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113502 No. 113502
Last Event: >>105796
Accolades and previous event statistics: http://goo.gl/hgnDc
Current list of participants: http://goo.gl/RtmbP
All anthologies: http://www.fimfiction.net/user/fic+Write+Off

Hello, and welcome again to the write-off. This edition marks two special changes in the workings of the event. First and foremost: The prompt is changed. Instead of being prompted with words, you’re going to be prompted with pretty pictures. See >>/art/112923 for how the /art/ side of this event will run. The second change is the judging. Instead of the public doing the initial voting and then the finalists being judged privately, the intial round of judging is done by the authors themselves! Each author is given six stories for preliminary judging, and the top 60% from these rankings make it through to the public-voting stage. Sound good? All right, then. For those not in the know, here’s the lowdown:

– Participants write stories over a 72 hour period
– The stories are prompted by artworks drawn by our friendly neighbour /art/isans.
– Participants submit their work to an anonymous anthology
– Authors and readers then rate the stories
– Finally, everything gets wrapped up with author reveals and winners announced

The contest is open to all willing participants, provided you have the capacity to bring word to metaphorical paper. If you’d like to participate, simply drop your name below and I’ll add you to the list.

• /art/ Submissions close Friday, August 3rd 00:00 UTC.
• Writing begins Friday, August 3rd 04:00 UTC (http://para.ms/time/2012-08-03T04:00:00).
• Submissions close Monday, August 6th 04:00 UTC (http://para.ms/time/2012-08-06T04:00:00).
• Preliminary judging begins Monday, August 6th 08:00 UTC (approx).
• Public voting begins Monday, August 13th 08:00 UTC.
• Event concludes Monday, August 20th 08:00 UTC.

A prompt is given to /art/ on Mon, 30 Jul 00:00 UTC (See >>/art/112923). Prompt suggestions are taken one hour prior in the /art/ thread. When the writing begins—Fri, Aug 3rd 04:00 UTC—the produced artworks will be displayed in the following gallery: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/68611394/Gallery/index.html

These artworks will be the prompts for the stories; each author will choose an artwork as inspiration for their story.

The rules of the event are:
(0) you adhere to the spacing rules outlined in the submission guidelines (http://goo.gl/syCJb);
(1) you start writing only after the prompt is released;
(2) you submit before the deadline;
(3) your story follows all posting guidelines of Ponychan, EquestriaDaily, and Fimfiction;
(4) your story is based on one of the art prompts to a reasonable and discernible degree;
(5) your story is not submitted elsewhere until the event’s conclusion; and
(6) you remain anonymous within all reasonable means until the event’s conclusion.

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

All submissions will be done through the webform indicated in the submission guidelines (http://goo.gl/syCJb). You should check the form out before the event so you know what its guidelines are. The form is strict about the filetype that you submit; it will only accept plaintext files. This means using the “Save as... (.txt)” option in your word processor; otherwise your submission is flat out rejected. (The only chance that I’ll be accepting submissions by email is if there is an error on my end. Failure to understand the given bounds is not an excuse.)

It’s also strict about the deadline, so I wouldn’t go leaving it to the last minute.

Once the stories are collected into an anthology post on the »Fic Write off« Fimfiction account, every author will be given six stories to read and rank for the preliminary round.* The top 60% of the stories from these rankings will go through as finalists in the public voting stage. Once the public voting stage begins, the anthology post is made public and a poll for the public to vote on the finalists is released. The public vote will be the final call on which stories are best; there is no panel judging stage this time around.

*Any author who doesn’t read and rate their given stories will not pass through to the finals.

By golly, we're up to five already. I’m nearly out of these gashi-gashi pictures...

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

[Image source]: http://gashi-gashi.deviantart.com
Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 113505
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Throw me in.
>> No. 113511
Pfft, other things I should be writing? What are those?

A picture's worth a THOUSAND words - I'd have to be crazy to turn down an offer like that. With a thousand word prompt, it's practically written for you!
>> No. 113512
I got a good place last time. Let's give it a shot again.
>> No. 113513

>your story is not submitted elsewhere until the event’s conclusion

Am I to understand this restricts us from outside assistance via reviews/proofreading?

Ah, yes... so that's what fear feels like. I had almost forgotten that fear is not the absence of courage.

I will participate.
>> No. 113514
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A competition, eh? I'M IN!
>> No. 113516
It's more to keep up your anonymity. Just don't go posting it anywhere public.

I doubt you'll have time to get peer review during the event anyway. But if you want to use your time for that, it's your prerogative.
>> No. 113520
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Also, if you guys know any artists, you should invite them to participate. It looks like we'll be having a fair few more authors than writers, so the likelihood of them getting a story written to their art is pretty high.
>> No. 113527
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put me down tentatively. the last two times I did this it was complete crap, although, admittedly - hehehe - my last one was intentionally bad.
>> No. 113532
File 134341311107.png - (112.83KB , 480x360 , Austin Powers.png )
"Quick, Dem, enter before you change your mind!" I find myself telling...myself.

This should be interesting.
>> No. 113534
Guess I'll give it a whirl. I'd like to participate as well, please.
>> No. 113537
Count me in, and I have a question regarding the process.

There is a gap of time between the /art/ submissions ending and the writing portion beginning. Is there any problem with perusing the art "prompts" before the official writing period begins so long as the actual writing remains to be started until after the time period begins. (It's probably not even a big issue anyways, just a thought.)
>> No. 113539
Count me in.
>> No. 113542
>There was a scene break just there.
I hate those because they don't stay when you download the fic off of FimFic as a .txt

But, I guess I'm in.
>> No. 113544
With me traveling almost all day that Saturday, I probably won't have enough time to write, but what the hay, I'll give it a shot.
>> No. 113547

/me remembers the last two stories from the past write-offs. Your stories are always awesome. Yay!
>> No. 113553
Of course, being lazy, I did not think to read the /art/ submission information before posing my hypothetical question.

Disregard if you will.
>> No. 113569
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You know what? This sounds like something that would be quite a bit of fun to participate in.....go ahead and place me on the sign up roster.
>> No. 113573

I'll try to make this, but I have doubts that I'll be able to.
>> No. 113578
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I am sure you will do just fine~ The important thing, my dear, is that you have fun with it!
>> No. 113579
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Alright, I’ll enter. Or, at the very least, I’ll try.

(Life has that nasty habit of unpredictability and an inexhaustible supply of wrenches. My machinations are—on the whole—always screwed over by something.)

That being said, your /fic/ guidelines for FiMFic markup produced this little gem:

[i]Italic text[/b]

Other than that, this sounds like a great idea. Surely there would be one piece that can inspire a delicious fan-fiction from the rotting tomato I call a brain.

Luck to all!
>> No. 113580
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You might want to consider making an addendum to the rules.

Since participants will judge each others' stories, participants must also remain anonymous while giving rankings. If everyone knew what stories were assigned to whom, then all it would take to find out what story any author wrote would be to subtract the union of all sets representing assignments of stories to authors with the exception of the voting assignment of the author in question and then subtract the result from the anthology. After all, no author is going to be assigned his/her own story, amirite?

If artists and non-participants are also going to be voting, then nevermind.
>> No. 113582
I'd actually dispute this. It's more about what you can do on your own, not what a team can do. You could get someone who wasn't entering to read with you as you write and edit on the fly. It wouldn't take much time, and would give the author a leg up. Of course, people could have been doing this all along, and we wouldn't know. It is on the honor system, after all.

>we'll be having a fair few more authors than writers
What, pray tell, is the distinction between the two with regard to this competition?
>> No. 113583
Oh, and add me to the list in case I do come up with something.
>> No. 113584
I will sweep like a broom.
>> No. 113586
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Whoops, inside-out logic there.

The union to subtract from the anthology will be that of the sets of stories *not* judged by each author except the one in question.
>> No. 113589
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Didn't we just get done with this?
>> No. 113593
About two weeks or so, I think
>> No. 113604
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Oh, awesome, I can finally be a part of one of th-

>prompted by artworks drawn by our friendly neighbour /art/isans.

>> No. 113609
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Yeah sure I guess.
>> No. 113610
What is wrong with /art/?
>> No. 113613
You'll get to pick from a bunch of art entries all done to a single text prompt. So, it just like the old write-offs, except there's a bit of a middleman, but chances are you'll be able to find art that will be able to fit whatever prompt interpretation you make.
>> No. 113614
The rankings will be submitted to me by email. How people go about commenting on other's works won't work any differently to how it has before. The best way to do it would just be to post commentary in here with an "Author of..." name.

Additionally—and I forgot to mention this in the op and probably should have—anyone may request to be given six stories to read and rank for the preliminary round, regardless of if they're participating. It's just the participants are given some by default.
>> No. 113615

Roger's last writeoff was over six weeks ago. :o The start anyway.
>> No. 113617
Aww, I liked reading all of the stories. Will the other stories get posted, but not added onto the voting form perhaps?
>> No. 113619
I dislike seeing fanfic as an extension of fanart. It's just a pet peeve of mine.
>> No. 113620
There's always been seven weeks between them. The last one ran a week longer, which is why it seems there was less of a gap.

All the entries will still be in the anthology post. The stories that passed the preliminary stage will be placed at the top of the list, followed by VOTING, followed by all the stories that didn't pass the preliminary stage.

Since the forms don't accept stories that are submitted too late or have too few words, there won't be any "Disqualified Entrants". If something gets disqualified, it'll be for breaking a rule (e.g., porn/gore), and it'll just be deleted from the anthology.

Even though you seem to have answered your own question, for those who are wondering: I'm not going to build the gallery until 04:00 UTC. Well actually, I have class then, so it's going to be built with a cron job, but that's neither here nor there.
>> No. 113622
>more authors than writers

should be more authors than artists
>> No. 113632
Oh, goddammit. :| That was quick.

Initial thoughts: Not so sure how the voting's going to go, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I hope you're willing to be lenient with some of us who don't have lots of time to throw around reading stuff. Though I should at least have more time this time than last time. Time time time.

Second, I'm not so sure that changing both the judging and the prompting at the same time is a good idea.

I do like that you're finally giving us a prompt pool instead of a single one that sucks :V.

Here's hoping my vacation time kicks in and I can have Friday off.
>> No. 113645
... so I guess I'll enter this competition :D

Good luck everypony!
>> No. 113647
Tentative yes. Might be busy this weekend, but if I can squeeze this in, I'm totes there. Because I need more projects on my queue to distract me.

Indeed, but everyone's on an equal playing field. I'm pretty sure every entry in the last round had grammar derps in it. Most voters realize this fact, and will go light on the nitpicking (though overt, repeated grammar issues will get burned, so be cautious :)

Question for Roger! When submitting, should the author be required to specify which illustration they selected as their prompt? Or does it suffice to be "discernibly one of 'em"?
>> No. 113653
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The form has a dropdown list of all the submitted artworks, and it'll spit an error at you if you don't choose one.

So yes, you have to indicate it.

The ranking of the /art/works is determined by how many authors choose their work as inspiration for their story, so getting that data is kinda necessary.
>> No. 113658
Put me down
>> No. 113660
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I'm a textual prostitute. And I have two days of that weekend off. So...

Second verse, same as the first.
>> No. 113666
I'm a bit scared hesitant, honestly.

I got a question. The six fics that are assigned to any given author, they have a week to read and presumably rate them on a scale of 1-10, providing feedback and whatnot. Is that the only six you're obligated to read/review/rate?

Also, if I'm reading this correctly, there's no private judging a top five this time?
>> No. 113669
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I am certain neither of these statements is correct.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from wracking my brain over it all day and now into the night despite the impending 5 AM Saturday chauffeuring of my mother to the airport. What is this I don't even.

I'm thinking there might be a way. Given knowledge of who judges what...

> saged for irrelevance, since it's not going to be an issue anyways.
>> No. 113677
Mas, por favor.

I'll give this another go. Here's hoping the new voting system goes well.
>> No. 113686
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Feh, tonight is shot anyway, so I should just give up any pretenses of being productive.

Correct on both counts. Reviewing the six stories during the "preliminary judging" phase will make your own fic eligible for the "public voting" phase (well, that plus your story getting voted high enough). You as a participant can also vote in the "public voting" stage, but that's optional. This way, every participant receives a minimum of six critiques, while also making the public voting stage less intimidating w.r.t. number of stories and assurance of (relative) quality.

Not as presented. Because every author is writing six reviews and Roger is distributing them evenly, every fic ends up getting six reviews. So, "the union... of the sets of stories *not* judged by each author except the one in question" is still the total anthology, each fic being referenced either (N-6) or (N-7) times.

Roger made a sample output of what this system would look like using Round 4's entrants, if you want to play with some concrete data.

Not to mention, those six are the minimum number of stories that one must review in the "preliminary judging" stage. Additional votes would screw up any attempts to reverse-engineer who-wrote-what. I'm certain there will be some obnoxious tool who will review additional stories, and indeed, who will review their own story just because anonymity is SRS BSNS.
>> No. 113697
File 134345597829.png - (335.61KB , 527x380 , I am about to make a huge mistake.png )
Ah thank you for confirming my suspicions.

Sign me up.
>> No. 113698
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In the prelims, you don't rank them on a scale. You rank them in order of best to worst. This is so the scores are relative rather than arbitrary, for the sake of voter consistency.

The public voting stage will use a 0–10 scale like all previous events. Well, actually, events 1, 2, and 3 used a 1–10 scale, but that's neither here nor there.
>> No. 113702
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> I'm certain there will be some obnoxious tool who will review additional stories, and indeed, who will review their own story just because anonymity is SRS BSNS.
I'm pretty sure that who reads/judges what will be forcefully assigned to ensure equity and fairness both in coverage of stories (read/judged an equal number of times) and in reading/judging work load assignment. The only way one can really guarantee every story gets an equal number of reads and each judge gets close to the same number of work is by finding and sticking with a near-optimal arrangement (I'm working on doing this in Python, just for the hell of it, using simulated annealing and the Metropolis algorithm). Such is the price to pay for not enforcing word limits or ranges for submissions, on account of that might incite accusations of petty tyranny and restricting creativity: ironic petty tyranny in an entirely different form. Ah, who cares, it's impossible to please everyone; this is the internet for Christ's sake. Nevertheless, Roger and I love solving tedious problems through automation, so a soulless fate-choosing machine it shall be to assign judges to stories (whether of his design or mine).

At any rate, in attempting to find a way to figure out who wrote what when knowing who judges what, I proved your statement
> So, "the union... of the sets of stories *not* judged by each author except the one in question" is still the total anthology
I...I can't brain anymore.
>> No. 113705
>soulless fate-choosing machine
The best kind of fate-choosing machine.
>> No. 113707
If the fate-choosing machine had a soul, would we call it God?
>> No. 113708
No, because we can prove the machine exists.
>> No. 113709
>> No. 113722
>> No. 113723
Count me in. I didn't enter anything last contest, but I'mma try something this time.
>> No. 113737
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Gah...I really shouldn't do this. I have so many other fics that need writing/revising.

...Aw, screw it. Count me in.
>> No. 113738
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I joined.

Picture related.
>> No. 113741
File 134351350014.jpg - (153.67KB , 577x1500 , e8b143a7c9a81d1975ef148a8415e28c.jpg )
>I'm pretty sure that who reads/judges what will be forcefully assigned to ensure equity and fairness both in coverage of stories (read/judged an equal number of times) and in reading/judging work load assignment. The only way one can really guarantee every story gets an equal number of reads and each judge gets close to the same number of work is by finding and sticking with a near-optimal arrangement
Mmm right right, this is all coming back to me now. I think Roger had originally suggested that reviewers might be able to request additional sets of preliminary fics from him if so desired, in sets of six fics, such that these additional sets would build toward every fic getting seven or eight reviews. But that probably adds needless complexity to the algorithm, and besides, people can just wait for the public voting phase to review all stories.

This is why I'm still around: for the lemmas.
>> No. 113745
> these additional sets would build toward every fic getting seven or eight reviews. But that probably adds needless complexity to the algorithm, and besides, people can just wait for the public voting phase to review all stories.
Not really. You just put seven or eight copies of each distinct story object into the mix and include uniqueness of stories in a set assigned to any author (but also, not having the author judge his/her own story) as part of the transfer criteria. In fact, that's the way I've set it up already so far. Call it the story exclusion principle if you will, where no two stories can occupy the same state. Ideally, once the temperature has gone down to 0 K, the assignment will have crystallized into as even a division of labor as possible given the length of all the stories.

Not bluffing (entirely). I've a lot on my plate but I'm really looking forward to seeing this thing in action.
>> No. 113747
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I'd just like to apologize for being an idiot and trying to act all smart (me in >>113580 & >>113586).

I would like to butt in once more and say that I've been pondering Mr. Vimbert's gripe (>>113619) as of late, and do believe I understand it fully now.

I imagine a scenario after this competition ends where the artists whose OCs "inspired" winning stories go off to boast about how their ponies have stories written about them, thus making fanfiction a slave to fanart. I imagine that might (unfortunately, for it would be far more entertaining) be far less likely/common than artists get butthurt about writers not interpreting their characters properly and throwing a fit. I say this because I have expectations of /art/ that are not low per se, but not high either, in terms of their character, and that is because, well, I don't know them well enough.
>> No. 113748
Sounds fun. Sign me up!
>> No. 113756
Implies an author is going to do exactly what is described in any given image.
It's said that a picture's worth a thousand words, and each one of those words could spark a story in their own right. It doesn't matter if a writer is given a picture of a Gary Stu eating cake and told to run with it, he more than likely will not write a story about a Gary Stu eating cake. There's countless ways to interpret something, and if it's not in the way the original creator imagined, then there's a sort of awesomeness to that. If someone doesn't like that, then they can leave.

While the scenario you described is an unlikely one, it is still possible, and at any rate the artist would probably be hurting themselves by going around showboating like that. I really don't think anyone has a stake driven so far up their rear and a head so narrow minded that needs to be a concern. Again, it could happen, but it most likely won't.

And about fanfiction being a slave to fanart? Artwork is the last thing to come to mind when I write something. Like anything, it sure as hell can be an inspiration, but by no means does that mean an artist or writer should explicitly conform to what they are explicitly given. Where's the fun in that? In funtime activities such as this, some inspiration is given to you so you don't have to waste your time finding all of it.

And I don't mean to insult/upset/hurt/rustle/disprove/start an argument with you. I personally just dislike the notion that people are always assholes, and that's kinda what I misinterpreted from the scenario you described. I guess I'm venting?

God, that was way too wordy. I need some Doritos.
>> No. 113758
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> While the scenario you described is an unlikely one, it is still possible, and at any rate the artist would probably be hurting themselves by going around showboating like that. I really don't think anyone has a stake driven so far up their rear and a head so narrow minded that needs to be a concern. Again, it could happen, but it most likely won't.
> ...
> I personally just dislike the notion that people are always assholes, and that's kinda what I misinterpreted from the scenario you described. I guess I'm venting?
Just the perception that they're capable of being immature. Of course they'd be making themselves look bad if they showboated, but one can't assume they'll be savvy or self-conscious enough to realize that (unless familiar with them), and it could lead to the very thing happening. That's all I had really meant to say.
>> No. 113769
I personally find the matter very odd considering this is, in fact, fan works we are talking about, which makes the idea that making something based off something else be bad a bit weird and a tinge hypocritical.

As a side note, I have yet to see a case where a story being based of a picture, other fan work or otherwise, has had any effect in any other story or the praise each receive.

A bit cliche, but it bears to remember that Fallout Equestria began because of a picture Kkat saw and decided to make something based off it.
>> No. 113771
If you've paid even the least bit of attention, you'd realize that's not in the least bit what's been discussed here. It's not an issue that derivative works are made.

The issue is that, I think we can all agree, it would certainly not very admirable to use derivative works based on one's own work for ego-bolstering, unless the derivative work was made purely out of enjoyment and tribute to the original work. In the case of this writing competition, derivative works will made, but the act of making derivative works is a part of the competition. What would be irksome is if an artist used a writer's work (or vice versa, which not impossible) to say "hey look, my work has fan art/fiction made after it." That is, unless the original work is so good that the creator of the derivative works him/herself praises it and thinks it deserve whatever attention their derivative work grants the original work.

Now do you understand?
>> No. 113772
File 134352977708.png - (1.22MB , 1024x768 , _new_version__pinkie_pie_and_her_ford_mustang_by_the_lexus_guy789-d549ust.png )
I'm back, beetches!

Sign me up.
>> No. 113773
Actually, that is the assumption being carried out by you two in relation to the subject at hand: the problems and issues of authors writing stories based off artists.

I made a wide statement which basically states that any and all considerations that say that somehow doing so can actually yield a bad result to anyone involved when you are dealing with fan work to begin.

As for your specific subject, the notion that it is somehow bad for an artist to go "hey guys, I made a picture that someone thought good enough to make a story, I am the best" is just as odd for these two reasons:

1.) The counter position, that of artist making artwork for stories, is not only encourage but taken as a milestone by writers (I will not specify whom because that is not pertinent) as to how good their work was. It is hypocritical to support the creation of story based stories and consider that to be a good thing and the opposite to suddenly be some sort of unsurmountable issue.

2.) Unless I am unaware of someone getting paid for this, everyone is doing this as part of an attention grabbing scheme where they attempt to get people to praise them as it is their only real reward for either activities. To say it is bad for an author to boost his ego by pointing to others works he has helped inspire (by default or otherwise) involves quite a lot of blindness to the fact, again, this is fan works we are talking about. Do you know a single person who does anything artistic in this fandom that can say with a straight face he doesn't want whatever little fame comes from being known amongst bronies? Pointing to artist and saying that somehow bad is, well, hypocritical (to repeat).

I had a third point, but I don't know if it matters at this point.
>> No. 113776
Fair enough, but again, we're talking about fan art/fiction made not out of actually being a fan of the source material (thought if that plays a part, it's the artist/author's prerogative), but as part of the competition. It's de-facto fan fiction / fan art.

As has been stated, however (by at least one person with more faith in internet humanity than I have) it's not likely that anyone would be so immature as to do that, and as I believe you are trying to say, works of fan art/fiction are fully capable of standing on their own merit (because they don't totally owe their greatness to the source material), and proclaiming a work to be the main spark of inspiration for any other work would have few people if anyone fooled.
>> No. 113778
While this is an interesting discussion, I don't think the concerns are well founded. A bigger cause for concern is the turnout in the /art/ event being dwarfed by the /fic/ turnout. Right now we have almost a 5:1 ratio between the sign-ups. I don't know if that's necessarily a bad thing, but I'd like more people getting into the /art/ side of this.

So, basically, advertise the /art/ thread to any artists you know. I think the incentive to participate is pretty good; I just don't know of many venues to advertise this. I haven't the first clue as to how deviantArt and tumblr art communities work, and supposedly a lot of the fandom's artists hang out there.
>> No. 113781
File 134353272983.jpg - (149.91KB , 786x1017 , not_so_patriotic_discord_by_thedracojayproduct-d4rj7bm.jpg )
It would seem that I had the wrong perception.

Any souls brave enough to attempt story-inspiring artwork before the lot of us deserve the attention if they can pull it off.
>> No. 113838
Well, it's your first time for this (right?), so turnout being low isn't unusual.

Also, having 50 pieces of art and 30 writers wouldn't be very conducive to anything, now, would it?
>> No. 113858
Since people are going into this type of stuff, I'll go ahead and rehash a discussion I had with Roger about it.

My concerns are the following:

Artists create pictures from a text prompt. Writers can then pick whatever pictures they like. Artists may interpret the prompt quite figuratively, and writers may interpret the picture quite figuratively. Thus, the story may have absolutely no connection to the original prompt. That is fine. But I can see voters deducting from such a story because "I couldn't see any connection to the prompt," mistaking that the story should flow from the prompt, not the art. Writers may then play it safe and write to the prompt, just picking whatever token art seems to suit their interpretation of the prompt or that merely contains whatever character they choose to use. The art is then meaningless, as it inspired nothing.

Secondly, writers are picking art that gives the writer an idea, or syncs with an idea the writer got from the prompt. Quality of the art doesn't enter into it. I think the chances are fairly low, then, that the writer will keep that art as his cover picture if and when he posts the story on FiMFiction or EqD. Then you've got an annoyed artist that won't participate again. In fact, anticipation of such may keep the artist turnout low.

Lastly, having the public voting be the last word will be... interesting. In the first few write-offs, it really wouldn't have made much of a change, but in the last one, the judges had some very different opinions than the public.
>> No. 113892
Makes me wonder: is there any competition on the /art/ end of things, or are they just supplying material for the writers? I agree that for the reasons mentioned there is insufficient incentive for artists to participate.

Also, why the hell should the prompts be given to the writers if they are supposed to be writing stories based on the art? Shouldn't it just be given to the artists? I demand an explanation!

If writers had to use only pictures and not words for the writing prompt, it's more likely the pictures will retain a stronger connection to the story and thus see use as covers.
>> No. 113893
I think I'm coming into this a little late, but here goes.

>Unless I am unaware of someone getting paid for this, everyone is doing this as part of an attention grabbing scheme where they attempt to get people to praise them as it is their only real reward for either activities.

I'm only participating to experiment with creative synthesis. Take two things, mash'em together, get more than what you started with. The competitive aspect isn't particularly important to me as anything but a motivator. Though I fully admit that if I do win, I will probably crow like a rooster.

>Also, having 50 pieces of art and 30 writers wouldn't be very conducive to anything, now, would it?

In a race between thirty people there are thirty "final ranks," each unique. But if thirty people take a written test comprised of five true/false questions, there are exactly six possible ranks: the participants answered anywhere from zero to five questions correctly. They aren't unique: Everybody could get a zero, or everybody could get a five. If more than one person scored the highest, a tiebreaker is needed.

In this case, we only need enough writers to add distribution and minimize tiebreakers.This contest isn't necessarily an "Everybody gets a prize" thing, but some pieces of artwork might get no stories written about them (probably a lot of them will). Will this anger artists? I dunno. I think I'd feel disappointed if my hard work was ignored. Perhaps we can involve writers and artists in the judging process to give them a better sense of contribution, rather than let them wait to feel neglected?

The prize is nice, but it's the race itself that matters most. How can we make the journey more satisfying than the destination? I'd love to find a way to make this contest an "everybody gets a prize" thing, but still make it satisfying.

>Secondly, writers are picking art that gives the writer an idea, or syncs with an idea the writer got from the prompt. Quality of the art doesn't enter into it.

This is my thinking, but I don't know how it will actually go. In all likelihood, I will probably try to pick something quirky, or that gives me a quirky idea to play with. I like putting a twist on things. I'd like to say that the quality of the art won't matter, but good looking art will probably stick in my mind's eye much more effectively.

Let's say somebody posts a really crudely scribbled crayon drawing on lined paper, depicting the Cutie Mark Crusaders standing together and smiling cheerfully... except that Scootaloo has no eyes, and tentacles instead of wings. The art looks like garbage, but I'm already thinking of the story title "My friends don't know."

>I think the chances are fairly low, then, that the writer will keep that art as his cover picture if and when he posts the story on FiMFiction or EqD. Then you've got an annoyed artist that won't participate again. In fact, anticipation of such may keep the artist turnout low.

This is a concern for me, since I think of co-operation and collaboration as the real goal here. Consider making a condition that the original art must be coupled with the story when publicly displayed. Readers who are aware of the contest's nature will be less judgmental of the art (and writing) on it's own. Readers who are too judgmental to appreciate it don't matter, since you don't want their attention anyways.
>> No. 113902
The art "winner" is the one whose picture is used by the most artists, but I'm unclear on whether that includes the entire field, or just the 60% that pass the first round of judging. The text prompt won't be displayed in the /fic/ thread as such, but people can follow the link over to the /art/ thread to see it and even suggest ones during the hour that they're being taken. Plus, the contest/anthology title will be the final prompt, which will imply a certain connection to the stories, particularly to those who aren't in /fic/ enough to know how this round is different, but have read/voted previous ones.

>a condition that the original art must be coupled with the story when publicly displayed
There's absolutely no way to enforce that, other than Roger removing a violator from the anthology after the fact, which I doubt he'd do. I think the fact that these write-offs attract a decent amount of traffic from EqD and FiMFic that will see the entire art gallery is enough that no such restrictions will be made.
>> No. 113907
>There's absolutely no way to enforce that, other than Roger removing a violator from the anthology after the fact, which I doubt he'd do.

Well... yeah. I was thinking less about hard rules, and more of a clearly stated guideline: "Do this to not be a jerk," or some-such.
>> No. 113959
File 134361330762.png - (298.39KB , 1280x1024 , itI2b.png )

Here it is on Github:
>> No. 114040
Ah, a competition, a good prodding tool.

Tell me, is it too late to sign up?
>> No. 114046

Nah, it's not too late.
>> No. 114074
Anyone can participate, and it's not too late to sign up? Why, this sounds like more fun than a cylinder filled with primates!

No, but seriously now. I'd like to participate, if I can.
>> No. 114083
Not too late? Well in case it wasn't clear, sign me up to this shindig.
>> No. 114125
File 134370300332.png - (34.03KB , 512x512 , 1342060128872.png )
Put me down. Hopefully I'll have time to participate.
>> No. 114201
File 134376697178.png - (105.38KB , 440x599 , Wave.png )
I've had the idea of doing something like this for fun before, so....count me IN.

I'm pretty stoked. I will say that it is possible I might have to back down (getting a new job...interview today)...but we'll assume I'm in for now. Pretty excited!
>> No. 114318
File 134383238377.png - (418.22KB , 1920x1080 , 7308 - exploitable rainbow_dash.png )
I'm back, and my writing-bone itches.

I would like to participate!
>> No. 114320
File 134383317217.png - (355.76KB , 900x644 , Soarindash.png )

Methinks you should get that checked. Also, since everyone else is posting ponies, here's an adorable pony post. Yay.
>> No. 114323
File 134383357085.gif - (1.95MB , 254x180 , kFUNT.gif )

Kidding, nice seeing you back, just look at the picture to the left and you are in.
>> No. 114369
File 134391042386.jpg - (75.00KB , 800x600 , 1337193814462.jpg )
Well, it is the /art/friend edition, after all. ^^

I... um... Okay! Thank you!
>> No. 114388
File 134392844691.png - (235.50KB , 800x1000 , 1331832776594.png )
Of course The Great and Powerful Trixie will be gracing this contest with her presence once again - you still haven't given Trixie the gold medal she so rightfully deserves.
>> No. 114418
5 hours, and just under 2 minutes before the /fic/ side of this starts.
>> No. 114420
File 134395035041.png - (97.83KB , 586x398 , 5.png )
Then I wish you the best of luck, for that gold star is almost certainly to be mine~
>> No. 114433

I'd like to participate in the write-off!
>> No. 114447
File 134396638161.png - (232.46KB , 900x666 , lyra_just_wants_a_hug_by_bronytoss-d4x112o.png )
Ooo, it's about to start. Ready, steady, go!

Good luck, everyone!
>> No. 114448
It should be starting soon, everyone. Best of luck to you all.
>> No. 114449
Good luck, everyone!
>> No. 114451
Derp. Forgot to turn the Dropbox daemon on.

Here's the gallery: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/68611394/Gallery/index.html
>> No. 114452
File 134396751367.jpg - (54.65KB , 650x1000 , _mlp___fim__oc___derpy_hooves_by_mekamaned-d51i4l5.jpg )
So... for clarification, we pick from one of those... any of those?
>> No. 114457

Yup. Pick a picture and start writing away. :D
>> No. 114461
File 134397072662.png - (23.22KB , 945x945 , shrugponyscootaloo.png )
>Pinkie of the Opera
inb4 creepypasta

eh, nothing against the artists--it's not you, it's me--but I'm going to skip this one, anything I would write from one of those would be absolute crap, so I'm just going to spare you all the trouble, and return to that review that I haven't even started yet.
>> No. 114462
Very interesting pictures, I like the ideas I'm getting.
>> No. 114469
File 134397212934.png - (204.82KB , 615x944 , I Am the Law.png )

It's all good, Minjask. I'm not joining either, but mainly due to 11 hour work schedules and penchant to waste time. Since I'm listening to some Touhou, I'll through this pic up for both our sakes. Feel free to ignore everything but the first line ^_^

(I'm not thinking straight, aren't I?)
>> No. 114471
If the POINT of the image isn't the character roles, how at liberty should we feel to swap ponies around?
>> No. 114473
So, once we get titles down we stop using our names and use "author of ___" correct?
>> No. 114474
File 134397587745.jpg - (71.23KB , 806x990 , baby_scootaloo_on_nightmare_night.jpg )
Well, if my understanding of this is correct, The story isn't supposed to be written about the art. The art is simply to inspire the writing. And I think Roger will back me when I say that the point of the prompt is simply to keep ponies from beginning their writing beforehand.

It is recommended. If you're clever enough, you might be able to discuss the stories under your usual name without compromising anonymity, but it is much easier if you post as "Author of _____" Unless of course you're me. I derped my first time around, everypony knew
>> No. 114479
The /art/ prompts are more guidelines than actual rules. How much you extrapolate is really at your discretion. Just be aware that voters do seem to dock points for weak prompt relevance.

Seeing as there's no scenery images, it seems reasonable to allow you to swap characters. I've said before that the prompts shouldn't lock you into certain characters; I don't want people writing characters they aren't comfortable with.
>> No. 114486
File 134397906735.png - (131.54KB , 900x818 , vector__breadlyra_by_francis0000a-d4vib7w.png )
You know? I actually garnered an idea from one of those pictures. But then I thought to myself, "What keeps me from just making this an original fiction short story?"

Answer was simple: Nothing.

So, I guess I'm dropping out. No use coming up writing a fanfic that can be easily transferred to reality.
>> No. 114492
Oh wow, I completely missed it this time. For my health and sanity, that was probably for the best...
>> No. 114493
Just finished my entry.

Will proofread for submission tomorrow evening/Saturday morning.
>> No. 114506
It's interesting how artists and authors differ in thinking. At least in this case, the objective for them should have been, "Draw an image that will inspire a story," yet many of these are already telling their own stories. I'm very interested to see how the art contest turns out, because I predict it will be the plainest images that come out on top.

That said, not feeling it. :/ We'll see how the day progresses.
>> No. 114517
File 134400336484.png - (203.73KB , 417x316 , Luana_Alakazam_Reflect.png )
O Lawd indeed.

SCIENCE! No clue what any of that means.

If either of you win, I commend you! Can I touch it? I'll let you have a taste of my consolidation cake.

And there're the guests of honor now! Oh dear... oh. Oh my. Well, I can never say you haven't given me a challenge now, Roger.

Bonne chance.
>> No. 114519
File 134400430343.gif - (70.00KB , 360x360 , 15968-animated-artist-mihaaaa-clapping-clopplauding-gif-Octavia-reaction_image-reaction_ponies.gif )
I was THIS close to dropping out, but I just realized that one of these pictures will let me write a fic off of a prompt that I've been thinking of for a long time. Wish me luck!
>> No. 114522
File 134400517971.png - (233.80KB , 435x406 , 157.png )
Oy! I missed the gate-opening! Now everyone's taken off without me, it would seem.

NO MATTER! Come, with me! We shall have a wonderful time creating the Shakespeare of future generations!
>> No. 114527
Came over here from /art/ out of curiosity. (Y'all use a *lot* more words than we do.) I know I'm guilty of the telling stories thing; to compensate I tried to cram in enough little details to spur on multiple stories, thinking some will latch on to this part or that part, ignore the rest and write their own thing.

(Someone else's picture makes me want to write something; can we play on both sides of the field?)
>> No. 114529
>Well, I can never say you haven't given me a challenge now, Roger.
Really? I think the winning artwork is obvious. It has nothing to do with visual quality, either. Of course, I always look forward to being proven wrong.

As for progress, I've only just finished staring out a window. Can't skimp on the most important step, can we?
>> No. 114531
File 134401263848.jpg - (17.73KB , 219x230 , Chinese Art.jpg )
>Really? I think the winning artwork is obvious. It has nothing to do with visual quality, either.

Indeed it has nothing to do with the visual quality of the artwork. However, I don't think the winner is obvious. I know which one gave me the best idea, but there are others that could inspire good—better, even—pieces. I'm slightly disappointed that many of the works are so polarizing, though.
>> No. 114532
File 134401532584.jpg - (225.33KB , 1259x855 , derpy_and_the_ladybug_by_da_andi-d4rq437.jpg )
>(Someone else's picture makes me want to write something; can we play on both sides of the field?)
Roger could say for certain, but personally I don't see why not.
>> No. 114536
Requesting a clarification of the rules. Because I am a dummy.

>Scene breaks must be indicated by an [hr]. Weak scene breaks must be indicated
by three blank lines.

What is the exact difference between a weak scene break and the regular kind?
>> No. 114550
Oh god. Do I have time for this? Oh man I want to do this argh argh
>> No. 114551
Yeah some of these definitely tell their own stories too strongly. Looking at you, Musical Showdown and Bonbon's Dream.

And I'm worried that if I go with the ones I love, I'll just be following the herd. Whatever, though--if there's one thing I've learned from my time ficcing, it's that what you write has to be for love.
>> No. 114566
File 134403024183.png - (1.77MB , 870x709 , 18.png )
I have stared out three windows, climbed 1/4 of the Everest, and am now gaining wi-fi from these awesome monks who are teaching me kung-fu, all part of my inner journey to find myself.

Soon, I will have gathered enough contemplative knowledge to start writing. Wish me a warm fire, everyone, and I will do the same for you.
>> No. 114567
Godspeed, random person. I hope to get most/all of my writing complete tomorrow.
>> No. 114568
I also have a tripcode. How incredibly odd.
>> No. 114569

I'm probably going to end up writing a large portion of it today, doing nothing tomorrow, and then rushing everything in an hour before the deadline. Just like when I wrote EO quests! It'll be great fun, I'm sure.
>> No. 114570
File 134403067442.png - (252.73KB , 933x613 , 24.png )
Ah, I figured it out. Pesky exclamation marks, getting into my name.

Well, now that I've got that settled, the monks are kicking me out. I'll see you at the peak, everyone. Then we can go skydiving, but with more pointy rock.
>> No. 114573
Yes, you may enter both competitions, but you can't use your own image with your story.
>> No. 114577
I was able to work one into a previous idea (this is what I do for every writeoff, fyi), and strangely it wasn't the picture that I thought had the best shot at being inspirational. TO THE WORDSES!

No you don't, you still have a contest to wrap up. >:|
>> No. 114584
What contest?
>> No. 114589
Nevermind, I just found out that he did, last month, and never linked to it in the main thread, so I didn't know about it until right now. :|
>> No. 114612
File 134405186904.png - (26.03KB , 300x244 , TrollFace.png )

Well, nice to know the trolling angle is covered in my absence. You sir get a Troll Faic of approval.
>> No. 114613
May just do that, once I figure out how to push this thing from 2300 words to 2500 without ruining it.

(Man, writing is exhausting. No wonder I spend most of my time doodling.)
>> No. 114616
File 134405607899.jpg - (612.63KB , 2686x1791 , QNVu4.jpg )
I think I'm going to write a story based on one of the pieces of art which appear to be differentially skillful* just because I love irony.

Off-topic, I picked up this book recently from a friend:
I love it. It has been indispensable in granting me inspiration for when I desire to write or speak with facetious verbosity.
>> No. 114620
Submitted, with ample padding to hit 2600 words.
I will graciously bow out of the writing side of the competition (or at least the voting) if it's determined to be a conflict for having drawn a prompt (not the one I used for this story).

Still, it was kinda fun, and for some reason the idea would not let me go. As soon as I saw the picture prompt I had vignettes in my head that had to go down on paper. It's not like sketch ideas where I can basically write a few words in Evernote and still keep the picture in my head. I had to spend two hours at the office this morning furiously typing the outline into notepad and trying to make it look like I was doing real work...
>> No. 114629
Based on what you've said, you're in the clear. You're free to enter both sides of the contest, provided you don't use your own art as the prompt. Since you have time left, maybe you'd consider another entry? You can enter as many times as you like, but only your highest-finishing entry will be recorded with the awards.
>> No. 114635
Going to pull out of this, unfortunately. I work 20 hours from today until Sunday, so I don't have the time (or the energy).

Good luck to those involved! There's some decent material to work with in there!
>> No. 114644
Can't imagine trying that again anytime soon. Drawing and especially coloring is relaxing. Writing is exhausting.
>> No. 114645
Well, I have two ways to take this, but there's one I really wanna go in. The question is, can I pull it off? We'll find out after this 2 days worth of doing nothing.
>> No. 114669
Bear in mind that if you make two entries, you'll have to read and rate six stories for each of them to get into the prelims.

...Also, I don't think the algorithm takes an author writing two stories into account, so... Actually, it might not be such a good idea. ;3
>> No. 114670
>Bear in mind that if you make two entries, you'll have to read and rate six stories for each of them to get into the prelims.
Well, shit.
>> No. 114672

>Tries to write three stories for the lulz just to spite you.

Three stories at 2,500 words each is just like one story at 7,500 words anyway, right?

Muwahwahwah. Quick, tell Dem to fix the algorithm for multiple entries. Hehehehe.
>> No. 114678
I don't think I'm gonna be able to do this one. I don't have the time this weekend, and my fic isn't pulling together. A last-minute changeup is what I always end up doing, and it never turns out well. So I think I'm just going to cut my losses.
>> No. 114694
Ahaha! Finally got an idea!

How about you guys?
>> No. 114695
Lemme check...

>95 words

I think it's coming along nicely.
>> No. 114696
Ha! I have a whopping 794 words! I'm getting all sorts of places that are only the tiniest fraction of my mental plotline.
>> No. 114718
Will a non-linear three-plot-thread HiE sadfic be any good? Only one way to find out.
>> No. 114724
File 134410737013.jpg - (95.58KB , 800x450 , Writier's Block.jpg )
Status Report: 794 words

Warning: possible Mary Stu OC inbound.
>> No. 114725
Is there any specific word limit for the contest, or do we just use the default limit for FimFiction?
>> No. 114726
File 134410750106.jpg - (104.13KB , 800x609 , Full Steam Ahead!.jpg )
At least 2500 words.
>> No. 114727
Okay, title changed, but meh...

Hey, is there any specific word count required beyond the fimfiction 1k? Cause if there is, I need to write a little more. Otherwise, I'm done writing.
>> No. 114728

Mkay, I'll keep that in mind. But I'm gonna wait for Roger to confirm that before I try to add more words to my story.
>> No. 114729

I have a solid idea, but I've yet to touch base on a word count. Just some planning and notes, and doubt about what makes it "pony". That last part is kinda minor in my head at the moment. Should be able to start writing today before/after work, and finish before it's due tomorrow.
>> No. 114730

>> No. 114733

How did I not see that? I don't even see a link in the OP.

Am I blind?
>> No. 114738
All right, my woefully inadequate spot editing is complete.

I know we aren't required to include the prompt given to /art/ in the story, simply to write using the art as our inspiration, but I couldn't help myself. I knew the artist of my chosen piece had the prompt in mind while working on it, so I went ahead and included it as a theme for my story.

Additionally, are we allowed to reveal what piece we chose while writing the story, or should we let that stay a mystery until the end?
>> No. 114739
And only a day after I hit submit do I notice the typos and grammatical bugs.

So, many, gratuitous, commas,,,.
>> No. 114753
File 134411761598.jpg - (54.42KB , 389x411 , 323.jpg )
After sliding down the opposite side of the mountain on a giant rock, dispatching a secret Russian Organization, and dealing with a love interest through strangely out of place angst, I find myself stuck on the bottom of the seafloor, in a quite impossible air dome...bubble thing.

It seems I'll be staying here until my writing is complete.

Progress so far
>approx. 600 words.
>(Not excellent)
Time to bring in more characters.
>> No. 114755
File 134411863483.png - (93.37KB , 208x255 , Seriously.png )
Status report: 913 words

Validating claims of a Mary Stu OC. Certainly a possibility. Standby.
>> No. 114756
870 words! Ahahah... Well, the padding process has begun. I basically finished at that amount. Don't ask how. I don't really know.

Artists, why you no give me epic writing idea to go off of?

Anyway... 1600 words of fluff? No problem. No-o problem.
>> No. 114766

Speaking as one of the artists, it was a short amount of time to wrap our heads around a fairly tall order.

We're fan artists, we hone our craft to make ponies do things they haven't done yet, or to make ponies that don't exist yet. We build worlds and stories, just like you writers do.

But what you need for a story prompt is more like something to evoke a mood. That's why your word prompts are the way they are, they're poetic metaphors.

We usually draw portraits and stories. You needed us to draw a haiku.

I'd almost say next time you need an artist prompt that's more like: "Choose any three of the following five objects and draw them in a pony universe setting, but you cannot draw a pony."
>> No. 114767
I have to say, with almost no exception, most of these pictures were good enough to evoke a good idea for a story. The only ones that were more difficult was when the pictures were 'telling their own story', leaving little to no room for interpretation.
>> No. 114768
File 134412438075.png - (143.76KB , 290x400 , Seriously Now.png )

That's what you think.
>> No. 114769
Oh, yes. One of the stories evoked in me an excellent idea. However, it only a ~1000 word idea. Hence my use of the word "epic" [regarding length] and spoilers for sarcasm. It was mostly my own human fallibility that caused my ruin.

*cracks knuckles* Time for FLUFF.
>> No. 114773
File 134412510923.png - (150.24KB , 448x448 , SBot.png )
Had a bit of a tough time getting started, but I'm really rolling now.

2700 words, probably a little more than half-way done.
>> No. 114775
Well, there's still more than a day left. You can always delete and resubmit it.
>> No. 114782
Ha! Unmasked!
>> No. 114783
File 134412963697.png - (155.69KB , 416x400 , You Can't Be Serious.png )
>>114782 Nope. Just some wonderful coincidence.

Status report: 1150 words
>> No. 114786
I too was surprised by the crazy coincidence of identical word counts. But it was just a progress post so I'm certain my story won't have anything near so close at the end. Assuming I can get my story past the 2500th word in time in any case.
>> No. 114787
File 134413013435.jpg - (1.18MB , 855x481 , 131223374117.jpg )
Why are people around here naming/identifying stories as their own before submitting them (or writing them, for that matter)?

I'm at 808 words, having fun but a bit worried I may not be finished on time.
>> No. 114790
Personally, it's a quirk of mine. Once I get an idea for a story, before I can even expand on it I have to get a title down.
>> No. 114796
Protip! When you test your finished story in FimFiction's editor, do not click the download button to save it as a text file. The submission form will not like you if you try to upload that file.

Or maybe it's just me.
>> No. 114798
No, it happens to everypony that tries it.
>> No. 114817
Great. Now that I know I can tweak it, I'm not going to be able to leave it alone.

The prose is growing more purple and disgustingly florid by the second...
>> No. 114818

Assuming an author-of identity lets us brag about our fics to trash-talk each other without giving up our identity. Warden really shouldn't mention word-counts under his name.

Speaking of trash-talk: full outline and now standing at 3k words. Who's the au-thor, who's the au-thor? It's my birthday*; who's the au-thor?

*not really
>> No. 114820
Mentioning wordcounts far below the minimum for submission is fine and isn't going to come close to being able to identify my story. It was the discussion of final wordcounts in the first one that led to the whole discussion thing. Now, as I've approached something of a submittable story now, I'm going to refrain from talking about it. (At least I don't use a particular set of pictures that might give me away.)
>> No. 114831
File 134413981481.jpg - (54.81KB , 377x400 , 131152233312.jpg )
I think to myself as I write this, "you can't write. You haven't had enough practice. You're not good enough to make a notable contribution." I give myself the condescending Costanza look (can't find the pic on my hard drive, so here's a pic with Rowan Atkinson). Then I suck it up, write another paragraph, and impress myself again.

Glad I entered. Hope I can finish this in time.
>> No. 114832
>Speaking of trash-talk: full outline and now standing at 3k words. Who's the au-thor, who's the au-thor? It's my birthday*; who's the au-thor?

Um... 12k in one-point-five days. All I did today was fuss over errors and formatting.

To be honest, I envy writers who can do more with less.
>> No. 114873
File 134415452732.png - (314.21KB , 600x601 , Exploitable4.png )
Status report: 2,055 words written.

And it's 1:15 in the morning. I got work tomorrow, and then three blissful hours before the deadline. Dammit. I'll go typing to the last minute, but there's the slight chance I won't be finished in time.
>> No. 114876
Status report:

All Atlantians are now bronies. Also, Elvis and Edgar Allan Poe.

Approx. 1300 written in total.

I need to just set aside like, an hour, for writing. Otherwise, I'm not gonna make a coherent story.
>> No. 114882
Status report: 2,770

It's complete and I'm off to bed. Here's to fluffing and editing for three hours tomorrow, rushing last minute to get this thing submitted!
>> No. 114884
File 134416046690.jpg - (52.85KB , 675x450 , aj-office-meeting.jpg )
Status report: 3755 words in ~10 hours.

This story is out of control. I love it, but God I hope it doesn't get much bigger. I just need to finish it, dammit. I am a slow writer.
>> No. 114906

I finished with a length of 2.7k words, give or take a few. Hmm... feels low, but I managed to reach an ending that satisfies. Or at least, satisfies the write-off. I suspect that I'll be changing it in future edits.

Written in 1st person. Oh god, what am I doing? If people don't like my story, that'll be why. It's my first story written in 1st person.
>> No. 114925
Haven't started yet! A few ideas I ended up not being happy with, and nothing more. Inspiration's gotta strike soon, yeah?
>> No. 114933
It's now or never! You can do it.
>> No. 114936
>Looks at submissions so far
You guys write too many damn words.
>> No. 114957
File 134419989986.jpg - (30.16KB , 320x320 , Persona2InnocentSinOriginalSou.jpg )
Welp, I'ma drop outta this. Thought I would pull something off in the 11th hour but things happened.

Good luck to everyone else though. I look forward to the entries.
>> No. 114973
I lied.

I said I wasn't gonna do it, then I started writing a fic anyway, then I got fed up because I needed to write a song to go with it, then I kicked something out this afternoon. We'll see if it's any good, I guess.
>> No. 114974
File 134420879453.jpg - (621.71KB , 1920x1920 , Yes.jpg )
Agh... Ahahaha!

Finally finished and submitted.

Elation shall be had!

Wait, what do you mean that isn't the end of it? There's more? Oh lawd... Hide me.
>> No. 114978
Well, time to wait for the inevitable horrible placement.
>> No. 114981
File 134421476173.jpg - (152.75KB , 792x1042 , headphones.jpg )
I'm done.

And, um, can I has dual art vote? My story is based on both "Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy listen to hipster garbage and enjoy it" and "Rainbow Dash has new headphones."

Also, your data handler script is continually timing out on me, and no matter how I try, my submission isn't getting through. Please get it fixed before the deadline rolls by and I can't enter. Derp.

Well anyhow, this has been the most fun weekend-killing session I've had in quite a while. I just hope people don't mind the heavy dose of purple that soaked into the first part of the story. Like grape juice in a frickin' white carpet.
>> No. 114983
File 134421506943.jpg - (118.12KB , 894x894 , snowshy_by_senselesssquirrel-d4vnyyt.jpg )
O wait. Nevermind. I guess I forgot to say the magic word. And disable my popup blocker.

Judges and readers, welcome to a world of pain.
>> No. 114985
I have no idea why a popup blocker would block submissions (the page doesn't even use any javascript), but I'm glad you got it sorted.
>> No. 114986
File 134421626598.png - (49.07KB , 500x433 , Linus13.png )
Hoo boy. I haven't even written anything today. Who wants to play chicken with me for latest submission?
>> No. 114989
File 134421664471.png - (125.84KB , 600x600 , 57454 - Discord artist-briskby artist-rose megatroll super_troll trollface trollscord ultimate_t.png )
I also crossed my fingers and looked over my left shoulder like a good pidgeon.


I just teasing you. Great little system you've set up.
>> No. 114992
I'll do it. 0 words so far.
>> No. 114993
Id thought for a sec ther i missed the deadlin but I didnt yay!!!
>> No. 114994
oh but I didnt got a email yet so not sure if it went thro
>> No. 114995
File 134421768575.gif - (142.04KB , 413x470 , 131265639165.gif )
Go! Go!

I want to see what you two can cook up in a matter of hours.
>> No. 114996
>>114993 Not to sound like a jerk, but I sure hope you typed your story differently than that post.

Also, word count is at 3,309. I got probably another 500 of fluff to add/fix
>> No. 114999
That there is rather inspirational. I was just thinking about bowing out of this match because I had run into a mental brick wall, and I was quite sure there was no way I'd be able to sledgehammer my way through in a matter of hours, but now I'm thinking about going at it anyway.

No guarantees, though. This story might just have to wait till time isn't a factor. Poor little thing.
>> No. 115001
ohyes but now u cant tel how i ma HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAim a jenus

okay, going to stop that now
>> No. 115002
File 134421864298.png - (614.48KB , 1000x1000 , applejack artist madmax sea ship uniform.png )

Mine started as an Advanced Wars crossover, with Rainbow Dash as the main character from Dual Strike. The idea was he wears headphones all the time and my fic starts with Dash getting a new pair of headphones.

But seeing as how I haven't played Dual Strike in a long time, my story quickly morphed into a Team Fortress Classic crossover. Quick question: is that enough of a difference for EqD to not auto reject it?
>> No. 115010
File 134422120753.png - (56.17KB , 237x202 , linus6.png )
2000 words. I'm gonna have to skip a good portion of what I really wanted to write. Oh well. It's not like anyone will care besides me, right?
>> No. 115014
File 134422150132.png - (165.55KB , 451x400 , Squirming.png )
Oh god. I feel sorry for whoever is going to read the some 3,500 words of this.

The entire last half is basically rushed, and I'm doing my best to make it flow better right now. This is what happens when you're the self-declared slowest writer you know of on the planet, and are given a time constraint.
>> No. 115017
Oh god I finally got the premise together enough to get started and I only have like 200 words and I don't have a title and OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I'LL NEVER MAKE IT
>> No. 115018
>> No. 115023
File 134422286496.gif - (1.40MB , 320x396 , 8c0.gif )
Frickin' ditto 100%. Not sure if we rushed our endings for the same reason. I personally just got really, really tired. I planned it out and got so enthusiastic writing my story that I burnt out on it and just wanted to wrap it up. Such is the nature of timed writing competitions. But hey, we got something written, right?

You got 48 minutes. Just get the hell off Ponychan and write. You'll do fine ;-)
>> No. 115027
File 134422358998.jpg - (72.95KB , 941x600 , It's Shit.jpg )
I just finished my story, and gave it a final reread.


>> No. 115029
Well, alas, I'm not going to make it. My muse ball never really got rolling and when it did it gave me a split. Well that, and a busy weekend. Fare thee well, sweet Write-off.

Anyway, best of luck you submitters, you!
>> No. 115030
All done and submitted. Not polished as much as I'd like, nor do I find the point where I had to end it satisfactory, but it's before the deadline and it's long enough: that's what counts.

@Roger I notice that mine, and a few others' stories have an "unknown 8-bit" charset. I trust this won't be a problem for you for posting? I just hit save-as and plain text in my Word and that's what came out.

Looking forward to reading what everyone's done.
>> No. 115031
File 134422537008.png - (379.26KB , 800x700 , 26.png )

This is horrible! Well done, me!

I wanted to do a lot more with this. Eh, maybe I'll work on it a bit someday afterwards. Hoo-RAH! Am I the last one? What award do I win?
>> No. 115032
Nope. I'm out. Still under 2k words. I was >>115017 and that's just not enough time.

Tears. Tears everywhere.
>> No. 115034
File 134422555546.png - (273.25KB , 527x591 , 249.png )
Oh, dang, I'm not the last one. Boo you guys, coming in and submitting without telling me you were gonna participate in Chicken with me.
>> No. 115035
It's almost certainly Windows-1252. It won't be a problem.

I'm in class right now and for a few more hours, so it'll be a little while before the stories and prelims go up.

You might want to resubmit, then. You might've typo'd your e-mail or something.

Make sure the second submission goes through before deleting the first, though. You've only got five minutes.
>> No. 115039
Nice at whoever submitted with 20 seconds left!

Well, I guess that's it. Good luck everybody!
>> No. 115040
Gmail filtered mine to spam earlier today.

What're the chances of getting our assignments by 0900Z? I'd love to be able to read at work.

Not a problem if that doesn't happen though.
>> No. 115042
May I ask exactly how we will be going about judging for the prelims? Do we just order our favorite to least favorite and that's it, or do we add a review as well?
>> No. 115043
And that's it. Best of luck to everyone! I can't wait to start reading the entries in a few hours.
>> No. 115046
File 134422766349.jpg - (186.99KB , 382x598 , tumblr_m4b0pdVui91ro189bo1_400.jpg )
Assignment is no big deal. You just stick in a lower time constant, i.e. 500, and let it run for a minute or two. Optimal assignment is a broader search through myriad system states. I recommend setting tau to 10000 and letting the thing run overnight. For all I know, he's probably started this already.

In the latter case, no one is stuck with 3k less words assigned to them than anyone else (ideally). Everyone reads as close to the same number of words as possible given the sizes of all the different stories, and there's no complaining. Except from people who want the assignment sooner.

Actually, I dunno, honestly. What are everyone's opinions? What's it going to be? Want the assignments to be made quicker, or with more fairness? Tell it to Roger so he knows what numbers to plug into the infernal contraption I built.

BTW Roger, you'll need python-matplotlib and python-numpy to run it in case you haven't already noticed.
>> No. 115048
Would it be a bad thing if I haven't received an email of any sort? If so, I don't even have a spam filter to blame this on.
>> No. 115056
File 134422927209.jpg - (9.56KB , 259x217 , r64.jpg )
Alas! It would seem the pains of a weekend far too busy for its own good has prevented me from submitting my work to this at an appropriate time! I suppose I shall just have to wait until the next event. Goodluck to everyony still involved!
>> No. 115058
File 134422956113.png - (551.65KB , 787x1016 , Apple Bloom123365489AFairdayfortheFilliesbyJoeyDarkmeat.png )
Not if you see you fic on the list.
>> No. 115061
Your story is in the submission document. You're fine.
>> No. 115064
Tip: if your computer is prone to freezing randomly, do not leave submission until the last three minutes. It is about as good for your health as walking over Niagara Falls on a tightrope without a net.

In any case, I'm looking forward to reading the entries, and seeing how badly mine will fail!
>> No. 115069
File 134423355854.jpg - (89.09KB , 614x655 , 5Ds11.jpg )
Well apparently, the competition had a few Walendas competing in it. Just look at dem timestamps.
>> No. 115078
File 134424576675.jpg - (36.69KB , 440x362 , 217795.jpg )
Authors should have received an email with a link to the prelim stories and judging instructions.

If you haven't received this email, check your spam, etc. before sending me an email asking what's up.

If you are not an author, you may also request to be given a set of stories to judge and comment on. Send me an email to receive an assignation.
>> No. 115085
that's a cool idea :)

i did get this email! even if i didn't get the first one
>> No. 115089
Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon: Simple grammar errors everwhere that a simple edit sweep will catch. We'll chalk it up to the error gnomes that sneak in at three in the morning to add errors to documents. But I still have to dock points.

I noticed a smattering of terms that ponies can't really do or would find it difficult to perform. Most notable is Bon Bon clutching Lyra's shoulders. So a little bit of word choice issue.

Great, I saw the ending from half way back in the story. It felt like you were trying to create a surprising ending that makes a reader go, "Wait, what? I missed something. I know I did!". The only problem is, I didn't. It could have been much more emotional if you hadn't given up what exactly was gonna happen so early. It would also have helped if the dream hadn't overstayed its welcome. This had potential, though. This felt like a crossover with both the movie Groundhog Day and the music video The Island.

6/10 -2 for grammar. -.5 for uninteresting hook. -1.5 for unemotional impact.

The Good You Might Do: You confused me with the orderly. One second he's a he and then a few paragraphs later he's a she.

The scenery feels a tad rushed. But that's the point isn't it? I still think you could slow it down a bit.

Very minor grammar errors.

Hmm... implied backfiring of a spell by Twilight. So... mind games is a common theme so far in stories. Well... okay then! This just reeked of frustration, which is what I would have wanted from this story. Forcing readers to ask themselves again and again what exactly is happening.

8/10 -.5 for gender confusion with the orderly. -.5 for grammar. -.5 for a cliche feeling story. -.5 for feeling rushed at points.

The Manticore Problem: Grammar errors: repeated words, ellipses out of place, forgetting spaces and such.

Misspelling of character's names. Alowishus vs Owlowiscious or Owloysius

The plot felt scatterbrained and it felt like you only cared about a single point: The prompt point. Does this story have potential? If you dig deep enough. This would need to be rebuilt from the ground up though.

4/10 -3 for an awkward plot. -2 for grammar. -1 for misspelling of character names. -1 for inconsistant characterization of Mitch.

First three done. Next three to come tomorrow!
>> No. 115090
Nice job in getting the standard deviation down to 128 words!
>> No. 115105
Duh Duh Duhnnn!

Here are the first three of my six reviews. If you enjoy reading them half as much as I enjoyed writing them, then I've had twice as much fun as you have.

I decided not to look at the picture for each story immediately before reading it. Instead, I allowed myself to be surprised after the fact. As a result, I experienced several "oh that one!" moments, much to my satisfaction.

Also. Artwork: mostly bright and cheerfull. Fics: mostly super-depressing and morbid, so far. Frickin' writers, man... everything we touch turns to ashes and lies. Ahh, but of course we all know what "sweet music" really symbolizes! What were you expecting? Happy endings? Pfeh.

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon

TRUE STORY: I'm reviewing this story in a McDonalds, listening to music on my headphones. I just finished reading it and took off my headphones, and guess what music they're playing over the speakers: Todd Rundgren's "Bang the Drum All day". Seriously, people... I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

Holy squamous, unnameable antediluvian! This story contains a truly cyclopean effulgence of eldritch, foetid gibbering. Erm... lots of spooky words and descriptions. That's cool by itself, but it did blur together after awhile. There were only a few parts of the story that really stood out to me as memorable and vivid, but most of it was lost to memory: Ideally, the entire story should be vivid. Lovecraft does this kind of crap all the time, but he can get away with it because he's H.P. Freakin' Lovecraft, baby. He was ululating about non-euclidean geometries while you were still a protoplasmic squidling in your hive-queen's primordial viscera.

Just to clarify, I'm down with the spooky/creepy vibe you got goin' on. I do think the execution needs work, but I'm not a good enough writer to tell you how it could be improved.

Moving on. The introductory smiles-and-giggles turned me off right away. I can forgive this because it set a direct course for creepy-town, but I must say it took awhile to get there: the intentional repetition near the start might have been a bit too much, and (at the risk of bringing attention to my lack of critical thinking ability) the final twist at the very end puzzled me. I know what happened, but no idea how or why. Even if it was supposed to make no sense, I still found it frustrating. On a more positive note, I was halfway through when I realized what the "drum beat" actually was but by that point I felt like I was supposed to have figured it out myself, which made me feel clever.

Technical errors were discovered, but they weren't frequent or severe enough to pull me out of the story. Unfortunately, the sentence and paragraph structure did lead to some very verbose and convoluted reading. It also bothered me that there weren't any scene breaks, weak or strong: even if the story was supposed to blur together, it was confusing.

Basically? This story stands entirely on the merits of it's mood and atmosphere, which I liked well enough. It could have been shortened and improved, and it does start out very slow and repetitive. The twist at the very end didn't make much sense. I thought the story seed (the links drawn between Bon Bon's name, the drumming, and what it really represents) was quite nifty.

Final score: 6.5/10 (This is an eerily low score for a story I enjoyed so much, but I can't deny that it needs some work.)
Did it match the illustration: Mechanically, yes, but you took the mood and ran with it like a maniac with a reciprocating saw where his hand should be. Not a bad thing.
Music it made me think of: "Insects" by Juno Reactor

The Sound of Raindrops on Slate

Anatomical hiccoughs: at least one count of using the word "hands", one count of "arms", and two counts of "fingers". I'm starting to think this isn't a pony at all.

Words you used that I had to look up in a dictionary: Immanent, patinaed, flaxen, cerulean, Plutonian.
In each case, I knew they were actual words. I just didn't know exactly what they meant.
Rocks back and forth in his chair
He didn't just misspell imminent... he didn't just misspell imminent... he didn't just misspell imminent...

But this particular line is what stuck out to me the instant I read it:
Magi grants us a mind’s use, under her we the quick are born.
This sentence is so obtuse and inveigling that it should make no sense. None. At all. Noooo sense. And yet when I read it, it flowed smoothly and I immediately "got" what was being said.

And as much as I want to beat you (the author) senseless with a yardstick for such flowery, poetic language... I dare say you pulled it off. I was immediately drawn to and drowned in the flowing prose without pause or interruption. You introduced a hell of a lot of back-story that was never explained, and yet I never once felt lost or confused: I felt like the impression was what really mattered, and I never once worried about the cruel, cold facts. You brought up the grim-dark standbys of death and war, yet they were neither hackneyed nor cliched. I'm not even sure if you ever gave the "protagonist" a concrete name and yet I still felt like he was the strongest and best defined character, while remaining an object of wonder and mystique throughout

I was sitting in the McDonalds while I read this and was in desperate need of a fizzy, ice-cold soda... and yet I couldn't bring myself to stand up and get one until I'd finished reading. I should by all rights hate hate hate this story, and yet I love it to death. It evokes a feeling and a sensation that I enjoyed, and it was an effortless read in spite of the extravagant language.

Final score: 9/10 (minus one for all the hands and fingers, and other niggling details)
Did it match the illustration: Yes. Like the picture, it was austere and colorful; Mournful, and hopeful; empty and full. And you also made a play on the title.
Music it made me think of: "Warlord" from the soundtrack for "Lord of War"

His Heart Too Full For Words

Firstly: No offense, but you've got a decent case of show don't tell here. This wouldn't normally bother me, except that the thing you're showing-not-telling is the protagonist's thoughts and feelings: the very foundation upon which the story itself depends for sympathy and emotional investment. If we discover the character's thoughts and feelings ourselves (instead of just being told what he's thinking) it brings us closer to understanding what he's like and how he changes. Maybe this story wants to be first person? I dunno.

Secondly: Nit-pick ahoy! It seems jarring to me that a pony in his situation wouldn't be automatically paired up with a physiotherapist to help him recover his physical mobility. I don't know if a hospital would insist on that sort of thing, but it does seem odd. Is a physiotherapist too expensive for them? Did he stubbornly refuse to hire one? You might want to research how hospitals deal with this sort of thing. Even if Equestria's hospitals do things differently, it will at least allow you to point out those differences more effectively. ideally, this story should make the reader think "Whoa! It sounds like the author actually spent a few months in a hospital, and knows what he's talking about!"

In general, you have a decent little story here. It wasn't too original, and it didn't challenge my way of thinking, but there was just enough to keep me interested. I also really like the headfake near the end, where we think the protagonist is going to fall desperately in love with Applejack. From the very beginning along, I was expecting the protagonist to fall in love with a filly who gives him the motivation to rise out of the doldrums without being condescending. That's the cliche and predictable ending for a story like this, and I'm glad you went in a different direction. I'm also glad this story was a couple thosuand words instead of a few thousand words: it's just long enough.

Final score: 7.0/10
Did it match the illustration: Yes, though it took awhile to get there. I was going to complain about a discrepancy because the pony in the art is standing upright, whereas in the fic Color Bound is sitting in a wheelchair... but perhaps this is a glimmer of things to come? Oh, the implications!
Music it made me think of: "Wonderwall" by Oasis
>> No. 115107
File 134428576071.png - (530.50KB , 1024x768 , 96.png )
Wonderful. I read much faster than I write, and tend to procrastinate less on it. I'll go ahead and review these in alphabetical order, and then make a brief overview when I'm done with all of them.

A Deck With No Hearts

Overall mostly rather excellent. About 3/4 through, it seems as if you rushed a little, made a few strange spelling mistakes. I liked the story overall, if it wasn't hard to understand at a few points during the second magic trick.

9/10. -1 for spelling, grammar, and other very few minor mistakes.

Bittersweet Music

That was wonderful. A few spelling and grammar mistakes, but nothing too bad. I can't notice much else wrong with it.

9.5/10. -.5 for spelling and grammar.

Melody of Solace

I quite like this one as well. A few more spelling and grammar mistakes than I expected, but they can be fixed rather easily.

9/10 -1 for spelling and grammar.

I feel that I need to make a second post describing the good qualities about all of these, but I don't think anyone really wants that.

I'll probably get to the others before I go to bed tonight.
>> No. 115130
On Loyalty

Hm. I'm torn on this one, and a lot of it is probably subjective.

The good:

You gave the first-person narrator a voice that carried me through the story. A good voice makes all the difference in the world, especially in a first-person story.

You didn't straight-up tell me where the story was starting out, but you fed me plot-related tidbits at about the same frequency that I was asking questions. You didn't even drop the protagonist's name until halfway through and yet I had a good enough idea of who we were following... or at least I was curious enough to keep reading until I found out for sure.

In terms of writing skill, I couldn't find anything to complain about. Either there were no serious errors, or I was too caught up in the story to notice them. Either way, good on you.

The bad:

You based the story on the events of an episode as seen from a different point of view, but you still asked me to swallow a good helping of "rehash". My least favorite parts where where the protagonist basically summarizes part of the episode. Looking back on it, you minimized this fairly well: The "expositional" sections were short, and there weren't a lot of them, but there it is.

The first person perspective is cool and all, but it threw me for a loop when I saw actual dialogue. When you're writing soemthing in your diary or telling somebody a story face to face, normal people don't quote entire conversations word-for-word. This is something only fictional characters are able to do, and you don't notice how odd it is until it's pointed out to you. I also feel lie kdialogue isn't this story's strongest suit: the narrative voice has strogncharacter, while the dialogue is just "movin' us along."

You lose an imaginary cookie for the ending. Everything after the final scene break could be omitted, and the story would be improved. It makes the story less mysterious and less melancholy, and does it by beating the reader over the head with a sign that says "HERE'S WHAT THE PLOT-POINT MEANT." Also, I'm not to hot on the idea that Rainbow Dash knows the truth about what happened, nor that she's put on the spot with all her friends standing around thinking "Awkwaaaard." The story's final revelation is even more powerful if the protagonist is the only one who knows the truth.

The Verdict:

In the end, I enjoyed this story. That's what matters the most to me right now. I could complain about the lack of originality in the premise, and perhaps how you leaned on an existing episode. You supported these elements by giving your character a good enough voice that I still enjoyed it for what it is.

Final score: 7.0/10
Did it match the illustration: Only mechanically, but the picture leaves a great deal of room for interpretation.
Music it made me think of: "Ghost Riders In The Sky" by Johnny Cash.


Oh, so you're gonna go there, are you? Are you going to be that guy?

I honestly can't think of anything bad to say about this one. The characters were intriguing and well done. The jumping-between-completely-different-scenes caused me no unintentional whiplash or confusion. It was thoroughly grounded in all of the canonical threads it dabbled in. It leaves as much as possible unsaid, but not one word more. It kept me guessing just long enough, but not one second longer. It manages to blend two diametrically opposed moods and three opposing tags, all without being jarring. It all made sense when it got to the end, but it still left all the important questions unanswered. I'm sure there are errors in there somewhere, but I didn't even notice any. I also find it gut-wrenchingly hilarious that the story implies the need for an "Equestria in a Human" tag. And as super-tragic as this story might be, I came away with an inexplicably up-beat sensation: the story doesn't just start out "sappy-happy slice-of-life"ish for the sole purpose of plunging us into the depths of tradgedy. It felt happy and sad at the same time, from beginning to end.

We have no choice but to percieve reality through flawed senses. Who are we to say what is real? True creation begins with imagination. Do not try to understand reality. Do not try to change it. Choose. Choose what is real, and you can make it real. It's the music that we choose, it's the music that we choose. Get the cool... get the cool shoeshine!

>I honestly can't think of anything bad to say about this one.
Present tense! How could I forget? I hates me some present tense! Grr, argh!
Well... I guess it wasn't that bad.

Final score: 8.5/10
Did it match the illustration: Only mechanically, but the picture leaves a great deal of room for interpretation. Whoa... deja vu.
Music it made me think of: The Soulchild remix of "19 2000" by Gorillaz

A Deck With No Hearts

>A three of clubs. Always a three of clubs.
There. That thing. The one you did?
(Slowly taps index finger against temple)
I saw it.

>The harpist shoots a glare right at me. The glare stares into my soul, and I feel a sharp pain in chest. The eyes are like a basilisk's; I'm petrified.
I was expecting him to turn out to be an actual basilisk, or a changeling, or perhaps some other terrible monster in disguise. But this... oh, this is ever so much worse for our poor protagonist.

Yet again, a first-person story with a strong voice all throughout, and a powerful, emotional ending that leaves just enough unsaid. I will admit to having no interest whatsoever in M/M romance, or romance and shipping in general, which makes my emotional investment in (and sympathy for) the main character all the more a well earned accomplishment on your part. I also find the comparison between pony magic and stage magic delightfull. After all, they know full well how spells work. Magic and mystery don't always overlap!

I do have to scold you for more than a few technical errors, and I must say that the canon character's cameo felt a little "thrown in," perhaps to impress upon us just how good the protagonist is (though as certain magicians know, no amount of intelligence will help you solve a puzzle if you're looking in the wrong direction). All in all, though, it was a solid read with no wasted time or effort from either of us. I'm actually impressed that you managed to start the story off with a rapidfire barrage of short, single lines. You'd think that would just hamper the reader's immersion, but no.

And I also love the term "stomping ovasion." I might just steal this for one of my own stories, but change it to "stamping" on the pretense that it sounds closer to "standing."

Final score: 7.0/10
Did it match the illustration: Yes indeed. You also put a unique and original spin on it, but you didn't traipse too far from the sense of rapture and longing the picture evokes.
Music it made me think of: "Hauntingly Beautiful" by Thomas Newman

Final Scoring

Well this is awkward. Three of my stories ended up with a solid seven out of ten. I suppose I'll have to figure out a few tiebreakers. Hmm. They say you should never, ever tell your children that you prefer some of them above the others... but of course we all know it's true!

#1The Sound of Raindrops on Slate
#3A Deck With No Hearts
#4His Heart Too Full For Words
#5On Loyalty
#6Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon

There. That feels about right.

I'd just like to point out that not one of these stories made me feel like I'd wasted my time. Well to be honest, "Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon" was longer than it could have been. But even so, I don't regret having read it. All in all, I wasn't subjected to a single bad read. In fact I'm pretty sure my top two picks will beat the stuffing out of my own story, and I'll be all like... "Eeeeyup."
>> No. 115131
I'll put these out in the order I read them and transfer my chicken-scratching notes into something usable here. All the entries did something different, and as a whole I'm glad I read the bunch. Good Luck to all.

WestFillya Waltz
I felt the introduction was rather bland. The tone was hard to pin down and felt a little inconsistent. The main story points were quite predictable once the premise had been set. There were a couple typos and misused words, but nothing big. I just can't find all that much to say about it.

All in all, it wasn't bad, but I didn't find myself considering it particularly good either. 3/5

War is Hay
Blanks don't work like that. The scene transitions felt extremely abrupt. This sounds almost exactly like a transcript of a TF2 game played by ponies; that's not something I'm in the least bit interested in. There were a few typos, no more than expected. The Fluttershy kiss? Wat. The prompt tie-in felt extremely weak. The scene with the prompt felt as though it could have been removed without influencing the rest of the story. Then, I was also busy wondering why you left Rarity out of the story. *shrug*

Over all, I honestly thought the story was pretty dumb, but not to a troll-enough point that I had fun with how bad it was. 1.5/5

Memories of Chaos
I don't have much to say about this one. I felt the story worked, but felt pretty predictable given a bit of fanon guessing. My biggest issue was that I couldn't really determine which image was used as the prompt, so I knocked off half a point. The story serves as a decent telling from Discord's perspective, but I don't feel that it adequately explained his original motivations for pursuing Luna.

This story worked well-enough for what it was, but doesn't seem to be particularly good or bad. 3/5

Candy Crisp
There is a noticeable amount of grammar and spelling errors, more so than the others thus far. There are multiple confusing perspective shifts as well as some inconsistent markup of direct thoughts. I found myself confused by the plot. Scootaloo's "secret" made no sense to me, and the reactions for the Apple family aspect lacked a foundation for me. The Big Mac incest-crush made absolutely no sense to me. And lastly, the ending felt utterly incomplete.

I had the hardest time deciding how to view this story after the fact. There are enough surface errors that it made it harder to guess at underlying problems. I just don't entirely know what to make of this one; all I know is that I didn't really like it much. 2/5

On Loyalty
Okay, so this is a first-person story from LSH's perspective. Beginning doesn't seem to fit with how the buffalo act during the episode. The explanation of the tribe not listening to those with experience dealing with settler ponies just doesn't hold up to logic. LSH's action of not reporting the planting of the first trees makes absolutely no sense. Is her curiosity over a miscellaneous object really more important to her than the potential future fate of all her people? You give away your big reveal a little early, when RD first mentions her family at all it's pretty obviates certain issues. "god-damn?" Why? The ending felt underplayed. There's no development for RD's reaction, and LSH just seems to do her thing and the story ends. Lastly, there was the scene where LSH's mom was about to toss the music box. Here's how it played out in my mind reading it: "Oh hello daughter, I'm getting rid of this thing. It brings only bad memories." "But mom! I want it." "Oh, okay, here you go." ...yeah, that makes it sound pretty bad doesn't it?

Throughout the story little things just didn't work for me. All the minor details that you take for granted just didn't click together, so I couldn't really enjoy the story. The logic of it didn't work. The actions and reactions that didn't come directly from the show felt just a little... off/OoC. 2.5/5

Bittersweet Music
By far the longest of the pieces I got, but the length felt warranted by the complexity of the story. Just like the others, there's a noticeable amount of typos, nothing in particular stood out in that regard. There's a few dialog punctuation things that irk me, but can be argued either way. (I'm just on the side against what's used here.) A couple other minor issues: the word "man." Fleur calling the mayor "your worship." Back to the whole, I don't think Fancypants' general attitude is elaborated enough early on. It's easy to see what it is, but the internal reasoning behind his distaste for the pomp and circumstance could use some more basis. The married dynamic with Fleur and Fancy felt a little off, as though it just shouldn't have worked exactly as written. My last area of comment was the mane-six's reaction to Spike's desire to compete. Your really overstress that angle only to have it not really matter that much. Granted, it gives you the line where Twilight is about to suggest writing a letter about it, but yo can downplay the reaction they have towards Spike still wanting to compete. RD has this one right, and you'd think after the Dragon Quest thing the rest would at least support his decision more. (Where was Fluttershy in all this too? Did I just miss her?)

Overall, I found this the strongest story, though I disagree with the way you ended it with Spike+Rarity. That couple can never and should never work. Ever. It wasn't perfect, but it was decidedly well-done, especially given the time constraints. As such, this gets 4.5/5
>> No. 115134
Stupid tabs not tabbing properly...

#1: The Sound of Raindrops on Slate
#2: Joie-de-Vivre
#3: A Deck With No Hearts
#4: His Heart Too Full For Words
#5: On Loyalty
#6: Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon

You get the idea.

>Fleur calling the mayor "your worship."
This is because that's the proper honorific prefix for a Mayor. On Earth, at least.

>the word "man."
This is because I am a dummy.
>> No. 115137
>You confused me with the orderly. One second he's a he and then a few paragraphs later he's a she.
Nope. I looked back through to verify. The orderly's always a he and the doctor's always a she.

>Very minor grammar errors.
Mind pointing them out? I swept back through and only found 3.

>Hmm... implied backfiring of a spell by Twilight.
Not really. She's just overworked herself. The bit about Nightmare Moon wanting to know about a specific spell was just her mind trying to rationalize why she's there.
>> No. 115138
>This is because that's the proper honorific prefix for a Mayor. On Earth, at least.
>Looks at the score you actually gave the story

Wow. I can complain about anything, can't I?
>> No. 115140
Here are my thoughts on my story selection.

A Deck with No Hearts

I have no idea how that final trick could have worked since it seemed like the main character didn’t know where Blue would be beforehand. The arrogance of the main character trying to force love made the ending satisfying. Twilight doesn’t really add anything to the story. A generic unicorn probably would have served better.

His Heart Too Full for Words

The constant "Woe is me" attitude of Bound started to be a bit much. There were also a few points that didn't make sense to me. The biggest being the hospital letting Bound go home while he was malnourished.
The story got a tad predictable in places, but I still enjoyed it.

The Good You Might Do

This fic gave me many questions with only hints of answers. It makes sense, since Twilight herself doesn't understand what's going on. It left me wanting more in a good way. My only complaint would be that the pacing seemed a little slow at times.

My Sunshine

The scattered scenes made this difficult to follow, though the ending helped me piece things together somewhat.

The WestFillya Waltz

There were some awkward sentences and an overuse of descriptions when pronouns would have sufficed. Applejack's accent was also overdone at times. "Warsh" made me cringe.
It wasn't a bad fic, but nothing really wowed me either.
>> No. 115141

Care to elaborate on which words were misused? I'd hate to think I'm using incromulent vocabulations.
>> No. 115143
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Not sure if I need to be anon or not, so meh.

Made of Dreams
Competent, but not very engaging. Everything is solid but just that: solid. It was mildly interesting the whole way through but at no point did I find myself reading because I wanted to continue. The whole Bon Bon as a filly bit at the beginning was very cute but the nasty parent device felt a little overplayed. I also just can't imagine Bon Bon's mother being so evil. If I had written the story I would have the motivator be positive instead of negative; it fits with style of the show better. Something like Bon Bon loves her mother and her mother really wants her to continue in the confectionery business, not that she hates her mother. It also seemed to lack a proper story structure. There was conflict and resolution, but it was all quite linear in pacing and there was no climax or confrontation. I think it would have been much more interesting for Bon Bon to have challenged her mother about it and have some kind of resolution that way instead of just getting rid of the problem. That felt kind of half-hearted, running away from the problem instead of solving it. After that the story felt like it had lost purpose, and was only there to shoehorn Lyra in to fit the picture prompt. I think the story here could possibly be quite good, but the focus should have been a development of relationship between Lyra and Bon Bon (From which the Cinder Flare character detracts) like the relationship between two musicians in a duet (which was the first idea that came to my mind after seeing 'Bonbon's Dream') and how Lyra helping her to practice her dream reinforces it. (Doesn't have to be romantic.) However, the story would have to be a great deal longer to explore something like that properly and that's not something most people can write in a weekend. Also, the Cinder Flare character didn't seem to have much purpose as a character either, I didn't see why an OC needed to be used there. I also couldn't really see why Lyra couldn't have just been used in place of Cinder Flare. Basically, there's a lot of untapped potential in this fic and a lot of strange story choices, no real direction and bad pacing. There were also a few errors.
Score: 4

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon
You seem to like to use 'positively' a lot. This was better, but again, pacing was a major problem. This time, I did find myself reading for the sake of it but only about half way through the story. The surreal lucid dreaming at the start simply made no sense, and when things make no sense they quickly get boring, unless you start to get extremely extravagant with the surrealism. Some parts were overly verbose and the way you describe a lot of the action became quite confusing to me; there were parts at the beginning where I had no idea what Bon Bon was doing and I really didn't care to go back and re-read to find out either. The 'big reveal' was quite obvious after a while, but the second twist simply made no sense. The whole first part of meanings-through-meanings and objects IRL being represented through proxy actually do make sense (for the most part) but the final twist doesn't at all, and feels like it was there just for the sake of having another crazy twist that you hoped no-one would have anticipated. In that way the begging was quite Freudian and could have been a lot more interesting if you'd included a little more actual dream theory. I think having her die in the end was a bad choice, the usual fun in these stories is the protag overcoming the puzzle and emerging triumphant (which you seem to acknowledge by making us think she's won) and having a second twist which undoes this is also a good technique, but your second twist really does make no sense. For example, the first thing that comes to mind is Inception, the second twist after the protag's triumph (which really isn't a full second twist anyway since it's up to interpretation) does make sense as it could be that he is still trapped in limbo/one of the team betrayed him/many other explanations. Turning into Lyra just felt arbitrary and the only real justification I can think of is: The story's been quite surreal up to this point, so I can do what I want. Not really too strong. Overall, interesting after a slow start, needs to be edited and revised with a little more spice in a few places, and also the ending fixed. Funnily enough, I was thinking of an Inception-like dream story based off 'A Night At The Opera' but did not finish. Maybe it was Inception's great musical score, I dunno. Some technical errors.
Score: 6

Every Night is a Swan Song
Very good. OC was done quite well, but only found myself actually caring for him about half-way through. I think the protag could have been expanded on a little more, the story is quite short. The idea was quite clever, I was thinking that this was going to be a normal shipping story but you threw me a curve-ball. I would describe this as 'A little too short, but sweet anyway' because there were parts afterward that I felt were lacking, especially the ending. I felt quite bad for Starshine, but there wasn't much to say that she was secretly in love with protag. If that had been expanded more, but staying subtle, protag's death could have been just that bit more tragic. If the death had been less inevitable, I think that could have made it better too. Maybe if there was more of a struggle and the protag gets away, but dies anyway, or something. I'm not sure. Maybe some bits were a little more wordy and convoluted than they should have been and there were some purpley bits as well, but it was acceptable. 'Thank Celestia for Starshine, he’d have never have found the harpist if not for her.' was confusing because I had no idea who or what Starshine was at the beginning and I spent a while thinking Starshine was the harpist. But maybe I'm just stupid and sleep-deprived. Probably the latter. Anyways this was very good, and could be better with a little fleshing-out.

Candy Crisp
Confusing. A very standard response to the 'Keepsake' prompt and was quite uninteresting for the duration of the story, but some very strange moments confused me. “I might have a crush on Big Mac, and we're gonna get married, but I don't want to see pictures of that, especially if they're of him...” from Apple Bloom was probably the most weird. I can understand that sisters do sometimes crush on their brothers but it was still a very strange choice to include that into your story and it was extremely distracting information that seemed to be there arbitrarily. This was honestly the first kind of story that came to mind when I saw 'Keepsake' and because of that I pretty much guessed the ending as soon as I noticed that that was based off 'Keepsake'. Reading the epitaph gave me a pang of sadness, but really I only think that's because of my attachment to the characters through the show and not because of my attachment to the characters through your fiction. Really, I don't have much to say because it was quite bland and predictable. There were some pretty gnarly typos too, like 'secrete' and stuff. And maybe a few too many line breaks which detracts from immersion. It was just pretty clunky.
Score: 5

War is Hay
Fun. Being a casual TF2 player and having played a few Advance Wars games myself, this combo was really great. It was a pretty damn far cry from the initial prompt image, but it was still hecka' fun to read. I was smirking at all the refernces to gameplay mechanics and reading all of their voices in weird feminized TF2-voice-actors-spliced-with-MLP voices (A German Fluttershy, for example) and it was great fun. I thought Fluttershy should have used a medigun instead of a magic nauseating melee medkit though. In terms of story, pacing was good with very short kind of staccato climaxes but not much in terms of relief. I thought it could be even cooler with more references to the source materials, like different weapons being used by the enemies and stuff. Also the lack of announcer was sad. Really, the only problem I can find with this is how little it has to do with the prompt, although it is quite liberal. I can also see this being very uninteresting for a non TF2 player. However, even thought it was great fun to read and the pacing was great non-stop action, it feels almost too far gone from the music-related prompt even though I'm sure that even in this war-centric fic you could have made music play a bigger role. Think maybe Vietnam, a pretty musical (and pop-culture in general) focused war. In that way it feels a little like cheating to get a fun story while the others had to stick to their prompts more and so I can't rate this as highly as I'd like. I'd like to, but hey, it's about writing something good that fits the prompt in the time limit. You've got the first and last, but the middle needs work.
Score: 6

These were mostly pretty fun to read, I think I might go through a few more in time.
And I know I'm a harsh with my scores. Deal.

>mfw reading War is Hay
>> No. 115144
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Oh, and ranking them:
#1 - Every Night is a Swan Song
#2 - Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon
#3 - War is Hay
#4 - Candy Crisp
#5 - Made of Dreams
>> No. 115146
Now I'm curious. Is the purpose of this distribution program

1) To make sure each reviewer gets the same amount of work, or

2) To make sure each story is compared with a diversity of other stories to improve relative scoring, or

3) Bit of both?
>> No. 115147
Eh, worship still sounds funny. I'll stand by that no matter how accurate it is.
Let me go back through it really quick.
>"Must be nice to sleep in 'til sunrise," AJ smiled with a mockingly haughty toss of her golden hair.
More a dialog punctuation thing than anything else, but why would she toss her hair when she's in the hallway with no one to see it?

>molded beading details
it's not exactly wrong but it isn't exactly the way I think the word beading is supposed to be used in a sentence.

>Applejack started diving forward in anticipation of disaster.
>Both ponies gasped as it fell, watching in horror as it bounced off Apple Bloom's hooves and then Applejack's before tumbling to the floor.
That's a lot of bouncing for a fragile object considering it should have inelastic collisions for the most part.

>brittle white hair
I don't think hair should be called brittle.

And I'm too lazy to go looking for any more right now. XD
>> No. 115150
Yes, both.

Took down the post because I didn't think it was worthwhile. Still though, a standard deviation of less than four hundredths of a percent is pretty noteworthy in my book, the goal being to find an even distribution.
>> No. 115153
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The only thing I know about blanks is what I learned from Loony Tunes. And to be fair, MLP is a cartoon.

I couldn't think of something for Rarity, except that she might've made the helmets.

>MFW reading your review.

I've only played the original Team Fortress, that's why Fluttershy was using a medkit instead of a medgun. The only difference between Fluttershy's and the one in TFC is that, in TFC you touch enemies with it instead of hitting them. Oh, and the players don't really vomit.
>> No. 115160
I'm not entirely certain how to rate these, as I've seen people using several different methods, so I'll be assigning each submission a score (X/10), as well as ranking them from 1 to 6 at the very end when I'm done with reviews.

Bittersweet Music:

This was a fun read. The plot was a bit of a mess at times, to be honest, but a lack of time is definitely to blame, so I don't care about that. Fancypants was interesting and witty, if a bit of a walking trope. The recurring 'animal fancier' gag was well used, and the pun "smelts in your mouth" was masterful. There was a lot of fun scenes and good humor throughout the story. Truly an enjoyable read!

Fleur was a good foil to Fancypants, and the ending (when she accuses Fancypants of being the magnificent bastard that he is) was funny, as well as the rewarding moment where Spike mans up (or is it "dragons up"?) and asks Rarity out for a picnic was a good payoff.

There were a few philosophical moments in there that were... not great. Sometimes it worked well, but a lot of it fell flat. Particularly "mares are like an onion". Sorry, that was only funny in Shrek. The end felt rushed to no end, but again, time constraint is to blame, and it wrapped up everything well, with the sweet moment when Rarity "defends" Spike from Fleur being my personal favorite.

The story suffered from rampant punctuation and grammar errors, as well as a tiny smattering of typos that should have been easy to spot and correct on a read through.

The weakest part of the story, in my opinion, was when Twilight confronts Spike about being in the talent show. Twilight acted pretty out of character, in my opinion, and Applejack declaring that they should ask Spike's act to be pulled from the show seemed way out of character as well. Twilight, if anything, is supportive of Spike. Applejack suggesting doing something so underhanded as to pull the proverbial rug from beneath Spike is way out of character for the dependable and honest character.

Additionally, the plot feels "padded", for lack of a better term. There's a lot of action that happens and cyclical dialogue that doesn't contribute to the story. Some of those scenes are done very well, and are funny, but there were parts in there that just... didn't seem to matter. I'm not deducting much for that, though, but I simply thought it deserved to be brought up. This story could have been trimmed down to good effect. As it stands, it feels sloppy, and with revision and some focused cuts it would have been much stronger.

Score: 7/10

The End of the Season:

This is a very good short story. I'm not a huge fan of romantic tales, especially ones with odd pairings, but this was done to good effect. I like that the mystery of 'who' was never revealed. Who was that mysterious pegasus? "Sunny Skies", I'll wager. I'm a fan of the idea of Celestia hiding in mortal form (it's a classic god/goddess thing to do), but this has been done before and it didn't really impress me, especially considering this particular "disguise" has been seen before, and in the highest rated story of FiMFiction, no less.

I like seeing things done in a new or different way, and you could have done ANYTHING with Princess Celestia being in disguise, but you chose Sunny Skies. You even used the same cutie mark and appearance for the character. You could have chosen to do something origional, but you went with something recognizable and safe. You didn't have to use Sunny Skies at all, because the real 'reveal', the true moment where you say "It's Celestia!", is at the very end when the sun sets. It's a powerful image and a symbol of Celestia, and most readers should be able to put two and two together, especially when Granny Smith spends so much time chatting about how her 'friend' is immortal.

What did impress me was how well you treated the quiet, semi-tense chat between Granny Smith and her past love. It had this wonderful tone of regret and acceptance in it, and it wrapped up perfectly with the music box being played. Well done.

Another big issue: This story felt padded. Everything that was said in the flashbacks was often made redundant by the actual conversation taking place. The flashbacks felt entirely unnecessary, and could have been removed entirely. The story would have been stronger without the flashbacks, or perhaps use of a single instance of a flashback that told us something that the conversation was not, but the multiple short cuts were not working for me.

I didn't see any massive errors in spelling or punctuation.

I know I spent a lot of time dwelling on the negatives, so let me say that this was a very well written short story, and except for the above issues it was enjoyable and solid in its simplicity.

Score: 8/10

Every Night is a Swan Song

This was an interesting story. I like how you used the innocuous seeming piece of art and changed it into a horror story. It was rather brutal and gory, to be honest, with Bluebell rotting away at the end feeling over the top. I didn't much care for Starshine, but she barely existed anyway. The ending was... not great. Starshine swears cliche revenge, but there is no payoff. The part when Bluebell dies, after defeating the evil harpist, felt like the true ending, and everything after it feels forced.

The descriptions were fairly well done, and the writing was decent. I wish there was more, honestly, because as it stands it feels unfinished. I blame lack of time.

The dialogue felt cliche at the end. Your villain's dialogue was repetitive, and Starshine said "wench" and vows revenge.

The whole scene when Bluebell takes Starshine to dinner was not great. It felt like an attempt at humor with the exploding spaghetti and the kicking under the table and so on, and it was way, way out of place.

I appreciate the origionality of the story. The romantic feeling of the piece you chose was wonderfully twisted into something horrific, and the fact that you confined yourself to the OC characters that were present in the pic was very brave. OC's are always a tricky thing to write, and harder to make likeable, but I liked Bluebell by the end.

Score: 6/10
>> No. 115161
Reviews, reviews, reviews! Here we go!
Since 1-10 systems are often relative, here's kind of how mine works: 1-4 is usually "needs work"; missing a coherent plot or acceptable grammar. 5 is usually "without merit"; meaning a story was told in a reasonable fashion, but I didn't see much in it. 6 is "has potential"; there were things I liked, but nothing extraordinary and the story was still flawed. 7-9 are varying degrees of "entertaining with something extra"; I enjoyed your story while learning something, quality execution increasing score. 10 is pretty much flawless.

On Loyalty: This fic had the honor of being the first one I read /narcissist. The first impression wasn't great, as your first sentence was a wee bit confusing. There was a lot of show don't tell stuff, but it weened off the further I got into the fic. I can't say I was particularly impressed by anything here, but nothing fell flat on its face either. The tone was droll, and you just waved a hand at some plot points I thought were fairly important (like how the buffalo let the apple orchard situation get out of hand). Honestly, I wasn't going to score this one very well, but the ending really changed my mind. I dunno what it was about it. Your protagonist and Rainbow Dash weren't very strongly characterized, the story didn't end on much of a victory, but I liked it. Maybe it was the idea that the act, and not the characters involved in it, was important. 6/10

The Manticore Problem: Not too much to say about this one, I'm afraid. I feel like you may have gone for a social statement via animals a la George Orwell's "Animal Farm", but it wasn't really clear. Not much about this story was. If you went for commentary, I say: good attempt, but plan out your story better next time. If you went for a cute little tale about pets: okay, okay... but what was the theme? What was I supposed to learn? 5/10

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon: "It was a bright, sunny day" is not a good way to make a positive first impression. That is a horribly cliche line. Now, onto the rest!

Your physical descriptions of the world around Bon Bon got a little confusing at times. I realize this is hard to pull off, given the setting, but it still remains a weakness. The story was too long for its purpose and lacked constant progress. Yes, Bon Bon became more panicked and she moved forward physically, but she wasn't really learning anything and neither was I. Ending was interesting. Not entirely original, but fitting. 6/10

Every Night Is a Swan Song: Huh. Not bad. Not bad at all. I like that you let the story tell itself, that you let a lot open to interpretation... but in the end, you didn't include enough. This is one story that could really benefit from being just a bit longer. I only somewhat understood Bluebell and Starshine's relationship, and I feel like that relationship is really important here. The second scene was too short; an obvious plug of information. Also, there really wasn't much merit to Bluebell's character. He seemed a little sleazy, kind of an underachiever, with no discernible positives other than being relatable. You described the 'mare', the bar, and the music very nicely, and left a cool air of mystery around the antagonist. 7/10

Consonance: How does Rainbow, "close her eyes rapturously"? You can close your eyes in rapture, as a result of it, but you cannot close your eyes with rapture. Sorry, just a pet peeve of adverb usage.

Anywho, the hook was great. I was really sinking my teeth into this story. Ponies disappearing? Evil music box? Only Pinkie can save the day? Very immersive. But... then the mystery started disappearing. Once Vinyl started explaining the complexities of music, I dunno, I just lost interest. I can see how the explanations were necessary, but the rest of the story seemed so predictable at that point. No twists, no subtlety. 6.5/10 cause I can't decide between a 6 or a 7

A Deck With No Hearts: Hmmm... I liked this, certainly, but I can't decide how much. The protagonist was very well-done—props on that. The story you crafted centered around this pony I was interested in, ergo making the fic as a whole quite entertaining. However, there are a couple things I want to point out. First, I don't know why the protagonist pursued Blue so fiercely. Second, the lesson of the story was pretty plain from the get-go. I feel like I would have liked it more if the harpist didn't say anything. There was also a little confusion with symbolism and literal objects. Leaving much about Blue and the harpist unknown leads me to believe they are symbols. But then Twilight shows up? The first card trick with her was pretty literal as well, but everything else was symbolic. Also, how was that last trick not romantic? Gaaahhh, I'm talking myself silly. That's a good sign, author. Means I see things in this story worth talking about. 8/10

> No offense, but you've got a decent case of show don't tell here.
Ugh, I know, right? Friggin... arg. Given the time limit, I knew I had to get out a complete story in as few words as possible. So, I conceded to myself, 'I'm gonna have to do some telling here.' and that was that. I'm honestly not a good enough writer to be able to show a strong story in so few words. The plan was actually to have the story end at around 4500 words, and I somehow spewed 5900. I ended up cutting corners, and in the end, I cut too many. It's a learning experience, though. That's why I chose to enter this contest in the first place.

As for choosing third person over first person: that is another thing outside of my ability. It was a debate I had with myself at the onset, but in the end I didn't think I had the chops to truly put myself in this character's position. I've never faced that kind of hardship myself, so I had to craft him from the outside looking in. I thought about adding a physiotherapist as well, and that almost made it in the scene where Bound is actually attempting to walk, but I didn't want to get too ambitious, adding another source of conflict so late (and this physiotherapist surely would have turned into nothing more than a plot device, which I am woe to do to anybody). My 'explanation' is that Bound's mom was the kind of pony who wanted to help her son on her own. It makes sense in my head, damnit!
>> No. 115162
Heh heh. Applejack's muddled Vancouverian dialect is somewhere between Texas and Tennessee. So is Arkansas. And there, wash is pronounced with an r and the word shower has only one syllable.
>> No. 115163
>His heart too full for words

Hmm... The opening could be much stronger. If I wasn’t reading this for the write off, I probably would’ve clicked away already.

There’s a lot of unnecessary Tell like:
>Bound looked at Scootaloo in total confusion.
>Scootaloo huffed in defeat.
>Bound’s cheeks were now clearly on fire with bashfulness.
where you tell how the character is feeling, instead of implying it through action.

>Breathing became harder and heavier for Bound and he worked his way down the support rail.
How does he do this without fingers?

The ending was sweet. Somehow I didn’t mind OC x Applejack


>Every Night is a Swan Song

It isn’t obvious what gender the characters are from the beginning.


Didn’t see that coming.

While this was a very good story, it had a few problems.

We’re not really given enough time to really care about the main characters, which could be fixed with a stronger opening act.

Also, this really doesn’t feel like a pony fic. If you had given me this story and not told me it took place in Equestria, I probably wouldn’t have known.

What I suggest is, rewrite the following as scenes instead of exposition. Show what happens instead of telling it. >After a lunch full of kicks under the table, magically created spaghetti explosions, and multiple expensive purchases around the time Bluebell tried pinning down the equally desperate-to-escape waiter for a check,

That should make the first act strong enough for the reader to care about the characters.

Now this is just my suggestion, but I think you should nominate this to be a Amazon Kindle Single, after adding the scene I suggested (which would probably bump the word count up to the required 5k words), fixing the grammar derps (I would be willing to help you find them), and changing the characters to humans.

Of course this is your story, I can’t force you to do it. But I really feel that the plot itself is of a publishable level of quality.
>Melody of Solace

Complaining isn’t the best way to open a story.

>“Hey, guys. I wonder what she plays!”
Heh, This is when we learn that the man character is female. Just a thought.

[?]I’m crying manly tears on the inside!

>> No. 115164
I knew I should have skipped the pretense of being serious and have had Vinyl just shout "BASS CANNON BITCHES!" and defeated the evil box with the power of WUB! Also, 6.5 outta ten ain't bad. Thanks for the review!

Would it be possible to offer any constructive criticism as to why my story lost your interest? I'm always trying to be better, so if you've got input, please share! Thanks in advance.
>> No. 115167

> I couldn't really determine which image was used as the prompt...
Eh... I couldn't decide. It was a toss-up between Dash gets a new set of headphones and Keepsake. The crown being the keepsake or the "new headphones item".

> but I don't feel that it adequately explained his original motivations for pursuing Luna.
Don't tell anyone, but I use these write-offs to get some stories off the ground with some free, constructive help. If this were a one-shot, I'd explain his motives in detail. Because it's probably gonna end up as not a one-shot, I'll merely go back and expand a bit on it and then save in depth for over several chapters.

> ope. I looked back through to verify. The orderly's always a he and the doctor's always a she.
Okay... must have been just me than. I'll make sure to give you some point back when I throw everything in my final rankings.

> Mind pointing them out? I swept back through and only found 3.
I used minor for a reason. But sure, if once the write-off is done, you still want a quick sweep of your story, I'd gladly do it.

> Not really. She's just overworked herself.
Well, it did kinda feel that way. No luck there, my friend.
>> No. 115170
The Manticore Problem
(From here on the story will be referred to as Bob.)
At first I thought the author of Bob couldn't spell Aloysius. Then I went to look it up, and it appears to be a controversy of sorts. Besides, I can't spell it either.

Love the concept of Bob being told from the point of the pets' point of view, and moreover the idea that they have weekly meetings like the Shriners; though the whirlwhind account of the council's creation could have been handled a little more elegantly. (I'd suggest starting in the middle of the Manticore meeting, letting the back-and-forth of the characters establish some of their traits, sprinkling in a few details of the council's creation in while they debate).

Winona loves everything. Someone's seen Up.

I am thoroughly amused by Sweetie Belle's being offered up as a blood sacrifice; it was a great interpretation of the prompt material. If nothing else, the author is definitely in Opal's head.

Ending kind of fell apart, there. But the anticlimax kind works in the story's favor.

Bob appears to be a story told either by a somewhat younger and inexperienced writer, or possibly an A. A. Milne fan. It has the base for what could be a truly funny story if polished and refined. I found myself charmed by it despite the rough edges.

Candy Crisp
Heh. Familiar theme. Makes me wonder how many of us Keepsake writers had the same family in mind.
The dynamic of the CMC feels off, somehow; it's like the author knew they wanted to get to a fight but had to force their way there...
Sort of a shame that the story really just got started at the "gotcha" ending.

My Sunshine
Solid, well-structured bit of grimdark. The intercut storylines work well, building you to the inevitable reveal. I like.
And the first where I'm not spotting typos. Impressive.

War is Hay
Heh. Those are *some* blanks. (I am amused by the idea that capture the flag while using non-lethal rounds is Pinkie's idea of a party.)

Not getting the vomiting rainbows thing at all. Vague sense it's a reference to something I'm not privvy to. Probably to one of those videographic gaming machines all you young people seem to enjoy so much when you aren't on my lawn.

Can't decide if "rocket lawnchair" is an attempt at Southern dialect or an awesome spellcheck autocorrection.

"carried her on her back, like a camel" is my favorite simile I've encountered in this thus far.

Every Night Is a Swan Song
...Salt Lick Lounge! 500 points to Gryffindor, or something.

...and that took a turn in a different direction all of a sudden. Clever. Especially since you called it out in the title and I didn't even notice.

There's a line, "It was something she couldn’t bear to do for the longest time, because that would finally lay the rumors to rest" that is especially jarring to me. I think I know what you're wanting to get at--she doesn't want to give an official recognition to the reality of the situation--but it had me scratching my head.

Bittersweet Music
(12,000 words? You're killing me here, logorrheaiac...)

Oooh, Fancypants banter! "In which case, you may refer to me as Mister Pants." All is forgiven.

"Truth *and* stuff?" Fancypants is best pony, especially when given best dialogue. *Love* his interaction with the fillies.

"You wandered in at nine-thirty with no place to sleep, you're all poetic and moody, and you haven't had any dinner. I'm guessing you're havin' problems with your mare." Spike can be wise beyond his years sometimes.

A "Wet-Ums" reference? Here I thought I was the Grand Old Man of bronydom; there are apparently geezers out here creakier than me...

"You're still a bachelor, aren't you? You're permitted to look like a fool, so you should learn to appreciate it while you can!" Written like a married man. Ball-and-chain brohoof: /)

Callback to the dragon grooming joke. I <3 this author.

"Oh, I imagine he's quite aware of that." Smooth dialogue and wit make this a much easier read despite being a little longer than the others.

Ranking because the rules say I have to:
1. Bittersweet Music
2. Every Night Is a Swan Song
3. My Sunshine (positions for 2 and 3 I agonized over, and will continue to do so; both deserve to make it to the public round.)
4. The Manticore Problem
5. Candy Crisp
6. War is Hay
>> No. 115172
File 134431428418.jpg - (48.68KB , 439x573 , I Love You.jpg )
>>115143 I am very happy with that 4/10. I would have been content with a 2, but no, you graced me with a 4. You are a very generous person.

I do believe I set myself up to fail, honestly. I spent too much time planning everything out, so when it came to actually writing I rushed it. What's there is probably 1/3 of what I wanted to write. Not only that, but I was called in to work last minute on two occasions, essentially putting my writing/planning time down to one day.

But hey, it's my first time in one of these contest thingamabobs. Learn from my mistakes for the next one.
>> No. 115178
>But sure, if once the write-off is done, you still want a quick sweep of your story, I'd gladly do it.
That might be... strange. I was just curious to see what you had spotted. I should be able to root 'em out.
>> No. 115190
Can I keep it? Please, oh PLEASE?

What the hay did I just read.

This is a trollfic, right? Regardless, it was bad, but I also found myself laughing at the absurdity of the entire thing.

Score: 3/10 (You get a 3 for "Scooterpony".)

Memories of Chaos

This story is decent. You told an interesting tale. It's not really something new or exciting, though, but it's an interesting presentation. You should have spent more time explaining why Discord was interested in Luna. That was what caught my interest, but it was never explained, and sort of devolved into weird introspection while Discord relives his imprisonment. The conversations were really odd, and Discord's arguments were weak and felt out of character for the chaotic mastermind that we know and love.

There were a few typos, nothing terribly major.

I tried to figure out what picture you used, but then I found your statement:

>>Eh... I couldn't decide. It was a toss-up between Dash gets a new set of headphones and Keepsake. The crown being the keepsake or the "new 'headphones' item".

Seriously? I'm pretty sure that is not how this is supposed to work, and that's a pretty weak argument in your favor. The keepsake most definitely is about a music box or some sort of box with a pony in it, and Rainbow Dash gets new headphones appears to include Rainbow Dash, and headphones, not a crown and Discord. At best, this is an 'interpretation' of the prompt.

Score: 4/10

Unwanted Song

This is an excellent execution of the given prompt, and a wonderful interpretation of the chosen art piece. It feels unfinished, but the ending that is given is decent. I blame the time constraint for the lack of general polish. There are a few typos and a few grammar and punctuation errors, but nothing major.

This story is adorable. Sweetie Belle is well written, Fluttershy is almost perfectly in character, and the end is a crowning moment of heartwarming. It is cut short by the deadline. Author, if you continue this story or even "complete" it, I will read it. Well done.

Score: 9/10

Finally, Rankings:

#1: Unwanted Song
#2: End of the Season
#3: Bittersweet Music
#4: Every Night is a Swan Song
#5: Memories of Chaos
#6: Can I Keep It? Please, Oh Please?
>> No. 115202
Wait. Are you telling me I even used the same cutie mark as Sunny Skies?

I've never read that story, though I at least know about it. Using Celestia's "filly" form as her disguise, sans horn, seemed to me the natural thing to do. But am I really that unoriginal?

And you're right on the money about the padding. The story's stronger without those flashbacks, but it's also too short for the contest. Thank you for at least affirming that for me. (It's good to be right sometimes, even if it hurts.)
>> No. 115207
>People who commented on my story
Whew. Positive feedback? Something must have gone wrong. I'll get to responding once I'm done reading my stories.

Bon x6
I will punch fifty baby seals in anger if this is actually a word.

If I could use one word to describe the meat of this story, it'd be "cacophony", and not just because I recall an overuse of the word. The repeated scenes at the start made me feel unengaged from the get-go (not good), and afterwards it was just...

Combining a lot of metaphorical phrasing with supernatural events makes it difficult to discern what I'm supposed to be seeing. In the central act of the story, I was just reading words, without putting any picture to them. I really just couldn't figure out what was happening.

The ending brought it back up to clarity a little, though.

You used a fair few $20 words where a 20c one would do just fine.

l feel like this could have been a lot shorter. If you go through this and cut out the unnecessary verbiage, this could be a good story.

The End of the Season
This story has no conflict. It's just two old nonces yapping about and reminiscing about interactions I'm not invested in. That's pretty much it. There's nothing to it.

To your credit, you did the Apple accent well—not grating, but not invisible. Nonetheless, that doesn't help the lack of conflict. This is a competently written work, but it has no story.

Candy Crisp
>Sweetie Bell must of had
Fifty lashings

>Double scene break 1/3 of the way in
I'm guessing there's a couple missing scenes here?

>The secrete is
Ew. On second thought, Scoots, maybe I don't wanna know.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Apple Bloom crushing on Big Mac? That sure came outta left field.

>“Candy Crisp,” Granny Smith said.
I feel like Granny Smith would have belabored this into a bit of a tale, rather than just spitting it out. Old people like to ramble and stuff. This felt rushed.

Ending was nice. Big points to the wry narrative voice when talking about the CMC. Reminds me of the narrator in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, where someone would explain something entirely ridiculous to Tom, and then the narrator would say some sarcastic spin on, "This made perfect sense to Tom."

I enjoyed this the most of the three so far, even despite its comparatively sloppier writing technically. Throw this up in a review thread later to get help some in that area, and this will be solid, I reckon.

Two stories on Filler's little picture already. Ten all up? You dog. I was even going to use it at first, but instead scrapped what I had (http://pastebin.com/gdazahdp) for what's submitted. Such is life.

That's all for now.
>> No. 115208

> The keepsake most definitely is about a music box or some sort of box with a pony in it, and Rainbow Dash gets new headphones appears to include Rainbow Dash, and headphones, not a crown and Discord.
Um... they're prompts. They're not supposed to "lock me into anything". If I chose Dash and the new headphones, it's not supposed to lock me into Dash getting a new set of headphones. The idea is it's supposed to prompt me into writing something about somepony (Or in this case, Discord) getting something new. Which in this case, would be the crown. If I chose Keepsake, it would have to be about somepony's keepsake. Not every pony can have a music box with a pony in it. It just has to prompt me to write about a pony's keepsake, which could be anything. In this case, it would be the crown.

There, I explained my argument a littler better? Happy?

Only a 4/10? Well, can't win them all, can I? To be fair, it should be expected that I get a few low scores if people are finding a plot hole so big.

> The conversations were really odd, and Discord's arguments were weak and felt out of character for the chaotic mastermind that we know and love.
That's the point. Memories are weird. It feels out of character because he is supposed to be out of character. He's frustrated. He thought he could get what he wanted. He thought he'd never have to worry about Luna "betraying" him. Reliving the memory is a pain for him because of that "betrayal" and it causes him to break character. That's what I was going for. If you'll notice, he slides back into character more so towards the end and if I progressed the story beyond this, he would stay in that characterization. That characterization being the one we all know and love.

Hope this helps anyone else who reads the story. Of course, it also means that if I have to explain things, I didn't do as good a job as I could have so that'll be a thing I have to fix.
>> No. 115214

This is why many people didn't like the picture prompts, because they thought it meant they had to write about what's there. But whichever, interpret it however you like. :D
>> No. 115215
Eh, fair cops all. Describing the beaded detail was killing me as was figuring how to drop the box with out really breaking it. Though if you spend enough time with old women with wiry blue perms, you'll get where the "brittle" is coming from.
>> No. 115216
Volunteer 1D here to judge some fics. I'm gonna give a few of my thoughts on each of the ones I was assigned, and then rank them when I'm done. No 1-10s because I hate those.

I'm going to point out grammar/spelling mistakes where I notice them, but rest assured that a few typos aren't going to make me hate your story or even influence its ranking. Recurring errors that really hamper readability and show a lack of basic mechanical knowledge probably will sour me, but I trust there shan't be too much of that.

Now, in order from longest to shortest...

Bittersweet Music
Ah, we have a Canadian!
Or maybe just an American who made a typo. Eh.

>it's way
>it's charm
As even MS Word can tell you, the possessive form of "it" is "its"

Is this something fake Canadian say?

Well, that was interesting. My suspension of disbelief warbled a little at Spike's performance and then a little more at Sparity, but in your defence, "six extra vocal cords" and "it's just a picnic".

On the one hand, I want to argue that effort and work and practice are far more important to success than talent, but then on the other hand I want to agree that talent insofar as it implies a passion to do something is totally essential to worthwhile art.

There were points where it seemed like your moral might have been "natural talent totally trumps effort forever", but I do believe your intended moral was "you'll do a better job if you're heart's in it", which is better and probably more true. I could probably ramble about this forever, so let me just stop here.

There's a lot to like about this story, especially in the second half. Fancypants has some great lines (loved the recurring joke about grooming animals) and I thought tension built up quite nicely before Spike's performance.

But there's also a fair amount wrong here. The fic feels disjointed. You start with Fleur, Fancy and a flood of idle banter and events that have little bearing on the second half of the fic. The plot pushes Fancy through an arbitrary sequence of events to get him to speak to Spike, and I daresay it sounds like he's been stalking the mane six from the way he talks about and to them.

There've been some attempts to work in a dry, British style of comedy that I absolutely love, and it's pretty hit-and-miss. You have some gems, but you also have a good deal of waffling. I'd recommend reading the excellent Canterlot Follies [http://www.fimfiction.net/story/1757/Canterlot-Follies] (or the PG Wodehouse novels it's based on) to get a better handle of doing that sort of thing in text.

But honestly, my biggest problem with this fic is that that largely irrelevant first section almost seems to come at the expense of the first half of the story Twilight and co reach the conclusion of just before the talent show. I can't help but think I'd rather have read about what they did than the admittedly-funny-in-places escapades of Fancy.

So basically I feel the Spike plot is the real meat of the story, the overplot about Fleur and Fancy could use some trimming and focusing, the mane six subplot could certainly be extended (especially the bits that started the Spike plot) the CMC subplot can be left on the cutting room floor, and also I've a nagging feeling that Diamond Tiara is a bit of a dangling thread.

The writing was competent and readable. The dialogue got a bit talking-headsy at times (Sweetie Belle especially had very weak introductions), but otherwise not bad. I see some reviewers above have called you out for typos and grammar/punctuation errors. I'd be interested in seeing what those were, 'cause I only noticed the "it's" thing (but I am a fast reader).

You'll Never Know Until You Try It

I don't think you meant for Rainbow Dash's jaw to be the thing that was surrounded by all its friends and the warmth of Sugarcube Corner in that first sentence. Careful with these constructions!

>"From Rarity and Twilight Sparkle," the purple and silver card on the wrapping had said.
There's something about "had said" that makes me imagine a talking card, moreso than I might if it wasn't in past perfect tense.

I hate technobabble with the red hot intensity of an overclocked flux capacitor.

Were I a casual reader, I would have stopped at the first break. You've given me no reason to care about pony iPods.

Why is Applejack suddenly spouting off like an anti-piracy advert?

I don't think our ponies are quite old enough to be this stuffy about their world's modern music.

*east *north *south

>The the glare of the sun
Typo or band name reference? You decide!

>“Great, I love surprises,” she deadpanned.
One does not "deadpan" outside of TVTropes.

And suddenly hipster ponies.

>“Please. Anything but Coppermane. I’m begging you.”
I'm sympathising with Rainbow here, I really am.

I don't like your writing style. It's full of poor constructions, overflowing with needless, pretentiously long words, and redundant fluff. Tortured metaphors with delusions of their own wittiness overextend paragraphs, and overextended paragraphs swallow up important events like Rainbow crashing into a tree.

But then... was that maybe what you were going for? Your diction is about as pretentious as your hipster ponies, so I it works on some meta level. But I do believe it would do wonders for the fic's readability if you toned the diction and verbosity down to some degree. As it is, it's impossible to tell how much of the writing is obtuse for effect and how much is just obtuse.

I don't really know how to feel about this one. Going in, I really wanted to hate it, but it grew on me a little and had some amusing moments.

Pinkie and Fluttershy's subplot seemed forced in for the sake of the prompt picture. I'm unclear about whether you had to do that or not – how directly does the art have to inspire the fics, anyway? – but I do feel that it wasn't integrated quite well enough.

In the end, I don't hate this.

Joie de Vivre

French title. Humans. Present tense. This should be interesting.

Three separate plots, seemingly unrelated to each other. Alright, you've got my attention.

oh no please don't let it be the House on Ash Tree Lane.

I had a whole three paragraphs written out on how I didn't get this story at all and how disappointing that was, but then it clicked. However, it wasn't so much a "how clever!" click as it was a "really?" click.

Of the three interwoven stories, I enjoyed the Abe and Mary one the most, but that was mainly because the Pinkie one was dull and the farmer one, while the most structurally complete of the three, just felt vague. And then I realised that the Abe and Mary plot was totally unnecessary and had nothing of value to add.

I thought you were building up to something interesting and meaningful, but instead I got "Equestria is actually just some vegetable's dream (an awful, boring twist that most know not to actually use in any serious thing ever), and by the way her old room in her father's house was hidden behind her a wall, but that's kind of irrelevant." Colour me disappointed.

I noticed a bunch of typos, spelling mistakes ("baloon" was a repeat offender) and grammar derps (watch out for comma splices), but nothing really story-breaking.

Three down, three to go!
>> No. 115220
>I rushed through it for the most part and didn't pay enough attention to balancing emphasis and pacing, so I'll agree it was sloppy in regard to disproportionately describing certain things more than others (not to mention some editing errors). With more care I probably could have retained exposition of what the musics sound like while avoiding telling
Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I'm sure a thorough read-through or two will pretty much fix the issues of repetition and wordiness

>Furthermore, my intent was to write prose that took itself too seriously for the prospect of ponies listening to and loathing certain types of music.
Okay, yes, I thought so, and I didn't mean to imply you didn't know what the words you used meant. It's just that the combination of large, slightly esoteric words and lots of repetition and redundancy give off a nasty whiff of pretension, even when all of those words are used correctly – so it's not really the words themselves as much as it's their overabundance. I'm sure that once you trim the fat off this fic and clean up the errors it'll be eloquent rather than pompous – or rather, it'll be slightly pompous in a deliciously meta kind of way.
>> No. 115224
File 134435584512.gif - (847.16KB , 200x200 , Fluttershy131690771966.gif )
You didn't have to post the ranking publicly...
>> No. 115230

>Ah, we have a Canadian!
>Or maybe just an American who made a typo. Eh.
Actually, I'm a Canadian who made a typo. Canadians can make typos too, you know. (sniffle) Why must you judge? Whyyy!?

I knew from the beginning that Fancypants was going to drive the story on character and dialogue alone. I'm glad he was generally well received, but I do regret skimping on the other characters and scenes. I also regret not shortening/cutting extraneous scenes. I can never tell which scenes are dead weight until a friend reads it over for me.

As for the ending, it pretty much kicks canon in the face. As soon as Spike and Rarity go out on real date, the sitcom is over and that's the end of their story though perhaps the beginning of another). But the longer they avoid a solid resolution, the harder it is for viewers to suspend disbelief. Knowing this fact, my favorite Spike/Rarity event is the tender moment they share near the end of "Secret of My Excess." It. Was. Brilliant.
>> No. 115235
I have to say, reading some of these stories proved to be quite the arduous task. For the most part, though, they were enjoyable. It was interesting to see what everyone came up with, and some of the takes on the artwork were very surprising. Now, I’m guilty of this myself, but it appears every single author looked at the art and thought to themselves, “Gee, what’s the most depressing story I can write?” Seriously. Leave it to us authors to see the bad in everything. But, of course, that’s what it’s all about. Life is one big facade, no? Anyway, on to my opinions, which apparently are worth something.

Made of Dreams

Solid plot, poor style and structure. I was unable to invest myself emotionally in this work. 6/10

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon

Has potential, but is very predictable. The dream sequence was drawn out and confusing. 7/10

The WestFillya Waltz

Thoroughly enjoyable and heartfelt story. By far the best one I’ve been assigned. Good job. 8/10

Candy Crisp

Uninteresting plot, stilted narration and dialogue, inconsistent perspective, and I’m pretty sure there were hints of incest. Also, Granny Smith and AJ were severely OOC. The attempt at an emotionally moving conclusion only added to the poor execution of this piece. 3/10

Unwanted Song

Wut. I’m sorry, but this piece just felt terribly rushed. The plot was confusing and the author failed to properly explain the conflict or give it context. Also, it appears I’m rather ignorant, as I had to look up the significance of the name “Stephen Magnet”. 4/10

Joie de Vivre

Overall, a pretty good story. Descriptions were lacking, and I found the present tense narration disconcerting. However, I was able to connect on an emotional level, albeit only slightly. The human component was... interesting, but the author switched scenes far too often for the reader to experience the intended emotional impact. 7/10


1) The WestFillya Waltz
2) Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon
3) Joie de Vivre
4) Made of Dreams
5) Unwanted Song
6) Candy Crisp
>> No. 115237
File 134436330683.gif - (82.52KB , 553x457 , 310.gif )
I have a good excuse for not getting to the other three last night: I was sleeping.

On Loyalty

I liked this, it was very nice. However, it felt very rushed. Everything collided into another and I feel like it was just one long run on sentence-story that never ended and it really bothered me until the end. I don't know if you were trying to pull a surprise twist ending there, but it wasn't much of a twist or a surprise. You just kind of gradually eased into it. Overall, rather well done, but it could be slowed down.

8/10. So that you may have memories of your mother.

The Manticore Problem

Your grammar is absolutely appalling. I feel that we're a lot alike, you and I.

6/10. Winona is Doug from UP.

The Sound of Raindrops on Slate

At the first mention of banjo, I couldn't stop reading without listening to Cotton-eyed Joe in my head. Even your poetic mastery can not make me take this seriously anymore.

Hands, Arms, Fingers? These are not ponies. You silly filly.

8/10. Where did you come from, where did you go?

In conclusion, with what I've reviewed fairly compared to each other:

1. Bittersweet Music Fancypants confirmed for Marty Stu.
2. A Deck With No Hearts The magician is now Trixie, and this launches her deep one-sided rivalry with Twilight.
3. Melody of Solace As a pianist, I tried to think of a way ponies could play the piano. I just thought they'd have bigger keys.
4. The Sound of Raindrops on Slate They all ran away, so nobody would know, and left only men cause of Cotton-Eye Joe.
6. The Manticore Problem This one is my personal favorite, despite being the lowest ranked.
>> No. 115238

If I can prod you into digging a little deeper, why do you think the farmer boarded up Diane's room before he sold the farm? I hoped the Mary story would ask that question, because it strikes right at the heart of "Joie"'s
philosophical thesis.

Then again, I suspect you've already negated that thesis (in labeling Pinkie Diane a "vegetable"), so perhaps understanding the story better won't make you enjoy it any more.

For better or for worse, the comma splices were an intentional stylistic choice, the mispellings are my lazy-assed fault.


Some things have come up in my personal life that will delay my rankings and feedback until Friday. Sorry. I'll do my best to make the wait worthwhile.

That said, I'm now at the beginning of "Candy Crisp," seriously enjoying just plain hanging out with the Crusaders.
>> No. 115239
File 134436415526.jpg - (91.46KB , 1366x768 , pp8649.jpg )
>1) The WestFillya Waltz
>> No. 115242
Yes, actually, I am happy, because what you're saying makes more sense than offering a limited explanation.
I rescind my previous score, but there is still much to this story that needs fixing up and adjusting if you intend to turn it into a longer story at a later date.
As it stands right now, and I honestly mean no offense, there's no way I can rank it above Every Night is a Swan Song. There's too much left unexplained and I personally am left wanting to see more resolution, as well as cleaned up dialogue. The time constraint obviously hurt, but if anything you can come out of this with a solid idea of what needs work for the "longer story" you intend to turn Memories of Chaos into. I'm certain with actual time to work on it and the ability to put more polish into it, it will be fine.

Memories of Chaos: Score: 5.5/10
>> No. 115249
I'm flattered you thought so highly of my story. Yes, time was the main reason I didn't finish, but I also found myself having a terrible case of writer's block right at the start of the lake scene. There's a lot missing from the story that I intend to fill in after this whole thing is over.

I'll have to agree with your ignorance with regards to our friend Steven. (If I knew of literally any other accepted name for him I would use that.) I attempted to imply that Rarity had kicked Sweetie Belle out of the house because her singing was distracting Rarity from her work. I also ended up basing the whole story on her not being able/allowed to just sing in public. (Despite Pinkie Pie singing all the time.) I wanted to lampshade this, but I ran out of time and had to get to the manticore scene or else I wouldn't have much of a connection to the prompt. Thus, on the whole it is rather rushed, isn't it? I did try to lampshade this as childish stupidity with Sweetie Belle's brief reflection on what she did, but I see I failed to provide the proper context. I've been debating whether or not to add a scene in the very beginning to show Rarity sending Sweetie Belle away. Do you think that would help, or simply make it a little too obvious?
>> No. 115279
I can't say for sure what happened here. Maybe I just got a batch of not so good stories, maybe I'm a grumpy meaniepants today. Here are some thoughts on my five assigned stories, from worst to best.

The Manticore Problem: A pretty hefty number of grammar and spelling derps all throughout, combined with a voice that just wasn't gripping left me thoroughly unimpressed. I can't think of a nicer way of putting this, but it reads like the author has never written before. Also, how exactly would Gummy present a toothy grin?

On Loyalty: This felt a bit stiff. Each sentence is constructed well enough, but together they just do so little to compel me to read. It's like a long list of events. X happened. Then Y. Then Z. The protagonist doesn't give a good justification for leaving the settlers alone. Your ending was more obvious than I think you meant for it to be, and your closing scene felt pointless.

His Heart Too Full For Words: The crusaders lacked personality and only served to push Bound without being interesting in their own right. His interaction with AJ felt unnatural. While it might be perfectly reasonable that he be so bitter about his situation in life, Bound's insistence on being such a Negative Nancy was more annoying than anything else. Also, it strikes me as really odd that he can levitate himself over the fence at his age. That seems pretty advanced, both because he's heavy and because moving yourself would be distracting and weird.

Sunshine: Competently written. I can't find any real systemic faults, but neither can I find any points where it excels. I'm left feeling empty and with no lingering opinions or feelings.

The Good You Might Do: We're left exactly as confused as we're meant to be as we whirl through Twilight's problem. The scenes are all fine, but there's too many. I could really smell that you were trying to meet the token "each friend once" requirement and several of them felt quite a bit like the same scene with some find/replace action. Of the two central things to press on, the lack of serving oneself and the music, I thought the music was definitely the weaker. Enough so that I think it probably should have been cut, because it left me with an unpleasantly incomplete taste in my mouth. If the number of visits were reduced (or somehow made more varied and interesting) and the musical issue cut, I would probably like this.
>> No. 115282
>I could really smell that you were trying to meet the token "each friend once" requirement
*sigh* It's about her realizing her roles in life, as Element, mother figure, teacher, and student, and how she'sbeen inadvertently subverting each. If it was merely an "everypony" appearance, I would have stopped after the first five.

>Of the two central things to press on, the lack of serving oneself and the music, I thought the music was definitely the weaker. Enough so that I think it probably should have been cut
I appreciate what you're saying, but then where's my prompt tie-in?
>> No. 115286
If each encounter properly played on the role she's supposed to have in relation to the visitor, then sure. But I didn't get that from them. For the most part, each visit felt the same - as if you'd copied and pasted the same encounter several times and only made minor tweaks. You would transition into one (sometimes in unique ways) and then nearly immediately slide into the exact same flow as the last one, and that's the problem. Her friends should be different. They should expect different things of her, treat her differently, and be treated differently in turn.

Because they weren't, it felt boring and forced. Like you felt the need to use each of them once. I was really relieved when you didn't add on her parents or brother.

I think I must've put on my grumpiest and meanest pants by accident this morning.
>> No. 115293
File 134440457161.png - (331.39KB , 900x900 , mlfw2547-woona_by_staticwave12-d4lw5ol.png )
Alright, my fine lads and ladies, and welcome. *puts on reading glasses* So, it seems I must read all these assigned to me to advance into the finals. And, as it stands, I see no reason why not to give each a little review. Onward!

Memories of Chaos
This was nice. Not extraordinarily memorable, but it left a pleasant enough aftertaste. There was the occasional missing article or verb, but I’ll accept those as errors arising from the time constraint. What I didn’t like, however, was Discord’s constant qualifications of his observations. Parts like “In all honesty,” and “For all I knew,” broke my immersion. They were neither pleasant nor fluid. They made the memory sequences stale and confused me when there was transition from memory to real time. The way in which events are ordered and the transitions could have been done better. The premise is interesting, but the idea is comparatively small and not as unique as I would hope. Good job, do an editing pass, and fix up sequencing and pacing.
Rating: Honey wheat granola bar.

Can I keep it? Please, oh PLEASE?
Where do I start? Formatting issues, spelling mistakes, nonsense masquerading as plot, cheap jokes and stock phrases. This wasn’t good. It wasn’t a nice read, and it made me want to hurt myself to physicalize the psychological damage it was causing me. I can tell it was rushed. I can tell it was poorly thought out. Pray to the writing gods you aren’t disqualified for the paragraph formatting errors. One last thing:

Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom. Apple Bloom.
Rating: Store-bought banana-flavored faux pie snack bar.

War is Hay
I’m calling Comma Protective Services right now. *flips through a phonebook* Comma, comma, c, c, c… huh. It doesn’t appear to be in here. *sigh* Alright, on with the review.

[…] Hm, I— Well, that was one fever dream of story. There were several typographical/mechanical errors. Some parts were… just weird. Hm, what’s that? Ah, it’s a crossover/adaptation/whatchyamacallit. So basically you made a lot of references that wouldn’t mean anything to someone that doesn’t know them… that’s going to hurt you in my deliberations. Can’t say how well you pulled it off, not being the proper audience for your niche product, but good on ya for at least going out on a limb.
Rating: Rare steak with a watered-down sauce and raw onion on the side.

Bittersweet Music
Wow. I’m impressed. Your character interactions were marvelous. What you managed to do with two characters—Fancypants in particular—nearly tabula rasa, was incredible. That being said, there were many typographical errors, and I suggest you or a proofreader go over it again. The two things that caused me the most trouble were Fancypants’s talents’ back-story and the scene where the mane six discussed dropping out of the competition. He being multi-talented is believable enough. The scene with the mane six I didn’t like mostly likely because I wanted to get back to reading about Fancypants (and Spike, I suppose) being awesome. Curse you, you sleazy son of a gun, and very well done.
Rating: Spiced tea with sugar and cream.

The WestFillya Waltz
>"Daybreak is my time of day," decided Applejack, "I know on account it's the same color as my backside."
This might be the single greatest line I’ve ever seen a fan-fiction open on.

Boy howdy, that was some southern comfort right there. Very, very obvious interpretation of the prompt/picture. Several mechanical errors, but nothing that can’t be dealt with by a proofread. ‘Twould be nice to see something a mite more original, but we’ve got what we’ve got. I tip my hat to, Author. Now git.
I proudly award you with the rating of apple pie.

My Sunshine
Lots of errors here, definitely in need of a proofread. Okay, I might have had a feel or two. The ending had a rather obvious twist (if it can be called that). The driving force of the plot/conflict, Sonata’s insanity—an expectation I would have loved to see subverted, was contrived, considering what supposedly caused it. There was some strange device you’d attempted to pull off with tense shifts, not sure if I buy that either.
Rating: Popsicle.

I won’t display the rankings publically, ’cause I’m evil like that.

On to the rage and responses!
>Hands, Arms, Fingers? These are not ponies. You silly filly.
>Anatomical hiccoughs: at least one count of using the word "hands", one count of "arms", and two counts of "fingers". I'm starting to think this isn't a pony at all.

>beneath my feet
>I turn my back on the tree
>My hand reaches out
>the hands of Evil’s jealously
>are held in hands
>Laying my hand on one
>my wrinkled clothes
>in my hands
>The fingers plucking
>my arms, my fingers

Either you guys are really dense, or you think I'm an idiot. Only two are mistakes. One I can hand wave, but it was unintentional.

>your poetic mastery
>I was immediately drawn to and drowned in the flowing prose without pause or interruption.

Thank you kindly.

The correct form of this, I believe, is "patinated." This is not actually a typo. Patinaed is, technically, a word. But it's a word I cobbled together on the fly because it sounded pleasant and fit the sentence well. Take that as you will.

>He didn't just misspell imminent...
*flips a table*

>Cotton-eyed Joe
*opens mouth to say something, closes it* This doesn't have anything to do with my review of your fic, scout's honor.

Also, author of "Bittersweet Music," you used the same url for the "Music it made me think of" for both mine and "His Heart Too Full For Words."

I'm not very confident in my choice of tenses. The only tense error I found was:
>She reached out a hoof and placed it on Cadance's shoulder.
(which should be in present tense)
To any reviewer that reviewed or will review my story: If you see/saw any tense errors, point them out to me. (The italicized text switches from present to future to past sporadically, a feature not a flaw. The horizontal line breaks mark a transition from present to past then from past to present.)

Oh, boy. I guess that wraps that up! So many words (owo).

Edit: Re-uploaded due to markup error.
>> No. 115327
Tally ho, on with the show!

Memories of Chaos
Time-wise I'm not sure where we're at until near the end.

I enjoyed reading this. The description and dialogue was fun, but it sort of ended too soon. It could do with a bit of expansion.

"Thine" and "thy" are both second-person singular possessive pronouns (substitutes of "your"), working similarly to how "a" and "an" work ("lend me thine ear," "sheath thy sword," etc.). You exclusively used thine, which 9 times out of 10 is the wrong one.

The idea that Discord was the catalyst for Nightmare Moon isn't very favorable in my view. An external source being the cause rather than Luna's own emotions lessens the impact of the transformation. Luna is vilified by the situation, rather than given depth.

I feel the same way about anything that tries to explain away her actions, but that's just me. This is why I normally avoid injecting headcanon.

War Is Hay
Weird story. I feel like the author just went "TF2 + Ponies = ???" then forgot to add a story.

The biggest issue with this is that the entire thing is a game—not real. Straight from the onset the reader is aware of this, and there's no reason for the reader to become invested because there are no consequences for anything that happens.

TF2 is comical, and seeing as the former point removes any possibility of investment in the characters' fates, I was expecting this to be humorous. Well, I can't say it was that either, and didn't really see any attempts at humour.

A lot of stuff happened, but there's no reason to care for the things that did. The entire story is just an extended, inconsequential action scene.

You'll Never Know Until You Try It
Straight up amazing description in this. You used big words properly and to great effect, and I appreciate that a lot in writing.

I actually cracked a laugh at some of the hipster ponies' dialogue, and then again when Rainbow Dash started talking like them.

You took a picture that only made me think "How the hell can you make a story from that?" and then made a story out of it. Bravo. Rainbow Dash getting headphones? How is that even a plot device? Well, shit, you showed me.

The vivid description and metaphors combined with the quasi-philosophic nonsense of the hipster ponies made this wonderfully fun to read.

The ending was so-so, but I forgive that for the strong narration throughout. There's not much else to say other than I'd like to see more of this.

Final Rankings
1. You'll Never Know Until You Try It
2. Candy Crisp
3. Memories of Chaos
4. Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon
5. War Is Hay
6. The End of the Season
>> No. 115329
Melody of Solace: I felt like you started off by addressing the reader directly. It's a pet peeve of mine that authors don't do that. You could easily make it work other ways. Like, make it clear that he's addressing a crowd of ponies or something.

And then you beat to death a single fact. "My grandmother played the piano. She would do it for hours. She could really play the piano. I'd go there and she'd just sit there and play the piano for hours. Oh, and btw, she could play the piano."

Some word choice. I.E. Beg works better than whine and achieves the same effect.

It felt jumpy. Kinda like you wanted to ensure you hit up all the points, but ran out of time.

So much potential! But you don't even tell us why Melody was kicked out. I assume it was cause she was caught, but that's all I have to go on. The prompt picture felt forced in. I feel it could have been worked in much better.

5/10 -1 for a subpar beginning. -1 for beating a fact to death. -.5 for word choice. -1 for slight jumpyness. -1.5 for leaving so many things unexplained. I.E. The music box, how Melody was kicked out.

The WestFillya Waltz: Beginning dialogue felt like thoughts rather than speech. It was. So I'm gonna dock points for that.

Minor Eyesore flesh-rending grammar errors.

Applejack felt like RD in several scenes. I.E. when she woke AB up.

AJ felt OOC. I.E. She felt more like the mean, single-minded sister rather than the caring sister.

I liked the connection to the picture prompt. I liked the connection you made with AJ's parents. It offers some good insight to one possible happening between her parents. That's what makes this story.

4/10 -3 for grammar. -3 for a OoC Applejack I.E. She blows up at AB and then stays angry at her and seems to not care that her sister is slacking off. She just seems angry in this story.

Every Night is a Swan Song: The beginning made me think of her as the type who would sleep with a different stallion everynight if they helped her carry her harp. I'm sure this isn't what you were going for, but it's what I thought.

> Three days. Woo... three days. That's not worriesome yet. Make it upwards of a week or so.

You have several scenes that could be worked on. I won't dock too much because of time constraints. I.E. When he returns to the bar. When he has lunch with Starshine.

That ending was cheeky. It made me smile. You redeem your story a good bit. I thought this was going to be the low of the write-off... but then. BAM! Siren out of nowhere! And then you kinda botched the ending. Why didn't Starshine just tell him? That's the biggest flaw in the story.

6/10 -1 for a intro that provided dirty minded thoughts. -2 for the scenes that could use expanding. -1 for the botched ending.

There we go, folks! I'm done. I'm sure you could figure out my rankings, but I won't tell you here.


I thank you kindly. 1.5 points back is more than I could have hoped for.
>> No. 115332
I've marked in the spreadsheet all the authors who I've received rankings from. If you've already sent/given a ranking and your story still has a ✗ next to it, (re)send me an email with your rankings.
>> No. 115334
(continued from >>115216)

Melody of Solace

That was odd. Very odd. The narration flowed well, I didn't notice any technical errors besides a few missing words, but I don't think I quite got the ending.

What did Lyra actually do to Melody? All I can think is that she made her play too fast, or she plucked her intestines like lyre strings. That bit was rather confusing.

I think you lost out on some possible tension with that paragraph about Melody getting too cocky. You kinda took the wind out of your climax's sails, and I think it could have been more engaging if you'd let the reader follow Melody's thought process as she played normally, played better and then shockingly lost control.

It seems a little odd that you skipped Melody's first term at the school entirely. I would have expected to at least get a paragraph on how she was doing there and maybe the transition from being self-taught in something to learning it at a school.

What's more, why didn't Lyra and Melody ever test their idea beforehand? Melody was pretty set on winning the competition, so you'd think she'd at least test out her idea before letting all her chances rest on it.

I'm not really sure what this story's trying to say to me. "Cheating is bad"? "The music (and life) will go on without you"?

So in conclusion: there's good writing and interesting ideas here, but the execution is rather off.

Unwanted Song

>Fluttershy [...] Fluttershy [...] Derpy [...] Derpy
Please use more pronouns (he, she, etc...)

About time I found a Sweetie Belle story in a competition about music.

The ending was very abrupt. "And then Sweetie was manticore food" woulda made this a legit trollfic. It feels unfinished, like you ran out of time and just submitted.

The carnivore thing doesn't really connect with Sweetie's musical woes, and why would she go into the Everfree anyway? She could just go hang around in Ponyville or something.

I'm not feelin' your characterisation. Fluttershy seems to be channelling Pinkie Pie, and Sweetie Belle's relationship with her singing talent doesn't really feel canon -- far as I can infer from "Show Stoppers", her problem is that she's afraid of singing in front of others, not that she feels Rarity wouldn't approve. I guess it's open to interpretation, but I don't feel this fic convinced me.

The writing was a little bleh in places, and having Steven Magnet actually being called Steven Magnet is a bit of a fandom reference (how would anypony know his name anyway?). But an editing pass should fix up the few issues with the former (I'm not going to worry about that stuff too much anyway) and the latter isn't story-breaking or even really very much of an offense at all.

I don't really have any strong feelings about this fic, sorry.

The End of the Season

Sunny Skies/Granny Smith. That's certainly novel, and not something you see very much. With these kinds of stories, it's usually about beginning, so it's a nice change to see one about the end.

You know, I can't really think of much else to say here. These kinds of fics aren't usually my thing, but this one was done well. The fic has a clear purpose, good prose and is, I think, the most polished and well-executed fic of the six I've read. You created an atmosphere. Well done.

Some concluding thoughts: I've been a little harsh on some of the fics here, but I didn't truly despise any of them. Joie de Vivre got me somewhat angry because of how enjoyable and intriguing I found it up until a certain point (and I might have enjoyed even that if I'd never heard of Tommy Westphall or been to a WMG page on TVTropes), and my review of [i]You'll Never Know Until You Try It[/?] came off a little harsher than intended mostly thanks to its stream-of-consciousness writing.

Overall, there was nothing in this little set that really jumped out at me like some of the previous contest winners and runner-ups, but I do have a clear favourite.

Well done to everyone for just writing something, and good luck with editing and revising once the comp's finished.

1. The End of the Season
2. Bittersweet Music
3. Joie de Vivre
4. Melody of Solace
5. You'll Never Know Until You Try It
6. Unwanted Song
>> No. 115350
File 134445237255.png - (223.86KB , 631x577 , 48.png )

I think you confuse me for someone who was trying to compete with you on a serious level.

Your thought process probably goes like:
"What can I write that will impress the masses and prove that I can write an excellent story in a short time period?"

My thought process involved "What nonsense can I sketch up in three days that can still tell an overall coherent story?" and even then, it seems I was still trying to drop coherency.

Is that the equivalent of a moon pie? Because I like moon pies.
>> No. 115352
The >>115224
Ooh. My mistake. Apologies. And don't take my review too seriously; really just not my cup o'tea concept and technique wise. Shop that fic around and it will find an appreciative audience. Probably the type that play your videographic gaming machines...

The opening sticking in my head was what made me want to write this. If you can't write a good story, write a good hook...
>> No. 115354
File 134445436788.jpg - (5.53KB , 275x183 , MoonPie.jpg )
Is that the equivalent of a moon pie? Because I like moon pies.

Yes, yes it is.
>> No. 115357
In response.
>It feels unfinished, like you ran out of time and just submitted.
Well, I had a few minutes left, but I didn't think I'd be able to finish it any better in the remaining time, so pretty much.

>I'm not feelin' your characterisation. Fluttershy seems to be channelling Pinkie Pie,
I don't see this at all. Could you tell me what in particular makes my Fluttershy seem like Pinkie? (Maybe if I go back and read it in a couple more days I'll get it, but hey I get to be a little lazy, right?)

>and Sweetie Belle's relationship with her singing talent doesn't really feel canon -- far as I can infer from "Show Stoppers", her problem is that she's afraid of singing in front of others, not that she feels Rarity wouldn't approve.
It's not so much Rarity not approving, but generally speaking this was the biggest conceptual flaw I had. I needed a reason Sweetie Belle would want to run away, so I just sorta made one up without explaining it fully because of the time constraint. (Rarity kicked her out/sent her away because of the singing. That's why her eyes were red at the very beginning of the story.)

>I guess it's open to interpretation, but I don't feel this fic convinced me.
That's more than understandable. I don't think I convinced myself either.

>The writing was a little bleh in places, and having Steven Magnet actually being called Steven Magnet is a bit of a fandom reference (how would anypony know his name anyway?). But an editing pass should fix up the few issues with the former (I'm not going to worry about that stuff too much anyway) and the latter isn't story-breaking or even really very much of an offense at all.
But Steven is... Steven. (If I had heard of literally any other name in use for him, I'd use it, but I didn't have time to make my own, nor did I feel like using titles or whatnot to get around not having any name for him. In my headcanon, Rarity got to know the guy a bit better and even trades for scales on occasion. Thus Sweetie Belle would magically learn his name through osmosis.

>I don't really have any strong feelings about this fic, sorry.
Don't feel sorry, at least you didn't outright hate it.
>Looks at rankings.
Aww... Well fine, be that way! I can't say that I blame your opinion in any case.
>> No. 115384
My turn to drop my reviews. I very much like this setup, RogerDoger. There's less to review all at once, and even if you don't make it into the contest itself, you're assured of getting feedback from a bunch of your fellow authors. Well, maybe not assured, but everyone seems to be posting reviews.

Reviews, in the order I read the stories:

My Sunshine- What a terrible way to start a story, and I don't just mean the INTENSE DRAMA AND FEELS. The language feels very stilted, and yes, everything is intense and serious right now, so be serious, dammit. The use of the word 'someone' makes me wonder if this is even a pony fic. I mean, obviously yes, it's in this contest, but there's nothing so far saying that it is. Plus, I'm having a hard time connecting with your OC narrator, a major downside when writing dramatic romance. Tense is all over the place, which, coupled with the flitting in an out of reality and the constant "It wa-- will be" corrections, makes this very confusing to read, and not in the good way. The one compelling part of this piece is the condition of the music box. I very much enjoyed the symbolism there. I don't appreciate the ending telling me what happened, however; what punch this built up is completely lost for it. This is a fic that takes itself too seriously, despite its lumpy exterior. It might have gone somewhere given more time (but that is of course a luxury in this contest).

Made of Dreams- Yay, foals. And it's filly Bon Bon? This can only mean good things. The idea that confectionery is valued over music is intriguing, and lends a lot to fanon, given what image you used for inspiration. This is presenting some very intriguing concepts. It's like the opposite of cutie-mark failure syndrome or whatever they call it. Really, all the discussion of cutie marks (Lyra's a lyre liar?) is really fascinating, and this is a really original take on Bon Bon as a character. Darn, but it just kind of stops rather than ending. The writing isn't exactly stellar, either, and I saw a few typos. But this is entirely not bad, and I like Lyra's little scene at the end. Good work!

Every Night Is a Swan Song- He seems to have poor taste in mares. I have no idea what that paragraph about their lunch is supposed to be conveying. This story suffers hard from telling, and that's the worst example so far. ...Wait, what? Oh my god, really? That was rather surprising, though I daresay not entirely effective. The ending likewise doesn't quite work. This feels like a lot of concepts put together, almost as if you started out with one and then changed your mind halfway through. A noble effort, but not effective in the end.

The Sound of Raindrops on Slate- Wait, hand? Okay, I have to level with you: I don't understand one jot of this. There's lots of pretty imagery at the start, with those very confusing italicized interjections, and then it becomes a bunch of short, loosely connected scenes that could really stand to be fleshed out. And I have less than no idea what's going on. And again, hand? This seems even more disconnected from the bits about Cadance and the Princesses than those scenes are from each other. This reminds me a lot of Long Live the Queen, I think the title was, from the last contest. Sadly, if there's a story here, it's choking on the pretention; form is overruling function, to render it invisible if not completely smashed on the pavement. There's nothing to this.

The Good You Might Do- Definitely should have started with the second paragraph. I thought I had an idea of what was going on, and it's been quickly confirmed, so you've hooked me. Oh lord, I can see Rainbow playing the trumpet with her wings, and it's creepy. It's interesting how Pinkie and Applejack talk directly about Twilight, but Rarity and Rainbow talk about themselves first, then use that as the lead-in to talking about Twilight. Narratively, it's jarring, but it makes perfect sense, as they're both fairly self-absorbed, all things considered. I will admit that things are beginning to drag just a bit around Luna's part. It doesn't seem to add much to what's been presented so far, and I'm very excited to see this resolved. Happily, the psychoanalysis rings true. For a second, I was thinking the other shoe had dropped and this was going into extra-wacky land, but I'm satisfied with the ending, as much as it's a beginning. Not perfect, but absolutely beautiful, I love this story.

Consonance- And another weather report. I'm kind of teetering on the disbelief fence, in regards to Ponyville having a weather team. Rainbow Dash's indolence should not be the only thing affecting the weather to this degree. Fluttershy wearing a 'little' rain hat is adorable. I've never seen Rainbow Dash's place referred to as a bachelorette pad, but it absolutely should be. This is an original take on the prompt, vis-a-vis others I've seen so far that used that image. The tone of this seems to be shifting back and forth between comedic and serious, and it's offputting so far. Pinkie's presence in particular is hilarious, but I was expecting something introspective or possibly even grimdark given how this began. It's like you started out doing one thing, then changed gears halfway through. The tonal shift is definitely keeping this down, and the writing feels less and less polished as the story progresses. Pinkie's immunity is explained well, but using deaf Vinyl Scratch just feels overdone. There's a lot of explication all at once here that isn't terribly interesting. This went from mildly interesting to outright boring and full of fan jokes. It was competently written, at least, and at this volume of words in this sort of contest, that's worth something. Also, I wrote a whole lot of notes to myself, so that says something, too.

Not posting my recommendations here. You can probably figure them out anyway.
>> No. 115389

Awesome, thank you for the review!

Would you mind helping me out by letting me know where the plot went from interesting to boring? Was including Vinyl Scratch (as well as making her deaf) a mistake? Any more detailed criticism on those points in particular would be extremely valuable to me, just for future notes.

Despite your unintentional use of Sunny Skies, I really enjoyed your story and you wrote it very well, in my opinion, so getting feedback from you would be much appreciated!

Also, if you were wondering about the tonal shifts, I went into this story with the intention of writing it like an episode from the show, so to that end I wanted to balance the more grim and serious stuff of the entranced/disappearing ponies and evil music box with the comedic use of Pinkie Pie and her lack of seriousness. I wanted to keep the mood light-ish and more in-line with an episode from the show.

I could have gone grimdark or way more serious, but I really wanted to try writing the story like it was for a show made for a younger audience, with nods to the more mature fanbase combining with a good plot line and good characterization. Obviously, it wasn't entirely successful in some ways, in your opinion.
>> No. 115391
>Would you mind helping me out by letting me know where the plot went from interesting to boring?
That was right around when Pinkie was talking at length to Vinyl about... Whatever they were talking about. I skimmed that section.

>Was including Vinyl Scratch (as well as making her deaf) a mistake?
Yes, more to the latter than the former.

>Despite your unintentional use of Sunny Skies, I really enjoyed your story and you wrote it very well, in my opinion, so getting feedback from you would be much appreciated!
Even as I pointed out that deaf Scratch has been done, I felt the pangs of hypocrisy prickling at my skin. I'm really beginning to resent that fic's existence.

>Also, if you were wondering about the tonal shifts, I went into this story with the intention of writing it like an episode from the show
Hmm. Okay, I can see where you tried that. I think the blending just wasn't successful. You may also want to put some thought into just what was going on. What the heck is this music box, why is it luring ponies in and disappearing them, etc.
>> No. 115396

Thank you for the input! I totally see where the issues are.

Post-competition, I'll be rewriting and adding a lot to the story, making it less of a "I'm out of writing time, I need to resolve the conflict and end the story" ending and into something better.

As it stands right now, I'll just cross my fingers and hope that it makes it through to the public voting round!
>> No. 115400
> flesh-rending grammar errors.

As far as I'm concerned, Grammar was that sweet old lady that married Grandpa, but I thought I caught most of the stuff that caused grievous physical trauma. Have an example in mind?
>> No. 115402
File 134448061171.png - (323.78KB , 1211x809 , mlfw3070-sadRD.png )
Oh, hi. Goody, another review. Let the responses, excuses, blathering, tears, and puppy-dog eyes commence!

>Wait, hand?
"Et tu, Brute?"
I seem to see a common theme beginning each of these reviews. /Fic/ confirmed for chirophobia.
I’ve already addressed this in the latter half of >>115293.

>I don't understand one jot of this.
But the tittles you had no trouble with…? Yes, I should have expected as much. The only problem is explaining it all would steal some of the magic and mystery of it. It’d be like explaining the punch line of a joke. It’s a lot of flowery language, a lot of complex structure, and ludicrously bare. But that’s the way I like it. Sorry that you didn’t “get” it.

>It becomes a bunch of short, loosely connected scenes that could really stand to be fleshed out.
I’m a minimalist at heart. My philosophy regarding this fic dealt with getting readers to engage on a more fundamental level, filling the story with an emotional energy that I as a writer couldn’t hope to fabricate on my own. I plead with them to question and infer. I want to paint a scene, and then leave the mind’s eye to see something that might not even be there, something truly amazing and personal. This was the homage I paid to the original picture, ingrained in the mechanics of the story.

To tell you the truth, my word processor clocked the story at exactly 2500 words when I submitted it. It was the shortest entry; I wrote no more than I thought I absolutely had to. If this made it difficult to understand, I sincerely apologize.

>This reminds me a lot of Long Live the Queen, I think the title was, from the last contest.
Nameless Protagonist with out-of-order scenes? Huh… well, I assure you, the similarities are completely artificial.

>Sadly, if there's a story here, it's choking on the pretention; form is overruling function, to render it invisible if not completely smashed on the pavement.

There is a story here. It’s faint. It’s broken and distorted. It’s convoluted, pretentious. It’s probably all kinds of wrong and maybe a single kind of right nuzzled between a plethora of mistakes. But it’s there.

Thank you for reviewing my story. The feedback was greatly appreciated. Don’t think my protests mean I won’t be taking your criticisms to heart, for I will and dutifully apply them.
>> No. 115405

Sure, sure.

> decided Applejack, "I know
That comma should be a period.

> Maybe Granny would be making pancakes...
Don't end paragraphs with ellipses. There are several cases where you do this. Not just once, but two or three times iirc.

> (Or trying to sneak out, AJ had learned in her younger days...)
The parentheses are unneeded. You'd join it with the previous sentence with a comma or a semi-colon. I'll be honest, grammar isn't my strong suit. I can't tell you exactly what you need. But I can tell you where you're wrong and a good number of times, I can tell you what should go there.

> Must be nice to sleep in 'til sunrise," AJ smiled
That comma should be a period.

> Up and at'em,
Minor error. Not exactly grammar, but still worth pointing out.

> (more carefully made than her own, AJ hated to admit),
Again, you don't need parentheses. You'd set it off with commas.

> It's no big deal...whoah!
There's also a space after ellipses.

All this, except for the last error I pointed out, is within the first few paragraphs. I found that throughout your story, errors like these mentioned plagued your story. It got a bit grating.

Of course, like I offered one other author who declined, I would be willing to review this story after the competition. The choice is yours.
>> No. 115411

>The beginning made me think of her as the type who would sleep with a different stallion everynight if they helped her carry her harp. I'm sure this isn't what you were going for, but it's what I thought.

Any tactic to mislead.
>> No. 115412
What I enjoyed
The Sound of Raindrops on Slate:
- I love the series of contrasts in the ending

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon:
- I love the imagery. I could fully picture each scene, even though most of them made no sense at all. That's good, by the way; really gets me into Bon Bon's perspective
- I was just as confused at the beginning of the piece

The Manticore Problem:
- I like the light tone established in this piece.

A Deck With No Hearts:
- I love the voice of the narrator. It's very engaging
- Short, sweet, clear. Excellent.
- I wasn’t distracted by any grammar/spelling errors at all during my first reading, and had to actively scout for them. That means you kept me really engaged throughout. Wow!

His Heart Too Full for Words:
- I love the way Applejack lied :)
- Color Bound x Applejack OTP

Joie de Vivre:
- Nice theme!
- Immediately engaging
- This has the vibe of “Somewhere Only We Know”, even though your plots are very different

What I feel could have been improved

The Sound of Raindrops on Slate:
- Tense errors. Tons of tense errors.
- Some awkward sentences
- It took me four hours to make any sense whatsoever of this, and even then, I don't think I got whatever you're trying to do, because I can't get what I think is the plot to reconcile with the title. Just to make sure, what's supposed to happen in this story?
- Immanent is an actual word? Huh.
- Anyway, some metaphors just don't make sense.
- "Invocation of ruin will lead only to ruin." Umm... "writing this sentence will lead only to this sentence being written"

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon :
- This could stand to have some of the scenes taken out.
- There didn't really seem to be a point you were trying to make. That would be fine for lighter-toned pieces, but... well,
- The second twist was just plain confusing, rather than shocking

The Manticore Problem:
- Many, many spelling and grammar mistakes. They never impede meaning, but they’re quite distracting.
- It doesn't make sense. I was willing to suspend my disbelief for a bit, but then it got ridiculous.
- The stuff about the Elements of Harmony? Yeah... no. Way too contrived.
- All in all, it didn't feel like a story.

A Deck With No Hearts:
- Once I did go searching for the spelling and grammar errors, though, I found a lot of them. Take your time reading through and proofreading it.

His Heart Too Full for Words:
- Even though I loved how Applejack lied, it did seem somewhat at odds with how she actually lied in the show
- I felt it ended a bit suddenly.
- I feel that the story would be improved with the addition of another Cutie Mark Crusaders scene

Joie de Vivre:
- I… have no criticism. Well done.

@ the author of “His Heart Too Full for Words”: What is “the mattress was unfamiliar” supposed to imply?

Scans of the marked printouts or annotated GDocs (mainly marked with conventions/style errors) available upon request after the contest.

Good work everypony! It’s obvious that you all put in a lot of effort into your stories, and I enjoyed reading all of them, despite the above.

I feel like such a hypocrite by criticizing others’ work
>> No. 115416
>one other author who declined
Heh. Fair dig. It'll make sense once all is revealed.
>> No. 115417

I now have my suspicions on who you are. But, I'll keep that to myself for the time being.
>> No. 115418
I suspect you already did. Most people have distinctive writing styles, after all...
>> No. 115423
Right o', time to talk about myself.

I've gone through the story and noticed a lot of typos, so I'll have to agree here. (Well, as long as you guys aren't calling out my constant sentence fragments, because those were intentional.)

Most people have pointed this out. I'm gonna blame it on the time constraint and the fact that most of this was written at ungodly hours of the night.

> I must say that the canon character's cameo felt a little "thrown in,"
I used Twilight mainly because I wanted it to be someone with magical acuity. Full disclosure: I used Twilight because I'm too lazy to come up with names. You can see this in that I never name the protagonist, nor the harpist (nor the theater owner, but he wouldn't deserve one anyway). Also: Blue. I'm a very creative person, you see.

>Twilight doesn’t really add anything to the story.
Agreed. I'll change her to a background pony or something. Using Twilight diverts attention to the wrong place.

>First, I don't know why the protagonist pursued Blue so fiercely.
Obsession, really. There's not much in the way of explanation. I feel that way with a lot of infatuation. I guess it's just a premise for the story that you have to swallow.

>Second, the lesson of the story was pretty plain from the get-go. I feel like I would have liked it more if the harpist didn't say anything.
It's not an overly complicated story, but I don't see much of an issue with that. The reader likes to feel smart, so if he guesses what's next before it occurs, it lets him feel a little smug. Nothing wrong with that.

>There was also a little confusion with symbolism and literal objects. Leaving much about Blue and the harpist unknown leads me to believe they are symbols.
Ideas. Blue is what the protagonist wants, and the harpist is what's stopping him from getting it.

>But then Twilight shows up?
Yeah, that was a mistake in judgment, for sure. I should have just made her a generic unicorn.>>115412

>Also, how was that last trick not romantic? Gaaahhh, I'm talking myself silly. That's a good sign, author.
I have no idea if that was romantic or not. What people consider "romantic" is so wildly variable that it's hard to say. Blue's reaction wasn't unimpressed with it, though. He was more surprised than anything. Whether he was "wooed" by it? Not sure. The nature of the trick is what really makes his decision.

>I love the voice of the narrator. It's very engaging
Thanks. First-person present was a bit challenging at times (I often swung into past tense accidentally), but I think the end result shows it was a good choice.
>> No. 115443
>/Fic/ confirmed for chirophobia.
More that it's simply unexpected (when presented with a first-person narrator in a pony fanfic, I expect that that narrator is a pony), and I couldn't figure out why there was a human in the first place.

>But the tittles you had no trouble with…?
Oh, I love you now. You are a good person.

>I’m a minimalist at heart.
I'm a minimalist too, but one can go overboard.

>This reminds me a lot of Long Live the Queen, I think the title was, from the last contest.
>Nameless Protagonist with out-of-order scenes? Huh… well, I assure you, the similarities are completely artificial.
Actually, I more meant bringing statues to life. I think that's what was going on in your fic anyway.

>There is a story here.
I will admit to being interested as to what exactly it was. My frustration with the story came from my inability to figure out what was going on, rather than the story itself. All I really got was, "Cadance is Queen now for some reason and she's sad because probably Shining Armor died."
>> No. 115448
Hrm. I was well aware of my abuse of the parenthetical aside (comes with my ADD, I think) but never noticed how often I used ellipses, much less knew that using them in that manner was a form of abuse.

(You don't want to know how many comma splices I patched up between the original submission and the final. Somebody thinks he's Faulkner, and he sure as hell ain't Faulkner.)

I may just take you up on that review later on. Probably easier than digging up a Strunk and White's and learning the mysteries of the ellipse, anyway...

(Yes, I'm doing it on purpose...)
>> No. 115463
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>Tense errors. Tons of tense errors.
Gah—! I looked through it! I only found one! Can you list a few?

>Some awkward sentences
Hm… yes, that would be expected. Though I’d be interested in knowing if there’s any awkward phrasing that wasn’t in the italicized texts.

>It took me four hours to make any sense whatsoever of this, and even then, I don't think I got whatever you're trying to do, because I can't get what I think is the plot to reconcile with the title. Just to make sure, what's supposed to happen in this story?
Er, sorry about that. I might end up just telling the whole thing straight. I’m curious, however, what the title has to do with it.

>Immanent is an actual word? Huh.
Not sure if I should hand wave this or not. For the record, it was a mistake.

>Anyway, some metaphors just don't make sense.
Can you list them? I’d like to know, and I might even be able to explain a few.

>"Invocation of ruin will lead only to ruin." Umm... "writing this sentence will lead only to this sentence being written"
There’s more ways than one to invoke something. But, ya, that sounded stupid to me too when I typed it.

>More that it's simply unexpected (when presented with a first-person narrator in a pony fanfic, I expect that that narrator is a pony), and I couldn't figure out why there was a human in the first place.
Fair enough. I’d like to point out, however, that humans aren’t the only things with hands. No, I don’t really know what the narrator is, nor why s/he’s the way s/he is.

>I'm a minimalist too, but one can go overboard.
Guilty as charged.

>Actually, I more meant bringing statues to life. I think that's what was going on in your fic anyway.
Heh. Not really. There was a statue, but it didn’t come to life.

>I will admit to being interested as to what exactly it was. My frustration with the story came from my inability to figure out what was going on, rather than the story itself.
I’ll try my best to explain what I can. If ya gotta know:

The blocks of italicized text are from an epic poem written in a time either around when Discord would be reigning or just before Nightmare Moon’s banishment in canon. It’s relation to canon is rather unimportant, as this story would be in the category of Alternate Universe, certainly. The poem details a lot of the back story and mythology (a lot of mythology, actually, more than I could explain here, at least) that led up to the Cadance scenes. The gist of it is that Equestria requires love or else it becomes, well, what I described. Cadance, being the personification/minor god/delegated messenger of Love, has the power to remove it from Equestria. She was corrupted by Chaos/Disorder/Evil, who saw the sorrow caused by losing her husband as an opportunity, and used that power. Nameless Protagonist—whatever s/he is—needed to come in and fix it. (It sounds and feels a little foolish written out.)

And all that is there, I swear.

Welp, I’ve placed all my bids, spent every bit. I’ll cross my fingers, do a little jig, and hope to make it past the prelims.
>> No. 115473
Ducks a table

Knowing what I know now (with all the anatomical references being intentional, and from seeing quite a few arms and fingers in my time), I hereby rescind my previous score of 9 and offer you a score of 9.5 in it's place. Not because the poem was written by a non-pony, but because I should have known it could have been. Also because I'm uncomfortable giving this story a score lower than what my own has received.

This doesn't actually change your story's rank, since the measurement is ordinal rather than interval. Someday we'll invent a number smaller than one and revolutionize the field of mathematics forever. We'll let someone else worry about whether or not a less-than-one number could be used for destructive, warlike purposes.

Someday, someday... but not today.

>I’d like to point out, however, that humans aren’t the only things with hands.
So very this. Spike has hands. Gilda has hands. Come on, people... ponies know what hands are. Also, horses do have feet. That's where their hooves are. They have hooves on their feet. Just like Spike has talons on his fingers.

Plenty of Stuff exists in the ponyverse not because it makes sense, but because their civilization needs to resemble our own. I will admit, though, that having one pony "handle" an object or "hand" something to another pony just sounds off. Does that mean pony-made objects can not have "handles"?

In all my writings, I always take special care to Oh, but we mustn't give ourselves away so easily, can we? No, that wouldn't do at all.

>Nameless Protagonist—whatever s/he is—needed to come in and fix it.
I think the protagonist is better off nameless, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks. I was convinced Nameless Protagonist was Shining Armor as a ghost, living memory, subconscious hallucination, he-didn't-really-die guy, etc. "You're gonna use my widow to sow hatred and callousness? We'll just see about that."

>Not sure if I should hand wave this or not. For the record, it was a mistake.
Real word... must be... intentional... it's a... real... word...
Rocks back and forth in his chair
This... isn't... really... happening!!
>> No. 115478
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>Not because the poem was written by a non-pony, but because I should have known it could have been.
Oh, I said nothing about the writer of the poem not being a pony. I would assume he was dead by the time the events in the narrative itself take place. I would also assume he was a dragon, considering some of the references to draconian culture—such as calling Igni the creator of the Dragon Heart—but he could very well be just a well-cultured pony.

>I was convinced Nameless Protagonist was Shining Armor as a ghost, living memory, subconscious hallucination, he-didn't-really-die guy, etc. "You're gonna use my widow to sow hatred and callousness? We'll just see about that."
Oh, that’s good. There’s a possibility, but that’d require something to do with reincarnation and becoming humanoid a term that doesn’t cover all the possibilities, but it works for now.

>Real word... must be... intentional... it's a... real... word...
To spare you some pain:

>The trample of our enemies made ample jovial commotion, yet the thunder of their forces, the immanent destruction of the moon’s hope, clouded every morning horizon.
>the immanent destruction of the moon’s hope

>Existing or operating within; inherent
>(of God) Permanently pervading and sustaining the universe
>of a mental act performed entirely within the mind; "a cognition is an immanent act of mind"

“The moon’s hope” basically means “the hope the moon deity gives us” (which could very well be Luna or some other figure we don’t know about). If we go with the third definition, it parallels well with later lines like “Is Lunacy worth the requisite toll of soul? How long till Anoia’s Pantheon hears the sounds of our reverence?” Lunacy is, of course, insanity. While I can’t remember the exact etymology of “Anoia,” I know it was intended to be a deity of dementia or unsound mind.

An immanent destruction would imply that there was also a physical representation of that hope. This could mean the destruction is so absolute that even the very concept was broken with it. Or, it could mean that the physical item representing that hope was spared, but the hope was shattered anyway; the battle is no longer a physical one.

Or, you could use the first definition and say that the destruction/fall/loss was planned from the beginning and/or inescapable.

The second definition would make for a very interesting meaning. “The God of Destruction, permanently pervading and sustaining the universe, clouded every morning horizon.”

Nope, no mistake here. Completely intentional.
>> No. 115479

Seeing the name of your story made me think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_Qd9EpKkvw&feature=related
>> No. 115483
I have to say this was a very good show this time, or I got lucky and had an excellent sample. I didn't finish any of my six thinking, "well, that was a waste of time." Mechanics were all acceptable for first or second draft. Rankings from the bottom, then I'll follow up with detailed critiques.

"Candy Crisp" was pleasant enough, when it wasn't being OH-JOHN-RINGO-NO disturbing. I do like spending time with the Crusaders, at least I did until the implied MacBloom thing - I don't care that nothing's going on between them; there's a gentle way to touch on innocent sibling-crushes (c.f. the most recent canon episode) and then there's bringing it up in entirely the wrong context. Perhaps that could be forgiven if the plot were more engaging, but there wasn't much to distract me from my squickedness.

Similarly, "Can I Keep It?" wandered around without much sense of direction or peril. As I'll suggest later, it needs fewer protagonists with weightier problems.

"You'll Never Know Until You Try" was difficult to grade. On one hand, it's obviously very passionate about the argument it's making, almost to Ayn Rand levels. On the other hand, I'll let xkcd speak for me:

Like Black Hat, I just can't work up any reason to care about who likes what music, which political party we'll pick to oppress us next, or which funny logo adorns everyone's property. So while your story might be clever, deep, and even ironic, it doesn't manage to relate to me, and as I see it, that should count for a lot. I award you fourth of sixth and a link to http://splitsider.com/2012/01/the-rise-and-fall-and-fall-and-fall-of-hipster-bashing/ . If possible, I'd buy you a PBR.

Next, "Unwanted Song" wins the award for Best Idea in Need of Further Development. If this story were tighter and told with greater passion, it would probably be my favorite of these six, and near the top of the competition. As it is, it kind of floats around a lot.

"The Good You Might Do" is a Keepsake sadfic about a pony in an institution with a unique perspective. That is, you took my idea, you rapscallion, you. But I have to say I'm impressed what you did with it and it would be quite an honor to think I'm even close to matching you. There's a lot of surreal ponyfiction by people who seem to think that "surreal" is an excuse for "abstruse." (*cough* Raindrops *hack*) Not at all. The surreal aesthetic must have a strong sense of reality - Dali's art is quite the opposite of abstract. And that's exactly what you manage to do: paint a vividly real world that simply lacks coherence. My biggest complaint is the characterization; all of Twilight's visitors seem to be cardboard Morality-Sue cut-outs, each with her own little Aesop to deliver - but I'm sure that's exactly what you meant. "Good" doesn't make any false steps that I can see, it was simply closely bested by my favorite.

The top place goes to a simple, intimate story that doesn't waste words. Nor shall I: "Made of Dreams."

Critiques to follow as I type them up.
>> No. 115486
File 134455436897.png - (19.07KB , 365x313 , twiWAT.png )
Sorry it has taken me so long to answer this. I was hoping to find the TvTrope page for something, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Your story was a victim of The Scene Where Everything Is Explained. This scene can be really tricky, since the dilemma has to be solved in a cool, yet fitting, way. A lot of what drove my interest was the mystery of both the purpose of the box, and the full extent of its power. First, I find out Pinkie just had stuff in her ears. It wasn't that she was somehow special which gave her unique immunity, she was just inattentive. Sure, you could use your sword of weeping demons (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CoolSword) to destroy the box, but that's a little cliche. It has to be complex enough that the audience can't usually figure it out on their own, but simple enough that they understand it when it's explained. The knowledge has to also come at a price. When Vinyl figured everything out without too much trouble, and explained it in rather simple terms, I lost interest.

Here's some food for thought: remember Groundhog Day? That movie is one of the rare examples when the writer(s) decided to completely ignore The Scene Where Everything Is Explained, and it worked out amazingly. I wonder if you could have done that here as well...

>@ the author of “His Heart Too Full for Words”: What is “the mattress was unfamiliar” supposed to imply?
I hesitate to define anything too clearly, as interpretations can vary. I certainly can explain my intent (or, more specifically, what was running through my head when I wrote it), but anything symbolic or vague can really be whatever you thought it to be.
My thought was that the 'mattress was unfamiliar' statement had two purposes. The first was that things were beginning to change, even though Bound wasn't telling himself that. The second was to hint at the resolution, in which Bound discovers "fate" is dual-sided: it can help you as much as hurt you. I say 'hint' because all I'm really saying in that sentence is that Bound's interpretation of fate and how fate actually works are different.

Just as a side note, I'd like to say I don't believe in 'fate' at all. While I wouldn't say the idea of fate is 'silly', I believe that people have a free will to determine their own paths, and the future can be whatever one makes of it.
>> No. 115487
>You'll Never Know Until You Try
I disagree that it was a deep story, nor that it was even trying to be one. I thought it was funny and enjoyable to read. I guess it depends on how you look at the world, in that I often see things as satire, so I took most of what's in the story as a lampoon. The double-bluff irony in the story is that that is actually what some people think like.

I guess the problem here is people are taking it too literally, which is ironic because the story is taking a jab at people who can't look at simple things for what they are, and then there's the irony (you see where we're going with this) in that there's so much attempted irony in a story that is paying out hipsters. It's a great portrait of what happens when you take irony too far, because the story itself does (or rather, I did) and turns it into a joke.

Story aside, I was just too thoroughly impressed by the writing and use of language in this story to understand why everyone is rating it so poorly. I only wish I had command of such an extensive vocabulary.
>> No. 115490
File 134455672036.png - (102.55KB , 1131x707 , dovashy_against_alduin_by_xscaralienx-d4w3bi0.png )
>(*cough* Raindrops *hack*)
Holy passive-aggressiveness, Batman!
>> No. 115491
Explicitly making a tangential jab at someone is not passive-aggressive.

>> No. 115495

I'd love to discuss your story, but I'm not smart enough to even begin to understand it. Sorry. Maybe I'll go back with a notebook and a lazy afternoon and try to put it together. After all I didn't understand one of my favorite real lit authors at first.

And please nobody defend me. I [i]am[i] snarky and passive-aggressive. Ambiguity, indirection, and chaos and all that. If I like people enough I'll go back and try to be nice, but it's always a struggle with myself.
>> No. 115498
> I’d like to point out, however, that humans aren’t the only things with hands.
A good point. I still couldn't figure out who or what that narrator was, however.

Re: the explanation... I really didn't get any of that. At least Cadance makes more sense now. I'm sticking with the "there's not enough to go off of" angle, though I now will regard this fic more positively in hindsight.
>> No. 115502
Misuse of the term annoys me. The whole point of passive-aggressiveness is that the aggressor doesn't become actively involved. The aggression is done through inaction rather than action.

Taking jabs at someone is not in any way passive, and neither is snarkiness.
>> No. 115505
File 134456333233.jpg - (142.25KB , 425x302 , Flowers.jpg )
“Holy passive-aggressiveness” sounded better than “Holy snarky ambiguity.”

I tried to explain it the best I could in >>115478, >>115463, >>115402, and even a little in >>115293. I don’t really regret that I wrote it abstrusely, but I don’t remember once excusing or rationalizing that choice by calling it a surreal. In a way, it’s the opposite of surrealism. “Surreal” literally means “above and beyond real.” There might be a little abstraction going on, but this was not intended as a surrealist piece.

>I still couldn't figure out who or what that narrator was, however.
>No, I don’t really know what the narrator is, nor why s/he’s the way s/he is.

Again, I apologize for the obfuscation. I would like to take comments like, “I'd love to discuss your story, but I'm not smart enough to even begin to understand it,” as complements, yet I can’t help but feel that they have arisen from some fundament failure of mine as a writer.
>> No. 115507
Thank you much. Oddly enough, Dali is one of my favorite artists.
>> No. 115519
It's... Something like this is what I mean:

There's a scale at any high level of creativity, where you have to choose between pleasing most people a little bit and pleasing a few people (potentially) a lot. This scale moves in a direction completely parallel to quality - there's no such thing as a good or correct point on it.

I wouldn't take "I didn't like it" from one reader as an assessment of quality. There's too much individual taste tied up in any single reader response score. (If you're curious, currently a 2 on the 0-10 scale. Do bear in mind that I gave nearly every fic a 0 last time around.)

When you make the next round (and I'm quite confident you will), I'll be sure to spend some time with a notebook and see if I can crack it. And if not, you will have a fair shot at the other readers as well.

Regarding impressionism - ah! yes. Within that aesthetic you don't have to be clear if you can be powerful. I have to admit it's not a style I'm well-read in. I'm trying to like it - a little reading tells me I prefer Virginia Wolfe to James Joyce.

(Like "Kew Gardens" - very pretty http://www.bartleby.com/85/7.html )

It's no failure to write something narrowly, especially if it wins you points with other readers.
>> No. 115523
File 134457355666.jpg - (36.70KB , 386x305 , 130910886182.jpg )
I just remembered that I'd planned on going away to see family this weekend. Having been ridiculously busy this week, I shall now have to cram on judging tonight. My sincere apologies to everyone whose stories I've been assigned. Thanks to everyone who's rated/commented so far.

To Volunteer 1D: I'll have you know I actually responded to you soon after you'd posted your commentary, but decided it wasn't necessary and deleted it a few minutes later because (a) it wasn't in the spirit of the writing competition, and was a piss-poor way to thank you for spending time to read and comment on what I hacked together in one weekend; (b) I realized I'd be one hell of a hypocrite to react that way considering I too am often vicious when I criticize other's writing. I just wanted to thank you for shaking me from the stupor I'd gotten myself into at that point, thinking "ma story iz dur best." I realize (especially considering your disclaimer about technical errors souring your mood) that I shouldn't be taking your commentary personally, and that instead of feeling like I'd failed in some way, I should spend some time to think about how I could revamp my story after this competition is over so that it's less likely to give people the impressions that it gave you. I imagine it'll mostly involve making it look more respectable and less sloppy.

Nevertheless, since I think you deserve to know what I had said, here it is (thanks to the power of the Lazarus Form Recovery browser add-on) and unabridged:
I rushed through it for the most part and didn't pay enough attention to balancing emphasis and pacing, so I'll agree it was sloppy in regard to disproportionately describing certain things more than others (not to mention some editing errors). With more care I probably could have retained exposition of what the musics sound like while avoiding telling, while avoiding this consequence:
> Tortured metaphors with delusions of their own wittiness overextend paragraphs, and overextended paragraphs swallow up important events like Rainbow crashing into a tree.

One thing I don't understand, and that really rubs me the wrong way though: "pretentious." I fully know what each and every word I put into that story meant. Does the fact that I don't have a degree in English literature mean I can't use a word that means exactly what I mean to convey and has the sort of intonation I'm looking for? Furthermore, my intent was to write prose that took itself too seriously for the prospect of ponies listening to and loathing certain types of music. That was what I had hoped to construct as part of my lousy attempt at comedy, not to try to impress the reader with a big ol' diction. Had I misused uncommon words just for effect, maybe then you could accuse me of having delusions of grandeur.
>> No. 115526
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> On one hand, it's obviously very passionate about the argument it's making, almost to Ayn Rand levels.
God damn, I'm going to have to work on fixing that. I didn't really want to portray the hipster ponies as annoying or pretentious or antagonistic, just to portray them for a dash of relate-ability. If it had the opposite effect...then damn.

I meant it as a story about the difficulty of understanding one another's taste in music, and how a friend's taste in music is indeed something special to them that one can't presume to fully understand, and that enjoying a particular type of music isn't a bad thing. That's what I'd hoped to conjure in the ending vis-a-vis Rainbow Dash not taking her tastes too seriously, but not abandoning them either (because she's too good for that) and her friends not minding what she listens to. The trouble comes when they make the mistake of meddling and trying to bring her "back" to her old tastes. It's the consequence of trying to say "hey, why don't you like _____ anymore? I thought you liked _____": exposure to genre backwash, in which, not knowing your way around the genre, you mistakenly pick out drivel and assume it's the sort of thing that the friend in question would enjoy listening to. Friends, parents, relatives, they all do this from time to time.

Truth be told, I don't have very much exposure to "hipster" music. With the exception of "Coppermane", all the music I tried to describe is based on music I have actually listened to and enjoyed before. I just took it and made caricatures of it. I didn't intend it to seem like any actual music in existence except Fluttershy's album. I will say that I based the "hipster" music off an amalgam of my impressions of The Mars Volta, Explosions In The Sky, and especially Ratatat. If you want to slap me, I understand.

Shit, I should have based it off IDM. I used to be an IDM fanatic, starting out with Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada.
>> No. 115562
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Based off what I’ve seen in this thread so far (at a glance, albeit; I haven’t been completely following) I suspect I’m going to draw some ire with this commentary.

The Good You Might Do
Stylistically, this prose begins purple-stained with sentences written in a very roundabout way. Comma splices and otherwise crazy sentences abound. However, it evened out after a while into a nice smooth, well-paced piece.

As for the actual story: I guess I had the wrong expectations when I started reading this story. I was looking for a David-Lynch-ian hint of the shocking true reason why Twilight was in the mental institution. Instead, the actual reason why Twilight is there is not some secret to be revealed. From my understanding it’s quite simply because she is a hypochondriac, and inexplicably worked herself into such a self-denying frenzy that she was able to convince a team of psychiatrists that she needed to be locked up in a ward, never mind that that in itself constitutes asking for help in some form.

Despite its merits — a consistent, well-rounded theme and clean structure — to me the story just came across as a sort of unrealistic emotion-fest where readers dote on Twilight for being so irrationally hard on herself or project themselves on her. Furthermore, the way the end of the story is tied to the music box seems rather disjoint in that music and silence weren’t emphasized so much as the characters and the hallucination-based settings in which she speaks with them. The music box isn’t a natural MacGuffin because of this; it’s more of a forced MacGuffin. This effect isn’t so bad, however.

Unwanted Song
At first glance, this is comical prose. The narration butting in to comment directly on characters’ emotions, i.e. “poor Derpy,” seems reminiscent of A. A. Milne (or some other author whose books I read/were read to me when I was a kid). Then there’s “bale of turtles” — what. What really got me was how Fluttershy worries about turtles going feral (which sounds amusing in itself — slow amphibious reptiles suddenly becoming a bit more wild or vicious) and then nonchalantly explains how Turtles are remarkably self-sufficient creatures. In doing this, she pronounces her role redundant — or at the very least, unwillingly makes an emphatic statement to the reader about the absurdity of Ponydom’s meddling with nature. I truly began expecting something meta-humorous.

Well, what I got was a very, very simple story sprinkled with miscellaneous stuffs. It was practically a straight shot into Everfree, to the Manticore, never mind the little distractions. It just seemed like an extended version of the statements that Sweetie Belle has an enchanting voice and Rarity is annoyed by her sister to an unwarranted degree. Things like the Steven Magnet cameo show up and I have no idea why they’re there or what role they’re supposed to play.

The strongest part of the story is the irony of Sweetie Belle initially questioning Fluttershy’s statements about the Manticore’s true nature and later seeing its tender nature for herself, making it symbolically a story about Sweetie Belle learning the true value of her talent and finding self-confidence. I’ll give it that. Otherwise, it’s too simple for my tastes and comes across as a lazy set-up for Sweetie Belle taming the manticore.

War is Heck
This has just too many little errors here and there, isn’t well written enough, and doesn’t have enough story (practically none at all actually) for me to say anything good about it. The humor if any is is lost on me, because it all just seems like pandering with Team Fortress (and RvB?) references. I did think it was a bit comical how “Heavy Weapons pony” is referred to in a definite article right off the bat without any prior introduction or appearance, and then plural/indefinite later on. Were there clones of Heavy?

My Sunshine
This looks like the first decent usage of first-person present-tense that I’ve seen in a while. The narration establishes and builds up the tragedy quite well, if rather forcefully. The forceful part I speak of is, of course, the part involving force. The shove. It’s just simple enough for the tragedy to capitalize on its simplicity. It was a foolish mistake made in the heat of the moment, yet profoundly affects on the rest of Sonata’s life.

Where the music box is an afterthought in The Good You Might Do, it is the centerpiece in this story. The paradox of it being the light in the darkness of his life as well as the reminder of what he did makes it compellingly tragic. What’s more, the music box serves as a talisman/fetish-embodiment of his illusion-based love and misguided expectations of love. Its artificiality is what makes it fit that role so perfectly; it is a sort of representation of his love interest. It overshadows the true Petal. Yet sadly, the story doesn’t capitalize on this perspective quite as much as I had hoped. It does to some extent, but the effect seems a bit subdued and lost among the mild purpleness.

Unfortunately, it being the second story both about the music box, and a story about a pony in a mental institution at that (why do mental institutions go so well with music boxes?) my enjoyment of it was a bit hampered.

The End of the Season
Music box again, but at least this one isn’t another mental hospital. It’s homosexual romance. Whoop de doo.

That’s not fair though. This story isn’t totally the bog-standard, absurdly contrived ‘shipping fic that we’re all accustomed to seeing. It’s Granny Smith with a past she is not proud of, but enjoyed nonetheless. It’s two geriatrics who loved each other long ago debating the merits of living for joy and pleasure versus for duty and practicality. It’s mature in terms of focusing on a story rather than just getting characters in bed together. I like that. And, moreso than most other stories than I’m used to seeing (though I haven’t read many; I was turned off to them by MLP fanfics).

In my opinion, what it lacked was subtlety. It opted to spell out their relation in the thoughts they have at each other during their conversation, while their verbalized words speak directly about the matter between them (even if it does seem like natural conversation). It’s a two-people-who-love-each-other-but-disagree-on-a-matter-and-talk-about-it story like Hills Like White Elephants, only told plainly and in more words. By subtlety, I mean for them to reminisce about times spent together doing things that aren’t inherently romantic, but that acquire romantic tones in how they describe it and the inferred nature of the events. For these reasons, it didn’t seem quite as engaging or interesting as it could be.

This is another story about the music trinket.


I need to keep this short and sweet not put too much careful thought into this, or I risk falling asleep at my keyboard.

While I liked how this music box story was vastly different than the others. I enjoyed the steady progression of horror; it was like The Blob meets The Pied Piper. It certainly helped me keep my eyes open. However, certain parts such as the preparation for the search party and the “all was well” ending seemed drawn out to the point of mundaneness.

As for Pinkie Pie, I admire how in this story her character is totally spot-on, even if taking her to full-on cartoon extremes did compromise the integrity of the narration. It felt just a bit as though the scary power of the music box was diminished by the silliness of Pinkie.

I was afraid you were going to employ yet another trope - the comic relief / village idiot saving the day - though the fun in such a story is finding out how. And then, Pon3 out of nowhere, and Pinkie isn’t the one to save the day. I didn’t know whether to feel relieved (because it’s not the same thing again) or disappointed (because getting it to work with fresh new surprises would have been fun to read).

The conflict is resolved by this esoteric understanding of music that Pon3 has (and that doesn’t come into play until right when it needs to), and we don’t even get to see where the music box comes from or why it was created like we would in a typical Sci Fi classic. Instead, it’s just a flashy arcane push-pull battle between musics that saves the day. I’d almost call it a deus ex machina.

Is it just me, or was this story made to elevate Vinyl Scratch (especially in light of the ending, where she gets to blast all of Ponyville with her beats and everyone has a blast)?

This was a very difficult decision.
1. My Sunshine
2. The End of The Season
3. Consonance
4. The Good You Might Do
5. Unwanted Song
6. War is Heck
>> No. 115564

I'm glad you enjoyed my story. Thank you for the review!

I'm glad you enjoyed how I wrote Pinkie Pie! She's my favorite pony (gasp!), so I wanted to do her justice. This story was written to read like an episode of the show, so Pinkie does reach cartoon levels of silliness (partly to the detriment of the narrative). I also agree that Pinkie does detract a bit from the creepy vibe of the music box. And yes, the resolution was a bit contrived, but that's mainly because time ran out for me to keep writing, so I needed to resolve the story and have something complete. Oh well!
>> No. 115569
I just got compared to Hemingway.

I think I need to lie down.
>> No. 115583
File 134461170238.jpg - (62.94KB , 500x477 , bird.jpg )
Examine the context. The intent was to state the manner in which the story could have been far better but falls short. I brought E.H.'s short story in for lack of any better examples of that general kind of story, not to praise End of The Season.

At any rate, can I be forgiven for sullying the good name of Hemmingway? I'm speaking to all participants and anyone who happens to be following here.
>> No. 115586
If anything, most commenters have said the descriptions went by a little too quickly, and if your own story is to be a guide, my diction tends toward the lowbrow. I really don't know what to take from this comment.

>Comma splices
I challenge you to point any out.

Your interpretation was that nothing is wrong with her and she's imagining that she even has a problem in the first place? Interesting. I wouldn't have expected that.

>she was able to convince a team of psychiatrists that she needed to be locked up in a ward, never mind that that in itself constitutes asking for help in some form.
So... you completely missed the two times the doctor told her she was free to leave whenever she wanted? And the overarching theme that she was putting everyone else ahead of herself? She didn't check in because she wanted to help herself. She checked in because she was afraid she'd lost her usefulness to everyone else, and was possibly even become a danger.
>> No. 115610
File 134462779864.jpg - (32.23KB , 295x295 , Princess Stardust_.jpg )

Well, thanks for all the opinions. I'd like you all to know that all of your reviews have been taken into consideration, and since the story has been first posted for the write-off, there have already been three different revisions. If you've already read my story, I'd like you to see what I've done, but if you haven't, it's best to avoid spoilers, so no peeking!

-Opening narrative has been given more detail to description and attention to Bluebell's perspective.

-Large portions of the original diction have been replaced with substitutes that reflect a less utilitarian style due time constraints and more a concentration on flow and description.

-Starshine has been completely removed from the work. Her only purpose was for two filler (often mistaken for exposition, although Bluebell already states everything she throws at the audience) scenes to make word count (damn the dog Rogerer) that ultimately ended up weakening the piece.

-Issues of phrasing have been largely rectified.

-Bluebell's characterization has been given more thought and detail.

-Sentences have been re-ordered or added to provide a more natural flow for the narrative.

-About 800 words have been cut from the original piece, around 1200 have been added

-Dialogue received a massive overhaul to reflect care and subtlety the original lacked in its rushed state.

-Short scenes have been added to serve as minor pacing dips

-A humanized version has been created for future uses

-Ending has been changed as a result of deleting Starshine

-There is actually description in this version.

And who would have guess I still have a lot more work to do? Fourth revision, here I come!
>> No. 115615
-A humanized version has been created for future uses
But why? But then again, I suppose the same could be argued with why ponify it in the first place?

Otherwise, I am a tad curious to see the new version.

Also, I should go in and add a few parts to my own story. I know what I should do to make my story better. Better explain why Discord is falling for Luna. Better ending. Fix up some of Luna's dialogue.

However, to anyone curious, I'm keeping the way events happen. It reminds me of Discord. Remember, he's narrating the story and he isn't exactly linear persay.
>> No. 115617
Did my comment asking where can others look at the stories get deleted? If so, can you answer it now? And tell me why was it deleted?
>> No. 115633
Anyway, a few things you said in specific sparked things in my mind, and I will put them to use in revision. Many thanks for this review.
>> No. 115642
File 134464538780.png - (364.35KB , 500x473 , Monk-HTT-scaled.png )
> I challenge you to point any out.
Not much of a challenge.
> As her thoughts gradually became coherent, she focused on the sound, the fluid trills dancing around her ears.
Missing subordinating conjunction.
> She found herself lying on her back in the precise center of a rather unremarkable iron bed, the sheet tucked tightly under her.
Missing subordinating conjunction.
> A white sheet. White bed. White cinder-block walls, linoleum floor. A small ledge that barely qualified as a desk, with a chair nearby. An even smaller shelf over the bed. All white.
> Sheer curtains billowed in the breeze swirling through the open window, the birdsong outside continuing its lilt.
Missing subordinating conjunction and mid-sentence subject change.
> The box hung open, an elegant unicorn rearing up as if to dance across the purple-enameled surface beneath the lid.
Missing subordinating conjunction.
> Twilight turned away from the window and looked to where Pinkie sat in the plushly upholstered desk chair, its pink fabric dotted with a peppermint candy motif.
Missing subordinating conjunction and mid-sentence subject change again.

That's about all I care to dig for at the moment.

> Your interpretation was that nothing is wrong with her and she's imagining that she even has a problem in the first place? Interesting. I wouldn't have expected that.
I thought that's what her friends were trying to convince her of: that she isn't useless and isn't a threat to anyone. Be that as it may, "hypochondria" wasn't the best word, I'll admit.

> So... you completely missed the two times the doctor told her she was free to leave whenever she wanted? And the overarching theme that she was putting everyone else ahead of herself? She didn't check in because she wanted to help herself. She checked in because she was afraid she'd lost her usefulness to everyone else, and was possibly even become a danger.
And yet, she convinced the entire staff of the ward that she needed to stay, and needed to live in a room with bars.

Here's the thing:
Again, to me it seemed like a gratuitous schmaltz salad for those who deal with social anxiety and self-hate. Here's why: Twilight's self-affliction seemed over-the-top and irrational to me.

I'd now like to take a moment to repeat what I said yesterday:
> I just remembered that I'd planned on going away to see family this weekend. Having been ridiculously busy this week, I shall now have to cram on judging tonight. My sincere apologies to everyone whose stories I've been assigned.
>> No. 115645
> As her thoughts gradually became coherent, she focused on the sound, the fluid trills dancing around her ears.
>Missing subordinating conjunction.
Nope. We have <dependent clause>, <independent clause>, <nominative absolute>
> She found herself lying on her back in the precise center of a rather unremarkable iron bed, the sheet tucked tightly under her.
>Missing subordinating conjunction.
Nope. We have <independent clause>, <nominative absolute>
> A white sheet. White bed. White cinder-block walls, linoleum floor. A small ledge that barely qualified as a desk, with a chair nearby. An even smaller shelf over the bed. All white.
Fragments are acceptable for effect, and I'm not watching a video of something you couldn't express.
> Sheer curtains billowed in the breeze swirling through the open window, the birdsong outside continuing its lilt.
>Missing subordinating conjunction and mid-sentence subject change.
Nope. <independent clause>, <nominative absolute>
> The box hung open, an elegant unicorn rearing up as if to dance across the purple-enameled surface beneath the lid.
>Missing subordinating conjunction.
Nope. <independent clause>, <nominative absolute>
> Twilight turned away from the window and looked to where Pinkie sat in the plushly upholstered desk chair, its pink fabric dotted with a peppermint candy motif.
>Missing subordinating conjunction and mid-sentence subject change again.
Nope. <independent clause><dependent clause>, <nominative absolute>

If you're going to critique things, you should really learn what they are.
>> No. 115649
> Nominative absolutes
Your use of them... well, nominative absolutes are meant for the subject/verb of a sentence.
> As her thoughts gradually became coherent, she focused on the sound, the fluid trills dancing around her ears.
Subject is "her"; "the sound" is the direct object.
> She found herself lying on her back in the precise center of a rather unremarkable iron bed, the sheet tucked tightly under her.
This one's almost legit were it not for the subject being Twilight and the bed being the direct object. You switch subject mid-sentence.
> Sheer curtains billowed in the breeze swirling through the open window, the birdsong outside continuing its lilt.
This one's not a nominative absolute (birdsong); it's an extra thought tacked on. Ergo, comma splice.
> The box hung open, an elegant unicorn rearing up as if to dance across the purple-enameled surface beneath the lid.
Upon closer inspection, this one's actually legit.

I don't desire to perpetuate a cycle of reciprocal condescension, so "neither of us is perfect" and "I didn't care for some of your sentences" is the last I'll say on the matter.
>> No. 115651

I smell English majors.

Stand back, everypony, this is about to get messy. The worst fights in the department always stem from grammar and punctuation conflicts. I've seen men get shanked for lesser slights!

Seriously though, both of you should cool it. This is getting confrontational, and over a few punctuation marks that may or may not be misplaced or misused (No comment, I'm not here to argue.). I'm mostly looking at you, Author of "The Good You Might Do". There's got to be a less confrontational way to reject the claimed comma splices than saying "If you're going to critique things, you should really learn what they are." These are critiques, and shouldn't be taken personally, and you seem to have been spending a fair amount of time in this thread refuting other people's opinions as wrong rather than taking the criticism as what it is: an opinion. I totally understand! The want to defend your work and refute criticism is powerful, but this is a contest where, at the end of the day, the judges are basing their decision on their personal opinion of what constitutes a 'good' story. Plus, YOU were the one that 'challenged' him to point out the supposed comma splices.

As for you, Author of "You'll Never Know Until You Try It". Yes, he CHALLENGED you to point out the comma splices. Yes, you did that. But, I think rising to his challenge with the response "Not much of a challenge" wasn't the best choice of words. It's inviting conflict.

Love and Tolerate, right guys?

TL;DR: Words were said, both of you guys (or gals) need to take it down a notch from the confrontational statements and instead talk this out like the civilized gentlecolts and good writers that you both are. If you disagree with somebody's opinion, no need to get confrontational about it. If you think somebody was wrong, offer corrections and withhold the spite. Constructive criticism makes EVERYTHING better, and we can all learn from it, but regular old criticism invites conflict.

Sorry for being a busybody, but I'd rather not watch this devolve into two writers pulling out their copies of "Elements of Style" and "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" and having at one another.
>> No. 115652
Yeah, we were condescending to each other, and I'm guilty of escalation.

Some good can come of these flare-ups though. Despite the bad taste it may leave in each others' mouths (and I do wish that could be avoided) the knowledge of language we might impart to each other is valuable. In this case I did actually learn something from the other author; linguistic nomenclature doesn't stick that well in my memory, and every bit of it is an asset.

> I smell English majors.
I'm not actually an English major. I honestly just go by what I've read from novels and random internet grammar reference databases.
>> No. 115654
>>115143 4/10
>>115235 6/10
>>115384 "Good Work"
>>115483 "Top Place"

Excuse me while I bang my head against a wall. You people are all insane for giving me such positive reviews, I swear. But as far as things go, "Made of Dreams" was a rushed first draft, probably 1/3 of what I actually wanted to write. And by rushed I mean I took too much time planning, and then life got in the way only leaving me with a few select hours to actually write.

But bleh. I'll take your feedback for what it is and reflect on it. Maybe after this whole shindig is over I'll take the time to finish the whole damn thing.
>digs into recycling bin

Now onto reviews of my own, which is something I am fairly terrible at. Allow me to demonstrate.

The Good You Might Do: Downright loved this story. Great pacing, and surprisingly not hard to follow at all, but then again, I'm the only person I know who wasn't confused by "Inception." There's really nothing much for me to say.

His Heart To Full For Words: For starters, the name "Color Bound" was an excellent choice. Not at all difficult for me to follow, and I loved the way you portrayed the CMC. Especially Scootaloo. Love that little chicken. Anyway, the only real fault I noticed were some grammatical errors, but that kind of thing is to be expected.

A Deck With No Hearts: This thing... not quite sure where to begin. I think you tried to form it into a romance, in which point did I not feel anything. I really had a hard time grasping why the magician had the feels for that particular pony, but other than that you had a really good and interesting pace. I loved the whole illusion trickery.

The Sound of Raindrops On Slate: My only gripe is that it was too jumpy. Far too jumpy for me to get a firm grasp on what was going on, especially with Cadence. I'm sure if you combined a lot of those "minor scene breaks" and dragged some stuff out, you'd have an excellent story here.

On Loyalty: Everything happened too fast, if you ask me. The narrative was also jumbled at times, and I noticed one or two tense shifts. There were some grammar errors, and the ending was a bit rushed. Taken into account this is more than likely a first draft and had three days to write it, the later is understandable.

You'll Never Know Until You Try It: ...I really don't know what to say, actually. This story had swell grammar and pacing, excellent portrayal of its characters, but it just didn't click with me. Maybe it was the jumbling of the two prompts "Headphones" and "Hipster Garbage" that hindered this, but I don't really. Sadly, I didn't like it. But that being said, it's still infinitely better than what I wrote for this contest.

If you must know, I ordered these from best to worst
>> No. 115667
Oh hey, Ponychan's back up again. I read another 5 and here are my thoughts:

Very little stood out to me about this story. I couldn't get really into it, but that was more a fault of my own mind than anything I could say about the story. There's a wrong "bare" somewhere near the middle, and a couple wired things with phrasing all over the place. Something just seemed a little off about Pinkie Pie too. 3/5

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon
The first "bom" sound made me facepalm. Everything gets all mixed up and I have no idea what's going on. I kind of had to force myself to keep going, and I was confused the whole time. WTF just about sums up my reaction. And even though I'm pretty sure that was the target reaction, the story just went on too long with stuff I couldn't really care the least bit about. 1.5/5

Melody of Solace
There's the standard smattering of minor errors that I'm expecting throughout the entries. My biggest problem with the story was Melody. I just don't like her. I find the narrative quirks annoying, and I just can't stand her. I think most of the other issues I saw were already mentioned by others, so I'll leave it at that. 2.5/5

The Sound of Raindrops on Slate
Okay, this one's weird. It's in present tense for about half, and has some odd phrasing. The story seems rather disconnected. I couldn't really tell what the two parts had to do with each other, nor what was really going on. I got something with Cadance and some kind of royal intervention or something. There's a whole lot of name-dropping for things that I have no idea what they are (I can't think of what the names were right now, but they were all proper nouns, so I know they were names.) "Hand" broke my immersion for a bit until I decided it was pretty clear that the thing with hands was some kind of unknown sentient being. It was possibly a human, but could easily have been any number of things, yet, it makes the whole story feel... less pony. Then you misuse the word monochromatic. It doesn't only mean black and white, it could be any single color. 2.5/5

A Deck with No Hearts
The majority of the story I liked. There was a good pacing of the story, but a number of things let me down. First and foremost, I wanted the magician to win. That was the character we were along the ride with, that was the character we can build an attachment to. It just felt a little bad for the tale to end the way it did. On that note, I was initially under the impression that the magician was a mare, since Blue was called a "he". There's very little to identify any of the characters, and we only know about Twilight because... we know about her. The pauses during the tricks could use more work. As I heard recently from a movie, you need to play the pauses as much as the notes. (In a song.) And I think that applies just as much here. You also used "heer" at least twice. I don't know what was up with that, but it was enough to break immersion. 3.5/5
>> No. 115675
To be fair, a comma splice joins two independent clauses, of which I have only one per sentence. Though two of them are admittedly misplaced modifiers, and the third is modifying a vague object.

I'm not going to rank people, as it's somewhat counterproductive to criticism, and isn't very meaningful when I'm only looking at a small number of the stories. For all I know, I might have the top 6 here. In no particular order:

Joie de Vivre
The present tense is a bit off-putting for me, but it's a valid choice, so I won't count off for it unless it ends up being done badly. "Rough-cut stallions... rare gems." That's a rather delicious pun that I'm betting was unintentional. I'm encountering a few grammar misses, but nothing beyond what I'd expect from a timed event. Note: the abbreviation "Mk" doesn't use a period. "Waterskaters." Did you mean waterskiers or ice skaters? Hm. Grammar derps are getting worse the further in I get. "white coat of the grim reaper" Wut? Okay. I've read a few fics before with the same basic premise, but can only recall 2 atm. For one, the writing didn't do it justice, and the other had a huge cop-out ending because the author got tired of it. So, kudos to you for standing out. This piece was well-written and I quite enjoyed it. I'm glad you gave us the background leading up to the situation, as too many sadfics just drop you into the middle and assume you'll invent your own reason to be sad. You actually gave us the background to build it properly, though I'd like to see that buildup expanded after we all get to our revisions later. I got a mixed reaction on Pinkie's characterization. Sometimes she was spot-on, and sometimes she sounded a bit too dry or technical. Still, this is clearly one of the top few stories. Well done. And the present tense ended up working out fine.

Unwanted Song
Mechanics are pretty good so far in the opening bit that will either make you or break you with readers. "In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if singing played a part in your special talent." I'm not sure Fluttershy would say this. They all seem to take a non-involvement attitude toward cutie marks and leave it to the individual to discover. I'm actually making it quite far into this story without having anything to say... Mechanics are getting worse as I read in this one, too. How does Sweetie Belle know who Steven is? Presumably either from what Fluttershy just told her or from the previous times she'd heard it from Rarity, but you ought to mention it somewhere, like you did with the manticore story, to make it clear. Fluttershy's speech patterns don't sound quite right for her. Wait, it's over? Where's the resolution? It's also hard to believe that there'd be anything to get you feeling safe when a large, furry thing curls up against you in the pitch black wilderness. I need a bit more justification of the original conflict. Rarity shouldn't have a problem with singing. She does it herself, and should appreciate it when it's well-done, as opposed to having Sweetie Belle otherwise unoccupied and looking to "help" her. It just doesn't ring true by default, so you have to lead me there. Overall, not a bad piece. It was cute, and the writing was pretty good.

Melody of Solace
I'm getting put off a bit by the constant parentheticals. Minor point—aren't pretty much all the instrumentalists in canon earth ponies? Octavia and her group, the fiddler at Nightmare Night, even Pinkie... "man the rudder" >:( A lot felt glossed over. There's a major emotional point in the story about her grandmother's decline, and it was just left hanging there. The whole thing with Lyra, too. Exactly what Lyra's doing is only hinted at, and there was never any sense that it might be dangerous. Then, we suddenly get whipped into "I'm in the hospital and I hope Lyra's okay," but we don't know what happened to either of them. I'd also think the other patients would rather enjoy hearing the piano, particularly from someone who's good at it. It's there for a reason, after all. The sentence structure got pretty repetitive at times, and it was a bit disconcerting that Melody's thoughts were done in a much more informal style than the bulk of her spoken dialogue, even when she was in a casual situation. I still think the writing in this one is above average.

On Loyalty
A few more mechanical problems than I'd want to see. The overly narrative tone keeps this from being as interesting as it could, since we're just being told about things instead of experiencing them. You're doing a pretty bold thing by introducing some backstory for Dash's family. I'm still not sold on exactly how Strongheart was so sure that Dash was the only possible connection to the music box, but it was a nice twist that made for a sweet ending. The writing's not bad, but the choice of narration for so much of it keeps it from being particularly engaging.

Starting with the weather? Pinkie's characterization is quite good, and so is what little we get of Dash, but Twilight and Fluttershy seem a little flat. Relatively minor mechanical problems. Word choice: "illicit" vs "elicit." The visual humor about Pinkie trying to break into the box isn't quite landing. Sight jokes are really difficult to pull off in writing. It's also undermining the seriousness of the situation. Getting pretty repetitive here, too, which hadn't been an issue so far. Not sure I'd believe that Vinyl would know a recording would be harmless. The music theory... well, I get that you want to make it simplistic enough that the casual reader can understand it. I'm getting a lot of its/it's confusion about now. Okay, the beginning of the story was quite good. You built up a nice mystery and worked up to several suspenseful moments. You had me really wondering what was going on. I mean, it was obvious what was happening, but you had me eager to find out who was behind it and why. Then the middle dragged where we went through a bunch of technical stuff that was an abrupt slowing of the story's pace, and overkill for what was needed to understand their plan. Finally, a resolution where everyone is rescued, and we find out... nothing. That was a really unsatisfying ending. Who created the music box? Why? What did it hope to accomplish? You could have a nice, chilling story here once you get a chance to revise it after the contest. The first half was very good.

The Manticore Problem
Lots of mechanical problems. The beginning drags a lot, as everything is related solely through narration. It's a clever idea, and the characterizations of the animals are interesting. There was actually some good comedy in there, but it was undermined by the mechanics and the strange ending. I can halfway believe that Opal might be that callous toward Sweetie Belle, but the rest as well, to the point that none of them go after her? Or did they? I can't tell whether only Winona helped her. The description that Opal was now satisfied that she could handle herself (she didn't actually do anything) and Owlowiscious still visited her socially (implying he wasn't bothered by what she had done) seemed odd.
>> No. 115679
It's not my favorite story by far. Made of Dreams could definitely be better, but given the state of some of the other stories in this contest (I've been getting ahead on reading thanks to judgly access!), it's nowhere near the bottom.
>> No. 115680
>I really had a hard time grasping why the magician had the feels for that particular pony
I implied that they have a history, but otherwise it's simply a premise you have to swallow for the story to work. There ain't much explanation to infatuation half the time, anyway.

>I wanted the magician to win.
Such is the crux of a love triangle, then (until we can all get on board with polyamory, o'course). I think the magician deserves what he got.

>I was initially under the impression that the magician was a mare, since Blue was called a "he".
Before Blue is even mentioned in the narrative, there is the line "I shake her hoof like a proper stallion."

I don't know where the "Heer's" came from. I'm absolutely certain the file I submitted had both of those cases as "Here's". I've also noticed that a few -ise words weren't changed to -ize. Roger must have messed up the conversion from British to American English.

>> No. 115683
Derp derp derp. Derp.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why it's doing that, but you are right that it is. But don't blame me—blame the dude who wrote the translator!

>> No. 115689
Can I Keep It?

I'm not a fan of the narrative voice. Since third-person omniscient puts the reader in the same metaphorical room as the narrator for the entire story, it's absolutely critical that I can at least tolerate it. I'd prefer to enjoy it. I didn't.

Hearing everything through the narrator's comments and digressions is like watching television without a thick layer of petroleum jelly spread across the screen. Show don't tell.

Setting that aside, I like how everypony in the story clearly wants something: Sweetie wants the Joke, and then for Sweetie to be accepted or at least tolerated. AB and Scootaloo want to rescue her. There's the whole Twilight and Fluttershy thing which could make a fun story on its own - it doesn't really fit here.

But at the same time, you seem shy to make life difficult for your characters. The formula is get somepony in a tree, throw rocks at her, get her down.

Here a bunch of ponies climb up trees, smile awkwardly at each other, call it a day, and climb back down. Short story is the art of focus (something that I find difficult, admittedly). If you were less kind as an author to a few main characters, I think I'd like it more.

(It's not related to the prompt, but I think you have something with the EPG:

... A small podium stood in front of the desks and that at least made Twilight feel at home. The lecture halls at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns didn't always have desks; they weren't strictly necessary for ponies who could float their books and quills around, but since this was the Earth-Pegasus-but-not-Unicorn Guild, Twilight understood that some things would be different.

There was a long table at one side of the room, covered with pots and trays of pastries. A bowl of punch a deep carnation pink in color sat at the nearest end.

"Fluttershy..." Twilight nudged her friend and spoke out of the side of her mouth. "You didn't tell me we were supposed to bring something."

"I- I didn't know either." )

Unwanted Song

I really can relate to Sweetie Belle here. I'll also say that it's gutsy and cool to make the protagonist one character and the perspective character another. Fluttershy is a good choice for that PC, too: she wants to understand and fix what's bothering her friends.

So when the story starts out with Fluttershy disappointed with Derpy, I'm a little bit put off. That's really more a Rainbow Dash motivation, and I think it distracts from the Sweetie-Rarity conflict. You don't need it. There are few things you can do to Fluttershy worse than making her friends fight. If you make it a little harder for her to figure out what's bothering Sweetie, that can be her motivation, and you don't have to give poor Derpy the Idiot ball to motivate the whole thing.

I really like the concept, and I think you built it out into a story well enough (even if it's not the approach I'd most like to see). Your descriptions aren't as good - I don't really feel like I'm in the Everfree - and on a similar note, I have to wonder what Mr. Magnet is doing in this story beyond being an arbitrary fanon shout-out.
>> No. 115693
File 134469806888.jpg - (219.40KB , 1920x1080 , rayquaza.jpg )
>Okay, this one's weird.
Weird? Weird? I don’t remember putting in any weird imagery. Maybe the plot? How it fit together (or didn’t, in some people’s case)?

>It's in present tense for about half, and has some odd phrasing.
It’s present tense for most the story. The poem doesn’t switch tenses, per se, but includes things that happened, things happening, and things that will happen. The section in past tense is, to me, reflective of the reduced immediacy of the scenes. As for the awkward phrasing, I used no construct that I haven’t seen used in published material.

>The story seems rather disconnected.
Guilty as charged.

>I couldn't really tell what the two parts had to do with each other, nor what was really going on.
I’ve already explained the goings-on the best I could in >>115463. If you read up a little and still don’t buy it, I understand.

>There's a whole lot of name-dropping for things that I have no idea what they are (I can't think of what the names were right now, but they were all proper nouns, so I know they were names.)
A list of non-canonical proper nouns used (in order of appearance):
> Order of the Day
> Disorder
> Sovereign
> Evil
> Soleil
> Malignitas
> Nástrond
> Dragon Heart
> Heart
> Lunacy
> Anoia
> Death of Monarchs
> Magi
> Mind
> Magic
> Terr
> Pelagia
> Igni
> Pluto(nian)
> Death

These can refer to places or people (or ideas, but they are most likely personified ideas) and canonical or non-canonical characters. If you don’t get it, brain harder.

>It was possibly a human, but could easily have been any number of things, yet, it makes the whole story feel... less pony.
I don’t know what to think about this. It doesn’t feel like a My Little Pony fan-fiction? Do you want it to feel more like a My Little Pony fan-fiction?

>Then you misuse the word monochromatic. It doesn't only mean black and white, it could be any single color.
I didn’t misuse the word. Unless you’re going to throw a color theory book at me, black and white count as colors. One definition doesn’t supersede another.

>My only gripe is that it was too jumpy. Far too jumpy for me to get a firm grasp on what was going on, especially with Cadence.
The jumpiness is to reinforce the pseudorealism, a mark of the hollowness of the world. If you’ll look even closer than the scenes, to paragraphs and sentences like: “I find myself walking. The images of the forest pulse and fade. I don't know why I walk. The leaves flicker. I never know,” I’ve attempted to create a similar pseudorealism and hollowness by juxtaposition of outward reflection and inward reflection. The narrator characterizes the landscape, and the landscape characterizes the character. To remove the “jumpy” aspects would be to rewrite the entire piece.

>I'm sure if you combined a lot of those "minor scene breaks" and dragged some stuff out, you'd have an excellent story here.
I’m glad you think it has potential.

Thank you all for the reviews. I eagerly await your responses.
>> No. 115704
And now with my judgely access, I can totally get a head-start on reading everything else!

A Deck With No Hearts- "I like cards" said Cardjack. Sorry, I had to. Cool card trick! Cool use of the prompt, not only because you made them both stallions (I can buy it!), but also because that's not our initial scene. "Never let a unicorn on stage" is a good rule indeed. Getting a few very major typos here and there. Ooh, ouch. Very nice. I'm not sure I entirely like the highly minimalist one-sentence paragraphs, but they don't take anything away from the story, which I very much enjoyed. Good stuff.

Can I Keep It? Oh PLEASE?- Oh, and now I know which prompt this is. Although I'm entirely unsure of what just happened in that opening. While I do so love Tardie Belle as a trope, you seem really hung up on the "children are stupid" thing. The writing is a little overly self-conscious. Rarity's written distinctly out of character, in regards to her speech patterns, and I do not approve of recycling running gags from the show especially unfunny ones. The writing is goofy but unfocused, so it's coming off as cute rather than clever, meaning the jokes are falling flat, at least to me. Actually, the funniest thing is that she named the manticore after herself. I like the jab at Opalescence as well. I do hope you had fun writing this, at least, because it looks like the kind of story that was fun to write. That's maybe the strangest thing I've ever said about a fic.

Candy Crisp- Actually, it's Belle, ouch. Unfortunately, this is pretty haphazardly paced, just one thing right after another, which makes it a tough and fairly uninteresting read. Show, don't tell and all that. Though I do find the concept of Granny Smith's cutie mark being laundry detergent hilarious. Wait, and now it's going into incest territory or... what the fuck am I reading? No.

Memories of Chaos- In short, this does not sound like Discord to me, and I feel like I've read this sort of story before, Discord/Luna ship aside. That does not add anything to my enjoyment of the story, however, nor does the story really add anything to the body of pony fic that I've read.

On Loyalty- The writing is fairly simplistic and overly telly. That simplicity doesn't do anything to prop up the fairly weighty ideas being explored here. And then you just start giving us the episode from Strongheart's point of view, and I really hate it when authors do that.

The Manticore Problem- It's "Owloysius". Oh gosh, and you spelled it two different ways. That and the telly writing don't really make me feel like continuing to read, though the concept at least is amusing, especially Gummy's characterization through Opal's eyes. The execution is just not there, however, and I'm rather disappointed that they talk to each other, even if Winona is hilarious. Still, this could be both better and worse.

Bittersweet Music- I'm glad we're back to the 'monster' fic being just over 10k words. Hooray, Fancy Pants! The dialogue is working wonders on both their characterizations and their relationship. He is such a character, I love how you're writing him, and I sense I will be stealing this characterization in the future. I saw the comment earlier on "Your Worship", but boy does that seem weird nevertheless. I cannot stop laughing at this story, nor marvelling at the studied culture clash. He's every bit the stiff, uppercrust gentleman, but he appreciates the rustic and bores of the gentry. All the comedy is so natural. Oh my god, he's playing with the CMCs. This is brilliant. "Wet'ums", what, really? I never thought I would read a story about Fancy Pants and Spike having a male bonding moment. That's just so entirely out there, and you've done such a phenomenal job with it. Friendship moment in the middle! I like how you've passed the story's torch from FP to Spike there. Wait, Pinkie does the same thing every year? But I thought this was the first year for this... Though I can imagine her just doing that once a year for no reason at all, talent contest or no talent contest. Oh, he did not! That's the best thing ever! And then he went home and fucked the prom queen.

I actually have tears in my eyes, and not all of them from laughter. This isn't perfect (though sparse, a smattering of typos amongst 12k words means a lot of typos), but it's definitely the best story I've read in a long time. As an aside, I just realized which picture you used for the prompt. That lends an even greater level of amazingness to this story, as you've pulled the tale from the picture and expanded on it beautifully. Bravo!

Melody of Solace- I'm really enjoying the narrator's voice here. Wait, is she Octavia? Ah, I guess not. They could totally be friends though, being earth pony musicians and all. Well, I did rather enjoy watching the tragedy unfold, though I'm not entirely sure what happened, other than Melody getting kicked out. The format ended up with this being very telly, but I think the voice and the plot execution make up for that somewhat. Not bad.

Unwanted Song- Sweetie really ought to be a natural for Disney princess, huh? Not a fan of the episode recap. Also, if Sweetie doesn't want singing to be her talent, then why is she so set on staying somewhere that she can sing freely? Hooray for Steven Magnet! This feels unfinished. It sets up and uses the prompt image, but nothing is really resolved. The ending in fact feels like a part one. It's not bad, for what it is, I suppose.

War Is Hay- Interested to see why this is one of the few stories without a blatant music term in the title. Oh wow, someone actually used the headphones pic! Wait, what just happened. Augh and then you had to go and use those names. Don't care if it's pretend, just no. Though I'm laughing quite a bit at "I'm a medic". Oh, this is just a TF2 crossover, isn't it? I should have seen that when she grabbed a red helmet, I suppose. Did she really just say "The cake is a spy"? Oh, I guess the rainbows thing is what actually happens? I thought that was just a one-off joke. Well, this is incredibly silly, though I suspect that was intentional. The pacing is a little fast. The biggest flaw in this story, though, is that the first scene has nothing to do with ANYTHING and exists solely to tie this fic to the prompt. I mean, there wasn't even a groaner at the end with Rainbow finding out that her headphones had snapped in the battle again, which is what I was expecting. I guess you just really wanted to write this crossover, huh?

The WestFillya Waltz- Love that first line. Also "What in the sugar-dusted sassafrass". I have to say that Applejack as she's written here feels ever so slightly off, but then I tend to write her fairly blandly, so it might just be my interpretation. Okay, the only translation I've found for "Guanzhong" is "audience". I am very disappointed that's not a horse pun. Interesting that you made the music box Applejack's. Oh my. Okay, I take back what I said about Applejack. You're really capturing the family dynamic here. Very nice job tying the backstory in with Cutie Mark Chronicles. And now I see why this has been a big hit with the judges. Economically short and poignant without resorting to "MAH PARENTS 'RE DEED!" sadness, I would describe this piece as soothing, which isn't something I can usually say about emotional fics. Very nice.

Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon- It seems cruel, making an earth pony play drums like that. Oh yeah, I forgot that picture was a daydream. Whoa wait, what are you doing? For being built around a repeating set of scenes and dialogue, this is pretty compelling. Not to mention surreal and slightly disturbing. I love how slight variations in the rhythm of the dialogue help change its meaning. This is obviously a very deliberately crafted story. Despite all the bizarre scenery, everything's resolving itself very nicely. I really love how you dove into the image, using nothing but the elements it presented to compose most of this story. ...Oh shit, you did not just do that. That was amazing, an absolute trip with an unexpected heart-wrenching twist at the end. I am very impressed by this story. I think I need to lie down.

His Heart Too Full for Words- What a weird name. And such a whiny butt; I'm rather disappointed that he's giving in. You know, Scoot's reaction is very interesting in light of the recent third-party Word of Faust revelation about her. But yeah, if he's only a few years older than them, he's awfully angsty about this whole deal. The insta-crush is a little forced (perhaps only because I was expecting his feelings to be directed at Apple Bloom). Love Applejack's reaction in giving him the banjo, though. And after trying and trying, I finally remembered which picture you used for the prompt. That's why the leadup to this scene was so odd. I'll congratulate you on a decent piece of character growth. Main problem I had was that it was very, very hard to like Bound from the outset, but this definitely gets better as the story progresses.

Joie de Vivre- A Civic? I just read a mindfuck (outside the contest), I'm not sure I can take another! Okay, and now ponies. I am intrigued. Pinkie's written so very well here that her presence should be a jarring tonal shift, but it isn't somehow. I love that she specifically wanted the pedal-copter, even though they could have used the balloon. I'm enjoying the writing quite a bit all by itself, and I'm very excited to see how all these disparate scenes tie together. Oops, missed a scene transition there. Oh gosh, I think I figured out the link between the two human scenes. That gave me a chill. Uh-oh, and I just found the link to the rest of the story. Shit, you're gonna make me cry, aren't you? Hah, so that's what was going on? Very good job showing the reasons behind that whole stunt. I am this close to crying, you bastard. I hate you and everyone like you, who writes wonderful stories that have to be really fucking sad.

You'll Never Know Until You Try It- I love how Twilight's explanation makes no goddamn sense at all. Oh god, what is she listening to, hipster electronic noise? Hah, yup! Fucking hipsters. For some reason, the phrase "monstrous fattie" coming from Fluttershy is hilarious. Why is she thinking about flatulence now. You just used the word 'fartyness' in a story. I wish it wasn't breaking tone, because I'm laughing so much about this because I am three. I actually want to know what music they're listening to, assuming you aren't just making things up. The use of italics for thoughts seems to be haphazard, which makes things confusing. Oh god, the hipsters in the flesh! All right, I cannot believe that dumb jock Rainbow Dash would be using words like 'avant-garde' and 'ataraxy' after one night spent talking to a new group of ponies. Though Explosive Seapony is the best band name ever. Why is Fluttershy stealing food from Rainbow Dash? Ohh, I see, and you used two images for the prompt.

Well, this story is just about Rainbow Dash turning into a hipster, and the main problem is that that concept is not played for humor at all. I mean, it's an inherently funny premise, but this feels done in earnest, and it's pretty boring, all things considered. I'm not entirely certain the sections with Pinkie and Fluttershy really served much purpose, other than to illustrate her point of "it didn't work on me" at length. There's not a whole lot of story here, either, and it feels somewhat unresolved by the end. I'm not really sure what happened.

I'll do a top seven, since that's how many I really liked:

1) Bittersweet Music
2) The WestFillya Waltz
3) The Good You Might Do
4) Joie de Vivre
5) Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon Bon
6) A Deck With No Hearts
7) His Heart Too Full for Words

This contest produced some really, really amazing stuff. I gave out 2 10s and 3 9s. I can't remember the last time I've given out that many top marks. I think the art prompts, or maybe having multiple prompts, really helped people reach for the stars. This was a really fun writeoff (and now I get to take the next week off, whoo!)
>> No. 115706
One story I read on a whim, particularly since the author is already doing extensive revisions to it.

Every Night is a Swan Song:
I'm glad to see someone using this art, because it was a well-done piece. Setting a great atmosphere from the outset. Minor point—I'm not sure a bar would be happy with soothing music like that. Maybe something more like a dinner show, a steep cover charge, or a minimum? Patrons who are calm and transfixed tend not to order many drinks, after all. Just a few mechanical issues. I only counted 3-4 in the first scene, so you're good there. I'm going to try to be more in-depth with this review than normal since I see that you've already undertaken extensive revisions, and any superficial things I note have probably already been addressed. It sounds like you've already worked toward fuller dialogue and description of the settings. I can't say I minded Starshine's inclusion. Sure, her involvement was pretty tangential, and the sad bit at the end felt kind of thrown in. However, rather than eliminating her, I could also see expanding her role to weave her into the story more intricately. The sad part wasn't too bad, and if you cared to build it up more so that the reader were more invested in her hidden affections, it would add a nice punch. The fact that she first suggested Bluebell go see the harpist could be an interesting angle as well. Was she simply thinking he'd find it entertaining? Was she tipping him off to some eye candy? Did she know the mare's reputation and was trying to hook him up? Even worse, was she in on it, and realized after that fact that she had feelings for him? I know that last one doesn't work within the original context, given the last scene, but just an idea... Okay, the bar scene. Not just the scenery and dialogue, but whip up the atmosphere. Yes, they all get quiet once the music starts, but before that, have cheering, wolf whistles, etc. before a bouncer tells everyone to calm down, for example. Add a few more such scenes of his previous nights in the bar, so you can build up Bluebell's interest and balance out the long time you spend on the last night, which would improve the pacing. Now, there are a couple of big issues in this type of plot that you can either try to address, which admittedly can be quite difficult, or sweep under the rug. Does the mare own the place? If not, tell me why nobody would have seen all the evidence in her room. Landlord, owner, janitor, etc. would have reason to be in there, after all. Why does she keep the remains there rather than disposing of them? Why does nobody notice that stallions are going missing? Many horror movies/stories just skip over these kinds of things, and you probably could too. Spending too much time on such exposition can kill the creepy mood, after all. Decide what type of harp you want the mare to have. Given that you've specified a fugue (which is quite unusual for a harp to play), you'd need a double-strung harp. But it could still be either a folk harp or a concert harp. If you choose a concert one, it's got several foot pedals, which would be another nice technical detail to include as you describe her performance. The description of the harp as easy to lift would tend toward the smaller folk harp, but I got the impression that you meant for it to be inexplicably light for its size, which could then work in either case. The dialogue does get "talking heads" at times, but I suspect you've already fixed that. I didn't understand exactly what you meant by the "spaghetti explosions" and "expensive purchases." You could get technical with the salt as well. Instead of just "a cheap grain," contrast plain rocksalt with something gourmet, like a smoked salt, or a sea salt, perhaps Himalayan pink or Hawaiian black (with appropriate pony pun, of course). New stage lighting: up the description on this. Colored lighting for mood? Do the lights move, or flash in a pattern? They're probably quite hot—maybe Bluebell could see the mare's makeup running a bit as a result, or wondering why it doesn't when it's making him sweat. Another minor point—"opening arpeggio." That's fine if she's just checking her tuning, or what she's about to play has a simple beginning. If she wants to begin with a fluorish, however, consider a glissando or a series of them. The term "sonata" mostly refers either to a piece for a solo keyboard instrument, or to a piece for some other solo instrument with keyboard accompaniment. The piece is initially described as "full of life and energy," and then later as "a theme of love, a slow melody." It's unclear whether you mean it's a two-movement work, something that changes character part way through, or that both descriptions apply throughout. I don't want to get too deep in jargon here and risk alienating the reader, so I might stick to something most people would recognize. As a multi-movement piece, "serenade" could match the character you're trying to evoke, or a caprice and reverie. For a single movement, it might be a romance or a ballad (chaconne would be a great match, but you'd force people to look it up or ignore it). And, yeah, Bluebell's last words need work. There's not enough hate there, or a sense of triumph. Go full Khan: From hell's heart, I stab at thee! Heh.

That's all I got. I'd like to see a revised version in case I can help with the little details, mechanics, word choice, and such. That was a good story, and you did a good job setting the mood with your antagonist through both phases of her portrayal. The writing was definitely above the bar in phrasing, variety, diction, and flow.
>> No. 115707
holy wall of text, batman.
>> No. 115708

Thanks for the critique, you gais.

Yes, it was rather fun to write at some points. I tried to be serious a few times and screwed those parts up.
>> No. 115709

You drive me to drink
>> No. 115713
I thought that was all /fic/ did with those that stayed too long.
>> No. 115715
Wow. Um... thanks.

You know, I just sort of assumed this was Fancy pants' normal characterization. All the other high-society ponies in Canterlot were pandering to him, but I can't imagine he isn't perfectly aware of it.

I figured ponies in modern Equestria are usually knighted for cultural, artistic or scientific contributions, but that Fancy Pants envied the knights of old and insisted on being a "country knight" who actually defeated dragons and rescued damsels. He likes sticking up for the common folk because he fully understands how essential they are to society. To him, knighthood is a burden to be proud of rather than a prize or reward.

He's also still a kid at heart... but by now he's earned the right.
>> No. 115719
File 134472397347.gif - (535.85KB , 460x283 , 53XFMl.gif )
>"What you want, Darl?" Dewey Dell said, not stopping the fan, speaking up quick, keeping even him from her. He didn't answer. He just stood and looked at his dying mother, his heart too full for words.
- William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

I love references, and I never have an original thought. I decided that snippit would make an appropriate title.

Now, based on the reviews of 'The Sound of Raindrops on Slate' I've been seeing, I decided to read it myself.

My first thought is 'Huh.' The beginning was pretty confusing, and I needed to read it very slowly to even pretend to follow what was going on. It was at this point I decided I was not a big fan. However, as I read on, I realized the importance of the story (at least, to me) was in the implications. It reminded me very much of how Dark Souls explained its lore: very little was freely given, conjecture and close attention to detail filled in the blanks. When I finished my first read, I went back and read the story through again. This is where your story would define exactly how much I liked or did not like it. Ultimately, I fell for it. I can't say I love it, but your story got some 'Ooohhh's and 'Aaahhh's from me that I don't often get to experience.

I went back and read your posts about what the story here really is, but I got something a little different. I saw the narrator as someone standing for 'the audience' on an individual scale (meaning, 'the audience' not necessarily being the person reading your story, but someone who observes the MLP universe). By adding a part of their own heart and their own emotions to the MLP universe, they give it life. I saw Cadence as the interface between your abstract, colorless world and the more concrete part of your fic.

>> No. 115723

>I never have an original thought

It can be said that there are no original thoughts... but there are plenty of original "takes" on thoughts. :)
>> No. 115732
> Okay, the only translation I've found for "Guanzhong" is "audience".

Please tell me I didn't typo the horse breed I looked up for the express purpose of amusing myself with a quasi horse joke...

(Damn. Ever since someone brought it up, I've realized I *do* abuse ellipses all the time. Going through things I just write day to day, I abuse ellipses like a they were a nine year old altar boy. And I can't stop doing it. I need help; some sort of punctuation intervention.)

Guanzhong was supposed to be a Chinese draft horse; but I could be mistaken.

"Smooth mouth" was something I remember my grandfather tossing around for teasingly calling his peers worthless old farts (apparently the reason you would look a gift horse in the mouth if you were rude enough to do so is because looking for flat spots on the teeth is like looking for an expiration date). Once I decided to use that, I felt compelled to continue to horse it up.

Plus, snaffle bit is fun to say. Pickle barrel, snaffle bit, pickle barrel, snaffle bit, chimmi-cherrichanga!

While I'm continuing to spam this thread, I felt like dropping a link to the waltz I had in mind when writing the story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnVPIoXlzx0

I grew up playing this on the fiddle. Has an interesting pedigree of being a hundreds-years-old French waltz reintroduced to the world by Texas hillbillies. Kinda fit with my theme for AJ's mama; a diamond returning to the rough and thriving there.
>> No. 115733
Excellent. I love references like this in titles.

Are you afraid of the good you might do?
-Les Miserables
>> No. 115737
My Sunshine
Wow, wall o' angst up front! Mostly solid mechanics at the beginning. There's an odd tense shift in the second flashback. Well, I try to do stream-of-consciousness, but didn't really find anything to break me out, which is good. Unfortunately, there's a missing word right at the end, which isn't the impression you want the reader to leave on. A couple of the scenes early on in the hospital felt redundant as not much different happened. The main problem is that there's no buildup to the implied shipping. We need more background of seeing Sonata's feelings for Petal develop in order to make the relationship seem more real and let us get to know the characters better. We're just dropped into the middle of it, so we have no personal investment in whether or not it's successful. Similarly, Sonata's descent into madness is glossed over. We get the first part of the roof incident from Sonata's perspective, which is especially engaging in a first-person narration, since we have the eyewitness account as if we're right there. But the ensuing action of the fall, the injury, and the mental aftermath are all told to us as a dispassionate narration from an omniscient viewpoint. We are pushed out of the character's head for what is the most emotionally-wrenching event in the story. That distance is killing the immersion. Keep us in Sonata's head as he watches her fall and hit the ground, as he observes from above or rushes to help, as he goes crazy from knowing what he's done. Thus the reader is also paralyzed by what he has done, and goes mad with Sonata. It's a much more powerful way to handle it. In any case, the writing was solid, it only dragged a bit in the middle, and the way Sonata gets lost in his music box is well done. Good story.

Made of Dreams
Pretty low number of mechanical problems at first, which is good for hooking a reader, but there were more later on. Seems that Bon Bon's mother let that tambourine solo go on quite long, given how opposed she was to it. Show versus tell isn't a pervasive problem, but it does come and go, particularly when you've got several exchanges of dialogue without attribution or with only simple speech tags, and there are some other spots with emotion tells. It could have used a bit lengthier buildup at the beginning to put some more meat on Bon Bon's relationship with her mother. An interesting tidbit that was probably unintentional—her mother is from Stalliongrad, and Bon Bon has a French name. Especially during the 1800's, Russian culture adopted much from the French in art, music, literature... It's a nice connection, serendipitous though it may be. Why is Cinder Flare saying goodbye? They're acting like one of them is going away, but I'm getting a conflicting impression that both still live there. Is it just that they're out of school now and so won't be spending as much time together anymore? I interpreted the "overflowing saddlebags" as being full of mail as she goes out on her route, but is it her baggage as she leaves town? You invested a lot in that character only to toss her aside. I rather have a soft spot for stories investigating the nature of a cutie mark. I've written one in which a cutie mark may have changed its meaning, and have seen an unpublished one in which a pony was somewhat similarly secretive about his for the pain it caused him. I like that sort of thing, and you've done a good job looking at some of the possibilities. Overall, this was a rather good story. You showed good character development, premise, and writing. I'd very much enjoy seeing this story revised once there's time after the contest. Good job.
>> No. 115745
Wow, so many reviews! Just glancing at the opinions on my story and saw something that bothered me.


>I'd also think the other patients would rather enjoy hearing the piano, particularly from someone who's good at it. It's there for a reason, after all.

Well, I guess I didn't make this clear enough. The reason that the patients don't like her playing is because she can't play anymore. That was a side-effect of her little stunt at the competition. This was an important part in the emotional development of this piece which I probably should have focused on more.

It seems people were most disconcerted by my lack of elaboration with regard to Melody's and Lyra's first term in school, and by the general "glossing-over" that occurred with Melody's narration. But, honestly, this is my first write-off, and I expected the criticism to be much worse, especially considering how little time I had to write the thing. All in all, I'm surprised I even managed to put two coherent sentences together in under 3 days.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your input, and best of luck to the other writers.
>> No. 115747
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>Well, I guess I didn't make this clear enough. The reason that the patients don't like her playing is because she can't play anymore. That was a side-effect of her little stunt at the competition.
Hmm... While the ending was a bit vague, I thought it was obvious that she couldn't play the piano anymore. Of course that's partly because I figured out how it was going to end as soon as the main character told Lyra she had a plan; but still.
>> No. 115779
Ohh, if that's the case, then my dictionary was no doubt NOT set up for horse breeds. Silly me.

Funny you bring up "smooth mouth", I was actually wondering about that but didn't say anything about it. I agree with snaffle bit. And it's Westphalia? Okay, I'd been wondering!

> The reason that the patients don't like her playing is because she can't play anymore.

Ahh, I wish that had been clearer. Other than the fact that she said she'd tried playing the piano, I had been thinking she was in the hospital because she lost her front legs or something. And that would be terrible.
>> No. 115798
I had a hard time choosing between "The Good You Might Do" and "Made of Dreams." I like them both but in different ways.

Made of Dreams
What I like most about this story is its sense of intimacy. Most folks try to be epic with their crazy ponies, earth-shattering family secrets, the origins of Equestria (guilty here), and so on. "No Hearts" and "Dreams" stand out in my mind for treating simple problems with great passion.

In this case, it's cutie mark disphora. You're not the first writer to use this theme; I think, as inspiration for ponyfic goes, it's up there with "manufactured excuses for hot mare make-outs," "hey guys, it'd be cool if Equestria was a real place and we could go there," and "I trollololol you all." It's not the uniqueness of the concept, it's the focus with which you present it.

Look at the scenes in outline:

- Bons wants her mother to validate her interest in drums, but she's too busy and ultimately rejects her.

- Bons doesn't want her cutie mark. Cinder gives a bunch of good reasons why she should be happy. Bons can't argue with them, but she's not happy either. So she just glomps Cinder.

- Bons doesn't want her family business. Everypony else in town (including Cinder) is happy with her job, so why can't she? The moment Bons descends to emo whining, Cinder smacks her in the face!

- Bons wants to be comfortable in her self-pity. Cinder won't let her and Bons begins to crack just a bit.

- Bons doesn't want to lose her affection-buddy, Cinder, but they're going their separate ways and for a moment it looks like Bons will slip into comfortable dissatisfaction. Then sudden third-act twist Lyra.

- Lyra reveals her cutie mark story, which pokes gentle fun at Bons' angst. Bons is beginning to pursue her dreams, having finally overcome her need for her mother's approval.

There is no wasted motion or description (which I'm sure earns some criticism from the church of Show-Don't-Tell). Above all, when I say "intimate" I mean that the story doesn't try to be preachy or philosophical. It shows what happens without slowing the reader down to analyze it. You've pruned the cruft off the end of every scene - they stop at exactly their emotional high points.

At the same time the story is passionate. Bon-Bon is the only pony in the whole story who doesn't like her cutie mark. She's the only pony in the whole story who feels bad about her not wanting her cutie mark. It feels like she's the only pony in the whole world who feels that way. And when in the end there's one pony who maybe felt something similar, that pony ended up finding her talent in a way thatdidn't subvert her mark.

I'm still not sure how that ended up feeling positive and not a slap in Bons' face.

As far as plain honest storycraft goes, this is right up there with "Beyond the Wall" and "Sword, Hammer, Stallion" except for one thing: it's not as descriptive. Those stories have profoundly important physical places and actions: the forge, the stream, the monsters that attack from outside. Those things become nexi where hyperreal description enhances their emotional impact.

One final thing: this is an anonymous competition. Tacking on a signature like you did in the last paragraph, whether or not it's your own, strikes me as a touch juvenile.


A brief comparison:

"Dreams" is a darn plain story, and "Good" is a darn good intellectual mind-screw.

That's not to say that the first doesn't inspire guessing and reading between the lines. I love Lyra's double-entendre and the way the story doesn't hit you over the head with how much Bon-Bon likes physical-non-sexual affection with Cinder.

But the interesting thing to me is how much more the mind-screwy story depends on physical description. I think that's because readers like to read about things that are new and interesting to them. The further out of the ordinary something is, the more it warrants detail in the text. That's why "Dreams" gets away without painting a detailed picture of the cafe, but "Good" has to re-paint Twilight's environment every few hundred words.

The Good You Might Do

I won't repeat all the nice stuff I said above and in the rankings. I like your pictures. 'Nuff said.

What I don't like so much is how stuck this story is in Twilight's head. That's not really something you can change, not with that concept for a short story, so don't worry about it. Like you have Rainbow say, this writing thing isn't about perfection.

But you can and should do better with your diction. The best story I've read this competion in this area is "No Hearts," although "Bittersweet" is close. Both those stories beg to be read aloud. You're too intellectual, too bookish and prosy, for that.

>A cheerful warbling gradually wormed its way into Twilight Sparkle’s consciousness, piercing the utter stillness of her mind.

- cliche: wormed its way
- redundant: utter stillness
- description following "the" - best to avoid

>As her thoughts gradually became coherent, she focused on the sound, the fluid trills dancing around her ears.

- description following subordinating conjunction
- "focused" - best to avoid

>A small smile curled the corners of her mouth as one eye finally popped open.

- odd choice of active subject: smile - do smiles really do anything
- further abuse of the word "as" it really isn't a synonym for "and"

>She found herself lying on her back in the precise center of a rather unremarkable iron bed, the sheet tucked tightly under her.

- "found herself" - needlessly indirect
- precise, rather unremarkably - fatty modifiers add nothing

>A white sheet. White bed. White cinder-block walls,
linoleum floor. A small ledge that barely qualified as a desk, with a chair nearby. An even smaller shelf over the bed. All white.

I hate to say it, but these SoC fragments are better than your complete sentences.

>Sheer curtains billowed in the breeze swirling through
the open window, the birdsong outside continuing its lilt.

- again: introducing new things in a modifier following the - it's confusing

And the whole thing is like this. It really makes me wish that I'd never learned what clear syntax is, because when I step aside from enjoying the story, it's pretty bad. Here's what I think happened: school.

School taught you to write smart. Fiction, at least the fiction I like personally, the fiction that sells well, the fiction that earns online fame, etc. etc. is written dumb. Dumb words, smart story. Yes, I can reforge sentences as I read along:

>A breeze swirled in from the window, rustling sheer curtains, carrying the birds' lilt.

but that takes up mental bandwidth that should go towards imagining extra details and figuring out the things you leave implied.

In short: edit. If you don't see what's wrong, find someone who knows - if you give them a red pen it should look like they slaughtered a pig on your fic. You're not alone here - not by a long shot - but that's one of the things that separates the world-class fic authors from the merely talented.

Not marked down because I could at least follow what you meant to say, and this is all a first or second draft contest, but... please do better. This story is worth it.
>> No. 115806
Let me tell, you that little thingy I did at the end was purely juvenile, and was put in there for the giggles and poking fun, plus I didn't know exactly how to end it. No, I am not the person who wrote the story I referenced.

And it continues to baffle me that people more or less are enjoying this rushed first-draft of mine. If everyone is inclined to it, then I suppose I'll work on the missing 2/3 of "Made of Dreams" and actually make the story presentable. However, I feel like holding off on that since I got another project I should really be working on right now.

At any rate, I thank you wholeheartedly for your review and input.
>> No. 115817
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Yeah. Westphalia to Westfillya is Flintstones-pun awful in a written format; I had kicked around using hyphens or just leaving it out altogether. But it amused me too much; and pretty much the only reason I wrote this was to amuse myself and quiet the voices in my head that Filler's Keepsake picture put there.

--Meaningless reviews of stuff I read because other people's reviews made them sound interesting--

End of the Season: Fascinating spin on the various nuances of Family Appreciation Day. Granny Smith's Ma's expression in that episode is actually the one that drove me to pick up a pencil in January and start down the road of self-discovery and self-embarrassment that is pony fandom. Granny's voice felt authentic. Her guest felt "off" to me a little, but that likely has to do with the circumstances of the story.

Joie-de-Vivre: Well crafted, manages to do enough with the intertwining storylines to power past the "Tommy Westphall Universe" gimmicky feeling it could have otherwise gotten. Ambitious entry for a contest with a timeline and yet doesn't suffer for it.

Unwanted Song: It felt like it was really just getting started at the end, with other parts feeling like filler to get to the word count threshhold. I would *love* to see this one get revamped or expanded around the primary conflict at core here.

Melody of Solace: Liked the main character, a lot. Kinda had trouble following what happened at the climax there.

The Sound of Raindrops on Slate: I have no idea what is going on, beyond possibly Lauren Faust and James Joyce doing tequila shots together. It sounds pretty when it's read out loud, though.

Made of Dreams: Definitely the kind of pony story I enjoy; a little slice of life adventure.

His Heart Too Full For Words: A little deeper slice-of-life than normal, but still comforting in the end. The CMC characterizations were excellent. And I *love* that someone was able to get something out of the banjo picture. Takes a lot of nerve for a fledgling artist to throw his hat in the ring on something that visible; it'll do them good to see what they can inspire with a few lines.

The Good You Might Do: I was rolling my eyes at the whole, "oh look, another stream-of-conscious crazy pony fic" until you got to the, "What is my music?" line. After that the whole thing clicked and I reread it with a much more thorough appreciation. First fic to almost draw a single manly tear from my eye, which means you win the prestigious Attempted Lacrimal Provocation Medal.
>> No. 115828
Forgot to kick in one minor quibble on Joie de Vivre: speaking from experience, a few extra studs won't slow down the knocking down of a wall. A good Sawzall won't even change pitch as it slices through a little more 2 by 4. Also speaking from experience, unexpected electrical wires (especially on the same circuit as the saw you're using to cut the wall) will easily double the time spent on a project. The seeing-your-life-before-your-eyes as one generation of do-it-yourselfer tries to kill the next is fun, too.
>> No. 115847
==Can I Keep It? Please, oh PLEASE?==

-I was a bit turned off by the verbosity and pretentiousness of the first three paragraphs, until I realized that the narrator had a characteristic voice. Good job.

-Maybe I'm a soulless bastard, but I'm having a hard time finding any of this to be truly comedic. Lord knows, the story's trying to be funny. It's key to humor--it would seem--is to wield punchlines with hyperbolically large clauses. I can see what it's trying to do, and the overall tone is commendably consistent, but it comes across as a little hard to digest.

-I'm not a huge fan of all-Caps.

-I had to go back and re-read a few lines to understand the whole "tree" gag. This story is tenuously balancing what is stated versus what is implied, and for the most part I don't think it lends to the desired, funny result.

-Well, the overall plot is very random and appears to jump from scene to scene as it feels like. That's not really a problem, so long as we have a payoff-and I didn't quite feel like there was indeed a satisfactory payoff. The key to humor in this story--it would appear--is grossly exagerrated narrative to describe simple events. While that's charming in a way, I feel that the actual substance of the gags isn't really engaging. The only part of the story that turned on a light bulb in my head was the gag with Sweetie's name at the end. Also, I could never quite figure out just who the narrator was, so I wonder if there was ever indeed a legitimate excuse for the overall tone of the prose.

Rating: 4/10 (Decently executed, but still rather bland and clunky)

==Melody of Solace==

-The narration is a bit bizarre, but it confidently passes itself off as a character's inner voice. So far you win, good sir or madame.

-Just how young is the protagonist and fellow students at the Canterlot School of Music? Seems rather foalish of the bullies to pick on her.

-I must resist giving this story a 10/10 just for featuring Lyra.

-So, we go from a long flashback to Melody's childhood, to a first day at the school, to the introduction of a competition, to dying grandma. It's tough writing a short story in an even shorter span of time, but I get the feeling that the pace of this fic wants to extend itself to something much, much longer than what it actually is.

-Melody's rant on music being unlike family would have been touching if only we knew she wasn't about to cheat. Also, I have a hard time being convinced through her interior dialogue just what made her want to cheat to begin with.

-Well, hello there, present tense.

-So... uh... wait. What? Huh? What just happened? Did Lyra's music give her a stroke, and suddenly she's in a hospital several years in the future, incapable of playing the piano? I'm a little too confused to be moved by what appears to be a divinely tragic turn of events.

Rating: 6/10 (I like the narrative voice, and it had Lyra, but what in the name of Zack Snyder was up with that ending?)

==My Sunshine==

-My one problem with the lyrics at the beginning of this fanfic is that I can't imagine that song canonically existing in the realm of Equestria.

-Aaaaaaaaaaand hello grimdark?

-Your use of present tense and lucid sensations is cool, but multiple grammatical flubs are making it a bit hard to chew.

-Wait, so why are we in past tense suddenly? Oh wait. It's present tense again. Uhm... wat?

-I can't help but feel that maybe the final scene from the doctor's and orderlies' perspective should be done in a different verb tense to further differentiate from Sonata's perspective.

-So, it was a nice mystery, but the payoff could have been more satisfying. I'm not sure how it could have been made more satisfying. I suppose, after all of the grimdark implications, it just wasn't as dramatic of an unveiling as I had suspected. Also, if the utilization of the "You were my sunshine" lyrics was supposed to be creepy, either it didn't work or I'm a terribly jaded freak.

Rating: 7/10 (Boldly executed, but it suffers a lot of screwups with grammar and verb tense)

==The Good You Might Do==

-I like the vivid details this fic starts out with. Too bad it had to incorporate a whole bunch of sentence fragments. Not sure yet if stylistic thang or...

-This is starting to remind me of... another entry into this contest. Only difference, so far, is that this story is actually being done well. I like how it's making a constant use of "less is more" and painting each scene shift and hallucinogenic transformation with both confidence and subtlety.

-It's tough trying to find moments to comment, cuz this is very enthralling. I can sort of detect a pattern with the mane 6 visits, and I like how you're interweaving key details with Canter in between the vignettes. I'm expecting some huge-ass twist to be the hinge upon which this fic swings.

-So we're going beyond Mane 6 territory. Was this planned, or did you decide on adding other characters at the last second? As rich and creative as these moments are, I wonder if every single vignette is absolutely necessary, or if some of them are tacked-on.

-Oh, and it's over. Okay.

-So, what was the prompt picture? The music box poni poni poni thing? Whatever the case, it feels almost as if you wrote this all in one sitting, but you possess the extreme brain power to jam-pack so much goodness into a single volley of literary vomit. That said, as beautifully written as this was, the different "visits" all felt relatively the same. They had almost the exact same structure and though there was delightful characterization for each of them, I felt like each subsequent vignette wasn't necessarily telling me more than the previous. In other words, the story seemed to be going through the motion and the reader feels compelled to slug through some of the patterns in expectations of a grand unveiling.

-And was there a grand unveiling? Well, maybe not plot-centrically, but there certainly was an emotional one. I like the great sense of release we got at the end. Overall, the entire story wasn't as grim or dark as it could have been. Not sure if that's a good thing.

-Whatever the case, this has impressed me the most so far out of all the jazz I've read. This is pretty smexy for something written in under three days, much less three months. This is totally something that should be uploaded somewhere. I'd say it's even EqD quality and such.

Rating: 9/10 (Beautiful descriptions, language, and detail--but maybe went on for a bit too long.)

==Unwanted Song===

-Is this an AU fic? It just mentioned that Scootaloo has parents. Hiyooooo

-Bale of Turtles, eh? I'll pretend I don't know whose fic this is.

-This risks coming across as a Seinfeld episode of poni poni poni

-It seems a tad bit too convenient for Fluttershy to have just let Sweetie Belle run off. I mean, she pierced the lengths of Everfree in pitch black night and stared down a cockatrice to save the CMC before. What's giving her such cold hooves now?

-Oh. And it's over. Uhm... Uhmmmmm...

-I had to go back to the fimfiction link and check. It really does end there. Huh. Okay.

-Well, it seems as though the central conflict was Sweetie Belle and Rarity's annoyance with her and her music. Maybe running into Everfree is Sweetie's way of getting back at Rarity, but does it necessarily conclude the conflict for us the readers? Why was Steven in there? Okay, so the manticore showed up, and that was obviously foreshadowed by Sweetie Belle's and Fluttershy's conversation (which took up the majority of the fic, imo), but I fail to notice the poetic significance of the ending other than the fact that it literarily matched the visual prompt that inspired this entry.

-So, in the end, uhm... Well, this story had nice dialogue, and it didn't make my computer catch on fire. So, I can't call it bad, I guess.

Rating: 5/10 (Competently written, but nothing really hooked me.)

==You'll Never Know Until You Try It==

-Explaining the M-Cloud wasn't really necessary, in my opinion, but dayum if it wasn't cool as heck the way you did it.

-Wouldn't Twilight be the sort of adorkable masochist to force herself to read a terms of service statement in its entirety?

-I'm digging your level of detail and description.

-So, Twilight listens to Radiohead?

-Rainbow Dash is practicing what seems to be an extraordinary amount of uncharacteristic patience with this abysmal soundtrack. On one hand, I like how it proves her loyalty to her friends' generosity. On the other hand, it just doesn't seem like something she's capable of.

-This is the only fanfic I've read so far that appears to describe music with a degree of effort.

-"Anyhoof." Hah.

-I'm liking that while we're getting musical samples of every member of the mane 6, you go out of your way to describe how *awful* they sound to the perspective of another character. Nice angle there.

-Nice throwback to Suited for Success. That could be an entire fanfic of itself: lessons on false gratitude, a sequel to the episode in a way.

-"Telekinesed." Damn. This is full of refreshing wordage.

-Funny how most solutions for Rainbow Dash--both canonically and in fanfics--involve tying her down against her will.

-So yeah. Fancy that I save the best for last. This was gorgeously written, above all else, and the confidence with which it exercised wordsmithery made the hypberbolic comedy all the more poignant. You were true to the characters (in the long run), and yet you weren't afraid to twist them to such a degree that would be fun yet digestible. You also made several intelligent and creative throwbacks to canonical details in the actual show, which is always a fresh breath of air. Seriously, the only reason this fic wouldn't win this contest is if James Joyce entered or if all the judges sat blindly in a field of upright plungers.

Rating: 10/10 (Fancy how all music rocks and sucks at the same time--oh, and fix your dayum typos)

Sorry for being late with this. Sorry also if I seemed scathing at times. If it means anything, all six of these were infinitely better than the crap I submitted.

1 You'll Never Know Until You Try It
2 The Good You Might Do
3 My Sunshine
4 Melody of Solace
5 Unwanted Song
6 Can I Keep It? Please, oh PLEASE?
>> No. 115855
Only a little more than 5 hours left.

So now that we're nearly finished with the prelims, I'd like to ask how everyone thought it went.

I think it's gone great, myself. This system seems much more efficient than the last one. I guess we'll have to see how the next round plays out.
>> No. 115856
If I spent more time with Abe, I could show you that he's the careful if obsessive sort. He'd really rather not knock down any walls in the house he just bought.

I still owe write-ups to
"You'll Never Know" and
"Candy Crisp"

I have notes in a notebook, it's mostly a matter of typing them up.
>> No. 115861
This preliminary voting period has been very exciting. I think I've already commented on it a couple times. Sadly, I think it will be of more use only if we get 30 entries again. 20 isn't too much to ask people to read.

How'd the art contest go? Is that done yet?
>> No. 115862
Filler's Keepsake by a landslide.
>> No. 115864
Not surprised.

Also, Filler did that? Awesome.
>> No. 115867
Could you add a way to tag the entries next time, please?
>> No. 115870
What a time to not have proper internet access.
Anyway, even if I don't advance, this was a heck of a lot of fun.
>> No. 115875
Tag in what way?
>> No. 115877
File 134482953233.png - (314.21KB , 600x601 , Exploitable4.png )

Despite how convinced of myself that my story was terrible and the following confusion when people have said otherwise, I had fun. This is my first time in one of these little contests for, well, anything. You can certainly count me in for the next round.

Also, how will the public voting go? I'm assuming a new thread will be created for the occasion?
>> No. 115879
I think this system has proven quite successful. Authors are getting a good amount of critique and the smaller numbers in the final round will hopefully increase the voter turnout. We'll have to see at the end.
>> No. 115880
I believe genre tags are what he means.
>> No. 115881
Yeah, like the ones on EqD: [shipping][adventure][random]

That sort of thing.
>> No. 115882
A main criticism seems to be that the visits from Twilight's friends are too indistinguishable from each other, so let me explain where I was going with that.

It's pretty obvious that each is talking from her/his unique viewpoint: each friend as her elemental value, Spike as a child/little brother, Luna as somewhat of a student, and Celestia as a mentor, to tell her how she's cheating herself in each of those ways. More (and perhaps too) subtly, Twilight's thoughts become more lucid the more visits there are. I did struggle with the similarity of the loyalty/generosity/kindness lessons, but she does understand more of each successive one, until Celestia just outright tells her what her problem is.

Thank you for your detailed feedback, but I'm left quite confused. How could writing that you bluntly label "bad" still come so close to your top spot? Personally, even if I'm reading a story with an amazing premise, but the writing doesn't deliver it, I won't call it a good story. I'll just call it potentially good, say that too much of the work was left to the reader, and give it a fairly average score.

I in fact learned very little about writing from school, aside from the grammar. Our focus was more on reading and interpreting. I hadn't been assigned any creative writing since 8th grade, and only had it as an option for 3 instances in high school.

I do dispute the assertion that good writing must necessarily flow well when read out loud. I would not care to hear any Melville or even Dickens read aloud, but I would not presume to call either a bad writer.

I really don't know what to say to most of your points, but I'll answer a few.

>further abuse of the word "as" it really isn't a synonym for "and"
No, I'm using it as a synonym for "while."

>precise, rather unremarkably - fatty modifiers add nothing
At least in the case of "precise," I was characterizing Twilight. She's clinging to things in her current state, and one would be the satisfaction she'd get just from knowing she was at the precise center of the bed.

>all of the bits about modifiers after "the"
I really don't have the foggiest idea what that means. I've never seen any sort of guideline like this, so I'm at a loss to understand why it's bad or to avoid it in the future.

As to editing... I really don't know about that either. I suspect you'd find all of my stories as objectionable. That's just my style, and such a drastic change would be slow to happen, or would largely be the product of the editor in question. Then it's not really my story anymore. If the people whose opinions I respect find it that grating, it'll just go on the scrap heap. I was trying something new, and if it didn't work, it didn't work.
>> No. 115883
Not to imply that you're not someone whose opinion I respect. I know who you are, and your opinion does carry considerable weight.
>> No. 115886
Eh, I prefer things this way. No tags, no synopsis, anonymous author. Nothing but the story.

Metadata is useful for presentation and selling your story. This event isn't about that. It's about writing a good story, and letting it sell itself.
>> No. 115893
I enjoyed doing it this way, with the authors rating stories first. This was my first time entering one of these write-offs, and I'd do it again, happily!

I don't think my story is getting into the public round, but I was happy to see that my story was consistently rated as 3rd out of 6 by everyone that reviewed it that made their ratings public. I had some errors and story issues, certainly, but seeing that consistency was a good indication for me that my story was basically giving everybody reading it the same 'feel'. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst, sitting comfortably in the middle ranking, and as a first time entrant, I'll take that gladly.
>> No. 115896
As my name might suggest, I'm on a device not entirely conducive to proper spelling and grammar, but I've decided to transcribe this message anyway as I might be unable to post it until quite some time later otherwise. Please forgive any typos.

I am very thankful for all the feedback my story has received. The fact that my story has garnered just the interest it has from these authors, who I've come to respect from only a smattering of posts over the last week regarding the results of seventy-two hours of the frantic click-clacking of keyboard around the world, fills me with awe. It was-- It is exhilarating, humbling, and inspiring. At the conclusion of this Write-Off, I will pick through my story, reviews and critiques in-hand, and rework whatever I can. Maybe, with a few more reviews afterward to snap me out of the haze that's come over me, this will be worthy of posting on Equestria Daily.

Thank you Roger, too, for hosting this event. Whether or not you decide to keep the /art/ side, I'll still be sure to participate in the next one.

I wanted to also transcribe my responses to >>115719 and >>115817, but I don't have the thumbs of steel to type out that 659-word monster.
>> No. 115903
File 134484030640.png - (379.92KB , 1219x1296 , bloom_season_5_safari___by_costantstyle-d4siefz.png )
Twenty-two stories. 60% of 22 is 13.2, so the top thirteen stories make it through to the finals.

I'd like to thank all the authors and volunteers who participated in the preliminary round. This event couldn't have run without your cooperation, so thanks for making it all go smoothly. I'd also like to thank the /art/ists who helped put a new spin on the event by providing us with all of their wonderful image prompts (except for Filler's). But enough chat.

These are your finalists:
– A Deck with No Hearts
– Bittersweet Music
– Consonance
– Every Night Is a Swan Song
– His Heart Too Full For Words
– Joie de Vivre
– Made of Dreams
– Melody of Solace
– Memories of Chaos
– My Sunshine
– The End of the Season
– The Good You Might Do
– The WestFillya Waltz

A new thread and Fimfiction story will be up shortly alongside a public poll so that the finals may begin.

To those of you still in the game, good luck.
Roger out.

The stories The Manticore Problem and Candy Crisp will not be included in the public anthology, as their authors did not participate in the preliminary round.
>> No. 115905
File 134483807873.gif - (235.77KB , 281x274 , random.gif )

Considering my current state of mind, this .gif accurately describes my reaction to becoming a finalist.

That aside, good luck to everyone who made it. May your stories do better than mine like they rightfully deserve.
>> No. 115906
Good luck to everyone who made it past the first round. Are the lower 40% (disqualified stories) going to be included in the public story post below the voting information? If so, would you prefer the anonymity facade continue for us authors of said stories?
>> No. 115907

Well, time to hit the bottom of the finalists list.

Also, to everyone listed as my assigned stories, I did read them, and I promise some reviews before public voting is done. I've just been rather busy lately. I'll also respond to those of you who have been kind enough to give me comments/reviews.
>> No. 115910
>> No. 115928

And here I was all prepared to pack my bags and wish everyone luck and have fun.

Suddenly... I'm in! So... Good luck everyone and have fun!
>> No. 116801
File 134542576631.jpg - (127.58KB , 900x982 , haunter_by_soupandbutter-d2yvc0d.jpg )
Put in old thread and saged because I'm an idiot.

>My first thought is 'Huh.' The beginning was pretty confusing, and I needed to read it very slowly to even pretend to follow what was going on.
Interesting. I wanted the narrative to be more tangible than the poem but, at the same time, to contain less soul. I wanted the narrative to be incredibly clear to contrast with the florid, meatier, poetry. I’m curious to know if it was the prose, the poetry, or an attempt to reconcile the two that was confusing.

>However, as I read on, I realized the importance of the story (at least, to me) was in the implications.
That is a good way as any to describe it.

>Very little was freely given, conjecture and close attention to detail filled in the blanks.
Yes, very much this. The plot of Raindrops is not its focal point. One will not like my story for the same reason one would like a well-written crime novel whose twist ending’s ingenuity in subversion keeps them awake for nights on end. Neither, still, will one like Raindrops for its premise. Some stories are read because you just have to see how the author pulled off a cyborg half-demon attempting to save his adoptive wolf family’s race from extermination by alien Luddites; Raindrops is not one of them. That leaves, in my estimation, character.

Bittersweet Music is an example of a story that can punch me in the face with character until my eye-sockets bleed and I’d still ask for more. The character of Raindrops, its aesthetic, to use an artsy term, is not that kind of character. In fact, it’s the lack thereof that is affective. Half-Life’s Gordon Freeman gains a great deal in regards to his lack of character. That is what I want my piece to be, a blank slate that the reader can project near anything onto, yet still have a flavor all its own.

>When I finished my first read, I went back and read the story through again. This is where your story would define exactly how much I liked or did not like it. Ultimately, I fell for it. I can't say I love it, but your story got some 'Ooohhh's and 'Aaahhh's from me that I don't often get to experience.
I love none of my favorite authors and none of my favorite books. Well, that is, depending on how strong a word you consider “love.” Colloquially, I’ll say, maybe. However, I enjoy those authors and those works because they evoke an emotion or a desire that I can’t feel otherwise. The paintings of Georges Mattheau, a lyrical abstractionist, I enjoy because they are like visual music in some regards. As the ideal reader of Raindrops is myself, its ideal classification would be lyrical abstraction.

>I went back and read your posts about what the story here really is, but I got something a little different. I saw the narrator as someone standing for 'the audience' on an individual scale (meaning, 'the audience' not necessarily being the person reading your story, but someone who observes the MLP universe). By adding a part of their own heart and their own emotions to the MLP universe, they give it life. I saw Cadence as the interface between your abstract, colorless world and the more concrete part of your fic.
Understand that my Word of God is in no way the “right” interpretation. In a way, having more than one way to look at it legitimizes the piece. A picture is worth a thousand words. Art is a new novel every glance. The power of Raindrops isn’t what it isn’t, but what it can be.

>I have no idea what is going on, beyond possibly Lauren Faust and James Joyce doing tequila shots together. It sounds pretty when it’s read out loud, though.
I was so close to retracting my previous statement before I decided to take this as a complement.
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