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128162 No. 128162
#Review Thread #Queue Slots: 2 #Serviced: 27

There is no "absolute" in this mundanity. Occasionally you get lost facing unreasonable burdens. In order to overcome, you need a firm conviction, penetration, and the ability to take action.

It's been a while, has it not? I'll begin this thread (quote notwithstanding) with a brief introduction: I call myself Nicknack in this fandom, but you may call me Nick for short if you please. I've been a writer and reviewer in this fandom, off and on, since March of 2011, and in that time, I've probably read, pre-read, edited, and revised over four hundred stories—though only thirteen of those are my own. For nearly a year, I've slacked on the "helping others" portion of writing; in my defense, I just wanted to get some projects finished. However, I've come to the realization that I'm always going to have a writing project or two on my plate, so it doesn't make sense to slack on paying forward the help that I've received on my own stories.

So then, a brief overview of the bi-directional expectations of this thread:

From me, you can expect that I will read your story and mention things I dislike and like about it. This is the fundamental role of a reviewer, and I seek to start there. If you have a particular focus you want me to give when reading your story, I will try to oblige; if you want your review done in a particular format, I will try to oblige. You can reach me on gmail at [email protected], or you can reach me on Skype for instant messaging at simply "nicknack137" (minus the quotes).

You cannot expect that I will edit any text in your story or leave a quota of comments. I will leave comments in a Google Docs file if the permissions are available, however, this will be a "as I see the need" basis.

To give myself as much balanced time as possible, I'm limiting the queue of stories I will take on at any given time to two. If a third story gets posted in this thread while the queue is full, you can expect that I will ignore it.

From you, I expect you to post your story in a manner that makes it easy for me to review. I shouldn't have to say this, but do not post a picture of text and expect me to read it. Generally, you should try to have some grasp on the English language; try to revise your story before posting it in this thread. For organization's sake, you should include your story's title, word count, and a brief description of the plot when you post a link to the story. Ideally, you should not post your story directly in the body of your post here, but I can work with almost anything (except pictures).

I expect that if your story breaks any sort of content rules of Ponychan, that you'll link it to me privately so that my review can also be done in private. You can reach me on gmail at [email protected], or you can reach me on Skype for instant messaging at simply "nicknack137" (minus the quotes).

I expect you to take the five minutes that it takes to read this post—especially the expectations portion. As I said before, the number of stories I will take on at any given time is two. If you post your story in this thread without the proper information, or if you break one of my few rules, I will ignore your story. This is the only warning that I will give on this matter.

With all that said, however, I will do my best to read your story and provide constructive feedback. If you come into this thread hoping to learn something, then I hope that I can help you in that regard.

So let us begin.

Last edited at Sun, May 25th, 2014 13:28

93 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 128897
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128897
>>128882
Going from:
>The princess shakes her head to try to chase away the cacophony of thoughts and emotions that have filled her mind; for now she must focus on her other tasks of the day.
to:
>The princess shakes her head to try to clear her mind, she must focus elsewhere for now.
isn't being more subtle, it's simply trimming flabby writing.

>she must focus elsewhere for now.
this is a tell where there should be a show. While I'm a huge advocate for telling for the sake of brevity, this is a fairly clean-cut case of bad telling. What you would be better off doing in a case is something like:
>The princess shakes her head to try to clear her mind,. She turns back to the papers on her desk.
or similarly:
>The princess shakes her head to try to clear her mind,. She turns back to the Captain of the Guard. "What news from the Crystal Empire?"
Her changing subject won't be lost on the reader.

If you're trying to figure out how to be more subtle in your writing, just start thinking more about how you can infer things. In dialogue: to create tension between characters, try to have underlying things that the characters aren't explicitly saying. Leave the reader some room to fill in blanks themselves--just make sure you're giving them enough raw information while doing so. Give strong details and you can leave the little ones to the reader; it's why so many novels get away without ever describing what the protagonist looks like. If there's a misty forest and you can set the atmosphere by describing the fog, you don't have to describe the trees.

>Maybe I should write a fic exactly like that. Has that been done yet?
It has, and it's on EqD and the pony fiction vault, called In Memory Of
>> No. 128899
>>128897
that is incredibly helpful thank you
>> No. 128900
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128900
>>128780
All right, Seattle got halfway done with his review of this, so this is going to be a little piecemeal. But between the two of us, we've got this, I think.

Seattle:
Oh boy. Okay mate, I can see we’re going to have some talks over this thing. Now, I’m a bit rusty, but let me dust out my frocks and see if I canna communicate some details at ya.
The initial issue that jumps out at me is two-fold: You’re trying too hard to say what you want to, and this results in (amusingly) either a sharp staccato of independent descriptors that would better flow together, or (that was the amusing ‘or’) a nigh endless run-on. Let’s see if we can’t parse some strong examples here, and work on what I’m still undecided is an ultimately stylistic issue born of intrenched experience, or a blunder made given a lack of experience and having found your stride as a writer. Either way, neh? Lot to work on.

To begin, let’s take your first paragraph and insert parenthetical questions/highlights to illustrate what falls short.
“Rainbow Dash tried her best to concentrate on the feeling of the ground beneath her head (Why? Is it because she’s desperately focusing on the hard discomfort of it to hold onto consciousness? If so, let us know.) It felt cold and uncomfortable, with several pebbles digging into her skin (This line just lacks oomph). Dirt and dust had settled into her coat, making her itch (Where? “Settled” implies fallen. From a wind? From an impact? Get your implications in line, because they determine the environment you’re alluding to.) Her muscles were so weak, so bloodless, that she couldn’t use them to scratch her cheek or lift her head, so the itch would remain (What are you trying to convey with this? Are you trying to evoke the universal sympathy felt for the nose unscratched, or are you going for something more? Why not elect to Show this, perhaps with a groan and a weak, failed attempt, rather then simply state it?) But there were several other, worse things she could concentrate on.”


Look for the following words in your narrative: causing/caused, making/made, producing/produced,

>Rainbow Dash sprang to her hooves and rushed over to Pinkie Pie as Rarity helped her up.
Take a look at this. See how you’re confusing the spotlight for your subject? You open the sentence with the shine on Dash, then transition to a pronoun for Pinkie. Don’t do this. Only have one center of focus for a given sentence to avoid confusion. If you’re going to use pronouns, make sure they refer to the obvious character currently holding the stage—in this case, Dash.

>hers - it
K, That there is a hyphen. Hyphens don’t do that. You use a hyphen for a speech stutter on to do a compound-thingy. You’re looking for an appositive-creating Em Dash.
> I-”
Same here.

>Sure, Pinkie had more and more moments when her cheer seemed forced, grating, disturbing, but it wasn’t... this.
Whoa whoa whoa. Back the fuck up. See, I note that you don’t want to have your story /rely/ on FOE for reader comprehension. I get that, I dig that. Admirable. But there’s that, and there’s getting dangerously close to fraying the believability of your tale by contradicting the story there-in (at least for those who have read the original, which I have. You’re painting Dash here, as further than Kkat took her, but then in the same stroke saying she was oblivious to Pinkie going of the deep end in the last few years of the Ministries. Which, obviously, is total bollocks. What do.

> She didn’t feel-
Okay, Em Dash error aside—No no no. You don’t cut off narrative as if you’re writing third person limited when you’ve been writing third person omniscient. This is a bad thing. Look up ‘casual narration’, and then stick to whatever PoV you start with. Rigidly. There are a lot of finer points to be picked out throughout your story on this issue, but let’s stick to the major ones for now.

Sagebrush is right as usual in the first chapter’s comments. You need to couch and reinforce Dash’s awkwardly delivered thoughts (direct thoughts should be italicized, btw) on the matter of pegasi exclusionary oddness. It just doesn’t sell on its own, and recall you’re doing this thing for people who haven’t read FOE.

Goooood dammmmmnit. Mannnnn. This shit just starts to DRAG. Pretty much from the point of Rainbow’s discovery of the jar thing in the dream-space which is… well, I have a few theories, but I honestly don’t have the investment at the moment to draw them out into real space. Point blank is, no matter how you play it, the entire second half of your first chapter is going to have people who are unfamiliar with FOE running into a brick wall of wtf

and on that note, here's Nick for part two of your review. Keep writing.


Nick:
I read chapter two, and I could actually start it up in there fairly easily ("assume everyone comes back to Ponyville with PTSD, and go from there"), so here's my thoughts and continuation of Seattle's.

Regardless of my ability to ease into your story's conflict, I agree that, if you're putting this as a standalone fic, this is a little too reliant on prior FoE knowledge. You reference a lot of events (like Fluttershy being turned into a tree fucking seriously, Kkat? and even the general world of antebellum Equestria where tensions are high with the zebras, apparently. I wasn't quite distracted by it, since I told myself, "Assume Fallout Equestria happened" and I'm mildly familiar with the story already. If I weren't, I'd definitely be confused.

I'll back up off the plot a little and mention, grammatically, a few things I didn't like. First was your em-dash / hyphen confusion that Seattle mentioned; it's an easy fix (ctrl+F "-", replace with "—" as needed). Then, there was your non-italicized French word ("objet d'art"), which while I'm not sure if it's right or not, I definitely prefer to italicize foreign words when I'm writing my stuff.

Next, and probably big enough to warrant its own paragraph, was your comma usage. You have a tendency to write things that are closer to run-on sentences, but more importantly, you omit several tactical commas that only hinders the potential flow of your story. For example,

>“stars that for the most part,”
should be
>“stars that, for the most part,”
since "for the most part" is an aside that quantifies the upcoming verb.

Generally, though, I would keep an eye out for comma errors when and if you're revising this.

Finally, there's part of your style which I like to call "indirect action verbs". Whether or not that's the official term for it is one thing, but things like "subject began to verb" or "started gerunding" or whatnot do describe an action, but they add a layer of abstraction between the narration and the action. Meaning, if you say, "She hit him repeatedly," you're already taking a character who is at rest (in terms of "hitting") and moving her into action; saying "she began" is essentially redundant.

Again returning to the plot / overarching structure of the story... there's a few more glitches that I noticed. The "dependency on FoE" is a big one, since you hinted at this not needing it—it does, unless you tone down the references / include more introduction of what happened. Another pitfall that I'd like to note is that I don't think, for a second chapter, this story does much to advance the conflict. You show that Rarity is having trouble re-acclimating to her life in Ponyville (more on that in a bit), but that plotline seems to resolve itself with "well, I'm no longer able to make dresses, so I'm not going to." Like, she seems to give up on it, right? So... I'm sure that chapter three is going to start with another character (maybe Fluttershy) dying / being tortured in the world of FoE, but I'm not sure what you've got here from an overarching narrative standpoint. There is the point of Twilight going missing, but that's almost handled as a background event with how little it's focused on. So, in terms of "is this a good chapter two", I'd say that, assuming you put the hooks on both ends of chapter 1 (getting the attention and establishing conflict, which I think you did based on how Fluttershy is running away at the beginning of chapter 2), this chapter needs a little more buildup and introduction to "how are we going to go about solving this problem." Rarity tries and fails to relive her old life, but she doesn't quite struggle with it, which doesn't quite feel like conflict-driven plot.

Finally, your point of "wanting to hit on the emotional aspects of this"... I'd say that you're hit and miss in that arena. By "hit", I mean that you create a situation that's somewhat simple to empathize with—PTSD, and trying to pick up life where it left off "before the disaster". So, I feel bad for Rarity trying and failing to do that, but that's the situation you mentioned, not the writing itself. From a prose standpoint, I felt things were a little dry and empty—not in a "hollow, thousand-yard stare" sense, but more that the word choice and narrative voice didn't quite lend itself to the slow, plodding, ringing-in-the-ears detachment from a life that is no longer Rarity's. Ironically, this manifests as a detachment from Rarity, but definitely not in a good way—she's making her decisions, but I don't think there's enough organic insight into her thoughts and feelings for me to empathize with her, rather than her situation.


So, that about wraps up that. I'd like to mention that I like this story's premise; for every one good fic about PTSD, there seem to be about fifty or sixty action fics that completely ignore the emotional toll that death and violation take on the characters (or they resolve things before bringing them up). So, good on you for that, especially with something like Fallout:Equestria. I'd like to see this succeed, even if it, right now, is slightly rough.

I hope that Seattle's and my insights helped you with something; good luck, and keep writing.
>> No. 128901
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128901
>>128897
Please keep unsolicited advice in this thread to a minimum. While the author is apparently thankful for your input, seeing how the post you responded to only went unanswered for two days, there was and is no reason for you to have commented—especially in so sparse a manner compared to what I have to say on the matter (there is a reason it took two days for me to get around to this).

This is not your thread, nor will you ever be welcome to post advice in here. If you must give advice, either start a new thread or find one you are welcome in.

>>128882
>1)
That would be a good place to start.

>2) The menu is too much. I'm thinking "...quick bit of breakfast in the main dining hall while her sister sits near sipping on a cup of soothing tea eyes heavy..."
That's a good start for streamlining, but it's still a little wordy. I think the problem is that you're trying to express two marginally related, yet separate thoughts: Celestia eats breakfast and Luna drinks pre-sleeping tea. There are a myriad of ways to combine these two thoughts, but generally, the more adjectives and prepositional phrases and other descriptors you add to the sentence, the longer (and harder to read). So, for example, something like:
>The two of them met in the dining room. Celestia ordered breakfast; her sister ordered tea.

is a little barren, but is certainly more to-the-point (meaning, easier to read) than something with many descriptors.


>3) I'm not really sure how to address your point about the planet surviving a supernova... If you have any advice on how I can make it easier for the reader to accept the "facts" as I present them I would love to hear it.
Maybe have Celestia explain that she and Luna used magic to protect and move the earth out of the explosion, but the moon was destroyed in the process?


>4) Retool the first paragraph to so that the conflict is introduced sooner to create a stronger hook. Perhaps have Luna speak a reminder to Celestia and ask her how she intends to handle things, but to do so without revealing too much seems to be a bit of a challenge at first glance.
>5) Work on being more subtle. I'm not really sure how to go about doing this. As an example, perhaps this sentence:
I think these two questions / points are one in the same. Meaning, subtlety in a hook can lead to intrigue (which is what you want). However, if you're going with the route of having Luna speak of the later-on meeting with Twilight, you should be careful not to be overly coy—readers tend to dislike the notion of "I know something you don't know" when you dangle it in front of them. I'm sure there's a middle ground where Celestia's mindset is introduced through something her sister says / asks, but you bring up the conversation in medias res in a way that hints at something important but is organically hidden. Maybe Celestia interrupts Luna and doesn't want to speak about it?

>5) subtlety, cont.
>The princess shakes her head to try to chase away the cacophony of thoughts and emotions that have filled her mind; for now she must focus on her other tasks of the day.
>should be more like
>The princess shakes her head to try to clear her mind, she must focus elsewhere for now.
You can keep going with the shortening:
"Celestia shakes her head to clear her mind."

"Trying" to clear a mind is an indirect action, which is slightly redundant and vague (does she succeed?). However, the "she must focus elsewhere" is implied by shaking her head to clear her mind, especially if you note that she delves deeper into some government-related work.

>5) cont.
>There is also a brief moment where I express the thoughts of an unnamed stallion in Celestia's employ regarding her behavior. Would more of the same at different points in the story be beneficial in resolving this issue?
As nebulous and catch-all of an answer as it is, "it might". If you want, you could probably do the first few scenes from outside of Celestia's head, to further build up the notion that something is bothering her, which would let you reveal more in the final scene.

>5) cont.
>Lastly, can you suggest any resources for me to study or offer any other advice on the matter?
As I said earlier, subtlety is the art of writing as little as possible to say what you mean. You need to chose words and ordering of actions to imply things, which helps.

For example, "He looked at his noose and nodded"—this sentence isn't very subtle, per se, but it does a good job of implying the character's mindset—ready to face death, his death, since the noose belongs to him. If I'd added, "He looked at his noose and nodded; he was ready to accept death," then the part after the semicolon is redundant—and redundancy hurts efficiency of words.

Similarly, the order of actions that one takes can also serve to imply a mindset. I mentioned it earlier, but you can write, "She shakes her head to clear her mind before continuing with the day's work." This implies "there are more important things to worry about" by sheer volition of what she does—and "continuing the day's work" is a rather neutral action, from an emotional standpoint.

>6)
>The challenge of this story, then, comes from "how do I make Celestia seem nervous or sad without explicitly stating it.
This speaks of subtlety and writing emotions in an organic, not-necessarily explicit manner.

>The best answer I can give you for this iteration of your story is to cut things back—talk less about her worrying, but do it strategically in a way that gets the point across without slapping the reader in the face.
This speaks of implying her emotions and thoughts, which I mentioned in my response to point 5, above.

>This might involve focusing more on her actions and increasing the narrative proximity to her in her scenes, so that you have more time to subtly show that something is "off" about her and her actions.
Can be answered with:


>7) Rewrite in the present tense, hopefully that will help to increase the "narrative proximity," as you put it, to Celestia in her scenes.
Er... this story is already in the present tense. I was saying, though, to focus more on Celestia, her environment, and her actions in an active sense rather than a passive tense. If you build a character in a place that's easy to visualize, it's easier for a reader to be next to them.

8) See pic
>The impression you got is not the one I wanted to give. In other words I need to rewrite EVERYTHING because I suck. Her breakdown has nothing to do with her own eventual death. It is supposed to be more like a dead-mans switch has just be thrust into her non-existent hand.
I... I understand. And no, you don't suck; you're inexperienced. There's a difference.

>"Keep your finger on this button. If you release this button then the world blows up and everybody dies. By the way, eventually the button will run out of power and everybody dies anyways and there is nothing anyone can do so just lie about it, ignorance is bliss after all."
However, my main point is that Twilight gets hit with some—literally—astronomical news. Like, "the whole planet is going to die at some point, but you'll be long dead before that happens". Now, I'm not saying that Twilight should be completely uncaring towards future generations, but... at the same time, she's old enough to understand that there are sometimes bad things in life that happen. Breaking down and crying because of something that's billions of years off in the distance isn't quite an appropriate reaction—not when, say, there's probably time for the pony race to fix its own problems through technology (like space travel).

>In a way this is an attempt to capture a small but difficult part of my life, where in my Alzheimer suffering grandmother forgot her husband died years ago and whenever she would ask where he was I would lie and say he was elsewhere so I wouldn't have to break her heart numerous times a day.
See, and if you'll forgive me for using an example that's close to you in a somewhat frank manner: having the news broken to you that someone you've loved for most of your life has died? That is grounds for breaking down and crying. You have emotional connection to them, and I'm sure that there's the self-hatred that comes from knowing you're unable to remember them in the case of Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a fucking evil disease, though. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

The whole planet being destroyed, many years in the future... it's tragic, for sure. But there's not that much emotional connection that any twenty-year-old can form with billions of ponies in the future. I guess it boils down to the old adage, "One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic." That's not to lessen lives lost in a tragedy, but it's more that people (and, vicariously, sapient ponies) aren't equipped to deal with massive tragedies that are very far removed from their lives. So if you were going for something that hits Twilight, hard, then you need to find a way to make it more personal to her, but not in a way that's completely destructive to the point where she would go numb. That might require some substantial restructuring in your story. Like, and I go back to the adage: "I, Celestia, am dying?" That might hit Twilight hard. But "You and everyone you've ever known, loved, or fucked is dying?" is... it feels a bit too much to process to elicit such a passionate emotional response. Despair, maybe, but then the point would still stand that you didn't quite build up to it, which makes it seem like Twilight was having a mild mood swing.

>Maybe I should write a fic exactly like that. Has that been done yet?
I'm sure it has, but that's no reason to talk to.

>9) Expand the story. Add some new scenes (most likely in the build up to the meeting as Celestia wanders around the castle), and expand on the already existing ones. The conversation between Celestia and Twilight before they take flight seems like the most obvious place to start
Agreed, and I hope my clarifications have helped.

Last edited at Tue, Oct 15th, 2013 23:19

>> No. 128906
Alright, here's one for you.

The Sun in Flight
5600 words
I haven't made a synopsis for it yet, so here's the sucky version: Rainbow Dash agrees to spend Scootaloo's birthday with her, but if it's all the same to her, she'd rather just get the day over with.

This was an entry in a /fic/ write-off quite some time ago, and it did very poorly. I haven't touched it since. There are a couple others that didn't do well and I'm not interested in fixing, but for some reason, I want this one to be good.

The consensus was that the story was boring, at least until the very end. Yet nobody could tell me why. A couple of anonymous reviewers, Ion-Sturm, PresentPerfect, and Uma all said it was lacking something, but couldn't put their finger on what needed work. I'm still largely stumped. Dublio and another guy you wouldn't know both loved it and were stumped along with me.

That said, I suspect I can start to figure it out a bit, since I've written a lot since then. This was my first attempt at a limited narrator very deep in the protagonist's perspective, so it's probably not consistent in keeping up a stream of the character's thoughts and impressions; perhaps the lapses into a more objective feel stand out as dull in comparison. I'd also wondered if I should spill the beans at the beginning as to why Dash acts the way she does. I'm not sure there's a wrong answer on that one.

I discussed the story with Uma before writing it, and after seeing the final product, he was surprised I was this direct and had Dash this self-aware about not touching the ground. So I'd like your opinion on that.

In other matters, I do realize Spike sounds too mature, so I plan to tone him down, maybe even have him in the first scene act like he thinks he's the only one that can tell something is wrong, then Twilight lets him have his little victory and suggests he talk to Dash. The intent is that other 5 of the main 6 all know what's going on, if that isn't clear. By introducing it this way, it may help hint at Dash's motivations so the reader isn't wondering why she's being an asshole.

The sledding scene probably concentrates too much on what happens and not how Dash feels about it. I was trying to mirror the emotional distance she was forcing, but I may have gone too far, since her attempts to exclude her emotions wouldn't necessarily mean they don't happen.

The diner and flying scenes are pretty slow-paced, but I felt like this is where it really came through that Dash cared for Scoots, but it scared her to feel that way.

Read after the story, unless you don't mind a huge spoiler:
I did want to leave this a little ambiguous, but the intent is that nothing that serious is wrong with Scoots, but even for something as benign as having tonsils out, you still have to sign the waiver saying that you understand even surgery that simple can result in death, which can be quite ominous. Now, this isn't that superficial. I hadn't decided on anything specific, but say something like a cancer which can always be dangerous, but one that has a very good cure rate, like 98%. That's why nobody else seems quite so concerned, but the stark reality of it has just plowed into Dash, and she can't figure out why. (The title's from "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," which especially fits the mood and even the word choice. I've used that poem for titles 3 or 4 times.)

I think that's all I had on it...

Anyway, here's the link:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sdVTiyjR9y2ecTf4a_DwHv1T88dxDtfIGUgHE6LbxVQ/edit

Thanx, Nick.

Also, I've got a huge stack of stories awaiting revision, so don't be surprised if it takes a while to use your advice and have this story surface again.

Last edited at Wed, Oct 16th, 2013 22:10

>> No. 128910
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128910
>>128901
I was attempting to leave the way clear for you. I just wanted to point out that the given example wasn't so much a matter of subtlety, but of show; don't tell, and explain why it was. Then I forgot myself and let out some blurb about subtlety. Sorry.

Last edited at Thu, Oct 17th, 2013 00:49

>> No. 128925
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128925
>>128906
I left a few comments in-document, but as I expected from you, there wasn't really a lot of grammatical derps or roughness—barring your tendency to put direct thoughts into the narration without any sort of delineation.

Since you put a few discussion points into your post, I'll give my thoughts on those; to anyone reading this who hasn't read the story yet (I doubt this is the case), I won't be marking spoilers—you have been warned.

>The consensus was that the story was boring, at least until the very end.
I think I know why this is: a lack of perceived conflict, coupled with a lack of emotional congruence of Dash. These two are pretty much joined at the hip, since this story's source of conflict (I didn't say there was no conflict, just that you didn't present it as clearly as you ought to have) is Dash's emotions and how she feels about Scootaloo.

For conflict, I'm not sure that Dash's mindset is concrete enough to make it work. Like, she wavers (even in the beginning) quite easily between frustrated and willing to accommodate. For example, when she makes the snow, she has to be goaded into it. Then, she almost cries when she's worried about Spike being hurt*. Then, she's ready and willing to help with the bobsled track, complete with a semblance of pride at how fast Scootaloo is going.

*This, in particular, probably needs some tying into the underlying "Dash is confused about Scootaloo" conflict. As it stands, I almost felt like you were going with the rarely seen "Spike x Dash" shipping angle; by the end of this story, though, this didn't seem to be the case. However, I'm not worried about Spike's perceived maturity as much as I am his role in this story—Dash seems to care about him about as much as she does Scootaloo, if only by virtue of he's the only other character in this that she's emotionally open to.

For emotion, let me answer it by addressing these points:
>The sledding scene probably concentrates too much on what happens and not how Dash feels about it.
Yes, it does. And I get that you wanted to do the meta emotional-distance, but that only works for you, the writer—something of that got lost when you tried to get the point across to the reader.

>The diner and flying scenes are pretty slow-paced, but I felt like this is where it really came through that Dash cared for Scoots, but it scared her to feel that way.
I didn't quite get enough of that emotional sense from those scenes, but the slow pace worked for them. Make the emotions a little more defined (but not gaudy!), and these scenes will rightfully be the conflict-climax of the story.

>he was surprised I was this direct and had Dash this self-aware about not touching the ground. So I'd like your opinion on that.
It makes sense, in hindsight. At the time of reading, I was a little puzzled as to why her mood suddenly whiplashed to caring about Scootaloo.

I'll reiterate from above: this story's conflict is almost purely emotional, and conflict is what makes stories engaging. Therefore, if you want this story more interesting, you need to make Dash's emotional state more prominent and cohesive; this, in turn, will make it more known when Dash's mood changes—and thus, that the story is progressing.


>The intent is that other 5 of the main 6 all know what's going on, if that isn't clear.
>I'd also wondered if I should spill the beans at the beginning as to why Dash acts the way she does. I'm not sure there's a wrong answer on that one.
You shouldn't outright say it, but you should definitely do a little more buildup to it. Like, I get now why Twilight was being a little pushy about, "Oh, it's just one afternoon", but that almost seems like one of the only bits of buildup to it. Without the buildup, the story does still feel a little "off"—which is what I think you were going for—but I don't quite feel that there's enough buildup to the reveal to make the whole thing feel contiguous. Meaning, instead of, "Everything is weird because Scootaloo has cancer," you've got "Everything is weird, and oh yeah, Scootaloo has cancer."


>I did want to leave this a little ambiguous, but the intent is that nothing that serious is wrong with Scoots, but even for something as benign as having tonsils out, you still have to sign the waiver saying that you understand even surgery that simple can result in death...
Ah. Well, you definitely went a little too far on this point, since—given it's a hospital, and how Scootaloo has her whole "make a wish" day—it really, really feels like Scootaloo has some sort of terminal illness. However, I would also like to mention now that the ending—which, this is something of a drop-a-bombshell fic—is a little bit rushed, vague, and confusing. I was confused, mostly, by this paragraph:

>She was just a filly. And why was Scootaloo the strong one? Everypony knew Rainbow Dash was supposed to be unbreakable. Gritting her teeth, Rainbow winced at a muscle spasm in her fatigued left wing.

The rule from Elements of Style is basically that the end of structures gain more weight. The last word of a sentence is the most important, as is the last word of a paragraph; this also has a scaling effect with the whole story. So, basically, the end of your story isn't a point to have unnecessary details, and for a moment, I thought that the muscle spasm for Dash was a sign of her illness, or that maybe both of them were sick.

However, I don't think you have enough substance near the end of this story to give the revelation as much impact as it ought to (nor are you as clear about the impact as you probably ought to be). That's definitely worth looking into; you have a story and a premise, but I think you need to go a little further to drive it all home.

---

Looking up at this, I've said pretty much all I wanted to say by addressing your comments. In short, "make it more emotional, and it will be less boring; also, make the ending hit harder."

With that being said, I hope this provided some insights; I wish you good luck when and if you come back to revising it.
>> No. 128929
>>128925
To the direct versus indirect thought thing... that also seems to me to be something that goes according to personal preference.

Direct thought makes no sense to me with a first-person narrator, as the story is the character's thoughts, except in the rare occurrence that the writer wants the reader to know the thought happened word for word that way, without the narrative voice glossing anything over or summarizing.

A deep third-person limited can basically have the same feel as first-person, only with the "I" replaced by "he" or "she." They adopt much the same voice.

So, while in a first-person voice I could have:

"I might as well go home."

In a third-person limited, I'd have:

"He might as well go home."

In either case, I could say:

"Might as well go home."

That immediately strikes a more informal and conversational tone, and it's unclear as to whether it's first- or third-person. Someone could say it's closer to first, and if it's intended to be third, it should be italicized, and I couldn't say he was wrong. But for my part, I think as long as you keep "I" out of it, even on more of a technicality like this, which gets you into a gray area, I'm fine with still calling it third-person limited. I know Cassius and Filler in particular dislike seeing direct thought from a limited narrator, and while I can't divine their motives, that's my reasoning, at least. If it's handled skillfully, I don't think either method is wrong.
>> No. 128930
Hello, Mr. Nack, I am here to request your services!

Book of Monsters: Where the road goes.
WC: 9490 (First three chapters and prologue)
Tags: Adventure, Dark
Synopsis: "After one of her most elaborate pranks goes horribly, horribly wrong, Pinkie decides to cast herself into voluntary exile. Of course, this forces her friends to follow, along a path that leads to nowhere. However, what these ponies find along the way might reveal tales and mysteries better left unknown. The pond might seem shallow at first, but it gets deeper the farther one treads."

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wWNJaBRMUHURhMGve2vomRteMchbWz1mxk4qowq89LA/edit?usp=sharing

You might recall this story floating about on TTG a while back. I've spoken with my editor and we've agreed that the best way to improve my work is to get another perspective. I want this story to evolve into a top-notch piece of literature, and that's certainly a long road to travel.

However, to help expedite the process a touch, I am planning on polishing the first three chapters until they can reflect lasers. You're welcome to read the other chapters as well, but I really want a focus on the first three, because... well, you know... lasers.

My story's been reviewed several times before, so hopefully there will be no major grammar or spelling issues (sentence flow, on the other hoof, is a different issue.). Feel free to take your time crafting a response, because patience is my virtue.

Last edited at Sat, Oct 19th, 2013 19:55

>> No. 128931
>>128930
Added

>>128929
I usually use direct thought in a first-person story to denote those times where a character forms the words / sentences in their mind, but doesn't vocalize them. Sort of like when you think, "Yeah, right." about someone, but you don't want to vocalize it.

Either way, I pointed out the direct thought things because they distinctly stood disjoint from the narrative—they were clearly not the narrative voice, but instead, the inner voice of one of the characters. That separation of sources is why I think direct thoughts ought to be delineated, at any rate.
>> No. 128932
File 138230595709.png - (102.71KB , 800x800 , 130176702256.png )
128932
Hello Nick: it's been some time, hasn't it? If you recall, I wrote a story or two about a certain not-so-ambiguously gay pony soldier.

Well, I wrote another one, so it's cringe time for you once again.

Title: Pulled in Two Directions
Wordcount: ~10,000
Genres: Slice of life/Shipping
Synopsis: A Royal Guard goes on vacation and deals with a mystery, a bizarre sort-of relationship with a madmare, and his own conflicted feelings.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iSbzyBi0TdBPMSQgj3sltSWpQjpQ0kz7lNg9OjWCKi8/edit#

If you could, I'd like you to focus on a few things:
1. Where should I put in chapter breaks? This is incomplete, and I have a few places where I think I should break it up, but I'm finding it a little difficult.
2. Am I balancing the story's more serious moments and comic relief effectively?
3. Is the exposition overbearing? I'm intending this to be one of those stand-alone sequels, so I've included a little background that veteran readers won't need. I'm worried that right now I'm laying it on so thick that folks who have read the previous stories are going to be annoyed.

You can probably tune out mechanical concerns for the most part, but if anything is a really obvious mistake or sounds clunky, let me know. I'm looking more for thoughts on concept and execution here.

Thanks in advance for your help. Hope all's well with you.
>> No. 128933
File 138237598926.png - (135.16KB , 322x337 , Neat.png )
128933
>>128930
Have some stream of consciousness:


>She had checked and rechecked her math, adjusted the fireworks and taste-tested the pastries.
comma error

I’m not sure how “Pinkie-like” the inner monologue sounds (1)

watch out for passive tense—something festerd, or something was festering?

>Not that it mattered, She had not seen a single soul since she left Ponyville.
random capitalization

>Soon she wasn't feeling so frayed anymore, she could think clearly again.
comma splice

>The trees have gained sentience and, judging from the elaborate accessory, wealth.
Tense shift

>The once incinerated pages began
hyphenate compound descriptors, unless the first word ends in -ly (clearly seen versus clear-visioned)

>70%
I’m of the opinion that you should spell it out—seventy percent, but given that it’s Twilight... I’m not sure

epithets (2)

>He swung back and forth effortlessly like a scaly pendulum.
there should probably be a comma in here, somewhere

>Twilight smiled at her friend's joke. She admired his abnormally wide range of useful skills, but she wasn't sure comedy was one of them.
careful about narrative flow (3)

>This just gave Twilight more questions. For example, why she didn't just use magic to fix it? She was sure Rarity knew a few simple illusion spells.
I’m not sure I like how removed this is from the narration

>Big Macintosh took his gaze off the floor, and gave her a look of acknowledgment.
since you’re doing a compound predicate, the comma is unnecessary
e.g.:
>He took and gave.
>He took, and gave.


If you've read this far, I'm going to assume you noted the three parenthesized numbers; here, briefly, I will discuss what I mean.

1) What I mean by this is that in the first chapter, the narrative is third-person limited, from Pinkie's perspective, but it uses words and terminology that wouldn't normally befit her. For example,
>She adjusted her saddlebags, and tried again, fruitlessly, to calm the blinding tides of her mind.
I don't think that's how Pinkie would phrase it. I'll note that voice can and is sometimes difficult to pin down / change; however, if you're writing from Pinkie's point of view, try to narrate things how she would. Just don't go overboard and loopy with "doozies" and other memetic references to the show; there's a balance between keeping things sounding like Pinkie Pie and progressing the plot.

2) Epithets. All throughout this, you try to take the literary shortcut of going "the mare" or "the scaly dragon" when addressing a character. In virtually every case, just using their name or a pronoun will suffice; the only exception I can think of is when you're introducing a character. Even then, though, I'd usually do that in a parenthetical aside:
>Twilight, a purple unicorn, had been stuck in the bathroom for five hours now.

3) Narrative flow. This one, I think, is the biggest point I have to talk about from my stream of consciousness, and it's related to some of the biggest problems I had with your story.

First, let me back off the critical gas for a moment and note the difference between vision and execution. Vision is, essentially, having an idea for a story; execution is how well that translates to paper for others to read. From what I've read of your story, I like your vision: Pinkie finds a talking hat and goes on adventures. It's... random, but I'll be damned if it doesn't suit her and her situation. Similarly, her absence from Ponyville causes problems (the weather darkens, and everything is grayer), which gives you an overarching plot—Pinkie goes on adventures, and everyone wants to get her back. It's kind of a classic trope (sort of like a reverse take on It's a Wonderful Life), but I like the idea of a dichotomy between Pinkie's whimsical, hat-navigated adventures and Twilight's quest to reunite her friends.

I liked your vision on this story. I think, however, the execution needs work.

The first thing I mention is the grammar; hyphenation and commas were your biggest shortcomings. I saw comma splices, comma omissions, and other various misuses of commas; in terms of hyphenation, I said it best in my stream of consciousness. Hyphenate two-word descriptors, unless the first word is an adverb. So, "a quickly drawn gun," for example. The whole point with hyphenation is to make sure you're saying exactly what you want; a red hot pocket can either mean a hot pocket that's red, or a pocket that is red hot. Hyphenation can force the latter meaning (and capitalization the former; it's not a perfect example, but I'm having trouble coming up with one).

Stepping back from grammar, which is a sentence-level construct, I'd like to talk about a broader construct: narrative flow. My basic definition of narrative flow is how one sentence flows into the next one. Ideally, they flow easily; in a less-than-ideal situation, they don't. There are many things that make up narrative flow: related ideas being next to each other is a big one, but there's definitely a poetic side to it, where repetition of structures or words can make things appear stilted (or give them emphasis, if done correctly).

I bring up narrative flow in a review for your story because (I doubt this comes as a surprise) I found a lot of your paragraphs to be slightly disjoint on a sentence level. Yes, there's my example above, where Twilight essentially mentions two conflicting ideas one after another without much of a bridge; however, there are other places where things just don't flow from thought A to thought B, and so on.
>Even if her friends would forgive her, she didn't want them too. Whether she liked it or not, she had put her friends in danger—all for the sake of getting a laugh. She couldn't forgive herself for what she had done, at least not now. She could hear the voices in her head begin to stir again, conversing like the small talk at a dinner party. No longer the loud screams they were before, but a consistent grumble of self-interest.

Admittedly, narrative flow isn't generally that big of a problem in this piece (though it's related to what's about to come up); certainly, you could do with some streamlining and tinkering to get sentences and paragraphs to flow in a manner that's easy to read.

However, and finally, I think the biggest problem I have with your execution is when I look at the story structure as a whole. Now, that's not to say I don't like the story—remember, I like the idea you've got behind this. What I have a problem with is something that I can only refer to as "narrative inefficiency", where I see a lot of things in your story that don't have an apparent point. This isn't to say that I'm certain there's no point of them later on, but that looking at them as they're presented, I'm not sure what they add to the narrative.

Probably a good example of this is the whole scene with Rarity in chapter two. I'd also nominate the scene with Applejack, mostly for the same reasons, but let's look at Rarity's scene. In it, Twilight goes to Carousel Boutique and they talk about Rarity's hair for roughly a page of text. Now, this isn't to knock a My Little Pony fanfic for talking about hair styles, especially since that's all that Rarity seems to talk about if not hair, then appearances. she's a shallow, shallow character. But in this instance, the hair and clothes are very removed from the conflict at hand. I know that you're trying to show "the aftermath" of the prank gone wrong, but given that you start the chapter in a nearly burned-down library and you end it in a hospital, you've already shown the two ponies who got the brunt of the prank-gone-wrong: Twilight and Fluttershy. By focusing on Applejack and Rarity, you're detracting from the two stronger points of evidence to the claim that "the prank was devastating". And given that everyone meets up at the hospital for that one scene, there's really no need to give as much time and space to Applejack / Rarity as you do. (There's the joke with Rarity's hair, I'll grant, but is that funny / potent enough to warrant an additional page's worth of text?)

The scene with Roseluck, I'm torn on, since it also seems to be there to demonstrate that "after the prank, things in Ponyville were gloomy". However, it might be short enough to excuse, in my mind, compared to the Rarity / Applejack scenes.

I'll end this by saying that chapter two definitely felt a little slow-paced and low-conflict. By that, I mean that the biggest goals for Twilight are "return tarp and go to hospital", but it doesn't really seem of pressing importance. Furthermore, I think that by putting off all mentions of Pinkie Pie until the very end of the chapter, you're missing out on some emotional fuel for the chapter. You can still keep the "wait, she's missing" until the end of the chapter, but I think that having Twilight and company be—understandably—upset that one of their friends put Fluttershy in the hospital will increase emotional congruence with the conflict (this is about Pinkie, so if you start chapter two with emotions caused by Pinkie, that's good). Then, if you streamline your narrative flow (make sure the story sounds good when read aloud) and focus only on scenes that are important / fit in directly with the conflict...

Then you'll be on to something.

In closing, I'll mention a rule of thumb from Stephen King, which doesn't necessarily have to be followed in every story, but is definitely applicable here. Essentially, it's the rule of losing 10% of your story from rough draft to first draft. If you've already trimmed some fat, then that's been a good start; my diagnosis, however, is that this story still needs some cutting.

I do enjoy this story's premise, however. I hope I've said something to help you express it in a cleaner, smoother-flowing manner.
>> No. 128934
>>128933
Aye, thank you kindly for your prompt response and honest insights. I shall begin revisions immediately.

I'm well aware of the story's clunky execution, but it's always been one of those things that I, personally, could never seem to hunt down and resolve (Author's blindness and such). So I appreciate your specific examples as they aid the distillation of my work. "Word economy" is a phrase I've yet to fully grasp.

As far as pinkie's voice goes, I am trying to illustrate the negative development of Pinkie, the destabilization of her mind and her attempts to change who she is on a fundamental level, for better or for worse. I'll hold off on that particular revision until I can see how it reacts with a larger batch of chapters. Of course, that doesn't excuse the prologue segments, which I'll agree, need to be pinkified some more. In fact, that might be the best way of fixing both issues, since it will better denote the change in attitude without going too... "hammy".

You know what's funny? My lack of hyphenation was probably a result of me trying to fix my over-hyphenation.

I like your suggestion for Chapter two, although I think I should focus on trimming all the unnecessary bits, and then seeing what I can do with what's left. Granted, I kind of wanted the trivial issue with Rarity to be juxtaposed to the more serious issues caused by the prank. I mean, the goal here is to illustrate how nopony noticed Pinkie's absence the last few days. By this point, the emotions caused by the prank have died down, leaving only the husk of the situation behind. But then again, I might not be adept at illustrating such, so a little reworking of the timeline might be more beneficial... hm.

You've certainly given me a lot to think about. Thank you again for your help, I sincerely appreciate it.
>> No. 128961
>>128934
No worries, and I'm glad I could help.
>> No. 128968
>>128932
Comments were left in-doc, and other than the "but did it _____" clauses, there wasn't really that much grammatical or stylistic that I took issue with on a systemic level. You got the grammar down (barring like... one period in 10k words), so let's move on to the interesting bits.

You gave me some questions to use as a template, so here they are:

>1. Where should I put in chapter breaks? This is incomplete, and I have a few places where I think I should break it up, but I'm finding it a little difficult.
For this, I'm going to reference what I recall of Samurai's chapter theory (as in, practice, not a colloquial term for a hypothesis). Essentially, it states that every story is one main conflict that needs to be resolved by the end. Along this route, there should be several smaller steps toward resolving that one main conflict; as each of these is revolved, that is a chapter (give or take a few "come down" paragraphs after the tiny climaxes). Note that this doesn't mean that every chapter is its own distinct sub-conflict; for example, you could introduce a portion of the conflict in chapter two and have it resolved in chapter four. Also, your first chapter is always going to have at least two conflicts introduced—the story's overarching conflict, and a sub-conflict that should be resolved by the end of the chapter.

For example, in Heart of Gold, Feathers of Steel, Gilda starts off the chapter incredibly lonely (main conflict), and she also notes that she hasn't checked her mail in a while, so she decides to go do that (sub-conflict).

So, where should you put chapter breaks? Let's look at the conflicts you introduce:
—Eagle Eye is in love with Empty Glass
—Empty Glass mistreats Eagle Eye
—Eagle Eye believes he is hallucinating
—Hair Trigger has unrequitted feelings for Eagle Eye
—Eagle Eye is confused as to whether or not he needs a break from Canterlot
—Eagle Eye is stuck on a train
—Eagle Eye dislikes the idea of the place he has been essentially forced to go to
—Eagle Eye doesn't know who his parents were
—Eagle Eye wants to leave the place he has essentially been forced to go to

And then, which ones are resolved:
—Empty Glass mistreats Eagle Eye (RESOLVED: he decides to go a bar and commiserates with his friend) 1k words
—Eagle Eye is confused as to whether or not he needs a break from Canterlot (RESOLVED: Hair Trigger throws him on a train) 2k words
—Eagle Eye is stuck on a train (RESOLVED: the train stops and he decides to get off though you did not give him motivations to) 2k words
—Eagle Eye wants to leave the place he has essentially been forced to go to (RESOLVED: His conversation with Puck convinces him to stay) 5k words

All of these, essentially, can mark the end of a chapter. I put the word counts next to each conflict to give you a rough approximation of chapter sizes; it's not exactly even, but that's what you've got so far. If you wanted to break the 5k-word chapter up into two, you could extrapolate on Eagle Eye's initial resistance (where he takes the tour, then decides to enter the building) to break up the overarching dislike-of-the-compound conflict.

In addition to chapters, though, there is such thing as a prologue and epilogue. Since this is technically a sequel, a prologue would be a perfect place to bridge the gap between what people expect going into a My Little Pony fanfiction and your own existing universe. So, you could find a way to mention things that have already happened to Eagle Eye and introduce his character in a way that introduces the relevant details from his past exploits in your stories, introduces him, and introduces the new story. That would assuage your worries with this being a standalone and a sequel, and is a useful tool you could use.

>2. Am I balancing the story's more serious moments and comic relief effectively?
Not even close.

Heck, this story, in general, is very, very imbalanced. I could point to the chapter lengths based on the conflict resolution you've already got here, but that's something you admit needs work. I will point to the fact that... that weird, weird dream segment (?) exists, from completely out of nowhere, and ejected me from the story like a jet pilot. None of this story feels entirely cohesive, and Eagle Eye is so scatterbrained, inconsistent, hypocritical, and downright insane that there is very little chance of this story flowing smoothly, let alone balanced.

I think a large problem is how abruptly things occur in your story that don't really have any plot relevance. Take, for example, the bit with Hair Trigger talking about a spy camera in a stallion's shower room. It comes out of left field, has huge implications, and I can bet with a high amount of certainty that it's never going to come up again. Ditto with her abrupt offense at being called "friends" with Eagle Eye (it's like an unrequited love triangle).

The fact that Eagle Eye essentially shrugs off the very real certainty that he's discovered a piece of his past, origin, and parents—which he lacks a lot of knowledge on—should really speak for itself. The fact that he shrugs it off because he gets distracted by being called a girl (for laughs!) is bad.

The fact that the humor then shifts to the closeted gay stallion who's weak, timid, shy, "emotionally sensitive*", and doesn't commit to any serious relationships; the fact that this stallion is then revealed to be a transvestite on top of all that makes me think that he is one case of AIDS away from being every negative gay stereotype in existence. I digress, but since that particular weak point of Eagle Eye's character came up as comedic relief, I'm going to put it in this section.


>3. Is the exposition overbearing? I'm intending this to be one of those stand-alone sequels, so I've included a little background that veteran readers won't need. I'm worried that right now I'm laying it on so thick that folks who have read the previous stories are going to be annoyed.
For the bits about "catching up prior readers", remember that you can do a prologue for that. To answer your concern more directly, no, I did not feel that your explanation of things in the past was heavy-handed. If anything, I felt that there wasn't that much needed, since really, all that Eagle Eye has ever done is get molested by Celestia, get drunk in a bar with Glass and Trigger, and get date-raped by Rarity.

Seeing as how there is a pathological lack of growth from this character (the whole of Playing Hard to Get was an exploration of his feelings for his boss—a male), there's really nothing plot-relevant from the original three stories he's been a part of that can't be woven in naturally anyway—i.e., 'he got a vacation after Discord Day,' or 'he's crashed on Glass's couch'. You already did this. But moreover, there's not really any of that needed, since you're essentially throwing out all lessons he's learned across his several stories and starting with the same exact character from the beginning of Distorted Perspective.

However, I'll also note that, in general, your exposition is overbearing. There's a certain art to creating a subtle narrative that paints a natural world and characters; you, on the other hand, in many locations, use paint bombs and spray cans to point out "THIS IS HOW THIS CHARACTER IS FEELING!" or "'PAY ATTENTION', HE SAID, 'THIS IS EXPOSITION!'" For example, when Eagle is first visiting the compound, that would be a very good place for some subtle tension-building to show that he's uncomfortable; instead, you had him essentially narrate that "I'm getting more and more uncomfortable."

Which, it's first person, but there's still room for showing instead of telling.

I'd try to tone down some things, and try some good old fashioned implications. Whether or not you intended it, I liked the difference between the times Eagle looked at a stallion's cutie mark—almost immediately—versus a mare's—several sentences into the conversation. Regardless of whether that was intentional, though, try going back through this and looking for ways to use feelings and emotions to tell a mindset instead of directly narrating it.

>4. I'm looking more for thoughts on concept and execution here.
If I'm being blunt, it's a blend of two clichés that could offer a fresh take on the whole "Hotel California" vibe and be amazing if you pull it off.

If.

This story charts an unfortunate route between your desire to tackle a lot of serious concepts—concentration camps, homosexual self-discovery, romantic problems, orphans' desire to find their identities / their parents—while keeping everyone quirky, fun, and carefree. I'm telling you now that it's going to be one or the other—you can have the quirky comedy or you can have the serious drama (with necessary comedy relief), but you can't have both. They're diametrically opposed, and the middle ground is garbage—you're reducing your story's message from the drama to gain comedy, you're not gaining enough comedy to make it worth what you're losing, and the "serious" stuff is taking away from the amount of humor you're able to deliver.

I think that a core problem with this story is a twofold lack of emotional contingency of the characters and a lack of emotions, which have a symbiotic relationship (as far as literary problems go). Remember how earlier, I said that Eagle Eye is scatterbrained? A lot of things he discovers doesn't seem to linger with him, a lot of what he says doesn't mesh with how he's feeling, and for God's sake, it is beyond infuriating to see him lust after a guy, tell his female friend he's lusting after a guy, and then lie to try and deny that he's lusting after a guy. Like, no; if he actually lived like that, the sheer amount of cognitive dissonance would probably send him into an institution. This whimsical chaos of the brain travels over to Eagle's emotions, and he doesn't stick, emotionally, to the situation he's in.

On top of that, due to your lack of subtlety, the emotions of each interaction aren't built. Now, maybe that's a compounded effect because he changes emotions so rapidly and unnaturally, but at the same time, as it is, this is a significant problem.

There's also the massive, gaping plothole of him actually getting off the train. He had no clear motivations to do so, he is disgusted by the idea of institutionalized surrogation, and he wasn't forced. The conductor asks if he wants to go back to Canterlot—the city he spends a whole condescending rant against unappreciative plebs on to describe how much he loves it there!

But I think the worst thing, by far, in this first-person story, is how straight-up unlikeable you make the narrator. He's a paper-thin gay stereotype who's rude to his one friend, tactless to his boss, pushed-over by society, has several, preachy superiority complexes, and nearly constantly lies to himself. Weighing that against his good qualities—which, on thinking back on the story, amount to "he's a public servant" (who goes on vacation) and "he didn't rape someone in their sleep"—I come up with the bottom line that it's not exactly that I don't care about his predicament, but that I don't want to be around him while he's going through it.

True, there's the supporting cast, but Hair Trigger is also "seven directions at once and going nowhere", Empty Glass, the changeling who's disguised to take advantage of Eagle Eye, and Puck—probably the first decent character in this story—who constantly violates his marriage to foster an army of children he never takes care of. It really doesn't help that everyone seems to have an ulterior motive (Puck, I imagine, is some sort of shill who's working with the compound); it's like everyone is a mystery, yet no one is interesting.

I think this story is salvageable, in its current state, in that the scenes flow logically from one to another. The characters, interactions, dialogue, and emotions all need a fair amount of work, but the skeleton is there. I wish you good luck on implementing it.
>> No. 128969
For the time being, I need to sort some things out in my life; I'm going to take the rest of the month and November off from reviewing. Any stories posted in this thread after this post will be ignored; I'll still make an attempt to respond to any and all questions posed in this thread.
>> No. 128972
>>128968
Oof. Well, this is why I come to you.

Might have questions later when I get into the irritating work of revision, but for now, thanks. This was exactly what I needed.
>> No. 128977
>>128900
Alright. I know I'm late in posting a reply to this review, because I already chatted with NickNack about it on Skype before he left, but now it occurs to me that I should have talked with Seattle, too.

...except I have no idea if he's going to answer this or not. So if you want to talk about this fic, Seattle, you can let me know.

I just want to say that I never intended for the chapter to be third person omniscient, as you seemed to say. It was always from Rainbow Dash's perspective, no matter the time frame of each scene. The fact that you were confused about this implies that I still need to work out some bugs in this whole narrative voice thing, though, so I'm trying to work out how to fix this chapter.
>> No. 128981
File 138267720656.png - (835.89KB , 1294x443 , Lets Do This.png )
128981
>>128977
Seattle's doing his "disappear for weeks at a time" thing at the moment; from what I gather, though, he got confused because you switched subjects and focus a lot very early on in the chapter, which gave an omniscient feel to it. If you clean up the reference and focus bit and show everything through Dash's perspective a little more (don't overkill it with "she saw _____, she heard ____" for every sentence), then you should be good.
>> No. 128983
Okay, Nick, I have a very simple follow-up question for you: do you feel >>128932 is worth fixing? I'm kind of wondering if it's really a story that needs to be told, since I seem to keep Dave Chappelleing my main character. (And apparently accidentally implying things like Puck being Eagle Eye's dad, which I'm still scratching my head over.)
>> No. 128986
>>128983
The thing with Puck being Eagle's dad was how me mentioned doing the surrogate thing about twenty times, which is roughly the age of Eagle Eye. For a moment, I thought that "Twins" meant he and Twilight were separated at birth; then, I figured he could have been the second or third kid and not have the whole premise be entirely ridiculous.

So, I mean, that was a fan theory I had. But with X amount of moving parts in a story, when one is "older guy who fathers many sons" and another is "younger guy who's an orphan and has probably come from the place where o.g. fathers sons", it wasn't exactly out of left field.

As for whether the story is worth saving or working on depends entirely on your feelings towards it and your schedule. I'm not going to say "This story needs to be told," because I don't think that My Little Pony fanfiction is the medium for that dire of a story. I'm also not going to say, "You should scrap this story in its entirety," because there is something to the premise that, if explored correctly, could be fulfilling. Certainly, I would say if you need a break from the story, take one and come back to it; that's not a permanent decision, and it could give you time and distance to better make a decision.

I hope my non-answers have been vague and thought-provoking enough for you to make your choice, whatever it may be.
>> No. 128999
>>128933
">The trees have gained sentience and, judging from the elaborate accessory, wealth.
Tense shift"

Can you elaborate a bit on this? I'm not seeing the tense shift here. Is it in within the sentence itself or its context?
>> No. 129007
>>128999
You seem to have replaced that line with,

>It had finally happened, the trees had somehow gained sentience.

which is a comma splice, but yes, the way it was framed originally, "the trees have somehow gained sentience" made it present perfect instead of pluperfect (or whatever it's called when you do past-tense of past-tense).

The way you have it now is correct on a tense level, but switch that comma to a semicolon.
>> No. 129010
>>129007
I think pluperfect is acceptable (albeit used more often when talking about Spanish tenses than English), but more often I believe it's referred to as past perfect.
>> No. 129077
Reading your thread OP makes me want to pick up reviewing again, seeing how I rely on reviewers such as yourself for a second opinion on my writing. Speaking of which, I've got a story I'll want your opinion on when you open again. I'll wait until then to send it to you, obviously.
>> No. 129755
>>128925
In case you still see this thread...

Thanks for your feedback. I finally got around to revising this story recently, and it's going up on EqD soon. I moved the story's original title to the chapter title in favor of a line I added that presentperfect thought would make a better one. Story's here, if you want to see what your hands have wrought:
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/169138/the-wrong-side-of-tomorrow
>> No. 129786
File 139355988944.png - (90.95KB , 250x250 , Stephen_Avatar_Cut_250.png )
129786
>>129755
If I helped to get that story to where it is now, I consider that a job well done on my part. But really, the work was yours, and you did well.

I see that you, too, have some curmudgeons in your comments section who don't get what the story's actually about—Rainbow Dash vs. herself.
>> No. 129788
>>129786
Yeah... I mean, I can see why some of them feel the way they do about it, and the fact that five or so of them are so consistent about what bothers them probably says something. But understanding what they want doesn't mean I think it's a good idea. Unless I'm still missing something. Anyway, I should be happy it's come this far from nearly finishing last place in a write-off. What gets me are the people saying they wanted to know up front what was bothering Dash. With a narrator that deep in her perspective, if she's not willing to think about it, the narrator can't either.

Thanks a lot for your help, though. There aren't many people I trust to give me critique on more than just cosmetic issues.
>> No. 129791
Hello.

Here is the fic I talked about in FIMFIC. Have fun reading!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xBXiCPXyhiqU_YHsesN1CP_6I4yuI7B4GEj27C1RTSo/edit?usp=sharing
>> No. 129813
File 139390976643.png - (327.57KB , 532x498 , Deer in headlights.png )
129813
>>129791
As you mentioned in your initial message for this... yeah, this isn't exactly complete. I fear that might make my thoughts on this piece somewhat disjointed and rambling, but then again, I don't think the plot is necessarily the weak part of this story. Actually, if I'm being honest, you've raised enough interesting questions during the intro to make me wish there were more of it.

However, that's also because I buckled down and forced myself to read this. Take that as you will, but after forcing my way through your writing style, I didn't dislike the story you were trying to tell. The execution, that needs work.

Probably the biggest shortcoming I found in your story was a lack of a broad term that I like to call "narrative flow". Narrative flow is, quite simply, the culmination of lots of smaller functions of writing—style, word choice, and sentence structure are the big three that come to mind for me. Style is how you write, word choice is selecting the proper words for the situation you're writing, and sentence structure is finding a balance between providing necessary information in as short of packages as possible.

I can say that, for the original narrator—some sort of evil Gandalf—what you're attempting with the style works. He's old, and somewhat druidic, so the wannabe-Tolkien scenic opening wouldn't be out of place for this guy. However, there's also a lot of times where "contemplative" becomes "rambling", and a lot of redundant information comes into play. This isn't the Old Testament; chiastic structures aren't quite going to add anything to your prose.

Word choice and sentence structure almost go hand in hand, because it's the difference between saying "the wording here is awkward" and "this whole sentence doesn't quite read smoothly". There were several places where the wording got awkward, and there were also a few where the sentence structures were similar, which kind of made the paragraph repetitive and unnatural-sounding. I know it's weird. People like their variety. It is a fact.

I would highly recommend reading this story out loud until you notice what I mean for "narrative flow".

After that, I'd definitely mention your systemic use of indirect narration. There's a lot of passive tense and actions that "begin" to happen. You've also got a lot of negative narration (narrating what is not happening), which can be done effectively sometimes, but not how you're doing it here. Generally, the shorter and simpler the action, the more likely it is to be naturally negatable—"He didn't say anything" versus "No sound came from beneath his hood." And on top of that, a lot of your actions happen abruptly without much consideration for the world around them—especially in your action scene.

All of this combined into a style of writing that was difficult to read at a comfortable pace for me.

As for the story itself, I can't offer much on the structure other than saying that the opening hook (the first few lines where your one task is to gain the reader's attention) felt weak. Perhaps that was the writing, and not the concept; I'd look out for it.

I'm not exactly sure how the two arcs you've introduced are related, but I can't really complain about that like it's an error. I will note that you mention dreams of Canterlot burning, then you imply that no one in the city is sleeping due to constantly working. The poem that the colt recites seems to be pro-Sun, which makes me question why Celestia's loyal followers are in hiding, but... then the story ended, so there's not much more I can say on that.

Looking back, I guess this review did go kind of rambling and disjointed. I hope I was able to point out some issues with your writing itself; if you want to hash out ideas for the plot itself, you can hit me up on Skype whenever (this week, I might be somewhat busy until Friday).
>> No. 129814
>>129813
Thanks for the insight. While I have some difficulties understanding exactly what it is that's causing you the problems with my writing, I can easily agree that problems there indeed are. I will try to take your advise to the heart, and I'd love to meet you in Skype one of these days. Or nights, really; I believe we live quite a considerable distance away from one another. I'm in Finland (GMT +2), but I can stay awake late one of these evenings, perhaps on Friday even. My name in Skype is the same as in gdocks.
>> No. 129819
File 139399372035.png - (175.94KB , 617x578 , 132620222275.png )
129819
>>129813
>Take that as you will, but after forcing my way through your writing style, I didn't dislike the story you were trying to tell.
a true warrior among fic reviewers. I salute and envy you, sir
>> No. 129821
Tag: Slice of Life, One-shot

Synopsis: Something is bothering Sunset Shimmer. Lately, after finishing cleaning up parts of the school, she's been hearing noises from the empty building, especially the theater department. Concerned, her friends decide to go investigate.

Word Count: 6596

Issues: Repetitive sentence structure, comma issues, "saidisms"

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WgeLaPg0eBsi3PAi611jxkAkm-L0sCJ-zelPNsnNeGc/edit

Last edited at Wed, Mar 5th, 2014 10:51

>> No. 129825
File 139407969483.png - (21.35KB , 99x126 , Phoning It In.png )
129825
>>129821
I'm going to level with you: I have no idea who the fuck Sunset Shimmer is. And yeah, my queue is back open, but I really don't think I'm going to be able to force an EQG fic upon myself. I guess there's the adage that all creation requires suffering and self-loathing; one way or another, I don't hate myself that much anymore.

That's not to say I didn't try to read this fic. I reached your first "~~~", which I felt was enough to confirm what you came into this thread with: You've got repetitive sentence structures and boring dialogue.

Which, part of me wonders if I'm justified in leaving it at that and letting you fix what you already know. But, if I spent fifteen minutes with this story and was wholly unaffected, I figure the best I can do is continue rambling to reinforce what I'm going to guess is an EQD auto-rejection.

>Sunset Shimmer sunk her teeth into an apple, tearing off a chunk of it. A bit of juice dripped off the fruit onto her skirt. Sighing, she reached out to grab some napkins from the dispenser, but found a yellow hand pushing some over to her.

Right off the bat, I dislike this story. Not only is this an incredibly boring hook (she's eating fruit for about 30 words), but you've got a mess of grammatical tics that drive me insane.

>sunk
Your third word in this story is grammatically correct. And remember, I don't know who the fuck Sunset Shimmer is. It's going to take me four words to breach some grammatically correct meaning, when you assign a gender to this entity I don't know anything about. That's not the best first impression, but don't worry, it gets worse.

>A bit of juice

I dislike this one because I'm guilty of it. "A bit" is far too vague for its ease of application. Consider the sentence without it:

>Juice dripped off the fruit onto her skirt.

It's still kind of wordy for its own good; since we're talking about an apple already, I'd omit "off the fruit":

>Juice dripped on her skirt.

Look at that; I just cut 6/11 words of your second sentence, and didn't lose any meaning. That's something to take away from this—less is more. Don't spend more time describing boring actions than you need to; this kills the prose.

>tearing off a chunk of it.
>Sighing

Oh my heck. Participle phrases.

Partiple phrases are the absolute worst grammatical structure. They're a nigh-worthless addition to a sentence at best, and at worse, they convolute the single thought of a sentence. If an action is important enough to include in a sentence, ninety nine times out of a hundred, it's worth giving its own predicate (or even its own sentence). So, let's look at a slightly more Nick-friendly sentence 1:

>Random Character sank her teeth into an apple, tearing off a chunk of it.

First off, in a Russian nesting doll's worth of writing errors, your participle phrase is poorly worded. "tearing a chunk off it" would be better, since "off of" is always redundant. But even then, is it important to know she tore a chunk off it? (Spoiler alert: no, she's never shown to chew or swallow it, and indeed, the apple itself seems to vanish after this first paragraph) Probably not, since it's followed by the effects of apple-eating: errant juice. It works somewhat as pacing, mind you (though a cold open of emotionless eating is still a hard sell), so when in doubt, let's look at sentence 1 and 2:

>Random Character sank her teeth into an apple and tore off a chunk. Juice dripped on her skirt.
>Random Character sank her teeth into an apple. Its juice splattered down her skirt.
>Random Character bit into her apple, and its juice splattered down her skirt.

Similar deal with "Sighing"; that's a fairly vague and neutral emotion to try to hook readers with. Maybe some dialogue to express her disdain?

>Random Character bit into her apple, and its juice splattered down her skirt. "Fuck my life," she screamed at the top of her lungs.

So, you know. Somewhere between that and falling into a coma, in terms of appropriate levels of reaction.

The end of your third sentence is done in the passive tense—Random Character finds a yellow hand giving her a stack of napkin. Which, by the way, is terrible for the environment. One napkin would suffice, especially for a tiny amount of fruit juice. Are you trying to say that jaundice-hands doesn't care about the environment?

Instead of passive tense, try showing the active (and switch paragraphs, because you switched focuses):

>Random Character bit into her apple, and its juice splattered down her skirt. "Fuck my life," she screamed at the top of her lungs.

>The yellow girl next to her handed her a napkin. "Don't be such a drama queen, R.C."

>Before she could thank her neighbor, Random Character noticed the sick, jaundiced look of her skin. "Sweet jumping Jesus! What are you doing off dialysis?"


Now. In terms of sentence structure, I'd say that looking through this, most of your problems would be solved by re-working sentences to avoid passive tense and participle phrases. And as for "saidisms", I've found that dialogue works better if you don't narrate it often. If the words that are being said are important enough, then sure, you can put a stay on all the other action around them and use a "said" or whatever. But if you find yourself with so few actions outside of dialogue and it's a bunch of teenage girls prattling on about fruit stains on their clothes, odds are high that your story needs some more action. Find something for the characters to be doing while speaking, or cut to the important part:

>"So..." Rainbow Dash leered at her crappy marketing-tie-in humanized friends. "Have you guys heard about the ghost that's supposed to be haunting this marketing hellhole that we call a high school?"

Would work far better as a cold open than fruit. Or even giving some emotional backdrop to the fruit:

>Random character gripped her apple in shaking hands. Of all the horrible days she'd endured in the hospital due to her stage-three liver failure, today had easily been the worst. Now that all her tests, proddings, and pokings were finished, all she wanted was to force some dinner down her throat and enter some dreamless, morphine-induced sleep.

>She bit into her apple, and its juice splattered down her skirt. "Fuck my life," she screamed at the top of her lungs.

>The yellow girl next to her handed her a napkin. "Don't be such a drama queen, R.C."

>Before she could thank her neighbor, Random Character noticed the sick, jaundiced look of her skin. "Sweet jumping Jesus! What are you doing off dialysis?"

So yeah. In closing, write less, so that each word's meaning isn't spoiled by dilution. That's the advice I mustered after getting 1/10 the way into your story.
>> No. 129842
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129842
>>129825
>my queue is back open
CURSES! I've been waiting for your queue to open so I could send you a story, but I waited so long that I sent it to TTG, and it returned with feedback. I'm in between edits right now, and it wouldn't be fair to the pony who reviewed it to offer it to you before I've finished editing it. It would also be counter productive... I think.

I shall return.

Last edited at Thu, Mar 6th, 2014 23:54

>> No. 129846
>>129842
Personally, I don't care. I've got an emptyish weekend that I've got to be light on data usage. Your call if you want to finish revisions first, though.
>> No. 129848
>>129846
Also, derp. I misspelled my email address on my phone.
>> No. 129852
>>129846
>>129846
Well, if you feel like looking at it. Who knows, maybe you'll end up seeing something the other reviewer didn't.
Title: The Secret of Ponyville
Tags: Sad, Dark, Tragedy
Wordcount: 6090
Synopsis: Hello. My name is Rarity, and if you’re reading this, I’m probably dead. I have betrayed my best friends. Though I can never fully make amends for my actions, it would alleviate some of my guilt knowing that somepony learns of the terrible deeds I have done.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/12vAabM4GnmcNtSVipBU86iYJc4ZSyZYD-iqbDWXbhKQ/edit

Last edited at Fri, Mar 7th, 2014 22:22

>> No. 129853
File 139432108012.png - (775.82KB , 1280x960 , Tangled.png )
129853
>>129852
I had some time, so I went ahead and read this. All in all, it doesn't necessarily strike me as profound—the premise is pretty cliché, and Rarity here is "in name only". Granted, I respect that you're trying to give her a darker, subversive backstory than what was presented in the show, but even then, it's not exactly easy to rectify your Rarity and show. For example, you've given her like demigod-level cursed powers that come at a high price and a lot of other odd things in the spoiler section (which I read last, despite it being the top of the document); that doesn't really mesh with the vain, vapid pony who really, really seems like she's come from a privileged background.

So, it's not really that your Rarity is out of character, but it's more that the character you've written her as is completely different than the one in the show. You chose to write this as MLP fanfiction, and that's fair enough, but this story could have been original fiction without too much additional work (and see? I daisy chain conjunctions too, sometimes; it's a bad habit). That's not a critique, per se, just an observation.

I'll give you that the setting / culture of the Eskimo ponies is fairly interesting. That part of the story is what I enjoyed the most, since it was where your worldbuilding felt the most concrete. Later on, with the volcano (?) beneath the lake, or the fox demon (which, I swear I read something by you that had another fox as a main character, only it was a cupcake), everything seemed shallower, and less developed—even though we were seeing things through the eyes of a child. Part of it, I think, is that your action seems to be detached from the narration; another is that, comparatively, much more happens in the last third of this story than in the first two thirds.

From a writing perspective, I think the best thing you can do is to simplify your sentences. Complex sentences only work well when they add meaning to your story; in your story, the complexity convolutes what you're trying to say. Try to focus on making sure each sentence its own compact idea, and that you use as few words as you want to. Only combine thoughts (conjunction / semicolon) if they're very closely related.

That, and the balance of events (pacing) were the two biggest things of this story that jumped out at me. I left a few comments here and there, but I've said all the likes / dislikes I had with your story that I can remember. I hope this somewhat short review is useful to you, and I wish you luck on what I'm guessing is going to be a continued story.
>> No. 129855
>>129853
>You chose to write this as MLP fanfiction, and that's fair enough, but this story could have been original fiction without too much additional work.
I have a habit of doing that, don't I? Well, I suppose that's a good sign in the long run, but a bad sign for this story. See, this is near the end of a list of stories I told myself I'd complete before I started writing my own original fiction novel. The reasons being that here I have access to an entire fandom worth of writers and friends who can provide critique, to hammer out my style until it's of a quality I can be very proud of. If I were to write non-pony fiction (which, as I've stated, I very much intend to do) my available resources would greatly diminish, so I want to be ready before I cut myself off.

That said, thank you very much for your comments. They are insightful and will be very useful when I get around to fixing this up. The other story you read by me might have been "Encased in Stone". That one featured a fox demon that followed Rarity back from the diamond fields, then lured her back with a sapphire, and eventually turned her into one. That story still exists in it's original form, but it was never a feasible story. It was just a dream I had one night and wanted to write down. It did become part of this story though, in combination with another story I had Samurai Anon look at, which also fell through due to infeasibility. I found that the two made a nice combo together, so I started working. That might be why you recognize it.

If that's not the case, then you're probably thinking of somepony else. Also, yes, this is only the first chapter. I expect the full story to hit at least 20k words, if not more.

Last edited at Sat, Mar 8th, 2014 21:46

>> No. 130188
Title: No Place for a Dressmaker in War

Word Count: 5,683 total

Description: First Rainbow Dash, then Fluttershy. Pinkie Pie and then Applejack. All of them joined the war effort one after another. Twilight was always part of it, even before the newspapers first announced the approaching conflict. Rarity was left all alone in Ponyville. There was no place for her. Even with her accomplishments, war is an entirely different beast.

But a friend doesn't let their friends go through hard times alone. Rarity must join the efforts somehow. But what place does a Dressmaker have in War?

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/129209/no-place-for-a-dressmaker-in-war
>> No. 130200
Until Forever

~6800 words

Ponies gravitate toward Twilight. Through charisma or just getting thrown together by circumstance, she's gained a lot of friends, but when has she ever simply walked up to a pony and said, "I'd like to be your friend"? Time for the Princess of Friendship to fix that.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zX9f8jNelRAIlwkP7ALVy0mFGHQTW8go9EBliHwxLO0/edit
>> No. 130201
File 139807765449.png - (490.91KB , 1257x1024 , Cello's Ransom.png )
130201
So, some guy told me that I should drop this off here and I'd get a super-good review. Now I'm all excited.

Oh, this is chapter twelve. Will that be a problem?

Title: Equestria's Secret Service (Ch12)
Words: Lots.
Plot: I'm sure you'll pick up on it.
Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zMIEU3nCV_Emaq8c7DhR5gtqmspaWMke4LxxRywhXcw/edit
>> No. 130215
File 139819051388.png - (120.83KB , 283x237 , Meh.png )
130215
>>130188
My queue abruptly got a lot busier than it has been, and I've also noticed you posted this in TTG as well. So I'm going to focus a little bit more on the first (shorter) chapter of this.

I'll start with grammar/style, since that's generally the easiest thing to point out in a story. For Rarity (the narrator), you've got a lot of sentence fragments. I'm not sure how well they fit her voice; I found it off-putting to try to read them in her voice.

Another point I'd work on would be your comma use and sentence structure. You've got a lot of parenthetical asides and participle phrases to clarify nouns and verbs in your sentences, but I'm usually of the conviction that these can generally be worked around.

For example, in your opening:

>At least, that is what the recruitment office told me. Left alone as my friends took up their places in protecting Equestria, our home.

The second sentence is a fragment, which should be avoided. But if you want to make the point that Equestria is the governing body that these ponies have gone to defend, you could rework that as this:

>That is what the Equestrian Army recruitment officer told me. His words left me alone when all of my friends had left to protect our home.

(something like that, but with a little more fine tuning).


Next up, you've got a copious amount of run-on sentences. E.g.,

>It made sense, the Wonderbolts were a branch of the Military, though mostly for morale and acrobatics they were tested to see if they had potential in combat and sure enough Rainbow Dash had a lot of the Pegasus warrior blood in her.

As a minor stylistic quirk, I noticed that you referred to a "stallion" as a "man" at one point. That's generally not how MLP fanfiction works.

All in all, I'd recommend this piece for a good run through a proofreader or two (which I am not).


Moving on to more nebulous elements of this story, I think the biggest failing in this story's opening chapter is the lack of detail. Now, you might have given some details in Chapter 2, but by then, I'd say it's a little too late to answer such a basic question of, "Who is Equestria at war with?"

Another example of this is Rarity's odd psychic powers: how can she tell what her friends are doing if she's stuck "holding down the fort"? There could be letters, sure, but I don't recall any mention of them.

Yet another example is Rarity's training. It happens very abruptly, almost glossed over (no pun intended), but I feel that showing more of her training and drive might (1) build up mood and (2) show the extent of her abilities. The showdown with the man stallion in front of Twilight's Private Guard Auditions (which, by the way, isn't exactly the smartest forum for picking a private guard) comes off a little bit like that annoying kid whose armies always had "force fields" and other crap when playing war. I'm not saying that Rarity can't do that, but if you don't define things she can do to me, the reader, before she does them, I'm going to feel like everything she does is overpowered.

An inconsistency I found was how Twilight was said to be the first of them to leave to attend war business, yet she's mentioned fourth on a (chronological?) list, and Dash was mentioned as being the first of them to go to war. And in chapter two, you open with a somewhat detailed description of Twilight holding a royal court, which isn't very war-like. In fact, given how much collusion there is implied to be with other nations, it comes across as extremely un-war like.

So, in general, you should probably expand the first chapter rather than write a continuation of it. Give vital information such as the politics, the actions, the emotions / friendships of the ponies... the dread of waiting, the weight of uselessness...

Show what Rarity can do and why she wants to do it, and this story's first chapter will improve greatly.
>> No. 130217
>>130215
You could tell perhaps that the first chapter was actually written for a thirty minute prompt. That's why it is lacking in any meat. I intended for it to remain as such but people enjoyed it so much I added another chapter to it.

So you are completely right. I need to give it a good working over, expand it a lot and give it some good TLC before I think about continuing it.

Thank you.
>> No. 130228
>>130215
A question for you. Should I keep it in first person?

After writing Turbulance, the sequal or sidestory.. something, in third person I am having a hard time adjusting. I would hate to switch styles on readers though.
>> No. 130234
>>130228
I honestly don't feel like there was any moment I had while reading that where I felt, "Man, I'm glad this was in first person."

If you think the story would be better in third, by virtue of you being the author and that being your preference, you're probably right.
>> No. 130235
File 139846865130.jpg - (148.71KB , 1280x800 , Tail.jpg )
130235
>>130201

I left a bulk of my comments in-doc. After sitting on this for a while, my biggest thoughts are that the opening scene needs to be a little bit streamlined, you have a slight issue with passive action from time to time, and not a lot of plot-relevant action happened in this chapter.

I guess the last one is kind of an issue if chapter 10 and 11 were also kind of slow, but honestly, it's been a while, so I kind of forget what happened in those <.<

Still, I'm enjoying this story quite a lot. Good luck with finishing it.
>> No. 130502
File 140104966456.png - (135.16KB , 322x337 , Neat.png )
130502
>>130200
All right, and after a month of completely forgetting about this waiting for a good time to do this, I've finally read your story.

You've let me keep this brief, since there's not too much I've got to say about this. The opening scene's setting needs a little tweak or so, and I commented on things that took me out of the story, but as usual, your writing's fairly clean.

One thing I did notice when I looked back over the first scene is that almost every paragraph had a variation of "Dialogue," speaker [verbed], [gerunding]. "More dialogue." I missed it the first time around because I sort of instinctively glossed over them, but I do feel it's worth bringing up.

Same thing with Derpy and the bee. It's an okay addition to the scene, as it gives it some flavor, but I'm not sure if it carried enough weight to deserve ending the scene with. There was also some distance between the first mention of the bee and the final comment on it; I'm not entirely sure that Twilight wouldn't have forgotten about it naturally when more important information presented itself.

Finally, I'm not sure how much resolution this was supposed to have. Right now, it feels like you end this story right when the largest conflict (Tone's grief) is introduced, and worse, the overarching conflict (Twilight trying to make a friend) doesn't really get hammered home for her. She realizes she's done a bad thing, but she doesn't really go anywhere with it; instead, she just stands there as Tone walks away, and... that's the end.

My problem with how Tone's "secret" is revealed is that it begs the question of why he's avoiding singing. He says he feels no passion for it, but that sounds like an excuse to cover up his grief; I don't think that people ever really give up something they're passionate about without losing a part of themselves. How does Tone feel about not singing? To me, it seems like he misses it, yet he can still do it, and... therin lies the unresolved conflict.

I'd suggest an additional scene, either between Twilight and Applejack or Twilight and Tone, so you can wrap up the loose ends. In lieu of that, maybe have Twilight realize her error and ruminate on it.

That's all I've got; I hope this helps. I'll be on Skype if you want to chat more.

Last edited at Sun, May 25th, 2014 13:28

>> No. 130565
>>128162

Title: My Second Chance

Synopsis: What if everyone gets a second chance? This is exactly what a human named Joel Summers gets. After dieing in a tragic car accident that left his body nothing but a pile of goo and bones, he ends up in a magical world full of talking colorful horses.

Word count currently: 32,079

Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/160506/my-second-chance

Comments: I've hit not just a block, but a wall. Although now I'm working on chapter 8 and I'm hoping a review might give me some inspirational ideas. This is also the first fanfiction I have ever worked on.
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