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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

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>> No. 128164
Title: A Heavy Crown

Word Count: 3862

Synopsis: The life and times of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza.

Link: https://drive.google.com/?tab=wo&authuser=0#folders/0Bw_B_E7VZDjQOHlnRWF0REloM1E

Notes: There's also a plot outline there in case my wording is off or confusing in some spaces. Thank you for the help.
>> No. 128166
I'm not sure if this is a second time or not, since I do remember reading this, but I don't think I've given a comprehensive review before.

At any rate, this story has improved since the last time I saw it. Your first chapter begins with a hook, introduces conflict, and ends with something unresolved—which naturally leads into a second chapter, and the rest of the story. From a macro point of view, this story is on its way somewhere, which is where you want to be with a first chapter. So, good job on the improvements there.

However, I'm not sure I like your prologue or what it doesn't accomplish. This stems from my understanding that prologues act as bridges: they either introduce your story's world or your story's conflict in a manner that is generally detached from the main plot. Basically, the prologue counts as a free chance at explaining what's going on in the world without committing to a main character (though this shouldn't be confused with carte blanche to go around info-dumping). What your prologue does is essentially act as "Chapter 0", a chapter that happens directly before Chapter 1 and deals with the same characters and settings that Chapter 1 deals with. You're not really creating a world that's different enough where you need an expositionary prologue, and your story's conflict seems to directly rise from the birth of a child and its separation from its mother (which you cover in Chapter 1), so... I'm really not convinced that your story needs a prologue. Given that Chapter 1, as it stands, has an interesting phase of discovery ("Why am I in the hospital? Why are these guys questioning me?"), I think your prologue, as it stands, is wholly omittable if you just mention "alicorn" somewhere in the doctor and nurses' mid-chapter dialogue.

Moving away from the macro-level construction of this story, this story's writing could do with a good, thorough trimming. There's a few grammatical errors here and there, but your far greater problem is using too many words to say too little. For example, your first chapter's second paragraph:

>"Why am I in the ho— The thought was abruptly cut short by sounds and images of him at Aria’s side, grasping her hoof as she struggled, shouting anything he could think of to help. He remembered hearing a cry and seeing a foal, his foal. Then, nothing."
(48 words)

versus my quick take on streamlining:

>"Why am I in the hos— Sounds and images rushed back to Willow: he'd stood at Aria's side, grasping her hoof, shouting encouragement. Then, he saw his newborn foal and heard it cry. Then, nothing."
(35 words)

By removing the statement of the obvious, as well as using some less-redundant phrasing, I cut out over a quarter of the words. Perhaps some of the emotional semblance was also removed; this isn't my story, so I'm not wholly certain how much the repetition of "a foal, his foal" is supposed to resound with Willow. But still, this was by far your writing style's biggest weakness: were I so inclined, I could probably cut entire sentences out of this without really affecting the meaning. And sure, I should probably mention that I love telling a story in as few words as possible; however, I don't get the sense that your wordiness is "florid" or "pretty".

That would be my biggest suggestion, or challenge to you. You gave me a viable first chapter that is 2.6k words long. See how close you can get to 2.2k words by combing this story and omitting things that don't need to be said. Imagine that "was" is a rationed word, omit instances of "slightly", "probably", and other approximate descriptors, and make this story's writing as precise as possible.

Until then, good luck.

Last edited at Sun, Aug 25th, 2013 01:06

>> No. 128168
Title: Magic Books, Runes, and a Little Hope

Word Count: 3378

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-jgOQj28kZ3zR3mNEgCFBlyA8JPnZ0TgVPKS-LZGTto/edit?usp=sharing

Synopsis: The Rune Guide, a book containing great power to those who can utilize it. It is both Ghostwriter's greatest discovery and biggest responsibility. But now it is in the wrong hooves. While Ghostwriter is working on retrieving it, Celestia sends him to Ponyville and by pure luck, he has a chance to get it back. Now he must get the Rune Guide back and also deal with Ponyville antics.

Notes: I've put this in the Training Grounds already but that will take awhile.

If you would be willing, can you tell me how Ghostwriter comes off. (He's not meant to be a Gary-stu/self-insert.)

Thanks in advance.
>> No. 128170
Hmm, I can see what you mean and its nice to have "writing issues" clearly spelled out to me.

I am a little concerned about the prologue issue and I can see some aspects of how its optional, but on the other hand, I worry about the questions that could crop about who's who, where's where and such.
>> No. 128171
File 137746280364.gif - (49.08KB , 290x360 , What.gif )
I... okay then.

I think the biggest problem with this story so far is the manner in which you present several plot-important elements. For instance:

-You introduce the main character in an awkward social setting that he doesn't enjoy, which means that the first impression to readers is going to be that he's a negative character. Given how this awkward social setting is essentially high school drama of "they don't like me!", this doesn't bode well for Ghostwriter's first impression (more on him in a little bit).

-You introduce Flare, the kitsune, in an incredibly abrupt manner. Within ~80 words, you've gone from the reveal that, this whole time, there has been a cupcake on Ghost's table to "the cupcake is alive". Never mind that it's jarring to be so late to mention that there's been an important decoration so close to the main character for the first few pages of this story, but a living cupcake is quite strange. The fact that the cupcake is actually a shapeshifting fox trickster from JapanTarpan, which is quite far removed from the show's mythos, doesn't quite help this matter.

-You introduce Ghost's position and job in a scene that highlights his hypocrisy. Which, I'm not saying that every character has to be wholly self-contiguous and can never have flaws, but at the same time, there's merit to the practice of starting your characters off as relatable and endearing, then starting to bring up their flaws.

-You introduce the main villain in an incredibly cliché scene. I'm not saying that this is bad in and of itself (though you don't handle it endearingly enough for me to call it good, either), however, it's at the end of an introductory chapter that has had several off-kilter introductions. Whereas the other introductions were weak and perhaps ineffective, this final introduction is almost too strong, which gives a sense of strapping a rocket engine to the back of a Ford Pinto. It's effective, for progressing things in a forward manner, but I don't really think that it's balanced enough to call it efficient.

Essentially, you've got a lot of nebulous plot elements that are floating around and are loosely connected to one another through Ghostwriter. I think you should work on framing them all in a manner that naturally introduces them—for example, start the story off with Ghostwriter and Flare in the museum, where he's in his element, which both gives the audience a better first impression of him and makes it easier to accept that he's friends with a talking fox that he met during a past expedition.

Another idea I have is to use Flare as a token lampshade hanger. Meaning, she's a trickster spirit, so using her as a comic relief character to joke that someone calls themselves "Phantom the Spell Thief" in an apparently completely serious manner.

All in all, my impression of this was that it's MLP-meets-anime, which isn't bad per se; however, it's worth noting the disdain that many people have towards anime because it focuses on over-the-top characters and situations. You've either got to mitigate some of the hamminess (part of which is giving a good introduction to certain elements) or embrace it, but the latter means that you can't really take your story seriously. It might be entertaining, though.

I'm conflicted about your writing style. On the one hand, it's not as distracting as what you're writing, meaning that you've successfully used the English language to convey your thoughts without the wording getting in your way. On the other, I have a gut feeling that if you wrote everything to be normal, the dialogue of the characters and inner thoughts of Ghostwriter would be a bit distracting. I don't think they sound wholly natural.

Similarly, your actions:

>“You know, I must tell you, you got lucky,” called a figure in the darkness. As it emerged, it grinned, an act that made Ghost shudder. “I don’t usually miss.”
>Ghost let out a growl. “You.”
>The newcomer chuckled. “Me?” he said, putting a hoof to his armored chest. “What does a simple colt know about me?” His grey eyes stared at Ghostwriter mirthfully.

This reeks of "telling emotions". Also, I think you have a bad habit of overusing epithets when you should stick to introducing a character's name or pronoun.

Finally, your question:
>Can you tell me how Ghostwriter comes off?

He comes off as almost a carbon copy of Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. My impression of him is that he's conceited, which he wraps in a guise of introversion and faux humility, and that he's thoroughly convinced that, out of all the mindless sheeple in the room, he's the only one who has thoughts, dreams, and motivations that aren't completely bullshit.

So, all in all, not my favorite character.

I'm not really sure how to progress with critiques of Ghostwriter because I'm not sure where you want to go with him or his story. Are you supposed to show that he's an unlikeable git in the first scene, so that the audience has a baseline to see him grow throughout the story? If so, you should again mitigate this by framing it in a way that puts his redeeming qualities first, otherwise, you're going to give him the literary death sentence of "Who cares?" If this story is more about the fetch-quest of killing the bad guy and retrieving the Rune Guide... you're probably going to need to tone down Ghostwriter's self-centeredness a little, or focus more on putting him in situations that don't make him feel like the holiest pony in the room. Perhaps a changeling hive?

That basically wraps up my thoughts on this story. As a first chapter, it sets up the conflict of the story in a way that leads naturally into a second chapter; however, I don't think that you started it off with a good enough "hook", and that your introductions of plot-important elements were as effective as they needed to be.

I hope this helps.
>> No. 128172

... Crap.

Sigh... alright, addressing things from the top.

-You introduce the main character in an awkward social setting that he doesn't enjoy, which means that the first impression to readers is going to be that he's a negative character. Given how this awkward social setting is essentially high school drama of "they don't like me!", this doesn't bode well for Ghostwriter's first impression (more on him in a little bit).

Alright, I guess this still needs some work. It's not supposed to be that Ghost thinks all ponies are assholes, just that after a year of doing his job, he's tired of being the but of the joke. The scene where Ghost tells the kelpie legend was supposed to show that he's trying. So yeah, I'll have to work on this.

-You introduce Flare, the kitsune, in an incredibly abrupt manner. Within ~80 words, you've gone from the reveal that, this whole time, there has been a cupcake on Ghost's table to "the cupcake is alive". Never mind that it's jarring to be so late to mention that there's been an important decoration so close to the main character for the first few pages of this story, but a living cupcake is quite strange. The fact that the cupcake is actually a shapeshifting fox trickster from JapanTarpan, which is quite far removed from the show's mythos, doesn't quite help this matter.

Okay, valid point. (Flare's a boy by the way, though I can't help but wonder if it would be better if he was a girl.) I should probably mention the cupcake sooner.

-You introduce the main villain in an incredibly cliché scene. I'm not saying that this is bad in and of itself (though you don't handle it endearingly enough for me to call it good, either), however, it's at the end of an introductory chapter that has had several off-kilter introductions. Whereas the other introductions were weak and perhaps ineffective, this final introduction is almost too strong, which gives a sense of strapping a rocket engine to the back of a Ford Pinto. It's effective, for progressing things in a forward manner, but I don't really think that it's balanced enough to call it efficient.

Alright. Phantom is actually supposed to be cliched. Guess I should tone it down a bit for him.

All in all, though thanks for the help.
>> No. 128175
Hmm... I missed Flare's gender the first time around, but mostly because I'm kind of used to the opposite gendered pair of lead and supporting characters in an anime. So, that threw me off; no need to send your character to the chopping block on my account.
>> No. 128186
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To Guard Equestria

Same Coin>>128194


Last edited at Wed, Aug 28th, 2013 19:29

>> No. 128187
You'll forgive me if this review is fairly short; however, there wasn't much length or breadth of your story to read, let alone critique. I'd say that for a first chapter, this is a bit devoid of conflict—no one really has any motivations or wants. However, this story isn't really complete, either, so I feel that stating that it's lacking the foundations of a conflict-driven plot is almost a moot point.

As it could be, this story needs some work if you want to do something with it. As it is, the story is a mildly pleasant character study of Sweetie Belle's imaginary daughter (though I suppose this is all a fictional universe anyway).

I marked comments on a few grammatical errors and stylistic qualms I took with this story; generally, it was cleanly written enough to not be distracting. I wouldn't say that the narrative was especially gripping or engaging, since it kind of felt like going to the zoo and watching the Inkling exhibit from behind a pane of glass; however, this was not poorly written.

From what I gleaned, I'm somewhat worried about the viability of Inkling as a character. Meaning, she's an airhead who probably has some sort of attention deficit disorder, but is there any depth to that? She enjoys her art and hates cinnamon, but what else is there to her that can drive a story? If she's a mundane character who's wholly "normal", then why write a story about her in the first place? Most stories are told because exceptional characters faced exceptional circumstances, including the so-called "normal" characters who rose to the occasion during exceptional circumstances (see, for example, Samwise Gamgee).

By far, my largest qualm with this piece was how it was framed by a the clichéd in-story narrator. That device is useful and has its merits, but like almost any tool, you should know how to use it and have a general goal in mind when using it. "For science" is perhaps a good reason, but as this stands, the in-story narrator only serves as a distraction from the main action—which is "When Inkling met Applesauce."

Similarly, I'm not sure why you didn't capitalize any "i"s in this story. Perhaps you had some sort of meta-fiction device in mind that would've paid off in the end; however, as it stands, it just seems like you avoided this capitalization for no other reason than "because I can".

Which, fair enough, this is your story. But when you publish something and open it up to outside viewing, you should weigh your own creative jurisprudence versus how distracting it is for others, and if it is too distracting, try to mitigate that.

All in all, this story was short but mildly sweet. It didn't do much of anything, but I certainly can't fault it for doing a whole lot of things wrong.

I'm not sure how useful this is as a review; still, I hope you find something in here.
>> No. 128188
You just had to stoke the flames in TTG, didn't you?

Actually, that's not the reason why I'm here. I'm here because I saw you decided to pick up my story for review (Post Mortem). However, I do not roam the enigma that is MLPchan or Ponychan on a regular basis like many people do. That posed a problem for me the last time I sent in something for a review.

Can I make just one request? I did turn comments on in my docs. Can you at least make your comments in there? I may not notice what goes on in (MLP/Pony)chan, but I will notice if someone's been commenting my story.

>> No. 128189
Title: Hitmane: Agent 3.14

Author: Sayer (FIMFiction account:http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Sayer)

Tags: [Comedy][Crossover][Random]


Parody of the Hitman videogames saga.

Hitmane is the most famous prankster of Ponville - a legend. Somepony capable of pulling off the most contrived and impressive pranks in the blink of an eye and always two steps ahead of the police thanks to her bizarre disguises, deemed too weird and crazy to be considered true.

Under all these achievements, fame and reign of terror over everypony is Pinkie Pie - or as the International Prank Agency calls her, Agent 3.14 - ready to fullfill any contracts as long as the payment is good and consists of a supply of candies.

Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/124720/hitmane-agent-314


I'm not an English born speaker, so even though my grasp of grammar is politically correct, I'm not good enough as to meet EQD standards (This is the main reason I have an editor). I'd like to find someone willing to point me out all mistakes so I can fix them and maybe learn in the process so I can avoid them in the future. I can upload the story to Google Docs if you want, as to make it easier.

I sent this story to EQD and was rejected without a strike. They told me to fix this:

Hyphen vs em dash
> Ponville – a legend
> Pie - or

Nested quotes should be single quotes
> known as “Hitmane”

Semicolon misuse
> victims; lives

If there's anything else that needs/should be fixed and/or improved, I would be thankful.

And sorry if I'm asking in the wrong place. Last time I visited this place I was helped by an editor named Casca.
>> No. 128190
Will do. I'll link to my review in a final comment, too.

>> No. 128191
Thank you ^^
>> No. 128192
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>Okay, this story is starting off slow, I bet it's going to be several chapters in (that I don't have a link to) before I even get the title—
>Huh. Terrorist ponies. Didn't see that one coming.

All right, I'll give you that this isn't difficult to read from a mechanical standpoint. It's not well-polished, but it's certainly functional and moves at a decent pace. I'm a little confused by some of the parts' logics, and there are some mechanical nuances that I do want to mention, but for the most part... good job.

First, I'll mention the mechanical issues, since those are easier to sum up—like, for example, how I think the dialogue is the weakest point of this story. Specifically, I have a difficult time discerning speakers based on the dialogue itself, since almost all of these characters sound alike—save for token clichés that you include, such as BBBFF or Pinkie's "doozies". I'd say that this is almost a fanfiction-specific critique, meaning that if this were original fiction, you wouldn't have to worry about emulating characters to a certain degree of precision.

However, I digress. What I can say in a general fiction critique of this story's dialogue is that it's generally a mix between flat and forced. Meaning, while it's good to have dialogue that progresses the plot, things like:

>“Thank Shining,” Twilight said. “It was his idea to have us come over to celebrate your birthday and then go to the Grand Galloping Gala together this evening.”

make it very obvious that this is a story that is being progressed. Mechanically, it is good, but artistically, it needs some depth and inter-character chemistry to make it feel natural. Otherwise, why present this as prose? You'd have an easier time writing a newspaper article (though I'll mention that would pay this story's idea a disservice). You have the skeleton of dialogue and chemistry there, but it's missing an organic feeling to it. If need be, act the parts out loud; that should clue you in to some of the stumbling blocks of stilted dialogue. Another textbook example of this would be Princess Cadence and Shining Armor's exchange about "don't tell them about the embarrassing secret." It's cute, it's a thing that couples do, but it feels like it could've been made briefer so as to feel more natural.

My next point of contention with this story is its beginning. Now, to be fair, you've got a decent hook; "making preparations for an event" is a bread-and-butter story-starter. It worked for Lord of the Rings, it worked for Season 1, Episode 1 of Friendship is Magic, and it's got one of those inherent attention-grabbers that makes the audience want to know "Why?"

However, it's worth pointing out that after you've established a hook, you've got to follow through. Posing the question "Why?" is good, but in this story, you don't really answer that question. The main six busy themselves by chatting about a party while they set it up, but not only is this party revealed to be a pre-game deal, it's also wholly glossed over. So that makes me, a reviewer, ask the question"Why?", but this time, it's coming in a different tone entirely. Why set up the party if you're going to skip it? Especially, as I realized, if your second scene does a much better job at establishing the story's primary conflict and has a hook that's more in tune with the impending tone of the rest of your story.

Meaning, for this story, what's going to be a more "honest" hook to bait readers with? "This party's going to be awesome!" or "There's been a threat against your life, Twilight Sparkle." I'm not saying that I feel betrayed or anything by your abrupt shift of tone, but I think if this story would've started off darker, it would've been a little less jarring. I feel like you wanted to have some semblance of normalcy for everyone before they get killed, but I also think you could've built more tension while doing that if, say, you'd had a longer and more bonding scene in the carriage, where everyone is helping each other cope with the fear. That establishes friendship, builds character, and lets you show that these ponies enjoy their lives.

So, dialogue, opening, and a few stylistic points here and there (that I left comments on in-doc, but you should bear them in mind while revising if you choose to do so); those were essentially the main mechanical problems I had with this story. Moving on, I was slightly confused with some of your plot devices that you used.

For example, the magic nullifiers. I accept that they work, that they're essentially horn-rings that cancel out magic. However, why wouldn't they be the first thing that someone tries to get off in that instance? They go for Rainbow Dash's wing restraints instead of Twilight Sparkle's horn restraint, the latter of which has a better chance of, say, teleporting them all over a lake or something. If the nullifiers have some sort of permanent effect, state that; alternatively, they can have a lasting effect that makes it impossible for Twilight to save everyone after it's removed. As in, she can try, but fail, and splat nonetheless. That might give her some more guilt you can work with later on. Food for thought.

Next, I'm not quite sold on your ghost physics. Which, they weren't explicitly stated to be ghosts, but since they can't gather wood to build a fire because they can't interact with the real world, I'm assuming that's similar to how it works. And you did answer the point I had about "why are they worried about the rain", since it did just pass right through them; however, I'm still confused about heat transfer. Why are they "warm" to each other? Why are they physically able to be cooled by the environment around them? I almost feel like this is important, since it means they, as ghosts, might be able to create heat signatures as a way to communicate with the real world, but at the same time, I don't think you spend enough time on having Twilight's intellectual curiosity being piqued.

Which, I understand, she's dead. But some things should be constant, regardless of other attributes. DABDA has been somewhat debunked as a psychological coping mechanism, but at the same time, there's some underlying truth to it: in the face of a life-shattering event, people (and sapient ponies, by extension) are desperate to keep things how they are, so they look for distractions, lies, and any other things they can use to deny what's really happened.

Finally, I think you missed out on a great opportunity of nihilism. Which, I mentioned this in a comment in-doc, but it bears repeating: no one questions why they're going to Canterlot. I have a hunch that you're going with the "they need to come to terms with their death in order to move on to Heaven The Great Pasture" route for an overarching plot to this, and that the only way that they're going to be able to do this is by bringing Diamond Sword to justice (somehow), but still. No one questions why they're trying to do anything, let alone one specific action. I think that this exchange would be great to showcase how some of them are despairing, but others are still in denial / anger, which is why they feel the intrinsic need to go forward.

However, if you don't mention character motives and have that little debate in-story, you're going to make the readers have it for you, and it's harder to control that outcome.

All in all, this was a decent setup for chapters one and two of a story. I don't necessarily agree with your opening, and the style needs some polish, but you're progressing the plot in a manner that makes me feel you've got some sense of direction—even if your micro-navigation might need a little help here and there.

But, that's what I hoped to help with. So with that, I bid you happy writing.
>> No. 128193
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... Heh. I must say, I was shocked enough to realize that someone had left comments in this document, let alone that I'd actually submitted it for review. I greatly appreciate(d) the help you gave me so long ago (with a story that ended up being cancelled and re-written anyway) so, if I am ever bored, I may attempt not to waste your efforts. However, I must apologize to you that you spent the time looking over this; This story is dead. It is—for all intensive purposes—a troll fic. Probably the only one I have ever written, and particularly directed at our own Ion Sturm. You may notice that not a single "i" in this story is capitalized. That is intentional, as is the seemingly incoherent plot that ultimately goes nowhere. This was a combination of trying to get over writer's block, and write an April Fool's prank for Ion to eventually find (Ion had once mentioned how much it irritates him that Moony never capitalizes his "i"s. The incoherent plot was just fuel to the flames). It was mostly out of boredom, and I never planned to actually do anything with it. That said, I did indeed have a meta-fictional device planned that would have gone somewhere had I had more time to continue this story. (It was written with a 24 hour time limit, to challenge myself.) Once again, I apologize that you spent valuable time going over it, and if I am ever bored to make something of it, I'll come back here first so as to try not to waste your efforts.

Last edited at Tue, Aug 27th, 2013 17:28

>> No. 128194
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I'm not sure where to begin with this story. I honestly think it would be easiest from my point of view (but perhaps detrimental to your sake in terms of improving) to say that "everything" needs improvement in this story; however, I'll take some time to clarify what I mean.

You misspell words, and use homophonic replacement. "Witch" instead of "which", "then" instead of "than", and in one case, you even misspell one of the main character's names as "Pinky" instead of "Pinkie".

There are several basic grammar conventions that you make errors in using. For example, dialogue punctuation:

>“FACE ME BEAST!” He shouted.

If you're using a speech verb, you can connect the dialogue to the rest of the sentence loosely, and there's no need for starting a new sentence:

>"Speech," he said.
>"What?" he asked.

et cetera.

There are also a rash of randomly capitalized words strewn throughout this story in a manner that feels haphazard and illogical.

You use hyphens instead of em dashes to set off parenthetical clauses—stuff that is basically "tacked on" to a sentence.

While not strictly grammatical in nature, your overuse of all-caps to point to EMPHASIS is distracting in a negative manner, rather than attention-grabbing in a positive way.

The abbreviation of "RD" and "AJ" doesn't usually sit well outside of dialogue.

Using numbers for times can sometimes be useful, but generally, it's more organic to spell them out. (Nine twenty-six instead of 9:26).

Your use of onomatopoeia (BRIIIIIIIING) is distracting and generally should be avoided.

So in all honesty, I wouldn't say you need an editor as much as you need a proofreader, since a lot of these grammatical conventions are relatively easy fixes and applications of somewhat standardized rules (the main differences coming from which style guide you abide by).

In terms of the writing itself, once I look past all the errors, I note that your story's got a quirky, almost self-aware sense of humor. Your narrator breaks the fourth wall many times in order to hang a lampshade or point out an incongruity with the world you're writing about, but as with all comedy, this sort of thing needs to be done with expertise and care. Otherwise, you establish an air of apathy that sounds like, "I don't really care about that giant gaping hole in my wall, but there's the hole. Funny, right?"

That's not to say that your story isn't amusing in certain parts (though, without contention, the "dad" character is easily the most consistently likable character, despite how he plays League of Legends). However, hit-and-miss comedy is usually the sort of imprecision that requires work; it's different to tell a joke at which no one laughs than it is to tell a joke that was ill-contrived in the first place.

So, in terms of narrative voice, I'm almost at an impasse as to "what would improve this story". You could go a more traditional route, but I feel that, if you were more consistent with your deadpan snark and humor, you might be able to pull a self-aware story off. However, you probably wouldn't be able to take it as seriously as a story with a traditional voice, but there's always benefits and detriments to whichever tools you use to tell a story.

Plot-wise, there's not much here. Collin is a self-important introvert with an extremely comfortable life, and this doesn't really present any conflict except for the artificial and unnatural attention of five girls that he somehow garners despite acting like an asshole directly towards them. I mean, he punches Rainbow Dash in the face. I don't care if you're trying to take a #MensRights stance of "equal rights mean equal lefts" or whatever, or if you're somehow doing the misogynistic "All women just want bastards" route, but do you honestly think that, in the real world, these five girls wouldn't just tell him to get bent and move on in their lives?

See, I get that you're trying to do a parallel of the show's first episode, where Twilight met everyone and didn't want to spend time with them. However, in the show, Twilight had responsibilities and was polite—if curt—to the ponies she had to check in on. In your story, Collin has to go to school, but he's not forced into contact with anyone other than Pinkie (whom he blows off). I don't think this whole "let's go one at a time to befriend him" angle is the way that an organic social setting would unfold. Sure, they might doubt Pinkie, and he might redeem himself for that by being nice to Fluttershy. But once he punches one of the group in the face, that usually lends itself to antagonism—especially with how he straight-up denies Rainbow's apology.

Which, again, I'm still hung up on how he punches her in the face, yet she's the one who ends up apologizing. I understand that you want to write a story about a human person befriending the main six five, but I think you should abide by some basic tenants of social psychology in order to create a richer, more life-like scenario.

All in all, I'm of the opinion that this story needs a lot of work. Even the main idea (author avatar befriends ponies humans) is bland wish-fulfillment, so I really can't say I particularly like anything about this story (the dad character is probably the closest contender to "favorable", in my mind). This isn't to say that you should quit writing or scrap the whole thing, however; it's merely an invitation to try harder.

Regardless of what you do, I hope there was something in this review that helped you.
>> No. 128195
Some typo notes, since this isn't on Google Docs:

>And of course it she had to have these dreams on a week when they’d scheduled a storm.

>He went on to tell her his name: Parcelflight—and of his cutie mark: a package with wings.
Ditch the colons

>It was so long ago that she—”His smile disappeared for a brief moment. “well, it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen her.”
Missed space after the quotes and capitalize "Well,"

>when her vision suddenlt ended with a sickening crunch.

>“her name was Ditzy.

O-chee-kay-bee. Fortunately for you, I don't have all that much to say on this story. It was cerebral, but you generally did a good job at keeping the three main times separate. There was:

–Derpy and Dinky, the far past
–Derpy and Parcel, the distant past
–Derpy and Jack, the present

and... while I won't say that I didn't see the "ending" coming a mile away as soon as sad-eyed Dinky is asking Derpy to take a letter to her "mommy", with an ounce of thought, I was generally able to keep things in this story in order. Though to be fair, I miss-predicted Parcel; I could have sworn that he would've been Derpy's husband in this.

Now, in order to critique the events of this story, because of how you've mentioned it, I've got to essentially reconstruct it. From what I recall, Derpy had some sort of off-screen accident which caused her brain trauma and amnesia. This caused her to wander away from her family, Dirk and Dinky, which led to Dinky trying to get Derpy to deliver a letter to herself. During this delivery, Derpy has another accident that ends up with her being hospitalized. There, she meets Parcel, a volunteer who used to work with her at the post office. Eventually, she recovers from the brain damage and meets Jack, a griffon griffin he's not a show dog, and... they begin a new life together?

Of course, since "Jack" also appears i n the puzzle that Derpy is doing in the hospital, there's the equal chance that the hospital is a dream within Derpy's life with Jack as much as Jack is a dream within Derpy's life in the hospital. I almost like that idea better, even though it screams of St. Elsewhere; it makes this story "simpler", which is to say it's less complex than it would be otherwise. For example, if Jack is real, there's a lot of loose threads left in this story—mainly, what happened to Derpy's family or Parcel? Jack mentions "They're not real", which has horrifying implications if he's supposed to be a romantic partner for Derpy.

So, the main critique I have about this story is that I'm not sure which path you tried to take with this story. Either version of the story (Jack is real or Jack is a concussion-induced hallucination) feels somewhat incomplete as this stands—you've either got implications and threads need to be answered, or you've got to have "the reveal" that Derpy's just making Jack up.

The next and final point I have is that the ending of this feels abrupt, either because or especially because there are still loose threads dangling. There's a scene with Jack, but instead of giving the reader a firm foundation for planting understanding in, you have Jack explain what "reality" is, and all in all, I was waiting for something to crack and for Derpy to realize that "I'm living a lie."

Still, this was a relatively well-done psychosis juggling act. It needs some sharpening and honing, but I think once you iron out what you want to do with this story, you'll be able to capitalize on it.

Nicely done.
>> No. 128196

Did I already reply to this? If not, you have my sincere thanks. I certainly know where to go in the future...
>> No. 128197
I uploaded my story to Google Docs. Should I post (or send you) the link now, or wait until you can start working on it?
>> No. 128198
I'm glad you found this helpful

I should be able to look at it no later than Thursday, so you can link it to me now without much issue.
>> No. 128199
File 137771014105.png - (80.38KB , 254x307 , Glare.png )
I had a somewhat comprehensive list of typos that I kept track of, however, I accidentally deleted them when I tried to open up a closed tab and hit ⌘+Shift+R instead of ⌘+Shift+T. You have my apologies. Most of them centered around capitalization, dialogue, em-dash usage, and inconsistent ellipses; I'll point out that I usually don't offer editing services.

Oh, and also, there was a few times that you mentioned "the Sniper" instead of his actual name, which is apparently "Sniper".

Other than the typos, I'm not entirely sure what your goal is for improving this story. The nicest thing I can say about it is probably the thing I also hated the most about it: it captured the feel and voice of Team Fortress 2 very well. It's fun, pulpy crap that doesn't apologize for what it is (even though it tries to feign philosophical in far too many places for its own good), and it's well-received on Fimfiction (97% approval rating); I fear that any suggestions that would "improve" this story would remove it from its source, and thus skew its target from its intended audience.

So, you know, this isn't A Farewell to Arms or Going After Cacciato. But in the case of a story that crosses over with something that doesn't take itself seriously—Team Fortress 2—that's not a bad thing. You emulated the source material—which is fun, pulpy crap that doesn't apologize for what it is—and I'd call this a successful crossover, even if I don't particularly enjoy Team Fortress 2.

My best advice is for you to keep doing what you're doing, and to proofread slightly more carefully. The writing itself isn't bad from a grammatical standpoint; the sentence fragments and onomatopoeias fit consistently with the voice and tone of what you're writing. Stuff like dialogue punctuation, em dash usage (use — instead of --), compound-descriptor hyphenation, and ellipses are less excusable, since they just look sloppy instead of whimsical.

Now, another thing I'll say about this story is that it often waxes philosophical—and thus becomes too cerebral for its own good. That almost goes against the whole point of Team Fortress 2; in a genre full of games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield (which all take themselves seriously to a certain degree), Team Fortress 2 doesn't have a droll, "War. War never changes" narrative that's tacked on. It's just as dark as—if not darker than—the other war games, but that's because it embraces war and fighting as a necessary good rather than demonizing it as a necessary evil. It's satire, rather than drama.

However, in your story, you often tend to bring about the drama in a manner that is out of character for Team Fortress 2. I understand that there's going to be some butting of heads between the citizens of Mann Co. and Equestria, but things like the conversation in Chapter 2 between Celestia and the secretary, or Chapter 6(?) with Luna and Heavy Weapons Guy... you're trying to create depth where there is none, and that's usually a recipe for making holes. That's not to say that you can't have some sort of diatribe or lesson, but you should be far more tongue-in-cheek and less taking-yourself-seriously by means to get to that point. A perfect example of this is in your tags; if you're faithful to Team Fortress 2, you shouldn't be explicitly [Dark]; you should rely more on fridge horror.

On a character level, Twilight Sparkle seems inconsistent with herself in terms of how she feels about fighting. Something about her stance in the beginning of chapter 5, where she feels disgusted by the carnage of the Heavy and Scout, yet a few paragraphs later, seems to be proud of her own accomplishments being on par with theirs, should probably create cognitive dissonance (or be altered to be more self-consistent).

Spy seems to be an odd mix between overly competent (which I guess can be waived away with suspension of disbelief) and incompetent, since he claims a "sneak attack" is something that you open a dialogue with the target beforehand.

Oh, and finally, your Celestia's dialogue doesn't sound like Celestia. That in particular stood out during the scenes involving her.

So again, I apologize that my list of typos got deleted; just keep an eye out for punctuation and capitalization, which were your "biggest" problems (and I had ~20 problems I found in eight chapters of this generally clean story).
>> No. 128200
Here's the link to the story: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RrLo2xq84DJ6e3tXaXv7jzCQy_prHdQ7Vd9nD1G7ExY/edit?usp=sharing

It's only set to comment as to avoid trolls and such from erasing everything or plainly messing with the story.
>> No. 128201
File 137772311392.gif - (1.31MB , 400x360 , Ooo.gif )
Since there was something of a hiccup with my access to this story, and there were comments in this story the first time I looked at it, I made a copy of my own to put comments in. There aren't a lot, but here's the link:

Initial access difficulties aside, this was certainly one of the more enjoyable [Adventure] fics I've read recently, so I figured that I'd start off by giving credit where credit is due. This story had a barrier of entrance (which I'm about to discuss), but once I got through that, you've set up a clever quest that has actually piqued my interest.

However, I'm not sure I want to continue reading this on my own volition. Your style is very redundant and comma-heavy, which slows down the narrative voice to below my usual lower limit of something that I like. For example, your very first paragraph:

>Applejack opened her eyes, and the rain came crashing into them, into her face, into her nose, and into her mouth.
compound sentence that is back-heavy

>She sputtered and coughed it out, rolling over onto her side, her head half-sunken into the dirty puddle that had risen around her during the night.
light compound sentence with an extremely back-heavy participle phrase

>The rain rushed at her back, struck her side, and splashed in the mud.
compound sentence (3 verbs)

>She stood up on numb, tired legs, but slipped on the wet ground.
compound sentence (3 verbs)

>She picked herself back up, wiped the mud from her face and chest, grabbed her saddlebags, refastened her cloak around her neck, and straightened her hat.
compound sentence (5 verbs!)

>She gave one last glance to her bed for the night, a shallow hole by the side of the road, and walked away.
compound sentence

These sentences, when put right after one another, don't necessarily fit together in a way that flows. Try saying them out loud to get a better picture of what I mean; I, reading in silence, still felt winded from reading this.

On one hand, I want to congratulate you for having a meta-narrative style that mirrors the content of the story; it's just as hard for me to read this as it is for Applejack to slog through the mud and rain. However, by starting the story with something slow-paced and hard to read, you don't let your reader ease into your story. You've got a hook, which is Applejack running with a single purpose in mind despite the natural obstacles in her path, but I feel that the writing hinders natural interest. Worse, I think that you're a little too slow to follow through; for the first two pages (8.5 x 11" pages, so maybe 4-5 pages of standard paperback format), all we get are vague hints at a "her" who Applejack is chasing. I realize that might be given away by some sort of blurb or title image for this story, but I don't think it's too much to ask that you mention, earlier on, why Applejack is running through hell.

Similarly, in your opening, I think you are far to detailed for your own good. I'll give you that you at least put some content in your overfilled opening, but really, I think you're choking the story. What's a new reader going to care about—just how rainy it is IT'S RAINING A LOT! - Ollie Williams or the who, where, and why of Applejack being out in it?

About the time that Applejack got to the first traveler's rest, things started to normalize (again, this is about three pages in), but whether this is an illusion or a genuine problem, I almost feel that things are too fast. I get that Applejack is probably a combination of nerves and adrenaline that make her want to talk in a fast, awkward manner, but I feel that this sudden dump of conversation is going to a polar opposite of the first over-long scene. Try to balance them out.

Other than that, I really didn't have too much to complain about this story. I disliked your style, which is probably a smaller-sounding critique than the "fix" would require (as you'd probably have to go through and revise most of this story to get the narrative flow to a smoother rate), but you presented all of the pieces to a journey. This was a decent first chapter, if a little on the long side. You introduced characters, motives, settings, and destinations.

The biggest "hole" I think you unintentionally left was whose funeral everyone was gathered for in Ponyville, during the flashback.

At any rate, that's all I've got; I hope you found some of this to be helpful.
>> No. 128204
File 137774327488.png - (538.46KB , 410x2048 , Subjectivity.png )
>politically correct
Well, your grammar didn't offend me, so I think you're good.

All joking aside, this story was mostly clean from a grammatical standpoint. I marked a few things, but really, you and your editor have done a good job cleaning out the grammar. Then again, I also generally don't read for grammar, and only note it if it gets to a point where it's distracting. So while I don't doubt that this would pass EQD's automoon, I do think you'd probably get a strike upon resubmission because, frankly, the humor in this isn't really well-crafted.

I mean, sure, there's the whole argument for "humor is subjective" and yadda yadda, but that doesn't mean that there isn't some theory behind making things funny. Pacing, which is a function of timing, which is related to set-ups and punchlines, are all a part of delivery. I think you've got a decent idea here—parody the Hitman games, but with Pinkie doing pranks—but unfortunately, the humor needs work.

Before I get into the humor, though, I'd like to take a step back and look at the frame of the humor—the story you wrote. It's not really a coherent story, per se; it's more an episodic recounting of "things Pinkie Pie does". This isn't necessarily bad for a comedy piece (look at South Park; those rarely have overarching plots), but it does make me question why you try to tie all of the pranks together for one job that has three targets—instead of, say, doing a formulaic, Charlie's Angels-esque format. The pranks are already self-contained, so separating them will probably help you to avoid the implication that they're inter-related (for example, you could shuffle these three pranks and nothing would change; there's no chronological dependency).

After my minor qualm with the format, however, I still have to point out that I feel your humor is uninspired and in need of tinkering. The best way I can explain this is by asking "Why is this funny?" in any given situation. Like when Pinkie dresses up as Albert Einstein: why is that funny? It's a silly costume, sure, and it's amusing to realize that her "disguise" makes her stick out like a sore thumb, I don't really think you go anywhere beyond a mild amusement. It's almost like you've got a setup with no punchline, and this problem persists throughout most of your setups:

–Ringing the school bell early to make students leave early isn't going to be as effective as this story needs it to be; kids generally know their schedule enough to question changes to it, during which the teacher(s) can elect a chaperone and deal with things in the office.

–Breaking into someone's house and leaving creepy notes is, I'm pretty sure, a mild form of assault. ಠ_ಠ Even still, this is a prank-gone-wrong, but the joke at the end of Rarity only caring that the mannequin is ill-dressed doesn't pack as much impact. I think in this case, the setup is bad and the punch-line is... weak, but still technically a punch line.

–The Rainbow Dash thing is, again, creepy (sneaking into someone's house, dressing them up, taking pictures, and leaking them to the media), but this one happens in such a rushed pace, I'm having trouble critiquing it for not having a setup. I think you went for sudden, abrupt, shock value (not like "gross" but "haha, sudden and random!"), which somewhat deviates from the formula you presented in the other "episodes" of Pinkie's career.

Finally, I'd like to point out that referential humor is kind of weak. It not only requires you to have "been there", but when trying to say it's intrinsically funny, it often falls flat. So... I'd ditch the Harry Potter and Slender references, if I were you; they're weak, and only holding you and your story back.

So, all in all, my opinion of this is that it's got a decent idea that's mired down by flawed execution. However, since the comedy is one of the main points of this story's premise, I'd say that fixing it is going to be your top priority and most difficult task.

I wish you good luck, and I hope that this review helps.
>> No. 128205
Ah. Another opinion on this. Well, thanks for your help. The ending is a bit abrupt only because it's not yet the end—this story is on hiatus. However, I'm actually quite impressed that you managed to deduce as much as you did. Most people who look at this story just think it's too confusing to follow. Your closest theory is the dream idea, however, Jack is very real—probably the only real part of what goes on here. I'm working on the second chapter, which will explain how Jack and Derpy met, and how she was injured, but your questions are very helpful, as they tell me a lot about what the story looks like.

Thanks again.
>> No. 128215
Thanks for reviewing my fic. I'll see if I can find some help and fix all the problems and flaws you pointed out.
>> No. 128216
Title - Oh My Goddess! A Meat Eater!
Tags - Comedy, Human
Words - 1,147
Synopsis -
There's one, single, little, tiny thing I need. But how can I possibly ask for it?

Surely they won't understand.
Link - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vIk-hXICXWCjo_BDULeGg0TBMEu2Ar3w9m2CK7Cthy4/edit

Note - Short little thing I made about 8 months ago but never released, decided to do a little polish and put it out there. Kind of my idea on a common trope in HiE stories about the whole eating meat thing.
Also a test of present tense. It's hard as hell for me to get out of writing past tense.
Synopsis is a serious WIP. I have no idea right now what to do with it.
EDIT: Fixed the mistake, thanks Ghost.

Last edited at Thu, Aug 29th, 2013 08:14

>> No. 128217
Quick thing.

I think the phrase you're looking for is "But how can I possibly ask for it?"

Small fix.
>> No. 128218

Well, that's what I get for trying out a new style.

I guess I need to find a way to make that introduction more direct. I got a bit carried away when I started trying to be descriptive.

Thank you for the review.
>> No. 128225
File 137780759591.png - (21.35KB , 99x126 , Phoning It In.png )
This is short. Really short. I, also, am not sure what you should do with it; for what it is, it's already decent at answering a question that the fandom (and the show) has already answered.

So, at the source of this story, it's a "misunderstanding" piece. Like, everyone works on faulty intelligence—the human assumes, the pony believes his(?) lie of omission—and that leads to a dissonance between what is optimal and what is best for the characters. Note that I only assume "his" because of your phrase "man up"; otherwise, this main character is a fairly genderless, descriptionless entity.

Regardless of the narrator, the scene and question you present is framed well: you glance over the bullshit "arrival in Equestria" that every HiE story tends to do in the same manner, and you cut straight to the meat of the conflict.

Pun completely intentional.

I'd say that Applejack's reaction is more or less how I'd imagine it would be: pragmatic, with ridicule politely covering how offended she is for being condescended towards.

Really, the only way I can think of to expand this would be to spend more time for the human to ruminate on his dilemma—maybe eat a few meals, noting that he's getting more and more protein deficient as time goes on. Unless they eat beans, in which case it'd be a vitamin B12 deficiency, which takes...

>Since the liver does store extra vitamin B12, and the body has a recycling process for B12, it may take an adult 3-10 years to develop a deficiency once intake of the nutrient has ceased. If one’s past vitamin B12 intake has been very low, a deficiency may manifest itself in much less than 3 years after cessation of intake.

Hmm... actually, I'm not sure how quickly onset "dizzy spells" and/or anemia might take, given that I can't imagine ponies just straight up don't eat protein. I mean, peas, beans (excluding green beans), peanut butter, tree nuts, eggs, milk... there's a reason why vegetarian diets exist in the real world. Going vegan makes things harder by cutting out eggs and milk, but they can still get their nutrients from soy products and the rampant sense of self-righteousness that is apparently more nutritious than partaking in part of a diet that people lived on for millennia before the advent of agriculture.

So, there it is. The biggest problem with your story is the timeline of the nutrition deficiency. The thing you might want to fix is giving more weight to the main character's dilemma, as well as maybe giving the main character a personality.

However, I'll reiterate, this is pretty much fine as-is, and even the dietary stuff can be hand-waved with willing suspension of disbelief.
>> No. 128226
Just wanted to say that I sent it to EQD again and they complained about "Dialogue punctuation". Sometimes I wonder why do I even try to send my stories, cause after lots of revisions all they find are new excuses to reject my works.
>> No. 128227
I don't know, man. I'm not your editor. Try getting rid of the instances of "...?" and using an em dash instead of a hyphen before something interrupts the speaker.

>“Time to get started,” Pinkie Pie thought
This is a direct thought, not dialogue.

Alternatively, ask your questions in response to the automoon email; that should give you a better approximation of what that prereader is thinking.
>> No. 128228
File 137781975782.jpg - (26.52KB , 450x300 , Oh Boy Humans.jpg )
>For reasons I'm about to explain, I'm only going to read chapters 0, 1, and 2 of this.

First, some reading / typo notes, since you didn't have comments enabled in your documents:

Needs to be possessive

> years - nine
If you’re doing a space on either side, use an en dash (–)

>[the restraints] had been done up
I don’t know what this means

Don’t abbreviate in prose

Where did this ‘ come from?

>less than stellar
hyphenate compound descriptors

>banished and then imprisoned in the place he had been banished to
the show reference is a little thick

>the purple unicorn
Avoid epithets if you can

What was the point of the scene with Michael starting guard training?

Chapter 1
>metal on skin
I’d imagine the hair would be the more annoying part, though iron on skin might cause some reaction

Why did they hop the fence? Isn’t there a public gate?

if it’s a contraction, it should be “Name’s”

>we lapsed into silence, and a surprisingly comfortable one
this would work better without the “and”, and maybe even with an en dash:
>we lapsed into silence – a surprisingly comfortable one

>A quick hand/hoof shake later

Double-quote for dialogue, also, “Soup’s”

>cloud filled

>I couldn't wear my armour in the winter, the cold would kill me.
comma splice

>going ons

Eh... around the discussion with Rarity, Michael’s beginning to wear thin

Yeah... ugh... nix the Fluttershy thing

Okay, the foiling of the party is... you’re following the show’s storyline just to show how your character would have done everything in a more perfect manner. Congratulations, this is textbook definition of Mary Sue.

Don’t use “/“ for “or”

Why should Twilight care if he’s wearing his ceremonial armor in front of the queen?

Probably should lay off the F-bomb

>She, I'm assuming she, as it looks like Celestia and sounds female, started going on about
you tense-shift to the present for some reason

Yep, he just took on Nightmare Moon and lived.

Chapter 2

>death would have been kinder.
Capitalize. Also, depends on how alicorns process time

Yeah, see, when Celestia / the school administrator were talking about estrus in the prologue, I gave it a bye—they’re adults, talking about their students’ puberty as it causes problems to their social wellbeing. When Rainbow Dash does it in chapter 2, my immediate reaction is to ask you to stop talking about pony reproductive functions.

>Got a few lucky hits in, broke one of the griffons wings, and cracked the others beak.
At age ten. Suspension of disbelief is... well, it’s already gone, but damn, this is almost amusingly overpowered

Onward to the actual review, my main problem (as you probably guessed from my notes) with this story is how it's an incredibly cliché fanfic. By "textbook definition of Mary Sue", I mean that the actual Star Trek fanfiction character who appeared and handled plot events better than the other characters was named "Mary Sue". In two chapters of your story, we find that Michael is more athletic than Rainbow Dash, has more endurance than Big Mac (and by some fancy mathematics, Applejack), and has supersenses that allow him to detect danger / surprises from Pinkie Pie.

So, you know. That's bad. People generally want to read fanfiction because it extends the show's universe and gives more content for them to enjoy, not because you've cooked up a character that does things better than the main characters.

I almost feel like it's some sort of cosmic joke that you've replaced Spike—a bumbling, dopey kid—with Michael, a tacticizing combat expert. In a strange sense, you also seem to have replaced Retcon Sparkle, since he's more of a brother to Twilight (despite the odd sex stuff that you forced into the story on two separate occasions). It's like you took the best of two characters, combined them, and made them better.

The end result is someone that's overpowered, which leads to an air of "who cares?"

Like, ever play a video game where one guy is cheating? You don't count that one as a win or a loss, since the one guy's got such an unfair advantage, it nullifies the efforts of the remaining players. I, as a reader, don't give two shits reading about someone who's the greatest warrior in Equestria beating manticores senseless and holding his own, one-on-one, in a fight against Nightmare Moon. He's going to win, it's just a matter of inevitability. Even Gandalf, one of the (arguably) most overpowered characters in literature, had Saruman, a balrog, and overwhelming forces that he struggled with. I don't see that in the first two chapters of this story, and based on what I've read, there's very little motivation for me to stick around and see Michael lose a fight.

So, my suggestion? Re-do the first two chapters. Don't make it copy-paste of the first two episodes that replace Spike with John Rambo. Or actually do that, but keep Rambo oblivious and in-character, and go for the comedy route. It's okay to mirror the plot and show that your story is a new take on it, but the whole "Human in Equestria meets the main six" is virtually impossible to do in an engaging manner.

My biggest suggestion is to ditch the show canon entirely, and have Michael and some other traveling OC pony go from city to city on some sort of quest, kind of like Slayers. Sure, you could just rewrite that story without ponies in the first place, but really, if you're doing a human in Equestria, odds are you could do human in [INSERT OTHER FANTASY SETTING] and still effect the same goal.

That's only a suggestion, and seeing how it's difficult / unlikely for you to follow, I'll definitely advise you to tone down some of Michael's antics. Make him weaker, give him some character flaws. Make him human.

And for the love of God and all that is holy, leave out the story about horny Twilight chasing him around Canterlot. It adds nothing but cringes to this story.
>> No. 128230

Thank you for your comprehensive explanation. There are many things you brought up that my other reviewers did as well, and I will attempt to fix my "mistakes" when I rewrite my current material so far.
>> No. 128232

Thanks a bunch for having a look. I guess I'll have a think about whole nutrition thing, see if I can't come up with something better.

If not, I'll just use what I have.

It was actually supposed to be quite a bit shorter, and a part of bunch of tiny little stories about HiE tropes subverted.

Arrival in the EverFree and escapes it to get to Ponyville? Gets killed by timberwolves and Twilight finds his corpse.
The cliche 'Nobody trusts him, then saves the day, everyone loves him'? He takes one look at the situation, and says 'Nope'.
Applejack's apples being best he ever tasted? Puts on a brave face until she turns around, and spits it out.

I might have another run over the others and see if I can get them up to snuff. The meat eating one was probably the only one that really worked.

Last edited at Fri, Aug 30th, 2013 07:10

>> No. 128237
Title: Ponyville For The Blood God!

Word Count: 3157

Synopsis: The events after a Khorne Berserker (Warhammer 40k) appears in Ponyville.

Link: http://pastebin.com/3ahYAWz2

Note: I'm very new to writing, well anything really. Last writing I did was 4-5 odd years ago at school. I've written another short story prior to this, although that one was fun to write, it was the first story I had done in a while, so I feel that it wouldn't be the best to review. This short story came about in a 'what if' situation, and it was really fun to write, but I do have a lot to learn.

I wouldn't expect much from it as I am very new to writing, there are probably a lot of grammatical mistakes, and issues with layout (which I have yet to learn)

But any general tips, criticisms (no matter how mean) would really be appreciated..
>> No. 128242
Woops just realised I had missed a paragraph from the pastebin, updated now.
>> No. 128247
so uh... would anyone mind if I posted my fic on this thread here too?
>> No. 128249
Don't see why not mate, doesn't look like OP has been on for a while, so we might be waiting a while for reviews, but it doesn't matter.
>> No. 128250
It's still a WIP so it's well.... I just post the doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/15UXRADqeh0ctxzeyXcnnJT70h8Ti0dwKmrjpZ-webwU/edit?pli=1#heading=h.4kjhllumu183
>> No. 128251
File 137815063949.png - (327.57KB , 532x498 , Deer in headlights.png )
>a while
>last post was 29 August, today is 2 September
Oh, you.


I'll begin work on these on Tuesday, since I still have matters to attend to after my recent travels.

There's a reason I dislike the writeoffs, but no matter. Here's hoping you can use some of what I said on future works.

It wasn't necessarily a catastrophic failure, but it wasn't quite streamlined, either, is my main point.

Good luck
>> No. 128259
File 137820866094.png - (139.84KB , 1377x836 , 1377975359277.png )
Thanks mate, I appreciate it.
>> No. 128274
File 137832632598.png - (428.60KB , 600x524 , Durr 2.png )
True story: I once tried to learn the 40k background story and everything. I gave up because it was essentially more work than my current (admittedly 100-level) history class, with the reward being that I'll be able to understand... things about a tabletop game that's essentially a ripoff of D&D.

So, going into this, I had got no idea what any of this story means. A Khorne Berserker might as well be Satan ("Blood God" kind of rings with "evil" for some reason), and given that it (he?) begins killing and destroying ponies within a single line of dialogue, I'm inclined to believe this could essentially be "Satan in Equestria with a Grenade Launcher" and not really lose any merit.

Also, I have no idea what this story is supposed to be doing.

The ">" in front of everything make me think this is supposed to be a greentext story, but it's far too cerebral for that, since it has complete sentences and is none of the ">be me, space marine in Equestria >don't be Pinkie Pie, as she screeches party stuff" shit. Odd stylistic choices aside, this really reads like you wanted to write something killing off everything in Ponyville, but you didn't want to focus on any of the difficult narrative things like tension, pacing, or establishing a premise. Instead, you just put a killing machine in Ponyville to accomplish your goals and...

You did, I guess.

I don't know what you want to do with this story, so I really can't offer any advice. Maybe, for starters, put speakers in separate paragraphs to avoid confusion:
>”Twily...no” Shining said under his breath, suppressing a sob he remembered he needed to do his duty and stay strong for the princess, and Equestria. “Twilight, my....my...wa-”.

and fixing some subject / verb conjugation issues:

>The usual sounds of ponies on their daily business in Ponyville was replaced by screams, and vomiting

In terms of a conflict or premise, everything in this happens far too quickly for any sort of emotional response; you're specifically using the advantage of fanfiction to murder pre-established characters in as horrific a manner as possible. I think you're going for shock value, but that you're banking too much on it to the point where it's essentially obscene. Even in Game of Thrones or the Horus Heresy novels, where everyone and their mother dies, it's not usually done in a gory and sudden manner; they establish characters first, which essentially says who's dying and why you should care.

Minus that establishing, this story feels like you're writing it just to piss off bronies—essentially, a trollfic. Like, I can imagine you, the author, saying, "Man, Fluttershy's being burnt alive in her house. Isn't that funny? No? Problems?"

Which, if you want this to be taken seriously, is not where you want to be. And if you're not taking this seriously, I've already spent enough time reviewing this.
>> No. 128275
Thanks for reviewing my silly story haha. Yes it was kind of a pisstake greentext story, with the sole purpose of killing off all the major characters. It wasn't supposed to be particularly serious and I know the story was pretty terrible, I probably should have asked to have the actual writing itself critiqued rather than the plot since it was a silly idea anyway.

So I didn't really want it to be taken seriously, but was hoping for a review of the writing style itself.

But thank you for putting time into reading it and reviewing it, I appreciate it.
>> No. 128277
From a stylistic standpoint, the story is so repetitive that the repetition of actions (ironically) doesn't feel out of place—but not in a good way.

Like, how everyone who looks at the scene of carnage keeps vomiting because everyone who died did so by exploding or evisceration.

For how graphic you're being, your language isn't necessarily colorful:

>Leaving the ruins of what was Twilight's library, the marine surveyed the town now littered with corpses.

"Ruins" are fairly sterile a way of describing something. Obviously, you don't want to kill it with adjectives, but you can narrate actions that paint a more vivid image of what is happening:

>Charred planks of wood fell behind the space marine as he exited what used to be the Twilight's library. In front of him, the city burned with fire, death, and chaos.

See, because he's a Chaos Space Marine, so he probably likes chaos? Maybe have him react to it:

>He smiled to himself. Glorious.
>> No. 128278
Righto, I did get this nagging feeling aftwards I didn't describe the environments and such well enough.

But anyways, I will practice, practice and practice!

Thanks again
>> No. 128280
wenes my WIP story gonna be on the chopping block?
>> No. 128282
It's close to 55k words long, which is nearing the length of a novel. It's looking like "this weekend" is the best chance for it to be possible.
>> No. 128319
have you read mine yet OP?
>> No. 128320
File 137863018839.png - (29.52KB , 347x406 , Glare.png )

Okay, you're obviously in a rush beyond what my schedule is going to allow me to set aside time to read and review 55k words of fanfic. That's fine; let's split the difference and I'll review the first chapter of your story, and you can apply that information to the whole piece. You get help, I clear out my queue, and everyone wins, right?


Review Document With Comments [docs.google.com]

I honestly don't know where to begin with this story. It is in dire need of a proofreader, to the point where I don't think there's a single paragraph in this that doesn't have some sort of grammatical error. Or at least, what should be paragraphs; I don't think that you have the organizational methods of writing prose down pat just yet. Essentially, words build sentences, and sentences build paragraphs. Paragraphs should be composed of sentences that all express related thoughts; if you have six or so unrelated sentences in a row, that's generally a clue that you're either exposing information too fast or in an unorganized manner.

Take your first few sentences, for example:

>The sky above Canterlot was clouded by a sheet of pale gray, like that of cold steel, roaming down from the mountain’s top and now lay thick over the city.
>Thunder boomed in the distance as soldiers from some unknown country ran the innocent ponies from their homes.
>Fillies and colts alike were shown no mercy.
>Prisoners were taken to the now besieged castle where statues of the mane six lay strewn about the throne room, each still displaying their elements of harmony; a look of shock and terror on their faces.
>A being foreign to the celestial throne lounged across its frame, befouling the ancient symbol of light and hope with his shadowy form.

All of them paint a picture, yet there's something lacking—a unifying idea that ties them all together. At the basest level, you could regroup them to convey a little more meaning (and omit the first sentence wholesale, as it does nothing for the conflict at hand):

>Thunder boomed in the distance as soldiers from some unknown country ran the innocent ponies from their homes.
>Fillies and colts alike were shown no mercy.
>Prisoners were taken to the now besieged castle

(All of these deal with the effects of an invasion on Equestria)

>where statues of the mane six lay strewn about the throne room, each still displaying their elements of harmony; a look of shock and terror on their faces.
>A being foreign to the celestial throne lounged across its frame, befouling the ancient symbol of light and hope with his shadowy form.

(This begins focusing on an individual character and a scene, rather than the world at large)

My second piece of advice for you (after proofreading this, heavily) would be to try and go through this and organize paragraphs that aren't massive chunks of 10-15 sentences each. This can be mostly done with creative use of the Enter key; the main thing is to separate each paragraph.

Once you've done that, focus on the flow of sentences from one to the other. Taking the first paragraph that I've already separated, there's this:

>Thunder boomed in the distance as soldiers from some unknown country ran the innocent ponies from their homes.
>Fillies and colts alike were shown no mercy.
>Prisoners were taken to the now besieged castle

Narrative flow is a function of style; meaning, all good styles will have good narrative flow. Style is the choice of words in the way that you, the author, prefer to do things. I have my style, Stephen King has his style, and you have yours. The best way to test your narrative flow is to try reading the story out loud; if you find yourself stumbling or gasping for breath, something is wrong. Indeed, there's almost a poetic rhythm to prose, if one were to analyze it deeply, but I don't want to get into that. Instead, here's how I, in my style, would write these three sentences to form a paragraph:

>Cracks of thunder did little to drown out the frenzied cries that rang out in the streets of Canterlot.
>Invading soldiers swept through the city and drove civilians out of their homes; mares, and foals alike were shown no mercy.
>Once they were rounded up, prisoners were chained together and led to the dungeons in Canterlot Castle to await their fate.

From here, I'd segue into the changes in the castle—including the new guy on the throne. Perhaps I would focus on the dungeons, where Celestia and Luna have a conversation as they watch new ponies enter the prison; the main thing is, the next paragraph deals with a more direct scene than "what's happening in the city".

So, essentially, this is already probably a week's worth of work for you to do for 55k words. Some other things to bear in mind while revising:

– Different speakers get different paragraphs
– How to punctuate dialogue
– Description: you lack scenery and explain things far too plainly in text. There's an art to explaining what someone is feeling without actually stating it; body language, voice tones, and even word choice can all demonstrate a character's inner thoughts to the point where it doesn't need to be explicitly said.

From a plot-level standpoint, or at least what I could gather, Blueblood changes tracks far too quickly. He doesn't seem to be fazed by being in prison, and he folds like a wet napkin in front of Lancastra.

The punching Celestia in the face scene seems a little excessive.

Actually, you don't really dwell on the emotional aspects of anything in this story, let alone the violence. It feels like you're creating a ton of dark, unhappy events that everyone's aware of but no one's really affected by.

This story needs a good, thorough revision process. I'm not even sure what it will be after your first pass, but the important thing here is to keep working and improving. This story's shortcomings seem to come from lack of experience, not outright lack of skill; I feel that you have at least some sense of direction of where this is going, and therefore, a fledgeling narrative talent. Exercise that talent, and it will grow; for now, as it stands, this story needs some more care and crafting from you.
>> No. 128332
File 137867005836.jpg - (381.94KB , 800x800 , 1378577681623.jpg )
From >>128266

The Moon's Mother

Word Count: 1675

I know you didn't enjoy my last story, because it was pretty crap haha, I actually chose that one over this since I wrote it afterwards and was a bit unsure about this one.

It's a very short 'story', if you can call it that. My main niggle was, since it was probably the first piece of writing I have ever done from choice, I wasn't quite sure on how to do 2 people conversing for a lengthy period.

You'll notiuce I vary it between their names, what they look like, and what they are princess of, which I didn't like, but wasn't quite sure on how to put it.

Anyways, it is nowhere near as stupid as the warhammer one, so hopefulyl you won't find it painful to read, but don't expect much!

>> No. 128334
File 137869054286.jpg - (311.56KB , 900x569 , Yin Yang.jpg )

First, some stream of consciousness notes:

What’s up with the paragraph spacing on this?

First sentence is passive tense.


>Comforting to some, frightening to others.
sentence fragment

seeming is one of those words that actually impedes clarity. Avoid it unless you want to purposefully introduce ambiguity

>the majority ... were
group nouns count as singular, so this should be “majority was”

>The warmth, and calming atmosphere
omit the comma

>the regal, yet kind voice of Celestia asked
I don’t like this, because the “regal, yet kind voice” segment is getting between the dialogue and speech verb. perhaps
>”...not?” asked Celestia in a regal, yet kind voice.

>large velvety wing
large, velvety wing

>she glanced at the floor, “again Luna
“glanced” isn’t a speech verb, so the dialogue should be separated from it with a period. Also, since you’re beginning a sentence in dialogue, capitalize it

>a nuzzle, to which Luna returned
I can’t exactly remember the grammar rule here, but you don’t “return to” an action, you just “return” it

Where is the moon during all of this?

>”Houses? But you were all alone?” the white alicorn said looking puzzled. Luna sighed, “one of the aspects of Nightmare Moon's madness. She thought that after finding a way back into Equestria and overthrowing your rule, she would destroy Canterlot and it's castle, making Oblitus the centre of power.”
Two speakers? Two paragraphs.

I'll begin that first and foremost, this is better than the Chaos Space Marine thing. You establish characters and conflict better, to the point where they're the usual shadow puppets that appear in fanfiction. I won't dock you any "points" for this being an overdone premise, since the city-building idea is one I haven't quite seen yet. Maybe Luna raising an army of sexual army of moon-rock golems, but I forget the specifics of that.

Anyway, some of my critiques from the Chaos Marine thingy carry over: you need a proofreader / better handle on grammar. Punctuation errors abounded in this, including multiple speakers per single paragraphs.

Something you should look out for is your use of passive tense. Passive tense has its uses, but they are few and limited; it's almost always better to write in the active tense. "Clouds move" instead of "Clouds were moving," for example.

Mechanical errors aside, I was a bit thrown off by the idea of a "moonless night", but then I looked up the science behind it and you're good; I just didn't understand how "new moons" worked. Now I do.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have in this is that there's no conflict or resolution. Now, it's 1.6k words, so you're probably not going to be able to wrap up six different plotlines, but it feels like something's missing. You're introducing the existence of Oblitus and having the two sisters journey off to it, but what does that show? What emotional closure does that bring? I think if you establish a problem that this journey together is a solution to, this piece will be stronger. All the pieces are already there, even; I think maybe you just need to re-prioritize certain elements like Luna's doubt / insecurity.

That's all I've got for this story; I hope my insights are helpful.
>> No. 128339
File 137871920661.png - (209.34KB , 600x710 , 1377795181760.png )
Thank you for the reply, one of the things I'm really not sure about is structure of the writing, the paragraphcs, the layout etc. Do you know of any guides to help with that?

Hm you're right about the emotional closure, maybe I should hav explained Luna's uneasiness about Celestia seeing her city on the moon, how she's scared of what she accomplished with Nightmare Moon.

But your review is much appreciated, thanks mate.
>> No. 128342
Coincidentally, I kind of went over that with the review right above yours.

Copied and pasted for your convenience:

Essentially, words build sentences, and sentences build paragraphs. Paragraphs should be composed of sentences that all express related thoughts; if you have six or so unrelated sentences in a row, that's generally a clue that you're either exposing information too fast or in an unorganized manner.

Take your first few sentences, for example:

>The sky above Canterlot was clouded by a sheet of pale gray, like that of cold steel, roaming down from the mountain’s top and now lay thick over the city.
>Thunder boomed in the distance as soldiers from some unknown country ran the innocent ponies from their homes.
>Fillies and colts alike were shown no mercy.
>Prisoners were taken to the now besieged castle where statues of the mane six lay strewn about the throne room, each still displaying their elements of harmony; a look of shock and terror on their faces.
>A being foreign to the celestial throne lounged across its frame, befouling the ancient symbol of light and hope with his shadowy form.

All of them paint a picture, yet there's something lacking—a unifying idea that ties them all together. At the basest level, you could regroup them to convey a little more meaning (and omit the first sentence wholesale, as it does nothing for the conflict at hand):

>Thunder boomed in the distance as soldiers from some unknown country ran the innocent ponies from their homes.
>Fillies and colts alike were shown no mercy.
>Prisoners were taken to the now besieged castle

(All of these deal with the effects of an invasion on Equestria)

>where statues of the mane six lay strewn about the throne room, each still displaying their elements of harmony; a look of shock and terror on their faces.
>A being foreign to the celestial throne lounged across its frame, befouling the ancient symbol of light and hope with his shadowy form.

(This begins focusing on an individual character and a scene, rather than the world at large)
>> No. 128343
File 137873496208.png - (1.43MB , 1800x1600 , 135706481902.png )
Ahhhh I see what you mean, righto I will practice that.

Thank you for the help.
>> No. 128344
No worries, and good luck
>> No. 128348
thanks a lot for takeing a look, and for your feed back <3
>> No. 128354
File 137879371493.jpg - (117.05KB , 469x346 , 65569 - I_don't_even_know rainbow_dash.jpg )
This thread is god damn dicks. Pure dicks :/
>> No. 128358

Your FACE is dicks.
>> No. 128360
Title: Clockwork
Wordcount: ~6k
Writer: Split Infinitive

Clockwork, a clockmaker’s son, discovers that accidents can turn out for the better, a war is brewing, and love is never easy. More keen to cause problems than fixing them, he might still be able to give a healthy contribution to winning or even preventing a war.

I would kindly request a review, on it.

>> No. 128361
I see you've taken the bait, then. <3

>> No. 128373
File 137894293240.png - (934.99KB , 1702x678 , My Thoughts.png )
I left some comments in-doc; however, this needs a much finer grammatical scrubbing than I am able to give it.

From a stylistic standpoint, a lot of your dialogue felt unnatural and rushed. So you accidentally created a situation where not only do scenes sound like everyone's severely uncomfortable, but illogical to the point where they seem to be in a hurry to get to the end of the scene they're currently in.

The dialogue issue leads me to what I believe is a lack of emotional congruence, where I'm not sure that the things that happen to the characters are substantial enough to affect their moods. Also, I don't think you did a good enough expressing emotions—part of that was dialogue, and part of it was talking heads with tacked-on body language that felt artificial.

Next, I'm not too sure about how strongly characterized Clockwork is. Meaning, I read this first chapter, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you what kind of a son he is (he's obedient yet ignored by his father, granted, but that's fairly cliché), what kind of a lover he is, or what his passions in life are. I'd guess learning for that last one, but is that the only thing about him? I feel that you should do a better job of giving him more of a personality, since he's essentially the only thing tying this first chapter together.

On that note, I had several pacing issues with this chapter. I already mentioned that the dialogue and inter-character interactions flew by at breakneck speed, but for six thousand words, a lot happens in this chapter. A family uproots, moves, and renovates a shop, Clockwork goes on a few dates with his girlfriend, he does some work in two different shops, and he invents the watch from Clockstoppers (yes, I remember that movie).

However, the "boring" segment, where Clockwork is bored in his dad's shop, seemed to go on for far too long.

Similarly, I'm not entirely sure about the narrative direction of this piece. The first date scene between Clockwork and Jewel stands out as essentially pointless; it's sort of like the emotional equivalent of a quickie. What I mean by that is, it almost felt like they felt an obligation to see each other, but neither of them really took anything from that interaction (which wraps back into your dialogue and characterization of Clockwork).

That just leads me to the critique that I don't feel this was an effective first chapter. You did introduce some of the overarching plot (which sounds like it is fairly complex), but only at the very end when Clockwork invented a way to travel time. The rest of it felt like a fairly clinical introduction to Clockwork's antebellum life, but it wasn't really presented in an engrossing manner. If the story's focusing on Clockwork's romantic troubles, show him and his girlfriend making up after a fight (it's a positive interaction that also demonstrates the nebulous and shaky nature of young relationships). Have him do more studying more often and earlier, so it makes sense that he's some sort of clockwork savant.

Basically, plan this story out so you know what you need to show in the first chapter. Then you can introduce what is necessary and you'll have a better understanding of what fits where.

That sums up my thoughts on this piece; I hope my insights are helpful.
>> No. 128380
Stopping by to say hi. :P

Don't mind me.
>> No. 128387

First of all my sincere thanks for your review, as I read through it, it confirmed my suspicions.

Furthermore it revealed that areas I thought I had fixed are still in need of repair. Dialog for instance, are still a very weak point and come over as robotic/emotionless.

I’m not sure how to tackle any of those things sadly, I’ve tried guides, sites, even going as far as renting books and CDs from the local library. Now I might be bordering on the edge of ‘can you write my story for me’ but I would like to ask for tips on how to write better than what I can currently produce.

I really want to know how I could make my dialog less robotic. It’s just (to use that excuse) might be that I’m not a native, however, there are probably thousands of non-native English who are able to do it, so this kinda renders my argument to nothing

. So my question: Why does my dialog feel rushed/robotic? Is it word usage, use speech tagging, is it show and don’t tell?

Next is grammar, I can’t expect you to answer any of these questions, but what would be the biggest points that are in need in of fixing (punctuation, sentence structure, or the lot)?

The pacing, I certainly have to plan this. I must admit this fic was a spur of the moment idea, and while I’ve got the big layout, I’ve still got to invest into the details. Which brings me to the next point, pacing/character building.

Would it be better to try to introduce them with scenes taking longer? And to try to make them carry actual emotional weight? The answer to this would probably be yes, but then again. How would I accomplish this? Any information you have to help me with this would be greatly appreciated.

> However, the "boring" segment, where Clockwork is bored in his dad's shop, seemed to go on for far too long.
But is it aside from the issues with grammar and dialog, is this what I should be aiming for, or is it just too long for the kind of information I want to convey?

>he invents the watch from Clockstoppers (yes, I remember that movie).
I swear to god, I’ve never even heard of a movie like that.

Yet again, I thank you a lot for your time, and I’ll definitely use your critique in my attempt to become a better writer.

>> No. 128390
File 137903445108.png - (775.82KB , 1280x960 , Tangled.png )
> So my question: Why does my dialog feel rushed/robotic? Is it word usage, use speech tagging, is it show and don’t tell?
Probably the best thing I can think of, in terms of learning how to naturally write dialogue, would be immersion. Meaning, watch TV shows, stand up comedians, reality TV even; the important thing isn't necessarily the plot or the depth of what you're watching, but that you are able to observe natural speakers speaking in a pseudo-natural state. Avoid things with actors known for their quirky dialogue, like Nicolas Cage, Keeanu Reeves, or Sylvester Stallone. Obviously, joining some sort of a Skype community or something where you're speaking English over the Internet might also help; however, that may not be an ideal or plausible solution.

However, for the time being, I will note that your dialogue tends to have a synthetic rhythm to it. For example,

>The unicorn smiled as he pulled out a purse from his travelbag. “Clockwork, I’d like to buy that clock from you.” He pointed at the slightly off clock.

>“I’m sure, there are other’s better to your –“

>“Isn’t the customer always right?” the unicorn cut him off with a friendly smile.

>“I… I guess,” Clockwork replied hesitantly.

I've found that it's generally better to match narration with dialogue at ends of paragraphs, when possible. Meaning, if your paragraph ends with someone saying something, start the next paragraph with dialogue.

Also, a little more verbal inefficiency (pauses, repetitions, filler words) helps unless you're writing a political debate.

That, combined with a little more natural action progression, would look like:

>The unicorn pointed at the broken cock and smiled. “Well, Clockwork, I’d like to buy that clock from you.”

>“But... sir, I’m sure there are others that are—“

>“Isn’t the customer always right?” The unicorn cut him off and pulled out his coin purse.

>Clockwork blinked. “I… I guess. Yes, sir, you're right.”

Writing dialogue and character interaction is less a science and more roleplaying. In this scene, I'm playing the part of customer unicorn as a 50-something guy I knew who didn't give one fuck when we went to buy a computer monitor together once as part of a repair; Clockwork is flustered and uncertain because he's being presented with conflicting ideas—selling an imperfect clock, and customer service.

>Next is grammar, I can’t expect you to answer any of these questions, but what would be the biggest points that are in need in of fixing (punctuation, sentence structure, or the lot)?
For grammar, I'd say focus on dialogue punctuation (commas are only used with absolutely speaking verbs) and capitalization; however, you also have some funky sentence structures in places.

>Would it be better to try to introduce them with scenes taking longer? And to try to make them carry actual emotional weight? The answer to this would probably be yes, but then again. How would I accomplish this? Any information you have to help me with this would be greatly appreciated.
There's something to be said about introductory scenes where someone is in their natural state. Like you have Rare Jewel selling gardening solutions, which immediately makes me think of her as a caring, nurturing individual—and she hasn't even done anything to Clockwork yet. First impressions are huge, therefore, so the more emotional warmth (or chill) you can give to an introductory scene, the better.

A huge part of emotions is "how someone feels" I am a master psychoanalyst, I know. This can be affected by physical discomfort or memories they have with the other individual (external and internal stimuli), and is expressed for your readers to pick up on via body language and dialogue. Try to avoid narrating emotions directly; leading a horse to water and forcing water down its throat are two different things.

So basically, if you write better dialogue, you'll write better emotions. If you write more natural actions and body language, your emotions will come across better. One thing I do notice in this piece is that you have a lot of heel-turn emotional moments. For example,

>“He honestly liked my clock, and he knew what he was doing,” he paused, “and besides you know Tick Tock doesn’t spend a bit more than needed on anything. That’s why he hasn’t been able to beat you yet. So why would he pay so much for a slightly off target clock? The town knows you triple check your clocks before they leave your workshop. It’s the reason we have lifelong warranty. Because our clocks don’t break or go funky.”

>His father’s color returned and he seemed to relax a bit at this. Time cracked a smile and walked over to his son embracing him tightly. “You’re right,” he said as he let go. “Now let’s celebrate, you sold your first clock.”

The father, Time, seems to waver between good moods and bad moods at a much faster speed than is usually considered stable. You need to give more time for the reader to realize that he's changing his mind—a few more exchanges of ever-softening dialogue, showing his physical process of relaxing, etc.

A good place to start with this is to go through each scene and figure out what each character's mood is. Then ask yourself how that mood affects his or her actions and words. How do those actions play off someone else's actions? Remember, it is possible for one of your characters to be an asshole.

>But is it aside from the issues with grammar and dialog, is this what I should be aiming for, or is it just too long for the kind of information I want to convey?
The thing about "bored" segments is that they can be used as a blank slate to build characterization. Does the character's mind wander? Do they look for things to do? Do they take a nap? In any case, it's best to present whatever they fill their boredom with in a captivating manner (be brief, be distinct, and be interesting). It's natural for your characters to get bored. It's bad if your readers are.

I hope this clarifies things.
>> No. 128406

Thank you again, for your explanation

The examples on dialog, are very much appreciated.

Now 'i'm having a reason forced to get netflix to brush up my understanding of English talking. And a dive in English for dummies will also be on my list.

Thanks Nick
>> No. 128407
No problem, just remember to keep an analytical mind while viewing.
>> No. 128461
File 137945507433.jpg - (36.22KB , 400x343 , ____.jpg )
Title: Perihelion

Word Count: 4887

Synopsis: What starts out as a simple day for an average pony suddenly turns into something sinister.

Link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qj8r1OZhYhTsrhJuduSCtogkxMMkSYwpBcHe1RiZhy8/edit

Special Notes: The story starts and ends as it is for a reason. This is a piece that's best finished before really trying to tear me limb from limb (which will happen). The story is not what it appears to be. Keep this in mind while reading.
>> No. 128464
In keeping with Samurai's review style, I'll read this multiple times. However, I will let you know if I can think of something that needs to be changed to keep your story engaging for the first-time readthrough; if a story doesn't keep readers engaged by its own merits, the ending may not be functionally able to redeem it.
>> No. 128489
File 137974902039.png - (144.58KB , 362x486 , Huh.png )
>Apologies for how late this is; however, you've known some of the details of my past week, so I at least tried to keep you abreast on my own schedule.

Anyway, I started this off with some notes in-doc; your worries about the opening are probably an overreaction, but there's probably some more you can do to streamline and introduce plot-important information in an interesting and engaging manner. Such as, like I suggested, maybe starting with Mirra's voice sooner rather than the professor's.

In terms of grammar, the usual, just like it's been for the past 30 months: inconsistent tenses. You waver between the present and past tense.

Additionally, I'm not entirely sure of what the bolded names does for this story. It's distracting, but not terrible; I'm just pointing out that if you're trying something fancy with them, I'm not sure what that amounts to.

Luckily, I don't have that much grammatical issues with this story, so I can focus on the "meat" of it. And the "meat" is that it's essentially psychological dubstep—a fair amount of buildup, then dropping a realization on the reader in a mind-blowing manner. Music puns about that sort of story? My problem is that a lot of this story feels like flavor that distracts, rather than enhancing, the big reveal. For example, a few points I wondered about:

-The colt falling out of the roller coaster
-The movie theater
-The "time jump" of a month or so, with "wait, who was in control?"

All of these feels like they should mean something, but I'm afraid that even after two readings, I'm unable to fit them into the logical progression of revelations in the story. Generally, the rule of thumb with details in a psychological / weird story like this is, if they aren't relevant to whatever you're building up to, then they're omittable.

Next, one of the big points I was confused about was Mirra's name. Now, according to my understanding of what happened, this whole story is a dream. In the dream, Mirra and Dusk act as polar ends of a spectrum that Twilight Sparkle fits "somewhere" on. Mirra is more focused on friendship and helping others, Dusk is more about personal improvement and ambition. Both of them try to get Twilight to learn a lesson—Mirra (avatar for Twilight) asks dream-Twilight if she has friends; Dusk asks her when she's going to do something with her life / abilities ("in whose reality does the scenery never change). If all of this is correct, then wouldn't Mirra's name be better as something that's close to "Twilight", just on the opposite end of the times that their names represent? Something like ______ – Twilight – Dusk

Another point I'd like to make is that a few of your story's psychological points and metaphors fall flat. The worst offender was the titular "perihelion", being used to describe an illusion that helps ponies control what is still just one limb. It's not impossible that Mirra drew inspiration for the artificial limbs from the lecture, but the metaphor isn't tight enough for it to transfer over as close as you want it to fit.

Finally, the "big reveal" of this... doesn't really clarify much. I mean, combined with a lot of the veil around the imagery in this piece, it felt a lot like you were mirroring things without much more direction than "these things are mirrored". For example, squirrels swarming Dusk and students swarming Twilight outside the Astronomy lesson. The dark miamasa appearing in the two movie theater-like places. All of this makes the story seem less contiguous than it ought to be. So when you reveal that this is a dream within a dream, it's not that the information comes out of nowhere, it's more that there was a lot of buildup to something, but I'm not sure if it built up to the reveal.

Ironically, you do a good job with the ending of this. Meaning, I think once you figure out how to twist things around to come to a realization, having Twilight waking up and having learned a lesson fits naturally in with whatever it was that you were trying to do. So you're essentially doing the South Park "Step 1: Premise. Step 2: ???. Step 3: Profit"; you've got 1 and 3 lined up, it's just the ??? in the middle that needs the most work.

Similarly, I was a fan of the prosthetic limbs angle. It makes me think Twilight's got some body dysphoria going on after gaining her wings, and that's just a nice, subtle touch that you didn't beat anyone over the head with.

So, in short: close, but no cigar. The opening's decent, the ending is decent, but I'm not sure that you do enough to show the lessons that "Mirra" is learning in this to substantiate the ending.

Either way, this wasn't bad. I wish you good luck on revisions, and I hoped you found this review helpful.
>> No. 128496
So looked over it and I've once more reached that point where I think everything looks good
>> No. 128500
File 137988141102.png - (135.16KB , 322x337 , Neat.png )
I'm glad I could help.
>> No. 128766
Word Count: 24,682 (At time of posting.)
FIMfic Description:

'Bout twelve years ago, Equestria got taken over.

But not by vast armies or corrupt governments, that'd be too easy. My country was taken by Mother Nature herself.  One day, huge trees just started coming up from the ground faster than you would ever belive. Not much we could do about it, the trees we cut down just get replaced by more trees. In a few days, everypony had to find higher ground or get lost in the woods. Today, the forest down there is a real dangerous place, filled with bloodthirsty monsters 'n heathen ponies and the like.

We called it Nature's Curse.

There ain't many operatin' cities left now, most of 'em got swallowed up. The ones that were untouched lost contact with each other, making it real hard to move goods and messages around. Most couriers that tried to make deliveries on hoof just ended up lost or eaten, and most pegasai can't fly that far without rest.

That's where I come in.

The name's Cloudstrider. I'm the captain of this beautiful little airship called The Sea Singer. This here's my first mate, Derpy Hooves and y'all probably already met my pilot, Scootaloo, my navigator, Sweetie Bell, and my engineer, Applebloom. Me and my crew are at your service,  providin' y'all have the bits to pay for us.

You have a job that needa doin', we can do it... don't much care what it is.

Plot Synopsis: Twelve years after the conclusion of season three, most of Equestria was taken over by the rapid Expansion of The Everfree Forest. Only cites built away from the ground like Canterlot, Cloudsdale, and Manehatten were not swallowed up by nature. This story follows the Exploits of an airship captian as he struggles to stay out of the clutches of the Equestrian Bureau for the Regulation of Trade.
>> No. 128776
File 138090260869.jpg - (52.04KB , 504x389 , Pinkie on Pinkie.jpg )
Title: Friendship is Optimal: Crucial Gamers Turmoil

Word count: 6,254, give or take 50.

Short synopsis: While CelestA.I. slowly begins to satisfy through friendship and ponies, a writer at a British gaming site attempts to follow her actions, every step of the way.

Story: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fpLCUU35mRvCoWY1CPPCiPBU5cvL-zeAm8BlWKygpc4/edit (Do I need to share or upload the document before linking it?)

Notes: Almost the entire story is written in diary-form with short articles that covers Equestria Online's important moments and a few remarks from the main character. Several of Crucial Gamers' employees are given full names, as contrasted to only giving them surnames as I've often seen in fanfics. I've never completed a fic before, and I've also never submitted a fic for review either, so I feel a bit scared about this. And of course, having read and remembered most of the original Friendship is Optimal is necessary, as this fic follows its events and timeline very closely until there's only a few chapters left.
>> No. 128780
Title: Fallout Equestria: Once More with Feeling
Word Count: 18,640
Synopsis: In the future, Equestria sank deeper and deeper into a vicious war that ultimately annihilated the country. Twilight Sparkle and her friends were caught in the thick of it, and despite their best efforts they fail to stop the end of the world.

Yet somehow they wake up back in Ponyville, before the war started, when everything was beautiful and perfect. After everything they've been through, do they still belong there?

Links sent through email.

Notes: As you can tell, this is already based on the fic Fallout Equestria, and that's one of my first dilemmas. I've been told that this story as I've written it will lose anyone who hasn't already read FoE, but I'm not sure I want to give up on accessibility. Even if you haven't read FoE yourself, I'd still value you telling me what details I need to expound upon and what character motivations need filling in.

Furthermore, I'm concerned about how well I'm conveying the necessary emotions. The mane six are all coming back to the past with various forms of mental scars, given that they failed to stop the war (in some cases making it worse) and saw some of the horrific results firsthoof. I want to convey the right emotions, like confusion and regret and grief, as well as I can, but I can't help but feel like I've fallen short.

Those are the specifics that I would like you to hit in the review, though I'd also welcome any other points you can think of.
>> No. 128782
File 138095028512.jpg - (11.61KB , 275x200 , 1293482992595.jpg )
Email the link so I can steal the review god damnit.
>> No. 128783
File 138095745775.png - (186.98KB , 489x1024 , Smug Twilight EG.png )
Now now, SL, there's plenty of fic for everyone. I just sent it to both of you.
>> No. 128784
File 138096295903.gif - (651.68KB , 256x144 , Laughing.gif )
>mfw "SL"

Okay, then... time to get to work.


Let's see how well SL—er, Seattle does on this story in terms of a review. He's a competent guy, despite his hipsterism.
>> No. 128785
File 138096409202.jpg - (46.87KB , 646x592 , I think I should think more thoughts.jpg )
So that means you're British, or aims at British writing like I do?

That could possibly cause small-scale problems, as the early articles of my story points out a few of the references after the articles (including snowy winters and Lewis, as well as mentioning Canada's Worst Driver instead of the British version), which aims at explaining them to a possible North American audience.
>> No. 128786
File 138096665596.jpg - (227.72KB , 1179x1242 , Vampire-Weekend-Vampire-Weekend-cover-album.jpg )
And what's wrong with being a hipster, huh?
>> No. 128789
File 138099443534.png - (775.82KB , 1280x960 , Tangled.png )
Wh... no, it's an American-English word for an ordered line of things.

Oh, many things, but you've probably never heard of them before.
>> No. 128790
File 138099567561.jpg - (27.35KB , 406x408 , Another desperate smile.jpg )
Ah. My fault. When I think about queue, I think of the British definition of people waiting in a line, instead of the neutral definition of a first-come, first-served waiting list. I had to double-check it on Wiktionary just to be sure.

I feel like I'm digging my own grave here, despite only having had some tiny little hiccups so far.
>> No. 128825
File 138113675774.png - (21.35KB , 99x126 , Phoning It In.png )

One difficulty that always arises in the reviewing / improvement of "journal"-style fics is the concept of perfect imperfection. I'm stealing a little from Extra Credits, but essentially, when you're putting out a journal or letter-style fic, there's a lot of leeway for ignoring "conventional" writing tools and techniques, such as grammar and pacing.

That's not to say your story had a lot of problems with grammar or pacing, but it was more that every time I noticed a comma error (by far your most repeated grammatical offense, in that there were probably twenty or so in the whole story), I had to ask myself two things: what is your intention in writing this, and was the error something that the proxy-author would make in his journal? Story-wise, I know he's a journalist in the gaming industry, but given how... lax the entire "video game journalism" industry seems (the massive conflicts of interest come to mind), I wouldn't begrudge a few comma errors from this guy.

Still, if you didn't intend those, find a Chicago Manual of Style, brush up on comma usage, and give this story a nice comb-through for comma errors.

Next up on the list of "mechanics" things is your actual story formatting. Generally, when I read journal-style fics, I consider it a good idea to put a good chunk of white space between entries. This fits in with the usual practice in a physical journal of starting a new entry on a new page. Now, I'll give you that a lot of these "chapters" are fairly short, but that might give you an excuse to flesh out some of the earlier ones (more on that in a bit).

Similarly, I'm not personally a fan of the "author's notes" or "by the way, such and such is a reference to this" that you spelled out in various different formats at the end of each entry. I think if that information were important, it should have been presented in the body of the journal—just done organically, so the journal author is explaining things to the audience without being overt about it. Subtlety and the art of writing are closely related, after all; I'm confident that there exists a way to get across the information you need to without the authors notes.

From a "story" standpoint, I'm also kind of at an impasse of "style versus function". Meaning, you do some things that might make sense stylistically, but I'm not sure how well they work functionally. A perfect example of this would be how the main character sort of glosses over some events in the story: him "rescuing" Crescent Sooth from the angry guy, or—more importantly—his conversation with Celestia where she essentially convinces him to commit suicide on earth and play a MMORPG full-time.

On a similar note, I wasn't quite sure how the game is actually played, especially when the main character plays a racing game on a nearby console. Would the game work if his back were turned to the camera? Why is a combination microphone and webcam called a PonyPad?

From a pacing standpoint, I'll note that, for a journal, these entries seem to be very far spaced out. Nothing killer, mind you, and I'm sure that you can play off in the synopsis that "these are select entries from the personal journal of Jack Stevenson". However, bear in mind, then, that each entry needs to hold its own weight and importance. For one example, the "disappearances" entry didn't quite build up enough tension for there to be shock in the revelation that people are being uploaded into a computer program.

World-wise, I'm not entirely sure how well-thought-out your take on humanity is. I touched on this with Celestia not thinking through the whole "who's going to run meatspace to keep the servers up and running?", but this also comes with much more pressing questions from a technological standpoint. Meaning, the creators of Equestria Online have essentially solved a ton of pressing computer problems:—artificial intelligence, facial / emotional recognition, speech recognition / learning... heck, even the scene where he plays a racing game on his TV and the characters in-game recognize that is a relatively involved undertaking from a Computer Science standpoint.

I mean, what's keeping a group of dedicated scientists from running a private Equestria Online server, telling the "ponies" on there to make some computer programs that are better than them, and overclocking this machine to run at an equivalent-simulated speed of a hundred or a thousand times as fast as real life? People are sitting on the edge of the singularity, but it just seems they're too busy pursuing escapism to do anything.

Which, don't get me wrong—that's a pretty powerful misanthropic statement you're making about human society, and you're free to do that. I think you set out to portray a dystopian society that has a fairly high price of entry—essentially selling your soul to the Devil some Japanese company—and I think you succeeded. I'm just pointing out that the glimpses of the world we get don't tend to be as rich and developed as they might potentially be; at the same time, I understand that world-building may not be a goal for this piece.

Moving on, the final thing that stands out to me in this story is the ending. To me, it feels relatively melancholy and almost like "the bad guys won". I mean, robo-Celestia is essentially taking over the earth—not through violence, but through creating an addictive, life-replacing utopia that people merely have to kill their mortal bodies to join. From an outsider's perspective, this looks like the human race's extinction coming as a "killing through kindness". This isn't necessarily a bad thing from a writing standpoint, but what I will mention is that the tone kind of falls flat near the end, and that the whole purpose of two notebooks / a voice recorder seems to be an unfinished plot point.

Similarly, and this might just be me, I'm not sure what the "For the Here and Now" achievement part at the end was supposed to symbolize, or how he got it. By thinking about something?

All in all, you'll note that I had a lot of things to ramble about on this story, so I'd like to close out by saying I don't think this was bad, just that the format butts heads with my usual review style. I'm not entirely sure what you want to do here; if you want to do a more character-focused story, there's some things that can be done. If you want world-building and to show that humanity is dying, there are other things that can be done.

If you want a diary-style story of one man abruptly joining a video game without much thought to the outside world, you've pretty much got that already. It was an interesting read, if a bit sad, and I hope there's something in this review that sparks some sort of idea in your mind.
>> No. 128826
File 138113851902.jpg - (15.32KB , 238x322 , You can trust me, or not.jpg )
I admit to the ending being a bit rushed and that I only gave it a minimum of post-writing editing. There were two kinds of grammar I thought could get problematic for me: One being that I'm not fully sure about English comma rules, and the other being the complete abscence of em and en dashes. I think I could need one of those Chicago Manuals of Style. In addition to taking most of the story's cues from the original fic which in turn was spaced out widely, I also had a very, very extensive headcanon for it, parts of which formed the story and may or may not explain things like the racing game sequence.

I'll add some white space to the story when I'm finished writing this post. I also figured out a bit late that it would be better to call the "chapters" for articles. I could also try to incorporate most references into the story.

There's a lot of questions and point-outs you're asking, both here and in the story comments, so I probably can't answer everything.

I did assume that the needed world-building was already done by Friendship is Optimal and a few of its long-since published Optimalverse stories, and that this fic was to serve as an alternate point of view to all this. "For the Here and Now" was a badge that served to show that the recipient had accepted that his happiness and satisfied values was everything that mattered from then on.

As long as the story wasn't total rubbish, I guess I'm pleased with that. The original intention was to publish it on FiMFiction if it wasn't too shabby.
>> No. 128833
Nick, when you'll have the time for that, could you please review this short story: >>128777, and look at what I said just below it? (I'm pretty much asking you the same thing you did the previous time)
>> No. 128835
It will be done
>> No. 128838
File 138118128986.png - (903.93KB , 1225x599 , Response time.png )
>I admit to the ending being a bit rushed and that I only gave it a minimum of post-writing editing.
The main thing I didn't get was the importance of the achievement (and, thinking back on it, I'm not too certain of the math when the main character was mentioning "30,000 achievement points" in reference to the leaderboards—wouldn't everyone have more points just for living in the Brave New World and joining in on "happy-playing-around-effects" and selling things and whatnot?)

>I also figured out a bit late that it would be better to call the "chapters" for articles.
I'm a bit confused about this. Meaning, are you trying to say that each of the "chapters" could be re-dubbed "articles" (as in, for whatever publication the author was writing for)? I'd argue that the tone and style of the individual "chapters" don't quite fit in with the style of even video game journalism-level "news articles". I read this and guessed they were diary entries (and they are referred to as such within the story), and they work much better as diary entries.

>I did assume that the needed world-building was already done by Friendship is Optimal and a few of its long-since published Optimalverse stories, and that this fic was to serve as an alternate point of view to all this
If you're writing this as an (un?)official sequel to an existing work, then fair enough. I ignored your warning of "you should read the original story first" because, frankly, I didn't want to read 40k words of what I assumed is just another knockoff of "The Conversion Bureau", and Chatoyance scares me. I'll grant that that makes me a little less useful to review your story to make sure that you've fit in with Friendship is Optional's continuity, but I don't think I've ever advertised my services as fixing every problem in a story—just to ask questions and making comments to get you thinking about where you can and should improve your story.

>As long as the story wasn't total rubbish, I guess I'm pleased with that.
I can't really speak for the reception of Fimfiction, since I am one person and I very rarely vote on stories there, but in terms of a fanfic-of-a-fanfic, this isn't "total rubbish" by any measure. The style gets a little dry in places, there's a couple comma errors, and all the other things I mentioned in my review, true, but I've seen stories that are beyond salvaging (in my opinion); this one is not that.

Good work. Now make your next story even better than this one.
>> No. 128845
File 138119036299.png - (62.10KB , 366x416 , Crossover (Fuck Yeah).png )
I'm going to be honest: I dislike this story's style, despite not necessarily disliking the actual plot and world you're creating. Maybe that has something to do with how this is so strongly influenced by Firefly, a show whose plot and style I enjoy both of. Regardless, I can tell you what I dislike about your first chapter, and I don't think I'm wrong in assuming that the advice will apply to the other three chapters in this.

First, some stream-of-consciousness notes, since we're doing this O.G. style:

watch your adjective use

>burning my throat with the intensity molten lava

>you would expect most shady joints like this to be
Ignoring the convention of “don’t use second person in stories”, this smacks of lazy exposition

>Wow, this was some strong stuff, probably ninety percent alcohol or so.
Italicize direct thoughts or weave them into the narration, but don’t put little asides like this as part of the text itself

This story really needs an editing sweep.

>The crowd of drunk ponies surrounding us suddenly realized that they all had left their ovens turned on, and dispersed without another peep.
Wasn’t this a shady, beaten-down bar? Wouldn’t the others raise their own guns? Surely someone is loyal to the bartender?

>A loud crash sounded behind me, followed by a few suprised shouts and the woeful cry of an older stallion "My cabbageeees!"
You’re already doing a Firefly / MLP crossover. Try to reduce memes / unsubtle references to other works.

Watch out for / try to reduce onomatopoeia

> "It's over, Strider." he said "Ya dun got yerself in a tight spot over the price of a few measly 0 a 'shine. Now dont'cha feel like a fool?"
Basic speech punctuation would have a comma after Strider and a period after “said”. But... “the price of a few measly 0 a ‘shine?” What?

Watch the bolding and all-caps of dialogue.

>"Same ol' story. Same ol' song and dance, eh?"
Good song. Not so good reference.

Next, on to the review proper. I'm going to mix things up a little, since I like living on the edge when doing my literary analysis of My Little Pony fanfiction; this time, I'm going to focus on what I believe you did right before getting into the grammar / style:

I think this is more-or-less adequately paced for a first chapter.

Now, that may not seem like much, and even then I'd argue that a lot of the events in the second half of the first chapter only happen for the sake of introducing all of the main characters. However, you definitely got the basic idea of pacing right: start with an action-packed / interesting scene, resolve it, and then step off the gas to introduce everyone.

If those two sentences seem a little self-contradictory, then let me explain: introducing characters is not bad, unless you're writing some less-renowned yet slightly-more-profitable genres. The way in which you introduce everyone, however, seems like the captain is going around and checking everyone's name off a list; this makes me think that maybe you need to work on the transitions between the individual characters' introductory scenes.

But, I also like how you didn't quite beat the reader over the head with the worldbuilding (discounting the Firefly-like introduction). You describe the world, and you show the challenges / changes to society that come from "The Green Sea" without going all information-dumping on the reader; again, I have to say this is decent pacing for a first chapter.

One thing that I didn't quite see from a first chapter is the emphasis on continued conflict. Meaning, you made a hook for your story—a drinking contest—that could theoretically grab a user and give them interest in your story. However, by the end of chapter one, that conflict is essentially resolved—they got the illicit booze, and are probably not going to go back to that town for a while; other than "we're pirates who need to offload the goods", there isn't much left that's driving the story. There's also a need to restock / replace parts, true, but that's hardly pressing or unusual in a pirate ship situation.

I will note, however, the plot hole I thought I saw in this first chapter: everyone seems happy / excited to go to Canterlot, almost like they're not realizing how much danger that heading towards the central government of Equestria would pose to an illicit smuggling operation. This stands disjoint from how competent / "used to" piracy everyone seems; even if it is probably one of the oldest clichés in literature, a cliff-side rescue of a cornered pirate captain does imply that this isn't everyone's first rodeo.

Heh. Ponies. Rodeo.

Anyway, let's let that serve as a segue into the part of your story I liked the least: the actual writing style. Meaning, I can say, "Hey, I enjoyed that you're doing Firefly with ponies," but what I think this story needs work on is how you present that concept. My notes up above focus on that a bit; additionally, there's issues with stuff like comma usage, non-hyphenated compound adjectives that leads to confusion, and generally, a fairly sloppy narrative style.

The grammar stuff can probably be fixed with an editor or by learning the ins and outs of the English language (grab a Chicago Manual of Style and give it a good, solid reading), so let me end with dwelling on what I mean by your narrative style. I get that the main character has a distinct voice, but he's fairly scatterbrained as a story narrator. His narration is filled with random thought asides and quirky, "cute" ways of referring to things that are going on (the bit with the "lawyer voice," for example), and generally, it doesn't follow the situations as tightly as it ought to—especially in action scenes.

Additionally, I feel the main character's dialogue is also a bit... loose, and underdeveloped. He's a captain who speaks with the cadence and suaveness of a teenager; that doesn't sit right with me.

Anyway, that about wraps up my thoughts on the first chapter of this story. If you get around to addressing some of the things I mentioned, swing back by and I'll take another look. Until then, I hope you found something in this review worth listening to.
>> No. 128876
File 138156171677.png - (628.94KB , 900x675 , PrincessCelestia.png )
Title: Borrowed Time
Word Count: 3,783
Description: (Honestly I can't come up with a good description that doesn't spoil the plot and ruin the story) The sky holds a soul crushing secret; the time has come for Celestia to reveal it to Twilight, and there is no gentle way to do it.
Suggestions for a better description appreciated.
Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/92578/borrowed-time

I am mostly looking for input on "show vs tell" language use, which is something I often struggle with, however I will gladly accept critique on any aspect of my work.

Ignore the fact that I originally published it to fimfiction in March, working three jobs ate up all of my free time.

EDIT: I am also very unsure about my ending. Throughout the story I really focused on making strong contrasts between "what is seen as existing and what actually exists," if that makes any sense, thinking it is a good way to evoke a strong emotional reaction from the reader. I tried to really emphasize this at the end to create an emotional conclusion, most certainly not tear jerking but very poignant at the least and I feel as if I've fallen extremely short of my goal. Your thoughts?

Last edited at Sat, Oct 12th, 2013 00:39

>> No. 128877
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My notes for this all lend nicely to the points I'm about to make, so I won't post the stream-of-consciousness. Instead, I'll give the usual breakdown of grammar first, then the higher-level problems.

Grammatically, this story is fairly rough. The comma errors—everything from not setting off asides to dialogue errors*—definitely hinder the narrative voice (they make it even slower and seemingly winding than it already is).

>In a short time the elder sister’s breakfast is finished as is the younger sister’s tea and the dishes are quickly bussed away by the serving staff.

should be

>In a short time the elder sister’s breakfast is finished, as is the younger sister’s tea, and the dishes are quickly bussed away by the serving staff.

>“And simply calling me by my name shall do just fine.” Celestia says with a smile “Or would you prefer I continue to refer to you by your title as well?”

should be

>“And simply calling me by my name shall do just fine,” Celestia says with a smile. “Or would you prefer I continue to refer to you by your title as well?”

(note the period after smile, too)

Similarly, I'm not sure what you were doing, grammatically, with that semicolon-delimited list of the breakfast materials in the first paragraph. From a story perspective, I would consider omitting it wholesale; however, I think as it stands, it is an example of grammar getting in the way of presenting the thoughts you intend to. I'll also note that you had a habit of putting a dependent clause (not a complete sentence) on one side of a semicolon; generally, this is wrong and should be avoided in most cases.

Finally, some other errors I noticed were possessive errors—"the days mail"—and some hyphenation errors—"middle aged stallion" (should be middle-aged); however, these were in a minority compared to your comma and semicolon errors.

Plot-wise, my only real concern with this story is the implication that a planet orbiting a star can survive it going supernova—the way in which a black hole is created. It took me out of the story, but the Wikipedia article on black holes was too technically advanced for my understanding, so I'll settle on quoting It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

However, I believe the biggest problem in this story is one you've already hinted at—show, don't tell (which, generally, I try to avoid using buzzwords like that in my reviews). I don't necessarily think your problem is rooted in the way you expose details to the reader, though; instead, I think an even bigger problem is the relevance of the details you present.

A good example of this is the breakfast scene in the beginning of the story. Functionally, it's supposed to act as a "hook" (i.e., something interesting to get the reader's interest), but just like weather reports, breakfast menus generally aren't that interesting. But even if it weren't acting as a hook, you'd still be devoting around 7% of the story's length (250ish words of 3.8k) to describing breakfast—and that's not what the story's about! Now, that's not to say that every scene in a story has to take place in a setting that's directly related to the conflict, however, the conflict should be present in every setting. If the bad guy is busy skinning puppies in a den somewhere, then the good guys can be talking about him in a diner—but the conversation is the thing there that should be holding its own story-weight, not the style of eggs they're ordering.

So, yes. What you put in your story is just as important as how you do it. And I'm not going to go without noticing that you narrate things in a heavy-handed, blatant manner, either. The whole "show don't tell" meme serves to describe the importance of subtlety and the art of saying things without explicitly stating them—sort of like painting the background of a canvas and leaving the middle blank. If done right, you can guide the reader to make their own conclusions about what should be in the blank. If done incorrectly, the reader is either confused (you didn't put enough information) or disinterested (you put too much information, and they didn't form an emotional attachment borne from filling in the blanks about the character).

Things like,

>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.

Are definitely going out of your way to explicitly state "she is worried!" without letting the reader come to an empathetic conclusion of, "Why is she worrying?"

The challenge of this story, then, comes from "how do I make Celestia seem nervous or sad without explicitly stating it. 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 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.

Speaking of narrative proximity, this story reads like a documentary. Between all of the passive-tense (stating how objects exist) and indirect actions (things like, "she begins to ____" versus "she _____s"), this story is very removed from the action—and therefore, the characters. Obviously, this is a problem for a story that is supposed to elicit an emotional response in the readers. It's easier to empathize with Simba than it is with a lion on the Discovery Channel.

That all culminates in my answer to your question:
>I tried to really emphasize this at the end to create an emotional conclusion, most certainly not tear jerking but very poignant at the least and I feel as if I've fallen extremely short of my goal. Your thoughts?

I agree.

Essentially, you're writing about Twilight Sparkle having a sobbing breakdown because of The Eventual Heat Death of the Universe. That's a hurdle all on its own—I mean, you're bringing Immortal Alicorn problems to a bunch of people who are lucky to make it seven decades. But she's also crying because she's eventually going to die—which... is kind of bogus, I think. I mean, if someone turned me into a Tolkien elf tomorrow, I'd be pretty cool with the extended lifespan; if they mentioned, "Oh, you'll eventually die," then I'd kind of go back to my normal mortal way of thinking (which is, "Well, better make the best of this, then.")

When you combine this sort of a non-problem with the relatively fast pace of her breakdown, Twilight doesn't foster empathy as much as she does a raised eyebrow and the rhetorical, "Really, girl?" Combined with all of the other problems—clinical, distant narration and over-explanation of emotions—this isn't really a sad story about Twilight Sparkle as much as it is a story where Twilight Sparkle is sad. The difference there is huge.

My biggest recommendation for this story is to expand it. Make scenes longer, give the reader more time with the characters, flesh them out... and then work on making the characters cry for real reasons. Do this all while making your narration more direct and your emotions more subtle, and this piece will already have been vastly improved.

That's all I have to say on this piece; I hope I have been of some help.
>> No. 128879
It is done, and can be found here: >>128878
>> No. 128880
>>128780 >>128782 >>128783
If SL Seattle hasn't posted something on this by Sunday, I'm going to ignore his claim and start my own review on this.
>> No. 128882
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Thank you for taking the time to go over my story. I've read through your review a few times and here is what I've picked up from it

1) I need to reread my "The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers" and find a proof reader, somewhere...

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..."

3) I'm not really sure how to address your point about the planet surviving a supernova. It probably wouldn't (read up on Supernova Remnant), though otherwise my science is as fairly close (at least by my novice standards). Then again there is no such thing as magic and unicorns and bad science seems to fly in universes like Star Trek and Doctor Who so I figured I've got some wiggle room. I'll give quick rundown on my logic behind it anyways if you should have any interest: I imagined the planet sits on the outermost limits of the Circumstellar Habitable Zone (aka the Goldilocks Zone) around a Red Giant, when the core of the star collapsed the wave of radiation and dust shakes the planet and casts off the moon and somehow it survives...call it magic or luck but it survives. 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.

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:

>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.

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? Lastly, can you suggest any resources for me to study or offer any other advice on the matter?

>The challenge of this story, then, comes from...
I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around this paragraph of critique. If you have time could you expand on this a little more, perhaps give an example or two of what I've done vs how it should be done.

7) Rewrite in the present tense, hopefully that will help to increase the "narrative proximity," as you put it, to Celestia in her scenes.

8) See pic
>Essentially, you're writing about Twilight Sparkle...
>..."Really, girl?"...

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..
"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."

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.
Maybe I should write a fic exactly like that. Has that been done yet?

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

*Edited for clarity*

Last edited at Sun, Oct 13th, 2013 12:50

>> No. 128897
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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.
>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
that is incredibly helpful thank you
>> No. 128900
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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.

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.

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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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.

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.

>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:

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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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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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
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

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
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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.


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
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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)

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
>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
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
No worries, and I'm glad I could help.
>> No. 128968
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.


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
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
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 )
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
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
">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
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
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
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:
>> No. 129786
File 139355988944.png - (90.95KB , 250x250 , Stephen_Avatar_Cut_250.png )
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
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

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

>> No. 129813
File 139390976643.png - (327.57KB , 532x498 , Deer in headlights.png )
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
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 )
>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 )
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.

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.

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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>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
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
Also, derp. I misspelled my email address on my phone.
>> No. 129852
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.

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

>> No. 129853
File 139432108012.png - (775.82KB , 1280x960 , Tangled.png )
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
>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?

>> 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.

>> No. 130201
File 139807765449.png - (490.91KB , 1257x1024 , Cello's Ransom.png )
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 )
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
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
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
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 )

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
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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

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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