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128414 No. 128414
#Discussion #Equestria Daily

Previous thread: >>122969

(What? Who let this die? You're all fired!)

Hello again, fillies and gentlecolts, and welcome to the seventeenth installment of the “Ask An Equestria Daily Pre-Reader Anything Thread”! Feel free to ask us anything* and we’ll do our best to answer.

*Anything that has to do with Equestria Daily, the pre-reading process, fanfiction, alcohol, regrets, or Nicolas Cage. Keep questions on other subjects to a minimum.

We’d also like to include a brief FAQ in this initial post, since we seem to hear a lot of the same questions:

Q: How long does the pre-reading process take?
A: Depends entirely on how many pre-readers have free time and how interesting the story looks. Could be an hour, could be a week or more.

Q: Am I allowed to respond to pre-reader feedback?
A: Yes. If you feel that we were incorrect in some assessment of your story or you wish to discuss possible revisions, feel free to bring it up in a reply email. Just try to be polite about it.
Oh, you can also send a reply to just say “Thank you.” We like that.

Q: My story was rejected despite the fact that my FimFiction/DeviantArt/Fanfiction.net audience loves it. What’s the deal with that?
A: Congratulations on having a story that’s well liked! However, Equestria Daily tends to have much higher quality standards than the sites mentioned above. Don’t be upset about being rejected; use it as an opportunity to make your story even better. We’ll be happy to look at it again once edits have been made.

Q: How does the Three Strike policy work?
A: Authors have three chances to submit their work before we stop adding it to the pre-reader queue. Every rejection counts as one “strike”. The idea is to have authors edit their work sufficiently before submitting it. We’re not editors, and there’s been a growing issue with authors thinking we are. Bear in mind that if a story is really close to being approved and is on its third strike, we’ll give it a bit of leeway. This policy is more to cover stories that haven’t had any significant changes made despite multiple submissions.

Q: Can I ask who my pre-reader was?
A: Yes, but they’re not obligated to tell you. Some of us prefer to remain anonymous.

Q: I was told to post my story on FimFiction. Why is that?
A: Generally when we recommend FimFiction it’s because we believe a story will do better there than it would on Equestria Daily. Don’t be offended. EqD and FimFiction just serve different purposes. And yes, you can submit different stories to us for review.

Q: Do you ban/blacklist authors?
A: No. However, in cases where authors have been particularly rude to us or the blogponies, we generally wait for some sort of apology before looking at their work again.

Q: Am I fired?
A. Yes. Yes you are.

Queue Information: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AtvMttKpjm7udHZfLTdTd0lDcFFQRmpDMDdhUlJUQlE&single=true&gid=18&output=html
28 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 129257
>>129237
I'll answer this in about a week if no one else has answered it better by then. The short of it is that it's subjective. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is an author tract through and through, and it's one of the greatest works in American literature. As long as whatever viewpoint you're trying to hold is well backed up, it should work, I would imagine.

>>129256
>Is publishing a story on fimfic before submitting it to EqD a no-no?
That's fine. Most of our submissions do just that.

>Also, how much would having 50k words count against a submitted fic?
It might make you wait a few days longer due to some pre-readers not wanting to touch it for a bit, and pre-readers read only enough words of a story for them to make a decision on it. Rarely if ever does a 50k+ word submission get read from beginning to end, and the longer a story goes on, the more likely it is to be turned back simply because there are more likely to be errors.

Don't let that deter you, though.
>> No. 129280
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129280
This thread exist, yes? Can see stories in queue, plz?
>> No. 129281
>>129280
We don't release the entire queue, but there's a link to some queue information at the bottom this thread's OP. If you have specific questions about a story you might have enqueued, just ask.



Hey, PP:
>Q: Do you ban/blacklist authors?
>A: No. However, in cases where authors have been particularly rude to us or the blogponies, we generally wait for some sort of apology before looking at their work again.
We should probably update this.

Last edited at Tue, Dec 10th, 2013 02:29

>> No. 129282
>>129281
Really? What's the new answer then?
>> No. 129286
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129286
>>129281
Okay. I sent in a story over a month ago, and I know that stories can sit in the queue for a long time, but I was just curious about the status of it. Like, I can only guess based on how I tagged it, that it's one of 38 stories that share the same tag, and may or may not be selected. Knowing the answer to this won't make a difference in how quickly it gets looked at, obviously, but I'm just curious if it's still waiting to be approved to be looked at, or if it's been claimed, or under review, or where it basically sits. I've made some recent edits and it made me curious.
>> No. 129297
>>129286
Queue position for The Pony on the Wall (or rather, number on list) is 26/135. It has yet to be claimed.

>>129282
We've had a couple extreme cases where we've blacklisted authors for abuse, insult, and disingenuous intent. Stuff that, if you did in a place like a private store, you'd get banned from there, too. Nothing most people need to worry about.
>> No. 129299
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129299
>>129297
Thankees.
>> No. 129302
>>129297
Thanks.
>> No. 129335
>>129237
Toughie. Partly, it's going to depend on how you use the soapbox. If it makes for an engaging story, fine, but if it's little more than a moralistic lecture, then not so much. There are certain subjects EqD has a policy against posting, since they need to be suitable for a general audience and avoid being gratuitously divisive.

However, most stories are, to some degree, about the author's world view on something. There are plenty of good allegorical works out there. It's more about how the idea is presented than what it is. This isn't much different than the common "Would this plot summary work?" Rare is the idea that couldn't become a good story in the hands of the right author, so it's impossible to make a blanket statement here.

Depending on what you want to make your story a discussion about, just be prepared that it might have a niche audience or be unintentionally antagonizing to some.

However, it's probably pretty close to the mark to say that the more niche your audience, and the more ideological that niche is, the more likely you're on the wrong side of the line. If you're writing something unlikely to resonate with anyone but yourself or a small group of peers, you might have a problem. But on the other hand, it's too easy to marginalize a minority opinion as proselytizing, too, so the short answer is... it's complicated. It's much easier to judge specific examples than make broad statements.
>> No. 129337
Been a while since I posted in this thread last. I was curious if EqD's story submissions had increased or decreased between seasons three and four?
>> No. 129341
Do story rejections apply to sequels? Are exceptions made depending on the reason for the original rejection?

A story of mine was rejected for being too mature. I'm not contesting that rejection (in retrospect, it definitely falls under the "sexually transgressive" clause in the FAQ), but if I were to submit its T-rated sequel, would it be automatically rejected?
>> No. 129351
>>129337
The pace doesn't seem to have changed much, but there was a mild surge right when the season began.

>>129341
Sequels are a tough issue. We typically won't accept a sequel if the original work isn't on EqD. I suppose it might be possible, if it were written so that it could stand alone without requiring any knowledge of the preceding story, but it still causes several problems.
>> No. 129352
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129352
>>129257
>>129335

Thank you for your help.

I understand if you can't give anything beyond an "it depends," but nevertheless I'll try to take everything I've learned about the topic into consideration while working.

Anyway, have a good day.
>> No. 129358
>>129351

Thanks for the response. It IS planned as a standalone, but if it's that much an issue I probably won't bother submitting it to EqD
>> No. 129373
Does EqD accept collabs/stories with multiple writers?
>> No. 129374
>>129373
>Does EqD accept collabs/stories with multiple writers?
Yes.
>> No. 129377
>>129374
Alright. Thanks for the prompt response
>> No. 129575
Are y'all currently accepting applications? I heard you're running a bit thin, so I'd like to help out, if I'm deemed worthy.
>> No. 129576
>>129575
We are currently accepting applications! It might take us a while to get back to you on that, though.
>> No. 129589
>>129576
Awesome! Where do I send it to, and what should I put on it? Just list my resume, basically?
>> No. 129592
>>129589
Send it to [email protected]

Include links to any reviewing you've done. Our preference is for detailed reviews, so we can see how well you understand the errors you're spotting and which ones you're capable of identifying. It's also better if we can see the story in the state it was in when you reviewed it; if we only see the "after" version, it's hard to judge how thorough you were or how much impact you had on it. Likewise, you can list stories you've helped with, if you don't actually have your feedback stored anywhere, but again, it's pretty much impossible for us to figure out how much you actually helped in those cases.

You can also include your writing experience, though that's secondary.
>> No. 129593
>>129592
Also, please include your name in the subject line. (Not necessary, but it will certainly make the email easier to find amongst all the fics we get.)

Last edited at Mon, Jan 27th, 2014 01:14

>> No. 129598
Hi there!

My name is Lucky Roll. I've sent a fic to you six months ago, and haven't really received an answer so far (although I should add that some time after I sent it in, I asked you, and you guys told me you were working on it). It was titled Public Enemies, if it rings a bell. So, um... you didn't accidentally delete it or let a dog eat it or something, right?
>> No. 129600
>>129598
We have a submission called Public Enemies from an author named Unlucky Roll. That's you, right?

My records show that we have a response sent for that story on August 5, 2013. I've notified the rest of the PRs about it; you can probably expect it to be re-sent soon.
>> No. 129601
>>129600
Yup, that's me. I don't know what happened to the answer, I never got it. Thanks for your help!

EDIT: I got your message, and wow, I could've never hoped for such a detailed and in-depth review! Thank you so much.

Also, the letter ends with an "I’d be happy to answer any questions. Just reply to this email if you want to reach me — Pre-reader Amacita". Can I just answer your email and strike up a conversation with the pre-reader, or is that considered impolite (because you're busy enough as it is, or maybe Amacita has retired in the meantime — I mean, hey, this was half a year ago)?

Last edited at Wed, Jan 29th, 2014 05:59

>> No. 129608
>>128414
Is there any way to see what fics fall where on the queue? I'm kind of curious to watch the whole process.
>> No. 129611
>>129601
You're still welcome to reply, but since it was from months ago (again, sorry), he might not remember the details of your story. Not saying that you shouldn't, just that it might happen.

>>129608
There's a link to some queue stats at the bottom of the OP. As for the actual process itself, it works similar to how the Training Grounds used to work. For us, users submit a story through a GDocs form. That story is emailed to the central EQD Pre-reading email, and those with access to that email forward the stories to the pre-readers. The pre-readers use that email chain to discuss the story, and when a decision letter is written up, that decision is copied and pasted by those on the central email and sent to the writer.

There's also a massive spreadsheet, the queue, which has information like who's claimed a story, when they claimed it, number of strikes, story details (i.e., the stuff on the form), and archives. It's not public, but it isn't much to look at. We call it a queue, but unless a story's one of the first twenty or so, queue position matters very little.

Last edited at Fri, Jan 31st, 2014 05:59

>> No. 129613
>>129611
Neat. Thanks!
>> No. 129616
>>129611
Once again, thanks! I shall now set out to fix the mistakes in my story, and then probably write an email about the things on which I need clarification.
>> No. 129710
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129710
I submitted my story Teeny Tiny Twilight nearly four weeks ago and have yet to hear anything in regards to it being accepted or not. Might I inquire as to where it stands in the queue and possibly a timeframe for when it will be reviewed?
>> No. 129719
>>129710
Teeny Tiny Twilight is number 46 of 159 in the queue at the moment. No pre-reader has claimed it yet, so any time frame I can give would be a wild guess at best. If I were to guess, I'd say between one and two weeks.
>> No. 129778
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129778
>>129719
>I'd say between one and two weeks.
>pic
I get that you guys have a lot of stories in your queue, but weren't the wait times supposed to be improved following the last change to the system (the minimal-feedback one)?
>> No. 129780
>>129778
Supposed to be. In any case, it looks like we have a response written up that's just waiting to be sent.
>> No. 129781
>>129780
Never have understood that "Response written but not sent" thing. If there was still full feedback, yeah, I could see sleeping on it before editing the suggested edits, but now? Just one of those group quirk things, I guess.
>> No. 129783
>>129781
It's that our responses go through a central mailbox, and the people in charge of the email traffic deal with it in batches every few days or whenever they have time.
>> No. 129784
>>129783
Ah, good old fashioned bureaucracy.
>> No. 129810
Hmm, one of the issues for my first strike was "Paragraph indentation." To be sure, I went back through my story and found all the paragraphs properly indented. There are other issues which I'll fix before submitting again, but I don't quite understand this one.
>> No. 129811
>>129783
It's been six days and is a new week. I don't think it should take this long to forward an email.

>>129810
If you double-spaced your paragraphs, you don't need to indent. Although doing a strike for that would be silly.
>> No. 129812
>>129811
Well, there were other issues… I now need to rush and fix another submission though
>> No. 129815
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129815
>Unfortunately, we are not interested in posting this story due to its themes.
How delightfully vague. Might one of you elucidate on this and say what the problem is so that I might make any necessary tweaks to appeal to your tastes?
>> No. 129817
>>129810
Some indentation ends up being uneven on FiMFiction, depending on various things like whether you pasted it in or imported it, and which browser or device you're viewing the story on. They can be difficult to chase down sometimes. I find it easier to go without indentation and just leave a blank line between paragraphs.
>> No. 129820
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129820
>>129815
Former pre-reader here.

Age regression fics (used to be) in the category of "not necessarily banned like FoE or BiE, but they generally have to be exceptional / bring something new to the table in order to be worth posting".

What you've got is "Twilight messes up a spell, gets turned into a foal, and Cadence / Retcon Sparkle need to take care of her". It's not necessarily a poorly written story, or even a bad story. But when you're going up against slightly higher standards due to a somewhat controversial genre, you're going to need more than what your story was (which was a simple slice of life / proof of concept fic).

That's what I take "we are not interested in posting this story due to its themes" to mean, at any rate.

From my own personal standpoint, to be more critical of your story, it doesn't really do anything. Now, sure, it's a comedy / slice of life; that doesn't necessarily insist upon a strong, conflict-driven plot. But what you've got is essentially a story that resolves itself. Twilight messes up the spell (conflict / call to action), but it wears off in the fourth-to-last paragraph without anyone doing anything. In a darker story, foal-Twilight could have been left completely alone, in a locked room, and the outcome of the story would have been more or less the same.

I don't quite think this story works as "comedy", either—not enough to tag it as such, at least. Now. Don't get me wrong, you've got a lot of characters who enjoy each others' company, and they make jokes. That's natural, and a basic part of human pony interaction. But if you're doing a slice-of-life fic, it should be expected that characters who like each other are going to crack jokes, just like characters who love each other will romance, or characters that dislike each other will fight. All of the "comedy" in this story seems to amount to the interactions of family—which, it's amusing in its own right, but for me, it doesn't necessarily warrant a "comedy" tag.

The ending line fell flat for me, since it wasn't necessarily a punchline as much as it was a stubborn statement of an adult saying, "I still want that thing you promised to me under different circumstances." Which, it's an amusing concept, but it didn't really leave me with that strong of an impression afterwards.

As with all age-regression fics, I can see how the audience is going to be split between finding things "creepy" or finding them "endearing", in terms of Twilight being turned into a nigh-helpless toddler. I mean, sure, it's an excuse to have foal Twilight, but it's at the expense of having her become mentally disabled. So while Cadence and Retcon Sparkle take it in stride and go with it (putting their hopes in a counterspell / cure), and even while it's somewhat cute to imagine the image of a young Twilight splashing her babysitter, it's still hard for me to ignore the dark undertones of the story. This isn't necessarily a "critique" of the story, but just some commentary that there is a token amount of creepiness to the genre you wrote.

In the end of things, even if mildly creepy, you did write a decent slice of life fic. The dialogue works, and everything more or less feels organic. It's not a bad story, nor are you a bad writer. However, if you have your sights set on EQD, I'd advise trying again with a different story.

Of course, I don't speak for EQD anymore. Consider my statements regarding that blog to be a "fairly educated guess".
>> No. 129826
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129826
>>129820
Funny it should be you to comment on it.

But I digress, if I had been given that I would be far more cordial. There's an actual reason behind it, one I can understand and even appreciate. The way I hear it, pre-readers catch a lot of flak from shitty writers whether they're polite with the rejection or not, and so they don't bother. However, that only encourages everyone to complain due to the complete lack of transparency, yet this is thought to solve any of the problems inherent with bad writers who feel as if they have privileges.

A bit of history behind the story is that it was made as part of an art trade, a thousand words for a picture. Obviously, it went a little beyond that, as is a story's wont to do, and so I wrapped it up with as much comedic timing as I could manage and pushed it out the door, whereupon it hit second slot in the featured box and enjoyed great success for a silly little romp. At that point I figured, "Well, what do I have to lose?" and sent it off to EqD, not realizing that a little bit of my sanity was the price for postage.

Had I been told it needed some fleshing out, things would be fine. Instead, they nuked it from orbit by saying they wouldn't accept it again and gave "themes" as the one and only reason, as if that was somehow a satisfactory conclusion after being strung along for two months like a dragon behind a certain mare (the one presenting herself to Glorious Gilda in your picture).

The "themes" they were referring to were the belief that the story is fetishtic in nature, which would be a valid argument were it not for the fact that the story largely focuses on Shining and Cadence dealing with an unexpected bundle of joy who can vibrate the entire kingdom to dust, as opposed to "Baby Twily waddles around and goes boom boom in her didees". (This information comes from a different, more helpful pre-reader). If they're banning on fetishes now, then might I suggest starting with My Little Alicorn for similar regression (on top of the nightmare-inducing scenery randomly tossed in half-way through the story), followed by This Platinum Crown for having a grown stallion literally shit himself and then sit in that filth, along with a heaping side of bondage, torture and mental rape? One cannot enforce a rule while protecting similar lawbreakers and expect people to accept it, after all.

The implied piddling Twilight did is easily removed, after all. Surely making water off-screen is not nearly as egregious as some of the works EqD has posted in the past.

Most of the comment section in the story would disagree on the ending, but it seems to be one of those "popular-but-uninformed opinion" things where your average Joe loves something but the critics turn their noses up at it, if recent reviews are anything to go by.

And I understand the fridge horror it has, not being a fan of mental regression myself. As I said, it was a trade, and such were the conditions, so I did my best to ensure the reader wouldn't worry about Twilight's well-being in the care of a loving brother and quasi-sister. It does tread a fine line; all it would take is Cadence saying Twilight would make for a good daughter instead of expressing a desire for one of her own to tip this into bleak territory. Then again, I would lose the mental image of Twilight reading while mouthing the words (which, I felt, showed she wasn't helpless by any stretch, merely mentally encumbered).

Again, going through the comment section (all one-hundred and sixty-nine of them) doesn't show anyone expressing such fears, so by dint of that I would be inclined to say that any worries about the layman finding issue with it are unfounded.

I intend to re-submit after tweaking out the more "offensive" scenes and adding a little more substance to the proceedings, which I'm sure will make RogerDodger happy, although I already have another story lined up and waiting to be held in the Queue of Perpetual Stasis.

Much obliged. Funny how one can only get proper information through unofficial channels. I used to think EqD and the pre-reader's reputation was largely over-exaggerated, but some are doing their best to convince me otherwise so far.

Last edited at Wed, Mar 5th, 2014 23:33

>> No. 129831
>>129826
Two things:

1) I have no idea who you are, so I'm not sure what to make of your first sentence.

2) This thread is an official channel. I may have come in in a semi-official manner, but that doesn't mean your "only proper information" is coming "through unofficial channels". Please don't disparage my help, as it makes me less willing to provide it in the future.
>> No. 129834
>>129831
You came up in a conversation with the other pre-reader I mentioned.

As with the above, I consider my talk with the pre-reader to not be in an official capacity since we weren't talking through this thread or their pre-reader email. Off the record sort of unofficial, if you will. And that was praise for the fact that despite you not being a part of the pre-readers anymore you're still far more helpful, not disparaging. I don't know how you got the idea I was dismissing you when I wrote a large reply and said "much obliged" and outright said you were providing "proper information".
>> No. 129893
I don't know that many people actually peruse this thread, so I'll cross-post this in my personal review thread as well. Not that many people peruse that one either...

I enjoy helping writers. For the majority of stories I review, I give lengthy feedback for the purpose of helping those authors improve. I used to do so directly through the email Equestria Daily sends out, but when we changed our standards for feedback last year, I opted to do so here instead. We may be on the eve of another change, but I'm revisiting this policy anyway.

I have no idea how many authors actually use the feedback I give. If I go by the number who actually reply or who resubmit their stories after making changes, the figure is around 10%. Maybe a lot more than that do use my advice and I just don't know it, but given that I spend an average of about 2 hours reviewing each one of these, I can't help but feel like I'm spending a lot of time on an activity that few people use.

So in the future, I may go to a system where I only provide this level of feedback to the people most likely to use it: stories that I feel are close to being acceptable for posting. They're the ones most likely to use this feedback, since they have the end goal in sight. I'd still be available to ask for clarification on any of the stories I review, but since I have a bad memory, this would likely involve rereading your story, and I can't commit to having time for any given request. You might do just as well submitting your story to one of the reviewing groups we recommend—they're pretty good at picking up the same problems that we'd identify.

This is being done so I can get to more stories and reduce the queue wait times, so I'd target feedback to the authors most likely to use it. I'd give a full review to every story if I could, and maybe once the queue size is reduced significantly, I can go back to that, but for now, I need to concentrate on what's likely to produce the most return on my time investment.
>> No. 130789
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130789
*thump thump thump*
Oh good, it's still on. Hey, this thread's gone kinda quiet, so I wanted to make sure it was still visible to passersby. Do let us know if we can answer any concerns.
>> No. 130791
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130791
>>130789
how do I can haz ride the mothership?

Last edited at Sun, Jun 22nd, 2014 16:30

>> No. 130831
>>130791
You do not ride the mothership. The mothership rides you.
>> No. 130882
>>129893
Hello, Pre-reader 63.546. Sorry to respond to an old post, but any chance that you could get in touch with me via Fimfic or email? I've got a couple of writing questions for you.

Thanks!
GrandMoffPony
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