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111302 No. 111302
Ponychan is calling to me, and I feel the time is right.

Please observe the following rules. Failure to do so will result in banishment to the dark city of R'lyeh your being ignored in the queue.


1) I do not have content restrictions of any kind. However, if you would like to have a mature story reviewed, please send it to my email rather than posting it here. My email is [email protected]

2) Please use the following format when submitting:
a) Title
b) Tags
c) Synopsis
d) Word count
e) Link
f) Anything you would like to note. Not mandatory.

3) Google Docs used to be an optional thing in my thread. It is now mandatory, as much for my sake as for yours. If you post a link to a FimFiction document, you will automatically be shifted to the back of the queue until you provide a Google Docs version of your story with commenting turned on.

4) I am unable to review stories of more than 10,000 words. While I do have time to review, reviewing anything longer than that will require me to take breaks in order to keep up with real life. In other words, I wouldn't be able to give my full and unbroken attention to your story. So, if you've got a 100,000 word epic, I can't review it all at once. I would be more than happy to take it a chapter at a time, however.

5) Reviews may take up to a week depending on how busy I am when you post, and how many other stories are in my queue.

6) Do not expect a perfect score from me. Anyone who has received a review from me will know I am excruciatingly harsh, all with the intent if improving your story and your overall skill. If, however, you want to try for a perfect review, you're going to have to top Chromosome's White Box, the only story I ever gave a 5/5. Keep that in mind.

7) Contrary to popular belief, I am not, in fact, an asshole by nature. That's why I provide two twos of reviews in my thread. By default, I'll review in polite and courteous manner and only point out major issues. However, if you explicitly request it in your post, I will review your story in my "Hardcore style."

I won't waste too much time explaining this. If you'd like to know what a Hardcore review is like, visit either of my previous threads, or dig out Vimbert's and look at some of his "Vindictive" reviews; our styles are actually quite similar.

To clarify: should you want a hardcore review, you must explicitly request it.

8) Read the damn sticky and follow the rules, or I will smack you.

Be humble, friendly and teachable, and you'll always be welcome in my thread.
Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 111306
Hello Umbra! You may remember reading my God-awful Celestia fic a couple months ago. Well, I am happy to report that I have something that is hopefully way better than that.

Title: One Simple Choice
[Sad] [Slice of Life]
Synopsis: When Rainbow Dash is offered a high-ranking weather position in Cloudsdale, she must choose between moving away or remaining in Ponyville and risk letting her dreams slip away for good.
Word Count: 6022
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n2UKX6ataP1xUiaim3yE27noL9sDYA5o3Pej409FvNQ/edit

Now, I may be in over my head with this fic, since I want it to be at least novella length. I am currently working with someone to plan out this fic and attempt to make it awesome, but I have no experience with anything beyond one shots. Now, I'm not asking you to brainstorm for me, but anything pops into your head while reading that I could include in this story, I would love to hear these ideas.

Hm. Do I want to enable hardcore mode and risk having my spirits shattered? Yes. Yes I do.

Thanks in advance!
>> No. 111308

Oh, this is also in Soundslikeponies's queue.
>> No. 111314
What the hay, one more pair of eyes couldn't hurt.

Title: Under A Luminous Sky
Author: Jake The Army Guy
Tags: Dark, Mystery, Thriller
Word count: around 8,000 between a prologue and three chapters.

Synopsis: Tragedy strikes Ponyville when a body is discovered in the Everfree Forest. As the towns ponies grieve, an enigmatic stallion arrives at he library, dispatched by Celestia herself. When more blood is spilled, Twilight and her friends, along with this strange new pony, must solve the riddle before it's too late.

>> No. 111586

Righto, I'll be getting to these first thing tomorrow morning.
>> No. 111696

TL;DR: A cute, fun and simple concept, marred by awkward phrasing and unnecessary repetition.

Full version

Well, you've certainly improved since I read First Dawn. Nevertheless, you have serious problems with this story.

1) Telling

This is one of the most irritating and rampant problems in literature, and it's present in your story. A vast amount of your narration is straight telling, specifically when you discuss Rainbow's reactions to various events.

Basically, you're explicitly announcing what Rainbow Dash is feeling or thinking during a lot of the story Observe:

>I hope you’re happy, Fluttershy.

>How could I forget about you guys? Even for a moment?

>A bleak wave of loneliness suddenly swelled over and cast its shadow onto Dash.

You need to understand the difference between complex narration (the above) and showing. While the above sentence is certainly complex and well written, it's still telling. Complexity isn't the solution to telling; showing in literature is all about implication, or in other words, giving a broad statement and letting the reader figure it out.

The simplest solution to telling is to read over and story and identify the sections that are directly revealing information as opposed to implying it. Bear in mind that not all telling is bad; sometimes, you just need to give information without dancing around it, but the majority of your narrative should be showing.

2) Repetition

You reuse a lot of the same descriptive terms. Examples:

a) Rainbow or Fluttershy exhaling

b) Rainbow's heart doing something

c) Rainbow's jaw dropping

And many more like that. I understand that certain authors have a "niche," so to speak, but be careful not to let any of those become catchphrases.

3) Fluttershy and Rainbow's meeting

This was ridiculously drawn out. You repeated a lot of the same information multiple times. Rainbow asks Fluttershy if she's okay. That repeats several times. Fluttershy asks Rainbow if she's okay. That happens several times. Rainbow realizes that Fluttershy is a different pony. That happens several times. See what I'm getting at? That whole exchange could have been half as long, and all the necessary information would still have been there. It was just really off-putting.

For that matter, if you cut the section to be a lot shorter, you could illustrate just how much Fluttershy and Rainbow have grown apart. For instance, if the conversation is really awkward and surface level, and if Fluttershy kicks Rainbow out after only a little while, it would have a lot more emotional impact.

Basically, the potential for emotional impact is all there. Fluttershy and Rainbow have clearly grown apart. You just need to capitalize on that and make it the focus of the conversation, because I know where you're going with that.

4) Purple prose

A huge problem throughout your story. Using big words does not equal good narration. Simplicity can create amazing fiction; see Filler's Beyond the Wall.

Purple prose basically means your narrative is overly complex or flowery. A lot of your writing can be condensed into half the length.

5) Too little and too long

This more or less ties in with #3. You spend more than 6,000 words in this chapter, but almost nothing happens. There's very little emotional impact over a huge amount of story. Seriously, entire stories of mine are close to this length, and they contain a lot more meat. Learn to sum more information up in less time, but do so cleverly.

Final thoughts

You have a lot of potential here, and your grammar is excellent. You just need to learn to avoid repetition, because repetition is repetition and that makes a story repetitive if you have repetition.

Furthermore, flush out your emotional impact. By truncating Dash's visit with Fluttershy, you can illustrate just how different they are after all these years have passed. You can apply this concept to basically your entire story.

Righto, good work; I'm excited to see where you take it.
>> No. 111697

That "one more pair of eyes" thing concerns me. Is this currently in any other threads?
>> No. 111700
Not anymore. It's been through the wringer, though. Nicknack, Golden Vision, Ed Garnot, LunarShadow, soundslikeponies, I_Post_Ponies, and Professor Hugbox have all had a go at it. I just submitted it to EqD, but they haven't got back to me yet. I want this to be the best it can, so "another set of eyes" just means an eighth pair :)
>> No. 111708

Four months of fic writing, and I still have problems with telling. *Sighs.* At this pace, I'm never going to be good.

You bring up a same issue that SLP had. I guess for some reason I just think "longer=better." You're right, I do need to cut down on the length and not make everything so flowery. Perhaps I'm trying to be an author that I'm not.

Part of the problem is that I'm STILL not that good at analyzing my own writing. I don't know the feel of a scene, so I write more to make up for it. This is why things are telly and flowery.

If you'll forgive me for asking... might I ask how you would rewrite a couple of the sentences you mentioned? How exactly do I say Dash was lonely, or that she misses her friends? Especially since she is by herself, and there isn't much for her to interact with? I'm just afraid that I'll never quite grasp this art of showing vs. telling. When you gave me my First Dawn review, I became so afraid of typing something that was "telly" that I ended up barely writing anything at all. This fear crippled me into a state a paralysis, and I'm afraid that feeling is starting to creep up on me again.

So basically, my fears boil down to two things. If you could give me your advice on these two subjects, I would be most grateful:
-How do I become more connected to what I'm writing? Is there a way to know just what I'm writing comes off to the reader? Because I wrote this all out, and it ended up being way too long. I didn't entirely know that when I wrote it.
-And of course, the show vs. tell issue. PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS.

*takes a deep breath*

As long as progress is being made, I suppose. But I still have such a long way to go :(

Thanks for your review. I will continue to torture myself trying to improve.
>> No. 111726
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Whoa Umbra's back! I can submit a story to see what a Hardcore review looks like now. I missed out on that last time. Err, that is... as soon as I finish making the modifications Seattle suggested for my story
>> No. 111737
Okay, so I had EqD pull it from the queue so you can look at it first. So whenever you're done, it'll be going to them.

On that note, could I humbly request hardcore mode, yet gentle? Please, point out my flaws, just try and refrain from buttf**king my soul. :)

>saged to avoid spamming the board
>> No. 111742
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I'm not umbra, but I did review your fic, so...

>How do I become more connected to what I'm writing?
You don't. It's a common misconception that when people hear about authors pouring their heart and soul into a work, they think "oh, they must have gotten really emotional, and had a deep connection with what they're writing." You write for a reader, and it's best to try and put yourself in the reader's shoes while writing. The better you can put yourself in the reader's shoes, the better you can evaluate your own work.

>Basically, you're explicitly announcing what Rainbow Dash is feeling or thinking during a lot of the story
This was the problem I had with Dash talking in third person. Any time anyone talks in third person it comes off as a fairly obvious "author's tool" and as a result it tends to be telling rather than showing.

As the robot devil once said:
"You can't just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!"

>And of course, the show vs. tell issue. PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS.
You have to take a plunge. And it's scary. After you write a chapter with no bad telling, you'll fret over whether or not your message got through clearly. I remember the feeling quite clearly. You'll find it will probably turn out better than you feared, and you will probably have unintended implications or characterization when you first stop telling, but you will learn, and in time those will fade (but still probably show up from time to time).

>I guess for some reason I just think "longer=better."
Again, view this from the readers' standpoint. Their time is precious. If you can get across the same message in fewer words, they'd rather read that. The thing is, you picture these long flowing paragraphs, beautifully written, that perfectly describe things, and you try to do that. Those 'long' flowing paragraphs were only long because they had a lot in them. They were beautiful because the author used a few choice words that set the imagery well, and the image was vivid because the author described every important detail. Not because its word count was long.
>> No. 111754
File 134249939365.jpg - (118.84KB , 983x982 , Cropped.jpg )
Had one good review already, but never can have too many eyes to tell you where ya stuffed up.

Title : The Price of Failure
Tags : Sad
Synopsis :
For one to rise, and prosper...

Another must fall, and fail.

Word Count : 689 words (Around about, changes when I fiddle with it)
Link : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Xt3oKxD4TRi2-M0O6alUuF116u2OeD-HIB2QvKGH5A0/edit
Notes : Short one-shot that's been begging me to write it ever since I heard 'This Day Aria', specifically the line, "In my heart there is no room."
>> No. 111786

>You don't. It's a common misconception... etc.

SLP, in posting here, please remember one fact: you just disrespected my philosophy toward writing in my own thread. Tread carefully.


While I disagree with SLP regarding who you should write for, he's right about just about everything else. Showing and not telling is all about understand the balance of direct revelation and implication. It's not as simple as identifying a grammatical error; it literally took me months in my own writing to be able to identify and eliminate it.

As for a way to connect with your work? Everyone does that differently. Honestly, there's no science to it; it's all about finding a story that makes you truly excited. Most importantly, do not write for an audience; write for yourself. That is the first rule of good literature.


Prepare your anus.


I will stick to a traditional raping of your soul. Is that acceptable?
>> No. 111787
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>> No. 111792
File 134251115190.png - (33.36KB , 256x256 , Hugs.png )

No worries. Hug?
>> No. 111799
As long as you tell me you love me afterward.
>> No. 111960
Yo, Ums! Can I call you Ums? I just did a quick addition to my prologue. Tried to ad some tension to the chase scene. Any idea when you'll be getting to me? My body is ready...
>> No. 111966

>> No. 111992

a) Collections of Thoughts*

b) [Slice of Life]

c) Big Mac has a secret. One he can't tell anypony. Or can he?

d) 2438


f) I wrote this about a week ago at around midnight, completely on the fly without planning. I've submitted an early draft-ish of this to FiMFiction, but I've since edited it pretty heavily. I'm honestly more concerned with growing as a writer than getting page views, though. I know I said I edited this pretty substantially from what it was, but I'm not entirely happy with it. I think its a nice idea though, and I'd thoroughly enjoy your expert opinion and advice on how it can be improved. Also, this was intended as one in a series of one shots, if that's somehow important. Thanks in advance for your time!

*Also, I really really hate the name. If you think you can suggest anything better, I'd happily consider it.
>> No. 111993
I also apologize for the poor summary
>> No. 111994

Oh man, sorry for the triple post, but I do request hardcore mode. My anus can take it.
>> No. 112259
Hey, dude. Are you going to finish my review? If IRL problems are in the way, it's cool. Just wanted to make sure you didn't forget about me! :)
>> No. 112260
Title: HAND
Tags: Random, Comedy, Adventure
Summary: Lyra Heartstrings, a pony with a bit more than fanatical interest in humans, goes on a journey spanning across Equestria following a highly dubious clue. Also, Bon Bon tags along.
Word Count: 3925
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nmAjyFFHU0yQz04AYXAAwIh-Lb8gSVHlGVloM6WbLJk/edit?pli=1

Uh... this is also in Golden Vision's thread, if um... that matters. (Meep!) I look forward to hear from you! :3
>> No. 112262
I'll request 'Hardcore style' also. :3
>> No. 112323

Don't worry. I actually came here to tell you that very thing. I bet that excuse gets old, but... hey, what can you do? Expect a review tomorrow before 3:00 pm Pacific time.

Everyone else, reviews will likely appear Saturday, unless I finish Jake's review ahead of schedule.
>> No. 112340
Cool. I'm not sure how much more of this hardcore style I can take, though. Apparently, my body wasn't ready...
>> No. 112363

Cool, thanks a bunch :)
>> No. 112409

Anything I don't mention here will be noted in-doc.

Alright, since Figments is providing some good in-doc commentary for you, I'll stick to the major issues. This story is actually very good, but it could definitely use another round of editing before you submit to EqD.

1) Telling

There are some long passages of telling in your prologue, particularly when Berry is stumbling from the bar to the forest. I can't decide if you should change these, however. Telling can sometimes be useful when you're simply trying to set a scene. I'd recommend you give the prologue another pass and cut out all by the most necessary telling.

Tied in with this issue, you seem to have a problem with redundant narration. You say something, and immediately afterward, you say the same thing, or something that was already implied. Observe:

>The forest only seemed to grow thicker as she ran, slowing her down.

You can cut "slowing her down" entirely. It doesn't really add anything to the narration you just gave.

2) Word choice

Several times, you used a word that seemed very out of place. Specifically: thing, hitting and smacked. If this sounds like a nitpick, it is.

Words like these really take away from the flow of the story. In my head, they just sounded strange. In essence, they sounded out of place when compared to the rest of the narrative, which was well-written for the most part.

3) Phrasing

There was some awkward phrasing at points, but I believe Figments and I have identified those sentences in the documents. Check them out and consider revision.

Believe it or not, that's all I've got right now. I'm sure Figments will have more for you, but this is quite well done. Plot-wise, it's a very interesting read, and I salute you for that.

Best of luck with the pre-readers; EqD gets more strict by the day.
>> No. 112440
Thanks for the soul-crushingly harsh kind words!

Show, don't tell is the bane of my freaking existence, I swear. Almost five months of writing fiction and I STILL can't get it right sometimes.

So, will you be looking at the other chapters, as well?
>> No. 112484

I missed a chapter[s]? If so, I'm ridiculously sorry (I'm being serious). I'll get to those ASAP.
>> No. 112638
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Urgh, apparently 1k+ words are needed for a story to be posted on FIMFiction, so I've had to extend my story. Was hoping you'd have a gander at the extension. Thanks.

Title : The Price of Failure
Tags : Sad
Synopsis :
For one to rise, and prosper...

Another must fall, and fail.

Word Count : 1,189 Words
Link : https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Xt3oKxD4TRi2-M0O6alUuF116u2OeD-HIB2QvKGH5A0/edit
Comments :Guess I'll ask for a hardcore review. I like the idea I've got, and would like it to be as perfect as I can get it.
>> No. 112718

Right, there's not a whole lot to say about this.

TL;DR: Stellar grammar, interesting structure, and a cliche as fuck plot.

Full version:

In this situation, there's not really a whole lot to be done, I'm afraid to say. The way you structured your story illustrates that you obviously have a creative mind, and the quality of your grammar proves that you have a good grasp of the English language. The problem is that you've brought nothing new to the world of Chrysalis-fiction.

There have been a million and a half stories about...


A few were interesting; most weren't. In essence, you're obviously a good writer. You just made a bad choice in terms of plot.

If you're really determined to write about Chrysalis, or the Changelings in general, DO IT! There's a lot of untapped plots in that pool. However, there's really nothing to be done about this one. It was well written, but it wasn't interesting.
>> No. 112753
File 134302435340.jpg - (85.82KB , 612x497 , From the Mouths of Fillies.jpg )
Hello Ubmra!

[Title]: From the Mouths of Fillies
[Tags]: Sad
[Synopsis]: Not everything is as it seems when Dinky visits her mother at the hospital.
[Word Count]: 3433 words
[Link]: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c-EbYZHvtDFo8CfWLDunSplPB1LqM1G5YcgCW9iIv2A/edit
[Further Information]: My goal is to secure this story in the Pony Fiction Vault; while I'm not looking for a "hardcore style" review, I do ask for extreme attention to detail. This story needs to be as perfect as it can get before I make the submission, so I ask that you point out any- and everything that you spot.

Thank you in advance for your time and effort!

>> No. 112774

Thanks for the look-see.

It's definitely my best work writing-wise (Strangely enough, also my quickest to be written). I can only wish I could get it to work again in my main project. The structure was my main focus rather than bringing something new and beaut to the table, wrapping the last song line with the story.

Problem was that only worked for 700 words, and 1k+ is needed to submit... soooo I had to tack on the last bit. Would rather it not be there, but meh.

Pretty happy for a one shot in the middle of other work.
>> No. 112845
File 134307581681.png - (139.12KB , 900x506 , badass_twilight.png )



When Twilight receives a mysterious package revealing a grave secret about Equestria's beloved sun, she sets out in search of answers. Wandering ever deeper into a web of deceit and government conspiracy, she soon discovers herself in a treacherous struggle for the truth, her life, and the very fate of Equestria itself.

5962 words over 1 chapter



Hey Umbra! I would be honored if you would take a look at chapter 1 of Sunburnt. Garnot has already had a look at it, and referred me to you for further assistance. I'd also like you to look at chapter 2, but that be can at a later time, as the total word count would be over 10K, and because I'm still fixing the errors Garnot pointed out.

>> No. 112854

Oh yes, and with regard to the review style: do your worst, sir.
>> No. 113112
Hullo, Umbra!

I'm a new writer, and as such I would like some intense critiquing on my current piece. Garnot has already combed through it, but I was wondering if you'd like to see the comments that have already been made in Gdocs? Or do you prefer to review blank slates, so to speak?
>> No. 113121


Oh my. I'll spare you the ribbing about that unfortunate typo. I feel compelled to give you my shpeal about the Pony Fiction Vault, however.

The Vault is a great place with a great purpose, and it's run by a great guy. Nevertheless, you should never write because you want recognition. I feel like a broken record every time I talk about this issue, but what the hay?

Furthermore, while I don't think it bothers RBDash when authors submit their own work, your story should speak for itself. RB reads an astounding amount of fanfiction, so chances are he'll read it eventually. If he decides that it's Vault material, you won't need to ask him for affirmation; he'll come to you.

In any case, I'm happy to take a look.



I feel special. Also, Garnot seems to be quite proficient, no?


A blank slate is preferable. Google Docs has a habit of crashing on me when there are too many comments in a single document.
>> No. 113125
1. To Lead Them Home
2. Adventure, Dark, Sad
3. A young stallion is recruited into the Reapers, an organization dedicated to the safe crossing-over of spirits. How does death work in Equestria, and what challenges do the Reapers face?
4. 7,098 words
5. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rGLLNU2RljqU82R6zde-A0Z7SbFjuVP2NWLuVuw156Y/edit
6. I've put a couple comments in at rough places. I think I have an idea where I want them to go now, but I would still love your opinion!

And I'd like a hardcore review, if you don't mind. Knowledge is power!
>> No. 113174
File 134323929295.jpg - (94.04KB , 1024x791 , 199517 - Alicorn artist raikoh14 celestia duplicate luna princess.jpg )
Tags: [Slice of Life]
Synopsis: Celestia awakens to see an empty world, white sandstone stretching the horizon. She wanders the world as she builds it from her imagination, filling it with life, but as time passes, the world that she created begins to seem like little more than a lucid dream, conjured from the dust.
Word count: 3,331
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UNyo-ltjzgom7mhrpywMHCjLUtaQ2Wso6alAqTiMuOo/edit
Additional Notes: This is the first part of a story that may wind up becoming a one-shot. This first part alone may read as headcanon interjection, but it's neither my headcanon, nor only there for that purpose. The way Celestia starts from nothing, alone, and creates the world is central to the plot.
The story was an experimentation in more stylistic writing, and writing in the present tense.
>> No. 113180

A typo? NOOO my reputation as a grammar Nazi is ruined! RUINED! *que randomly-appearing couch*

I appreciate your two bits on the Vault; I realize that my request sounds a bit egotistical, and while I honestly do want to see my story locked away I want to get it to the point that *anyone* who looks at it will have more to say about it than, "Pretty good, but X." It's nothing against Equestria Daily, but pony Fiction Vault sets the bar for the fandom in terms of quality; that EqD accepted my story is amazing and I'm grateful for it, but the fact that I'm still revising it says something.

I write for fun and to contribute to the fandom, and while I strive for some level of recognition, it's nowhere near Trixie's level of attention-craving (I hope).

Regardless, I appreciate your advice and thank you in advance for looking over "From the Mouths of Fillies."

>> No. 113183
*Looks at the stories in the Vault8

I think there is a serious issue with how you are viewing things: having less stories posted does not imply the selection process is better or more valid than EqD, especially when the stories in the Vault are mostly in EqD, and the few that aren't are: porn, not all that good, and just landmark stories rather than good ones.

I think it had to be said.
>> No. 113365
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I gotta disagree with you on that. RBDash has not only shown an unparalleled eye for detail but significantly better consistency in his selection process. (I'm looking at YOU, EqD Prereader E!!!)
>> No. 113373
a) Ride of the Valkyries
b) War, Tragedy
c) After her squadron suffers casualties against part of the changeling army, Rainbow Dash must face an inquiry to discuss the circumstances of the battle. How long can she maintain her composure while reliving the deaths of her friends?
d) Word count: 8599
e) https://docs.google.com/document/d/18IMNTBWIdzkB9sZm-k02H8-jaB84V4-Q8nJ1tczh9Qk/edit
f) In this story, I've taken liberties with tense and perspective that may seem odd to you. It was intentional, so please don't make the mistake of assuming it was a novice mistake.
Also, there are other reviewers who have the link to this document, so depending on when you review it, your comments may coincide with theirs.
>> No. 113407
Hello again, Umbra! Just letting you know, I've also asked Ukai to take a look at my story.
>> No. 113446
Sorry to spam your thread like this, Umbra!

Just keeping you updated--Ukai finished his review, so I've put in a new request in the Anonymous Writing Thread in the meantime.
>> No. 113473
>Realize I have 5+ stories in my queue
>Shit pants

I've got quite a lot of time before work tomorrow, so I'm going to nuke the queue.

Apologies, everyone.
>> No. 113497
Glad to hear it!

I know it's silly, but when you said you could expect my review by Saturday, I thought you meant
Saturday! No worries though, please take as long as you need to
>> No. 113538


Overuse of adverbs, absurd amounts of telling and pacing so quick I can scarcely believe it. Burn it. Burn it to the ground.

Full review

This story... this friggin' story, man.

Here's the deal: I got to the section where Lyra and Bon Bon are getting ready to leave. That's where I stopped, for all the following reasons.

1) Overuse of adverbs

Adverbs are useful when a very specific type of tone or emotion needs to be displayed and ordinary verbs don't quite do the job. However, you use all together too many of them.

Golden Vision mentioned this in some of his comments, and I agree completely. Most of the time, a more creative verb can replace a [verb] + [adverb].

This isn't the damning point of your story; no, that comes later. It's still important, though. I would revise almost all of your adverbs.

2) Telling

Almost every author will tell from time to time. You, however, take the cake. The entire first page of your story is one giant tell, and you have issues of further telling throughout. Observe:

>Lyra had an idea.

>She had to hurry.

>Then Lyra had an absolutely crazy idea.

See what I'm getting at? Your story is infected by this problem through and through. You need serious revisions in this area.

3) Pacing

If your telling and adverb use didn't warrant a rewrite, this certainly does. This story happens ridiculously quickly. Bon Bon comes home, and the next damn thing, they're leaving for Hoofington or something. There's no setup, no explanation of this thing they're looking for... there's nothing.

Here's what I recommend: you need to have Lyra and Bon Bon discuss whatever this Mitlekylero device is way before your whole opening scene. That will provide at least a little bit of background as to what's happening. Furthermore, a lot more needs to happen between when Bon Bon gets home and when they leave for Hoofington.

4) Characterization

I despise your depiction of Bon Bon. It seemed like you copy-pasted Rarity over her and decided, "Fuck this, I don't need to make Bon Bon unique. I've already got dozens of canon personalities to choose from."

When characterizing a background pony, it's like creating an OC; they need to have their own unique motivations, personality, etc.

5) Miscellaneous

I figured I should mention your use of the word "pompous." And by "use," I mean "misuse."

I counted two instances in which you used this word; in both of them, it was incorrect. Pompous is sort of like arrogance, but it's not quite the same. Being pompous basically means being self-important. It's a "down the nose" attitude towards others, if you will.

Final verdict

I was being serious when I said to burn this to the ground. The pacing isn't something you can fix just by revising this chapter; it needs to be redone from scratch. For that matter, a total rewrite would significant improve your characterization and telling issues.

In essence, through every idea you've previously had about this story out the window and restart.

That's what I have for you.


I need commenting powers before I can start. However, I'll tell you right now that at least the first few paragraphs of your story are one long passage of telling.

>> No. 113563
>> No. 113642

Greetings. I have been working on a fic for the better part of three or four months, and am in need of a more reliable pre-reader/editor. Now it's time to follow the rules:

A) Sunset's Last Glow
B) Normal-Slice Of Life, Sad, Adventure
C)One thousand years ago, three of Equestria's finest soldiers prepared to launch a war that was fated to never occur. When Nightmare Moon is defeated for the second time and final time, they are ejected into a very different world than from what they remember.

Phoenix Ember, last loyal member of the Shadowbolts, is left abandoned by his soldiers to his immortal enemy: Celestia. His only hope to survive in this confusing new world where Celestia rules is to learn and understand. Who better to teach him about this Equestria than one of the Elements of Harmony?
D) Overall fic, currently: 29,512.
E) http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/05/story-sunsets-last-glow.html#idc-container (Currently posted chapters)

Google Doc link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n_rKtXlWKnDtqRCZcNq3FpiT90bMd5YgyYKrjEh1Auc/edit (Chapter 6 only, if you want the remainder, please let me know)
>> No. 113770

TL;DR: This story has relatively good grammar, but absolutely no other redeeming qualities. Unless you literally want to rewrite this into a 7,500+ word one-shot, don't bother editing; just scrap it.

Full version

So, I just acted like a dick about your story for all the world to see. Let's find out why.

1) Telling

The hell is with all the telling lately? Far too many times, I've thought: "Wow, this takes the cake in the telling department."


This one takes the fucking cake. I'm not kidding when I say your entire story is one giant tell. It's literally Big Mac explaining shit about his family that anyone reading this already knows, or Big Mac directly revealing how he's feeling. You have no subtlety.

For that matter, even the stuff that's new (such as your narration about their parents, etc.) isn't exciting at all. It's contrived.

Let's label each problem:

a) You're telling
b)You're telling us all the traits of main characters that everyone already knows
c) You're not doing anything new or extraordinary
d) The things that are new are complete uninteresting.

Yeah, problems.

2) Your "twist"

I'm not joking when I say that I knew the "twist" from paragraph two of the story. Big Mac is gay. Man, I never saw that coming in a million years. In other words, the only substantial plot element in your entire damn narrative is given away in the first 10% of your story. I could have closed the document right then and there, and I would have still gotten the same experience. Nothing in your story matters after that.

Remember when I mentioned subtlety above? Yeah, that's what you need for a M/M shipping story. Or any story, for that matter. You need to reveal information bit by bit.

3) The fact that it's all one big fucking block of narration

Narration is important in writing, as there are certain things that simply can't be portrayed via dialogue. The problem with narration comes out when the entire fucking story is narration. There is next to no dialogue in your entire story, and the dialogue you have is as stiff as Kristen Stewart, or Tiger Woods' wood.

Final thoughts

The only elements of your that could have potentially redeemed it are contrived to the point of being laughable. In its current form, no amount of rewrites is going to save this story. My only advice is a complete rewrite from start to finish. Oh, and that you, ya know... make it an actual story, as opposed to Big Mac bemoaning his family's potential reaction to his sexuality for 2,500 words.

If you're determined to keep it, try this. Have the story begin before Big Mac realizes he's gay. Have him gradually realize his waning attraction to mares (for instance, there was no clear reason why he didn't want to go out with Cheerilee; spend some time on that). Maybe he meets up with a nice stallion and they decide to go out to dinner, just as friends. As the night goes on, however, Big Mac realizes that he really likes the guy... etc., etc. Just a few ideas. Play around with them.
>> No. 113807
Title: Not sure yet
Tags: Human
Synopsis: Irrelevant for the scope of this review.
Word Count: 581
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14vzLuw3PXJjfua8TeI2-Y7uU-rCemC-xrHk7QL2do7s/edit

I would like to first start out by saying that this is only the first introductory scene, hence the lack of title, synopsis, and short length. Being that it is only the first scene and that this is a HiE story there is nothing to do with MLP. I will understand if you won't review this based on that. If you do review it, I am primarily interested in if the protagonist comes off as a Gary Stu and if this intro is at all interesting. Having said that, if you notice problems I would like to be informed of them in the most scathing manner possible (hardcore review). Thank you for your time.
>> No. 114132
I'm back for more, Umbra!!

Title: Flying a Kite
Tags: [Grimdark] [Adventure(ish)]

Synopsis: 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.

Word count: ~8600
Chapter 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xLSRxITLwRnOBz3KyoKu0ERxNXDXH8aP2B_o-cN4lN4/edit

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

So yeah, because your previous review was so useful, I'm coming directly to you for more. I ended up rewriting the entire 2nd chapter with your suggestions in mind and it kinda goes faster (in some regards). I guess I didn't listen to EVERY suggestion. Anyway, from the previous review I had some questions that you never seemed to get round to answering (At least I never saw the answer). I left them buried in the training grounds somewhere so here's a link:


I eagerly await your feedback.
>> No. 114144
It's tech-week for the show I'm in, so reviews will be slow(er). >>112753 is up next.
>> No. 114179

I was skeptical. I was very, very skeptical, but after reading this, I actually think it might be Pony Fiction Vault material. I figured this was just going to be another attempt at a cheap sadfic via death, but I see now how wrong I was.

This review is going to be a little strange, so bear with me.

Taking the story in its raw form (without suggestion the overhaul I'm thinking about), it was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

I found all of one structure error (it was an ellipsis somewhere around a third of the way through; I'll highlight it later). Furthermore, I adore the Unreliable Narrator, and the way you portrayed Dinky in this made it absolutely heartbreaking.

Telling-wise, I found two instances, both within the same few paragraphs. Specifically:

>I didn’t wanna wait to see Mommy!


>I wanted to see Mommy!

Honestly, this is a such a nitpick that it borders on insanity. The only way you could improve these sentences is by increasing the sense of desperation. Rather than having Dinky just say she wants to see her mommy, make these statements more profound, more urgent. This is a child who's been stripped of her mother for no apparent reason, after all. Other than that... wow.

Alright, this next suggestion is something I really struggled with. Part of me wants you to rewrite the entire story, because I prefer dialogue over narration. Really, I think the story would be even deeper if you wrote scenes in which Rainbow Dash or Nurse Redheart tried to explain the situation to her, rather than having Dinky narrate it all. It wouldn't really require a lot of new material; you would just need to restructure the story and turn all that narration into dialogue.

HOWEVER! This story was definitely worth the read in its current form. If you did decide to keep the narration, it's not as if the story wouldn't still be wonderful. I just think you can make it even better.

All in all, this was beautifully heartrending. I didn't cry (which I think is what you were going for), but I did feel my heart fall several times. Consider the rewrite I mentioned, but whatever you decide, this was a great work.

Know that I don't hand out praise lightly. Wonderful job, keep at it.
>> No. 114186
File 134375905477.jpg - (11.93KB , 246x172 , Muffintimes.jpg )

You're the first person outside of my own ego to say that this could be Vault material. That right there just made my day.

I'll look at the lines you pointed out to see if I can give *some* sense of increased urgency, but ultimately I'm trying to get across that this is routine for her. Nothing about this hospital visit is out of the ordinary beyond a slight delay. (Which makes things even more melancholic now that I've actually gone and said that. It was totally intentional.)

Regarding narration vs. dialogue, I actually tried making this a dialogue-oriented story in a very early draft and it absolutely did not work. Not that I don't appreciate your recommendation, but I found Dinky's introspection to be a stronger form of storytelling in this case.

Thank you again for your feedback!
>> No. 115682
Yo Umbra,

Due to the amount of fics still in queue before me, I've submitted mine to the training grounds for another pass (hopefully) before you reach it. Figured I could touch up on the changes I made before you tear into them.
>> No. 115685
File 134469589658.jpg - (28.66KB , 550x400 , tumblr_m67251cAiU1ql43kko1_1280.jpg )
>3) Google Docs used to be an optional thing in my thread. It is now mandatory, as much for my sake as for yours.
Pic related.

I curse the fact that either my "smart" phone or "borderline-successful monkey transplant" brain prevents me from operating Google Documents.

I miss out on so many chances to improve my craft...
>> No. 115687
File 134469675319.png - (273.95KB , 1280x1315 , applejack_by_blackgryph0n-d3e1fk3.png )
I humbly submit for your smacking:
a)The Twilight Hours
b)[normal] [slice of life]
c)Applejack's got a secret she'd kept hidden for many years. She's become a master of deception in regards to it. Nopony would ever have guessed what she and Twilight were doing in the library late at night, once Spike had gone to sleep. That is, until a jealous Rainbow Dash decided it was her business to find out just what in the hay was going on.
e) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UmNBrflwY6ihD7hxil65ddIqODZY7OL4ZVqWTw6gx8c/edit

f)This is supposed to be episode-like. The main conflict is not hard to spot, but it won't be directly revealed until later. As of now, I have stopped at what would be the first chapter, but I'd like your opinion on whether or not to make this a multichap or just a oneshot.

Also, this is posted in TTG, but it hasn't been claimed, and it's been there for about a week. I've only had one other editor look over this, so it should not offend too much from a grammatical sense.
>> No. 115727
File 134473020302.jpg - (83.39KB , 885x875 , If These Strings Could Sing.jpg )
Looking for some brutal feedback. I know, easy right? First time I'm looking for outside reviews, but this is also the first story I've taken seriously, so I need to know if I'm doing anything right.

Title: If These Strings Could Sing
Tags: Romance, Slice-of-life
Synopsis: Sometimes, the music says more than words ever could.
She came to escape fame, and a pegasus will bring her back down to earth. Can these two find feelings that go deeper than melodies? Or will a scornful DJ come between them?
Word Count: 10,349
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1agxxM2zmQZmY86U4m2ZeEZDBb3-_5DyanxVMzFLHacM/edit
Anything I'd like to note: If I note anything then I'm hinting about what I want to hear... Just let me know if I'm a failure :-P
Also, I understand the 10k limit, so if you're only willing to do the first two chapters, I'll still appreciate it.
>> No. 115756

Hey. Hey. You. Yeah, you. See rule number eight up there? Just in case you missed it, here it is again.

>8) Read the damn sticky and follow the rules, or I will smack you.

Hey. Hey. Guess what the sticky says? It says that when you request multiple reviews, you're supposed to inform all your reviewers.

Hey. Hey. Guess what else? I already counted three threads in which you dropped this story. None of them included a "This is also in [X]'s review thread" caveat.

Hey. Hey. Guess what? Follow the damn rules, yeah?

As this post implies, my thread is not dead. You may have all noticed that I have a bad habit of forgetting my thread when life gets hairy. I promise at least one review will come out tomorrow. Thanks for being so patient, you guys. I really do appreciate it.
>> No. 115868
Heya, Umbs! Got a new one for you! Also, this is in Trelatyraelis' Review Thread. Just want multiple opinions.

Title: Under A Luminous Sky: Chapter Seven
Tags: Dark
Word COunt: 6026
Synopsis:Equestria is a land of peace. Violent crime is almost nonexistent. Ponyville in particular hasn't had a single case of equicide in all its years of existence. But nothing lasts forever.

A body is discovered in the Everfree Forest. Shortly thereafter, an enigmatic stallion arrives at the local library, dispatched by Celestia herself. Faced with an obstinate police force, Twilight and this strange new pony must put the pieces together and catch a killer. But as the blood continues to spill, one thing becomes terrifyingly clear: in the dark of the Everfree, much more is at stake than mere lives.

Chapter Synopsis: After a bad run-in with the local sheriff, Twilight, Rainbow and Bentgrass sneak into the hospital to examine the new bodies.


I hope you can review this without having read the previous chapters, mainly because I don't want to force you to read it all. But if you need context, here is the current published story:
>> No. 115873

Huh... this is one of those stories that causes me to doubt my own opinion. Let's take a look at your issues anyway.

1) Telling, redundancy and redundancy

I noted in your doc that I couldn't decide what to make of your opening scene. There's quite a lot of telling in each paragraph, and yet it wasn't painful to read. This just goes to show that some rules can be broken, so long as they're broken well. Your style of narration is pretty impressive, if a bit overdone. More on that in a moment.

There are several instances of telling that I would cut. Here are a few:

>ensuring that the delivery pony on the other side could hear him loud and clear.

>Only after exhausting all options did he realize that he had let himself be cornered.

>He prayed the end would come soon.

>She didn't know whether to faint or scream.

There are more noted in your document. Just things to watch out for. Remember, telling is when you directly reveal information rather than implying it. Honestly, it takes months to train yourself to catch it in your own writing, but if you can manage it, you'll be in a better position than most growing authors.

Now, your redundancy... this is a rule that should never be broken. You should avoid stating the same concept multiple times. For example:

>"Ahem," started Twilight, clearing her throat.

"Ahem" is already understood as clearing one's throat, yet the following sentence says exactly that. There were only a few examples of this, but you should still watch out for it.

2) Excessive narration

Or, if you prefer the term, purple prose. It sounds bizarre; I know. Doesn't more detail automatically mean better writing? Not necessarily.

Purple prose simply means that your writing is overly flowery or poetic. Remember, prose and poetry are different genres of literature for a reason. One of the main problems I had with your story was the massive amount of narration. Now, this is sometimes just a stylistic thing, but I prefer stories that are equally dialogue and narration. I feel like dialogue is more immersive than straight narration. For example, when describing the vastness of the library, you could cut down on the mass of narration about it and have Twilight react instead. Basically, you've got Twilight reacting and your narration, at which point it just becomes overbearing. When about a half of your story is spent describing one library, it makes for a difficult read.

3) Dialogue

I had trouble believing a lot your dialogue, particularly when Twilight and Spike were thinking. The content of your quotes wasn't bad, but the way you phrased them struck me as very wooden.

4) Minor technical issues

You had issues with ellipsis spacing, for starters. There should always be a space after an ellipsis (see the first sentence in this review).

There were inconsistencies in your spelling of the word "gray." Both gray and grey are perfectly fine, but you shouldn't use both in the same story.

Lots of Lavender Unicorn syndrome in the first section of your story; be careful not to use the same descriptive term over and over again.

Occasionally, you would miss a punctuation mark or misspell a word. I outlined any instances of this, so just check the comments.

Lastly, the formatting of Page Turner's letter to Twilight was very unusual. I would reformat that.

Final thoughts

All in all, this story is intriguing. You did a good job of painting a picture of the library, even if your descriptions were purple. Tighten up your narration, rewrite your dialogue and fix those technical issues. I'd like to see where you take the story after this.

You done good, kid; you done real good.
>> No. 115889
File 134483283446.png - (26.40KB , 382x479 , Pinkie Pie happy.png )
I may or may not have just shit myself over this story. No way of knowing.

Dude, the fuck is the matter with you for writing a story this good? Stop it.

First of all: very, very few stories have this few comments from me. Only White Box has fewer, and from all the fan-girling I do over it, you guys probably know what that means.

I loved your development of Sparrow. For that matter, I loved the entire atmosphere of your story. At first, I was thinking "Wait, this isn't dark enough to be a fic about death." But then I realized that's the whole point. Well played.

Your story was tight and perfectly paced, save for the first few conversations between Celestia and Sparrow. Revise that, please.

There were very few issues with this, and you're in luck; every single one of them was either formatting or grammar, all of which are simple to fix.

And... that ending. Wow. I re-read those last few lines several times before I got it, but when I did get it? I shivered. I physically shivered. Excellent, excellent work.

I find it kind of funny that I was just bitching about Sunburnt's "excessive narration," and I'm now praising a story that's almost nothing but. Sue me; rules are meant to be broken.

Fix the highlighted problems and then send this into EqD.

>> No. 115891

Oh, wow. I just got the emails from the doc comments, and I'm glad I checked your thread right away--I'm absolutely twittering with glee.

There are definitely a few bits that need fixing syntax-wise, and a couple spots that need rewriting and a bit of expansion, but I'm utterly thrilled that you enjoyed it so much!

Thanks so much for your time and thoughts, Umbra!
>> No. 115898
Many thanks for your input, Umbra!

Indeed, I had a terrible feeling that my writing was riddled with instances of blatant telling, and I'm glad you pointed that out (along with the many other issues). It appears I have much to learn. However, your positive response to my premise is very encouraging, and I plan to thoroughly revise this in the near future. Perhaps I'll even send it your way again.

Until then,

Cheers, and thanks again.
>> No. 115904
Oh, seeing how mine is next in queue, could you look at the second part of chapter one as well? I've broken the story up into 9 parts for planning and writing, but most of the actual chapters are going to consist of 2 or 3 parts. The first chapter is 'Celestia and Luna', which are the names of the two parts in it, and the two parts together only come to 7kish words.

>> No. 116343
I won't be giving line by line commentary until the queue is cleared, as that would take far too long. Should you need edits or proofreading, I suggest checking out the FimFiction proofreading group.
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