanks for the review it had been more helpful than any other I have received on any of my other fics.
>> No. 110429
>>110212
Hey, Dinky! Can I read your fic?
>> No. 110478
>>107385 >>108367 >>108685 >>108715
Alright, I left a lot of comments in chapters 2 and 3 as well in the document, and discussions in GDocs chat preempts the need to rehash everything here, so I'll be brief.

There were a few persistent mechanical problems throughout, including end-of-dialogue punctuation and capitalization, than/then confusion, comma usage, using multiple nominative absolutes in a sentence and using them to bring in information irrelevant to the rest of the sentence, and problems with Applejack's accent. Some of these problems were intermittent, and a few did improve as you took the initiative to sweep ahead in your chapters before I got to them, but you didn't catch them all yourself.

Story-wise, I found the characters to be well-defined and behaving as the canon personalities could be expected to do, except in some small detailed instances I'd noted.

It's worth always keeping show-vs-tell in mind as you sweep back through. Look for places where emotions are explicitly stated, particularly as <emotion>-ly adverbs or in/with <emotion> prepositional phrases. Decide how important that instance is. You need to show when emotions run high, in scenes critical to the plot, or when a character's emotional reaction, even in an unimportant scene, sets up a plot point.

Chapter 1 reads well, and the humor is quite good. Chapter 2 did seem to drag on a bit, but it also ended on a solid joke, so the reader's last impression is still positive. Then chapter 3 takes a more serious turn. It was still interesting reading; in fact, I preferred it to chapter 2, but the ending left something to be desired. It should either leave the reader in suspense, eager to see what happens next, or wrap up a significant plot point, giving the reader a sense of completion so he can look forward to the start of something new. You aimed somewhere in the middle, and it came out weak.

I will do a quick (and I mean quick) sweep for any lingering mechanical issues that I missed before or that were introduced during editing, since that was your overwhelming concern. You're welcome to put it back through and get another pair of eyes on it. Since you absolutely have to make sure it's good this time around, it might not be a bad idea, but if you're certain that mechanics were the only problem the PR's had with it, then it should be quite clean now. It's also up to you how many chapters to include in the initial submission. Chapter 1 is the strongest, and holding back more chapters for later will tend to increase your traffic. Your call.

For my part, I feel that this is a story that deserves to be on EqD, and I've enjoyed helping you with it. Keep writing, and have fun with it.
>> No. 110492
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110492
Tags: [Adventure], [Normal]

Synopsis: A mysterious figure steals into Canterlot Castle in the dead of night, setting a chain of events in motion that will affect not just the Mane Six, but will ultimately decide the doom of all of Equestria.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1GzC2RjQcKYF8NjAvSFayZLJEoBDMhE_qalJLo9CUi6g/edit

As I’m only submitting the prologue, this one will be pretty short. I’m just testing the waters at this point, looking for any and all feedback concerning my writing. I do have a long narrative planned out, but I’d like to know what I can improve before continuing.

I’d also like to claim >> 108273, as it struck my interest.
>> No. 110495
>>107081

Sorry for taking so long, I wanted to be thorough. I could bore you with excuses, but meh. Anyhoo, have a review! This is Dublio and this is part 1 of the review for Boredom is Contagious.

It's getting really hard to add comments now. Gdocs tends to screw up when you put too many comments and it lags to death whenever I make a new one, at least ten seconds. Tried to point out as much as I could before that happened though.

20k words long and you need a line by line, eh? I can do that, but it may take a while depending on how fast you resolve the comments. So what I'm going to do is move through the story, add comments, and wait for someone to fix them before I hit the next section. Hopefully this post will do a good enough job of explaining the errors so you know not to make them next time. I'm aware that the story was written by six authors though, so I'm sure each section varies by a tremendous amount. Just by looking through this fic, I see that it's going to take a lot of work, but that's why I'm here, right?

Since this story was written by six different writers, it's hard to know who did what, so I'll just present a basic explanation for the errors that were pointed out. Right now, I'm going through the fic line by line, which is taking an extremely long time since it's 20k words long. Because of that, it might take awhile, so I hope that the following information I provide will tide you over enough until I can finish the line by line. Once I do finish it, I shall provide a follow-up post. So this part right here is not the entire review. It's just that your fic is so much that it will require multiple posts to explain everything that is wrong with it.

For starters, I have absolutely no idea what you want to do with your synopsis. It doesn't really seem that interesting to me. You might want to try and get someone to take a look at that. Also, for the tags, it's impossible to put both Normal as well as Comedy/Random, so remove that tag. I would just say Random or Comedy, or both, but not all three.

Now I know this fic was done by six different authors, but if you want to submit it, you have to find the separate scenes consistent with each other. All of the names must be exactly the same, the names of the places, the emdashes, and everything else. If you did your job right, a reader shouldn't be able to tell that it was written by six different authors. Unless of course, you don't plan on this fic getting very far besides being an experiment.

Alright, let's start with the systemic errors I've found in the first three sections (four if you count that scene break + Fluttershy event but that's not really a scene).

The most glaring problem is the LUS that's still there as well as problems with commas. Your dialogue punctuation is also way-off. You have commas where periods should go and vice-versa, and a lot of it is missing from your story. There are awkward-sounding sentences, high-level words that don't seem to fit the story, a lot of passive voice, massive amounts of telling and lack of body language. I'm not entirely sure what's happening most of the time as you've left me with a blank slate. Remove the dialogue and all I get are a list of vague actions happening in space. Sometimes you merge dialogue and narrative together and instead of being seamless, it sounds clunky. Also, your story is cluttered with a ton of "began to" and "started to" verbs, which gets rather annoying. You also have pacing issues which happen cause you clump a lot of actions together.

You know, it's kind of a misnomer to say "systemic errors" if it was written by six authors. Oh well. I'm going to bet and say that six authors wrote different sections and put them together because it doesn't look like everyone looked over the same section. Because if you did, then you need better editors because it was missing way more punctuation (or misusing it) than it should have.

Let's try to address each of these issues.

"Systemic Errors"

Lavender Unicorn Syndrome(LUS):

You have a lot of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome in your story. What's that? Well, here's a copypaste as to what Lavender Unicorn Syndrome (LUS) is.

Definition:

Avoid Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. Lavender Unicorn Syndrome is what happens when, instead of using your characters name or a pronoun, you repeatedly use other descriptors for them. You only have to describe your characters once, and again if something about them changed. Just remember that “Lavender Unicorn Syndrome” affects hundred of ponies every year. Symptoms include cyan pegasi, white alicorns, and of course, lavender unicorns. But there is hope. Ask Nurse Redheart if new and improved PRONOUNS® are right for you. Side effects include better writing, love and adoration of fans, acceptance to EqD, glitter cannons, and dry mouth. PRONOUNS®. Because having a lavender unicorn is no way to go through life.

<End quote>

In your case, I think that you don't have enough pronouns in your writing. If you find your writing cluttered with too many names, then rearrange your sentence or switch the pronouns. Keep in mind the reason for dialogue attribution tags. If your dialogue is good enough, you should be able to tell which character is talking, thus removing the need for them in the first place. Using constant LUS might get a bit confusing.

Anyhoo, here are two links that can explain better than me.

http://eznwords.tumblr.com/post/21010451863/ellyewess
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mind-your-language/2010/jun/02/my-synonym-hell-mind-your-language

Comma Problems:

You were missing some commas in your sentences, which led to some confusing sentences. Commas are annoying to learn for writing but once you learn how to use them, they get easier. There were a few times where commas were missing. I marked them in gdocs. Here are two links that will help you with your comma issues.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/commas.htm

Passive Voice:

Adding this to your occasionally awkward sentences and higher level words that don't quite match kinda detract from your story a lot. There are times when they're appropriate, however. Have another link.

http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/active-voice-versus-passive-voice.aspx

Lack of body language:

This means that I can't see the characters are doing. I already can't see what they're thinking and it feels like I'm more in a void. I want to see their reactions. I want to see what makes you think they're angry, sad, annoyed, etc instead of having you just tell me what their emotions are. That's boring and unengaging.

Telling Issues:

Showing means indirectly telling your readers about something that's happening. Telling is more direct and less confusing, but readers don't often being like told things. Most of the time, it's better to show, especially during sad stories when you want to engage the reader and make them care about your characters but it isn't a bad thing. Basically what you need to know about showing vs telling is that telling is generally boring, especially when you have a lot of it, and showing is much more interesting for the reader, and that showing involves giving the readers enough details to allow them to make a picture in their mind without filling in everything for them. In particular, showing is absolutely necessary when you are trying to make the reader feel emotions or care for/about your characters.Now in your story, you do almost no showing.

That isn't to say that telling isn't important. There are a few times where telling is preferred over showing. However, you have to know when you're using it. Since telling isn't interesting, you have to use it sparingly. Here is a helpful resource that tells the opposite of what everyone normally says. This article is called "Tell, not Show." No, the title isn't backwards. It's an interesting article, give it a look see.

http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/fictionfix/0505Grossack.html

As per my obligation, for another example of showing, not telling, then refer to Ezn's Guide. I recommend reading the entire thing, not just the part of Show, Don't Tell, but that's up to you.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xemG7BLk2rvAmQCREIaj5wX2ubvmVt7WziEvh7xXV9g/edit

CartoonGeld (A fellow reviewer) also provides a valuable resource on the matter. Click on the below link and it will lead to a list of examples of what showing and telling is.

>>89502

A lot of adverbs also add to telling, but I can't determine whether or not you overuse them just yet.

Miscellaneous Notes:

Sound effects are normally discouraged in narration and should be described rather than imitated, if possible.

Be careful of "began to" verbs. Sometimes it's better just to go with direct actions instead as it makes the writing more engaging and less passive.

Ellipses have spaces after them.

These are em-dashes.



Replace all of your -- with the above.

When characters say each other's names, make sure their nicknames sound like what they would actually say. I can't imagine Apple Bloom calling Applejack "AJ" for instance.

You have to stay consistent through the story. You can't say "Applebloom" and "Apple Bloom" in the same story. Change all of them to one or the other.

Use pronouns to avoid repetition of names. Don't use descriptions to describe characters. The constant pulling out of your story keeps your readers unengaged.

Also, stop treating the reader like they're stupid. They can't figure stuff out for themselves, so there's no need to repeat obvious things to them like "they stood on four hooves" or anything else I pointed out in the comments.

Some of the words don't quite match the common meaning, which makes me wonder if you ran around and grabbed a random Sweetie Belle and looked up words.

Random thought from side character out of nowhere. Remove it, it's so jarring.

The canon spelling is "Sugarcube Corner."

>Random paragraph telling about the encounter of the CMCs and Fluttershy

I think this was a placeholder paragraph, so I left it alone. If it isn't, you should either flesh it out or cut it completely. It's an important event, so don't skim over it. Unless Fluttershy isn't really important, then it should be cut.

Final Notes

This review is not over obviously, since I've only looked at the three sections. I wanted to go further but Gdocs wouldn't let me. Resolve the comments I've currently put on the doc so I can continue. When you do, I'll keep going. Once I finish with the entire document, I'll type up a final review. Or more continuations, should I need to. I'm always happy to help. :3

@Maintainers - Don't move the review as it's not done yet.
>> No. 110506
>>110495
Thank you for what you've done so far. And I'll be putting in some of those edits, so expect a slew of 'Resolved' messages. Not too quickly, though, since I'm having the same Google Docs problems you are. (No I don't want to kill those pages, you ridiculous hunk of silicon, I am trying to edit them! Just LOAD!) Then again, the active riffs in MST3K are often worse.

A couple of minor points:

"trump of doom", as it turns out, is from Milton:
Yet first, to those chained in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,

It's referring to the chorus of trumpets announcing the Last Judgement. (And yes, it is hyperbole.)

The bit about Scootaloo 'scooting': I was trying to reference that thing Sweetie Belle was doing in "Sisterhooves Social" when she was alone in the Boutique--that thing where she had her head and front legs pressed against the rug and was moving herself forward with just her back legs while complaining about how bored she was. I will admit it's clumsy. (The first part was mine.) Is there a better word for it?

More as I get through the edits without my machine locking up...
>> No. 110507
>>110506

>"trump of doom", as it turns out, is from Milton:
Yet first, to those chained in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,

It's referring to the chorus of trumpets announcing the Last Judgement. (And yes, it is hyperbole.)

Ah, that makes more sense then.

>The bit about Scootaloo 'scooting': I was trying to reference that thing Sweetie Belle was doing in "Sisterhooves Social" when she was alone in the Boutique--that thing where she had her head and front legs pressed against the rug and was moving herself forward with just her back legs while complaining about how bored she was.

Oh. Whoops, I had completely misinterpreted that. :o

>I will admit it's clumsy. (The first part was mine.) Is there a better word for it?

I'm not really sure how to describe it myself. =(
>> No. 110512
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110512
>>109379 >>110198
We have left a number of comments in the document, citizen, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.

We wish to peruse and enjoyable fan-fiction, not provide a proofreading service, so we have marked the first instance of an error and left it to thee to sweep for the rest. The main ones are:
- misspelling Braeburn
- using y'all as a singular
- hyphen/em dash use
- some missing objects for transitive verbs

Thy writing style is rather enjoyable. We have noted a few specific instances where thou needest to do less telling, but they are not the only ones. Thou dost it correctly enough of the time that we trust thee to root out the last few bastions of resistance.

Plot-wise, we did see a few problems, but, rest assured, thou hast not incited our righteous fury.

The origin of Big Macintosh's trademark "eeyup" yet lacketh something. He and Autumn hath serendipitously arrived at the same word, but we cannot tell how. Hath neither ever uttered it before? We require more of a back story to its inception than "it coalesced from the very aether."

'Twould also be more engaging had thou included Applejack's reaction to the whole scenario as well. We were surprised to find that she hath known Big Macintosh's secret as well, since she hath appeared quite oblivious to Apple Bloom's enquiries. Allow her to appear evasive or affected by it, and thou wouldst increase the mystery and emotional investment.

We appreciate the atypical inversion of the usual "Applejack is actually Apple Bloom's mother" cliche. So thou earnest points there.

We fail to understand why this information hath been kept from Apple Bloom in the first place, beside some vague assertion that she "wasn't ready for it." We cannot fathom what head-canon differences may exist between Equestria and Earth, but plenty of children deal with such information perfectly well. What is Apple Bloom's alternative? If she thinketh that she shareth parents with Big Macintosh and Applejack, then doth she not still think that her parents are gone, or doth thy head-canon just have them as absentees? Apple Bloom also accepteth the shocking news quite readily.


Overall, we have found thy story to be reasonably entertaining. We are not wrathful, but neither are we quivering in a pool of our own tears. Thou hast a good basis for a story here, and the biggest cure for what ails it would seem to be spending more of you labour in elaborating on these plot problems that vex us so, as 'twould make for a much more complete and engaging read. Good start; thou art well on thy way.

Final mood: guarded approval.

Ply thy art further, writer!
>> No. 110532
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110532
Title: Scribes Are Weird.

Genre: Adventure, Slice Of Life.

Synopsis: Ghostwriter is Celestia's personal scribe, though he has doubts about his own skills. Ponies may respect his position, but not him personally and he's sick of it. When Celestia sends him to Ponyville to transcribe the events involving the Elements of Harmony, Ghost sees it as a chance for a fresh start. But when Ghost arrives, he has no idea what exploits the Elements of Harmony are always up to.

Word count: Chapter 1:5933
Chapter 2:6985

Link: Chapter 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YdbTwDIFhE4FJxe3qnXVe5-3M-2V6F-C4wbqnwbroTA/edit

Chapter 2: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UpZW6xgNXngypna5JiPGgp1dHBzZPHKmUogPrGCPu_0/edit

Notes (PLEASE READ THIS SECTION): Just a few things. Yes, the idea has been done so much, you wanna take it out back and shoot it. No, this is not a self-insert.(You probably won't believe me, but it's not. I made my Oc's name before I came to Ponychan and decided to use it as my name. While, yes, I do tend to put a small aspect of my own personality into a character to make it a little easier to write, Ghostwriter is only based on my own insecurity as a writer. The rest of him is original.) Spike is not a scribe, at least not in the way that I'm using the word. The definition of a scribe is: a person who writes books or documents by hand as a profession and helps the city keep track of its records. You may have already known this, but I've already had to explain this to two people... It gives me a bad feeling... So Seattle had me run this thing through the ringer. I'm confident I got 92.3% of the wrinkles out. As for the other 6.7%, I would appreciate them being spotted so that I may ERADICATE THEM FROM EXISTENCE!... Sorry. Anyway if someone wants to take a look at both chapters, well... go ahead.

Small note: I have chapter one in Golden Visions thread and I'm trying to get Minjask to review chapter 2.
>> No. 110537
>>110385

Fantastic, thank you ^^
>> No. 110539
>>110393

lol, I wouldn't say no if you wanted to read the thing regardless X3;
>> No. 110544
>>110090
Well, that's that then! I've gone ahead and done the full review in GDocs.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ClXymf-4IGN7T2eaS8aRqfnYOx2BiARdhsB6qEEYCJ4/edit
Tell me if you have any questions!
>> No. 110545
Hope I did this right... not familiar with these kinds of sites.

[Title] Fate Game

[Tags] Adventure, Dark, Sad, Romance, Human, Alternate Universe
[Synopsis/Intro]
In the deep of night a mysterious shock wave awakes the sleeping residents of Equestria. Little do they know, the roaring thunderclap signifies the start of an event that will shake their world to it's very core... the first human.

Soon after a second human arrives, landing just outside the country's borders. Equipped with a dark smile and a vicious personality, the second visitor sets out for his counterpart. His objective? Initiate the Fate Game. A twisted contest involving the two human "players" with Equestria set as the chessboard.

Our hero will have to find a way to survive and protect Ponyville amidst the chaos, but how will he stop the rival Player's madness when he doesn't even know his objective!

[Review Request] I would 'appreciate' full review of all six chapters, but I understand that is asking a lot all at once. My request is that the first three short chapters are given a fair shot, but if anyone is compelled to keep reading and review it all go for it.

[Link] http://www.fimfiction.net/story/36991/Fate-Game
>> No. 110547
>>110544
Whoo. That was quite a bit to go through. Looks like I'll be in the lab, with a pen and a pad this week. Appreciate the work man. You definitely went hard in the paint.
>> No. 110548
>>109679
This was absolutely hilarious! I enjoyed it so much! The story was blended together pretty well in my opinion, and I couldn't wait for the next page! I had so much fun reading it, that I may have to read it again. I like how you incorporated Super Mario Galaxy into the first two episodes of Friendship is magic. Wait for a reviewer to go through your story and edit, but from me, I say it was a pretty good story.
>> No. 110556
>>110512

Alrighty then, thanks for your commentary. I'll get to work on that ASAP!
>> No. 110560
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110560
>>109379 >>110198 >>110512
We apologize for our oversight, author, but a weather pony left a cloud obscuring the wonderful meteor shower we had planned for last night, leaving us considerably distracted. The guilty party would surely find itself on the BUSINESS END OF OUR HOOF IF WE FOUND OUT WHO—

*Ahem*

Please pardon us, as we are still a bit out of sorts over the matter.

We neglected to make one additional point that we had intended.

The romantic interest proceedeth far too quickly. No sooner are the happy couple introduced than they are making "googly eyes" (as we believe the newfangled expression goes) and then engaging in... um... public kissing. Tee hee! We apologize to the casual passerby that may have witnessed that phrase; we do not mean to titillate. On the contrary, it is clearly the fault of the author who hath perpetrated the act in the first place! Blamest thou not me! In any case, we find ourselves then quickly whisked off to matrimony.

A rushed romance is an inauthentic romance. Wouldst thou introduce an original character and proceed to dump expository information en masse about her? Preferably, thou wouldst reveal the character subtly and gradually through her actions and speech, and how she relateth to other characters. Thus, we get to know her as we would a live pony, making her seem more real and forging a connexion with her. So shouldst thou treat an original romance. A romance differs not from a character; it should be developed with the same care. Thou art galloping when thou shouldst be walking at a comfortable pace.
>> No. 110566
>>110548
Thanks. I hope after all the rewrites it is better.
>> No. 110567
>>110566
I bet it will be, good luck with your story edits and revisions!
>> No. 110577
>>109805 >>109807
Found someone else to look over my story, so withdrawing my desire to have my fanfic reviewed. Thanks to all of you anons who gave me their advice!
>> No. 110603
This is for whomever claimed my story The Challenges of Love--Part One: Rarity's Tale. I've been working with an editor and bouncing new ideas off of him, and it has gone through a reboot. It is basically the same story but has slightly different to moderately different events. It was originally posted here: http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/103159.html#103791 It is no longer a 7 chapter story. It is now a fresh, brand new 1 chapter story that is rebuilding itself from the ground up. Should I resubmit on the form or leave it as is?
>> No. 110605
>>110603
It's also been a while since I've been here, so I may have missed a lot of content. I'm not sure if anybody has already posted a review of my story under its old version. If it has, forgive me. Anyway, the link is still the same.
>> No. 110607
>>108342
I'll be picking this up. You can probably expect this review to come within the next seven days or so.
>> No. 110608
Autosage, everyone.

>>110605
Leave it as-is for now, though you may want to email your reviewer (mouseover his name on his post here for his email: >>108469) and tell him about the change. It looks like he's been working on the old version for a while.
>> No. 110623
>>110603
Well balls. That's what I get for taking so long with this. I'll go ahead and post what I already have written up already and hopefully that can help with your current draft version. I didn't bother writing up comments for chapter 7, since with your recent post, that seems unnecessary at this point.

Anyway, apologies for taking so long and hopefully you can find some value in this. If you still want me to run over your other draft, let me know and I can do a quick review.

Here's what I had for the previous version. Since the thread is in autosage, I don't feel quite as bad for wasting posts like this.

------Review of Old Version of Challenges of Love by pmcollectorboy------
>>103791

The main thing that I noticed was that you use a lot of unnecessary detail. This contributes to three major problems: purple prose, telling instead of showing, and the excessively slow pacing. Keep in mind one of Kurt Vonnegut's rules for writing, "Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action."

Purple prose is excessively flowery language used as description. While using flowery language is not a bad thing, it becomes excessive when it breaks reader immersion instead of helping generate it. This typically occurs when an author uses a word they are unfamiliar with that doesn't fit appropriately or they use multiple adjectives to try to get something across. In your case, there are many sentences that use multiple adjectives, which generally specify unnecessary details. If you find yourself listing off qualities in your writing, you are using purple writing. Also, not every object in a sentence needs an associated adjective. Unless the adjective is important and comes in later, you shouldn't bother with it.

The next consideration is show versus tell. There are a lot of explanations that are given for showing and telling, so if this one doesn't make sense you can probably find an explanation that does it better. My overly simplified short explanation is that telling is what you explicitly say to the reader, while showing is what those details imply or the image or scene that the reader imagines while reading. Basically, everything that you write is told, but by carefully coordinating the details, you can direct the reader's experience. To use an analogy, telling is like the pixels of a picture or the brushstrokes of a painting, while showing is what the viewer sees and most importantly feels when viewing that picture or painting.
Showing is absolutely vital if you want the reader to empathise or care about your characters both protagonists and villains. In particular, when a character is experiencing strong emotions, this needs to be shown instead of told to the reader.

Now, extraneous details kill showing because what is shown needs to be implied. By adding too many details, you over-constrain the story and limit the imagination of the reader. It also bogs them down, making them more likely to forget the important details from the beginning by the time they reach the end of a passage. And if they have to focus on too many tiny details, they lose sight of the big picture. I believe the colloquial phrase is "Can't see the forest for the trees." At the same time, you can't leave everything out. Readers need enough details to get them started. Showing is a balance, but as you become more experienced with writing and looking for it in what you read, you'll get an idea about what that balance should be.

In your situation, showing for emotional impact is important. Here's my take on an algorithmic type process for how to show.

I'll take an example passage from your fic that doesn't involve much showing.
>It had been several days since she had received that letter, and now Rarity's mind was muddled with conflicting decisions. The contents of the three letters she had received had her flustered and confused, as they each provided the whys and wheres of several opportunities, opportunities which didn't exactly agree with each other in matters of scheduling. There had been two other letters before the one that had gotten her particularly upset. One came from Pinkie Pie, and it offered an invitation. The other came from her parents, and it reiterated an obligation. As Rarity juggled thoughts inside her head, she slowly dragged herself to the conclusion that her plans were about to get more difficult.
>Rifling through her list, which actually contained what to bring and what to do for both plans, Rarity found that the matters and stresses pressing on her head threatened to become so heavy she almost vowed to hang everything and spend all day with some butterscotch ice cream and a heavy dose of tears. After draining half of a box of tissues, however, Rarity felt she had calmed down enough to continue.

First, we go through and list what happens and any key details.
>Received the letters several days ago
>Rarity is flustered and confused due to these letters
>The original letter made her upset For the purposes of keeping this self-contained, I'll mention this is the letter from Alphons and that it said he couldn't be around
>One is a Pinkie Pie invitation
>The other is a request from her parents
>Rarity realises that these letters make things complicated
>Rarity has a list for both plans
>Rarity is stressed by these plans
>This stress gets her very near her breaking point
>She eventually calms down, due to tissues

These seem to me to be the core events and details from those two paragraphs. We see that much of this is Rarity's emotional state, so those details at least should be shown. I'll list these separately with temporal clues.
>Alphons's letter makes Rarity upset
>The other two letters make her confused and flustered
>Her to-do list makes her stressed to breaking point
>She eventually calms down, due to tissues

You might notice this is quite a few emotions. I typically try to give each scene a single emotional focus, but in this case, we have wild emotional swings. Because such swings need justification Rarity is dramatic, but just thinking wouldn't send her on that wild of an emotional roller coaster, I'm shifting the details a little bit to make the story more justified. In particular, showing her opening the letters would justify the emotional swings more than just mediating on them. Also, just having her calm down with tissues seems contrived and reduces the potency of the emotional scene because the tissues don't require any real development or character interaction, so I'll write the scene where she just swallows her emotions like she does in Sisterhooves and end the scene with the assumption that any real calmdown will be handled later eg: Opal rubbing up against her and regrounding her in the moment or something like that.

Next, let's look over the emotional descriptions and try to figure out how to show them. I do this by looking at the causes of the emotion and then trying to list actions and body language clues that I think would suggest such a reaction.

>Alphons's letter makes Rarity upset
So how does a pony who is upset react? If you are having difficulty answering this, it is because you didn't get specific enough. Upset could take a variety of emotions from angry to sad to frazzled. This is another example of where telling is ineffective. By just telling the reader that Rarity is upset, you don't give them enough information to make their own conclusions or really understand what she is feeling. Given that I assume Alphons and Rarity's relationship will be the focus and that the letter says that Alphons is not going to be around, I'm going to relabel this as Rarity is angry that Alphons won't be around and feels a mixture of betrayal and loss/loneliness due to his leaving.
>Alphons's letter makes Rarity angry because she feels betrayed and lonely without him around.
Now this is more specific. Actions that show that Rarity is angry might include her dialogue being shorter, more pointed, and layered with epithets; her typical motions becoming more forceful and aggravated, like stomping or slamming things; she has a shorter tolerance for problems and details; and her breathing might be quicker, shallower, and harsher. Because her anger is motivated by betrayal, her dialogue and thoughts might mention all she's done for him and how his leaving is such an inconvenience for her. Her loneliness would make her dialogue and thoughts somewhat wistful, especially when she is doing something that he would normally do.

>The other two letters make her confused and flustered
Again, this is a little bit vague. By just saying "flustered and confused", we don't get any idea of the nuances of her emotion. Is she mostly flustered or a little bit confused or vice versa? Is she first flustered, then confused? This is another place where we lose meaning from telling instead of showing. By looking at the cause of the emotion, we can get a better idea of how she feels.
So I'm assuming that the letters from Pinkie and her family cause her distress because they are both events that she wants to attend (Pinkie has a holiday party and her family's letter is the proverbial "Your mother will be very, very sad if you aren't home for the holidays" letter), but are scheduled so closely together that she probably will not be able to attend both. So she is feeling conflicted about deciding which to attend and running herself ragged trying to come up with a solution that doesn't disappoint anyone. Also, I'm going to assume that she is putting off the decision by trying to simultaneously prepare for both and wilfully denying that it is impossible for her to do both. This is working with the assumption that Opalescence calms her down by rubbing against her and making her realise that she can't attend both. This may be what you are going for in the actual story, but you don't give enough details to make me think that is actually what happens.
>The other two letters have conflicting obligations and Rarity feels frustrated because she doesn't want to disappoint anyone. She fusses about what to do and how to prepare to the point where she is paralysed by indecision.
This new description is much more specific, so we can start figuring out how to show things from here. The conflicting obligations is just information, so that can be told. A pony that is frustrated would show some of the same signs as anger except they would be less intense. For example, instead of slamming a door, she might just close it harder than normal. Also, these actions would be more subconscious than those of anger; when she is frustrated, she would be focused on the problem and the actions are just a side effect, whereas if she is angry, the actions would be more intentional as a way to release her emotional energy. When she is frustrated, we could expect her to ruminate over possible solutions, but have them stop short of working. Since anger and frustration are often similar and she is already angry about Alphons, we can combine the two to justify a stronger reaction. When she is fussing, she would likely switch back and forth between preparing for the two options. She might pace around and lose track of what she is doing. This should build gradually until she reaches a breaking point, which since it's Rarity, is symbolised by one of her typical freak-outs.

>Her to-do list makes her stressed to breaking point
Yeah, I kind of jumped the gun on this one and included it in the above.

>She eventually calms down, due to tissues by swallowing her emotions
This one is interesting because it has two different sides. Rarity says she's fine and she's dealt with it, but in reality, she is just deceiving herself. So her thoughts and words should conflict with her subconscious body language. The literal meaning of the thoughts and words should be one of confidence, but if I can construct them to feel a little bit contrived and forced, then that would add to the effect. Cliched sayings would work well here. Her body language should suggest that she is still frazzled, so she will likely be tense and possibly shaky. She will probably still be easily distracted and her actions and reactions will be as though she is still frustrated, but her thoughts and words will deny it.

Now, we have a decent idea of what needs to be shown and a pool of ideas that we can draw from to help show things, so we can start developing the writing.

First, I'll make the outline of (pure) plot elements. This is the baseline of what happens in the scene, not including emotional reactions.
>She reads the letters.
>She reacts to the conflicting invitations.
>She stresses herself out over the conflict and freaks out.
>After a bit of panic, she swallows her emotions and gets back to work.

Now we fill in what needs to be shown.

- Initially, she should be angry from the Alphons letter.
>She reads Pinkie's letter.
- Pinkie's letter cheers her up a little bit, but she is still unhappy about Alphons.
>She reads her family's letter.
- First, she is happy to hear from her family and looking forward to visiting.
- She sees the date and then starts to ruminate.
- She tries to think through solutions, but nothing works.
- She becomes more and more frustrated as her ideas fail.
>She stresses herself out over the conflict and freaks out.
- We draw from her in-show freak outs for this.
>After a bit of panic, she swallows her emotions and gets back to work.
- Again, drawing from the show, we'll do something similar to her Sisterhooves anger swallowing.

Finally, we replace what needs to be shown with how to show it, and we have an outline for what needs to be written.

- Initially, she should be angry from the Alphons letter.
- She ensures that the letter is crumpled and stomps around, while mumbling about how he is unappreciative and leaves her when she needs him around.
- After bitching for a bit and possibly abusing the letter, she returns to Pinkie's letter.
- Because she is angry, she rips the letter open.
>She reads Pinkie's letter.
- Pinkie's letter cheers her up a little bit, but she is still unhappy about Alphons.
- Pinkie's letter distracts her from her previous anger as she thinks about how she will enjoy the party and what gifts to give.
- She is still thinking about Alphons and resolves not to give him a gift. She might knock over or crumple something along the way.
- She returns to her family's letter and slices it open with a letter opener.
>She reads her family's letter.
- First, she is happy to hear from her family and looking forward to visiting.
- She reacts positively, saying something about having a party with Pinkie and spending time with her family will make her holiday fun.
- She sees the date and then starts to ruminate.
- First, she is incredulous and checks that the date is correct.
- She tries to think through solutions, but nothing works.
- She rejects ideas like going to part of each one, getting one or the other to reschedule, and trying to learn spells that could let her travel quickly.
- She becomes more and more frustrated as her ideas fail.
- At the same time, she begins pacing and mentally going over what she needs to do.
- She begins trying to prepare for both events by packing and organising her stuff.
>She stresses herself out over the conflict and freaks out.
- She begins arguing with herself over which item should go with which invitation until she gets to one where she can't decide.
- We draw from her in-show freak outs for this.
- At this she breaks into tears and starts moaning about how she can't decide and how she's going to lose her friends or family because of the conflict. There is a little reference to missing Alphons.
>After a bit of panic, she swallows her emotions and gets back to work.
- Again, drawing from the show, we'll do something similar to her Sisterhooves anger swallowing.
- Immediately after the Alphons comment, she mumbles something about not letting him get to her and continues.
- She is still shaking and indecisive, but attributes it to clumsiness and unknown fashion parameters.
- Scene exits with her trying to decide between two things as a lead in to mentioned scene with Opal.
>> No. 110624
>>110623
Now we have an outline of what we actually write. So we can try to write the actual paragraph. I'll put the outline spoilered approximately where it relates to the passage. These wouldn't be in the actual written text, but should allow you to see where each piece of writing comes from.

***

"That insolent—" Rarity cried, her voice cracking. She ensures that the letter is crumpled and stomps around, while mumbling about how he is unappreciative and leaves her when she needs him around. Rarity's horn flared as she crumpled the letter and threw it to the floor. "How dare he? After all I've done for him!" She stamped over to the crumpled letter and screamed at the unfortunate parchment, carefully-aimed hoofstomps punctuating each word, "One. Measly. Sentence! It's the busiest week of the year and he leaves me with just one measly sentence? And what happened to giving a little notice? To think, I thought he was a gentlecolt." A final kick sent the flattened lump of parchment out of sight. Breathing heavily, Rarity returned to her desk and picked up the next letter.

After bitching for a bit and possibly abusing the letter, she returns to Pinkie's letter. Two more letters lay strewn on her desk. Rarity grabbed the first—a pink, brightly speckled envelope with an unmistakeable scent of cake frosting. Rarity sighed and her frown receded. "An invitation from Pinkie Pie. How thoughtful," she said, turning the invitation over in her hooves. Because she is angry, she rips the letter open. "Now that is a true friend. She would never leave me with nothing but a—" She ripped open the envelope. "—letter."

She reads Pinkie's letter. Her eyes lit up she read the letter. "A Gift-Giving Eve party? How wonderful!" Pinkie's letter distracts her from her previous anger as she thinks about how she will enjoy the party and what gifts to give. Soon, fabric and dress moulds flew in every direction, propelled by Rarity's new-found enthusiasm. "Party outfits would be magnificent gifts for this. Like the Gala dresses, but with holiday flair. Oh, Rarity, you are brilliant. This will redefine Gift-Giving Day fashion as we know it."

She giggled as she began sketching her ideas. "I'll need dresses for each of my friends and, of course, I'll have to make one for myself." Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a white flash scurrying away from the growing mess of cloth. "And how could I forget you, Opal? You would look just fantastic in— That's it! I'll make outfits for our pets too. It'll be so adorable!" Flitting around the room, she began sculpting her designs. Soon, brightly-coloured fabric draped over every surface.

"Oh, I can't forget Spike. He'll be there." Grinning with every stroke, she sketched a quick design. "He'll look so handsome in this darling suit. I should make something for Al—"

She is still thinking about Alphons and resolves not to give him a gift. She might knock over or crumple something along the way. The pencil she used fell to the floor and her smile followed suit. "Ponies that ditch their friends don't deserve a gift," she mumbled, trudging back over to her desk. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the unopened envelope remaining on her desk. It was a letter from her family. She returns to her family's letter and slices it open with a letter opener. She picks up her letter opener and with a glance toward the crumpled letter in the corner, slices open the envelope.

She reads her family's letter.
Dear Rarity,
I hope everything is going well for you at your boutique. I just wanted to remind you that we'll be having our typical holiday celebration at your Uncle's house in Buttercup. I know you're busy with all your fashion stuff, but it would mean so much to your mother if you can come up and be there to celebrate the holiday with us.


She reacts positively, saying something about having a party with Pinkie and spending time with her family will make her holiday fun. Rarity looked up from the letter, chest fluttering. "Are you excited, Opal? Pinkie's party and then next day, we have a celebration with my family. This will be the best holiday season ever!" She squealed with delight.

Also, your grandfather has been talking with the hospital for the last few months and he got them to agree that he could be at the celebration. He'll need a full time nurse, but he gets to spend all of Gift-Giving Eve with us.

First, she is incredulous and checks that the date is correct. Rarity shook her head, blinked, and re-read the sentence. Gift-Giving Eve? Surely he's made a mistake. We usually get together on Gift-Giving Day or a little bit afterward, she thought.

So if you can only make it one day, please be here for Gift-Giving Eve. There might not be that many more holidays we can spend with your grandpa.

Send us a letter when you know when you'll be getting in. We'll make sure your room is all cleaned up and your mother will make your favorite quiche.
Love,
Dad

PS. I know you'll be busy this season, so don't stress yourself out over making a gift for me. Just being here is enough for me.


Rarity stared blankly at the paper. She read it over again. Then twice more. She tried flipping it upside-down, then flipping over to the back. Nothing would change those words. "Why did it have to be Gift-Giving Eve?" she moaned, head in her hooves.

"You're a resourceful pony, Rarity," she said, fixing her posture. "You can figure this out." She rejects ideas like going to part of each one, getting one or the other to reschedule, and trying to learn spells that could let her travel quickly. Levitating a pencil over, she scribbled down whatever thoughts came to mind. "Maybe I can go to both. After all, a chariot will get me to Buttercup in only—" She paused, lost in thought for a moment. "—four hours." With a sigh, she crossed the first item off her list. The next item met the same fate. "There's no way Grandpa can reschedule," she mumbled.

The next point was her best hope. If Pinkie could reschedule, she could make both. Her thoughts travelled back to her last conversation with Pinkie and she remembered how Pinkie had to spend several days negotiating to reserve Sugarcube Corner. "No, no, no!" she cried, tossing the list to the floor. "Oh, this is just horrible. I can't miss my grandpa, but they'll hate me if I miss the party." At the same time, she begins pacing and mentally going over what she needs to do. Lost in her thoughts, she began to wander and found herself in front of the mirror. The pony staring back at her looked nothing like the well-groomed image that was familiar to Rarity. "Oh, Rarity, you've gotten yourself all worked up and now you're a mess. You'll figure out how to handle it," she said, raking a brush through her frazzled mane. "Everything will work out just fine." Her pupils contracted to beads and her eyes opened wide. "You just need to make sure everything is in order."

She begins trying to prepare for both events by packing and organising her stuff. Soon, her cluttered workroom achieved a new level of chaos from her artistic packing methods. "This scarf has just the right— panache for the family celebration," she said, dropping the shawl onto the growing pile of cloth. "Oh, that colour would be perfect for Applejack's outfit." A bolt of similarly-coloured fabric dropped onto the shawl. "I need to let my parents know that I'm coming." Rarity grabbed a pencil and paper, and weaved her way through the clutter, shawl caught on her hoof. "And talk to Pinkie. Now where did I leave that letter?" She began rummaging through her piles, tossing fabric in every direction. "Why can't I find this letter? I just had it. Oh, this is so horrible!" As she flailed about, her hoof snagged in the snarled web of fabric, sending her to the floor.

She breaks into tears and starts moaning about how she can't decide and how she's going to lose her friends or family because of the conflict. There is a little reference to missing Alphons. "It's not fair!" Her complaints flew fast and free. "All I wanted was a nice holiday, to spend a little time with family and friends without everything coming down on top of me." As if on cue, her writhing pulled the pile of clothes onto her. "What did I ever do to deserve such a thing? I've been good, I give beautiful gifts that nopony else could dream of making, I take my friends to the spa and teach them to have real class. I don't deserve all this!" She finally managed to extricate herself from her clothy trap, but wavered and flopped back down immediately. "Everyone is going to hate me, I'm such a mess and this is such a mess and I'll have to clean everything all by myself, if only Alphons—" At the mention of his name, she abruptly stopped her complaints and stamped her hoof. Immediately after the Alphons comment, she mumbles something about not letting him get to her and continues. "I will not allow that ruffian to ruin my holiday," she mumbled, straightening her posture. She wobbled her way over to the a nearby mirror and plastered makeup over her smudged mascara and her reddened eyes. "There, I'm beautiful again," she said through her clenched smile.

She is still shaking and indecisive, but attributes it to clumsiness and unknown fashion parameters. Taking a confident stride forward, she slipped and stumbled into the mess. "Goodness, Rarity, you are always so clumsy. Now where was I?" She grabbed a familiar shawl from the pile. "Now this scarf would be a brilliant addition for Applejack's dress." She began to toss it away, but stopped. "Although, I could bring it to the Buttercup for the party." She shook her head and sighed. "Oh how silly. How can I decide what to bring with me when I don't know what the weather will be? Everypony knows that this would be completely passe if it were snowing lightly. Now where should I put this?" Scene exits with her trying to decide between two things as a lead in to mentioned scene with Opal.

***

Note: This passage isn't perfect. You can probably tell that I'm not a particularly accomplished nor active writer, I haven't had a ton of time to read fiction, and I don't really like Rarity as a character. There are some systemic issues here that I'm not good enough of a writer to fix Wooden narration, contrived use of self-dialogue, and, oh god, repetitive sentence structure and this probably isn't consistent with your story. However, the only reason I provided this is to give an example of something that shows how Rarity feels without telling anything directly, and how the outlined process generates such a thing.

I don't expect you to run through this process everytime you want to show an emotion, but this gives you a way to think about it that you might not have tried before.

As an overview of the entire process:
- Outline what you want to have happen
- Then make a note of what the character emotion from each part is. This may involve taking some things out of the what is supposed to happen list.
- Now brainstorm ideas for hints that might tell you someone is experiencing that emotion. This might include facial expressions, body language, how their mannerisms might change, how their speech patterns might change, etc
- Finally, choose a few of your ideas for hints and weave them into the story in place of directly saying the emotion. You can make another outline if this would help.

Next, I'll discuss pacing. Pacing is how fast the events of the story occur. There is lots of general advice about pacing, but the main thing to note for your story is that you are in general pacing everything too slowly. I realise that a romance tale will naturally be paced slower than an action story, but you still I would recommend compressing as much as possible. For example, you have Rainbow Dash talk to Rarity entirely to just tell her that Twilight wants to talk to her. Then, a couple pages later, Rarity finally talks to Twilight. Cut out the middle man as much as possible. Another one of Kurt Vonnegut's rules states, "Start as close to the end as possible." If you can eliminate the large extraneous sections, then that will make the slower pacing that suits the story more bearable since there will be a shorter section.

Along similar lines, be aware of what events you spend time explaining. For example, you left Rarity's panic over the letters to two sentences. By covering this only at the most superficial level, you make it seem unimportant, when in reality, it is one of the more interesting events of the chapter. Similarly, I would tone down the amount of time you spend having her ruminate and pack granted, I'm not a Rarity fan, so that type of story does not particularly appeal to me since that type of action typically has slower pacing and requires much more showing to be effective.

You have some redundant descriptions in there too. These are simple to fix: just keep in mind that your readers will have seen MLP, so if the detail is something that they would know already, then you can omit it, or if you're really worried that they won't remember, mention it exactly once. If you follow this, you'll get rid of the vast majority of redundant descriptions that you mentioned.

Also, keep in mind what details you use. You seem to include a lot of random type details that don't really affect the story. I will admit that I am terrible at knowing what is useful for setting the scene, but these seem like details that don't affect that. My typical heuristic is asking, does this detail come into play later or if I remove/change this, does it affect the story? If the answer to that is no, then consider omitting it.

You have a few mechanical inconsistencies. For example, it is recommended (especially for posts on fimfiction) that you don't put a double space after full stops.

Chapter Specific Stuff: This is my thought progression as the story unfolded, written one chapter at a time.

First Chapter:
I a little bit concerned about some characterisation bits in the first chapter. In particular, Pinkie Pie has more of a hair trigger than should be expected. You have her start crying because Applejack and possibly Rarity—it's not clear whether or not she is aware that Rarity won't be there aren't going to be at the party. When Pinkie broke in the show, she had hints that her friends didn't enjoy the party from the night before, sketchy excuses from all of her friends the next day along with pretty obvious lying reactions, then seeing that her friends weren't actually following excuses and most of them mentioning Pinkie Pie explicitly as somepony they didn't want around at the time, and finally, although you could argue that she'd cracked at this point Spike telling her explicitly that her suspicions were correct. These circumstances aren't exactly on the same level.
Also, using Pinkie breaking as a device seems like you are trying to artificially create drama and, to be honest, it is mostly unnecessary. The only reason I see for including it is you want to give extra motivation for Rarity to stick around and make something for Fluttershy. Except the scene with Rarity sticking around is only a few sentences and she leaves and doesn't go with the others to visit Fluttershy, so you could omit it without much difficulty. Plus, if you really wanted Rarity to stick around, just have her friends guilt trip her into helping.

Also, Rarity comes off a lot more like Twilight than Rarity. In particular, her following a list and scheduling every moment don't seem like the kind of things a creative personality would do. While she is a perfectionist in some things, she is also an artist. I would argue her obsession with having the kitchen clean and other household chores done the right way stem from an idealism for high society and keeping up appearances more than a desire to be particularly organised. When it comes to stuff that doesn't matter for manners and appearances think her workroom in Sisterhooves, she doesn't bother keeping it perfect and neat; she lets it go as it will and leaves herself open to her creative whims. Keeping a long todo list and scheduling every moment don't fit with her creative personality, nor would they be seen as something she would do to imitate the higher classes.

I mentioned this above, but this could really use a paring down. Basically all that happens is the introduction of the situation, a mention of Alphons, Rarity having her flip-out as a way to make the situation seem interesting and then the visit to Pinkie/Fluttershy. The rest is mostly fluff.

As an aside, Alphons doesn't seem like much of a pony name. Especially if he is going to be the shipped character which early indications point to you may want to consider a more pony name that has something to do with his occupation/color scheme/personality, instead of just picking something that sounds vaguely foreign and exotic.
>> No. 110625
>>110624
Chapter Two:
You have a few short scenes that introduce characters. I would argue that these scenes need to be longer, particularly the introduction of Alphons this assumes that Alphons is a major player in the rest of the story.. We get a tiny interaction with his mother and an aside mention that he has a brother. We don't get any idea of what he is like, how he acts, or any other real development. If you expand this out, this would help the reader form an opinion about the character and therefore remember him better.
Also, the Fluttershy scene seems short. I didn't particularly like the cutoff cliffhanger ending to that scene, but I can understand the appeal. However, you only mention something being wrong with Fluttershy in dialogue, but don't do anything to show that something is wrong when you get to Fluttershy's place, like having snow drifts across the path or her home being particularly cluttered or any other signs of distress.

I'm not sure the reason for the scene with Dusk. It is a scene that doesn't particularly develop Rarity, and I get the sense that Dusk is a one-time appearance throwaway character, which means spending a scene developing him doesn't make a lot of sense. If he doesn't appear later, I think getting rid of that scene would be fine. If he does appear later, then you may want to foreshadow that by making him a travelling salesman and having him headed to Ponyville or Buttercup or wherever the next location he will be is. If the only point of that scene is Rarity getting coffee, you could have her get coffee before leaving Ponyville, when she gets to Buttercup, or, my personal preference, immediately before the scene with the coffee comes in.

Thoughtful Gift's special talent is empathy, right? Empathy is the ability to sense others feelings, think, "You may be able to hide this from everyone else, but I know you're feeling sad/angry/stressed about something." Unless he is actually telepathic, he wouldn't know that Rarity is thinking about him. If he's supposed to really be telepathic, there had better be a very good reason for it, because as he is, he already comes off as somewhat contrived and artificial. Also, the name Thoughtful Gift doesn't seem particularly pony to me. It is certainly more related than a human-type name like Alphons, but it doesn't quite fit.

Chapter 3:

I think the necklace needs to be introduced earlier with a lot more background. If it was really that important to her the entire time, it would have been a consideration the entire way through not just at the beginning of the chapter. Also, since the necklace has no canon basis, it would be a good idea to give some background information and show how Rarity got the necklace, which would explain why she cared so much about it. A couple possible ways to do this would be having a flashback where she remembers when she first got the necklace or having her wish she had it at the beginning and then she first receives it when she arrives. Right now, the only support you have for the influence is an info dump at the beginning of the chapter. Doing it this way makes it seem like the necklace was an afterthought that you threw in when you realised you needed a way to make Rarity care about the situation.

The side plots seem to need a lot of expansion. You don't ever resolve the "issue" with Fluttershy, just skip to the next scene with her. I understand that you may want to keep the reveal back, but mentioning it this early and not revealing it is generally ineffective and frustrating for your readers. I would recommend either resolving it right away, removing the scene entirely if it isn't necessary, or pushing back its introduction to just before the reveal.
The Alphons scene in this chapter needs expansion, similarly to the other one. Combining the two would make some of the length simpler, but however, you still need to show more background and introduce Alphons's personality. Also, you left out a section break between this scene and the Rainbow Dash scene, which was jarring for me as a reader. That scene also needs some expansion. I would particularly recommend putting the reveal off until the blizzard is a certainty, not just a possibility. Related to this, I'm not sure why you need to include Applebloom and Scootaloo. You don't really develop them beyond the canon characterisation that they are friends and you could tie that scene in with the Rainbow Dash scene without losing any continuity.
As a general rule for these scenes, you need to put in enough character development and show enough of the scene that the reader will remember the scene until it comes in the next time.

The scene with Sapphire Dreams and Star Shooter doesn't seem to fit with the fact that they are foals. Their reactions seem like the type of reactions businessmen or members of organised crime syndicates would have, not foals. They might have had a harsher upbringing than typical for Equestria, but they are still foals. Their motivations are more short-sighted and geared toward self-gratification than grown ponies.

The scene at the end of the chapter where you have Rarity explain what is going on to Alphons is unnecessary. The readers already know this, and you ruin any satisfaction they may have gotten from figuring this out by hammering it in like that. If you need Alphons to get caught up for the next scene, that would be a good place to use telling; just tell the reader that Rarity told Alphons the details of the story and spare them the redundant section. This is one place where showing is pointless and lacklustre.

This sounds really weird coming from me, considering that I don't like Rarity, but your characterisation seems too shallow to me. Sure, she might like shopping, but I think it is rather unlikely that she would consider that to be the ideal event and the only reason visiting her family is bearable. She is the element of generosity. I think she would be much more likely to use the "I hate snow" excuse, since the show has established that she hates rain, than the "I want to go shopping" excuse. In my head canon, the main reason she would enjoy shopping is seeing new designs she could use in her own work and getting gifts for others, as is appropriate for her element.
Also, I think you are using her "eye for detail" as a crutch instead of considering her real personality. Yes, she has an eye for detail and some perfectionist tendencies, but I would argue this is much less of a defining characteristic than her being a creative artist type, being the element of generosity, and trying to appear upper class. Furthermore, you use this eye for detail explicitly to justify things that don't need to be justified. For example, in the snowball scene, just about anyone would notice that something had gone wrong, with no reference to the eye for detail.

Chapter 4:
I mentioned this above, but you are using Rarity's sense of detail as a crutch for characterisation. Even if that is a defining characteristic for her action which is reasonable, but good eyesight would realistically be more of factor, she wouldn't outright state that it was her eye for detail, especially in a chase situation. It would be more of, "I know what I saw, now go!" and bitch him out about not trusting her later. I mentioned the thing with the shopping before, so if you want to keep shopping important, make sure you tie it in with her sense of generosity. Having her stressed about being able to get all her gifts seems to me like a more Rarity characterisation than complaining over missing a general shopping trip.
Also, why exactly does she trust Sapphire Dreams after the incident with the necklace? Look at the facts of the situation, her necklace disappeared and he ran off. They don't know that he was the one that threw the snowball, but that seems likely enough. Rarity didn't seem like she was actually trusting Sweetie Belle's judgement of him in the scene and we've seen from the episodes how much Rarity trusts Sweetie Belle in normal situations, much less emotional ones. I don't think letting Sapphire Dreams stay in the house again makes much sense, regardless of the burgeoning crush between him and Sweetie Belle.

The society of orphans could use more showing and character development. I found this one of the more interesting bits of the story, even though it wasn't shown particularly well. You also did the correct thing of only introducing the society right before it appears in the story. However, this is a section that certainly needs more showing and expansion.
Similarly, the developing relationship between Sweetie and Sapphire could use more showing. Since the Alphons/Rarity relationship isn't in the right place to develop until now, I would recommend introducing the Sweetie and Sapphire as early as possible, since it is a shipfic and readers are going to expect some type of shipping before chapter four.

Ringleader seems like a bit of a copout name.

Alphons's blurt out of all his problems at the end of the chapter is hard to rationalise. Rarity has just been berating him and in general acting particularly rude to him; why would he open up and tell her all his problems? I suppose you could possibly be intending Alphons as a psychologically broken personality who only received abuse as a child and therefore responds only to negative attention, but I think that's fairly unlikely The other problem I had with this is you spoiled a perfectly good sarcastic rant by having him launch into a complaint fest. If instead of complaining, you have him finish the conversation about how Rarity's been nothing but rude to him, that would fit much better with an appropriate response to how she's acted toward him the past couple scenes and the kind of personality that would write an extremely short note before leaving. It would spoil your half-hearted plot-manoeuvring toward shipping the two, but let's not worry about that for now.
Also, the way he's acted the last couple chapters doesn't mesh with the kind of character that would leave for a long time after only writing a short note. He's been extremely conscientious and polite toward Rarity and he's acted like he cares about her a great deal, which makes absolutely no sense with regards to the note he wrote, which was rather callous and rude, and is the work of someone who doesn't care at all about the other pony. I could understand if the note was something someone else wrote for him, but his answers indicated that he knew what was written in the note, so we have no reason to conclude that he didn't write it. So the only explanation is that he had some type of fundamental change in personality between when he wrote the note and now, extremely unlikely or you didn't think it through and try to rationalise the type of pony that would write such a short note to a future romantic interest with the way he's acted in the next few scenes.

Chapter 5:
I haven't been doing line-editing, but this line stood out.
>Scootaloo kissed her teeth
I had to look this up. My impression when reading it was shipping out of nowhere for Scootaloo with some linear combination of Applebloom, Pinkie Pie, and/or Rainbow Dash. You're shipping I can't imagine I would be the only one who isn't at all familiar with this and would find it jarring, so unless you are going give other clues as to what it means, you will probably want to change this.

This chapter isn't the same story. It has Scootaloo and Applebloom going off on their own adventure. The only thing that ties it in to the rest of the story is Gift-Giving Day, which explains why Sweetie Belle and Rarity aren't there and why the two fillies want to go out and get a gift for Sweetie Belle, but pretty much everything else is completely unrelated. There are a few other mentions of tangentially related events, but nothing that affects the story. However, if you just established Gift-Giving Day and mentioned that Sweetie Belle is going out of town, this would work perfectly as a separate story.
I would encourage you to pursue this chapter as a separate story from your story with Rarity and Sweetie Belle. If you need to get the artefact into other story, there are plenty of ways to handle that you could use the orphan society to scrounge up something like that, they could break into Ringleader
s office/home/cave/whatever and steal it, Alphons could
gag give it as a gift to Rarity, any of those would be plausible and fit with the story. However, with a story of this length, you already have plotlines involving Rarity and Alphons, Sweetie and Sapphire, and the streetfoals and Ringleader and even though I would recommend removing it and just letting the weather happen, the Ponyville Rainbow Dash plotline. I think focusing on the adventure with Spike and the others would let you expand it better and by isolating it from the other plots, readers can focus on it and you can recruit readers that would be more interested in that genre.
Also, it seems like you improved on telling quite a bit in this section. It's still a little dry I'm afraid I'm rather useless in this regard as my writing style is extremely dry, but you seem to use much more body language and avoid directly stating most of the emotions, so good work in that regard. It could probably use a look over, but this is much better than a lot of other chapters.

There are a few plausibility issues that I would question. For one, I'm not sure why the ponies get stuck and Spike doesn't. Spike isn't exactly svelte and the fillies seem much thinner and smaller and even the average grown mare seems like they are thinner than Spike would be so I'm not sure that it is plausible for Applebloom to get stuck. If her saddlebags got stuck from carrying too much stuff that would be different, but that would be handling a different set of issues. Also, I'm not sure how important having Applebloom get stuck is to the story. You don't seem to reference it as a hindrance to escape and it doesn't particularly develop the characters, so you would probably be fine omitting that scene.
Next, it seems a little implausible that there is a mountain with exposed gems and available treasure for the taking less than a day's journey away from Ponyville. However, this difficulty could probably be fixed by adding a bit of information at the front mentioning they got an exclusive map and making them do some type of non-trivial digging or excavation to get to the caves.

Finally, the Big Macinshy* shipping out of nowhere is ridiculous. The reasoning is sketchy she gave him a small bit of information that led him to them even though they were coming back anyway and all the danger was passed, so now he's in love, Big Mac being assertive is out of character for him, and it's really unnecessary. It's quite clearly something that was thrown in there without any foreshadowing or planning, and the chapter would be much better off if it were removed.

*yes, I know the standard terminology is Fluttermac, but Big Macinshy is strictly better

Chapter 6:

It's "indulge". "Endulge" is not a word.

This chapter has way too many infodumps. Infodumps are where you try to give a bunch of information all at once, typically with the narrator explaining what is going on. These are usually just telling and are notorious boring to get through, because you are throwing a bunch of information at the reader. Think about a textbook, which typically just contains information without getting into a story to make the information interesting. Infodumps, especially long ones, are a good way to get readers to stop reading.
The way you deal with infodumps is by weaving the information from the infodump into standard narration and dialogue as naturally as possible. This way you get the information across with as small and infodump as possible.
The Fluttershy introduction scene is almost entirely infodumps. You have paragraphs and paragraphs of just telling background information. She is supposed to be in distress and I assume you want the readers to care, but with the infodumps, they have no real reason to and are unlikely to stick with it. You also don't actually say much as to why she is in such a slump which further weakens the scene. I think you would be much better off dropping that plot point entirely.
Also, the scene with Alphons and Rarity uses too many infodumps as well. Try to weave the information into the narration as I mentioned before.

Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash seem out of character in their scene. You have Fluttershy as the stoic and Rainbow Dash breaking down and crying? Fluttershy has trouble just being assertive, much less being stubborn enough to refuse help and Rainbow Dash isn't the type of pony that would just fall into tears with worry. Think of her reaction before the Best Young Flyers competition. She was extremely stressed and worried to the point where she curled up in the fetal position, but she didn't cry.

You backslide into a lot more telling in this chapter. Watch out for that.

---------------

Again, sorry for the delay. I'm not sure how much of this you can use and that's entirely my fault for taking this long, but hopefully you can find some use for this.

I guess I don't really have to tell you to keep writing, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask here or use my email that was in the trip of the first part.
>> No. 110629
Thanks for offerring to review! I also just finished and uploaded the second chapter; the link is available at the bottom of the original doc. I said it there but I'll say it again here: feel no obligation to continue past the first chapter. I just thought I'd add it in case you felt like reading on and/or wanted to get a better idea of where I was going with it.

(Also, I'm certain you'll make suggestions regarding anything systemic by the time you finish the first chapter).

Thanks again!
>> No. 110631
>>110629
Derp. The intended reply link to
>>110607
went missing.
>> No. 110639
Thanks for the review. There are some useful bits of information I can pick out, even if it applies to a version that's no longer around. When I have a polished version of the new edition and have a couple good chapters up, I'll submit again for review, and I hope either you or someone else will give it a look. I'm trying to feel my way around for some kind of theme to tie the overall series together and give it purpose, and I'm imagining a grand arc that's supposed to be epic and much bigger than each individual part lets on. The bit in the cave was a bit of a misfire.
>> No. 110652
I'd like to acknowledge and thank Aquillo for his efforts in proofreading In Character.

Hopefully it will be enough.
>> No. 110678
>>107562

Yeah, this is going to take a bit. I'm covering four shifts at work this week, and well, you know... real life. I'll do my absolute best to finish your review in my spare time, but please understand my situation.
>> No. 110698
>>110251
Sure, I'll take a look at this for you.
>> No. 110719
>>110698
The review has been completed in-document. I'll just post here before the new thread forms. Here's the summary:

The setup of "Blessed Ones" a timeskip of ten years, during which time all Equestrian towns had to put up force fields like Shining Armor used in "Canterlot Wedding" in order to protect themselves from monster attacks. Also in that time, certain ponies (the titular Blessed Ones) have discovered the ability to use something called mana, giving them the ability to manipulate one of the four natural elements: earth, water, fire and thunder. These are both good ideas, especially when used in conjunction (though I found myself referring to the Blessed Ones as "benders" a lot), but I'm not sure they were fleshed out enough. I'm still not sure why the Blessed Ones are appearing now. There was something about a prophecy, I think. On top of that, there were also several ponies who used light magic to heal, and Twist apparently developed some kind of darkness power? I was fairly confused about what the rules to being Blessed were by the end of the story.

On top of that, the dialogue didn't always flow naturally, the characters weren't fleshed out enough (especially Holly, the OC who's apparently Nurse Tenderheart's brother), and the exposition was painfully obvious. There are several more issues as well, including time inconsistencies, tone inconsistencies, bizarre word choices and sentence orders, and more. It'll take a lot of work to get this one EqD-ready, but given the unique and interesting premise, I have no doubt that it can be done.

Keep writing!

Regards,
Conchshellthegeek7
>> No. 110724
Sooo...I was sort of hoping someone would pick up my story, Ponyville Pawn Stars, to review by now. Should I be reviewing somebody else's story in exchange for the look at mine? Not sure how this works. My story link is earlier in the thread for whoever is interested...
>> No. 110735
>>110724

You need to submit to the active queue via the submission form found here:

http://tinyurl.com/TrainingGroundsSubmit

If you don't do that, no one knows it's in the queue, and no one can pick it up. Furthermore, depending on the length of your story, claims can take quite a long time. Once your story is queued, reviewers know it's there, and someone will eventually claim it. You just need to be patient.
>> No. 110737
>>110735
Aha, gotcha, will do. Thanks!
>> No. 110740
Done.
>> No. 110761
Title: Spike's Story
Author: Quintus
E-mail: [email protected] (please notify me when the review is posted, otherwise I'm liable to miss it)
Tags: [Normal]

Synopsis: A visit from Twilight's parents prompts Spike to investigate his own origins.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vPZp-ycIQ2cVMTMY89Zmq1QiRJZmG3YE1BpFG-3kkco/edit

This story is a one-shot, please review in its entirety.

I submitted this story here a few months ago and got a review from Sapidus. I've thoroughly revised the story based on his review, but since I only have one chance left to get this on EqD, I'd like a second reviewer to take a look at it before I send it in for the third and final time.

Thanks everyone.

Sapidus review:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O2QPgOhCXACBp9wuCwoGduCnaj2r9AS3J8MWPfaRxcs/edit

Responses from EqD:

Round 1:
Unfortunately, we can't accept your story for publication on Equestria Daily at this time. Listed below are some things to work on in order to improve on this attempt:

• Show, don't tell; everything is said very plainly and without much feeling to it, which makes for a somewhat boring story.
• Work on developing Twilight's parents a bit more. Even if they played bit parts in the story, it's essential that they hold your readers' interest for the brief time they appear.
• Pinkie comes off as very calm and collected compared to her portrayal in the show; this means she's very severely out of character, which is something that must be fixed sooner rather than later.
• Don't rely so much on the word "said" when it comes to dialogue. It's okay to use that word some of the time, but sprinkle in more descriptive options like "whispered", "growled", "sighed", "stuttered", etc...and also "replied", "answered", and the like.
• Celestia including something that none of her regular students could pull off in the entrance exam to determine who would be allowed into her school in the future seems like a very irrational thing to do. Perhaps it can be argued that telling what amounts to a young child to magically hatch an egg is unreasonable under any circumstances, but your explanation for it doesn't really explain the problem as much as exacerbate it.
• The end of the story is very anticlimactic: if you're building up to Spike finding out who his parents are, telling us that no one knows is a big letdown. Saying they're dead or that they disappeared is slightly better, but I went into this expecting to come out of it knowing something I didn't know before, and thus was sorely disappointed when I realized I wasn't going to.

Round 2:
Good evening, author! I'm Pre-reader 23-ish and I've given your story a look-over.

I didn't see the previous review nor the last iteration of your story, so I can only judge by what I've seen here, tonight.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend your story for posting.

You might've cleaned up the punctuation and grammar problems, but the story is absolutely flat. There's no emotional impact whatsoever.

You're giving us dialogue, and that's good. But what's not good is that they're not laughing. Not crying. Not giggling, really. Things are laid out in a very flat and predictable manner. I'm sorry, but the story didn't reach out and grab me at all.

You need to take your story over to Ponychan and ask for not just a thorough review, but also advice on how to spice things up and make it more readable. I do apologize, because I know you've worked on this. It just isn't reading very well, and I think a bit of help would... well... help. Please include a link to the Ponychan review thread when resubmitting.
>> No. 110767
Tags: Adventure, Normal

Synopsis:
There are many myths and legends that surround the land of Canterlonia, but the most fascinating and recited is that of 'The Wanderer'. When Sepia Stripes, a pony dedicated to studying the past, begins to witness ghostly figures in her dreams after wearing an antique necklace, she embarks on a journey with her best friend and her rival to discover what happened to the land over five hundred years ago.

But she soon learns that some myths are more true than they sound... And sometimes, history is doomed to repeat itself.

Links:
Both chapters should be in here: https://drive.google.com/#folders/0B27u5B6bltNyWHBScjZBb1Y4M1E

Comments:
I would like both chapters to be reviewed. I have no preferences for reviewers, but I'd like someone who can help me get this story to a quality level that is acceptable for EQD (for the record, I haven't submitted there yet).
>> No. 110786
File 134203587017.png - (76.69KB , 320x314 , 130393951999.png )
110786
>>110492
Claiming. The review should be done within a day or so.
>> No. 110808
>>110545
Please fill out the submission form (link at the top of the thread under "For Writers") so you get into the queue.
>> No. 110842
>>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD >>110790 NEW THREAD
>> No. 111039
>>107915
Thank you for finally getting me a reply. I do expect there to be quite a bit wrong with the story, so it always helps to have some insight into what can be changed. At the moment, I'm writing two other books and a show, so my full revision of the tale may take some time, but I do appreciate it.

I will apply your critique when I do get around to it though, and would appreciate your continued assistance. If there is anything else, I'll be happy to listen.

~AB
>> No. 113267
>>110767

Will make a pass on this one. My first review, so if someone else wants to jump in as well, that would be great. [For the record, I have a lot of experience reviewing academic papers, so I'm not 100% new to this. :) ]
>> No. 113521
>>110767

Some general things, now that I’ve read it all (all the nit-picks are below). Just to get this out now, I am totally new to reviewing fiction (much less pony fiction). Also, happy to go over it again post-revision.

Link to review:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iE-xTh9XwyqqSqwd0VvBu6nHDQdYLFWi8E-B9pVNnBY/edit
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