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128511 No. 128511
Accolades [writeoff.rogerdodger.me] | All anthologies [www.fimfiction.net] | Current list of participants [goo.gl] | Event overview [writeoff.rogerdodger.me]

Hey, we haven’t had a write-off in a while! What’s up with that? Who knows. Well, here it goes. If you’re new to this, here’s the gist:

– Participants write stories over a 72 hour period
– The stories are written from a prompt decided at the event’s onset
– Participants submit their work to an anonymous anthology
– Readers then rate the stories
– Finally, everything gets wrapped up with author reveals and winners announced

If you’d like to participate, just put a comment down in this webzone and I’ll add you to the list.

The event will take place on the weekend starting 27th of September. The exact times for each round are listed in the event overview [writeoff.rogerdodger.me].

When finished, submit your work using the fic submission page [writeoff.rogerdodger.me].

Note that you can preview your work once it’s submitted by going to the “My Submissions” page, and you can edit it as long as submissions are still open.

You can markup your work with BBCode for bold, italics, etc. See the FAQ [writeoff.rogerdodger.me] for the list of available tags.

Prompt suggestions [writeoff.rogerdodger.me] will be taken two hours before the writing commences. After an hour of suggestions, prompt voting [writeoff.rogerdodger.me] begins, and the highest-rated prompt is chosen as the event’s prompt.

The main rule of the write-off is that you must remain completely anonymous for the duration of the event. This is so that there’s no bias in the rating of entries.

A notable change this time around is that there’s no rule requiring submissions be MLP:FiM fanfiction.

The complete set of rules [writeoff.rogerdodger.me] are available on the website.

Once the writing round is finished, a public poll [writeoff.rogerdodger.me] allows readers to rate the stories. Voters must read at least half of the stories submitted before casting a vote.

After 7 days of voting, the scores will be tallied and the winners will be announced.

Well, I think that’s everything. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
Good luck. Roger out.

Picture source: http://q99.deviantart.com/art/Rainbow-Feather-writer-by-C-Paulsen-401596084

Last edited at Mon, Sep 23rd, 2013 10:31

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>> No. 128525

>> No. 128527
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Did somebody say Writeoff?
>> No. 128529
I can't promise to put up much of a fight, but I'll try not to disappoint.
>> No. 128530
I need to shake something loose. Why the hell not? I'm in. Maybe I can actually do somethin this time.
>> No. 128531
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Meh, we'll see if the prompt catches my interest.
>> No. 128532

I've been screwed hard by the timing. Can we try not to have these on the last Friday of the month all the time? That's always a nasty day for me.

I'm working hardcore all day Friday, and the end time is 8 PM on Sunday for me. If I manage to pound something out with only Saturday to work with, I'll enter.
>> No. 128534
>A notable change this time around is that there’s no rule requiring submissions be MLP:FiM fanfiction.

You're finally doing that, eh? :O

I almost guarantee that stories that aren't fanfic are not going to do as well. But it's a worthwhile experiment, so let's see what happens.
>> No. 128535
Sweeeeet, was hoping for one of these sometime soon.
>> No. 128537
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I'll certainly try to attend, if I can.
>> No. 128538
I'll try to participate, providing the prompt doesn't cause me to draw a blank.
>> No. 128545
I'm in. I'll probably write some form of shaggy dog story.
>> No. 128550
Sure, why not?
>> No. 128553
>> No. 128566
I'm in, probably.
>> No. 128567
As if I actually write anything anymore!

But what the heck, I'm in.
>> No. 128568
Prompt submissions start in 15 minutes. Good luck, everyone!
>> No. 128569
Life In Death
Victory In Defeat
The Way Things Are
Parting Ways
Into The Fray
Painted Masks
Inside The Fire
A Friend In Need
Leaf In Flower
Getting There
Red And Blue
Walking In Dreams
A Dead Horse
Lost In Translation
Falling Far
Filled To The Brim
Dust In The Wind
A Hero Rises
A Rock And A Hard Place
Toying With Fate
Tooth And Nail
A Cut Above
Burning The Bridge
Raising The Stakes
The Last Straw
Flying Higher
Inky Black Quills
Pen And Paper
Life As We Know It
A Game Of Chance
Up And Out
The Birds And The Bees
Onward And Upward
A Road Less Traveled
Kindred Spirits
Tea For Two
Twisted Times
An Impossible Choice
The Ultimate Goal

Last edited at Thu, Sep 26th, 2013 21:44

>> No. 128570
Submit them here [writeoff.rogerdodger.me]. Quick, only 5 minutes left!
>> No. 128571
Done, but thank you. It is a shame that I can only submit four, but I see and understand the need for the limitation.
>> No. 128572
I'll submit a few of yours that I like. ^^
>> No. 128573
"For I Have No Cake and Yet I Must Eat."

Sweet Jesus.
>> No. 128574
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Lost in Translation

Writing starts now. Good luck!
>> No. 128577
Man...I always miss the prompt submissions >:/ Argh

Do like the one that was chosen though ^_^
>> No. 128580
I have a feeling there will be great liberties taken with this prompt. D:
>> No. 128581
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Hmm... Yeah, I think I can work with that.
>> No. 128635
>> No. 128636

Eat pretzels, then?
>> No. 128643
Three thousand words in. This'll probably end up around 7-9k, methinks. Now I just need to find time to edit the damn thing when I'm done—the idea itself took long enough to spring up.
>> No. 128648
Done! Wow, that was fun. Looking forward to everyone else's submissions!
>> No. 128650
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Oh drat there's ano - I mean, how wonderful, there's another submission. I think I was the first to submit by maybe ten minutes.

By the by, the prompt felt rather inflexible, but I'm fairly happy with the idea. The execution, eh, but you can't have 'em all.
>> No. 128690
Sounds like there should be three, but I only see two?
>> No. 128701
>four submissions total
>two hours left

This could be...disappointing
>> No. 128703
Not sure this turned out as good as I was hoping, but oh well. Here goes.
>> No. 128704
Got this one in just under the wire. The execution is just okay, and I thought of a better use of the prompt as I was writing this one, but at least it's something!
>> No. 128706
Yeah, another nope.

Other than time spent sleeping or driving, I've had about 3 hours to myself so far this weekend. Everything else was occupied and so this didn't happen.

Le sad face.
>> No. 128711

Guess I'll just finish it and post it whenever. That will totally happen. Yes.
>> No. 128714
Well, you guys are going to have a field day with this one. It's a heaping dung pile of words, really, and far too short.

But, at least, I'm just happy I was able to submit something. Only had the last four hours to write it. It shows.

Welp. Have fun with it!
>> No. 128738
Let’s get down to business
To read the—

Did they send me shipping
when I asked
for herds?

Time for some reviews!

One Night at an Izakaya: 3/10
Well, this looks interesting. A “Neighponese” fic—I can’t say I’ve seen one of these before. However…

So I had to look up what a “kirin” was; apparently, it’s “a mythical hooved chimerical creature known throughout various East Asian cultures.” So that’s a thing, I suppose.

The beginning of this piece felt quite exposition-y, and I’m not entirely sure that you needed that. Worldbuilding is good and all, but the way you tried to convey the information that you had, it came across as unnecessary and front-heavy, rather than a natural outgrowth of “Buttress’ ” inner thoughts. Stylistically speaking, quite a few sentences felt awkward, clunky, or wholly unnecessary, and the pair’s dialogue really feel that interesting.

By the time I’d reached the end, I was wondering where the plot was. There never really seemed to be any conflict or deeper characterization, and I was just left shrugging and wondering why I read this. I don’t mean that to be mean; it’s just that this felt like little more than a short drabble without any overarching idea or conflict. The ending was much the same as the beginning, and sadly, not much seemed to happen in the middle.

In Bloom: 7/10
I’m surprised at the abundance of first-person submissions this time around. There’s this one, my own, and Pilgrimage (down below). In any case, what did I think of this one?

It seems that you went a slightly similar route to mine, in making a psychological barrier the titular “translation.” I went more literal, though, and you wound up with Two. Now, let me get something straight: I loved the first two-thirds of this. Roseluck was built up beautifully, and Two’s character was wonderfully developed (though I never could figure out whether he [?] was a mare or stallion). I’m not sure whether I like the fact that we never actually saw the mother; goodness knows that it was effective enough in that Octavia fic from the last Writeoff. It also somewhat cheapens the effect, to see all this go on, but have the true antagonist in the background. At the same time, though, she’s not the focus—she shouldn’t be the focus—but...guh. I don’t know.

In any case, the pacing, characterization, and setting was great...all up until Roseluck called the police. The time limit really showed here, as everything after Two was placed in her new home felt rushed and awkward. The “love” revelation especially came off as forced and cringeworthy—do we really need a romance plot in a fic where it’s not even been hinted at?—and there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to Two giving Roseluck her forgiveness. The new parents were pretty much invisible, and the last two thousand words or so were really the weakest part of the entire thing.

Still, certainly enjoyable, and original for ponyfic at that. Polish this up, and it’d definitely be worth trying for EqD with.

Regnum Intero: 6/10
I certainly enjoyed this. I’m not entirely sure why, really—it’s not the most original concept, and much of the writing was unclear, meandering, or vague. At the same time, though, I liked your protagonist. I liked the Navi analogue, and I liked the revelation that it was Princess Twilight all along. My largest objection, really, had to do with the beginning and the ending. The beginning felt unclear—uninteresting—and the ending came out of nowhere. I’d have liked much more foreshadowing of Blue Stone’s motivations, as well as Glimmerstone’s role in the story. Consistency and continuity are this fic’s biggest problems, but with a few scene rewrites, they should be simple enough to fix.

Oh...and I’m not sure how well this relates to the prompt. Oh, well.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: 2/10
I’ll just say upfront that I love Twilight and Rarity as a pair, romantic or platonic. With that said, I couldn’t help but feel as though they were undeniably flat in this piece, and without much to say to the reader. That’s a bad pun, by the way, relating to the title.

I’m sorry, but I’ve read “Twilight messes up a spell,” before, and it’s done in an even less-believable way than many others. Why wouldn’t a spell be included with its counterspell? It just feels counter-intuitive and even dangerous, and the fact that a “harmless practical joke” spell wouldn’t have, at the very least, a time limit or expiration period, is even more confusing. Finally, Twilight seems to be holding the Idiot Ball throughout—why wouldn’t she double-check these things first?—and Rarity isn’t really helpful at all, bar for when she needs to lead Twilight by the nose to anywhere she wants to go.

The point of view was some strange and inconsistent form of third-person omniscient, and I can’t help but feel as though this story would have been much stronger if you’d just picked a character’s perspective—Twilight’s or Rarity’s, depending on what you were going for—and then stuck with it through the end. Furthermore, the amount of expositional/emotional Telling was fairly extreme, especially in a story that’s supposed to be all about body language. Just as Twilight needs to interpret Rarity’s actions, let us interpret hers as well.

Pilgrimage: 5/10
So I’ve read “Applejack’s Parents Are Deeeeeaaad” sadfics before, so I knew, going into this, vaguely what to expect. To my experience, though, the direction you took it was somewhat unique. Her memorial is always treated as something sad—something full of “feels”—while here, you brushed that aside in favor of showing us what a mare might be like when her annual ceremony depends on discussing the same old stories of ponies long gone. I only wish that there was more, though—you had some sort of conflict, with the bow and the river, but it was over too quickly to really make that much of an impact.

There were a few odd parts to the narration itself—clunky bits, or parts where you should’ve Showed emotion rather than telling it (though I will admit that first person is a bit cloudy in that respect)—but overall, I just felt like this was too short. The pacing was strange—a scene might come up in less than thirty words, and be over in fifty—and, although I liked the ending, I wanted more from Apple Bloom, character-wise. I wanted her confession to have a greater impact on Applejack—anger, maybe? Sadness? Disappointment? I felt underwhelmed. Still, a fairly enjoyable drabble, and like I said, one I’d like to see expanded upon a bit more.
>> No. 128739
And the Sun Rose: 4/10
This fic honestly confused me, and not just on a base level, too. I want to like it—I really do; the writing seems like it should be able to stand on its own—but the more I look at it, the more this fic seems to make absolutely no sense at all.

So there’s something in here about Twilight angsting. Okay. And something something Celestia. And...Rainbow Dash thinks that Twilight thinks that she’s Celestia? Has Twilight done something to anger her friends or mentor? Why is Twilight chastising herself at the end? What, in a broad sense, does any of this actually mean?

I really liked the use of the sun as a framing device for Celestia’s emotional state. I really did. At the same time, the story itself was mostly incoherent, and just didn’t make sense at all. Sorry.

When Is a Muffin Not a Muffin?: 5/10
And here’s the obligatory Derpy fic of the Writeoff. I suppose I liked it, but I’d have liked a less socially cringeworthy Derpy, especially given the “hidden depths” you seemed to hint at earlier on. The ending was nice, I suppose, but it all just felt very simplistic, without much buildup or real character/story tension at all. I feel that, if you lengthen it, deepen your exploration of Derpy’s character (and Dinky’s friendship? Maybe have a contrast of mother and daughter in there?), and decide which themes you really want to focus on, you’ll have a much better fic.

And...done. A much smaller selection this time around; it's a pity, really. I wonder why?
>> No. 128740
Yeah, this was my first writeoff, and I ended up turning in a first draft written over the course of one night.

What's worse is, by the time I finished, I already got a better idea for this prompt: Twilight and Dash arguing over the merits of the new Daring Do movie, with Dash just being thrilled at seeing her on the big screen and Twilight nitpicking the hell out of every change they made.

That was the idea I should have used for this story, instead of trying to imitate the movie with the same name as the prompt title. If you've seen Lost in Translation, you'd know that it's the kind of film that tries to build mood and empathy instead of advancing plot, and I probably don't have the chops to write a story like that, especially not under these circumstances.

Last edited at Mon, Sep 30th, 2013 10:06

>> No. 128741
Hey, at least you submitted a fic! That's got to count for something—and congrats on your first Writeoff, by the way!

I must say, I like your other idea. Daring Do is always fun. In any case, I hope you stick around for whichever Writeoffs may come (here's hoping we get back into the double-digits with the next one!).
>> No. 128742
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When Is a Muffin Not A Muffin?

Aww, shucks, Dinky and Pipsqueak you did not just do that you manipulative besterd

Oh, a twist. Government official, dun dun dun...? But why?

And the ending. Huh.

First off - damn you for that instant daww. The first scene was written rather cleverly, and the simple style throughout gave it a light and easy tone - almost like a muffin, heh - but there's a subtle disconnect between story and that narration section in the middle. It reads okay, but if you beefed up the first scene just a little more, you'd prepare us better for the thicker paragraphs of Derpy backstory, thus smoothing the flow more.

What's up with the unexplained and unresolved issue of Swift Justice being government? The cause for the first sign of conflict in the fic is unclear and remains unclear, which weakens the overall result. It's not important enough to impact the story, sure, but I'm at the end and I'm still thinking, Grrr, why?

That niggling stump aside though, I liked it. It's a fluffy little slice-of-life thing that doesn't really go anywhere since it doesn't try to. That unassumingness, in fact, is charming in its own way. Plot-wise you score a resounding 5/10; taking into account what you did right as well as what you failed to do (based on the themes presented compared to authorial ambition), it balances out to reach the same.

Good Girl

Whelp, time to pack up. You're probably the winner.

There are two things which made your story work. The first is the style - it's first person done frightfully well, with the tenses blurring where appropriate and all of the shebang involved. You don't need me telling you what it is you can obviously do, so I'll leave it at this: everything read smoothly and engagingly because of it, and it is That One Thing your fic offered to me.

Second is the clever matching of your subject matter to reader pre-knowledge. None of this would make sense to a non-fan, which makes this solidly a fanfic in spirit; while it's not something that bothers me, I know of people who regard this fairly highly, so good on you on their behalf. The whole "Ah, right, I see what you're doing" feel is what drove reader motivation, at least for me, just to see how you'd handle the explanation of that one-note character in that other episode.

That much being said, I started skimming about two-thirds of the way down. While you established connection with the reader strongly early on, the development wasn't fast enough to maintain it. Yes, it was paced evenly, very progressively structured, but the events weren't, ah, deviant enough to be exciting, merely not boring. I use the term deviant in relation to the idea that the interest factor of story events are based on the degree of change it induces to the status quo. Major developments have more impact, like the death of a major character; inversely, the steps you chose to show showed small step-wise impacts. As a whole, conceptually, it's solid. Actually reading it though, I couldn't say the same. Perhaps having other things happen, take the focus off Screw Loose a teensy bit by introducing a sub-plot - yes, I think I'm suggesting you make it interesting by making it longer - would keep the pulse of the story throbbing rather than just flowing.

Still, this is certainly a solid piece. 8/10 for you because there's no 7.3, and it's kinda mean-spirited to round down against a competitor.

And the Sun Rose

So you're kinda like Good Girl, except shorter, more intriguing due to the whole baited banter thing going on - the dialogue is strong with this one - but your ending tosses that all away with the resolution not of the story's key conflict (What's Eating Twilight Sparkle?) but of Twilight's - there's a difference - and because we have no clue whatsoever what the letter was a reply to, all significance of it is lost, and so we're left with a tail-less thing. Uhuh.

I'm conflicted. Your style and evident thought in the lines and what's between them deserves at least a 6/10, but not having a (functioning) resolution at all? I can't make that higher than WiAMnAM, so I'm afraid it's 4/10.

In physics, ala Wikipedia, translation refers to "movement that changes the position of an object, moving every point the same distance in the same direction, without rotation, reflection or change in size". So, yeah - lost in translation of the physical kind.

Last edited at Mon, Sep 30th, 2013 10:32

>> No. 128743
File 138056257120.png - (336.71KB , 680x563 , Oh you.png )
Ooh, feedback. Me gusta.

>Whelp, time to pack up. You're probably the winner

>Perhaps having other things happen, take the focus off Screw Loose a teensy bit by introducing a sub-plot - yes, I think I'm suggesting you make it interesting by making it longer - would keep the pulse of the story throbbing rather than just flowing.
Hm. I'll have to admit that that's something that didn't occur to me. I suppose I need to look further into what I can add to this story—I don't want it to seem fast or slow-paced, by any means. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.

> lost in translation of the physical kind.
Wow—nice work thinking outside the box. I'm kind of impressed, to be honest. It never occurred to me to go outside of the "comprehension"/"language" context of translation.

Last edited at Mon, Sep 30th, 2013 10:38

>> No. 128744
Thanks for the feedback guys :3

Really, the only thing I could hope for having achieved in this story is that it's sorta-kinda-on-the-way-to-being-written-well...ish...maybe. Resolution? Coherency? The story was written on the fly in the last four hours, writing the first line with no idea where to go and making it up as I went along. For example, I couldn't think of what Twilight had requested of Celestia in time to add it, and hoped that leaving it up to the reader's imagination wouldn't soften any impact that was even there, if any. Turns out I was wrong haha.

Doesn't mean there wasn't anything behind it, but I'm not really expecting it to have come out well. Basically the general gist was that Twilight had apparently misinterpreted Celestia's wishes/opinion of her, all of them communicated silently over the years of course, and she was still reeling from it. Nothing profound, or even executed properly.

So really, if I'm mostly just hoping to get feedback on the writing itself, since it would probably be most useful. I know the story element is rather a mess.

So yeah thanks again guys--I look forward to reading your own stories.
>> No. 128745
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Shoot. Missed my chance. Somehow thought I had another day at least.

Ah well, probably didn't have much really worthwhile anyways just yet. Best of luck to you all.
>> No. 128746
Bummer man, that sucks. I feel for ya.
>> No. 128748
You got me. Flew up against the deadline on this one and had to rush it. It'd definitely benefit from taking more time to sit back and really put myself in the characters' heads, but it was fun to write, anyway.
>> No. 128749
Well, low turnout. Bummer.

Here's where I normally say I'll only review things under 10k, I'll favor new participants, and I won't read enough of these to vote, but... looks like I won't have a problem getting to everything.

So, anyone who wants a full (and I mean full) long-form review from an EqD pre-reader, reply to this post. Serious takers only, please. I don't want to waste my time on stories that the author doesn't intend to fix up, as it takes me a couple hours to do each one.

Reviews will be posted in this thread after the voting period is over (I don't like to take the chance of influencing anyone's vote). It may take me a week or two to get to them all, depending on how many requests roll in.

Good luck, all!

Last edited at Mon, Sep 30th, 2013 21:12

>> No. 128750
I'd like to try and fix this one up. It'd be nice to have another EqD-able story in my collection... Thank you kindly =)
>> No. 128751
Hm. I had pretty much the opposite reaction, feeling like the beginning was paced too slowly.

With regard to the shipping angle, I really didn't intend it to feel that way. It's more that he has no idea what love even feels like, so he's just grasping at ways to explain how he reacts to her friendliness. He doesn't really love her.
>> No. 128752
I'll take it. Thanks!
>> No. 128753
I would greatly appreciate that, thank you.
>> No. 128754
So I was talking to a prereader of mine, and he mentioned that the story needs more internal conflict. Give Screw Loose a struggle against her developing tendencies—questioning herself, struggling to retain her mind—but at the same time, maybe even give her a reason to believe that leaving cognition behind won't be so bad after all. Make it a more active conflict, rather than a passive descent. Is that about what you had in mind?
>> No. 128755
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I wasn't feeling so much that there was no conflict as that the conflict was not strong, though "given life" may be a more accurate term. Though what you said would achieve the same effect methinks, except for:

>maybe even give her a reason to believe that leaving cognition behind won't be so bad after all

because I thought that the natural, seemingly unnoticed descent - presented as if it was natural, I mean - made it refreshing, so the lines become further blurred for the reader as to where they are to stand.

Last edited at Tue, Oct 1st, 2013 09:14

>> No. 128768
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Actions Speak Louder than Words:
>Twilight accidentally mutes herself as well as Rarity
>They need the counter spell in order to lift it
You could have always gone with the obvious alternative: Twilight is silenced and therefor she can't cast any spells.

Just thought I'd point that out.

Still reading through entries
>> No. 128769
>You could have always gone with the obvious alternative: Twilight is silenced and therefore she can't cast any spells.
But that would have made it even more obvious that there was something logistically wrong with the spell (i.e.—what kind of "harmless joke" spell would prevent its own removal?).

Unless that's what the author was going for, of course
>> No. 128770
Alright, I've finally read all of the fics, so I think I can safely say that this is how much I like them, from least to most:

8. One Night in an Izakaya
6 (tie). Pilgrimage
6 (tie). Actions Speak Louder Than Words
5. And the Sun Rose
4. When Is a Muffin Not a Muffin
3. Regnum Intero
2. Good Girl
1. In Bloom

I partially based this off of my own personal preference of subject matter instead of relying entirely on quality.

I picked In Bloom over Good Girl because the former has a premise that fascinates me while the latter has a premise I've seen before, in a fic with the exact same title to boot. Though the two fics both take different approaches to the same concept, so that's good. I can't decide which one's better.

Upon initially reading And the Sun Rose, I thought that it was something clever, a puzzle that I needed to reread in order to decode what the subtext was. But instead it turns out that the writer didn't know the solution either and instead he ended up obscuring character motivations, which is one of the biggest mistakes a storyteller can do. Better luck next time.

I couldn't decide whether or not I liked Pilgrimage or Actions better, since I found them both mediocre and unengaging.

And naturally, the fic I wrote is the one with the clearest faults in my mind.

But I had fun with this one, and I think I'm gonna take this opportunity to hang out on this board a bit more as a result.

Last edited at Thu, Oct 3rd, 2013 21:58

>> No. 128771
> But instead it turns out that the writer didn't know the solution either
Eeeeeyup! XP
Ha, or at least, I didn't know the end from the beginning, and was without time to go back and stitch it all together real well. Not too sure what you mean by "solution", unless it's the answer to what was bothering Twilight? That I was sure I at least threaded into it, but eh, guess it didn't come through...or something. Anyway, thanks for the feedback :3

Last edited at Thu, Oct 3rd, 2013 21:59

>> No. 128773
>the latter has a premise I've seen before, in a fic with the exact same title to boot.
Damn. Really?

>one Google later
Ugh. Guess I should've expected that. Both were inspired by the same song, anyways—hardly an unpopular one. In any case, though, I'm a bit disappointed that you'd judge it for an unfortunate resemblance to another story, rather than on its own merits. Then again, considering that you seem to have just found the story uninteresting compared to another, perhaps it's just as well.

Was there anything, storywise or prose-wise, that you didn't like? Aside from the concept, did you notice anything that could be improved?

Thanks in advance.
>> No. 128775
I'm handling the last of the three stories that requested a review today, which still leaves five others. I don't want to read any stories twice, so any I haven't heard back about tomorrow, I'm going to go ahead and read without a review and vote. Last chance.
>> No. 128778
I never said that I thought the story was bad or that I didn't like it. I wouldn't have given it second place if I had. But at the time of my evaluations I was far more interested in the premise of "In Bloom."

Honestly, no, I don't see anything that absolutely needs to be fixed. I saw that other person say that you could use a bit more internal conflict, with Screw Loose having second thoughts about embracing her canine psychosis, but since that would make it more like the other Good Girl story, I'm not sure that's the right move to make here.
>> No. 128781
Alrighty. Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I should look into renaming my fic...
>> No. 128798
File 138102660275.png - (1.09MB , 665x1800 , shuttersauce_by_girgrunny-d5ld8o4.png )
Well, votes submitted. Note that, as usual, my comments regarding a story are a bad means to judge what score I gave it, as sometimes I have a lot to say about a fairly good story that did minor things wrong, and not much to say about a story that is overall very 'meh' (and I saw both of those in this contest).

One Night at an Izakaya:
Overall there's nothing in particular that I'd point out as wrong with this story, but overall not much happened in it and although the dialogue was at times fun, the lack of anything really happening made the story uninteresting to me.

In Bloom:
This story definitely felt like a chore in the beginning, up until he talks with Roseluck. The introduction to the main character was rather bland and could probably use some work. It also felt like the story dragged on too long after the climax had happened.

Regnum Intero:
Oy vey, latin title. I almost felt like docking a mark for the sheer lack of creativity. (They're the literary equivalent of making a title like "My little Spiderman: Web-Slinging is Magic" or some other such take on the show's title.)

Title aside, you have a story set in some dark, haunt filled astral plane that is the result of ponies only teleporting halfway to their destination. The descriptions of this other-worldly waiting room didn't really strike a clear image in me, and I felt as though they should have evoke some sort of mood or atmosphere in me, but they didn't. The exposition dump in the beginning was totally unnecessary and--I'd argue--harmful to the opening. I liked the ending, though.

Actions Speak Louder than Words:
So... this story doesn't really lead up to anything; there's no real climax or peak of the story to speak of. On top of that, the characters don't really learn anything. Rarity just winds up telling Twilight at the end: "We should really teach you that lesson which you probably should have learned over the course of this story."

So... yeah. I didn't get anything from this.

So, like, weather reports make for bad introductions because they don't really lend anything to the story, and fail to draw the reader in... but I'd possibly argue that starting the story with the main character whining is worse--because it's not only a fairly big turn off to be hearing someone whine, but also because it makes me immediately dislike your main character (which is kinda a big deal). It isn't really amusing whining, it's just annoying whining.

Also the climax and following resolution just seemed to miss the mark slightly. I can't quite put words to what it is at the moment, but... slightly.

And the Sun Rose:
I'm digging the words left unspoken in this fic. As someone whose writing basically hinges around it, I see a disappointing lack of it in most fic. Done right it adds a lot of weight to what the characters do say. (Although you over explain just a teensy bit some parts that could be better left interpreted.)

However, this suffers from one of the problems I pointed out for Actions Speak Louder than Words, which is that nothing really advances over the course of the story, and so I hesitate to call it a story so much as a situation.

Good Girl:
I don't have much to nitpick about this one. It picks up over the course of the story, so maybe I'd say that if you're looking to polish it, look at the beginning 1/3rd or so. The end is great and it ends right where it needs to and how it needs to in a bittersweet way that strikes a good balance.

When Is a Muffin Not a Muffin?:
not too many complaints about this one, though I'll also say it didn't interest me very much, but there's never really anything specific to point out when that's the case.

But heck, I'll try. The dialogue isn't really interesting enough to carry the story and the conflict is pretty weak, so maybe that makes it the perfect slice of life, but in that case I've just always found slice of life dull (unless its dialogue/characters make it interesting).
>> No. 128800
>nothing really advances over the course of the story, and so I hesitate to call it a story so much as a situation.
A fair critique, and a right one too, I think.

>Although you over explain just a teensy bit some parts that could be better left interpreted.
Hmm, care to tell which ones?
>> No. 128801
Only 12 hours left to vote.
>> No. 128810
With but an hour left, I'll go ahead and post these. If people haven't read them by now, they're either not going to or won't be wasting their time perusing the thread this close to the deadline.

Last edited at Sun, Oct 6th, 2013 22:20

>> No. 128811

>“—just for now, you realize.
Even if if doesn't really start the sentence, you still capitalize a cut-in, unless it's picking up where a previous quotation left off. And even then, it's optional.

>The sunlight was streaming in through the curtains
Watch the repetition, since there's no evidence that it's intentional.

>the Doctor
For her usage of the term, there's no reason to capitalize this.

>I caught the words “doctor” and “instability” a few times
I can't imagine any rational way in which she'd use both of those words "a few times."

>I looked up, grinning up

>I’m sure it’ll be even more comfortable than your old room.
Missed your closing quotation marks.

>The doctor takes a right turn and trots down some stairs, still talking
Participles are common offenders as misplaced modifiers. If they begin a clause, they're presumed to describe the subject; elsewhere, they're presumed to modify the nearest preceding noun or pronoun object. You can sort some of them out with a bit of logic, but if you don't pay attention to them, you will eventually run into misdirection and ambiguity. This isn't a bad one, but it sounds like the stairs are still talking.

>look up a bit to look

>He seems surprised
Mixed feelings about this. It's telly, but your protagonist doesn't necessarily strike me as one to verbalize pertinent details. It's more like she follows her fancy, but I'd probably still err on the side of showing here.

>He stops, hooves squeaking on the floor.
What material would squeak against a hoof? They're basically toenails. Do nails squeak against concrete, stone, tile, linoleum, wood, etc.? I can't think of anything that'd work.

>The bed is small, but I agree; it looks cozy.
I'd question the choice of a semicolon here. It's not really a flow of one thought into another. Feels more like a period or dash.

At this point, I'll say that I appreciate the conciseness and directness of simple sentence structures, and it does fit your protagonist, but you do still need to mix it up some. You did fine early on, but it's getting in a rut here.

>These books were all old and leathery
I assume the switch to past tense here is unintentional. If not, then I can't say it's effective in doing anything.

>long, boring titles on their covers
This would usually refer to the front cover, versus specifying the spine. I doubt she can see the front covers if they're on a bookshelf. And she's only been there a second. How has she had time to read all the titles?

>it’s called,
These aren't quotes. You don't need the comma to transition into them. Same thing in the next sentence.

>“The Unconscious Stallion Mind,”
Book titles are underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>“Doc,” I say, smiling again, “You do know I’m not crazy, right?”
Dialogue capitalization.

>we’ve decided it to be necessary to move you down her

>You’re quite the hardy mare.
That's... a really odd thing to say in this situation.

>Pyschiatric word.

Give me a space after the ellipsis.

>a funny look
This means nothing. What's funny to one might not be to another. Just describe it.

>At long last, he sighs, and meets me eyes again.

>I’m lying on my bed on the start of the fourth day, staring at the ceiling.
Given that you stepped out to give detail to one of the days, it feels odd to zip along again without a scene break.

>Eating upstairs!
When you attach ! or ? to an italicized word, you should italicize it as well.

>dried raisins
Raisins are already dried. Redundant.

>“The doctor’s decided to take you off of that for now,” she says.
He never asked her... Maybe she can tell what he wants to know, but she wouldn't phrase it this way then.

>a” stimulant.”


>It seems to hang in the air like a giant mosquito, buzzing over my head.
That kind of hits the wrong note. You wouldn't just sit still in silence if a big mosquito were hovering there...

>He trails off.
Don't tell me what the punctuation already does.

>installing better air-conditioning
Surely adjusting the thermostat would be a much more reasonable response. And that's not a hyphenated term.

>you are a pony with sweat glands
To be fair, dogs sweat, too, but only a little, and only through their feet.

Some kind of formatting derp here.

>Then I lay in bed, staring at the cracks in the wall until my eyes go numb.
Lay/lie confusion and another misplaced modifier.

>Some of it shows through, though

>Why, she seems to be asking, is this my fault? Why can’t I take the blame, like an adult? Like a normal pony?
This is very confusing, as you seem to be indicating the nurse's thought as Loose's, and then continue doing so in normal font. I'm not sure who's thinking what.

Here, I'll say her reaction isn't very doglike. First, dogs hate to poop where they sleep or eat, and she should find this very distasteful. In fact, since she knows what the toilet's for, it's surprising she wouldn't be willing to use it, as uncomfortable as it is, for that reason alone. But once she's done it, dogs know when they've misbehaved, and her nonchalance when the nurse shows up doesn't ring true. Not sure it'd stain the pages either. Depending on how you think these ponies are like horses, their poop would be pretty dry and fibrous. And I can't believe I just wrote a paragraph about poop while critiquing a story. Is this what it's like, PresentPerfect?

Not wild about this word choice, as it predominantly refers to leftover debris from grain processing, and after that, to bits of trash.

>Something hits me on the head, and everything goes dark.
In a doctor's office? Really? Surely they have a sedative around, and they've been criminally negligent in allowing her what freedom they did in the waiting room.

>When I wake up, it’s in a cell.
You sure you didn't mean "I'm"? And she's awfully aware of what things are around her in this state of mind. Being able to identify such things as a doctor's waiting room, a receptionist, a cell?

>I’ve been sweating.
...And that doesn't clue her in that she's not a dog?

I'm also getting a narrative disconnect about now. Compare her speech to her narration.

Eh. Sound effects really aren't a good idea.

>I manage to get a piece peeled away
You just used "peeled" not long ago.

>The door clicks open.
He already heard the click... You made a big point out of it.

>the water for my pills seeps out across the floor like blood
It'd run out a whole lot more quickly than blood. It's a much thinner liquid.

Yeah, I somehow don't believe that someone who thinks herself a dog would be making extensive use of colons and semicolons.

>Ba-thump. Ba-thump
Please stop.

>Ponies jump out into the hallway and I dodge around them, weaving between hooves and leaping through the air.
Misplaced modifier.

>or a ticks

>my hooves flailing beneath me
So she knows they're hooves now? Whatever that drug was, they need to dose her with it more often.

>page 4 of this report
Missing closing quotation marks.

Infodump is infodump-y. And really, if she's that busy playing and doesn't understand the words anyway, this is ruining my immersion that you have this voice-over going on. She was having to interpret what the pony said more by intuiting his actions than understanding what he said. And then we get the huge WALL OF EXPOSITION? Not buying it. And really, I think it's all unnecessary. I didn't get a single piece of information from it that made the story any better. We can infer enough of her situation to make it effective on our own. You don't need to cram it at me.

No serious problems. Just the occasional typo, and please leave a space after your ellipses.

A couple small spots of telling. Not too many problems here. Except one I've already harped on: the narrative voice.

This is somewhat linked to characterization, but I never felt too much of a connection with Screw Loose. I didn't feel particularly sad when her situation turned bad or particularly happy when she got what she wanted at the end. Part of it is that the narration always seemed to keep me at arm's length. It felt clinical most of the time, focusing more on the actions than anything else, so that I was watching the story from more of an external viewpoint. I was never really settled into her viewpoint. Now, I didn't catch you being telly much, so that's not the problem. It's more that you didn't delve into her emotions much in critical places—she was more reactionary and observational than emotional. Now, this is a tricky thing to discuss. On the one hand, I can believe that as being a dog's mindset. It's in our nature to ascribe human emotion and motivation to animals, so it's easier to relate to her if you do so. Thus, it's kind of a question of being able to empathize with the character versus something that's maybe more believable.

I think it also may have been that she never seems concerned about what's going on. She's always very circumspect about everything, so I'm not going to be particularly invested in her if she isn't invested in herself. If someone's getting whipped and is in pain, I feel bad for him. If someone's getting whipped and doesn't care, I don't care either, aside from being a little weirded out. And if someone likes getting whipped, that's just creepy.

Another problem: she's not a dog. She can believe she is and act like one, but unless you're going for some "Equestrian psychology is inexplicably different" cop-out, it's very suspect that she actually takes on their thought processes and loses the ability to understand the ponies' speech.

When I think back on the bare-bones plot, this is something that could have had some very bittersweet moments, but it just didn't strike me that way.

No problems, aside from the aforementioned keeping me at a distance. They're blank-slate characters, and none of them act inconsistently with the personalities you establish.

No problems here either, except for what I noted already. You need to decide how much she has become a dog. There are times that she is supposed to be acting like a dog, but really doesn't, and other times that she's too analytical not to see what's happening. And the infodump at the end was entirely unnecessary. Other than those, the events play out in a reasonable manner.

It's definitely well-written—it's just missing something for me. It was strange more than an emotional journey, and felt oddly superficial. It really bugs me when a story doesn't do much for me but I can't precisely put my finger on why, but after mulling it over, that's all I can figure out about it. I see another commenter mentioned that making Loose more conflicted about her situation might make it even closer to a similar fic, which at least makes me think of another direction—the hospital staff seems somewhat less than compassionate about her. I can see why they might not want to be too invested in her, but still, they seem to have little more than a factual interest in her, except when she inconveniences them. And there's nobody else, family perhaps, that has any concern for her? Nobody's concerned about her, including herself, so it's tough to make the reader care.

Last edited at Wed, Oct 9th, 2013 17:20

>> No. 128812

>Derpy rocked backwards as her daughter collided with her outside the schoolhouse. Dinky had come rushing out with the bell
I agree with working this collision into the first sentence, but you probably should have put the bell in there too. As such, you've got the effect before the cause, which is a bit disorienting.

>leapt up on to
"Onto" would work better here. If nothing else, it keeps you from having three prepositions in a row.

>with genuine joy
Oooh. These "in/with/of emotion" phrases are almost always blatantly telly and redundant with the action they follow.

>letting her daughter's enthusiasm infect her
And yet she doesn't go on to act enthusiastic at all.

>mommy will fly us home
This is making a specific reference as opposed to narrowing down a general term (like "your mommy will fly us home"), so capitalize "Mommy."

>Dinky's voice choked with just a hint of fearfulness.
That same telling structure again. At least I haven't caught you using the other common types so far. Consider how "of fearfulness" does nothing to help me form a mental picture. Make me see her so that I deduce her emotion instead of telling me the emotion and making me invent how she looks and acts.

>The weight on Derpy's back grew exponentially heavier.
That's an odd phrasing, as there's nothing Dink could do to actually feel heavier, and it's vague in relating Dinky's mood. Plus the "exponential" hyperbole is strangely technical.

>made of seashells
What about seashells adds to the imagery here? I can't see how anything about her legs would evoke a picture of seashells specifically.

>It was not possible for her daughter to sound any more defeated than she did right then.
And there's another kind of telling. Don't just tell me how Dinky feels. Make me infer it.

>somehow able to stay in position
So she's okay with jumping on a pretty narrow perch, but not hanging on for a flight? Not that it isn't believable, but might warrant addressing.

>If anything truly bothered her though,
Commas on both sides of "though."

>It wasn't the sort of secret that was embarrassing to admit, or that, if it became public knowledge, would ruin her reputation. Rather, it was the sort of secret that was warm and comforting to hold onto. It was the sort of secret that made her feel special, simply because she was the only pony who knew it. And as much as she would have liked to share it with another pony, any time she thought about doing so, she decided to keep it to herself.
This goes on for a while, but it's not really building to anything. It's a pretty weak conflict so far, just saying that she has a harmless secret that she likes to keep secret for its own sake. We'll see where you go with it.

>After consulting with Pipsqueak's aunt via foal-delivered notes
Okay. I get her issue with placing muffins in her mailbox. But the doorstep shouldn't be an issue. And then this? If she seriously considered the muffin deliveries a problem, this isn't?

>it was decided that tea and muffins would be served for the four of them that Saturday
Passive voice isn't working here.

>cleared her throat once again
When did she clear it the first time?

>Dinky got behind her mother and began to push.
I've noticed several of these "begin" or "start" actions lately. They're some of the most overused verbs by inexperienced writers. It's often better to reserve these verbs for times when the beginning is worth accentuating because it's an abrupt change or the action never finishes. Otherwise, it's self-explanatory that any given action would begin.

> she said with a forced giggled

>I've... Never had a muffin like this before, actually.
You don't need to capitalize after an ellipsis when it makes syntactic sense to have a continuous sentence.

>It was unusual for a pony to start conversation about her position.
Missing word.

>I mean, I like it because it's kind of slow-paced and I don't have to worry too much about being clumsy if I fly.
I could accept a few earlier instances of missing commas between clauses because it made sense stylistically, but here it really doesn't.

>Sweet Apple Acres and Rainbow Dash's house
That's really odd that her route includes two specific residences, especially since it's not clear whether Dash even lives in Ponyville.

>procuring another bit of jam the other
Missing word.

>With equal alacrity
Your narrative tone is getting uneven here. You're tossing more vocabulary words at me than you did early in the story, which is the bigger problem, but it doesn't sound like word choices that Derpy would make. Even though you have a third-person objective viewpoint, it's still usually a good idea to keep your narrator in the vicinity of the character's knowledge base, or it can create an inadvertent distance between them.


>to differentiate from what you purchase at Sugarcube Corner
And yet on a couple of previous occasions, she didn't use British expressions for things. Seems like she's blended in long enough to know what Derpy probably meant.

>as well as their marriage
That's a really extraneous conflict that never gets developed. You didn't even need it, so why bring it in? And why would Swift discuss this with someone she's just met?

>Why don't you sit down and watch how I fix Mister Hippo and then we'll sit down and have muffins after?
Another missing comma.

>Oh my little angel,
Missing comma for direct address this time.

>like fresh air on a summer day
I never would have described the smell of an English muffin like this...

>"It's not a muffin," she said at least, drawing the words out, "it's a memory."
I have to think you meant "at last."

Not really long enough for any consistent mistakes to stand out. It seems there may be a couple of comma usage rules that aren't firmly lodged in your brain, but I can't say any more than that with this small a writing sample.

Again, there's not enough here to go into much depth, but I'd just reiterate that you need to watch the few telly spots and the inconsistent narrative voice. There were also a few more biring "to be" verbs than I'd like to see. Go for more active verb choices.

In case you haven't gotten an explanation of telly language yet, the gist is that you need to demonstrate a character's emotion by how she acts, what she looks like, and what she says instead of taking the shirtcut of presenting it to me as a cold fact. It's much more interesting to watch an actor communicate sadness on the stage instead of having him just walk out and declare he's sad. The most common violations are saying an emotion outright (sad), overuse of -ly adverb forms (happily), and the aforementioned "in emotion" family (in excitement). Telling's not always a bad thing, but you want to keep it to inconspicuous spots in the the story where the emotions are paritcularly important.

It'll get into this more in the plot discussion, but the characterization was a bit thin. You've chosen to define Derpy by her memory of sharing muffins with her mother, yet the memory didn't create much of an emotional response in her, nor did she linger on it much. Give me more.

Briefly, you have a lack of conflict. The whole story is driven by this misunderstanding about muffins, and while it can be a plot point, it doesn't really cause any problems. This plays as a scene—not a bad one, at that—but not a story. Then you throw on these two extraneous elements of Pipsqueak's parents' situation (which never goes anywhere, and if you don't intend to develop that significantly, should just be removed) and Derpy's secret about why she likes muffins, which is about as anticlimactic as it could be.

A story needs to accomplish one or both of these: conflict or character growth. Put something at stake, define who wants it and why, show what she's willing to do to get it, and make it clear what bad things will happen if she doesn't get it. Or on the character side, let me learn something significant about the character that's surprising, show me how she struggles with something, and relate how she changes as a result of the experience. That's probably your better angle here. Her reason for liking muffins is very intuitive and mundane. Throw me a curveball. Give me some unexpected way that muffins became important to her and how the situation changed her from some previous version to the pony she is today. And why wouldn't she want to share that with Dinky? Again, it's a pretty intuitive thing, so I never understood why she'd keep that to herself. If you invent some new reason that's much more personal, it'd make more sense.

Perhaps if you made more of Swift's culture shock, you could make more of a shared moment for them. The writing itself is good—you just need to give it more heart and bite.

Last edited at Sun, Oct 6th, 2013 22:18

>> No. 128813

Oh, good. A story with an inscrutable Latin title.

Okay, I already don't get the formatting. Some lines indented, others not? When you leave a blank line between paragraphs, is that a scene break?

>a silver quill - not out of the ordinary
Please use a proper dash.

>not out of the ordinary for the ordinary-looking
Watch that word repetition.

>No, you do not end up severed/ dismembered/gutted
The way you've punctuated this, the capitalization is unnecessary, and note your inconsistency in the slash spacing.

>You end up in the middle. In between. But not in Equestria-in between. The magical realm-in between.
Ah, so ponies are Nightcrawler.

>seemingly nodding to itself
How so? I can't fathom how a ball would nod.

>but as you are a guide I suppose you wouldn’t mind letting me know if I’m mistaken?
Missing comma between the clauses.

>The pair travelled in silence for a good while until the stallion harrumphed:
>“I am sorry... slower, please...”
Please don't break the quote across paragraphs like this.

>Just let me catch my breath and we can run again.
Another missing comma.

>“Surprise me,” giggled the ball.
That's a pretty bad choice of speaking verb.

>“It has been forty minutes,” said the stallion, after forty minutes
"This is redundant," he said, pointing out the redundancy.

>He had long given up on trying to follow the ball with his eyes; they were tracking it automatically.
I have no idea what this means. He can't follow the ball, so he... follows the ball?

>trying to focus on the tinkling
Last time you mentioned the tinkling, it was to say that it had stopped. When did it start again?

>followed in pursuit

>thin enough to offer to resistance
Phrasing. This doesn't say what I think you want it to.

Word choice. That's not really the motion he'd be using as he walked.


>The ball floated in front of his sight, before tentatively floating away.
More word repetition.

>found himself
Always a phrase to be wary of in writing.

Why can't anyone in this damned fandom spell this word correctly?

>two seconds
It's odd to be so specific about the duration when you just said he'd given up trying to keep track of time.

>Man, I’m so glad to have found you.
What is this "man" of which you speak?

>his smile shattering into a look of pure fright
Awfully telly for what's a pretty important emotional moment.

>Nation, and I bugger all as hell don’t want to be alone again
Okay, you've lost me. If he has the Nation, how is he alone?

>said Blue Stone angrily
More telling. Show me his angry actions and appearance. Don't cheat by telling me he's angry.

>where ethics still restrain action
Given your example, the opposite would seem to be the case.

>such as the grazing of grass
They do eat grass...

Did you mean "rogue"? I really don't have any context to say which might be correct.

>He was, just as the rouge magician had said, in a guest room - it was much larger than any room he had been in, with rich carpeting, tapestries of gold and crimson on the walls, a gauze curtain that diffused the harsh light outside - and the wonderful aroma of baked cinnamon - even though it was spacious, compared to the realm of in-between, it was claustrophobic, and he found himself taking shorter gasps.
That just rambles on so long that it loses all focus. This can be okay in narrations that delve into a perspective, but yours has been firmly objective so far. And the way the asides are stacked up, it's confusing as to when we're getting back to the main thought or going off on another tangent. Besides the fact that having multiple parentheticals in a sentence can get awfully clunky.

As in "made from the skin of cows who talk to them"? Maybe this is going somewhere, along with the odd use of butterfly wings, but this scene is supremely confusing. Someone asked for Twilight, yet seems to b surprised to see her, and it's unclear whether the italicized line is in his perspective.

>on to a shelf

>was levitated in front of Blue Stone
Unnecessary passive voice.

>I meem
If this is an affectation for having her mouth full, it's odd in that it's the only one.

>fifty percent

>chaffed down the other two
I can't find even an obscure definition of "chaff" that works here.

>yet, how
Commas after conjunctions are only correct in specific circumstances. This is not one of them.

>“Please, call me Twilight Sparkle. After all, we know each other now.”“Princess, I-”
Formatting oversight.

>rouge magician
Same as before. I don't know why you'd be calling him out as red, so I'm not sure this isn't a typo.

>After the longest time, the princess spoke.
I don't see the purpose in a scene break here.

>He looked at her in horror.
Stop with the telling. The ensuing conversation is also pretty talking heads. You've done that several times before, but never kept it up for more than a few lines. But this gets bad. When you just have back-and-forth dialogue without any action to break it up, the characters may as well be statues. Keep in mind that half of a conversation is nonverbal, and these cues carry much of the emotion.

>You were so willing to though I was nothing more than a bright speck, and I did not fail you.
Missing comma.

>She waved her hoof and the ball returned.
Missing comma.

There were a few comma problems, but really nothing pervasive. So good job on that, especially for a story of this length.

I caught you telling in a couple of places, but I marked them all, so I don't need to give you an overall admonition. Just watch for naming emotions outright (sad), -ly forms (happily), and prepositional phrase forms (in excitement) in spots where the emotions are important.

The only other thing I'd say is that you need to watch how many "to be" verbs you're using. It's an inherently boring verb. It's inevitable to use some, but control it as much as you can. Readers enjoy much more seeing what's happening than what simply is. They can indicate overuse of passive voice (not a problem here), can point to telly language, and often mean you need to be choosing more active verbs. It's easy to spot the more common ones like is, was, were, isn't, etc., but also watch for the hidden ones like the "is" included in it's, that's, he's, and so on. (Of course, not all of these can be contractions of "has" as well, which makes them even trickier to sort out.)

You're free to define your OC how you like, so I can't say anything's wrong there, and he doesn't act inconsistently. This ties in with the plot to a degree, but his motivation felt under-explained. It's a little convenient that the stock villain immediately threatens/kills Stone's family, but I have no sense of why he'd go to that extreme a measure, or whether it would even be reasonable for him to do so, at least among his peers.

Twilight came across as schizophrenic. She starts out as creepy. Seriously. She starts out with a leather (srsly?) book and eating butterfly wings. Now, if you mean that to be some confection that's just called butterfly wings, you need to make it clear. Otherwise, it just sticks out like a sore thumb as something that wouldn't happen in the Equestria I know. Then she becomes rather sweet and understanding toward Stone, until... well, I'll cover the rest in the plot section.

I rather liked the story. It had a nice atmosphere to it and flowed well. But here are the problems I had with it.

It takes a long time for you to get to the real conflict. It was kind of neat to see the tie-in later that the guide asked him about his intentions, since it turned out to be Twilight, and she already knew. But I was well into the story before that part became clear. At first, it felt like he was just caught in a teleport gone wrong, but that was never a very compelling reason, since he has a definite way through, and none of the dangers end up being that, well, dangerous. He never appears to be in peril, and he never even considers leaving the guide. That's a fine choice to make, but there's not a large emotional tie to doing so, because he's never torn about it on the one hand or so locked in that he brushes all distractions aside on the other. I think he'd be more interesting as either the one constantly second-guessing himself or as the zealot. It's also not clear whether Twilight intentionally interrupted his teleport to cause this situation, and if so, whether that was even necessary, since she was waiting for him anyway, and she's putting him at significant risk. That may not be a problem. Maybe you intended it that way, but my impression is that it was ambiguous. It's also fine to keep his true intentions secret as long as you did, but it's also nice to hint that there's more at play than may be evident. It keeps reader interest up.

Now, to creepy Twilight. Unbelievability in a character bleeds into unbelievability in the plot as well, because it will lead the character into events that we can't visualize happening. Take the final punishment. Twilight exiles Glimmerstone (Is he even a unicorn? If not, can unicorns banish others there?), which to her own knowledge would be a sentence worse than death. And when he swats her away, he doesn't even know what she is yet. She can't reasonably expect that he's making a conscious choice as to his fate by doing so, but she immediately abandons him. That doesn't sound like Twilight to me, and that's certainly a harsher sentence that I can see her doling out. Why not throw him in prison? And given that she even had to explain this between-world to Stone, it's not common knowledge. So how is she going to explain what happened to him? Okay, the "just desserts" ending does carry some satisfaction, but it has to satisfy logic as well, especially where Twilight's involved.
>> No. 128815
Wow, fifth place for the 3rd time, ha, I just can't seem to get out of it.

Anyway, congrats to Pascoite, PresentPrefect and Golden Vision on claiming the top three; good job guys.

And the same goes for everyone else too; good job! No matter what place your story got I say you owe yourself a pat on the back. It ain't easy churning out a fic in just three days, after all.

I always enjoy these, for as much anxiety as they cause over a single weekend, and then in the waiting, but still. Hope everyone had as much fun as I did.
>> No. 128816
File 138112810276.png - (379.92KB , 1219x1296 , bloom_season_5_safari___by_costantstyle-d4siefz.png )

Looks like Pascoite finally got himself a gold medal.
>> No. 128824
File 138113302123.jpg - (34.95KB , 481x496 , busted.jpg )
First off, congrats on the win Pascoite. And a double entry too!

>leather, butterfly wings
I haz shames. Yes, butterfly wings refers to a pastry. It's flaky, glazed, fairly buttery, and shaped like butterfly wings. Probably should go for something less exotic like creme eclairs, I should think. And that leather thing completely passed me by. I don't ever think about these, it seems...

So: increase adversity level, justify Twilight's characterization more, make ending more solid. Gotcha.

I was going for the traditional publishing structure, indenting paragraphs except for the one right after a scene break. Reading the other entries made me aware of how off my decision was.

>Rest of points
All duly noted. Thank you kindly for the advice, and I'm looking forward to giving it a good solid tempering with this.


The story started off as some kind of parable-y Aesop-ish thing where the suffering silent hero is tempted at every turn, brought to light, and redeemed. I didn't even want to give him a name to add to the vague smokiness of everything. Be it laziness, pretentiousness or just bad idea, rendering the world vast and empty did make it easier to write, though it also took away any and all scene-building, which I consider one of my stronger points. It did let me focus more on dialogue and showing characterization through it, but I soon faced the realization that I didn't have much for either of them to say.

Blue Stone is, really, more of a vehicle for the plot twist than a character, I have to admit.

Twilight was originally supposed to be Luna, but choosing the newest alicorn felt like the edgier twist, and if this write-off isn't for experimentation, what is?

What I was hoping to get from this, I got - a practice in doing something less absorbed in its own scene-building, with a plot that actually goes somewhere. Being able to break my biggest self-perceived weakness (more like trading it in for a ton of others, heh) was refreshing, and so was banging all of it out in one sitting. =P I enjoyed the ones I read, and I have nothing but solid handshakes to pass around to everyone. Well done guys!
>> No. 128827
Hot-cha, Pasco! No more complaining about your writing, okay? :V Okay. Geev got robbed. I mean, srsly, c'mon! Imma post all my reviews right the now and I'll go back and respond to feedback later.

Can I just say, despite the low turnout, this was probably the best crop of entries ever? None of them were bad! And though there's always room for improvement, none of them felt rushed (well, maybe Sun Rose), which is always the number one criticism for writeoff entries. This was some really stellar stuff, guys, be proud!

Good Girl
Aw yeah, you wrote a story about Screw Loose and titled it after one of the best songs ever. Win. As a novelization of the song, this works out pretty darn well, and it’s a little One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as well, to its benefit. The slow mental decline is handled well, the hospital procedures — something I’ve become extremely picky about in my fic — at least feel genuine, and more importantly, I like the bit about the doctor not having used the straightjacket in fifteen years. It helps keep this grounded in the show: yes, ponies can have psychotic breaks, but they don’t happen all the time, and when they do, they generally aren’t horrific. Even in this case, she just thinks she’s a dog; that’s hardly turning ponies into cupcakes. Not the most exciting fic I’ve ever read, but as a character study it’s quite good, and I enjoyed it.

In Bloom
Not since Beyond the Wall has a writeoff entry been this much of an experience to read. This is flawless. It’s perfect. It’s beautiful and terrifying and it might be the best story ever to grace this website. And lest you think I’m being overly generous, a single piece of feedback: Two quips early on that he’s not much for blood, so I was a little surprised that didn’t become more of an issue after he hits Roseluck, since it’s mentioned a few times that he made her bleed. Something to think about.

One Night at an Izakaya
Though not much happens, this is a pretty nice look at kirin, at Rarity from an outside perspective, and at a foreign culture in the pony world. That said, I kind of felt like Neighpon was too much like actual Japan and not enough of a ponified one. Mostly, it was due to the building requirements, the lights and karaoke booths and whatnot. They come off as overly modern and somewhat outside the world as we know it. Be that as it may, I really appreciated the introductory notes about the Neighponese trying to trace their Emperor’s lineage to Celestia, and the perspective character was decent. Not bad at all.

Regnum Intero
This is a lot of fun. A good way to explore worldbuilding and headcanon, good atmosphere, and a compelling story. It is a shame that the plot itself didn’t unfold until more or less the very end; hearing that he was planning on killing someone once he left the in-between would have really amped up the tension. For what this is, though, it’s good, although it’s “rogue”, not “rouge”. (Oh. And I just figured out how you punned on the prompt. Bravo.)

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
I have to say, I totally feel for Twilight in this. People who rely a lot on subtle body movements for communication don’t realize how unnoticeable that can be for those of us who don’t pick up on that so well. I do like that Rarity at least got the hint eventually, even if it was too late for her to do anything about it. This was fairly well written, though it relies a little heavily on telling; granted, I can’t think of this as overly bad in this situation, so that the reader is not left behind by Rarity’s motions, as poor Twilight. A little more problematic is the back and forth between their POVs, especially in the spots where they’re physically separated. Or maybe it’s more the regularity of the shifts, which makes them feel forced and unnecessary at times. And, I kind of can’t imagine a book full of spells for foals not coming with counterspells. I mean, that’s good marketing, but you’d think a parent group would complain or something. Either way, it’s a nice light story that succeeds at what it sets out to do. Not bad.

Impressive. I’ve never considered that Apple Bloom would not only be too young to remember her parents, but have this much emotion balled up inside her about it. The ending was very surprising, the revelation genuine, and that kept this from being a far more pat story. It really feels like a peek into the private lives of a real family. I did think the bit with the ribbon wasn’t played up as much as it could have been, but there’s really not a whole lot of room to expand this story. The length does it good: it’s just as long as it needs to be.

And the Sun Rose
This was really fascinating, but I’m sorry to say I don’t get it. I was with it all the way up to the scroll. What was there was just wonderful: trying to read the mood of Celestia-the-artist through the sunrise (how does one even do that?), the bickering with Rainbow Dash… And then things get confusing. Why is she an “old mare”? The line about her suddenly thinking Rainbow Dash was twenty years older suggests that this is right after season three. Certainly, the Crystal Empire and Twilight’s coronation feel recent. I can only assume the question she asked Celestia had to do with a relationship, but if there’s anything to base a guess on beyond assumptions, I missed it. I have a feeling that, once I know what happened, this will be fascinating to reread and analyze, but at the moment, I feel like I’ve definitely missed something, and I don’t know who to blame.

Last edited at Mon, Oct 7th, 2013 05:14

>> No. 128829
I didn't post my reviews during the contest because I knew I'd just end up giving myself away again and I didn't feel like faux-reviewing my own story. Furthermore, I didn't respond to any feedback because apparently now Ponychan remembers my name and tripcode which, while nice, means I'd have to keep typing in "Author of" and hoping I formatted it the same way every time. :B

So do you guys remember Dinky's First Kill? How about Blue Is Better? This one's in the same continuity as both of those. I should probably stop doing this for writeoffs, but I do so love writing Dinky and Derpy fics. :D

>What's up with the unexplained and unresolved issue of Swift Justice being government?
You wouldn't be intimidated to have breakfast with a member of the governing body you work for? Or even in general?

The perfect slice of life story is going to be totally dull, I agree, but that's all I was going for. :B

>>The weight on Derpy's back grew exponentially heavier.
>That's an odd phrasing, as there's nothing Dink could do to actually feel heavier, and it's vague in relating Dinky's mood. Plus the "exponential" hyperbole is strangely technical.
I'll change the phrasing, but I dunno, have you ever seen a kid, or even a pet, who doesn't want to go somewhere? They have mass control abilities.

>>somehow able to stay in position
>So she's okay with jumping on a pretty narrow perch, but not hanging on for a flight? Not that it isn't believable, but might warrant addressing.
Or leaving out. There are some difference, walking being a pretty steady action and not involving wings flapping all over the place.

>>After consulting with Pipsqueak's aunt via foal-delivered notes
>Okay. I get her issue with placing muffins in her mailbox. But the doorstep shouldn't be an issue. And then this? If she seriously considered the muffin deliveries a problem, this isn't?
It's not a federal offense to bypass the mail system. :B And who would she address the letter to? She'd have to tell Dinky to ask Pipsqueak for his address, and at that point, she might as well just have them trade notes. Outside of class, of course.

>>It was unusual for a pony to start conversation about her position.
>Missing word.
What word?

>>Sweet Apple Acres and Rainbow Dash's house
>That's really odd that her route includes two specific residences, especially since it's not clear whether Dash even lives in Ponyville.
AFAIK, she lives above Ponyville, so she could be just about anywhere. The other mail carrier is an earth pony, so Derpy has to deliver her mail. SAA is a bit of a walk outside town, so it's notable.

Now we know what a muffin is when it's not a muffin. :V

>>as well as their marriage
>That's a really extraneous conflict that never gets developed. You didn't even need it, so why bring it in? And why would Swift discuss this with someone she's just met?
I'll have her address that. This makes more sense to include in the context of the broader world in which this story is set.

>>like fresh air on a summer day
>I never would have described the smell of an English muffin like this...
They just sort of smell like bread. :B

>It seems there may be a couple of comma usage rules that aren't firmly lodged in your brain,
You should know by know this is a hallmark of my first drafts. :| Tell me you knew this was me.

Thanks again for an awesome review. :D

Last edited at Mon, Oct 7th, 2013 05:49

>> No. 128830
First off, congrats to Pasco for his first-place win! I had a feeling that fic might be yours.

Thanks for this—really. I'll definitely take everything that you say into account. I probably won't want to involve another character to be invested in her—I'd prefer to keep this strictly Screw Loose's problem, just for simplicity's sake—but I'll certainly up her own inner conflict, just so the readers have something to believe in. Thanks for catching the typos as well.

PP, congrats on your second place—I certainly enjoyed your fic. I do wonder at that "most controversial score" I seem to have picked up; if Roger's got the data, I'd definitely be interested in seeing my score spread. Heck, the scores as a whole were pretty low this time around. I wonder why that is?

In any case, good on everyone else for participating, and I hope we get an even better turnout next time.
>> No. 128834
>I’m sorry to say I don’t get it
Ha no worries, you and everyone else. It's interesting, because the letter at the end seems to have thrown everyone, which in one sense I understand, but in another I don't. I thought I had made it clear that Twilight was awaiting a response from Celestia about something important to her, and that she had somehow "missed something" during all her readings of Celestia's actions, attitudes, and sunrises over the years. She feels this way because, as we find out in the end, she received a response she wasn't expecting. I know the fact I never clarified just what the letter was about didn't help anyone out, and that's because I never had time to figure it out myself. I thought I could leave it up to the readers imagination, buuuuuut that didn't really work XD. But with all the confusion it caused, I wonder if I didn't somehow build up a different expectation as to what was bothering Twilight. Or maybe it was just that I never specified what it was Celestia was denying. *shrugs*

It wasn't that Rainbow Dash was 20 years older, it was that she suddenly looked it; I was trying to convey the fact that twilight's insult about her sister-like relation with Scootaloo, as well as the fact Dash's attempts to help her friend had gone completely south, were weighing down on her and straining her. Twilight's remark hurt.

Twilight's comment wasn't meant to be read into very much; I remark all the time "I'm too old for this" when I'm only in my 20's; so it wasn't meant to be taken literally, but that Twilight was just stressed out and tired, so she compared herself to being old. She was confused though, having not expected Celestia's answer due to everything she thought the princess wanted for her (all communicated silently).

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad you liked it. It suffered a lot from being rushed into the last four hours, but that's okay.
>> No. 128839
Yeah, I think you need a few more strong hints there. And the "20 years older" and "old mare" comments just sort of created a mental feedback loop. I think I was reading things into that that you didn't intend, but it's hard not to.
>> No. 128850
I very much liked this story and rated it one of my top finishers. It created a wonderful atmosphere, and the interaction between them was great. But there wasn't any real conflict, so it didn't seem to go anywhere. I was also confused about Celestia's letter. Based on hints I thought I saw scattered throughout the story, I had guessed that either 1) Celestia was turning down Twilight's offer of a relationship with her, 2) Celestia was turning down Twilight's request to immortalize Dash (based on Twilight really noticing how old she looked), or 3) Celestia was telling Twilight she shouldn't pursue a relationship with Dash.
>> No. 128852
One Night at an Izakaya
You do a great job of creating atmosphere, and the characters are very well fleshed out. The writing itself was quite good, but two things bothered me. First, there wasn't much conflict here. It plays more as a nice scene than a story. Second, the pervasiveness of the Japanese cultural elements and the opening infodump were a bit much for me. It seemed to force a long story's worth of world-building into a short story, and came across somewhat as the author wanting to show off his knowledge of Japan. There are times that showing off works (hell, I wrote a whole column on the subject), but you have to be very careful with how you use that type of expert knowledge in a story to avoid alienating readers.

Actions Speak Louder than Words
This was definitely a cute story. I can't say it was surprising, but the little bits of characterization showing how they react differently to their situation were very nice. The emotional content was somewhat superficial, but in a way, that could work, depending on what you want to do with the story. This is one I could actually see being "dumbed down," so to speak, and made into something that feels like a children's tale, or revised into a more general-audience slice-of-life story.

Good job, everyone. There are always a few stinkers in every write-off, at least until now. None of these entries were bad.
>> No. 128854
Practically impossible not to do, I'd say. Everyone brings their own perceptions to the table, and get's something different out of a story (though not always too different, one could argue).

Thanks for the compliments :3
It's interesting to see your theories, especially since I was mostly flying by the seat of my pants and never really nailed down just what the request was about, though I had a solid idea. I won't tell what it was, just to be that guy XD

As for your story, it definitely deserved 1st, so congrats! Near the end I expected you to go the route of Two either killing or seriously hurting Roseluck, and I'm glad you didn't, if only for the sake of my heart not dying. Though you did leave it open for that to happen eventually.
>> No. 128894
File 138178709362.jpg - (65.06KB , 900x869 , 1378074_658448250846965_654920246_n[1].jpg )
image I found on FB. Thought it was pretty relevant. :3
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