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119404 No. 119404
Greetings all, and welcome to the Training Grounds, the review thread for all authors, reviewers, proofreaders, and editors, both newcomer and seasoned veteran alike. It isn't the only such thread, but it's usually the busiest! (Previous edition of The Training Grounds; The sticky, which contains important information)

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363 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 120926
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>tfw queue is empty
>> No. 120930

Not entirely, Seattle.

*hint* *hint*
>> No. 120933
Dude. You know why I can't review your fic.
>> No. 120934
File 134892965800.png - (383.41KB , 680x875 , Okay.png )

pic related.
>> No. 120942
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Let's kill this queue. The prereaders want you to work on technicals and execution, and that's what I'm best at helping with.

Hey DemPonies, I'm Ezn. You may know me as the author of the popular "Ezn's Guide to Writing (Fan)fiction" http://derpy.me/EznGuide – a document that has already supplanted the Editor's Omnibus as the standard repository of general ponyfic writing tips in some parts of the 'net for two important reasons: first, it's slightly longer, and second, it has the words DON'T PANIC printed in large, friendly letters on its cover.

My reviewer statement and archive of previous reviews: http://derpy.me/uQgc1

Into the doc I go!
>> No. 120945

Awesome! I have looked through your extremely helpful writing guide on a few occasions, and I am very happy that my fic has been grabbed by very competent hands.
>> No. 120952
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We are but peas in a pod, Blue—only separated. What can a magician do to win your heart?

Google Docs: http://goo.gl/JicXF
Wordcount: 2576

This story feels almost air-tight to me. I don't mean that in a way that it's particularly amazing, but that I've stared at the thing for damn near ever trying to spiff it up, and changing almost any of the lines completely breaks the narrative flow—which I think is the main strength in the story. The pacing is quick and focused, so adding any new elements makes them seem more important than they really are. I'm stuck in a place where I'm not sure if what's said is enough or not, while I'm also quite sure that adding an extra paragraph here or there will hurt more than help.

Additionally, I think I'm at the point where I'm incapable of properly spotting all the grammatical errors, so even just a quick grammar sweep would be much appreciated (Disclaimer: the oodles of sentence fragments are intentional.)

Also, any tips on the synopsis would be great, because I'm terrible at them and the above is pretty substandard.
>> No. 120954
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This is gnarly-er than I thought.

I've only got to about half way through the third page of the first chapter or so, and I have about triple that amount in comments. I'll try to get a little further and post what I have by the end of the weekend, and we'll see if you want me to continue. From the looks of things, I don't think I really need to; you're making the same mistakes again and again. And you're a competent writer. So... yeah. Hold tight, there.
>> No. 120956
No problem, I'm just curious to see what you have in store. And of course I'm thankful for you to be so in-depth; any input is entirely welcome and for you to dedicate this much effort makes me happy.
>> No. 120965
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~150 comments left in-doc.

I liked this story. You've obviously put a lot of effort and thought into it, and I'm interested in seeing more of the world you're building and where things go from here. Even though I made a lot of language suggestions, I quite enjoyed this read.

But here are my concerns:

The Writing


Your writing is too wordy. You've got a lot of asides and, a lot of places where you use three words where one will do, and a lot of places where you state the obvious. The first is a part of your style and isn't in itself a bad thing -- I pointed out some oddly placed asides and a few that didn't really add anything. The second is tolerable in small doses, but I'm big on word economy and saying a lot with a little. The third is my biggest problem, which brings us to...

Show and Tell

Often, amateur writers are accused of telling when they should show -- of writing "Twilight was sad because her dog died" when they should write about the dog dying and then write about Twilight crying. You have a habit of showing and telling at the same time, and that makes me as a reader feel more like a baby being spoon-fed every little detail and character motivation in the story. It is, I feel, your biggest problem.

A story cannot have depth if you explicitly tell us everything that we need to know to understand the characters and situations. Readers are smart, and a big part of engaging them is showing them things happening and letting them figure out why for themselves. There's an art to getting them to figure out what you're conveying, and I guess that art's called writing. =)

Related to this is another habit of yours...

Every Little Thing

As evidenced by many of my "unnecessary" and "remove" comments, in a lot of places you tell us, in step-by-step, machinelike fashion, every single action X character took to carry out Y larger action. Twilight doesn't just look through her telescope: she enters the room it's in, walks up to it, ascending some stairs in the process, stands in front of it, puts her eye to it, closes her other eye, adjusts it, and then looks up into the night sky at the stars. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get my point.

Readers are smart. They can assume most of these banal little steps in between something interesting happening and something else interesting happen. Don't paint actions in too-broad strokes, else you run the risk of not really setting the scene and fall into telly writing (Twilight stargazed and went blind in one eye and then went back in time, the end) but zoom out a little and don't get caught up in the boring stuff. It's dull to read and no doubt dull to write as well.

On a related note, you don't have to use "then" quite so often. If one sentence follows another, readers tend to assume what happens in it happens after the events of the first sentence. Obvious chronological connections get tedious and -- some trivia -- are especially poisonous to action scenes.


You have a bit of trouble with prepositions (on, in, inside, of, etc...). Try to observe what words each one is used in conjunction with through reading, and maybe do some Google searches. Other than, though, most of the technical details the PR pointed out have been corrected. Good job with that.

The Story

As I said above, I liked it. I'm not sure that long political conversations are going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I found your prologue quite pleasant. You had the ponies pretty well in-character, their banter was fun and the whole thing seemed like a natural scene between the leaders' unfreezing and the founding of Equestria. I'm worried that it might be a little overlong, but I couldn't really say what to cut, and it may just be all the verbose and unnecessary bits.

The first chapter was also enjoyable, if possible a little too meandering for absolutely everyone's tastes (again, the pacing should pick up if you lose the word cruft). Your Twilight and Shining Armor made me smile, and that setup with Trixie may be the beginning of the best justification for her actually caring about Twilight Sparkle I've seen in a fic and actually makes me excited for her reappearance (and this is coming from someone who loathes Trixie revenge fics). What's more, it's fun to see just how much of Twilight's backstory you're managing to keep so very similar to that of regular, non-AU Twilight.

My main concern here is that the title "Twilight's Odyssey" may be a bit bland. It doesn't really tell me much about the story (unless you're going to suddenly pull a Greek Mythology crossover) except that it's about Twilight and will likely involve adventure. That's not really something that'll help your fic stand out.

And that's all I've got. Good luck with your fic, and keep writing. You can reach me with any further questions by replying to one of my comments on your doc, emailing me at eznpony (at) gmail (dot) com or sending me a PM on FIMFiction... or just replying to this post, really.
>> No. 120969

Thank you for your immensely helpful, and incredibly speedy, review!

You are absolutely right on every point, and I'll look into fixing all of 'em.

The name was actually devised during an early conception of the story, at which point all I knew was that it would be about Twilight, it would take place in this alternate universe, and a lot of travel would be involved. So, it might be a bit broad because I myself wasn't entirely sure where I wanted the story to go at that point in the creative process. Now, however, I have a much clearer idea of where I want it to go, and I think I have an idea of how to justify the, admittedly, somewhat bland name (although it won't be evident until the end).

Best regards,
>> No. 120991
I have been shamed by the speed of this review, having worked on that story myself and taken the better part of a week. My hat goes off to you Ezn. It seems I have much to learn.
>> No. 120993
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Did I forget to star that? Huh, fancy that. Reposting.

I have a small suspicion about my reviews, and as AzuNyan pointed out to me a few days ago: I haven’t picked up a published novel in nearly six months. On that note, I will asterisk star this review, in the hopes that I am wrong.

Once again I must apologize to the author of the story I am reviewing. I had intended to get this done posthaste, but laziness, procrastination, a very persuasive friend and the promise of a fun night prevented that. Excuses that are quickly becoming regular aside, here is your review:

I am torn about the opening to your story. It presents a very telly narrative, which in turn creates a very showy atmosphere, so I find myself at a loss for whether it is something done right or done completely wrong. In essence, you probably have a very well written piece here, but I simply lack the skills or the experience to recognize it when I see it.

As to the rest of it, it felt chopped up in that each story felt completely separate from the others, save for the tiny thread of the meteor shower that seems to attempt to tie it all together. I have a feeling that the later chapters will address this issue, but I cannot ignore it now.

Your grammar was surprisingly good, considering you’re not native English speaking. In fact, the only non-English pony I’ve seen do better was Zamoonda. God rest his soul.

Your pacing was mostly okay, but there was one section that I pointed out in Doc that took far too long to get to the point.

I was almost confused by the only human reference present being Lyra’s supposed lack of sanity, but the ending pulled that together nicely.

I see that this is only this is only the first chapter, so I am only slightly disappointed by the lack of dark in this story, other than Lyra’s strange condition.

Your prose was quite delightful. I had to look up a few of the words to be certain they were used properly––your title being another––but most of them were.

The characterization? I hardly noticed it, which means it was done well.

All in all, you’ve got a decent piece of writing here, with a few minor slipups that need attending to.
>> No. 120997
This was an... interesting... read, to say the least.

Buckle up.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Because of just how I styled this review, I’d like others to join in here and see if they feel I’m being unfair. I’ve no desire to give personal attacks, but that didn’t keep me from being rather harsh at times. I found myself hesitatant to give this review out, to be honest, for a few reasons which will be explained later in the review itself.

(Warning to the review-reviewer. Spoilers. Spoilers everywhere.)
>> No. 121007
Title: For The Craft
Name: Compendium of Steve
Email: [email protected]
Tags: [Normal][Light-Horror]

Synopsis: A lot is required to maintain one's musical finesse. Regular practice, unerring dedication, and an ongoing appreciation of one's craft go into the advancement of every artist's talent. In the case of Frederic Horseshoepin, it takes something more.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XIoS9E8fnRbQNXDEqruAyaYh5bOS2CkWLQxmpEzc0ig/edit

The prereaders said:
"the biggest issue I (as well as another pre-reader who read this previously) had with this story was its final section. The "horror" comes out of nowhere with no real buildup, rendering it largely ineffective. In addition, since it comes as a surprise to the reader but not the viewpoint character (who actively knows what he's doing), it seems more than a little forced. If more was done to hint at Frederic's plight and the looming doom of his target, then I could see this being a rather nice suspense story, but right now, it feels like two stories awkwardly fused together by some cackling mad scientist of ponyfiction. Essentially, make the two sides of the story gel a bit more, is what I'm saying."

What I'm reading is that my story needs more build-up, more prep for the upcoming horrors so it's not completely unexpected. I'd prefer if someone with experience in writing horror give this a look. If there's some way to "gel" this story better I'd also like to know as well. I did make some adjustments, added some more build-up; just want to see if it's enough, or if more is needed, or I overdid it. Only two strikes left, I gotta make it count!
>> No. 121008
Claiming while I wait for authors to get back to me.
>> No. 121009
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Welp, I suppose it's about time I get this thing cleaned up. Some of you may recognize it, it was my write-off entry for Cutting Ties. Anywho...

Title: His Other Self

Tags: [Slice of Life]

Description: When a Sweet Cakes, a Ponyville resident, becomes interested in the seemingly obscure actions of another, she sets off to find out what he's doing. She finds much more than what she came looking for, and in the process, so does he.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ryt2pcMfiq7iNT2uvak0RQ5oIYUGJPrxQZkRX_9uIE0/edit

Words: 8975

Comments: I believe one of the main gripes was that Sweet Cakes wasn't a very interesting protagonist, I think I've helped this by eliminating 1000 words of fluff, but it may still be a problem. Have at it.
>> No. 121017
File 134898719646.jpg - (8.63KB , 192x192 , claimed.jpg )
Roger wrote something? MEIN
>> No. 121023
File 134898958337.jpg - (123.92KB , 850x594 , teah.jpg )
Let's jump right into it, shall we?

To be honest, there's not really much I can say. You're right when you said it felt pretty airtight - it is. The only thing I could add was that you really, seriously need some scene-building to flesh out your story. See, I had absolutely no problem envisioning the scene of being on stage through Red's NamNar (nameless narrator; I've always wanted to call a character that after reading Pedestal - I digress) eyes, and I believe that it's because I had personal experience to draw on. But others might not. There's a strength in having your reader invoke the scenery for himself, but that's also a weakness, since you risk singling out everyone else - which could very well be a majority, leaving them hanging in empty space. So yeah. Sensory details, use them more. There's plenty of them for the picking. Everybody gets nervous about going on stage no matter how many times you've been up there. It's true. It happens. Utilize that sensation.

I get what you mean by how the narrative flow is the strongest part of the story - it's a story told by a character as it goes along in easily its simplest form. It's strong because your main character's voice is strong. So make the scene-building, sensory details, what have you be part of the main character's voice as he describes it. He obviously relishes it - so have him relish the details, too, so that rather than being an add-on, it becomes part of the story, of the show that NamNar is putting on for us.


I don't think it'll leave an impression for very long. I mean, y'know, what with it being less than 3000 words, and the lack of reader investment and everything, and the spurt-like style you have which, I cautiously think, won't be sustainable over a greater length of words. But the concept is clever, and I enjoyed it, which really counts as a success. I've got a couple of half-baked starts should you consider expanding, but I don't want to enroach on this.

As for the synopsis, I suck at those too, but the one thing I can say with confidence is to keep it in Namnar's voice. Get rid of the peas in a pod part since it seems rather unrelated to the story, and association with memories of Blueshift's "Two Peas in a Pod" will only get in the way.

Maybe, something like "You stand there, time after time, looking at not me but him. What can a magician do..." - uhh, something with focus on the conflict is what I'm saying.

And now, cue the standard review end note: Keep writing.
>> No. 121035
File 134899807343.jpg - (39.34KB , 219x198 , jack1.jpg )
I am Jack's gay magician pony.
>> No. 121037
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You should fill out the queue submission form, located in the OP
>> No. 121038
Oh hell that's long. Well, better get to reading. . .
>> No. 121042
File 134900269471.jpg - (9.01KB , 228x221 , suwako_um.jpg )
I'm probably a bad person for not getting the reference.
>> No. 121043
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I am so grateful to you for reviewing my story – I didn’t expect to do so well on my first try. Sending all love through the internets.

I knew I should have expected to see some errors, but not such obvious ones. That’s what you get for neglecting to do a final proofreading sweep. I can totally see the scene you’ve pointed out being dragged out. I’ve worked for a bit on it, and I tend to overwrite stuff when that happens.

I do have some extra questions:

>I am torn about the opening to your story.
I take it that you mean the beginning flashback, and not the first chapter as a whole, right? I was going for a more “detached” feel for that bit, so I guess that worked. Since you’re not sure, should I post my story to another review thread? Anypony you can suggest?

I did make the chapter “chopped up” on purpose, in order to introduce three separate, but converging character lines. It’s also why the chapter’s so big. Starting with the next chapter, the story will follow a single plot, without that feel of separation.

Thank you for rating my grammar ability so highly. I’ve done my homework. If I may ask, who was Zamoonda and what happened to him?

About the dark tag: after thinking it over, I’ve decided that it might not be appropriate for my story. I’ve added it mostly as a precaution in the first place. The main reason it could be considered dark is for some action-y violence, disturbing/horror scenes (which I don’t plan to write out in detail) and, most importantly, strong themes of moral ambiguity. I’ve read in your other reviews that you’ve been also disappointed by a lack of dark in the story. What exactly do you expect from a story with the dark tag?

Since you had to look up some words – is that a bad thing, or a good thing? I know having a wide vocabulary is essential, but it’s not like I’ve been reaching for the thesaurus when writing to eloquentize my prose.

And speaking of tags: how bad is my crossover? I know that people are hesitant to read stuff they aren’t familiar with, but I’m a little surprised nopony recognized Alpha Centauri. I know it’s 14 years old, but it’s one of the best, if not the best, civilization-type game ever made. Especially considering how most of the stuff from the crossover is original content.

Well, then, thank you for your time. You’ve given me a huuuge boost of self-confidence with this. Say, would you mind reviewing future chapters?

And now I feel like I should give back to the thread. Do I just wait for a suitable fic and dive right in? I’ve read some guides on reviewing, anything else I need to mind? Any secret initiation rituals?

And speaking of initiation, hope you won’t mind seeing me on IRC one of these days, unless it’s an invitation-only club.

>> No. 121045
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Thanks for the review. It's good to know and also kinda annoying that you're agreeing with me on most counts. Heh.

>Sensory details, use them more. There's plenty of them for the picking.
Ack. I will try.

I'm not quite sure what word to use to describe it—perhaps club? It's a rather large area with a number of stages all spread about it. (The cover pic gives a good idea of the size of the harpist's.) I sort of imagined there being a bar in the place too, so, hmm... yes, I think calling it a club would probably describe it best.

I'm admittedly awful at writing scenery, not particularly a fan of it either. I don't like reading scenery, so it sort of follows that I don't end up writing much of it. Eh.

I'll try and slip in the bits of detail you mentioned, but, again, I'm concerned that the extra detail would hurt the pacing more than help. You did say yourself that what's there is enough for you, so I don't think much more than a couple extra sentence is needed.

I like it. I think I can work with it.

Thanks again for your help.
>> No. 121048
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>Since you’re not sure, should I post my story to another review thread? Anypony you can suggest?
Well, um... I don’t know, really. I’m just a dark addict with an A+ in High School English. It’s really not that difficult to know more than me. I know MintyRest is really good. Seattle is amazing but then again, he’s also a prereader for EqD so… there you go. Ezn doesn’t pick up too many stories, but he’s well known for a writing guide he wrote so he’s a pretty skilled reviewer. Oh, look, there’s an Ezn review right there, fancy that. I recently had Golden Vision look at a story of mine, and he’s quite meticulous, but his queue is almost always closed. Those are just the first four off the top of my head. Really what I would suggest is checking out the list of review threads in the Sticky, finding one that suits you, and submitting the story, after checking to see that that particular thread’s queue is open of course.

I shouldn’t have mentioned it. You don’t need to know, really, but he was a cool dude, and I reviewed one of his stories.

>What exactly do you expect from a story with the dark tag?
IMO a good dark story––apart from being well written––should contain one or more of the following:
*A cruel and/or unfortunate curse
*A horrific death
*A generally ‘keep you awake at night’ creepy atmosphere
*A psychotic/insane pony
But above all, a good dark story needs to create a sense of hopelessness and a feeling of dread, for or toward one pony in particular. That’s what I’m expecting when I walk into a fic labeled dark. If it doesn’t at least make an attempt to freak me out, or want to change the events in the story, I am oft disappointed. Your final scene was a tease in this regard, but it never got past that.

>Since you had to look up some words – is that a bad thing, or a good thing?
It’s more me than you, really. I just hadn’t seen a few words in a while, and needed a refresher as to their proper use. These things can get muddled in the shuffle sometimes, so it’s best to stay fresh. I’d say you’re a fairly decent wordsmith.

> I’m a little surprised nopony recognized Alpha Centauri.
Alpha what now? Sorry, it sounds vaguely familiar, but I wasn’t a gamer back in the day like most ponies my age; I’ve been a bookworm since kindergarten.

>future chapters?
I don’t usually say no, but I certainly hope you’re going to bring more heat next time, or remove the tag.

> I feel like I should give back to the thread.
By all means, dive right in at your earliest convenience. Policy around here is that you link the post with the story request in it, and put the word claim in your subject line. And you don’t need to know a whole lot to give a review, you need only be able to give honest feedback, and point out whatever errors you find.

>hope you won’t mind seeing me on IRC one of these days
We welcome new ponies. Come on down.
>> No. 121052
>Dat dark list

Yeah I'd better remove the tag...
>> No. 121060
Title: Sunset's Last Glow
Author: Bramble Berry
E-mail: [email protected]
Tags: Normal/Slice-Of-Life, Sad, Adventure
Description: One thousand years ago, three of Equestria's finest soldiers prepared to launch a war that was fated to never occur. When Nightmare Moon is defeated for the second time and final time, they are ejected into a very different world than from what they remember.

Phoenix Ember, last loyal member of the Shadowbolts, is left abandoned by his soldiers to his immortal enemy: Celestia. His only hope to survive in this confusing new world where Celestia rules is to learn and understand. Who better to teach him about this Equestria than one of the Elements of Harmony?

Main Story Link on FiMFic: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/42295/Sunset%27s-Last-Glow
GDoc Links:
Chapter 1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QtgKvmtUQ72xvot2tJoZPJIm4w4BAoEMZbcHOb1oAHc/edit
Chapter 2:
Chapter 3:
Chapter 4:
Chapter 5:
Chapter 6:
>> No. 121067
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You write competently enough to have the possibility to be able to tell a great story, but this is marred by a methodology of going about your aim that is about as much of an absolute clusterfuck as this sentence is.


How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Words and Love my Story

The Beginning
A hallmark error that every novice novelist makes (especially in fantasy) is using Expodump™. Expodump™ (a trademark of the BadFic Corporation) is actually a brand name for the drug Expositionous Lotsainformationi Offloudus Onus The Readerus (Latin name: ‘Bob’) whose side effects include chronic boredom, readership loss, yawning and blindness. So you shouldn’t use it. Let me show you where you have hidden it.

>Except the time of day would be entirely subjective, due to the fact that the mines were not located underground, nor even on the surface of a planet. Deep in the large void of space, far from even the orbits of planets, pockets of asteroid fields that housed giant pieces of rock containing valuable ore waited to be mined. Asteroids, and even comets, proved to be plentiful in the universe and a single one could contain millions of bits worth of ore or frozen fuel.
>It was a fierce business—the large astral-mining companies liked to be very competitive when it came to space-mining. Below them in massive alliances were countless other companies who took charge of everything from refining, manufacturing to even distribution. “There's no reason to own a hover-car, unless it was made by Cherry-Changa Industry Alliance!” a typical advertisement would say.
>Industry was a big thing.
>At least sixty percent of the many star-systems occupied by the Equestrian Nation were owned by mining companies, and at least thirty percent of those belonged to the Sweet Asteroid Acres mega-corporation.

Oh, look, how cute. You haven’t hidden it at all, you just put it straight at the beginning! Nice and bold, eh? Well, let me describe to you what went through my mind as a reader when I read this. It went something along the lines of:
“Yes, I’m not so thick that I don’t know ores can be found in rocks,” and then,
“Oh, really, you can sell things for money!? Golly, who woulda’ known!” and then,
“Companies in the same market sector like to compete? Really? Tell me more!” and then,
“Companies do things? MY GOD, HOLMES!” and then,
“And why do I care about flying cars?” and then,
“Is this a futures and stocks presentation or is this a fic?” and then I started getting bored of making witty comments, which is quite an achievement.

The mantra to remember here is ‘Show, don’t tell!’. Trust me, I’ve been in your exact position before. I know how it is; you have a huge fantasy world with a trillion and one original character donut steels and conglomerate megacorporations and resistance fighters and space aliens and saccharine ponies and cute lesbian couples, and it’s fucking amazing. It’s so goddamn brilliant that the reader needs to know how revolutionary this is at the first possible moment, or at least get a fleeting glimpse of the genius that his puny little mind might not even be able to comprehend properly. I know, I’ve been there.

Problem is, starting the story off with bland information recited by the narrator like it’s been taken straight from a history book isn’t the most interesting way to start a story. (Surprising, I know.) This is especially damaging at this most crucial moment at the start of the story, where you need to have a hook; you need something that makes your reader want to stick it with you and read through your dozen-chapter mega epic: you need to give them an incentive, and you need to give them a snappy, juicy one.

That means you have absolutely no time to waste in the exposition doing this boring crap. So don’t do it. There is almost certainly a way to express everything contained within these two/three paragraphs that doesn’t even need any direct telling; just hints that your average reader will be able to glean background information from. That’s what makes a good, realistic fantasy world: little nuances that speak volumes when analysed. Why do you have to tell us about the adverts? Why not have a scene where you actually see the advert, in all its rare-earth mineral constructed, neon glowing, OLED flashing, holographic-arcanostereoscopic-multichannelinterlaced-4kdefinition glory!

Your story actually starts here:

>“Ya got any sevens?” a stallion asked the pony in front of him.

Now, this is a perfectly good introduction. You immediately want to know who this character is, why he’s playing Go Fish, and whether or not the author has played any Spy Fox. The last few paragraphs were completely superfluous, in fact, they were detrimental to your opening; the reader can already guess that those paragraphs had something to do with this scene and can deduce he has something to do with that fancy space-mining. Which kind of kills it, if a niqqa feel me, #realtalk

Also, I’d like to comment on the extremely jarring scene transition here. You go from market capitalization figures to a game of Go Fish, without so much as a line break! Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to think of a more random scene transition even if I tried. It’s really like... curveball, y’know?

So now we get into the story proper, finally.

Your tertiary introduction device is the shutting off of mining lasers and all that stuff. It’s fair enough, it allows you to explore a bit of what the ship’s like and introduce the reader to the idea that their favourite saccharine ponies are now in space, picking at rocks. This would be sensible if you hadn’t already introduced them to it with that pointless expodump.
I’d like to take this moment to mention how boring and generic this opening scene felt. It just feels like a cheap Star Trek crossover with a bridge and screens and Capn’ Cook or Picord or whatever, and the mining lasers bit do add a little more depth, but then it just feels like it has a bit of Dead Space mixed in, which is just as boring. My point is: it’s all stuff that I’ve seen before, and very recently, too. It’s difficult to get something truly original, but it doesn’t hurt to try something that hasn’t been done in a while. This just feels like you didn’t even try much. It feels uninspired.

I also want to talk about this exposition business. You’re going about it in all the wrong ways. When Braeburn calls Applejack, their conversation literally sounds like they are puppets on strings, acting out the exposition to Twelfth Night (which uses it to great comic effect) where Shakespeare blatantly introduces where they are, who they are, what the characters had been doing and what they’re going to do, all in one quick scene with a classic TVtropes ‘Watson’ character edging it along. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheWatson) The conversation they have is not the kind that they would have on the bridge of a ship in front of the entire crew, but more like one they would have together in a quiet restaurant. Braeburn includes little snippets like ‘You’re Co-CEO of the company’ which is blatantly only there for the reader’s benefit. Any half-educated reader will deduce this and then the meat of the conversation starts to taste like cardboard with sauce on it. It sounds fake. It sounds like you’re putting words in their mouth (which you are, but you need to make it sound real. Like making Fluttershy call Rainbow Dash a dyke or something, it sounds wrong and forced.)

Specific Errors
This is the section where I highlight errors/bits I don’t like who manifest themselves in particular sentences.

>...the accented voice of a mare ordered from the front of the ship deck. The two addressed ponies grumbled, dropping their playing cards and getting up from their table to walk their separate ways towards their places of work.
I would have said something like, ‘I hope I don’t have to even say why this is awkward’ but evidently, since its like, one of the first lines in the story proper, you either honestly think this is a fluid sentence you you didn’t bother to proofread your own work before giving it out for others to critique it. Let me start at ‘accented’: the word is completely pointless; not only does it tell me something I already know (she has an accent) from the way her speech is written (it’s kind of hard to miss those Yer, Yah, and Ahs), it clutters up the sentence and sounds like crap. That’s That Shit I Don’t Like. Then you jump into talking about a ship deck-- Uh, what ship deck? --which is disorientating and just plain weird. Up to this point, I’ve been fed vaguely mining-company-ores-futuristic-spaceship-money-percentage-related information, but I don’t know anything about any ship! This scene needs to begin with their card game, and describe the background ands setting their card game takes place in first, before jumping into anything like actual story.

Then we get to some classic Lavender Unicorn Syndrome (by which you refer to Cal and Dish as ‘The two addressed ponies’) which is clunky and eww. Use pronouns or names whenever possible, unless your name is SSnE. (Even if your name is SSnE I still don’t like it much.) After this the sentence is okay, but then you throw in ‘...to walk their separate ways towards their places of work,’ which is also, frankly, horrible. you could have just said, ‘to walk away and work.’ I’m not saying to replace it with exactly that, but you get my gist; it’s too verbose, wordy, cluttered, whatever: you want short and sweet. Tell the reader what they need to know. Brevity is the soul of wit, Sir!

>The air was cool yet tense, and the greenish-grey metal of the walls and floor never made much for an exciting work atmosphere

Now, this next sentence. You connect two independent clauses here with a connective and a comma (not a comma splice: good!) but the two sentences you’re connecting don’t... connect. They have nothing to do with each other whatsoever. You talk about the air and then the work atmosphere, which, even though it’s called an atmosphere, doesn’t actually mean air. (I’m sorry, I can’t help my condescending assholery. But then, you did ask for it, too.)

>“Laser cycle six just completed, cycle seven is starting now,” one mare called out, seated in front of a screen displaying several lists of numbers.

‘Seated in front of a screen displaying several lists of numbers’. Seriously. And I’m reading from a screen displaying several paragraphs of words. And I live on a paved area flanked by several places where people live. And the food I eat is on a plate displaying several types of edible material. I can go on. I have several groups of these strings of words left.

But seriously, if you describe it like that, you could make a nuclear explosion seem boring. (A large emission of heat dispersing several pieces of debris.) It’s as if this is a movie, and the chief of set dressing decided it wouldn’t matter if the screen just showed a bunch of random numbers, so that’s what he did. Turns out, there’s a closeup of the protag with the screen just in the background, and everyone in the audience can see that it’s just random numbers. Luckily for you, this is a story, so you don’t have to worry about budgeting and all that boring shit and just go wild. Fuck numbers. The screen shows a bunch of spectra from the onboard spectroscopy labs showing the results of the latest ore sample analysis. Or maybe there are a bunch of thrust vector graphs, or icons representing the power usage and heat output of each mining laser... Hell, she could be watching hardcore stallion-on-stallion porn for fuck’s sake. AT LEAST THAT WOULD BE MORE INTERESTING THAN SEVERAL NUMBERS.

>a stallion said, seated in front of a different screen that similarly displayed numbers and statistics.

Now this is just sad.

>the mare with the accented voice said.

Let’s stop with this accented stuff, okay? I know it’s accented. I know!

>...her authoritative figure easily attributed towards being the Captain of the vessel.

Well, gee, thanks for telling me! I sure wouldn’t have deduced that myself! Thanks for wasting my valuable time telling me things I definitely wouldn’t have figured out by that time already! Golly, what other things I already know will the author decide to tell me? This story contains far too much excitement.

>...and she wore a well-worn brown stetson

Try to avoid repetition (partial, or otheriwse) and onomatopoeia and alliteration (when serious) when possible. (I’m allowed to do that here!) In this case, why not something like ‘a well-worn Stetson hat perched on her head, slightly lopsided...’

>A matching vest to her hat covered most...

Why not ‘A vest matching her hat covered...’? awkward as hell

>A low, vibrating hum purred through the ship deck. Flowing air ducts, electro-magic subsystems and mana-nuclear reactors were but few of the many works of machinery within the space vessel.

This is a little less tell-y because it’s at least linked with something that’s happening (the shutting down of the lasers or whatever) but it could be a little more subtle. You can slip stuff like that in, like ‘the gentle roars of the mana-nuclear reactors nestled in the bowels of the craft softened as their workloads decreased, the mining lasers no longer requiring their services...’ You just seem to kind of blurt out that the ship has this and that. Not the most elegant thing.

>she and her crew had been at work for several hours now, her legs feeling stiff and her mind dead set on getting their task done.

You mean: ‘,her legs felt stiff and her mind was (dead-set adds nothing) set on getting their (I would use ‘the’) task done.’ (You have tense errors.)

>Unmanned worker drones

Dude, what’s a man? Is that like a human?

“Cycle seven is complete. Shutting off mining lasers one, two and three,”

Okay, so they’re in space. They’re piloting a ship which has all this high-tech shit which allows them to not only survive a voyage into deep space, but also bring x tonnes of rock back with them. And yet, even through all this, the mining lasers are just called mining lasers? C’mon, if you know anything about science, you know scientists and engineers love their long words. It sounds oversimplified when you just call them ‘mining lasers’ as if that’s obviously what a laser does. Why not something like terminal incision lasers, or extractor beams, I don’t know. Technobabble, in moderation, makes a high-tech scene more realistic and more enjoyable. But, as with anything, overuse is also detrimental. Keep this in mind.

>its hulk of a form both amazing and intimidating.

Don’t tell me what to think of things; tell me about it, and then I’ll make up my own mind about whether its amazing and intimidating or not. They’re just meaningless intensifiers when used like this.

>afterburner engines

It sounds cool and all, but I was under the impression that afterburners require some kind of flow of air to operate, since they’re part of jet engines. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m not sure how useful an afterburner would be in an environment with about one atom of gas per cubic centimetre.

>Tele-warp drive commencing in twenty seconds

There be a better name you can come up with for that. What is this, the eighties?

How about “Null energy bridge synchronizers: Hop ready in two-zero,” or, “Casimir effectors target acquired, passage ready in t-minus twenty...” (A quick wikipedia dive to find some cool physics words is an easy way to name things.)

>“Alright. Talk to ya later, Brae-Brae,”

haha that sounds so much like cray cray

>The pegasus mare flung the miniature basketball in her cyan coloured hoof at the miniature basketball net hanging from the back wall of her ship's cockpit.

See, the repetition here is okay because this bit is funny.

>A pile of olive-green hard-covered Daring Do fiction books

Hard media? In the space age?

>Applejack said, her slightly wavering voice complimenting a bit of her worried expression.

I may be wrong, but isn’t it ‘complementing’? To compliment is to praise. But actually I picked this out because this is very awkward. Rephrase.

>the light blue pegasus smirked in response.

Stop it. I know what colour Rainbow Dash is. Use her name.

>Rainbow Dash picked up a cobalt-blue coloured helmet

Close, but no cigar. cobalt blue-coloured.

>helmet's blue tinted visor.

compound adj., hyphenate

>At the right side of her helmet

On the right side.

>not unlike her own cutie mark.


>effectively firing up her ship's engine.

also pointless after next sentence, readers can infer this

>Rainbow gloated.

I know she’s gloating. I just read her gloating. what is the point of this.

>was what one would call

one could also call this ‘superfluous’

And then, when we actually get to some action, things get pretty much perfect and it’s actually pretty interesting.

>> No. 121068
File 134901859622.gif - (2.67MB , 400x225 , 1344995482484.gif )
Basically, here’s what I’m thinking: You’re overthinking it. Writing a story really doesn’t need to be very hard, but you’re making it hard for yourself. Loosen up. Don’t describe boring things. Don’t tell me things I already know. Don’t force everything you want the reader to know into them at once. Don’t treat the reader like a baby. You can do it; the last section is proof. It was actually FUN to read.

Basically, your opening sucks. The space pirate thing is great, but it takes too long and too much boring stuff happens before you get a glimpse of anything cool. Screw all the exposition. Jump straight into a confrontation. Then you can have your boring parts, and end it with the important meeting invitation thing. Throw the reader straight into it without any boring explanation so they’re all like ‘WHY IS RAINBOW DASH IN SPACE’, maybe even have her do some fighting, or at least fancy flying or something. Have the conversation between brae-cray and Applejack, but make it more subtle. Let the reader infer that Applejack has a position of great power within this new company. Make hints to show the reader it’s a company, but keep it subtle. Like cray-brae talks about stocks or something. This has potential to be very cool, Rainbow Dash works in space. But you fog it all up with boring shit. Get rid of it. At the very least, move it and make revisions. Heavy revisions. Then you’ll have a pretty strong hook, which is important for a long story like this.

Just have fun. Some of this feels too dry and rigid. Can’t do that man. this be arts.

Go read some Heinlein, play some metroid, watch some Cowboy Bebop, play some system shock 2, just have fun. Then come back to this, and relax, and write. Maybe think about just starting this beginning section over, it’s pretty short. I’m skimming through and the systematic errors seem to be roughly similar.

>“Not now Spike!
Remember names in direct address are always parenthetic. (“Not now, Spike!”)

Also remember to stop describing things we already know. Like what Twilight looks like. (What she’s wearing is okay, but otherwise we know her.)

>the infant bipedal dragon
stuff like this, already know it; it just slows things down

yeah, finished it, the problems are all the same. Your mane one is describing things that definitely do not need describing, and slotting in words that are pointless. Be very wary of that.

Also, this Intel bit at the end? Delete it. The reader should learn this through the story, not by reading some random chunk of text placed at the end because the author can’t be bothered to present it in a more interesting way. I could maybe just about allow it if it was part of the letter or something, but when it’s completely random and out of context like this, it’s inexcusable.

So yeah. Unless a different person wrote chapter two, I don’t see much point in reviewing it.

>> No. 121104
File 134903260052.gif - (326.91KB , 2000x1250 , spoiler.gif )
>Your story actually starts here:

>“Ya got any sevens?” a stallion asked the pony in front of him.

The ironic thing is that, that's how my story started before. I actually added in the first segment of the company descriptions and other boring shit right before I submitted it here. Though I can obviously see now that it was a mistake.

I can totally see all the nitpicking pointless descriptions you've pointed out. Won't lie, I've seen these before but I suppose they've just flown over my head, and that I probably disregarded them as not much of a problem.

I'm gonna have to bring out more than a scalpel to re-gut this fic.

Everything of what you've said totally opened my eyes and has given me a new outlook on my approach. I can't thank you enough for this.

Also, I'm saddened that the Intel has to go. This was the first time an onlooker has pointed it out as a flaw, but I suppose I'll have to roll with your advice and fit it in another way.

And as for taking breaks, I actually do that a lot. And you better believe it when I say that I've spent the last few months studying sci-fi. The bulk of my inspiration came from a 21-day free trial of Eve Online, watching Halo 3 & Halo Reach walkthroughs on youtube (I don't own an xbox so I can't play them), re-watching both Star Wars trilogies and watching the Firefly series (including the Serenity movie).

I think the gap there is that I have yet to tackle any sci-fi related reads. I've done so in the past, but the books I've read aren't really the sci-fi type oriented with the universe I'm trying to create here.

Looks like I've got my hands full, for now. Again, I can't thank you enough for this.

I'll see you again, Training Grounds, in a few days. Maybe even a week or two.

[spoiler]Pic is totally related.
>> No. 121106
You totally didn't see my fail tags there. [?]I already said I don't visit Ponychan often, didn't I?
>> No. 121107
Oh COME ON. You have to close the tags?
>> No. 121125
File 134903777620.jpg - (53.73KB , 1456x1085 , planetes_manga_anime_desktop_1456x1085_wallpaper-197081.jpg )
haha, okay. Good luck and all.


authors I would recommend: Asimov (all the I, Robot series of stories are great), Heinlein (Just read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, amazing book), Arthur C Clarke, possibly Kurt Vonnegut's more sci-fi stuff (2BR02B is good, very short) Will Gibson (I liked All Tomorrow's Parties more than Neuromancer), Neal Stevenson (Snow Crash is great) and Olaf Stapledon (Sirius and First and Last Men are very good)

if you managed to actually play EVE, you're a smarter man than I.

If you'd rather watch stuff, Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In The Shell are really, really great animes. Don't let the Major's skimpy outfit put you off, they needed to put something in there for the boys xD and Space Battleship Yamato is just classic

Oh, and don't forget Planetes, that would be really good for your space-theme. I think JAXA also worked on it so it's technically sound.

Good luck!
>> No. 121126
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>> No. 121129
File 134904099548.jpg - (143.12KB , 1000x665 , twi-seath-we_read_by_romaniz-d4nmw4f.jpg )
Title: Journey
Author: Commissar-Rarity
4407 words
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mN3tgMt9joTJpk3yN6fMhOKVNtmS9NwfbMKOE16xmfQ/edit?pli=1
Snyopsis: Everyone has a journey in their life, a place they have to go. A road they must walk. But all journeys must come to an end - even Twilight Sparkle's.
Comments: Rejected by EqD. The reviewer did not send me here, but I feel I should copy his criticisms over so I can make sure I fixed 'em.
"Look for errors in the following areas:
*Comma use
*Missing spaces
However, by far I would say the biggest issues are the constant use of short, choppy sentences and a lack of description. Both of these things distract from the narrative and theme significantly, and I feel the story could be vastly improved by adding more detail (particularly with the memories) as well as varying up sentence length and using fewer sentence fragments for effect."
>> No. 121131
Since Timefly has failed to contact me and didn't leave an email address, I am relinquishing my claim on A Series of Alternate Equestrias.
>> No. 121137
File 134904514640.jpg - (14.41KB , 209x312 , 132238524520.jpg )
Hi there. Review time? Review time. Here we go—

Is your first line intentionally off-format?

Hyphenate your color-modifiers.

>She had expected something more eloquent, or perhaps devious.
How exactly does an expectation of eloquence translate to devious? I’m really not seeing even an abstract congruity in that sequence, and you should consider smoothing that out.

Ugh. Parenthesis? Really -_- Honestly, commas and en/em dashes are much more aesthetically pleasing punctuation for appositive structuring.

>no magic, still / Sweet became emphatic.
Show this, rather than reinforcing it with Tell. Much more impact.

Here we shall have a compilation of the more clunky and awkward phrases found in the piece. Stand back, this could get big:

She shook with nervousness / Bon Bon leveled her face at Sweet / the milkshake drunk as quickly as possible / He nudged Sweet while winking at her. / her mouth absentmindedly open. / His walking stance was very rigid / as they moved the celestial bodies excruciatingly slow. / the pathetic, red-eyed filly she was. / etc etc

>stallion, I just, well, // Here there be a comma splice.

Capitalize titles that replace a name in direct address.

You need to throw in a lot more body language and facial expression to highlight the emotions your dialogue is trying to convey. A frown adds a context wholly different than an crinkled muzzle. Going for immersion here!

You really don’t need apostrophes surrounding direct thoughts. Italic text is more than good enough mate.

I’m like five pages in, and this is that episode with the donkey.

Exposition really needs work. Yes, we know the setting is ponyville, but you set very little in the way of detail beyond that and a pile of rubble.

You’ve got a lot of lines that just come out of the blue, and disconnect from any attempts made to establish a consistent tone. Take
>Sweet wondered if this was the kind of place she would like to live.
Like, she’s freaking out a moment ago, then looks about at the ‘eye candy vegitation’, and then that thought. You see what I mean? Try harder to get into your character’s head. Make her personality as real as you can, and thus relatable to the reader. Neh?

>The grey in his eyes and coat clashed with her own bright green coat and orange mane.
Annnd now she’s decorating?

>a deep breath, “I just
Period, not comma.

>laughin’ at you, I’m laughin’

Yapped is a very… awkward speaking verb, especially following a full sentence.

>Sweet, “Four
Period, not comma.

‘Shoulda’ is a colloquial contraction of ‘should have’, and so should be ‘should’a’

Sweet has never taken a close look at his mark? That seems odd, given her predilection from being an obsessive stalker.

>she gaped

>entered, “Sweet
Period, nooooot comma.

>other day, the weather ponies
Either period or em dash here.

>I think.” Bon Bon called back.

>that, don’t
Comma SPLICE. Alright, you’ve got a bunch more of these. Imma stop noting them now.

The Mare-do-Well is an empty toss in.

Haha, no.


Overall, this came across as an incredibly dry tread, complete with flat characters, glacial pacing, and a distinct lack of any actual apex. There was a very, and thus dull, lack of tension or established empathy with the OC’s you’ve created, I’m afraid. This piece, if you stick with it, is going to take a *lot* of work, and not just in the sequence of events or devices, but flat out grueling practice on your part. In a word, what your attempt here lacked, was fluidity.
I… don’t know. I could have sworn I’ve seen stuff come from you of a much, much higher quality, so I’m somewhat befuddled at the moment. In any case, here we are.
Cheers mate, keep writing.
>> No. 121138
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The most interesting thing I've found about this fic is how polarizing it is. Throughout the write-off I put it in, all the reviews were either love or hate. The public voting put it into the finals, but the judges just tore it to shreds. Editing it has been... an adventure, to say the least. It has become almost impossible to figure out what people liked so much about it and keep that, while at the same time removing what people hate.

I think the problem comes down to what this fic expects from its readers. If the reader comes into the story with a healthy curiosity of their own, and suspend their disbelief prematurely, they can really enjoy the journey. But I really ask for a lot. And you, or any reader, shouldn't be expected to treat my story any differently. In a way, it's irresponsible of me to do that, but I wanted to try out some new stuff in this story. I hate playing by the rules.

I think what I will do as far as editing goes is this:
-Slash and burn as much as possible. I may remove Bon Bon entirely. Not sure... this fic has confused me to no end.
-Check my sentence constructions (I think in the months that have passed since I wrote this, I've improved the most here)
-Set the scenes better as far as sensory input goes.

I don't know how much work I'll be putting into it. So much time has passed since I first wrote it, it's like coming back and reorganizing a room after I've lived in it a year. I'm just so used to it as is. I read through my first fic recently and realized I hated many things about it, but I'm not going to go back and fix them. The thing is done and over with.

I do appreciate the review. I have some direction with editing it now and know what to be on the lookout for.
>> No. 121139
>Is your first line intentionally off-format?
Apparently, the first paragraph isn't supposed to be indented. Don't ask me why, it's just one of those things.
>> No. 121152
File 134905433441.jpg - (152.40KB , 900x1200 , 133680806198.jpg )
Pretty sure this thread has autosaged, but I can't for the life of me find the new thread, so whatever. I'm going to go ahead and claim this is because it's short, and a one-shot, also [Sad]—I like [Sad]. I've skimmed it a bit, and it looks decent. Hopefully further reading will only make it better.

Are you ready Commissar-Rarity (which is a great name by the way)? Well, here I come...
Story time ho!
>> No. 121161
Ink Blot and Eyeclops, if you're out there, your reviews are done. Especially you Ink Blot because I said a lot in this thread as opposed to saying it all in just the comments.
>> No. 121166
Sorry it took a while to respond, life's gotten crazy. I wrote my fic during an hour gap between classes for about 3 days (which is why it's so choppy, I wasn't really taking my time, plus it's 8:30 in the morning.) Thanks.
>> No. 121209
File 134914795315.png - (26.19KB , 242x225 , The author hard at work.png )
Tags: Dark, Crossover, Human

Synopsis:In the dark depths of Asgard, Loki Odinson sits, punished for his crimes on Midgard.

But new developments cause the wayward son of Odin to escape his prison and seek refuge across the Nine Realms in a land very much unlike any he has ever seen: Equestria.

While Loki makes a new life for himself in Equestria, Thor must once again gather together the Avengers and give chase to his escaped kin.

But will the lies Loki feeds his newfound friends send the Elements of Harmony on a collision course with the protectors of Earth?

Story Link:http://www.fimfiction.net/story/53322/A-Tale-of-Two-Worlds

Comments: All Marvel Characters are taken from the Marvel Movieverse, encompassing Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers.
>> No. 121210
For starters, I'd suggest removing the watermark from the pic. Though you should probably just make your own.
>> No. 121211

Probably should. However, with no Wacom and no artistic skills with a mouse, bloody hard to do so.
>> No. 121213

Uploaded an edited pic, best I could do on short notice.
>> No. 121218
NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215 NEW THREAD!! >>121215
>> No. 126536
Tags: Strong Friend-shipping/Light Shipping

Synopsis: A night of soul-searching leads Rainbow Dash to spend some time with a friend for some stargazing, and discover that it might be her feelings that show her what she needs most.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10RT3DKiuctzrGq29oacGUwKPQ0z0X3UaRqKjJVCt_vU/edit?usp=sharing

I'm looking for some formal pre-reading/editing on this little story I couldn't help but write after listening to too much Owl City one night. I ask for help here as the usual editors I work with aren't strongly experienced in commenting/ giving feedback on shipping or romantic tales. I 'm also coming here as this is the first time I've ever written such a story, and I'm hoping to get a broad level of opinions from anyone who does take a look.

The lack of skill in romance is probably obvious, but I do believe that I can turn this story into something great if with a push in the right direction. Although I hope it isn't too much of a trainwreck to read through. I'm just hoping I can figure out what's good enough to stay, and what needs to be cut and readjusted, before I formally publish it anywhere.

Thanks in advance.

>> No. 126546
Just be aware that this thread is several generations old, so your review will be posted in the current one:
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