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120802 No. 120802
#Reviewer #IC

Hi! This is the third editiion of the Applejinx IC review thread! In here, we take on a variety of fics that attempt in SOME way to use the mane cast realistically to the show, and we respond AS the mane cast, in character, talking about our depictions in your fics!

Applejinx's writing is at http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Applejinx (please do not discuss works not suitable for ponychan, here. A mature version of this review thread can be found at http://fim.413chan.net/fic/ if you dig for it)

This is a popular thread so let it stay mostly to writers wishin' reviews, and our IC responses. Remember, we cannot predict what will find favor. We've seen weak fics be charming, OC-led fics feel like canon in mood, well-written fics fail to have a heart- the worst that will happen is you get brushed off with a few words, but we can no longer assume ANY genre is truly off limits. (except clop: not on ponychan thanks!) If it's intended to be in-character and canon to the show, it's fair game! For crossover, assume we will neither know or care what the crossover is.

Let the ficcin' commence!
59 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 125838
Dear Applejinx

Thank you for your prompt critique.
Whenever I get serious editorial comments, I always get so nervous that I know I can’t read any of them until I’ve slept, and built up some courage throughout the next morning. I know I’d be up all night tossing and turning with worry and anxiety about how stupid of an author I am for putting work with errors in it into public view. But I must have another opinion, because it is the right thing to do to be critiqued. Regardless how it makes me feel.
“Gird up now thy loins like a man.” – Job 38:3 (KJV)

To be perfectly honest, by consideration of Rarity’s character I meant that I’ve actually had doubts about myself in her characterization from page 1. What confidence I have is by the inference of other people saying they like the story and characterization but never anything specific, and whenever I read other people’s stories, their Raritys seem… I don’t know, I can’t exactly say more canonical since they’re all canonical. I guess I never fully understood how capable my grips of her reigns were. Even within your review it’s been encouraging but still has a lingering uncertainty.
I feel like someone wants to throw a Courage-Wolf image at me.

The Twilight jibe about being a stallion was supposed to be a joke at The 63rd Rune but I never went beyond a cursory mention.

Something that I don’t know if it should bother me or not: Whenever given to review or opinion, there’s been very little comment on Chapter 4 or 5. The silence makes me nervously say to myself “no news is good news…. right?” Such lack makes “By page 84, you’re getting’ more sloppy.” sound like there’s other critique that you might be omitting for some reason.

Now, I am sincerely sorry for accidentally misleading you—that, or the continued mention is a projection of your own preference which ironically goes into opposition of mine. You see, several parts of your critique I was quite uncomfortable with, due to the fact that you read far more sexual inclination into my story than what was supposed to be intentional. I do not know if that is a subtext because of my own sexual frustrations (which I will not detail unless you really want to know) or if it’s simply because you were aroused by my story which led to you seeing things that either weren’t there. Another way of rewording this statement is saying that you saw things that either weren’t there or weren’t supposed to be there. I will make myself clear that I very much detest clopfics, and that there will be no sex in my story, implied or otherwise. At best, would be inference for such conduct in subsequent stories, which will not be written by me. Even the very notion has started me looking for revisions in that regard. For the most part, any euphemism was supposed to be satirical, but now I just see that attempts were not very well-done.

On that note, the whole thing with Spike-“Rarintosh” on the bench as well as the Twilight-“Rarintosh” upstairs were both supposed to be satire of Rarity shippings as well.

The only thing in Chapter 6 I really had nailed down was that somehow the Swap had to terminate, and that there would be a chase scene between “Marity” and Trixie. If a do-over of basically everything except the Chase is necessary (which itself also must be cleaned up), then so be it. Some parts I didn’t like anyways.
The Trixie-Spike gag right at the end was just one of the happy-coincidence sorts of things that came along, just like many other details of that humorous caliber. According to current plans, it’s going to end up as a brick joke at the very end of Chapter 8 in a “here we go again” sort of thing that doesn’t involve Big Macintosh or Rarity.

Now your critique of Chapter 7.
It was complex and interesting. People keep telling me that I can write very intriguing and deep things, but I seemingly am oblivious to the deeper things which I create. From the very outset I was very concerned that I would get a stern lashing for haphazard wielding of emotion and foolish ideas. I read your review in two parts, the second part consisting of everything from “Fluttershy,” down. Before I read it, I was kicking myself because I assumed you thought the whole scene was wrong and stupid, but after I read it I come to that final feeling on the betterment of myself for having read it.
It’s odd. I always feel terrible before reading critique, even though rationally and reasonably I always know it comes out better in the end. Like removing golf shoes from your face. Or something else that would be a funny analogy and would also reference Spongebob.
>> No. 125980
Title: Windows

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SIWLLfG8Vv5ZavBZXwLj2kIkCowl8gl0UDQM7IFNYjA/edit

Summary: Celestia teaches Twilight a spell to open an inter-dimensional window, allowing her to see other universes.

Tags: Slice of Life and Alternate Universe

The first chapter, which I linked, focuses on an R63 universe and the reactions from the mane six, spike and Celestia.
>> No. 125999
(Grr, stupid 404 error seems to have kept my last post from showing up in the thread. Anyways, let's try again.)

Title: Windows

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SIWLLfG8Vv5ZavBZXwLj2kIkCowl8gl0UDQM7IFNYjA/edit

Summary: Celestia teaches Twilight a spell to open an inter-dimensional window, allowing her to see other universes.

Tags: Slice of Life and Alternate Universe

The first chapter (And only one written so far), which I linked, focuses on an R63 universe and the reactions from the mane six, spike and Celestia.
>> No. 126000
Sorry for the double post but that first one refused to show up in the thread. It showed up in the main /fic/ page but when actually looking at this thread, it wasn't there.

Last edited at Wed, Jan 9th, 2013 22:39

>> No. 126010
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Here's a thought- sometimes you can run related stuff together into a paragraph even when it's interspersed with dialogue- when it's all SUPER related. Like
>“Oh, oh, I do, I do,” exclaimed Pinkie. “Wait, no I don't.”
>Behind her, Rainbow facehooved at Pinkie's behavior..
could be
>“Oh, oh, I do, I do!” exclaimed Pinkie. “Wait, no, I don't...” Behind her, Rainbow facehooved at Pinkie's behavior.
See how it's all very much 'one thing'? So much so, that breaking it into paragraphs even feels slightly broken.

Rarity feels slightly broken! She ain't MEAN. She don't like the uncouth, but she loves Applejack, just with some strings attached behavior-wise.

Hee! For some reason the name Solaris tickles me. It's a classic Stanislaw Lem sci-fi novel. I'm wondering a little bit at the rowdiness- angry and cranky males are not as cute as angry/cranky females or kids, so it loses a bit of ponyness that way. Seems like you could reach for something special by going a level deeper- where the girls add character by adding a bit of spark, you could prob'ly get a huge amount of mileage by methodically adding a bit of HEART to all these stallions. There is nothing novel or interesting about males being aggressive and competing and being sassy- it's the opposite of the MLP technique of having candy-colored cute cuddly ponies show a cranky side, your guys just come off as expected and you gotta bring in a little dimension to them.

Not sure why Princess Celestia says 'AJ', that's collaquial and she ain't. That's a big departure from her usual tone, she is always a tiny bit formal and polite and here she's betting among the ponies as an equal using Applejack's nickname, in curt short sentences.
>“Agreed,” said Celestia. “AJ will win by one apple.”
>"Well calculated," said Celestia. "If I might hazard a guess... I shall predict that this alter-verse Applejack wins by one apple."
The courtly formality tends to avoid directness, but in so doing, it also maintains their respective ranks.
*poing* random male Appledash! Din't see that one comin'. But it could have been foreshadowed by them touching each other casually in a way that could be read as either intimacy or just really deep friendship, earlier... as it is, it's like LOLRANDOM, their interaction about 'if you're going to hang around make yourself useful' doesn't support them dating. Something more like 'oh, you think you can be just decoration?' which reads as teasing Blitz's vanity but turns out to mean, AJ REALLY likes Blitz's mane...

Note that in Fall Weather Friends when Dash and AJ are ragging on each other, they're touching each other flirtatiously (AJ's tail dusting Dash's nose) and smiling a lot, smirking and grinning at each other and laughing. There's a lot of that and we can't really skip it, especially with R63 stallions who are going to come off as MORE hostile and MORE confrontational with each other as a rule as you make them 'manlier'. So you really gotta undermine that and throw a lot of 'ho-yay' clues.

>Dash and ah are not a couple
Can't drawl a broken-up set of syllables like 'ah-ah'. That's an obvious break in flow, where "Eye-yar" is more of a flow. She'd say Dash and I are not a couple, because it's actually smoother to say, and country drawl is all about the smooth effortless flow from word to word. Same with 'sure as shoot ain't'- just 'sure ain't' would flow better.

What's up with Celestia gettin' a wingboner? And Fluttershy? It's funnier if Dashie gets one because shipping- her being unmoved means the super-close friends don't have that ship-tease, and then Fluttershy cares for some reason, and Princess Celestia? It's confusin' who is emotionally engaged by that R63 pairing. That's your 'tell' as to what you intend to happen with the story. Besides, who's to say our AJ and Dash (if they're totally not gay) don't find the R63 versions shockingly compelling? And if they don't, maybe they're not THAT straight? Hard to have the R63 ones gay and the 'real' ones totally different while still claiming they are 'the same'. If you intend to make the real ones learn, that's going to be challenging and subtle for you to do, not because you have a problem with withholding the outcome, but because you're not doing a good job of 'priming' the ideas and setting them up so that they come as an obvious revelation.

Now, that's a big assumption and you may not intend the R63 ones to act as a 'window' (TITLE HINT) on what the real ones truly feel. But if you do, it puts you directly into a situation where you have to betray how the outcome will go, while letting them resist and throw up static and distractions and objections. All their friends so aggressively flip to 'ship AppleDash!' and it seems to be forcing them to object, but it's forcing them too hard. Seems like the friends could be conferring more in private and talking themselves into the AppleDash pairing.

Don't wanna go too far in case you somehow have a totally different vision for the fic...
>> No. 126012
Hello Applejinx.

Don't worry. I don't have a story for you to read... yet.

Anyway, in striving to become a better writer I have noticed many flaws. One particular flaw I seem to have is in dialog. I tend to write it as I would speak, which is often long-winded.

So if you would be so kind as to give me some tips on how to write the mane six's dialog. You know, like the style they should be written in, various dialog quirks, thing like that.

>> No. 126015
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Watch th' damn show ;)

Dashie's real blunt and can talk like a kid. "And how did you know about Nightmare Moon, huh? Are you a spy?"

Applejack's drawl is about smoothness between words and any 'country' stuff you put in has to be makin' things smoother, not bumpier.

Twilight Sparkle is an erudite student; precisely the opposite in terms of plausible dialogue.

Rarity doesn't just say darling, darling- the fluff in her dialogue, not to say it is fluff, is about elegance and the laudable desire to appear upper crust, like a Princess. She is prone to remain detached in poised refinement, as one does...

Fluttershy's pretty direct but very self-deprecating. She doesn't want to put forth any opinions because when she does, they're judgemental and awful. She's questioning every little thing she says with an eye to whether it is mean. Mean is wrong.

Pinkie exclaims! And the thing about Pinkie having a thought, or even a lot of thoughts, or a whole bunch of thoughts that bounce off each other until it's like EEEE thinkie pie, is that she doesn't pause for breath between them so she's one big bubbly run-on sentence of pure love! And cookies. Gotta have cookies. She never doubts. The thoughts, I mean, not the cookies. That should be a given, how could you even doubt cookies? Are you loco in the cocoa? Get it, cocoa? Because they're chocolate cookies!

There y' are, a little Mane Six for ya... <3
>> No. 126017
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Thanks. I do watch the show, it's just I wanted sort of a set of guidelines I could refer to. Mainly because I don't exactly trust myself. Thanks again. Here's hoping this will help.
>> No. 126026
I actually don't intend to ship Applejack and Dash. Shipping the 63 versions was more just a way to shock Dash and AJ and get the others teasing them. There'll also be a chapter where they notice how often Dash seems to hook up with the others in other universes (a bit of parody on the way Dash is shipped with everyone/everything).

>>Not sure why Princess Celestia says 'AJ', that's collaquial and she ain't.

That was more because AJ is the only name they've heard him called.

And yeah, now that you mention it, I can certainly see that I should add more depth to their R63 versions to lead up to the kiss.

>> What's up with Celestia gettin' a wingboner? And Fluttershy?

I was simply going with the ones you wouldn't necessarily expect finding two stallions kissing hot.

I don't have any long term plans for the real world cast. This is a purely episodic story, with them giving reactions to different universes, kind of like MST3K style.

Anyways, thanks for the quick response and the review.
>> No. 126033
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One thing you should be wary of is this:

Going with what you wouldn't necessarily expect is fine- to a point. MST3K is fine- to a point. But both of these things resist the essential nature of pony and you should be doing them very consciously if at all- certainly not just out of a sense of duty to be interesting (or hip/cool/snarky).

Thing is, MLP very often does not go for the unexpected, rather the meaningful. Hell, Pinkie is the role model here- how often, when Pinkie is totally unexpected (gasping in shock, collecting musical instruments) does it turn out to be deeply meaningful TO HER and then to the audience not long after? If Pinkie Pie can't be counted upon to be meaningless, how much more purposeful must the rest of the ponies be? So often, their motivations ARE what you would expect, just handled artfully. There isn't a trace of 'you wouldn't expect that!' because every action builds out of the personalities and their consistency.

By the same token, MST3K (which I grew up on- literally watching VHS tapes in an early precursor to filesharing culture) is not unlike South Park in that it's often a 'ha ha that's stupid' sort of humor, flitting about like a destructive parasprite (creatures which also don't do what you'd expect, and are an absolutel scourge, doing more damage to the ponies' homes than anything).

Film Crit Hulk took on what South Park means in this essay- http://filmcrithulk.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/hulk-vs-the-church-of-south-park/

What I'm sayin' is, MST3K is cut from the same cloth, and it is fundamentally different from what My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is about. There's a reason so many of us latched onto this show. It's not cool, it's not snarky, though a number of ponies, particularly Twi, can be snarky IN it- but Twi also wears her pony heart on her sleeve with no expectation that her snark should be considered the 'real' Twi- both Twi and Dash, the snarkiest ponies, are also shown being the most heartfelt and vulnerable with NO irony at all, and no sense of irony expected from the viewer.

Something major and significant is lost every time someone tries to reach for the MST3K in ponies. The reason is simple- MST3K (and South Park) are all about 'your meaning is shit! LOL!' and MLP is about nurturing meaning, encouraging purpose. It has a heart, even if that can leave it vulnerable to being made fun of. It never, never 'deconstructs' its earnestness or puts it in a context where on a higher level it's all a big joke- MLP is SERIOUS about its friendship ponies. We laugh with them and with the things that frustrate them, there aren't any situations where we put ourselves comfortably superior and end up laughing AT things.

For this reason, having the ponies do MST3K takes on different alt-pony universes is a dangerously un-pony take on how they'd react, especially if there aren't any cast members assigned to be sympathetic and emotionally engaged (and allowed to be).

You cannot simply make the ponies act as if nothing is meaningful and all is laughable. They're not cynical, and they're only snarky from a position of deep vulnerability- the snarkiest ponies are the ones who are most canon-insecure and who care most deeply. That's shockingly different from a South Park or MST3K.

Jes' stuff to think about...
>> No. 126035
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The grammar in that link is so terrible I barely got past the first paragraph.
>> No. 126036
The content in that link is so interesting I spent hours reading his other articles too.
>> No. 126038
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That's Hulk for you. I'm with Anonymous- Hulk is an incredible resource, in spite of being a Hulk. I don't suggest that you write fics as Hulk, but dear Celestia are some of those essays useful. Priceless, even. I got about a million words of Hulk saved and turned into a private Kindle document to read over an' over.

Apples gotta jack, Hulks gotta Hulk. It's all good. :)
>> No. 126040
Hello, Applejinx

I recently got this story back from the Training Grounds where it was pointed out to me that I have characterization issues in chapter two. Specifically, the reviewer feels Pinkie comes off as too clever and the CMCs don't act like themselves. I've tweaked some of the dialogue and actions, and I'd like help finding other places they go OOC. Comments on any other issues are, of course, appreciated.

Title: (Can't think of one yet)
Link to chapter one: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CmhSWaLvPQR_KGl1LzwV-H6sH7T8Ee2ssvSoKEBNqt4/edit
Link to chapter two: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XZlFnuL6CYjFLE1uN_p7nr-7dQ7r0LSrpM8MZKXczR0/edit
Synopsis: Lyra messed up. She admits it. But really, Bon Bon should have been more careful with where she left unguarded bowls of delicious sweets. Now, to set things right and save their 'Night Before Nightmare Night' party, Lyra is determined to search all of Ponyville for replacement candy. Even the untested haunted house designed by Pinkie Pie.
Tags: Comedy
>> No. 126043
Yeah, I definitely want to keep them from being overly cynical in any regard. MST3K was just the best example I can give, but I don't intend for them to be necessarily snarky about the other universes. Perhaps upset at times and the occasional snark from characters that do it in the show (like Twilight) but not to the same level as MST3K.

I guess the more consice way of saying it is, looking through various what if universes and the occasional running themes for fanworks and getting the ponies (hopefully) natural reactions to what they see.

If you want to see the final version of the chapter, it's here: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/76238/windows

Hopefully I was able to add some heart to AJ and Blitz.
>> No. 126044
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Gosh, Bob, this here is charming! It's odd- Lyra thinks much like I imagine Pinkie must think. Pretty damn adorable! And your facility with language is a delight- somehow I get a powerful sense that there will be no silly mistakes or grammar derps. Except when Bon Bon says, "you want be to add more on top of it?”. Woopsy ;)

And "Lyra payed more attention" should be 'paid', and then the twinkling stars should have COME out to play, And her vision should return to ITS normal state. Guess you give the impression of being a more flawless writer than you are in first draft! Nice problem to have.

*snicker* Lyra is pure sitcom here, though expressed in a way only literature could manage. I can't really fault Pinkie and the CMCs too much, because they are sitcom versions and must somehow fit with the Lyra you've presented. I didn't trip over them at all, they are just sharing very similar motivations to Lyra- which is to say all the ponies are a little bit 'screwball' or 'straight mare'. It's not unappealing, just sort of different.

In that context, it's kinda neat to have Pinkie not be the biggest looniest screwball of them all. I approve. I think the question you gotta ask is, where are you leading the story to, and is anything learned or gained, or is it all about the screwball journey? I'd be quite content to see it all end with Lyra getting one perfect chocolate truffle, or something. I'd go 'well, that was empty calories writing', but I wouldn't mind because it feels RIGHT as such. It's like Edmund Crispin detective stories- an outburst of whimsy in colorful language that is just a frolic, nothing more.

I can think of lots of things that people write, that suit ponies less well than this. I say go for it if you're enjoying it. And remember, it's not necessarily about capturing THE canon personalities of the ponies, it's about capturing YOUR versions that will work with your Lyra and your tone. I happen to think your Pinkie works quite well as the unexpectedly coherent mare getting things done. I liked her better than a lot of more random takes on her personality... especially in THIS story.
>> No. 126045
Thank you for taking the time to review my story. I guess I won't worry too much about keeping all the other ponies perfectly canon so long as they fit the story. That be/me thing happens in my writing all the time. I'm going to have to add that to my list of common mistakes to watch out for. As for that string of errors, yikes. I probably should refrain from expanding existing scenes when I'm tired, or at least bold it so I remember to proofread the heck out of it later.

As for the story's direction, I know exactly where I want to go and how it'll all end. While Lyra might learn a lesson or two along the way, I doubt the reader will gain anything significant, and that's fine by me. All I'm really hoping for is to have the reader enjoy the time they spent on my story.
>> No. 126184
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HiJinx! HA! I crack myself up Remember this? ( >>120812) Well, I finished it. Well, the first two chapters anyway. Might come back with the others.

Title: Grace in Equestria
Tags: Crossover, Comedy.
Wordcount: 2473
Synopsis: Okay, okay, cruddy title, I know, and this is going to be a cruddy synopsis as well. Grace is a super awesome alien girl with morphing abilities, and her crazy boyfriend sent her to Equestria for Celestia knows why. Did I mention she's part squirrel?
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15iwE3W8cFv37JFly9EAowPg91Ouwj7uJ7f1hZ61jkhU/edit

That's what I got so far. Twilight is the most difficult for me to write (actually, any unicorn is), so I'm hoping you can provide insight there, and I like to think I do Pinkie well but I still value her your opinion.
>> No. 126193
Hi there! I'm not certain about this next passage that I just wrote, for I think Fluttershy and Rarity might be a little out of character. If you find any other comments that you want to get out of the way, that would be awesome, but mostly I'm coming to you to question my characterization in these parts.

I'd like for you to ignore Spike's characterization, however. This is a Spike aged-up fic, and my take on him is quite different from the show. Doesn't mean it can't still be off, or weird, or anything, though.

Thanks a lot for your time! Warning: there is romance and kissing, but nothing NSFW!


Sorry for the rather abrupt ending; the chapter is not done yet, but I have pretty much finished the places that I am worried about.

Thank you very much!
>> No. 126194
Oops! Forgot:

Title: The Ones Forgotten
Tags: [Romance]
Word Count: 3,100
Synopsis (this is just THIS chapter, not the entire fic): Twilight broke her leg while carrying a wounded Spike home from a long hike, and Fluttershy is left to pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, Rarity attempts to comfort a guilty Spike.

Last edited at Fri, Jan 18th, 2013 02:43

>> No. 126243

>warning: romance
>don't worry, there's nothing NSFW!

hee hee hee hee hee
>> No. 126247
Well, I mean there's nothing NSFW in this particular chapter I'm asking for. :< it's to imply that in the rest of the fic there may be.
>> No. 126261
Here's muh story an' I'm stickin' to it
Be kind of ya'll ta look right to it
>> No. 126398
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Holy crap! My watched threads turned off without me noticin'. Be with y'all in a minute... WOW backlog...
>> No. 126401
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Hmmm. I'm not sure of this one, partly because of things like Princess Celestia reassuring the guard that she's Princess Celestia with 'I am Princess Celestia, am I not?'. Also, I'm not sure you can ever write 'the unicorn nodded' if she's only just turned into one by shapeshifting- she wasn't a unicorn a moment ago so she's not THE unicorn, is she? She might be something else in a minute.

I'm not sure Princess Celestia would ever think, 'whew, I thought I'd never get them out of here'. She's very used to getting what she wants, so she doesn't react like one of us regular ponies.

Enter Twilight with polite introduction! Here we go... almost the first thing I do here is briefly consider that Spike's crushing on me. I don't buy it, even as a gag- I laugh at and mock ideas that are too crazy, and that one's completely crazy. And again with the characters explaining themselves too directly! Spike's rolling his eyes at his dialogue here. He said, "Good one, Twilight- you must be reading the wrong sort of books lately" which is actually not a relevant criticism, Spike, plus it's none of your business... sorry, back with you. Reading on...

(convenient scene break)

Spike! Make me some more coffee!

...affinity for- if only! Again with the explaining. Here's the thing- in this fic, we are constantly stepping outside ourselves and giving sort of overviews, and that's what needs work. You've got a tone like,

>"Hello! I'm Twilight Sparkle. I'm curious and a little neurotic, so I might freak out a little confronted with a giant squirrel, but I can usually be counted upon to come to my senses- which usually means I'll want to conduct wacky experiments!"

where you'd want to keep that inside the character's head, and reveal those things by inference, like

>"Oh my gosh! Wow. I'm almost certain I've never seen that big a rodent before. You're not offended that I called you a rodent? Squirrels are actually rodents, they're in the Sciuridae family. If that even applies- does it count as the same taxonomy if you're a giant huge enormous squirrel?"

I would say, work on making all our actions speak for us. Everypony here is far too ready to spout off about what they're like. The question to ask is, what do they say when it's so obvious what they're like that they take it for granted?

For instance, Spike saying "Me have a crush on you, Twilight? I don't think of you that way and the crush I have is on Rarity" can be taken for granted and then he says something already assuming those things, like "Heh, maybe if you curled up your mane just right"...
What, Spike?
"And had class"?!? Really?
Excuse me. I have an assistant who needs scolding...
>> No. 126402
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Well, I'll have to spend a few hours mulling over that, and it will make more sense as time rolls on. I'm glad that you pegged Celestia as Ooc, although I hope it wasn't too obvious.

>Spike having a crush on Twilight is a bad gag
Really? *sigh* well, that's two strikes, I'll cross my hooves I don't get a third, I really liked that joke.

>Over explaining everything
Ouch. I guess I'll have to fix that. The only problem is that I can't seem to find the problem, despite that you've pointed it out. Color me blind.

Last edited at Sat, Feb 2nd, 2013 13:56

>> No. 126403
File 135980253758.png - (13.86KB , 100x100 , Rarity_100x100_14.png )
Whilst Twilight lectures her assistant, I shall step into the breach, and offer what guidance I may: you've specified that Fluttershy and myself are in question, so I'll

>she looked like she had been on the bad end of a timberwolf.

Oh, my...

Ah, my debut arrives. If I may be so bold- "Have any guesses" is a terribly curt way to begin a sentence, and a lady does not say "with you shoving up all that guilt inside", and "if you’d like, I am here for you" rather suggests she is open to shoving something else, as it were, "all up inside". Ahem!

I've a rather odd response, I must admit. Darling, this dialogue shames me, because it is more earnest than I would normally permit: and this shines a harsh light on the limits of decorum. Yes, this is not Rarity, but it pains me to admit that it is not Rarity because it is far too heartfelt and unguarded, too open.

My defenses, my propriety are suddenly absent, and the truly harrowing thing is that there's ample excuse for it.


Or perhaps the truly harrowing thing is the sight of myself, smooching dear Spikey-wikey and grinning. Grinning! Darling! One does not seduce with grins like some bumpkin. One does not give away one's power with remarks like 'all you had to do was give me the time of day'. Goodness! That I would seek merely to elicit passionate feelings- I mean, that is all well and good, but there must be more, no? A glorious and elegant courtship, the finest manners, exquisite gifts...

*ahem* You see my plight. Honor demands that I indulge in a little self-examination, the better to communicate the problem, and this problem is partly within myself... You've depicted me as a selfless, infatuted mare pouring out her deepest feelings the better to devote herself to her amour. I fear I am neither that devoted nor that selfless. My generosity is balanced by the reverse- just as Rainbow Dash is courageous yet cowering, just as Applejack is honest yet cons herself and overcommits, just as Fluttershy is kind yet judgemental, I am generosity incarnate yet I am continually seduced by beauty and property. Perhaps that is what Spike sees in me- we are not dissimilar, I understand that part of him as few ponies can.

Let us assume I wish Spike's love. I WANT him to fight for my attention! I wish courting, and exquisite presents. I am quite aware of the value of a gift- do you not think I knew what I was doing when I gifted him with jewels? I will lead him on skilfully and indirectly. I shall not inform him, "All I want is to gaze into your eyes in bovine placidity". I wish to be swept off my hooves, impressed, entranced! I fear my fantasies are both more elaborate, and more unreasonable, than a sweeter, stupider pony's. Yet I would have them nevertheless, damn it.

Enough. I could go on for hours. Suffice to say, you had better show MY wants if you expect to be the least bit convincing. I do not only seek to devote myself to Spike. if I so choose, I can lavish him with elegance and delights beyond those of any other pony: why? Because I damned well work at it, darling, and I am very good at what I do. I know exactly what I have to offer. In return, I have... expectations.

Pray allow me my expectations, for verisimilitude. Don't worry, I will also be aware of them and trying to resist my dragonish greed and devote myself romantically. I am just reminding you that it will be a struggle, and my desire will only make my wishes more baroque and unreasonable. *pout*
>> No. 126410
File 135980481635.png - (12.58KB , 100x100 , Applejack_100x100_18.png )
Guess I'm up- yeeha!

This is about th' most passive story-start I ever did see. So little of it is things happenin' and so much is ABOUT things happenin'.
>skies promised a warning that would
>rose with the excitement that only another day of fun and friendship could
>descending the staircase of the Apple's house to find her sister's smile and a bowl of hay and juice both welcoming her, could
>was as happy as could be to

Mighty indirect! Nothin's just out there straight and simple, it's all stacked up. Gotta be more careful about putting the story everywhere but in the immediate moment- some paragraphs, you use 'had' four times and 'would' three times. Don't believe me?

>The hayshakes, cool, thick, and tastetastic, really hit the spot. Conversation between the trio turned to Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara, who had become snotty once again when a new 'blank flank' had arrived at school. Her family had recently moved here, and the Crusaders were optimistic that the new arrival would be open to joining the club. Babs Seed had inducted two members of her own at her recently-established branch of the CMC, wasn't it just wonderful how the idea was taking off? At this rate, being a Crusader would be the cool, hip thing to be, and those two sourpuss fillies would be the ones pouting.

Less of that stuff, hon. There's also lil' details like Sweetie's lungs bellowing- I guess they act like a bellows, don't they? But firstly, it ain't lungs that make sounds, it's the vocal cords that do it, and secondly ain't no way Sweetie bellows, no-how. Bellowing's like a bull, it's a low pitched thing, if you got Big Mac mad enough he might bellow, Sweetie Belle no way.

I have to admit I am fightin' back a terrible smirk, on account of this scene I'm readin' appears to be a passel of ponies freaking out because Scootaloo has a feather out of place. It's funny as hell if you read it like that, though I know that's not the intention. Might want to dial it back by thinkin' "how upset would each of these ponies really be, by an injured filly?"

Oh, now Scootaloo has to have a wing amputated? Dang! I'm waitin' for the doctor to inform Rainbow that he's gotta gnaw it off with his teeth, or maybe smash it with a big ol' sledgehammer, just so I can see Dashie's face when.


Welp. This is, uh, a thing. Specific'ly a Scootabuse thing. I don't exactly understand why it's about Scoots comin' to terms with such a horrific injury, yet she runs off and then we sit with Dash th' whole time. It's nice that they get back together, though.

Get busy writin' more stories- seems like you had some folks enjoyin' this one, and more power to 'em. You're jes' makin' some funny decisions about whose mind to watch, and what's really important, but practice will help with that :)
>> No. 126425
Hi there everypony. I started working on a TwiDash fanfic last night. I'm new to both shipping and writing first-person fics, so I wanted to get some criticism for what I have so far before I go further, especially regarding Twilight's characterization and how believable I made her homophobia. It's short; a little over a thousand words, and I expect it will only take one or two more chapters. Thanks, and sorry if I'm breaking any rules. I'm new to chan-posting.


Last edited at Sun, Feb 3rd, 2013 07:36

>> No. 126426
File 135991231090.png - (10.99KB , 100x100 , Rainbow_100x100_12.png )
Hey! I heard I was the star of one of the fics, namely the seductive object of total desire to one Twilight Sparkle. It should be fun to read about me struttin' my stuff and conquering hostile territory, so I...



I like the beautiful body and toned-whatever part, don't get me wrong. There's not much here so I don't have to go on and on. Thing is, the whole tone of this is weird. It's heavy-hoofed. If it's about Twilight's 'homophobia'... and you have like only one or two more chapters in you... that's gonna be about as subtle as the parenting in My Little Dashie, and about as insightful.

They're just not like that, Anonymous. Twi actually explained it once to me and I'll see if I can remember what she said. There's a thing called 'rationalization' which basically means, if she really has that kind of a problem with it, she talks herself out of the attraction, or she talks herself out of the prejudice. One of them ends up with some weird twisted rationalization, even if it's totally pathetic, but you've got both the prejudice and the attraction sitting there and she's not questioning either. She would be pissed off at me- which actually is pretty common- or she'd be pissed off at the repression.

I say, she should be a little more pissed off at the repression and then we should have LOTS of really dirty sex. Repressed Twilights do crazy things to a pegasus, it'll be great to have some more of those scenes. And you can't do a decent job of making a more serious story out of it in a couple more chapters- nopony could, not starting from where you're starting.

If you do want to make it be more serious, Twilight's gotta be making excuses to herself about at least one of those things. Maybe both! She's crazy enough to get away with both. It would explain a lot.

>> No. 126427
File 135991344996.png - (11.31KB , 100x100 , Twilight_100x100_49.png )
I am NOT a crazy unicorn!

But I agree with a lot of what you're saying, Rainbow. This is a serious topic being looked at on not a very deep level. In particular, I don't think I'm the personality type to... let me put it this way. If I had a conflict like that, I'd be staying up nights thinking about it... shut up, Rainbow, I said THINKING about it! There is no way I wouldn't come up with some complicated explanation for things. This depicts me as somepony who never tried to make sense of it all, and is just accepting both poles of the dilemma without explanation. It's simpler to write, but I can tell you that's not me. The very first thing that comes to mind is, is, is to think up reasons why Rainbow Dash isn't really attractive.

>sticks out tongue at insufferable pegasus- so there!

Oh, no, wait! I have a better idea. I'd think up reasons why Rainbow Dash wasn't real, or wasn't a pony, and thus didn't count. Or better still, there's that sub-clause in there which states clearly that it's ACTIONS we are supposed to care about. So logically, I can go totally bonkers just as long as it's totally hypothetical! Or, ooh, ooh, I see another loophole. Actions are bad so I'd be prohibited from clopping myself with a hoof. But what if my magic doesn't count as an action because it's nonphysical? I could have all the fun I wanted just as long as Rainbow never ever tried to make things actually be physical, and it would all make sense.


Yeah, not like Dash would find THAT confusing at all. Nooooo problem there.

So fine, write something like that. Anything as long as I get to think up loopholes and weasel out of the terms that I don't like. It's a privilege of being a studious unicorn. 90% of pony lawyers are unicorns, did you know? Just as 3% of statistics are made up on the spot. Oops, make that 4%...
>> No. 126428

Thanks. I had a feeling I wasn't getting the idea I had in mind across well and it's good to have that confirmed.

Basically, I wanted to play with some assumptions. Equestria is by all appearances not something that could be in any way, shape or form described as a patriarchal society. There’s no dominant religion to condemn same-sex relations either. So if there was going to be any sort of anti-homosexual sentiment it had to come from something very different from what we see in our own society. So the idea I had was that when she was younger Twilight latched onto the Equestrian equivalent of the Natural Law philosophy that forms the intellectual basis of the real-life Catholic Church’s condemnation of same-sex relations, and never really broke out of it because she was ashamed to raise the subject around her teachers and thereby be introduced to better takes on the subject.

Yeah that was wordy and probably pretty boring, but hopefully it made sense. I’m going to have to do some thinking about whether the idea is worth sticking with and whether I can pull it off or not. I do still think I may have the outline of something workable, but…yeah. Maybe it’ll be clearer when it’s not 2:30 AM.

Thanks again. I’ll come back when and if I manage to rewrite it enough to be worth a second look.
>> No. 126429

PS: Any further input on whether the basic idea is viable or not would be appreciated.
>> No. 126432


I've written pony fanfic before, but I usually write OC's. This is the first fic where I'm writing the mane 6, and I'd appreciate a little critique on whether or not I'm approaching it correctly. The first three chapters are done, and it shouldn't be more than five or six chapters total.

The fic is meant to take place after season 3, so keep that in mind. Yes, Twi's an alicorn in this.

Any feedback is appreciated!

Link: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/80330/learning-to-fly

Thank you!
>> No. 126437
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This is very nice, an' not excitin' at all, for all the aerial unicorn madness. Did you want it to be? It's cheerful and reads easy- thing is, I reckon even the KID SHOW is gonna have a little more drama about Twilight gettin' wings than you've got there. Everypony is taking it for granted an awful lot, in your story. It's nice and soothing and more true to the heart of things than a lot of stories I seen... but there's no challenge in it, and no conflict to speak of, not that I can see.

Again, did you want this to be excitin' or anything? Maybe it's what you're happy doing.
>> No. 126442

Thanks for the feedback!

I wanted it to be as close to the feel of the show as possible. Plus I didn't want to go too far with speculation considering the, er, transformation hasn't aired yet.

I wanted it to be kind of a cheerful slice of life. The conflict is supposed to be Twilight's drive, instigated by RD's enthusiasm, to push herself too hard. This will come to a head in the next few chapters. Of course, if it's boring that's no good. I've never written slice of life before so maybe I'm not being direct enough with the conflict?
>> No. 126448
Hello, AJ!

So, I have this story, and I'm curious as to if I've got the characters down alright. You say anything goes as long as it's "intended to be in-character and canon". Well, it's an AU story, but the characters aren't mean to sound any differently, so I hope it's okay?

I think Twilight should have a bit to say, since the story's told mostly from her point-of-view, but any of the girls are free to chip in, if they wish.

Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/24518/twilights-odyssey
>> No. 126451
File 135997025578.png - (11.89KB , 100x100 , Twilight_100x100_24.png )
Ooh, typography! Sometimes that's a tip-off that we won't be suffering too many spelling mistakes. We'll see how true THAT is...

Whoa. That is about the freakiest dream sequence, though it was done so simply... I'm a little impressed to be honest. Without apparent effort, you've got a bunch of vague foreshadowing around Trixie, you've set up Shining's time away from home- it's very straightforward, but that's all to the good because it's building up momentum.

By that, I mean that I'm developing a clearer and clearer idea of what's actively happening, but I'm also getting signposts to areas like Trixie which are like 'watch this space', so the areas of mystery are also being defined and limited without actually explaining them.

This is rather interesting- Princess Celestia is not the near-deity she is for us, instead it's like she leads the unicorns in collectively pursuing her normal duties. Something about that feels oddly satisfying (maybe it's just me being a unicorn, I ought to ask a pegasus or earth pony).

I've not seen ONE grammar mistake or awkwardness that knocked me out of the story. That's interesting in itself. Right now, what I'm doing is looking for the spark- some novel thing that is outside the scope of a simple retelling of our backstory.

Statues with darker marble blushing their cheeks? I don't think it's possible to... *ERK* (freezes, realizing) Whoa. I get it. That's an awfully dark element for this story, though. It makes me wonder if you're up to really digging into some of the elements we have to work with... right now, it feels like you're going to produce a technically flawless but shallow slice-of-life epic. Gosh, you mention the 'lifelike' statues again. You do realize you're highlighting something that's alarming? OH CRAP... they're students who cheated! Maybe not...

Ooooh. The dragon egg is a Kobayashi Maru? ...I'll explain later, Applejack... And suddenly, it's a different Princess.

Okay, you've really got my attention. All I'm wondering now is if you've got an agenda. That's how this works. You've got all the technical facility I could ask for, and you seem to be able to foreshadow and build up story energy toward a goal, so the crux of this will be whether you're retelling the story that's been fed to you with a few elements changed, or whether you've got a purpose and something to say.

It almost doesn't matter what the purpose is. MLP has a very humanistic, affirming agenda, but for instance Fallout has a harsh and despairing agenda and it can still drive a story's tone just fine, because it's a direction and a 'moral' behind everything- it's a nasty moral where hope fails or is expressed through sacrificing all, but it's still an agenda. You're going to have to have a purpose, not just the ability to write clearly and straightforwardly, and to have that purpose you're going to have to please some readers and not others.

One neat thing about public ponywriting is that you can hear from your audience, and they can express their wants. Doesn't mean you have to try and fulfill them, but you should use that as signposts that show you where you can chart your course. Take this story somewhere. Say something with it. Your facility with the more basic stuff almost demands that you take matters into your own hooves and make it a little more personal.
>> No. 126460

Thanks! I'm glad you seem to like most of it.

Since you made no complaints about it, I'm going to assume all the characters sounded okay?

I'll hope to provide that extra "spark" in the future. I definitely don't want my work to be shallow. Also, it's true that it's mostly been a retelling thus far, but the narrative will deviate from canon more and more as time goes on. I wouldn't say that the story itself necessarily centers around telling a certain moral or "agenda", but I think you should be able to read a lot into the story once it gets there. I hope it won't feel empty by the end, at least.

Again, thank you for bringing this to my attention! I'll definitely keep it in mind as I keep writing.
>> No. 126485
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Oh, yes, it was pleasing to read. What I meant was, I should feel the goal of the story pulling at me, if possible from the beginning. I'm (well, Applejinx is) giving a Bronycon panel about exactly this among other novel-oriented topics...
My point is, foreshadowing comes in many forms. There's outright suggesting, and then there's also 'priming' which is use of particular words because they nudge the reader in certain directions. If it's a romance we should be feeling that longing from early on, if it's a drama you could hint at things about those statues and sneak terms like 'fairness' or 'unjust' in where they're not noticed; you're managing the reader's emotions, sneakily guiding them into feeling like the story's pulling them a certain way. if you do it correctly, not only are readers excited about upcoming chapters (seeking the confirmation of their suspicions) but they can get to the end of a whole story or book and clamor for more, loudly, because they sensed all the underlying threads.
It's similar to the difference between suspense and surprise: just as the story-world is that which is carried with the reader and not immediately on the page, the suspense is that which is real to the reader but hasn't happened yet.
>> No. 126492

I see. Thank you! I think I've got a lot clearer picture of what you meant :)
>> No. 126961
File 136272997722.png - (77.52KB , 500x365 , Count SweetieBelle.png )
Hi there! Long time listener, first-time caller, as they say.

In speculative fiction, especially fanfiction, you sometimes have to deal with a certain amount of ridiculousness. I've been told the best way to handle this is to minimize the amount of ridiculousness that the reader has to swallow, and keep everything else as grounded as possible.

That's what I'm coming to you for. I want to make sure that everypony is acting as true to themselves as they can, given the circumstances, so that my premise can go down smoothly.

Title: To Serve Bronies
Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/85516/to-serve-bronies
Tags: Human (the humans are not the primary PoV characters), Dark (not too dark, but like, semisweet chocolate dark)
Short Synopsis: Twilight Sparkle and Rarity, like all unicorns, are omnivores with a taste for certain types of meat. Fluttershy and Applejack are used to protecting non-equine critters. Two savory bronies will put friendships in jeopardy.

Thank you in advance for your critique, and for the entertaining service you provide our community with. [/gush]
>> No. 127245
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Dang if my 'watched threads' didn't turn itself off right when this showed up. That is about th' most ironic thing ever.

Now you got eight followers 'cos I'm gonna read this whole story. You had me but ya clinched it when Zecora sounded like herself.

Work on th' grammar stuff, okay? I've seen some derps, like paragraphs of dialogue without space between 'em and such-like. There are many people who will be able to help ya with the 'negative space' of picky grammar details. I might even chime in, but not as part of a grand overview.

My grand overview jes' tells me you should be doing this here and I'm gonna read everything you've done until I catch up, then wait for whatever else you write :) I always wondered about them unicorns! Hah!
>> No. 127246
File 136518995009.png - (113.97KB , 853x831 , Bradel Seated.png )
Ooh, now this looks all sorts of interesting! I'm really glad I stumbled over to this /fic/ place.

I've got a story I put together a couple months back. It's generally been well-received, but I've seen some conflicting opinions about my characterization. The story's done at this point, but I feel like getting some more input might be helpful for my future efforts. So hearing what you girls think of it would definitely interest me!

Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/79776/the-amazingly-awesome-adventures-of-tank-the-tortoise-by-r-dash
>> No. 127248
File 136522524346.png - (258.77KB , 2000x2000 , LyraBites.png )
This made me very, very happy.

I'm glad I won you over by chapter 2. I'm tickled pink by the comments. I'm looking forward to your future reviewing.

And...eight followers? .-. I don't follow you. Please explain.

*gushes fangasmically*
>> No. 127249
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Oooh, INteresting. This is a sort of writing tutorial played out in vignettes between Rainbow and Pinkie!

Oh my gosh. Pinkie's H. P. Lovecraft? I wondered whether she was writing clops, but this is so much better. Now I'm wondering what sort of books ALL the mane six write in secret. I once made a story idea where Applejack was secretly Hemingway (putting that out there in case I ever do it, fair warning)

I've read the whole thing in one sitting and don't feel in the least imposed upon. It's not quite the sort of thing that makes me squee and follow (those are more unusual) but all the same it's one of the nicest and most interesting fics I've ever critiqued.

As to that characterization, I honestly don't understand what the problem's supposed to be, unless it's H. Pinkamena Lovecraft there—and to lose her would be horrible! That is the one window into a broader world. Even the show itself has to show glimpses of deeper context. You do NOT have a characterization problem, your writing ideas have just become enough of a 'thing' to offend a few readers.

That's good. Writing inoffensively is a fault, or sometimes a tactic towards aiming at a broad audience. That's fine as far as it goes, but to spread out your focus means dissipating it. Better to aim at a particular target and include elements like H. P. that enlighten specifically your story even if they don't work for absolutely every reader ever.
>> No. 127252
Thanks, Twilight. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

The complaints actually had to do with RD and Tank (one reader commenting that her thinking negatively about him was too OOC to be believable, another commenting elsewhere that Tank reacting so negatively was similarly too OOC). I don't think anyone disliked The H P(inkamena) Lovecraft bit – not to my knowledge, anyway.

You make a good point about pleasing everyone, though, and I think I'm perhaps too eager to try to do just that. I want to make sure that I'm doing a good job with characterizations, but it's true enough that not every reader is going to see these characters in exactly the same way. The only way to avoid someone, somewhere finding your characters OOC is probably to write them in situations where they can just parrot canon. If you ask the characters to act in novel ways or make real choices, it's probably inescapable that someone will feel those actions or choices don't mesh with their own understanding of the character.

(And actually, it's a long-term project, but there are plans for a full set of stories like this. A fuller version of Pinkie's story is already in the works, and early sketches are in place for the others. But shhh. Only one of my pre-readers knows that right now. ...telling /fic/ is like telling it to an empty room, right?)
>> No. 127402
Hello, Applejinx!

I'm hoping you're still open for business. Assuming you haven't sent the staff off on hiatus, might I request a story review. It has been through The Training Grounds once. I'd like to think that it is nearly ready for public consumption, but I'm looking for a second opinion.

Title: Forever Young
Author: Hyperexponential
Tags: [Sad][Slice of Life]
Synopsis: Nopony ever said the friendship between Fluttershy and Discord would be an easy one. The difference in their life expectancies doesn’t help, but that’s a problem Discord can fix with a snap of the talons—that is, until Fluttershy finds out. Discord isn’t one to give up easily, though. He’ll do anything to keep his one and only friend. Anything.

Inspired by the image by C-Puff, here: http://c-puff.deviantart.com/art/Friend-Request-358777066
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Hudfh2-ixVXtFbkGs3Lc5wew7Ll3WqSQ-VgCjBavb34/edit
Word Count: 3,563 word one-shot
Comments: I appreciate having any mechanical issues pointed out, but I'm primarily after a critique of the storytelling, with emphasis on characterization, dialogue, and pacing. This is also posted for a second trip through The Traning Grounds. My ultimate goal is to get this story EQD-worthy.

Previous Review: http://mlpchan.net/fic/res/3448.html#5048
>> No. 127408
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Sure, I'm game. *read*

Damn if you don't get into the heart of th' story quick! This is a strength an' a weakness. It's direct and hustles the story along, but what it says is the characters are utterly transparent to each other. They're an open book, like they don't even have separate mental states, so Fluttershy knows instantly that Discord has put a spell on her, and Discord instantly recognizes how upset she is. 'Would it be so bad?' 'What have you done?' 'I did it for you!' in immediate succession. They don't have to be THAT tuned in to every little mood of the other, it feels unrealistic.

I like Rarity, though again it feels like she's racing toward her final conclusion. It's sincere and heartfelt, but again the amount of directness is huge, it's just galloping toward the end goal. Your trouble is you cain't think of annoyin' complications worth a damn—well, that's puttin' it strongly but you get the idea. It's hard for you to keep contradictin' goals in your head, you're pulled to the finish line. The complicating element has to be more real for you, more persuasive, because otherwise it is just the sketch of an idea. That's how you fill stuff out, you let 'em fight and argue and you risk it not comin' out the way you planned.

Discord sayin' take me with you, that's powerful stuff. Again, as soon as you see it comin' there it is, he makes no effort to hide it because at no point does he seriously mean to fool Fluttershy about things. He only wants to make his case.

The whole ending is so sedate and direct. You gotta understand that it's not interestin' to THE STORY whether the town loved Fluttershy and put up a statue of her: of course they did, but she ain't really the statue type. And Discord's capacity for bein' statue-ized is a distraction from what really went on here, which is that he chose to be mortal. You might have 'em buried under one gravestone to drive home the real point, which is not that they were celebrated but that they are united in mortality. Morbid, but the touchingness there is not about parades an' statues.

If I was dealin' with the ending I'd probably do somethin' like have his magic cause butterflies like her cutie mark to spawn on her grave. By herself no such thing would happen, and his magic could have lasting effects, but due to his love the effects are Fluttershy-ized, showin' how she changed him. I dunno, it's a tricky business.

You want to get to th' heart of what your story is really about, and it's not about the attitudes of the town at all, it's super personal. Especially with them bein' so in tune, the least you could do is have their statues be Fluttershy cuddlin' in his tail or something. Put 'em together for pony's sake!
>> No. 127418

AJ, I want to thank you kindly for your well-considered (and exceptionally timely!) review. Who better to get an honest critique from?

I apologize for my delayed acknowledgement. I intend to respond to the various points that you raise, but I find myself dancing between the raindrops at the moment. Please be assured such a response is forthcoming; I hope to post it by Friday. In any event, do know that your efforts on my and my story's behalf are appreciated, and I have not forgotten you.

ADDENDUM (April 26, 2013):

Applejack, many thanks for your critique. It will contribute significantly to the revision of my story. Below is a long-overdue response to some of the points of your review.

I won’t deny getting the story off to a fast start. I agree that Discord is overly transparent to Fluttershy in the first scene; I am taking steps to correct that. As for Fluttershy being transparent to Discord in that scene, I’ll argue that that depends upon how long ago Discord cast his spell. Something I’ve not made explicit, and perhaps need to, is that enough years have passed since his spell that the beauty of youth is starting to fade for all the mane six except Fluttershy and Twilight. In that time, Discord has realized the inevitability of the conversation Fluttershy is trying to have with him. He’s been rehearsing his rationalizations and evasions for a while now. In that first scene, Fluttershy needs more time to recognize Discord’s trickery, but once she’s on to him, I’d expect Discord’s response to be well planned out.

I’m actually a bit surprised that you find the second scene, in which Fluttershy and Rarity have their talk, to be overly direct. Fluttershy’s goal is to have Rarity do the talking with as little prompting as possible. It takes some doing on Fluttershy’s part to get Rarity to consider the question that Fluttershy has in mind, and while Fluttershy does everything she can think of to steer Rarity to a “yes”, Rarity consistently answers “no.” By the end of the scene, Rarity is finally answering the correct question, but her answer is not the one Fluttershy was expecting. Also, Rarity completely misunderstands the motives behind Fluttershy’s questions.

The next-to-last scene is open to the same criticisms as the first scene. I may have left it obscure in the first scene, but I’m hoping it is plainer here that Fluttershy receives her revelations more by way of Discord’s physical responses than through his words. And as for any transparency of Fluttershy to Discord, I would argue that, as in the first scene, Discord was playing out a conversation that he long knew could not be avoided.

As to the ending, I clearly messed up some things. The references to Ponyville in the epilogue were only meant to be taken in passing. Except for the townsponies’ appearance at the funeral, I will ruthlessly expunge all references to Ponyville and its citizens. (For whatever it may be worth, you were not the only one to read into the story an interest in Ponyville that I did not intend.)

The very last paragraph, set in the Canterlot Sculpture Garden, seems to have several issues. Apparently, I did not make it clear that a certain statue was the product of hammer and chisel and not draconequine petrification (which, while more convenient, would presumably have yielded an older-looking statue.) Also, my intention was not to make the statues targets of admiration, but only to set them in a quiet, secluded place with the dignified atmosphere of a military cemetery. There, Fluttershy and Discord, now indeed forever young, could be together through eternity, even if only in the form of cut stone. I will endeavor to make that come across more clearly. As you say, “It’s a tricky business.”

Applejack, I admit it: When it comes to a bittersweet ending, I would rather err toward the bitter than the sweet. I believe a story tagged “sad” should hold to its convictions, but I know you would wish as happy an ending as possible for your good friend Fluttershy. Lest you think my heart be made entirely of stone (chiseled or otherwise), let me direct you to the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph. I’ve personally not completed the journey taken by the two main characters, so if a reader wants to imagine Discord finding Fluttershy waiting for him where time’s river flows into the sea of eternity, who am I to say she's wrong?

Last edited at Fri, Apr 26th, 2013 22:37

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