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No. 128883
#Reviewer

As everyone should know by now, Equestria Daily has gone almost exclusively to short bullet-point reviews, except in cases where only a small number of items need to be corrected for posting. I enjoy giving longer reviews, but can no longer do so through Equestria Daily, so I will post them here. I will only do so for stories that in my estimation would have passed the old automoon system; others will get only the bullet-point treatment in the email.

This thread is only for the authors in question and me. They are free to ask questions or ask me to remove their reviews from the thread for any reason. For any other traffic, I will ask a mod to delete it. General questions about Equestria Daily or the pre-reading process should be posted here:
>>128414

Note that I won't give an exhaustive list of errors; I'll provide a representative list of the types of problems I find and leave it to the author to scour his story for the rest.

To avoid repeating myself, I'll post a few of the more common discussion topics up here; your review may refer you to one or more of these.

Dash and hyphen use:
Hyphens are reserved for stuttering and hyphenated words. Please use a proper dash otherwise. They can be the em dash (Alt+0151) with no spaces around it or en dash (Alt+0150) surrounded by spaces. Some usage (primarily American) employs only the em dash, while other usage (primarily British) employs an em dash for cutoffs and an en dash for asides. It doesn't matter which system an author uses, as long as he is consistent.

Comma use with conjunctions:
There may be other grammatical reasons to place commas, but in the simplest forms, commas accompany conjunctions to separate clauses, not to separate two items of a compound subject, verb, or object. The most common simple sentence forms are:

He performed this action and that action.
He and she performed this action.
He and she performed this action and that action.
He performed this action, and she performed that action.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization:
When transitioning from a quote into a speech tag, you use a comma in place of a period (other end punctuation would remain unchanged), and the tag is not capitalized by default. Here are the most common forms:

"Speech," he said.
"Speech." He performed a non-speaking action.
"Beginning of quoted sentence," he said, "end of quoted sentence."

Lavender Unicorn Syndrome (LUS):
This is overuse of descriptors such as "the lavender unicorn" when referring to a character. Most times, a name or pronoun will do, and they blend in without pulling attention away from what's happening in a story. These descriptors also tell us information we already know, for the most part. If anyone doesn't know that Twilight is a lavender unicorn, it'd be odd to find him this waist-deep in the fanfiction community.

When it's okay to use them are (very sparingly!) for a bit of flavor, when they actually do impart some new information, or when there are a lot of characters present, such that names quickly get repetitive and pronouns are ambiguous.

Talking heads:
This refers to conversations that have back-and-forth dialogue with little in the way of action to separate them. The characters may as well be disembodied heads floating in a featureless void, for all I know. Half of a conversation is nonverbal cues. They carry so much of the emotional content of what's said, so give the reader the complete picture. Use the same techniques as show versus tell. Speaking of which...

Show versus tell:
It's better to get the reader to interpret a character's emotions than to tell them outright. Devices for doing that include body language, reactions, facial expressions, actions, and sometimes speech and thought. The three biggest red flags are outright naming an emotion (sad), -ly adverb form (happily), and prepositional phrase form (in excitement). The last one in particular is almost always redundant with an action it follows. You'll bore the reader just throwing cold facts at him. This is akin to an actor expecting the audience to intuit his mood from his actions and speech rather than stating it outright. The latter is more efficient, but also quite boring. Showing is not always necessary, but is a better idea when emotions run high, the story is at a critical plot point, you want the reader to feel something along with the character, or it's early in the story where you need to hook the reader.

Saidisms:
The verb "said" (and to a degree, other common ones like "answered," "replied," "stated") blend in without calling much attention to themselves. It's okay to use other speaking verbs like "shouted," "muttered," "whispered," etc. to convey a mood or tone of voice, but after a point, the reader starts noticing the choice of speaking verb more than the speech itself, which is a bad thing. The more often an author uses more exotic ones, the more the reader will remember them more than the story. A good mix of mundane speaking verbs, more unusual ones, and going without a speech tag at all will serve a story well.

Head hopping:
It is okay to change character perspectives within a story, but doing so too abruptly or too often is jarring to the reader. An author must consider whether the information he's presenting would be available to the intended perspective character. If not, then he must consider whether the information is important enough to be necessary, can be presented in such a way that the perspective character can perceive it, or if a shift of perspective is truly the best way. And if a shift is justified, then be prepared to stay in that character's perspective for some time. Staying there for only a sentence or paragraph just jerks the reader around. And when changing perspectives, do so smoothly. Imagine a camera, gradually zooming out of one character to a more objective viewpoint, then zooming in on another.

Authors can find further information and other reviewing resources here:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dqgYO7OqGDcE3CZ8V6WDOBKTITjzvbrHdyXOFtm_dfI/edit
295 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 131325
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

This may be a long enough list to seem intimidating. It really isn't. I was very thorough, and a lot of this is multiple instances of the same things. There's more of an explanation in the wrap-up comments at the end, but first, I want to make it clear that I want to see this story come back so I can post it.

>whole blocks of buildings laid dark and deserted//
Lay/lie confusion. You want "lay" here. "Laid" requires a direct object.

>Shops had cheerfully opened during the day, catering to last-minute shoppers and decorators. But their doors closed early, and their workers were retired to their own homes and parties.//
You basically already said this. In fact, the "were retired to their own homes" part is a direct repetition.

>The illusion would be ruined in a moment upon peering inside.//
I'm seeing a fair amount of passive voice already, not to the point that I'd say it's off-putting yet, but keep it in mind. Most of them would be easy to rephrase in an active manner.

>Heaven//
Why is this capitalized?

>who every pony should at least try to hang out with//
Whom. If you want to be really correct, move the "with" to the front of this phrase.

>Getting your donuts from the café frequented by, say, Fleur De Lis was far and away worth the extra cost.//
This is pretty much the identical information and phrasing you gave me to end the previous paragraph.

I'm three screens in, and it's already starting to drag on me. Here's why:

A lot of the physical description of the restaurant is irrelevant. There's some minimal amount that's necessary to set the scene, and you're far past that. Most of the rest does nothing but reinforce the point you've already made about the place looking run-down. Then we get o the descriptions of the donuts, and the narration even more starts addressing the reader as "you." This can be problematic, as it raises questions about who the narrator is, why he wants to tell me the story, what my role is, and why I want to listen. So when we even start getting dialogue from a generic cardboard cutout of a character, it just cements to me that all the opening so far has been pretty generic.

The reader is here for the characters and the plot. It's a good idea to get to one or the other quickly. There's plenty of time to work in atmosphere, particularly when it's pertinent to what's happening. So far, I have zero idea what the story is about, and absolutely nothing has happened. I've only been introduced to one character, and I barely know anything about him—only that he owns a rough-looking restaurant and is overweight. After this, we finally get into some characterization from him. It would do you well to trim the fat from this introductory section.

>business pony
Probably one word, like "businessman."

>passer-byes//
passersby

>on their way to parties//
Repetitive again. You mentioned ponies on their way to homes, parties, hotels...

>They were always long gone by the time the customers arrived.//
I'm not sure whom "they" refers to here. The ponies on their way to parties? It doesn't really make sense.

>Lightning Dust. The youngest of his regulars, and definitely the easiest on the eyes. She’d probably gotten a lot of praise for her looks, and her athletic frame showed she hadn’t taken them for granted.//
So you're going to shift into a subjective narration in Joe's perspective? This is kind of a jarring disconnect from the voice that you've used up to now, who spoke to the reader and expressed opinions about Joe's restaurant that he wouldn't hold himself.

>99%//
Write it out.

>high risk//
Hyphenate.

>her bits finally ran dry//
Repetitive with the use of "dry" earlier in the paragraph.

>She seemed mad enough to storm out//
Show me. All she's done so far is scowl, so I have no indication of her mood, except that the narrator's told me very bluntly here, but I don't get to see it.

>Rolling her eyes in the most exaggerated motion she could manage//
Why the shift into Lightning's perspective here? Joe wouldn't know what she could or couldn't manage. Honestly, I'd cut all of this phrase after "eyes."

>her sulky chewing lost to the distance//
"Lost to the distance" is kind of an awkward phrasing, and if it really is lost, how does Joe hear it?

>to never//
Swap these words.

>triggered by Gilda of all ponies//
Gilda's not a pony...

>27//
Spell it out.

>“I’m surprised to see you tonight, Blues.” Lightning offered.//
Dialogue punctuation.

>Blueblood pressed his lips//
Did you mean "pursed"?

>Yo Donut Pony!//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>’Evening//
Why the apostrophe? What letters is he skipping?

>with disinterested courtesy//
Given that you've been taking a subjective narration in Joe's viewpoint, "disinterested" is an odd comment for him to make about himself. This would get across better with an internal comment of his that shows him acting disinterested.

>less interested than he sounded//
Again, this comes across as a very external evaluation from what should be his viewpoint.

>Working with the bear claws, Joe ducked his head lower to hide his eye-roll. That was her third job this month.//
Since I've made the above comment a couple of times now, here's a spot where it's done right. It's limited to his own perceptions, intents, and opinions, and rendered in a way that sounds like his own internal monologue.

>Already, Gilda was complaining that some places were blackballing her.//
This sounds pretty repetitive with Lightning's situation.

>which led to the claw-shaped scar on his shoulder//
This begs for more. Wouldn't that make him more wary of her? Why did he just let it go, rather than call the police? Or if he did, why would he think she might do that again?

>Yo~//
~ is not proper punctuation.

>A disappointed few seconds passed.//
For whom? The narrator's with Joe, so I'd have to assume him, but he has no reason to be.

>Rent//
Why is this capitalized?

>Lost in his worries, Joe had no idea how long it was until the door opened once more.//
You're in his head. So are these worries. So why don't I get to see them? You're forcing me out of his perspective like this. And shouldn't the door opening surprise him if he wasn't paying attention.

>showmare//
Inconsistent with you spelling it as two words in the last paragraph.

>That was part of why Joe liked her. He was sorta the same, going for hard independence over safe employment.//
Seems like a colon might work better between these.

>apologized//
Would be illustrative if I could see this and her reaction.

>Thanks Joe//
Comma for direct address.

>Even the laconic Joe//
You already described him as such, and recently enough that I remember it clearly.

>gaze fixed on Joe. It was certainly a gaze//
The repetition isn't done in a way that feels deliberate or creates an effect.

>“You are ‘Joe?’” She asked//
Capitalization.

>Joe nodded, stepping back behind the counter//
Missing end punctuation.

>Very well, ‘Joe.’//
I'm not sure why she's continuing to put his name in quotes. She knows it's correct now.

>He’d been in business a decade, and heard stranger requests//
That's all one clause. You don't need the comma.

>Heaths//
Hearth's

>It couldn’t put bits in their pockets, or love in their hearts.//
All one clause. No comma.

>when all the smiling ponies were at their parties//
Enough with the parties already.

>well-matching//
In this usage, you don't need the hyphen.

>Not wanting conversation//
Another instance where an internal comment would be far more powerful than a narrative summary.

>three-hundred//
No hyphen.

>teary with fear//
The tears alone aren't going to connote fear. What else does he see? Show me that instead of just summarizing it as fear.

>“Why doesn’t she come inside?” He grumbled.//
Capitalization. You get it right when the dialogue ends in a comma, so I'm not sure why the question marks are causing you trouble.

>brow furrowed in confusion//
Another rather external assessment that should be rendered through the perspective instead.

>Pausing a moment to lock the cashbox, Joe stepped out from behind the counter.//
Note that participles synchronize actions. So he pauses at the same time he steps out. It'd more reasonably happen one after the other.

>lycanthropy//
Be careful with the big words. Using them in his perspective implies that it's a word he knows and would be inclined to use. You have to make sure that fits his characterization.

>he slammed the door behind him//
I'm surprised he does this, since he was upset about the possibility of Gilda doing so.

>With the moon occluded//
Another word choice that seems pretty highbrow for him.

>“Kid,” he said; not unkindly, but gruffly.//
Misused semicolon. There's no independent clause after it.

>He was a gruff pony//
You just said that, and there are ways you make repetition feel deliberate and meaningful. I don't see any here.

>and more tears were slowly being added to them//
That's an awkward phrasing and a pretty clunky use of passive voice.

>between a shiver//
"Between shivers," right? She can't exactly say something between only one.

>quizzically//
How does this look?

>Where’s home for you, kid?//
Look how often he's already used direct address with her. Then consider how often people actually do so in real conversations.

>in embarrassment//
Don't just tell me she's embarrassed. Make her look and act embarrassed. Par tof making a connection with a character is interpreting such cues, which makes the reader see things through her eyes for a moment. That's how we naturally read others' emotions anyway. It's much more engaging than just having the narrator sum it all up in a word or two, which short-circuits that discovery process. (First-person narrators are a notable exception, at least as far as their own emotions are concerned.)

>my class came for the big play and I//
Ooh. Sounds like Cheerilee's going to be in big trouble.

>can-“//
>even-“//
>any-“//
>she-“//
>and-“//
>Instead-“//
>to-“//
>not-“//
>sappy-“//
Use a proper dash, and note that dash use can break smart quotes. These are backward.

>approvingly//
Get at this through his commentary. Most adverbs are going to break you out of a subjective feel to the narration.

>Joe cut her off.//
You don't need to tell me this. It's already apparent from the punctuation.

>eager and young//
You already described him as young.

>Or-//
Use a dash.

>“You know if the sky chariots are running?” He blurted before giving himself a chance to reconsider.//
Capitalization.

>Lighting//
Typo. As I look ahead, you make the same one two more times, so search for this spelling.

>had pulled her chair closer to the window, and was suddenly faking a talk with Trixie.//
No comma.

>act nonchalant, but the poor act//
Watch the repetition.

>their silent interest//
You just referred to "their interest" two sentences ago.

>His whistled innocently//
Typo.

>Three-hundred//
No hyphen.

>Pastries//
Why is this capitalized?

>The bag went into his apron pocket and Joe walked slowly to the door//
Here's a case where there are separate clauses, so you do need a comma.

>Sir//
That wouldn't be capitalized unless it's a title of knighthood.

>She gave a hard, wintry cough into her forehoof and the smile grew.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>Joe met her eyes, and finally smiled back.//
No comma.

>half-heartedly//
halfheartedly

>all’s//
That's a really odd usage. How about "everyone's"?

>thoughts were on the strange thing they had just witnessed//
How does Joe know this?

>Bringing his head back up//
Participial phrases are usually set off with a comma.

>four-hundred//
No hyphen.

>He pushed the treat across the counter to her, smiling faintly.//
You've had a number of participial phrases that were misplaced modifiers, but they weren't bad ones, so I let them go. This one is actually ambiguous, though. These phrases like to modify the nearest prior object, or if they start a clause, its subject. So the grammatical presumption is that Trixie is smiling faintly. But most authors using this construction intend for it to modify Joe. If it only makes logical sense for it to describe one of the possibilities, then it's a minor blip, but here, I can't tell which one.

>B-But//
Unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway, only do so with the firsst instance in a stutter.

>“”Don’t worry about it,”//
Extraneous quotation marks.

>”Filliiiiiiies and gentlecolts!” She boomed//
Capitalization, and the opening quotation marks are backward, as smart quotes sometimes do with a bbcode tag.

>sparks cackled in the air//
"Crackled," maybe?

>looking very surprised//
And what does that look like?

>An applause//
I've never seen that used as anything other that a collective noun, i.e., it doesn't take an indefinite article.

>Shrimp//
Unless it's actually a nickname she uses specifically and repeatedly for Trixie (and they haven't been suggested to have any sort of relationship where this might reasonably occur), it's just a generic term, and it wouldn't be capitalized.

>semi-circle//
semicircle

>sarcastically//
It loses its impact if you have to tell me this. It's like informing me that a joke was funny. Let what she says and how she says it deliver the sarcasm.

>ruining what little mystique Trixie had built//
How so? You've been in Joe's head, so you can't really talk to things beyond how he feels about it personally and how he sees the others act.

>why are my pants red?//
She's presenting it as dialogue, so it does need capitalization and a comma.

>WOAH//
Please don't be one of those authors who can't spell this. You got it right earlier.

>She was holding a hoof to her mouth to hide a grimace that happened to be upside-down.//
This is phrased more as her own reasons for doing so than Joe's perception of it.

>Lightning seemed curious//
What does she do to make her seem so?

>cutie-mark//
Canon doesn't hyphenate this.

>Second question, if I may: What are those?//
You typically only capitalize after a colon if what comes before it refers to multiple sentences.

>“Little experiment of mine,” Joe tilted the tray, giving everypony a better look.//
You've punctuated that like it's a speech attribution, but there's no speaking verb.

>Joe’s explanation was bashful.//
You're getting external to him again. Let this come through in how he delivers his explanation.

>“Dang,” Gilda whistled low, eyeing the portions.//
Another attribution without a speaking verb.

>two-dozen//
No hyphen.

>‘em//
Another thing that always breaks smart quotes is a leading apostrophe. This is backward. You can force one the right way by adding a second and deleting the first or by pasting one in from somewhere else.

>wheedling smile on her face//
Missing word.

>Joe said by way of answer//
Given that he was answering her, that's pretty redundant.

>The older mare gave a slight ‘hmf,’ and feigned disinterest.//
No comma.

>”Eques-TREE-uh//
Backward quotes.

>Harshwhinny grumbling about how ponies had ‘hair,’ not ‘fur,’//
Thank you!

>yawn in boredom//
The yawn already connotes boredom. Cut that prepositional phrase.

>“We need a ‘game’ game!” She clarified.//
Capitalization.

>pouted sulkily//
The "sulkily" is telly and redundant with the pouting.

>“Yo Joe, Blues,” Gilda called, grinning fearlessly. “I mean… we do got cones…”//
Is there a scene break here? There's an extra blank line, but no marker.

>The chaotic game stopped, ponies looking to his reaction//
That "to" feels awkward. And the few paragraphs around here don't have a clear perspective. You don't constantly have to chime in from the viewpoint character, but it helps to check in every few paragraphs at least.

>the food fight began in full.//
And again, is there a scene break here? There wouldn't have to be, but you've left a ton of empty space.

>as he glanced to the clock//
Another weird "to" where I would have figured an "at."

>looking at clocks//
Wait, how many are there? Joe was described as looking at "the" clock, as in the only one.

>was almost at an end//
Just a couple paragraphs ago, it was described as having already ended.

>Y-You//
Only capitalize the first.

>Joe could charge him for the trays they ate, and return the rest.//
No comma.

>closest her ever came//
Typo

>He shouldered the door open without breaking stride, and was gone the next moment.//
No comma.

>“And I want you to kiss me!” She blurted//
Capitalization.

>Moron//
Why is this capitalized?

>and-//
Use a dash.

>“That is…” he lowered the hoof and coughed to the side//
Capitalization.

>hastily-formed//
You don't need a hyphen in two-word phrases beginning with an -ly adverb.

>Woah//
Dammit

>his own confidence growing//
>And in his face, she saw that mean smirk return.//
See the perspective switch? It's a short enough scene that there's really no reason to wander out of a single viewpoint. And why is the whole thing in italics? That just gets annoying to read. They're generally used for presenting flashbacks, dreams, or written material. It took me a while to realize this wasn't just something Joe was imagining. It'll be clear what's going off, since this appears to be set off as a separate scene. I'd encourage you to use the bbcode [hr] as a scene marker. instead of the varying number of blank lines you have now.

>with apprehension//
Show it.

>Trixie was picking lazily at her pretzel bun and Harshwhinny was simply sitting back in her chair//
Comma between the clauses.

>well-familiar//
No hyphen.

>they know who to blame//
"Whom," if you figure she's the kind of character who would know that. I do.

>the brain behind them hardly daring to hope//
(this is Trixie)
>amused that the stern mare seemed so dense//
(this is Lightning)
Another jarring perspective shift.

>Sapphire Shore’s//
Her name is Sapphire Shores, so it might affect how you want to handle the apostrophe.

>Life//
Why is this capitalized?

>For Trixie and Lightning, of course, it wasn’t chickenfeed. It was more money than they’d ever seen in their lives, and it took another few dumbstruck seconds before they realized it was walking away.//
For my money (heh), you could cut this entire paragraph. It's rather blunt, and what's around it already gives that impression.

>WAIT!//
Italics are preferred over all caps or bold for emphasis.

>merrily-thrown//
No hyphen.

>Schnapps//
lower case
>> No. 131326
Okay, wrap-up time. I get that he realizes Celestia's involvement, but thank her for what? Giving the opportunity or the encouragement to do something good? Or that she somehow motivated Blueblood to pay him all that money?

I know this looks like a lot. Really, it isn't. It's a bunch of instances of a small number of problems noted over and over. I've pointed them all out and said exactly how to fix them. The bulk of this will be no more than an editing pass. I've tried to remove the pain as much as possible, because I like this story and want to expedite it to get posted by Christmas if I can. That part's up to you. If you can get it fixed up within the next few days, it'll probably happen.

The only things that will take a bit of thought to work out are these: the instances of telly language, the jumping perspectives, and the mismatched opening scene. Really, that last one is the only one that'll take much thought. If you'd had a narrator break in with that tone throughout the story, it'd work, but it just sticks out like a sore thumb as is. You could easily convey the same information in a style more in keeping with the rest of the story.

For reference, there's a little more information at the top of this thread on some of the topics I've brought up. Specifically, I'd point you to the sections on dialogue punctuation/capitalization, comma use with conjunctions, and head hopping.

The last thing I'll add is that this story uses a lot of "to be" verbs. They're inherently boring. It's much more interesting to read about things that happen, not that just are. Of the easier forms to search on, I counted 352 in the story, which is a rate of about one every other sentence. You'd really benefit from making more active verb choices. This can work even when there's not actually any motion, as in "He sat there" versus "He was there." One helps keep the story moving. The other brings the action to a halt. Now, it didn't grate on me too badly, except in a couple of places where I encountered clumps of them, so in the interest of time, I'll just ask you to consider swapping a few out when you encounter them in passages you're working on anyway. I won't make you scour the whole story for them, unless you want to. Just keep it in mind for your future writing.

Hope to see this story come back soon!
>> No. 131354
>>131313

Thanks for taking the time to review and point out errors.

Ultimately, this is my fault for getting impatient with my editor's tardiness and thinking I was okay to jump the gun without him. I've learned my lesson. (Though he still hasn't, lazy bastard. (He's my brother, I wouldn't be so mean to a regular editor. :P))

He's finally gotten around to editing it now, and I've gone and implemented most of the grammatical changes as well. I'll likely submit it later today, after figuring out if there's any story stuff I can change easily.

Ultimately, I was trying to capture two different feelings from this fic. From Apple Bloom's perspective, the frustration of being a kid and having to deal with a drunk adult who you normally trust and rely on, and it puts you in the weird position where you suddenly have to be the mature one.

From Applejack's level, she's hit that level of drunkenness where you suddenly really, really have some idea or thought or something you want to convey and it seems like the most important thing in the world all, but inebriation leaves her unable to properly get her point across.

The story is ultimately nonsense, just something cute AJ's mom made up in order to entertain her. To Applejack, it's a vague memory of warmth and safety and an ultimate trust in someone above her and an assurance that everything will always be okay. But she has absolutely no idea how to convey that message and feeling to Apple Bloom.

There's a bit of subtle foreshadowing in the fic already: Pinkie is worried when Apple Bloom mentions family troubles, Granny is making a big issue out of a routine pregnancy and "you know how she gets", Applejack's story in general is very maternal and apple focused.

Apple Bloom doesn't pick up on any of it until the end because she's grumpy and is focused on her own problems / annoyance at having to deal with Applejack as she is. Applejack's doing a terrible job of it, but she's trying to reach out to Apple Bloom and Apple Bloom isn't really listening.

Anyway, those are just my own thoughts on the story and what I was trying to accomplish while writing it. Maybe I should have tried doing it drunk. :3

Thanks again for the input,

-Oroboro
>> No. 131404
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>had ran//
had run

>"..." he continued.//
That may cut it in video game dialogue, but not here. Describe what he's doing instead of giving me a blank.

>he'd never lain a hoof on her//
You need "laid." there. "Lain" is intransitive.

>It's about..." Here Inkie made a sweeping gesture to encompass the living room, the farmhouse, and presumably, all that lay beyond. "...this."//
This is the standard way to to a narrative aside in a quote:
It's about—" here Inkie made a sweeping gesture to encompass the living room, the farmhouse, and presumably, all that lay beyond "—this."
in the cae where she stops speaking for the action, or:
It's about"—here Inkie made a sweeping gesture to encompass the living room, the farmhouse, and presumably, all that lay beyond—"this."
if she doesn't.

>A pained expression//
>Inkie asked incredulously//
>Looking bewildered//
You did alright in the early going, but here, I'm hitting a number of spots where the emotional imformation is pretty telly at a time where it's pretty important to the plot. This pops up intermittently, so keep an eye out for it.

>Father tried to ignore them, but he could feel Blinkie's eyes on the back of his head.//
Why are you shifting over to his perspective here? This is information only he could know, but the whole things had been from Inkie's viewpoint so far.

>For awhile//
In a usage like this, where a noun is required, you need "a while" to be two words.

>She didn't look uncomfortable with her sister's affection, just embarrassed, as if someone had just told a rather personal story about her at some kind of get-together.//
You have a nice image there, so why preface it with redundant telliness?

>a life of it's own//
Its/it's confusion.

>her future hanged in the balance//
"Hanged" is an execution method. You want "hung."

>As the hour wore on, Pinkie, quite without realizing it, gave in to her basest instinct and engaged Inkie and Skyline in conversation.//
Right around here, your perspective is wavering back and forth between several characters.

>this―" He gestured to the hexagram. "―is//
As before, you don't need to capitalize or use a period with the aside.

>Mother knew he had a dual personality, but it'd been so long since she'd seen this side of him that she'd wondered if he still had it.//
This is really coming out of nowhere.

>Meanwhile, Inkie and Skyline were taking advantage of their alone time.//
This is kind of a misplaced paragraph. It doesn't go with what's around it.

>lapse into grammatical correctness//
But... what she said wasn't grammatically correct.

>This was, in fact, for what she'd been waiting.//
The perspective is wavering a lot here.

>Pinkie laying next to her//
Lay/lie confusion.

>Inkie must have gotten up early and went in search of food.//
Verb agreement: must have went.

>Blinkie smiled. They made a cute couple, all the cuter for their insistence on denying their mutual interest. They weren't fooling anypony, least of all each other.//
This relationship is seeming rather forced. There's been no basis for it; they just conveniently liked each other. The pacing's getting realy slow about now, too. They're on this journey, and I have no sense that it should be a particularly long or arduous one, yet we're spending a lot of time on it, and nothing that interesting is happening. It's not moving the plot forward any.

>group, she'd caught a group//
Watch the close repetition.

>Black spots filled his vision.//
And yet another change of perspective.

>Inkie arrived on the scene and dropped the questionable edibles she'd collected.//
That's an entire paragraph that says nothing. So she's there. What does she do? If there's no function for her, then wait until there is one.

>a half-circle of bloody punctures marked where the wolf's fangs had been.//
There are only four fangs, two top and two bottom. They wouldn't form a semicircle.

>Ten minutes of tense, amateurish fumbling later, they managed, miraculously, to set the bone and stem the bleeding without making things considerably worse.//
That's rather bland. I can't see it passing that uneventfully, especially for Skyline.

>It hadn't attack//
Verb form.

>As they walked with their backs to the portal, only Granny was aware of the two tiny figures that scaled down from it on an improbable length of rope.//
How does this relate to what's going on? It comes out of nowhere. And I'm not sure how you classify a length of rope as "improbable."

>archeology//
archaeology

>It certainly felt that way, what with the sedative spell Granny had cast on him still wearing off.//
How does he know who Granny is? This is in his perspective. Indeed, just a little later, we get this:
>Somepony called Granny―his caretaker, presumably―had written it.//
So he doesn't know. Watch the perspective and what he could reasonably know or perceive.

>descendents//
descendants

>Pinkie, the only living pony to have left the rock farm//
I take it this was written pre-Maud?

>longer lived//
Hyphenate.

>swathe//
The noun definitions of this aren't quite what you want. Try "swath."

>Western Equestria, including such sights as Appleloosa, the Castle of the Two Sisters in the Everfree Forest, Ponyville, and through the mists of Cloudsdale, Galloping Gorge and the rock farm.//
And I'm guessing this isn't supposed to agree with the published map of Equestria?

>Luna seemed to be in a similar predicament. Her wings ruffled, and she didn't seem//
Watch the close repetition.

>In cognito//
incognito

>if she had to live on a mountainside, she wanted to liven the place up a bit//
So is this park in Canterlot? I'm confused. I thought Blinkie was underground with the rest of her family.

I have to be honest—I don't see the point of this aside scene with Luna. The only plot element it develops is Blinkie's guilt about killing the wolf, but it doesn't tread any new ground there.

>She hadn't wanted to cause a panic, so she'd instructed one guard to escort them to the botanical gardens and the other to wake her sister and have her keep an eye on them.//
Okay, but that was a long time to keep me waiting for an answer, and I can't fathom why you'd want to withhold that information. It's not like it's some big reveal.

>The bits and pieces she'd picked up from her staff had lead her to the bathhouse.//
>A butterfly with pastel blue-and-yellow wings lead her eyes//
>and lead her away//
>She lead him inside//
The past tense of "lead" is "led."

>bath? "//
Extraneous space.

>For awhile//
Another usage where "a while" needs to be two words.

First off, this was an interesting idea and a pretty well-written story. The two biggest issues for me were the amount of telly language and the sometimes constant shifts in perspective. That last one could be mitigated somewhat if you decided to keep it in an omniscient narration, but even then, giving a new viewpoint in every successive paragraph, as you do at times, is too much. On these two points, there are short discussions on "show versus tell" and "head hopping" at the top of this thread.

There are several scenes that seemed entirely extraneous, and the story really dragged during the journey underground, as I noted, because the pacing had slowed to a crawl, and it wasn't apparent that anything meaningful was happening.

Maybe this was done on purpose, but there didn't seem to be very distinct personalities for Blinkie and Inkie, aside from a single defining characteristic of each. After the story, I couldn't really describe either of them beyond that. Even Pinkie didn't often act like I'd expect her to from canon.

Finally, you have a tendency to work up to a moment through dialogue exchanges, but then once that moment finally arrives, present it after the fact as a narrative summary. It's a strange way of going about it, and it tends to disarm the scene's power.
>> No. 131412
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>particularly as I was there attending a weather conference for said problems//
Keep your character voicing in mind. This really doesn't sound like a phrasing Dash would use.

Then in the second paragraph alone, you have seven "to be" verbs. These are inherently boring verbs. Nothing happens. At the beginning of the story is where you need to grab the reader's interest, and having a bunch of static verbs won't help. You need to be choosing more active verbs.

>I was far enough that they wouldn't notice me//
You pretty much already said this.

>with my lithe and athletic body//
An odd off-topic observation for her to make. Wouldn't she be focused on following the girls?

>lil'//
li'l. There's at least one instance of this in chapter 2 as well.

>Sweetie Belle chuckled weakly and I couldn't help but chuckle with her, stifling it with a hoof.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>“What are you doing here Rainbow Dash?!”//
Needs a comma for direct address. This is a recurring issue.

>eyes opening wide in shock//
>Confused//
>exasperated look//
These are just a few examples, but there is a lot of telly language in here. You get some leeway for a first-person narrator, especially when describing her own emotions, but you ought to focud on the evidence more than the conclusions. Don't tell me that Apple Bloom is exasperated; show me how she acts and appears such that I'll infer her exasperation. She's your actress. An actress doesn't just walk out on stage and name her emotions. She gets you to figure them out, which puts the audience in her perspective and gets them to identify with her. The biggest things to watch for are outright naming emotions (happy), adverb form (sadly), and prepositional phrase form (in excitement).

>the lie clear as the noonday sun//
>a clear sign of giving up//
You don't need to over-explain things. This was already evident from the description of her. Give your readers some room to figure these things out on their own.

>the meaning on my question//
of

>Regretfully//
This seems to speak to Dash's attitude about it more than Apple Bloom's.

>We had came//
Verb form.

>last minute//
Hyphenate.

>more-than-slightly//
You don't need those hyphens.

>She put her exhausted sewing supplies back into a small box and then put that into a pair of saddlebags//
She put one box into multiple saddlebags?

>thirty minute//
Hyphenate.

>The amount of upper-class ponies//
"Amount" is for collective quantities. You want "number."

>high class//
Hyphenate.

>Two night guards parted the gold curtains and Princess Luna stepped through, quietly sitting down in one of the two seats.//
Needs a comma between the clauses. Also note that participles imply concurrent action, so Luna sits down at the same time she steps through the curtains, while those two things would more reasonably happen in sequence.

>imposter//
impostor

>His horn lit up and I felt a tingle running through my body.//
Needs a comma between the clauses. And what exactly is he checking for? Does Dash know? If so, wouldn't she say? If not, wouldn't this surprise her?

>causing me to breath in relief.//
Breathe. And notice how often you've been using these participial phrases lately. This is the ninth sentence out of the last twenty that contains one. When you keep repeating more unusual structures like that it gets the writing in a rut.

>Her mouth formed a small “o” of shock, turning around to the guards.//
This explicitly says that her mouth turned around to the guards.

>She in turn gave it to me and I stared at the front cover.//
>Her horn lit up and I felt a fuzzy feeling go over me.//
Comma between the clauses.

>I huge grin//
Typo.

>Woah//
Why is it that so few authors can spell this right? Whoa.

>the lights in the room turned off completely, leaving all the light in the room on the stage//
This is repetitively phrased and somewhat contradictory.

>There is four acts//
Number agreement.

>The curtain's opened again//
Why is that apostrophe there?

>theme//
Given how much ignorance she has about ballet in general, I wonder how she knows this term. For that matter, Luna referred to a "ballad" earlier—are you sure you didn't mean ballet? I know my classical music, but I don't know much technical language about dance, and that may just be a term I haven't heard in this context before.

>it really was just that stunning//
This deserves to be expressed more. She's spending a lot of time here giving a factual description of Scootaloo's outfit, but what's her emotional response? That's what will capture the reader's interest. Invest the description of it with more of what Dash thinks about it and how she reacts to it.

>Did swans have tails?//
Someone so accustomed to flight wouldn't know this?

>pirouetting//
See earlier comments about how she'd know any technical lingo about ballet and how there's some word choice in here that seems too advanced for her anyway.

>bring a smile to her face//
Verb form.

>amazing as she was, started to falter a little. But anyone that noticed waved it away, too preoccupied with the amazing//
Watch the close repetition of words.

Let me say that this part of the story is doing a noticeably better job of getting at how Dash feels about the performance. She's making lots of statements grounded deeply in her perspective about what impresses and entertains her. Do a bit more like this when Scootaloo first comes out on stage, since that's when Dash would be most surprised. A lot of this description here, too, isn't naming the emotions directly, but implying them through Dash's reaction. It's easier to do so in this case, since it's internal to her, but basically you've hit the sweet spot in this section, so keep that up throughout.

>I was itching to be off//
A little repetitive with how she described herself just a few paragraphs ago.

>they would have fallen on their face//
faces

>blowing over the velvet rope//
Just used that verb in the last paragraph.

>hug slash tackle//
It's a modern oddity, so I don't know if there's a rule for this, but personally, I'd probably hyphenate this.

>laying in the hallway//
Lay/lie confusion.

>A smile reached her face and she turned to the rest of the watching ponies.//
>I complied and she sat up//
>Her voice startled me into action and I went over to her//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>She ruffled them, spreading her feathers and breathing a sigh of relief.//
The last seven narrative sentences in a row all have this <main clause>, <participial phrase> structure. One of them even has a second participial phrase. Mix it up a bit better. This is a structure that writers with moderate experience tend to abuse.

>my calm appearance starting to give way to the freak-out I was having inside.//
You've punctuated this like it's a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb.

>Her face lit up and she stood a bit taller//
Comma between the clauses.

>But,” I paused and stared at her pointedly and waited till she met my gaze, “If//
Looks like you want to do a narrative aside. Here's how:
But—” I stared at her pointedly and waited till she met my gaze “—if
The pause is unnecessary, as it's already implied by the placement of the dashes (they go with the aside, outside the quotes, if there is no break in the speech).

>Quite a few ponies have wanted to come by and see the star, is that okay?//
Comma splice.

>Three, did you realize yet that your wings being underdeveloped is probably due to ballet?//
Wouldn't this be a common problem then? It might be tricky to fit this with what's come up on the subject in canon.

>much to my dad's displeasure//
This sounds rather formal and advanced for Scootaloo to say.

>Manehatten//
You spelled it Manehattan in chapter 1, didn't you?

>point,” she paused and flapped her wings a little, “I//
Use the way I showed you earlier to do an aside, and like that one, you won't need to narrate the pause.

>pausing//
You're using this verb a lot lately.

>followed by Apple Bloom and Sweetie. They followed//
Watch the repetition.

>I headed to the exit, opening it and flying out into the cool Manehattan air//
Synchronization again. This says she flies to the exit, opens it, and flies out, all at the same time.

>raising her hooves in happiness//
This is the first big lapse in being telly I've seen since early in the chapter.

This is a very cute story with just enough of a change (Dash's and Scootaloo's attitudes about each other and ballet) to create a story arc and some tension. There are some common topics discussed at the top of this thread. I'd encourage you to look at the ones under "show versus tell" and "comma use with conjunctions." Also make sure you go through and fix all the places where there need to be commas for direct address.

This may seem like a lot, but really, these aren't big things to fix. I doubt it'll take you long. The only things that'll take some thought are these:

As I described, make sure you don't lose sight of relating Dash's emotional state. Don't fall into the trap of listing only events and facts. Let her personalize it. And make sure to keep the character voicings consistent, particularly for Dash, since as the narrator, she gets a lot of speaking time. You need to make sure you don't have them use words, phrasings, or speaking mannerisms that don't fit their personalities or intelligence levels. This didn't happen a lot, so I pretty much pointed out each time it bugged me.

I hope to see this back so I can post it on the blog! When you're ready to resubmit, select the "back from Mars" option.

Last edited at Tue, Dec 30th, 2014 00:03

>> No. 131415
>>131313
>>131354

Posting this here, since not sure where else to put it.

Went ahead and fixed most of the traditional issues you pointed out. At least one of them was just a flub where fimfic ate a line from google docs, but oh well.


>>unable to keep the annoyance from her tone//
>This is telly, but it's not even necessary. What she says and the choice of "muttered" already connotes annoyance.

While I ended up rewording this sentence a bit, the point isn't to show that Apple Bloom is annoyed. It's to show that Apple Bloom is consciously annoyed, trying to keep it from showing, and failing. There's a subtle difference. =P

As for the actual story stuff, I went ahead and added a few extra paragraphs at the end exploring Apple Bloom's thoughts on the matter.

Here's the link to the Gdoc version. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-Szi3TuINheX02-f0sjddxDPs9cUu-uVVETALPfoRys/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks for the commentary again.
>> No. 131417
>>131415
I'll have a look at this today. Check back for a reply.
>> No. 131418
>>131415
>‘em//
>‘cause//
>‘M’sorry//
Missed a couple of the backward apostrophes. And that last one is inconsistent with the way you spelled it without the first apostrophe later:
>M’sorry//

>It wasn’t like she resented her sister for enjoying herself with her friends, she was just feeling a little grumpy at the circumstances that had required her to trudge her way all the way into town from Sweet Apple Acres at a time when she would normally be in bed.//
That's still a comma splice.

Now you've got something that has AB acknowledge what AJ's problem is and even try to give her an easy time of it the next morning. That's good. It shows that she's concerned about it and wants to help. The last bit is that the way she says she'll do it, she'll have no way of knowing whether AJ will understand what she's doing. AJ's asleep, and so hasn't heard what AB says in the last line. And she's not likely to intuit why AB helps her out in the morning and attempts to cook like their mother. You've indicated now that AB does want to comfort her sister, so wouldn't she make sure to do it in a way that AJ realizes it? As long as she's going to the trouble to make that gesture, and because she genuinely feels bad that this causes AJ that much pain, wouldn't she plan to tell her that explicitly?
>> No. 131420
>>131418

At this point, I think suggestions like that are a little bit beyond the scope of this fic. Apple Bloom recognizes that Applejack cares a lot about her and her happiness, and resolves to do something nice for her in return. I don't think it matters whether or not Applejack knows the explicit reasoning behind her sisters actions. Apple Bloom loves her sister, and Applejack will at least be able to see that much.

(The pie will probably be a disaster, but hey, she's just a kid.)
>> No. 131421
>>131420
I'm getting more at Apple Bloom's state of mind. She realizes now that this is something that causes Applejack pain, and she's decided that she's going to make a gesture to address it. But she has to know that Applejack isn't going to remember what Apple Bloom does this night and is unlikely to read any significance into Apple Bloom's plans for the next day beyond a simple expression of affection.

So to put it simply, she knows what the problem is and how to address it, but she's not going to go about it in a way that will actually do anything to alleviate that pain? Isn't that rather cruel and insensitive of her? And all it'd take is some intent on her part to tell Applejack she's been a good mother or some such once she sobers up. That would bring a much stronger closure to the story's conflict, too.

I also still don't get much of a sense if this is something Apple Bloom's seen before, though the signs are leaning a little toward saying it is. In that case, maybe she instead reveals that she's tried directly addressing it before, but Applejack always relapses into worrying about it again. Or if not, then Apple Bloom would be surprised by the revelation.

Apple Bloom behaves rationally enough during the course of this specific evening; it's what it implies for her beyond these events that's unclear. And that's the difference between a series of scenes and a story. It sets up a conflict, but the one way it resolves it leaves Apple Bloom looking pretty heartless.
>> No. 131469
>>131421

Hmm.

I've been putting this on the backburner for awhile now. I didn't quite agree with your interpretation of events, and wasn't quite sure how to approach the issue.

So stepping back and coming back later with a fresh mind is often a good approach. If not a quick one.

>Applejack would be a right wreck in the morning, so Apple Bloom figured she’d cancel her crusading plans to help her out a bit. Make her breakfast, and maybe ask her more about the story. Maybe she could even get her cutie mark that way! She didn’t know what her Mom’s apple pie had tasted like, but there was bound to be a family recipe book around somewhere, right?

Think that's enough to add what you think is missing?
>> No. 131472
>>131469
Maybe I'm not understanding what's upsetting Applejack. If it's just that she misses her mother, then there's not a lot here to distinguish it from a whole lot of other stories. If it's that Applejack feels like she hasn't lived up to their mother's example in raising Apple Bloom, then there's something more original here, and that's what I assumed.

So working from that, Applejack's said as much to Apple Bloom. So Apple Bloom would want to do something to reassure Applejack that she has done a good job, right? So far, so good.

What does Apple Bloom do to reassure her, though? First she speaks that final line. Applejack's already fallen asleep, so Apple Bloom must know she didn't hear it. Even if she did, she's unlikely to remember it in the morning, so there will be no lasting effect of her words, and Apple Bloom should know that.

You'd also added a bit where Apple Bloom wants to cook her mother's apple pie recipe the next day. It must be something they do from time to time anyway, so what's to distinguish this one? It's one thing to say that Applejack might take some comfort in enjoying something of their mother's, but it's quite another to say she'll make the leap of figuring out Apple Bloom did it as a way of reassuring her that she's been a good mother. Again, there will be no lasting effect from this, and Apple Bloom should know that.

Wouldn't Apple Bloom do something in a way that Applejack is sure to understand, and while Applejack is in a state of mind where she'll remember it? It's a subtle difference, but a powerful one. It's the difference between her resolving to serve Applejack a slice of pie with a smile, and her resolving to serve Applejack a slice of pie with a hug and a message of thanks for being the mother that she needed.

Restricting her acknowledgment to ways that Applejack is likely to forget or miss the significance of seems irresponsible, and deliberately so.
>> No. 131474
>>131472

>Make her breakfast, and maybe ask her more about the story.

Was the important addition to the bit I quoted, saying she'll ask Applejack more about the story in the morning.

In a more general sense...

Applejack is drunk. She's in a state where suddenly something that would normally pretty irrelevant and silly feels like the most important goddamn thing in the world right now, and it's a matter of life or death that she convey this feeling to others right away.

In this case, it was a silly bedtime story her mother had told her to make her feel better. It was some thing where hearing it made her feel safe and happy. In her drunken state, she wants to be able to convey these same feelings towards Apple Bloom.

Applejack fails horribly in communicating her message, (And Apple Bloom isn't really listening besides), and she gets frustrated.

By the time she throws up, her lucidity is all but gone, leaving behind only the frustration and the general anxieties and worries that what she does will never be as good as if her mom had been the one doing it. Compounded at her seeming failure at telling a simple story.

Anyway, that's where Applejack is coming from with this.
>> No. 131481
>>131474
So Applejack's not actually broken up about any of this? It was just the rambling of a sentimental drunk? If so, that'd be disappointing. That's what was giving the story some conflict. Apple Bloom doesn't wave it off as inconsequential, even in your original version. Absent some form of conflict, it's just a vignette where Apple Bloom walks her drunk sister home. What point does it make then? What have I learned about the characters, what's different about my perception of them as a result of reading this? A story should be about change, or else it's just a scene that doesn't lead anywhere. What's my takeaway? I come into the story with knowledge of canon Equestria. What do you want me to know about that world or its characters that's different after I read it?
>> No. 131482
>>131481
Going into this, there are two major themes I was working with.

One, as already mentioned, is to capture the general frustration of being a child and having to deal with drunk adults.

The second (Which is a theme I work with often in other stories, but) is about communicating a message through the medium of storytelling. The message in this case is a simple "I love you and will always be watching out for you."

Like a drunken game of telephone, the end result doesn't come through correctly. It takes Applejack letting the source of message slip for it to finally click with Apple Bloom, so she resolves to return that message in her own way.

We also learn that AppleMom was probably a bit of a troll.
>> No. 131487
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Also note that there's a link to the Editor's Omnibus at the end of the first post. It has a lot of reference material as well as links to reviewing groups who can help you with your story, if you need further assistance.

I see you're relatively new at this, and one of the other pre-readers took a liking to the story's concept, so I figured I'd give you some detailed feedback. You never know who might be among the next batch of good writers, so I might as well help a few to hit the ground running.

Synopsis:
>On the wedding day of Spike and Sweetie Belle they go through the memories that brought them to this day. Will their most precious memories help them with the wedding day jitters?//
For the most part, you want to avoid using the same word or phrase in a close space, unless the repetition is done intentionally and to create an effect. In that case, it needs to be obvious that the repetition is deliberate. Here, you've used "memories" in both sentences without any apparent effect to doing so. Also note that it's pretty cliched to ask an unanswered rhetorical question in the synopsis, especially as the last sentence. It's also a somewhat clunky structure to use an indirect possession like this. As compared to "the wedding day of Spike and Sweetie Belle," "Spike and Sweetie Belle's wedding day" is a little more concise and direct, and it also has a more active feel to it.

Story:
>Spike//
You don't need to identify the focus character of each scene like this. The reader will soon get the feel that you're switching back and forth. If you've created distinctive enough voices for each character, you won't have to do this anyway, since the reader will pick it up by feel. That said, I think it probably wasn't the right choice to go with a first-person narrator if you're going to be switching viewpoints. Third-person limited, where the narrator stays with one character at a time and can speak that character's thoughts and impression for her, gives you much the sme flexibility and personal voice, yet is much easier to switch viewpoints.

>Alright stallions!//
Whenever one character addresses another by name, title, or reference, set it off with a comma. Or commas on both sides, if it's in the middle of the sentence. So you need a comma here. Keep an eye for this throughout. I'm not going to mark any more.

>*CRASH*//
It's considered improper to use sound effects in narration like this. Just describe the sound.

>Rarity sighed as she ran past me to take care of the bride’s dress.//
Contrast that with this:
>The pony most worried would probably be my ex-crush Rarity.//
This gets at a concept you'll hear a lot in writing: show versus tell. Your characters are actors in a movie playing in my head. The narration is a voice-over. Now, does an actor come out with a straight face and announce that he's sad? No, he gets his audience to figure out he's sad by how he looks, how he acts, and what he says in conversation. Similarly, imply his emotions to the reader through similar things, like facial expression and body language. There's a brief discussion of this in the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread. In the first sentence, you do a good job of giving me only the raw evidence, the things a witness could cite as fact. But behind those words, the sigh implies some dissatisfaction or stress, and the running makes it clear she's in a hurry. You've said all that without saying it. In the second, you just tell me Rarity is worried. I know it as a fact now, but it's less real to me since I'm taking the narrator's word for it instead of figuring it out myself. By the way, you'd need to set that "Rarity" off with a comma. It's a structure called an appositive, which is where you've already named something or someone (ex-crush) and are naming it again in a different way or as an explanation (Rarity).

>I can’t… Breath!//
You want the verb form, "breathe." And you don't need to capitalize it, since it makes grammatical sense as a continuation of the suspended sentence. It doesn't necessitate beginning a new one.

Now, these scenes could stand to be considerably longer. It's jarring to whip back and for the between them so quickly. There are probably a few places where you could combine several of them into one, but it does look like a lot of them have time or setting skips that do warrant being separate scenes. They're just not long enough for the reader to get settled in them, though. Let me see some more detail about the room they're in, the objects that see, what little actions they take. These are the types of details that really add life to a scene.

>What do I tell you?” She said as she let the corset go slack.//
There's a section up top about capitalization and punctuation of dialogue. It looks like you're consistently missing how to do that.

>Rarity said as she cracked open the make-up case.//
See, there's not much beyond the dialogue in a lot of these scenes. Don't throw in details just for the sake of it, but it's not hard to make things relevant. For instance, say Sweetie Belle describes the carved wooden frame of the mirror she's facing. If you mention that out of the blue, it's pointless. But if you have her concentrating on it to distract herself from the corset that feels like it's about to make her pop, then you've made a reason for it to be relevant.

>I grumbled as I extended a claw to pull on my collar.//
The last four sentences in a row have an "as" clause. When you fall into structural repetition like that (simple and compound sentences generally get excused, mostly, because they're so common), it makes the story seem like reading a list.

>Twilight expressed//
You're using a lot of unusual speaking verbs. There's a section up top on saidisms which puts forth the rationale behind minimizing this.

>I smiled as I waved to her.//
These are short scenes, and yet you've used nine "as" clauses in this one alone.

>handy work//
handiwork

>As I turned my head to see who Rarity was talking to//
This is a dependent clause. You'll usually set these off with a comma. Why is there a blank line after this? Look how nearly every one of your paragraphs is a single line. That tells me that you're skimping on how much the characters would actually say, what actions they take, and what descriptions the narrator gives.

>I had never seen Scoots so happy in my life.//
Again, an example or illustrative anecdote would be far more powerful than simply having the narrator inform me she was happy.

>Ever since she started dating Diamond Tiara//
You have to be careful when introducing elements like this that obviously have quite a story behind them when you have no intention of actually telling that story. They're cheap teases.

>surprising everyone//
Set off participial phrases with a comma.

>Thanks mister//
The ring bearer is someone who doesn't even know Spike well enough to call him by name?

>his Bride-to-be//
Why is that capitalized? And whom does "his" refer to? Are you sure you didn't mean "my"?

>averted her eyes away from him//
This is redundant. That's what averting means.

>blushing//
There are four instances of blushing in this scene.

>to much//
too

There's really no need to render the entire scene in italics. They're used to make a subset of things stand out, not something in its entirety. If you write it well, the reader will quickly pick up that it's a flashback from clues about the characters or events.

>She was nervous.//
>He was nervous.//
These appear only one paragraph apart.

>As Spike ran around grabbing things that Rarity asked for, he realized exactly what he was doing.//
See how vague that is? What does Rarity ask him to do? How does he go about doing it? How does he feel as this all happens? There's so much that gets glossed over.

>Twilights//
Missing apostrophe.

>Sweeties fore hooves//
Sweetie's forehooves

>Twilight flew down towards Sweetie Belle scaring her greatly.//
Here's a presentation problem. This isn't done as a flashback in a very general sense. It's one specifically cued by Spike thinking back on the event. But these are things he couldn't know. He wasn't there. He wouldn't know what happened at these other places or how Sweetie Belle felt about it. He can't speak to things he doesn't know. Either you'd have to limit yourself to what he witnessed and summarize what he learned about what he didn't witness, or you'd need to make this a more general type of flashback that's not tied to his perspective.

>The unicorn//
More and more lately, you've been referring to characters in this manner. There's a section on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome that explains why it's usually a bad idea.

>said through breathes//
I assume you meant "breaths," but that's awkwardly phrased and very vague.

>When yall get back//
Set off the dependent clause with a comma, and it's "y'all."

>I’m he-//
There's a section up top on proper dash usage.

>I’m the one that the letter is for//
That sounds very formal and forced, which is the wrong mood for the situation.

>4//
Write out numbers that small.

>I love you with all my heart, you changed my life just by being in it.//
That's a comma splice.

>At this point//
This kind of phrasing, in which the narration refers to itself, is a bad idea in anything but a very subjective narrator.

>But she gave him all the answer he need.//
Typo.

>“I hope you lik-.“//
You don't use a period with a dash, and notice how it can make the smart quotes go in the wrong direction. You may have to paste in closing quotes from somewhere else.

>They heard a loud cheer coming from the clouds.//
Why would they all be watching? That's pretty creepy.

>As I smiled at this memory//
Needs a comma for the dependent clause, but the flashbacks were introduced as Spike's reminiscence. This is really muddying the waters of perspective.

>moment is what caused the moment//
Watch the repetition.

>Do you Sweetie Belle, take Spike the Dragon to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, in rich and poor, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall live.//
Missing a comma before "Sweetie Belle," and it's a question, isn't it?

>The love they shared would last centuries//
Will it? Maybe in Spike's memory, but she won't live that long, unless you're doing something to change that.

You also need to give some thought as to what you want this story to say. So far, it's just that everything worked out, from start to finish. There are no obstacles to overcome, no conflict to resolve. Stories are about change. I call it my "before and after" test. If I look at the world, either as a whole or focused on a single character, at the beginning and ending states of the story, what has changed as a result of the story's events? Is there a shift in how the world works? Has a character come to an important realization? Do I learn something new about a character that makes me see her in a new light?

There are lots of ways you can incorporate change into a story. The closest thing you have is Spike's evolution of feelings toward Sweetie Belle, from friend to romantic interest. Yet you don't spend very long on that one moment. You spend far longer on the setup for his proposal, which is the payoff, but it's not (or shouldn't be) the story's emotional high point, because it's pretty formulaic, and the outcome isn't in doubt.

Beyond that, just note the things I had to emphasize or point out multiple times. I need a richer sense of what's going on besides just the dialogue and occasional speaking action (there is a section up top about talking heads which explains some more). I need some more descriptive scene setting. I need the events linked to characters' emotional responses, and I need thos emotions to come through by implication, not overt declaration. I also recommend you rethink how the story is structured and the perspectives used.
>> No. 131493
>>131482
At this point, it feels like we're talking in circles. I want there to be some conflict resolution or impetus for change, and you don't seem to want to make it into that.

Every major character (and often the minor ones as well) should want something. Bonus points if they want multiple things, especially if they're mutually exclusive. The story is how those characters try to get what they want, what obstacles they face, what they're willing to do to achieve it, and how the process changes them.

Both of these things you've mentioned aren't conflicts. They're just moods, and rather static ones at that. Showing how a child has to deal with a drunk adult is, on it's face, a "snapshot in the life" thing with no point. Apple Bloom's dealt with it before, and she'll deal with it again. Nothing has changed, not what will happen in the future, not how she feels about it now, and not in my understanding of her character. Applejack making sure Apple Bloom knows she'll be taken care of isn't a conflict. Apple Bloom already knows this, and the mere admission doesn't change their relationship or my perception of them. Apple Bloom already knew that, and her view on it hasn't altered.

If all you want to do is show Apple Bloom ushering Applejack home and Applejack expressing some affection for her sister, that's fine. It's cute even. But it's not a story.

Either way, I need to come to a resolution on this soon. I've been keeping it in a holding pattern in the queue for weeks now, and it's starting to get in the way. If the story is already what you want it to be, then by all means keep it that way, but in that case, it should probably just stay on FiMFiction.
>> No. 131509
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Synopsis:
>rumors of a strange phenomenon dubbed "Friendship" shows//
Subject/verb number disagreement.

>find find//
Repeated word.

>Twilight goes with the best intentions, and quickly discovers there is more than meets the eye going on in Ponyville...//
That's all one clause. There's no need for the comma. There's an explanation at the top of this thread under "comma use with conjunctions." I see that this is an intermittent problem.

>fully-developed//
Two-word phrases beginning in an -ly adverb don't use a hyphen.

>her primal urges toward order and normalcy needed constant checking//
An example speaks far louder than a generality.

>52//
Spell out numbers that short.

>Twilight looked down awkwardly and swatted away a mosquito, avoiding the question.//
What does "awkwardly" mean here? There's no default way that looks, and who's making the judgment? Twilight's been holding the perspective, which suggests she's making this comment about herself. That's kind of odd. It's also better to demonstrate to me that she's avoiding the question than to have the narrator feed me that conclusion. That just leaves it as a dull fact.

>more confused than usual//
Again, make her look and act confused, and it'll carry a lot more weight than having the narrator say so. There's a bit more dicsussion in the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>I have learned much already, and look forward to learning more.//
Another unnecessary comma.

>however I was pleased to find not a single book in place//
This brings up a big world-building question: how long has Discord been in control? If a long time, then how is such a thing as being "in place" defined? If the norm is to have nothing grouped in any way, then isn't that "in place"? I see you address this point a little in a later chapter, but where Chaos is defined through its contrast from orderliness, isn't that just a different form of orderliness? I don't see how they perceive one versus the other, unless Discord came around only recently, and even then, why would the majority be so receptive to it?

>confectioners//
confectioner's

>Sugar Cube//
Per canon, Sugarcube, unless you're making a point of having it be multiple words.

>I met five other mares//
>any ponies I have ever met//
Watch the repetitive phrasing.

>In other related news, I brought the Magic of Chaos to three young fillies today though!//
That "though" feels awkward.

There's really no reason to have these letter be completely in italics. The point of italics is to make something stand out, like a short letter or flashback within a larger scene. But when everything stands out, nothing does. It'll already be evident this is a letter from the format, and it just gets annoying to read nonstop italics.

>They were having a picnic and I cast the “Need It Want It” spell on my old toy for them.//
Here's an opposite case. There are two clauses here, so put a comma between them.

>I visited the local music shop this week, and met with the proprietor//
Unnecessary comma.

>we experience everyday//
In this usage, you need "every day" to be two words.

>they are disinterested//
"Disinterested" doesn't mean the same thing as "uninterested." This word implies that they used to be interested but no longer are, and Twilight wouldn't know that about them.

>She is truly unique, I think you’d like her special brand of chaos, even if it sometimes seems geared toward unity instead of disharmony.//
That first comma is a splice.

>(quote)//
Given that she goes on to quote it, this is wholly unnecessary.

>scary//
Repetitive with the recent use in "scary castle."

>They were even solidly planted on the ground and all the bricks were in the walls!//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>my new Friends//
I guess I'm a little surprised that she's not reluctant to include herself as a Friend, since she sees that as something subversive. Wouldn't she be afraid of how Discord would react? Maybe she'd offer an explanation that she's trying to infiltrate the group or that she doesn't see any harm in it so far? I expect this theme will grow in subsequent letters, but it's strange for her to mention this in passing as if it's utterly unimportant.

>Everfree forest//
Capitalize both words.

>other and//
Extraneous space.

>I reminded her that I was Discord’s personal student, and asked if she was worried//
Unnecessary comma.

>I might tell write//
Extraneous word, or perhaps a missing slash?

>in opposition his teachings//
Missing word.

>At this point//
In your recent usage of "by this point," you used a comma after the introductory phrase, while you've gone without for pretty much any other such phrase. Just be consistent.

>Applejack and I were both very tired, and returned to town.//
Unnecessary comma.

>but she seemed annoyed//
I know I bugged you about "show versus tell" in the first chapter, but that one's a standard narrative. In a letter or journal entry, there are different ways to show, but it's much more acceptable to be blunt about emotions and motivations, since that's simply how people naturally write such things. It'd feel overly formal and forced if she went on at length about Applejack's body language, for instance. A little here and there can work, though, and I feel this is a spot where it might. What made her think Applejack was annoyed? Did Twilight just let it go, or did she ask about it?

>-Twilight Sparkle//
Why does she sign her own journal? It's not like the reader will be confused as to who's writing it.

>Honorable Emperor Discord;//
I just now noticed you've been using a semicolon after the salutations of all your letters. A comma is standard, though I've seen a colon used for a formal correspondence, usually in a business sense. I've never seen a semicolon used this way. Same goes for the closing.

>unified together//
Redundant.

>tolerate unpredictability//
Surprising word choice for her. I thought the dogma was that unpredictability should be enjoyed, not tolerated.

>Twilight Sparkler//
Is her name change evidence of chaos, or is this just a typo?

>I’ve decided to continue doing the same with the rest of my Friends, and glean everything I can from their thoughts and feelings on the subject.//
Unnecessary comma.

>All the steam-windows are solid now and the foam clouds crumbled into iced-coffee snow.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>somepony needed it more than her//
Technically, "more than she." I guess it's up to you whether Twilight knows that and would be fastidious about it.

>even when the coin lands on tails in our unpredictable world//
Comma for the dependent clause.

>I’ve decided to continue doing the same with the rest of my Friends, and glean everything I can from their thoughts and feelings on the subject//
Unnecessary comma.

>it seems Rarity wants to spread it around. Again, it seems//
Watch the repetition.

>I’m still drawn to the old castle and I plan on visiting again when the weather improves.//
Comma between the clauses.

>A dedication vow varies for everyone, but this one is mine.//
Interesting that she doesn't mind it being the same every time she says it. Or that it doesn't occur to her.

>keeping frostbite at bay//
Feels like there should be a "the" in there.

>solid.I//
Missing a space.

>I was shocked when she presented me with a large thick comforter//
Here's another spot where a bit more showing would add significant power. What kinds of things ran through her head? Beyond summarizing it as "shock," how did it make her feel, both the emotions and the accompanying physical symptoms. And here, "large thick" are coordinate adjectives, so they need a comma between them.

>as-is//
You're essentially using this as a predicate adjective, so it doesn't need the hyphen.

>a true friend helps a friend in need, and you’re one of mine//
We really haven't seen Twilight interact with Rarity much, so it's coming out of nowhere to suddenly have Rarity make a declaration like this.

>safe.Per//
Missing space.

>a pack of timber wolves noticed us, and chased us back inside!//
Unnecessary comma.

>and she said she considers it paramount to stay loyal to her friends, and not leave them behind//
Unnecessary comma, especially in that going without one helps differentiate the functions of the two "and"s, since the first one does use a comma.

>It’s not the tree, that’s still too far outside Ponyville to make a difference.//
Comma splice.

>My latest test of Chaos magic may have something to do with this...//
Speech affectations like interruptions and trailing off must always be carefully considered for a medium that doesn't support such things. The fact that the letter writer would have to consciously make three dots on the page implies that she put some thought into doing so and did it for a reason. Grammatically, you don't need an ellipsis, and I don't see that it adds any meaning. Even so, it doesn't quite fit in what would be a formal correspondence.

>over-crowded//
overcrowded

>friend//
She'd been capitalizing this.

>this ponies//
Number mismatch.

>being honesty//
Typo.

>Predictability fosters expectations, and inevitably leads to disappointment.//
Unnecessary comma.

>I have tried to compromise, and ended up betrayed everything.//
Unnecessary comma and verb form error.

>friend//
Another instance where I wonder if you intended to capitalize this consistently.

>Harmony is the opposite of Chaos and no mare can serve both.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>I came to Ponyville to make a study of the phenomenon known as Friendship, and report back on any threats it posed to the reign of Chaos over our great land//
Unnecessary comma.

>This principle stands in opposition to Chaos, and is most definitely a threat to all we’ve worked for.//
Unnecessary comma.

>harmonizers//
Would this be capitalized?

Okay, the one letter Discord sends back—the strikethroughs don't really make sense. He wasn't in a rush or anything. If he wrote something he later decided not to say, he can simply rewrite the letter. He's also not rushed to write anything. He can think about it at length before actually putting it on the paper. There are times when strikethroughs make sense, but they just don't here.

>I held off until sending them until I got Discord’s response//
That first "until" is extraneous.

>friends//
Rather than keep repeating this, I'll just say to scan your story for instances of this word that should be capitalized.

>Pinkie…//
Another speech affectation that seems odd and forced for a journal format.

>every few constantly//
Missing word.

>non-sensical//
nonsensical

>escherian//
First off, there's no need to get so purple here. You have a limited narrator in Twilight's perspective, who didn't do such in her own writings or in the introduction, when she held the same perspective. So this feels out of place. Second, this presupposes that there's an Escher figure in Equestrian history somewhere, which is problematic when another word would do as well without suggesting a thread which will go nowhere. It'd also need to be capitalized.

>anti-gravity//
antigravity

>pan-pipe//
panpipe

>your highness//
Such an honorific would be capitalized.

>superficially excited but actually somewhere between distraction and indifference//
Okay, now's definitely not the time to be telly. Show me what evidence she uses to come to this conclusion. This doesn't inspire me to come up with a mental image at all. It's just a cold fact, which doesn't make for very interesting reading.

>off-guard//
You don't need to hyphenate that in this usage.

>almost on the verge//
Redundant.

>a panic attack//
Again, show me. Give me what thoughts race through her head and what physical symptoms she experiences. And since it's a limited narration, let the prose itself take on a style and word choice to reflect her mood.

>Discord motioned from behind a large engraved oak desk, to a simple leather chair opposite his own.//
Unnecessary comma.

>I -//
Please use a proper dash. There's a section on dash use up top as well.

>she stopped as a clawed paw raise to silence her//
This is capitalized like a speech attribution, but it has no speaking action. As is, it should be a separate sentence.

>Twilight realized she was trembling and sweating.//
Authors like this type of conceit, even though it rarely makes sense and has become cliche. The classic one is "letting out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding." It's pretty hard to sweat or tremble without knowing it.

>The cowering unicorn felt tears pricking her eyes.//
So why are you backing off to an omniscient narration? This is decidedly external. Twilight wouldn't describe herself this way. I'll also note that this is getting very dialogue-heavy. Discord's said a lot, and yet he's only gotten one action thrown in since his monologue started. Even Twilight's only gotten a few perfunctory actions. The short version is that there is an entire nonverbal side to conversations, which you're neglecting here. There's a longer explanation in the section on talking heads.

>Her voice came haltingly.//
Another statement that feels more omniscient than limited.

>harmonizers//
Capitalize?

>There was no pre-planned malice behind in Discord’s torturous game, she knew him too well for that.//
Seems like the "in" is extraneous, and the comma is a splice.

>Discord’s voice was back to it’s cheery, devil-may-care babble.//
Its/it's confusion.

>All is forgiven and forgotten, go unpack somewhere and tomorrow we’ll get back to learning CHAOS!//
First comma is a splice, and there should be one later on between the clauses. It's also preferred to indicate emphasis or volume with italics instead of all caps or bold font.

>Yes..//
Missing a dot.

>hacky-sack//
hacky sack

>simply plain//
Redundant.

>It can however, be//
If you're going to set off "however" with a comma, you need one on both sides.

>they take forever to grow and I obviously didn’t use enough last time//
Comma between the clauses.

>grow, choking//
Extraneous space.

Normally, I'd make some wrap-up comments here, but I don't think it's necessary. I already covered everything I wanted to and in the level of detail I wanted in the line-by-line comments.

When you're ready to resubmit, choose the "back from Mars" option.
>> No. 131999
>>131509
Thank you so much for all the detailed feedback! I've gone through, fixed the errors you mentioned (plus a few others as I noticed them) and rewrote several other parts slightly per recommendation.

I kept a Google Doc HERE [docs.google.com] where I crossed off each item as I addressed it, along with the action I took.

A few items of note:

For the italics: I think I wish to leave the letters/journals italicized. Other non-letter parts of the story are non-italicized, and it conveys to me a sense of “handwritten” in lieu of a proper font. Still, this isn’t set in stone, I suppose. Would the [quote] tag be better for this (as used in the sequel), even if the entire chapter is “quoted”?

On the dogma of Chaos, ponies are naturally harmonious creatures I think, and the slow growth of the Tree of Harmony has a wider, more subtle influence than Twilight suspects. Discord's rule isn't generally accepted, but most don't know any better. For Twilight's dedication vow, hers is constant. Others might vary theirs, but I she holds more to stability than she likes to admit. It would bug her too much to not have it memorized.

I did dial back the "true friend" moment with Rarity, hope it comes off a little more natural this time around. I do think there's more than written happening behind the scenes, and the moments Twilight mentions are only a few.

Finally, I know the last moments with discord are VERY dialogue-heavy. In the end I feel the words need to stand on their own. I tried several times to break it up, and I found it too distracting from the message. I've noticed I do this a lot in the sequel as well. Maybe it's a flaw, but I love me a good monologue. I'll try to work on that in the future.

Again, thanks you so much. I've realized a lot of things about my writing that I need to work on.
>> No. 132032
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

The language in the early going about shaking the spoons and speaking for them gets a little repetitive. A lot of the sentences are similar in structure as well. Try to mix that up a bit more.

You're using a limited narrator here, who can speak the character's thoughts for her. For instance:
>It was that time again.//
and
>Couldn't risk such important information falling into the wrong hooves, after all.//
This is fine, but look for opportunities to put more of these comment-type statements in the narration to keep that feel consistent. Just a little later, when she gets a faceful of water, I'd expect an emotional reaction from her, which is the perfect place for this type of narration. Yet we're kept at a distance, and the narrator gets very factual. In fact, another advantage to these statements is that they can feel very conversational, so the rules of grammar get relaxed. You can get away with quick sentence fragments, which further helps you break up passages where you have a lot of similarly structured sentences together. For instance, look how often you have three or four sentences that start with "she" very close together.

>but stopped suddenly//
We're given no reason why she does this. Maybe when her mother calls her, but that's mentioned afterward, so it's putting the effect before the cause.

>Her yelp of pain//
Here's another spot where you should be using the limited narrator to its full advantage. How does she feel about this? Let me see her reaction, both mental and physical.

>a foreleg spoons//
Missing word(s). Man, this is really reminding me of one of the characters from Mystery Men.

>eye-level//
As used, you don't need the hyphen.

>Her eyes//
Her eyes were just the subject of the last sentence. This feels repetitive.

>and suspicion was rising in Silver//
Awkwardly phrased. I get that you're likening this to the steam, but it's not especially effective. You'd do better to show me her actions and make her look suspicious.

>made some modifications to make//
Watch the repetition. Again, use the narrator to effect here. She yelled about her clothes, but during this very factual description, it undercuts her reaction. She needs to continue sounding angry as she narrates this.

>It felt more than a little gross//
Here's a good comedic moment. Stretch it out a bit. What things does it feel like to her?

>that was, like, the number-one rule of being a superhero//
Using her speech affectation like this is fine, but do so more consistently. It feels out of place when we've already heard so much from her without her using it yet.

>both being placed carefully in the closet.//
Awkwardly phrased and needlessly passive.

Ooh, Silver Spoon is taking on Diamond Tiara. This is a nice turn of events.

>as she turned her eyes to the gray filly as she stood in the center of the lobby//
Watch stacking up multiple "as" clauses. It's clunky and repetitive.

>standing proud//
Let me see this. Describe her posture and facial expression and get me to interpret pride without actually using the word.

>Silver Spoon wears glasses//
Nobody's going to mention the braid?

>Snips shook his head.//
You're neglecting the narration a bit here. I appreciate that you're doing a good job of showing with these actions, but they're so quick-hit that they feel so minimal. Set the scene better. These can also lead to paragraph after paragraph with identical structures.

>in mild disbelief//
Again, get me to see this. Don't spoon (heh) feed me the conclusion.

>as the costumed filly let out a squeal of surprise//
These prepositional phrases are almost always redundant. The squeal already connotes surprise. But note how external this narration suddenly feels. Silver wouldn't describe herself this way, so you've lost the limited narration quality.

>becoming replaced with one of mild disgust//
Don't just tell me it's disgust. And actor would declare his disgust here. He'd behave and appear disgusted so that the audience can infer it. Your characters should do the same. You did a better job of this early in the story, but it's more important to get it right here, since this is the story's climax.

>she punctuating her rant//
Typo.

>Silver was sitting there, staring up at her as her violet eyes watered, little streaks forming from the tears running down her face and dripping onto the street.//
Don't lose the limited narrator. This is again very external to Silver. Put me in her head again and have the narrator convey her thoughts and reactions as if she were telling me herself. That was a lot of the story's charm, seeing the grandiose posturing she did in the narration while getting ready for her mission, but it's gone now.

>"Hey, I didn't mean...." but she trailed off as Silver's gaze moved to the dirt road under her.//
You're missing something here, a speaking verb, at least.

>her trusty giant spoon flew over//
I'm still at a loss as to how she does this... Cutie mark, I guess?

This really needs a better ending. Diamond just conveniently drops her snark, and there's no apparent reason why, except maybe she doesn't want to see her friend upset like that, but it's not at all apparent from how she acts. The conflict isn't resolved; it just fades away. For a comedy, you'd like to end it on some kind of funny zonger, but before that, we need some closure on what's going on with Diamond. There are a bunch of ways you could go. For instance, I already mentioned that maybe Diamond feels bad about making Silver cry. They might make up, and the reader realizes Diamond's not so bad after all. Or you could go the funny route and have Diamond decide she thinks this is cool after all, and she begs to be Silver's sidekick while deciding what kind of talent she brings to the table. Just spitballing here, but those are the kinds of ways you come out of the story with a message, not just having the story vaguely end.

I thought this story was very fun and cute, and really, there's not that much you need to do to fix it up. I'd like to see it on the blog. If you have any questions, please ask.
>> No. 132038
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Synopsis:
>long, red//
These are hierarchical adjectives, so you don't need the comma.

>Few notice her, but those that do know exactly why she is there.//
You're referring to ponies, so they are a "who," not a "that."

Story:
>Though an Equestrian city, the residents of the port city had worked hard to maintain a strong link to the city’s past//
Watch the close word repetition. You use "city" three times in one sentence. And the wording here sounds like the residents are an Equestrian city.

>central median//
Pretty redundant.

>None of which she could even pronounce, much less pick apart from one another.//
You'd really only capitalize after an ellipse, if it's grammatically necessary to start a new sentence, but this one parses fine.

>But,//
It's pretty rare for a comma after a conjunction to be used correctly. This one is not. They aren't meant to indicate dramatic pauses.

>said-//
Please use a proper dash. Alt+0151 gives you a nice, all-purpose em dash.

>It spoke to her on a level that only she could understand//
This is left rather vague and abstract. What sorts of images or memories does it conjure? Examples speak much louder than generalities.

>hear - a//
Use a dash.

>Few paid her more than a glance as she worked her way through the streets, but those that did could not help but turn back for a second look as she danced past.//
Pretty clunky to have two "as" clauses in the same sentence, which can also muddle the timeline. And then you had yet another "as" clause just before this.

>hay bacon wraps//
I don't get how this is a thing. I assume you're talking about hay that is made into a bacon-like product rather than these being two separate ingredients, but that nomenclature would still suggest that bacon was a foodstuff first, and that doesn't quite make sense for a presumably vegetarian society.

>- known simply as ‘La Rosa’ to locals -//
Dashes, please. Just do a sweep for these.

>Her flower business boomed enough//
This is in the story's past, so use past perfect tense.

>speeding up and slowing down in perfect harmony//
Maybe you're mixing metaphors here, but it just comes across as confusing. When you're already talking about music, "harmony" takes on a certain meaning, and then you use it in a different way.

>with perfect timing with the music.//
Awkwardly phrased. I'd say "in perfect time with the music," except that's repetitive with the "with the tempo of the music" you used earlier in the same sentence.

>The tempo picked up even more as the song reached its crescendo//
Two things here. First, this is the second of three sentences in a row to use an "as" clause. Watch the repetitive elements. Second, I wonder if you really mean what the technical language says. A crescendo is a process of growing louder, which would happen multiple times during the dance. I wonder if you meant something closer to "climax"?

>sequence of steps//
>series of rapid steps//
>his steps//
Watch the repetition.

>She looked up into his eyes and a furious blush ran across her face.//
There are times before this that you'd violated this guideline. but I found them justified. Not so much here. There are two separate clauses, so put a comma between them.

>Every fiber of her conscience was telling her to look away//
There are times a present participle is needed, but I don't think it is here. If you phrased it with "told" instead of "was telling," does it change anything? It doesn't to me, and then you also get to remove that boring "to be" auxiliary verb.

>in disbelief//
There's no need to be so unsubtle. Her mood is already adequately described by the other things you say about her, so you could cut this without losing anything.

>like shimmering waterfall//
Missing word.

>A gorgeous dress covered most of her pale yellow coat in such a deep black, the glimmering fabric looked to have been cut from the night sky itself.//
Comma splice.

>to flow over her every curve, concealing her as much as it highlighted her every curve//
Repetitive. There's also the beginnings of a perspective problem here. The narrator's been in her perspective and taking a conversational tone at times, yet here, this sounds more external to her. It'd be odd for her to make these observations about herself, and she's also so preoccupied with what's happening that I don't think she'd be paying attention anyway.

>She could feel the stallion’s eyes on her now, boring into her with a heat that she could feel//
Repetitive.

>Draping her coat over the chair, she swung around to face him, adding a bit of a hitch to her hips as she did so.//
In addition to the "as" clauses, there are quite a few participial phrases. At least they're not occurring in clusters so much, but they come with their own baggage. For one thing, they imply simultaneous action, so she drapes her coat over the chair at the same time that she turns to face him. That'd more likely occur in sequence. Then adding the hitch is also implied to happen concurrently.

>“I-I’d love to, but,” she looked into his eyes and had to fight back the urge to swoon, “this is your performance//
Here's how to put a narrative aside in a quote:
“I-I’d love to, but—” she looked into his eyes and had to fight back the urge to swoon “—this is your performance
I see there are other instances of the same issue later on.

>split-second//
In that usage, you don't need the hyphen.

>but this time, and an entirely new beat//
Extraneous word.

>She turned her head and her eyes widened//
Put a comma between these clauses.

>equipment in the far corner of the room. 'I’d expect to see that kind of equipment//
Watch the repetition.

>the stallion that//
The stallion is a "who," not a "that."

>He matched her at first before accelerating his steps, occasionally raising a hoof to accentuate his movements.//
This is all pretty vague.

>as she quickly picked up the cadence of his hooves as they tapped the stage floor and sped her own steps to match//
Stacked-up "as" clauses again, and more repetition of "steps" around here.

>Adrenaline, nerves, and sheer joy raced through her veins//
This isn't bad, but it'd strengthen things if you focus on the symptoms, like what images are flashing through her mind and what physical sensations she has.

>perfectly-measured//
No hyphen is needed for two-word phrases beginning with an -ly adverb.

>She glanced to her side for a second, and smiled at the sight of the audience watching in rapt silence.//
The opposite issue, and the one I've let slide numerous times because it felt right for the flow: that's all one clause, so you don't need the comma.

>his eyes had seemingly never left her for a moment//
But the last time it was mentioned where he was looking, it explicitly said he wasn't looking at her.

>for a moment, his stare not faltering for even a moment//
Repetitive.

>His eyes, the entrancing rhythm, the dozens of eyes watching her//
Fairly repetitive mention of eyes.

>split-second//
Same as before.

>bow - a//
Use a dash. Actually, a colon would work well here.

>Her eyes seemed to glow brighter//
Again, you've dropped into an outside perspective. This isn't something she would know. I think a limited narrator is probably the best choice for this story, and you're mostly using that. But these slips into an omniscient feel push me away from the character. Be careful to keep it all to what she could reasonably know, perceive, or pay attention to.

>beautiful, silk//
These are hierarchical adjectives. You don't need a comma between them.

>tempo//
That's another word you're using an awful lot.

>again, he was right beside her. She stared at him again//
Repetition.

>- and more than a hint of desire -//
Use dashes.

>nor did their hooves stop tapping and stomping in perfect harmony//
See earlier comment about the use of "harmony" in this context.

>- to live -//
Use dashes.

>inside-out//
No hyphen.

>the music rose toward its peak//
You just used "peak" to describe this in the last paragraph.

>a careful observer may have seen sparks of red and green magic crackling across the floor//
Straying from her perspective again.

>She spun by him a final time as the last notes of the music played out, only now she spun right into his hooves.//
Comma splice.

>in a seamless motion//
You just used "seamless" not long ago. There are plenty of other words that would work: unbroken, fluid, smooth, ...

>and looked into her blazing green eyes//
Doesn't sound like her perspective.

>- and what might happen soon after that -//
Use dashes.

>as a sign of the crowd’s admiration for the performance they had just witnessed//
A completely redundant and unnecessary clarification.

>She felt a touch on her leg and when she looked down, she saw his hoof wrapped gently around her own.//
Comma splice, but in her current emotional state, I could buy it as a product of her rushed thoughts.

>now disheveled//
Needs a hyphen.

>life.” He whispered//
I assume this is supposed to be an attribution, but it's not punctuated/capitalized like one.

>resist - she//
Use a dash.

In this last scene, the paragraph indentations get inconsistent.

I must confess that I know a lot more about music than dance, so if you have a technical knowledge about flamenco, then I'll bow to your expertise. But if it's not something you're particularly informed about or haven't researched much, then there's a book I'd like to refer you to. Rather, I'd just send you the brief section about flamenco, but I'm not going to spend the time typing it out if you don't need it. I think it could lend a little more technical accuracy, though I don't have the experience with dance to know if what the author says is true in general. He does research on music in culture and has a level of knowledge about music that I'd place well above casual, but I don't know if the same is true for the dance aspect. Anyway, if you think it would help, I'd gladly send it along to you. It's even a nice narrative about how to find the real thing that the locals appreciate, not the superficial one for the tourists.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. We're built up over the entire story to be invested in Roseluck's feelings on the matter, but then she gets completely dropped. We can infer a little from the rose she left behind, but really, her arc never completes. Is she fulfilled now? Or is she going to pine away now that she's achieved her life's dream and has nothing left to wish for? The fact that we get the stallion's aftermath is nice, at least, but we were never particularly engaged with him, so it carries far less power.

This was a good story. There's not much to fix here—just some easy mechanical and repetitive elements, and a few wavers in perspective. When you're ready to resubmit, use the "back from Mars" option.
>> No. 132039
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Groans of annoyance and disappointment erupted from the class.//
Avoid directly stating emotions like this. Get me to interpret their mood from what they do and how they look. For instance, instead of saying someone's happy, say they're smiling and hopping up and down. It's much more engaging that way. You do this quite a bit. The three biggest things to avoid are saying the emotion outright (happy), adverb form (sadly), and prepositional phrase form (in excitement).

>line-of-sight//
When used as a noun, you don't need the hyphens.

>She seemed to think on this for a bit//
This is a kind of telling, too. The narrator's drawing the conclusion for me. That said, you get some leeway with a first-person narrator, since they're less apt to explain the reasoning behind their conclusions, particularly with regard to their own actions. So you don't have to go overboard woth her, but I'd still encourage you to let me in on some of the evidence that makes her think make this judgment.

On a related note, the point of a first-person narration is to get the reader intimately in the character's head. So it's odd that your first scene is in a kind of subjective narration in the collective class's viewpoint. You couldn't have Derpy's perspective there, since she wasn't present for it, but you could have had Dinky tell her about it on the walk home instead and get at the information that way.

You're also getting very talking heads here. This is when we get a lot of dialogue with little to break it up that shows what the characters are doing as they talk. It causes the reader to lose sight of the setting and is too reliant on the dialogue alone to carry the emotional burden. Consider that half of a conversation is nonverbal. You're missing that half of it, and it adds a lot of characterization to see how they respond to what's said.

>The slight tickly feeling of my feathers against her back//
How does she know that's what it feels like?

>right in my front of my face//
Extraneous word.

>thanks Rose//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>Flipping open the flap of the saddlebag, I rummaged through its contents//
Here, you're saying that she flips open the saddlebag at the same time she rummages through it. That'd more likely happen in series.

>where I stood awkwardly—peeking through the contents of Twilight’s bookshelves.//
I don't see the utility of a dash there. A comma would be fine.

>At first, he gave me a funny look upon showing him the book I wanted.//
That syntax is jumbled. It says he showed himself the book Derpy wanted.

>in such a manner, that no force//
Unnecessary comma.

>With this light—this shimmering, radiant light of undeniable and unspeakable glory—//
This type of structure, with these inserted parenthetical asides, gets very repetitive in this excerpt.

>rarely had leftovers, and on the rare//
Watch the repetition.

>the crux of the point//
Redundant.

>She gave me an indecisive look.//
See how often you just go ahead and identify their expressions for me? I have no idea what this looks like, so I can't envision the scene in my head. Inferring emotion from appearance and behavior is our natural way of perception, so it works so much better to have writing do it that way as well.

>her expression changed//
This couldn't be more vague.

>Nothing particularly interesting stood out about it. As one would expect from a typical encyclopedia or dictionary, it bore a very plain cover//
You've said the same thing twice, which you'd already said in the previous paragraph.

>large, iron//
Hierarchical adjectives. You don't need the comma.

>I almost considered this big hunk of metal to be the metaphorical equivalent of my soul//
That rather smacks of the author using the character as a mouthpiece. And then she never explains why.

>As I opened the door to the safe, I took a moment to gaze at my collection within; pages upon pages of journals—I had stopped counting at this point—stacked on top of one another, creating several layers from the back of the safe towards the front.//
Misused semicolon. The aside notwithstanding, there isn't an independent clause after it. This should be a colon.

> and finally began jotting them down//
This caught my eye, and probably only because you'd just used the same verb shortly before. I'd gotten the impression that you'd used it a lot, but when I checked by doing a search, you only use it 4 times. But then when I checked the related "start," I see that you used it 7 times. Even then, that's not a ton, but they're often not necessary. Every action begins. It's only worth calling attention to that beginning it it's an abrupt change or the action never finishes.

Maybe you get to these things later on, but I do have some disconnects with Derpy's situation. She's been keeping these journals for a long time, so nothing about the situation is new to her. She writes well, so if she feels bad that nobody knows how smart she is, why not do that? Twilight would no doubt be willing to accommodate her if it meant having to sit there with her for a long time to get out what she wanted to say. She could write letters, or if she wanted public exposure, do articles or editorials for the newspaper. It's not even mentioned whether she considered getting therapy. These are all easy answers that my mind immediately jumps to, and her journal entry is (oddly) generalized to her whole experience, not just what happened to her the day she wrote it, so why wouldn't she have covered these topics? By not even talking about such things, it's like they never occurred to her, which doesn't quite jive.

>state-of-mind//
No hyphens.

You've correctly un-italicized words for emphasis within the italicized entry, but really think about what that means. This is an article of writing, so that presumes that she writes these words differently somehow than the others, in print versus cursive, for example. But that's not the norm. If she's typing, sure, but I assume it's manuscript. So what do you do when writing something by hand to emphasize it? You'd underline it, use all capitals, or write over it several times to get it dark (essentially bold face).

So to add a summary to that, just watch the amount of repetition and telling. Those were the only consistent problems. However, I would like to caution you about something in the extended synopsis you included in your submission. Specifically, chapter 6. This really sounds like it's going to be on the wrong side of what we call "piling on," which is shoveling more and more tragedy upon our poor protagonist. Doing so is a blatant play for the reader's heartstrings, and those that see through it often resent the author for it. Where sad/tragedy are concerned, less is more. There's no reason to put more in there than is required for the plot to work. There are too many stories that do this to a ridiculous degree, and we regularly reject them for it.

Incidentally, I agree with one of the commenters that it took me a little while to catch on that she'd been reading her novel for hours. I wouldn't have gotten that sense at all unless you'd explicitly stated it, and I think there are more elegant ways to go about that. For one, say it indirectly by having her note that the sun has moved quite far or something. That's still fairly terse, but less overt. Or have breaks in the reading, bridged by ellipses, so we see things getting skipped, maybe have her do a few things like get a drink that would clearly be spaced out. Just a thought.

Now, this story's skillfully written enough that I'm tempted to give it a conditional rejection, though really that wouldn't make a difference in this case. It'd be more of a reminder to myself whether I needed to reread the whole thing or just spot-check it. In any case, I'm going to ask that you have a few more chapters written before resubmitting. I can see from the extended synopsis where you intend to take the story, but for one thing, that could change, and for another, actually getting those done is entirely a different matter than planning them. So far, while well written, we have a very standard setup, of Derpy being a misunderstood outcast and Dinky as the one who knows the real her while being ashamed, secretive, and/or evasive about her with other ponies. Even the conceit that it turns out Derpy's really smart has been done multiple times, so what I really want to see is what makes this story different from those. And certainly being better written is something that can stand out, and you've already got a leg up there, but I'd like something more than "it's story X, but better" to justify posting it. If you think your next couple of chapters fit the bill, then that won't be any more work for you.

So, bottom line, I'd like to see this back with the repetition and telliness fixed, and with some more meat to it so I can make sure there's a unique story being told. I'm not going to make you wait until chapter 6 to see if that gets done well, but do take that advice to heart, because it's the difference between cheap feels and a really powerful story. We see people on the wrong side of that equation all the time.
>> No. 132055
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

I'll just say right off the bat that I'm not going to mark many detailed mechanical errors in the letters themselves, as they may be attributable to the characters, insofar as it fits their personalities to make such mistakes.

>if you’re busy with important!//
Missing word.

>I got a sort-of promotion at work!//
There's a bit of exclamation point overload going on here. They make things stand outm but when everything stands out, nothing does.

>I just worry about you now I’m not around to tell you these things in person.//
Missing a "that" in there.

>'thunk'//
Sounds effects are generally discouraged in narration, but it's a valid word anyway, so you don't need the quotes.

>She always felt more positive when she got a letter or sent one back.//
Instead of being so blunt, give me some more detail. What effect is this positivity having on her thoughts or how she feels physically?

>The Minuette’s//
Not sure what that "The" is supposed to indicate.

>outer wear//
outerwear

>The world lay under a thick white blanket outside but the heaters in the little shop were on full blast//
There are two separate clauses here, so put a comma between them. There's an explanation at the top of this thread, under "comma use with conjunctions."

>Suspiciously//
How does this look? Create a visual in my head so that I can read their emotions from what I see. This type of telly language comes at it backward; it gives me the conclusion, then burdens me with creating the mental picture to fit.

>I’m just teaching my first student today and I wanted to make sure everything’s all set.//
Same deal with the comma/clauses thing.

>Why wouldn’t it be?//
What does "it" refer to here? You sure you didn't mean "I"?

>Minuette didn’t quite leap backwards but it was close.//
Needs a comma.

>Minuette shove her hoof away.//
Verb tense.

>She tried to look dignified but Lyra’s continued onslaught of booping made her telekinetically lift her paperwork and bat at the hooves that wouldn’t leave her alone.//
Needs a comma.

>flat of an unturned flat//
Watch the repetition. Also note how there's pretty sparse narration through much of this dialogue. The rationale behind this is described in the section on talking heads up top, but the short of it is that you don't want the reader losing sight of the visual setting, and the nonverbal part of a conversation supplements the emotions quite a bit.

>Her grin faded, the bright gusto of her mood temporarily dampening.//
The fading grin already connotes the rest and does so subtly.

>boring!//
You'll normally italicize an ! or ? that's on an italicized word.

>Concern laced her words//
I hope I've pointed out enough of these by now that they'll be easy to spot. If you see an emotion directly named, chances are the scene would be more powerful by giving me the evidence to lead me there instead.

>Gone was the edge of laughter from his voice. Gone, too, was the jovial gleam from his eyes. His shoulders slumped as if weighed down by a heavy invisible poncho.//
There you go. This is how to do it right. You say what his mood is without saying it.

>siuded//
Not sure what this was supposed to be. Maybe "sounded"? If so, watch the perspective. Anything in this scene so far that favored a perspective character sat squarely with Minuette, but this is external to her—she wouldn't be remarking about how she sounds. By the next paragraph, the perspective resides with her again. Try to keep that consistent.

>Forcibly ignoring how her heart jittered when he said her – the one she only ever allowed him to use//
Feels like a word missing, maybe "nickname". It's possible that she avoids using it, but I can't see why.

>Hearts n’ Hooves//
Grab that apostrophe and put another in front of the "n" as well. And I do mean cut and paste—if you type one at the beginning of a word, smart quotes will draw it backward.

>I yelled so loud you looked directly at me//
Seems an odd thing for her to say, since she doesn't attribute any motivation to it. Maybe something like "you had no choice but to notice, if only to shut me up."

>weekend to Horseshoe Bay//
Maybe this is a British thing? I've always heard that phrased with an "in," not a "to."

I will pause for a moment here to say you've done a good job on the letters. Many writers don't actually consider what's reasonable to put in a letter. They essentially treat it as narration and give things like setting description and quoted dialogue that people simply wouldn't write in one. Yours sound natural.

>Rarity, that is; not Derpy//
>I don’t think Derpy could screech even if she tried. I miss everything about Ponyville; even the stuff I said was annoying or tiresome while I was there.//
Misused semicolons. Despite what I said earlier about being able to attribute errors to the writers themselves and not the author, attempting to use semicolons at all in something as informal as a personal letter would suggest a good enough familiarity to use them correctly.

>I’ve been looking forward to our Lesson//
Why is that capitalized?

>Wha-//
Use a full dash.

>steamrollering//
steamrolling

>Sweetie Belle was startled at the mare’s incisiveness.//
In this scene so far, the narrator had been speaking from Sweetie Belle's perspective and essentially using her own voice. But that feeling gets broken here, as this statement comes from a viewpoint external to her. Let the narration communicate her surprise how she experiences it. The narrator can comment for her, get a little tongue-tied, whatever.

>and I’ll point and laugh and call them a liar//
Needs a comma to set off this clause.

>She paused.//
For some reason, writers love this sentence, but it's incredibly vague and bland. What happens during the pause. Do thy both stand stock-still? Does one of them do something? Does your perspective character notice anything, or have an internal comment?

>Something inside Sweetie Belle tautened.//
But she doesn't know what? No reason has been presented as to why she'd repress it or keep it secret, so why wouldn't the narrator know?

>Her flank seemed to ache//
Insofar as she is the narrator, either it aches or it doesn't. "Seem" shouldn't enter into it.

>She just has to look at a piece of fabric and she knows how to make it into something beautiful.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>Her voice rose in pitch.//
The scene started with a conversational tone well in Sweetie Belle's perspective, but now that the emotion is running high, you're backing away and sounding more omniscient. If you want to have a limited narrator at all, these are the types of moments to make it stand out.

>laughing stock//
laughingstock

>Lyra adopted a thoughtful expression.//
How does this look? Don't make me do the work. Look at it versus the next one:
>Sweetie Belle sniffed and stared at her.//
Here, you create the visual and let it do the work. I get her mood, even though you didn't say a single word about it directly.

>Sweetie Belle said desperately//
Again, let the limited narration and the visual of the scene carry the emotion. Don't put it all in a single "desperately" that's easy for the reader to gloss over without thinking about it. By making him decipher it (but also doing so rather unambiguously), you involve the reader much more.

>“Baloney!”//
Look how little narration we're getting the further this scene goes along. Don't lose sight of the visual aspect of the story. You have to keep the reader connected with these characters as actual events happen, and during a real conversation, an observer would notice little elements of how the conversants act and look.

>She paused.//
There you go again.

>after lesson than before them//
I think you meant "lesson" to be plural.

>With lots of freak-outs, no doubt.//
I don't see the advantage of putting this in italics. It's already apparent from the few sentences in this scene that you're taking a limited narration with Minuette, so the narrator already speaks her thoughts for her. There are times it's important to have the character speak the thought herself rather than let the narrator, but I don't see the need here. For example, compare to the later:
>Had Lyra gone already?//
They both have the same voicing, but why is it important that one thought happened verbatim, while the other may have been more of an impression?

>she decided to check it was neat and tidy enough for her exacting standards//
Feels like there's a missing "if" or "that" in there.

>Surely not; she would have seen her.//
Another misused semicolon. Basically, if you can't split it into two complete sentences at the semicolon, then use something else. A period, comma, colon, or dash may work, depending on the situation.

>She stared at needle//
Missing word.

>Annoyance frosted her tone.//
Too blunt, and it's a rather external perspective to her again. It doesn't sound like the kind of observation she'd make about herself, and she's effectively the narrator.

>My student arrives in twenty minutes and I need to get ready.//
Needs a comma.

>Lyra shook her head like she was trying to clear it.//
Watch the close repetition. You just used "clear" a couple sentences ago.

>She pursed her lips and made kissing noises.//
You sure you didn't mean "puckered"? It'd be hard to do that with pursed lips.

>The noise that emerged from Minutte’s throat could reasonably be called a squawk.//
Now you've gone to a more omniscient viewpoint, or possibly to Lyra's. Keep the perspective consistent.

>as she was chased//
This is a very active thing, but the passive voice robs it of its action.

>if you didn’t have a cart//
Try to avoid addressing the reader, unless you're going to make a habit of it (which should have been established by now anyway). "Without a cart" would work fine here.

>It scraped a few hairs, pulling them out by their roots.//
No reaction from her? Didn't it hurt?

>“You did –” Lyra blinked as she took in the multi-coloured mane and tail before her. “ –not!//
When putting a narrative aside in a quote like this, you don't need to capitalize the aside (except for an instance like this, where "Lyra" has to be capitalized anyway), and you only include end punctuation if it's a question mark or exclamation mark.

>You couldn’t buy dew soup or other pegasi delicacies//
Addressing the reader again. And noun adjuncts are singular, so "pegasus delicacies."

>She didn’t get angry easily but a sliver of irritation shot through her now.//
Needs a comma, and describe that irritation without saying that's what it is.

>asa//
Missing a space.

>Lyra place the meal triumphantly in her basket.//
Verb tense. And let the narration carry her mood. Wouldn't she be internally declaring herself the winner?

>in alarm//
In most instances, you can just remove these prepositional phrases that identify mood without altering anything, since the language is usually already in place to convey it. And in this case, it is.

>Hi Lyra!//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>in delight//
Show me her delight instead of saying it.

>and very cold packet of frozen peas//
Missing a word.

>I keep trying but my magic isn’t good enough yet.//
Needs a comma.

>blew mane from her eyes//
Missing a "her" maybe?

>though her expression belied her words//
And what expression might that be?

>Lyra felt a little guilty for that.//
Be a little more subtle about this.

>She didn’t want Rainbow Dash to do herself any permanent damage but she had needed an excuse to get away from them.//
Needs a comma.

>uncomprehendingly//
Just have her raise an eyebrow or something. Or you could just drop this altogether. It's apparent from what she says anyway.

>usin’ you brain//
Typo.

>Applejack admitted, anger still tightening her words like a noose.//
This conversation is getting pretty talking heads. And it's a bit iffy to identify her anger directly like this. You already did it once, and you're calling attention to that fact. Just have her words tighten. You don't need to identify the anger. Some body language would sell it better.

>alarm blurring her words//
You don't need this. There's enough there already to pick it up.

>I haven’t even ordered one pizza since I you left//
Extraneous word.

>in surprise//
Drop it or elaborate with some subjective comment.

>Hi Lyra. Hi Sweetie Belle.//
Commas for direct address.

>obviously cheered//
If it's obvious, why don't I get to see it?

>She wants to go out and play with her friends but you can never be too careful with these things.//
Needs a comma.

>Bye Miss Hooves!//
Comma for direct address.

>After the irrepressible pink pony came to work for them it had been difficult not to smile.//
>They wanted a slice of happiness with their sweets and Pinkie was more than happy to serve it to them.//
Needs a comma.

>looking angry//
And how does that look?

>Mrs. Cake liked the polite filly//
No explanation is given to whether she likes her for the current circumstances or in general. And if that latter, it's an odd thing to point out, as it doesn't have much bearing on things, unless you want to supply some sort of anecdote running through Mrs. Cake's mind that does.

>uncomprehendingly//
That word again.

>No, that’s crass//
Again, given that you've chosen a subjective narrator in Mrs. Cake's perspective, I don't see the advantage of presenting this as quoted thought.

>You two just find yourselves a table and I’ll bring your milkshakes over//
Needs a comma.

>why she had such a sense of relief that they were no longer at the counter//
I don't get why she wouldn't know this. She practically explained it already.

>interest buzzing behind her eyes//
I have no idea what this would look like.

>of relief//
Unnecessary.

>A, now there’s a story.//
"Ah," yes?

>seemed honestly impressed//
What's her evidence of this conclusion? It also seems to imply that Lyra expected her not to care, and I'm not sure why, unless some generic thing that kids don't care about technical things or old stories.

>It was bad luck for her but it changed my life.//
Needs a comma.

>She twisted up her face at an unpleasant memory.//
Keep the narration feeling subjective. This sounds more omniscient.

>Sweetie Belle’s grimace matched Lyra’s perfectly.//
There you go. This is a great sentence, because it gets at both their moods without overtly stating them, and the "perfectly" is a subjective judgment, which places it firmly in Lyra's perspective.

>and that when he was in school//
Needs a comma after this.

>So why was Rarity the one to arrange Sweetie Belle’s singing lessons? she wondered.//
Another case where I don't see what it gains you to present as a direct thought.

>Hoofington Conservatoire//
Seems odd that a British-sounding town would choose the French version of Conservatory.

>respondent sympathy//
You just used "sympathy" a couple sentences ago.

>Lyra trailed off.//
I already get that from the punctuation. You don't need to narrate it.

>It used to but it didn’t anymore.//
Needs a comma.

>hairsbreadth//
hair's breadth.

>High school was awful for those who didn’t fit in but she suspected Sweetie Belle was destined to be one of the pretty fillies//
Needs a comma.

>ice-cream//
Is it a British-ism to hyphenate that?
>> No. 132056
>in terror//
Show it in her face, not the narration.

>But sip is slow anyhow.//
Typo.

>Eventually she stopped looking like she was about to cry and Lyra released her magic.//
Needs a comma.

>Sweetie Bell//
Typo. Do a search for these, as I noticed more than one.

>great-aunts//
Another one. Do Brits normally hyphenate compound nouns like this?

>A feeling went up her spine; not a shiver but something else, like the tip of a hoof running over each vertebra without actually touching them.//
Misused semicolon.

>Your sister doesn’t seem to like me much so I wondered whether she’d approve of you hanging out with me.//
Needs a comma.

>ag-.//
Use a real dash, and the period is extraneous.

>Discomfort showed clearly in Sweetie Belle’s expression.//
How so?

>How weird is –“//
Another thing that can break smart quotes is dashes. These are backward.

>Hi Pinkie!//
Needs a comma.

>present the first two like a medieval pony presenting//
Watch the repetition.

>At first she had thought Lyra was asleep but that had not been the case.//
Needs a comma.

>middle of tutoring session//
Missing word.

>last Winter//
Why is that capitalized?

>And she needs six more of them so I’m afraid I require your modelling services for a while longer, darling.//
Needs a comma.

>I’m already late but I didn’t like to say//
Needs a comma.

>B-But//
Only capitalize the first one.

>When Fluttershy had gone//
Needs comma after this.

>showiest catsuit she had ever laid eyes on. Rarity’s flair showed//
Watch the word repetition.

>“ She//
Extraneous space.

>lobule//
I'd watch the advanced word choice for this scene. Keep in mind that you've set Sweetie Belle as your perspective character, so you need to keep the word choice and voicing close to her. Yes, she's a little older now, but this'd be pretty advanced even for most of the adults.

>new-born//
newborn

>“Yeah, like an intact spine,” Lyra muttered.//
Getting pretty talking heads again.

>It’s brilliant, sis; your best design yet. //
Misused semicolon, and "Sis" would be capitalized when used as a term of address.

>Despite her pride and tough exterior//
As placed in the sentence, this seems to describe Sweetie Belle. Okay, this entire paragraph is a little heavy-handed with the exposition. Again, keep in mind that Sweetie Belle is your perspective character, so it implies that she's actually standing there reasoning all this out in this manner while all this happens around her. While possible, it still feels a bit formal. She might think more anecdotally, coming up with an example of when Rarity demonstrated this behavior. An example speaks a lot louder than a list of generalities.

>speculatively//
How does this look? That's not really something that changes how you hear the speech, like "softly" might. It gets to her mindset while saying it, which is why it's better to show that through more subtle means that declaring it. If she holds a hoof to her mouth and counts under her breath, for instance, it gets that across in a much more engaging way.

>Rarity was a fabulous designer but a menace in the kitchen.//
Really? She did breakfast just fine in "Sisterhooves Social."

>Rarity sighed.//
Her narration gets this exact same sentence twice in a row.

>Applejack is fidgeter and I only ever asked Rainbow Dash once.//
Comma needed and missing word.

>hangar//
hanger

>joined the other four on the rail.”//
Extraneous quotation marks.

>Sweetie Belle swallowed and took a steadying breath//
Just pointing out another spot where it's done well. We get her mood through her behavior without your ever having to mention it.

>She spoke as it she had//
Typo.

>I had my reasons but they weren’t good ones//
Needs a comma.

>diatribe//
Not sure I'd characterize what she's saying as a diatribe, but that's also a pretty advanced word for Sweetie-Belle-as-narrator.

>Rarity gets distracted and ignores me all the time but I never take it personally.//
Needs a comma.

>hoping she communicated unconcerned forgiveness and not the glee that was actually bubbling inside her.//
Instead of bluntly saying these emotions, focus on what effect Sweetie Belle wants to achieve.

>Lyra looked genuinely relieved.//
How does that look?

>Doh, ray, mi, fah, so, la, ti, doh!//
Might as well use the standard spellings: Do, er, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do.

>Maybe you’re the next Sapphire Shores and your sister will be designing stage costumes for you someday.//
Needs a comma.

>shier pier//
I've always heard that as "short." Is this a local expression from Scotland or Wales or something? It doesn't have an entry in either Webster's or OED.

>What am I writing that for?//
This is probably the first thing you wrote in a letter that didn't strike me as authentic. If she really felt bad about writing that, then she'd start a new letter and leave it out. It's not like it's spoken and once it's out there, it's too late to take it back. She's expressing regret while she's still writing the letter, but she's not committed to saying it until she's dropped it in the mailbox. This smacks of contrivance more than natural correspondence. If she leaves it in there now, she does so deliberately.

>side-tracked//
sidetracked

>and if you have never come to Ponyville//
Verb form, and needs a comma after this.

>lesson In the big black appointment book//
Extraneous capitalization.

>sighing happily//
There's enough there that you could cut the "happily."

>She grabbed her saddlebags and coat from her peg and dashing away before he could respond.//
Verb form.

>and was crossed the distance//
Verb form.

>Her chin met frozen asphalt and she travelled the last few feet on her face.//
Needs a comma.

>When she got up//
Needs a comma after this.

>Did I make it in time?//
This is the first time I've seen a direct thought that has to be one as phrased. The narrator would have to say "she."

>If it was upside down//
Needs a comma after this.

>Sagging in disappointment and self-recrimination//
Give me the evidence, not the conclusion. Let the indirect narrative thoughts carry this.

>Twilight looked startled//
Describe it.

>in obvious concern//
Show it. Otherwise, it doesn't mean near as much.

>She had been as shocked and horrified as everypony else last month//
Needs a comma after this.

>She had read books in anticipation of the day when she might have to go through it herself//
Needs a comma after this.

>“I thought friendship was about being there for others even when they don’t want it. Isn’t that what motivated you to dedicate all that time to honouring your Dragon Code with Applejack?”//
Why don't we get a visual reaction to what Spike said to her? He's directly challenged her, so she's not going to deadpan it.

>meddling//
Just used that word two sentences ago, and there's no effect created by the repetition.

>Lyra remained exactly where she had been; on the couch, staring into space, a mug of sweetened tea clasped between her forehooves.//
Misused semicolon.

>She was a passing acquaintance; somepony you could nod at in the street but not strike up an idle conversation with.//
Misused semicolon.

>When he was done//
Needs a comma after this.

>Spike waved a claw in front of her face but she only blinked//
Needs a comma.

>under the guise of fetching the bread//
But he already brought it out.

>even if it did prove you were right. “Something’s not right.”//
Watch addressing the reader and the repetition.

>long forgotten//
Hyphenate.

>She didn’t understand what was wrong with the other unicorn but she did grasp that spooking her was not a good idea.//
Needs a comma.

>he reassured//
That's a transitive verb. It requires a direct object.

>I … no. no, I’m, sure that’s not a possibility.//
Capitalization, and that last comma is extraneous.

>Minuette trailed off.//
Already apparent. You don't need to narrate it.

>I should have sat her down and talked to her but I just shoved students at her as a distraction so neither of us would have to talk about it.//
Needs a comma.

>I don’t see anypony but it’s dark inside.//
Needs a comma.

>said twilight.//
Capitalization. Also note that after the first paragraph of this scene, there's barely any narration for the next six. could use some more to avoid talking heads.

>Subsection B of a Volume Twelve//
That "a" is extraneous.

>may have caused themselves bodily harm or be at risk of causing themselves bodily harm//
That's oddly specific. Why have a separate law governing suicide (or delusion, I suppose)? Why not just generally if the occupant is suspected to be in harm's way, like if a robber had been seen to enter?

>The door flew inward, cracking a little.//
Twilight's there. Why doesn't she simply teleport inside?

>but before she could inspect what it was//
Surround this bit with commas.

>balled up//
Hyphenate.

>A dresser draw//
Typo.

>Rainbow Dash snapped her head back to Applejack in surprise.//
The "in surprise" isn't necessary.

>gave Momma Sheep the slip.//
Repetitive phrasing with what she said the last time she spoke.

>‘em//
Backward apostrophe.

>It’s freezing out here but I don’t think she was even wearing a scarf!//
Needs a comma.

>Applejack Turned//
Capitalization.

>Mr Cake//
Earlier, you'd used a period with the abbreviation, and for Mrs. Cake as well. I understand this way is common in British usage, so either is fine, but be consistent.

>Rainbow!//
Italicize the exclamation mark, too.

>Applejack echoed in surprise.//
Show me her surprise. Keep in mind you've had Dash as your perspective character for the scene so far (though a couple spots almost felt like Mr. Cake), so it'll be what Dash perceives.

>Sure enough, there was Twilight running towards them//
Well, now it seems like you're going for Applejack's perspective. The "in surprise" bit is odd then, since it's essentially AJ making the observation about herself, and if se's truly surprised, she won't be that self-aware. I will say that the transition into A's head wasn't a bad one, since it didn't jump straight there from a subjective statement in another character's viewpoint. Just keep it with AJ for a while.

>All three looked worried.//
How so?

>the big stallion//
You just described him as such.

>but with Rainbow you could never be sure//
Watch addressing the reader.

>but once they got going//
Needs a comma after this.

>Ponyville Station was usually a hub of activity.//
I don't see a purpose to this scene at all.

>You couldn’t see the station from here.//
Watch addressing the reader.

>She opened her eyes and for a brief second all she saw was the rumpled silhouette of a pony with hair so mussed she was unrecognisable.//
Needs a comma.

>Her hooves scrambled and slipping in the snow.//
Verb form.

>in pain//
Don't need this.

>yelp of pain//
Just used that phrasing, and the "of pain" is unnecessary anyway.

> Her head hurt and her mind couldn’t make the connections between everything that was going on.//
Needs a comma.

>twisted up in visions of twisted//
Repetition.

>We did that already and it wasn’t the right thing to do then//
Needs a comma.

>she came to trembling stop//
Missing word.

>cautious but resolute//
What does this look like? Your perspective's with Lyra, and she's pretty out of it to be coming to fairly esoteric conclusions like this.

>Pieces of a jigsaw strove to fit together in her head but it was like trying to finish it without the picture on the box for reference.//
Needs a comma.

>her parents came and you//
Needs a comma.

>Lyra fought it but the force of reality was as inexorable as gravity pulling her wingless body down.//
Needs a comma.

>She pressed a hankie to her face but it was dry as the bottom of a hoof in the desert.//
Needs a comma.

>If her grandmother hadn’t seen that wretched advertisement for that wretched candy store she would have stayed and come to her senses.//
Needs a comma.

>all this time!” “//
Those extraneous quotation marks are apparently supposed to go with the next paragraph.

>N-No//
Only capitalize the first one.

>her grief translating itself into a desire to hurt somepony else//
Watch the perspective. I don't know how Lyra could know this.

>I’ve lost my daughter and my mother in the same week and I will never forgive you for that//
Needs a comma.

>she continued to nuzzle and provide comfort the only way she knew how//
Watch the perspective. I get that Lyra's in a state where she's not going to notice much around her, so it's tempting to switch to someone else. And it's even fine to do so. The problem is that you only stay there for a couple sentences. If it's worth going to her, it's worth staying there a little while.

>Pink blossom dotted the trees//
I think you meant that to be plural.

>It didn’t take much to knock the blossoms free of their branches.//
Watch the repetition of "blossoms."

>Spring//
Why is that capitalized?

>blossom-laden//
And more use of that word.

>engraved gold//
Missing an "in"?

>It miss you every day.//
Typo.

>carry in speaking//
Did you mean "on"?

>On the grave beneath the tree, a wedding ring glittered.//
This feels a little disconnected, since I never saw her move to put anything there.

Aside from the detailed points, I don't have much to say. It's a well-constructed story. At first, I felt like you spilled the beans too quickly as to the nature of the problem, but now I'm not so sure. Rather than being a surprise for the reader, it plays more toward watching how everyone else deals with her delusions. So in the end, I think it works. The only thing is that a few of the early scenes played it a little heavy-handed. It's pretty obvious what's happening anyway, and even if a few readers miss some subtle clues early on, there's still plenty of space left for them to notice what's going on. The scene with Minuette and Noteworthy speaking after they think Lyra's left immediately comes to mind, as well as the big encounter in the grocery store. Those could use a subtler touch with how explicitly they allude to Lyra's problem.

I'm a little bit mystified as to Lyra's motives in leaving the ring on the grave. Certainly, people do that from time to time, but the two main reasons are typically to symbolize that they've gotten over the death to the point that they've washed their hands of it (which Lyra hasn't, since she doesn't say anything to that effect and implies she'll keep visiting), or that they've found someone else and feel that it's okay to move on (which Lyra hasn't, or she would have said so). I don't think the story's weak for not resolving this, but it's, well, unresolved.

When you're ready to resubmit, please use the "back from Mars" option.

Last edited at Wed, Feb 11th, 2015 16:58

>> No. 132062
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>far-away//
No need to hyphenate that.

>You needed only put a hoof down in the wrong mud and they'd yank you under fast as blinking.//
>You needed only put a hoof down in the wrong mud and they'd yank you under fast as blinking.//
>Asterius bellowed for us to form a wedge and we fell in//
>As he turned away the captain muttered//
>When he spoke again there was a new urgency to his message.//
>Time skipped and I was at her side//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>reeking smoke from whatever struck it down//
It's a completed action in a past-tense narration, so use past perfect tense. "had struck"

>rearguard//
I've never seen that as one word. There's more than one instance.

>in---//
It'd be easy to do a search and replace. An em dash is Alt+0151.

>afterimages//
You're inconsistent about whether or not you hyphenate this.

>S’gonna//
The missing letter is before the "s," not after it. 'S gonna

>but all I could hear was the keening in my ears//
This is already the third time within a page that he says he can't hear anything. It's getting repetitive.

>looming out of the night//
Set off participles with a comma.

>I dunno//
This stands out as incongruous with the rest of the language he's been using. He takes great pains to word things very precisely and with advanced word choice, so this really feels out of place.

>Funny thing is, I remember every word of their conversation.//
Okay, I think this is a mistake. You start the story by framing it as your protagonist telling it to an audience. Then you fade into the story, and it's easy to take it as reliving the events with him instead of still hearing him tell the audience. For the latter, it wouldn't make sense that he'd remember so many details about events and places, and that he'd be able to present quoted dialogue. Then here, you make the same point: that it's unusual he'd remember the exchange word for word.

If you're going to periodically go back into storyteller/audience mode, then it's better to set off the past events as separate scenes so that it's believable, like I said, that we're reliving his reminiscence instead of hearing him tell it. Or on the other hand, cut out these reversions to the speaker/audience mode so it stays in flashbacks. Either way, it's bad that you've pointed out how amazing it is that he can remember this particular conversation verbatim when he's been presenting all of them so far as such. It doesn't have the contrast you're trying to create.

>lieutenant//
When used as a term of address, ranks should be capitalized.

>south-west//
southwest

>while he mulled//
That's a transitive verb. It requires a direct object.

>‘em//
Smart quotes are bad a leading apostrophes. This is backward. But it's also dipping into the vernacular a bit much again and feeling incongruous with the fancy diction in the narration.

>It stung. Smoke twisted from a scorch mark just here, over my heart.//
Another spot where you should consider how you want to present your narration.

>He said, “My name is Renald Risarin,” chest heaving.//
That's pretty ungainly to have dialogue split narration in a single sentence that's actually a quote. Usually it's the other way around or segregated.

>“Tercáno,” said the captain in Laewtil.//
This is starting to get cumbersome. They've spoken this language before. Doing something like this is a delicate matter. If it doesn't come up much, and the characters react enough to it that I can intuit what it means, that's fine. Or if it's rare and it doesn't matter what it means, that's fine. But I'm getting the impression now that I'm supposed to be reading something into these words, and it's just not clicking with me. It's also odd that you're just now identifying the language.

>We shall pursue those refugees, and find whatever wiped out that patrol.//
That's all one clause. You don't need the comma.

>to which I will admit casting more than one longing gaze after//
The "to" is already your preposition, so having the "after" as well is redundant.

>Only, there was something odd about some of them.//
There's not a grammatical reason to have a comma there.

>with sorrow sharp on his face//
If you want me to sympathize with the character, let me see this, rather than just have the narrator directly inform me of it,

>He grit//
The only accepted past tense of that is "gritted."

>The Hart just looked lost. Abandoned.
>
>I looked to Asterius. He looked to us//

Look (heh) at all that repetition of "look."

>Asterius looked at me and I looked at him.//
Same deal.

>and those few want little part of you or I//
"Me," not "I." It's part of the compound object of a preposition.

That was well written and a nice enough story. But I have to say that I spent the vast majority of it wondering what possible relevance it had to MLP. It borrows the minotaur race, but they're so vaguely defined in canon anyway that there's nothing tying these minotaurs to Iron Will through any sort of lore or world-building. Then the deer could possibly have come from the main series comic #27, though it may be a risky bet to require readers to know comic canon.

When we finally get to see a pony, it's inconsequential that she is one; she could have easily been some wildebeest or goat or something, and it wouldn't have changed a thing. Then there's the oblique reference to Clover the Clever, but again, nothing comes of it. The fact that it's she in particular and what we know of her from canon has no impact here. She'd learned a lesson of friendship at Hearth's Warming, assuming her appearance comes after that, and she might have related it to him, though he'd already cast off his warlike attitude anyway, and past that, it's not clear that she had any effect on him.

It's one of those cases where I have to ask whether this is even an MLP fanfic. In less than five minutes, it could have all relation to MLP excised, and what's there is minor anyway. This would stand fine as original fiction.

However... while I think you'd have a stronger story by making the ties to ponies more concrete and introduced earlier, I'm not going to require you do that. It's your risk to take, since readers may have the same experience of wondering what ponies have to do with it, and they may drop away without finishing it.

The ending falls apart a little, as all these alliances dissolve, and I'm no longer sure who is supposed to be friends with whom. The pronghorn, too—your protagonist assumes he would be an ally, though the pronghorn clearly has some different insight as to the behind-the-scenes politics, yet I never understood it.

Really, the biggest issue for me was how the narrative was framed and how it breaks back in at times in a way that doesn't quite fit how the story is presented. But I've already discussed that. What I want to add here is that it can open a can of worms when you imply or explicitly declare an audience for the story. It wouldn't take much to do so here, but since it's the choice you've made, it deserves to be justified. Who is his audience? I can gather from the ending that they are ponies, but exactly who makes a big difference. Is he talking to a meeting of Celestia's political advisers? To an assembly of high-school students? At a cultural event? To a group of historians? Each one would have very different implications as to what the story means to them and what wll happen afterward as a result of hearing it.

I'm willing to cut you some slack here, because the writing is good, and we're more interested in featuring what's good than what's popular. So please fix the detailed stuff. I'd strongly recommend revising the narrative framing one way or the other to be consistent. It's a good idea to give me at least a little on the audience for the story, and I think making earlier and more obvious connections to ponies would help you retain readers, but I'll leave these last two at your discretion. With a little more work, it should be good to post.

When you're ready to resubmit, choose the "back from Mars" option.

Last edited at Tue, Feb 17th, 2015 12:19

>> No. 132088
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>roughhewn//
rough-hewn

Right about here, there's a whole lot of passive voice and "to be" verbs used in describing the farm. It's really not necessary, and it brings any sense of action to a screeching halt, which would be problematic anyway, but especially this close to the beginning of the story. You don't want to bore the reader right where you should be grabbing his interest.

>when Twi had left, she had left//
I don't see that the repetitive phrasing adds anything.

>order: Do not open the door//
Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>On time//
I'm pretty sure you chose the wrong word there, but since there are so many possibilities of what it could be, and each means something quite different, I'm not going to suggest an alternative.

>‘er//
Smart quotes get leading apostrophes backward. You'll have to paste one in the right way or add one after this, then delete the first one.

>‘em//
Backward apostrophe again. Just do a sweep for these.

>her granny said in an iron tone//
There's precious little during this conversation to create a visual. Now, there are reasons why this might be the case, but you have to accentuate those reasons. Perhaps Applejack is distracted enough that she doesn't notice what her family is doing as they talk. But then you have to make her narration sound distracted. Or she might have her eyes closed so she can't see them. But you have to say that (and even then, she'd still hear what they're doing). I'd also say to take a look at how often you use direct address in this conversation (and possibly in the story in general—I'm writing this as I read it) and compare that to how often you actually do so in a real conversation. And it's like you forgot Apple Bloom was even there so far. She's doing something while all this is going on. Eating her dinner, reacting to what they say. Let me see it, or it's not worth placing her there.

>Maybe it was because she suspected that her granny wasn’t just talking about the carrots.//
This really smacks of an omniscient narrator, whereas you'd been taking a more subjective approach through much of the story.

>But in their place, she found only sadness.//
She doesn't act sad. I have nothing but the narrator's word to go on here.

>Truth from the mouth of foals.//
mouths

>That was where the real hurt was.//
And yet for a limited narrator, the prose doesn't sound that much like someone who's hurt or in anguish about it. The language is there, but not the inflection and emotion behind it.

>a small mop of red hair on the pillow//
Nothing about her bow?

>She smiled a small smile, and closed the door.//
No need for a comma there.

>mark: Two words carved into it in the homestead’s early days, ‘Sunset Room’.//
See previous comment about colons.

>A faint moan came from within.//
Well, now I'm a bit confused. You said the purpose of the charm was to seal off the room completely from the world. But I suppose you're only talking about matter, then? Because apparently it isn't an issue for sound to go back and forth. Light either, for that matter, since she could see in his window. Have they stuffed something in the crack under the door?

>He’s in pain. He’s in there suffering, and we ain’t even lifting a hoof to help, she thought.//
There are times you present a very personal line like this that's obviously Applejack's thought, but you do so as narration. That's one of the elegant things about limited narration. I don't see what the purpose is in declaring this to be a direct thought. There are times it could be, like a need to have the reader understand that the thought occurred this way, word for word, which is rare. Or because she needs to phrase it as "I" or "you," which the narrator can't do. But I don't see the advantage here.

>What if he----//
An em dash is usually done as 3 hyphens, but when it's so easy to produce a real one, why go for the substitute?

>She lifted her hoof from the handle, and stepped away.//
No reason to have a comma there. It's all one clause, and it doesn't clear up any ambiguity.

>Without her realising it//
Cliche alert.

>She rubbed her eyes, and thought to herself that this wasn’t fair.//
Unnecessary comma.

>took a turn for the worst//
worse

>quick fix, but not expecting one. The doctors were quick//
Watch the word repetition.

>the quickest of fashions//
There's that word again, pretty soon after.

>the attempts of her and the doctors//
That's a really awkward and clunky indirect possession.

>It would allow his body able to best fight off the infection./
Syntax is off.

>At that time, she had asked herself that question: Was she doing the right thing?//
Colon issue again.

>She closed her eyes and laid like this until her chest ached.//
Lay/lie confusion.

>fur//
Ponies technically don't have fur, but almost nobody in the fandom seems to care.

>crop”//
Missing end punctuation.

>putting on a convincing smile//
The perspective's off here again. AJ is essentially the narrator, so she's making this judgment about herself, which is odd. She wouldn't know it was convincing.

>kneejerk//
knee-jerk

>Applebloom//
Apple Bloom. As this is a common error, you might want to do a page search to make sure there aren't any others you missed.

>could would//
Typo.

>Cautiously, she pushed it open, and stepped inside.//
That second comma is unnecessary.

>the room was untidy//
>the tidiest of ponies//
Watch the repetition.

>Shouldn’t there air//
Typo.

>Twi had said that nothing could escape the seal, including smells.//
And, again, apparently not sounds or light.

>Why you acting like a frightened foal?//
And then when you do have something that must necessarily be a quoted thought, you don't cast it as one.

>She forced her muscles to relax, and breathed in deep.//
Unnecessary comma.

>in. The lamp sparked, and flared to life.//
Extraneous space and unnecessary comma.

>the food inside them mouldering and stinking of rot//
She'd specifically mentioned the lack of a smell before, so this is pretty contradictory.

>She retreated the lamp//
Missing word.

>poisonous leaves//
How can she tell they're poisonous?

>hoofs//
You spell it "hooves" everywhere else.

>She settled for silence, and backpedalled out of the room.//
Unnecessary comma.

>She was thrown into the far wall, and bounced down the hall.//
Unnecessary comma.

>It would take a while to unlock; time she didn’t have.//
Improper semicolon usage. There's no independent clause after it. Semicolons really do suggest a formalism that doesn't look right when they aren't used properly.

>And who says it will go for me?//
Another line that should be directed thought, as long as it stays phrased like this.

>It’s head turned to her//
Its/it's confusion.

>The twisted vines began to twist.//
Uh...

>landing, where she landed //
Watch the repetition.

I see the tie-in with "sunset," but that's still a weak ending. It peters out, more than it comes to a conclusion. That doesn't mean you can't have an open ending, but it still has to feel like it's come to a close.

The only other thing I'd add is that it was really strange that nowhere in the narration did you ever use her name. That'd be fine for first-person, but you have third. I don't know if it's a gimmick you were trying to employ; if so, it's not creating an effect for me. That's usually done to hide a character's identity, but you're not trying to here, so I don't see the point. It already bugged me that the first reference to her is by pronoun, since they work by antecedent, but then you never said it at all, except in other characters' dialogue.

I'm a little mystified by Twilight's explanation of the treatment she's pursuing. It prevents her from being able to check up on him, and if the main point is to force him to rest, why not just sedate him or put him into some kind of stasis?

Really, there's not a whole lot of stuff to fix here, just some things that need tweaking.
>> No. 132093
>>132088
I've taken most of the points on board, and I'm going to do and editing sweep to fix them up. The stuff that I'm not so sure about, I'll respond to here.

>There's precious little during this conversation to create a visual.//
Hm. Personally, I think this is more of an author preference thing. Gesture and setting are an important part of dialogue, but the tone I'd set for the story was fairly stripped back up until this point, and so I tried to continue that by stripping my dialogue of all but the most important physical cues. I'll take a gander and tweak it -- if it's not working, it's not working -- but it will still be stylistically similar to what it was.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

>I'd also say to take a look at how often you use direct address in this conversation//
Yeah. . . . Along with "a moment later" and "well" and "a little", this is one of the barnacles that clings to my prose. I'll cut and clean.

>And it's like you forgot Apple Bloom was even there so far//
Arguably, this is the same as the "more gesture and setting" advice, because she is there, but I haven't dedicated space to reminding a reader of that.

And I have to ask, is it necessary? I can slip in a few pointers every now and then, but I'm concerned about weakening the focus of the scene. I feel that once it's established that she is there, a reader doesn't need to be reminded. But that might just be faulty thinking on my part.

>Nothing about her bow?/
I figure she takes it off to sleep, just as Applejack, later, takes off her hair ties.

>Well, now I'm a bit confused. //
Yeah, I thought at the time that the mechanics of the spell might confuse some people. In my mind, it's a slightly elastic barrier attached to the perimeter of the room that prevents matter from crossing. But because it is slightly elastic, it can still transfer vibrations. So AJ can still hear what's happening inside, albeit slightly distorted, and she can still see in.

I might have to tweak that a little, but it's difficult seeing as AJ isn't the sort to focus too much on the technical side of magic. That's more Twilight's schtick. Still, I suppose I could have her recount something "Twi" said.

>I don't see what the purpose is in declaring this to be a direct thought//
Well, this was originally narration, but before I published it to FiMFiction, I had to go through and italicise the direct thoughts (because italics in Word don't translate to italics in FiMFic). I was a little trigger happy with the italics button

But, also, I'm not that well versed in narration-thought versus direct-thought. I thought it was more a matter of preference or style. Like how in "I am Legend", all the thoughts are not italicised, despite being direct thoughts, because of the style of that time.

Could you explain the difference, please, or at least help me understand it better? Cheers.

>why go for the substitute?//
I read a humble little book once by the name of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius". The author, aptly enough, is something of a linguistic genius, and when a character's line of thought derailed, he used a long dash, longer than an em dash, followed by a tab to indicate it. I was trying to replicate the same here. A bit of borrowing, I guess.

Would it be worth emphasising that, or just scrapping it and going for the 'em'?

>but almost nobody in the fandom seems to care//
And neither do I!

. . .

But really, what do they have then? Hair? Maybe 'pelt' would be more suitable, because when you say 'hair' we naturally think of the head, and that is definitely not what was going for.

>That second comma is unnecessary.//
With this comma business, I've learned to use comma's more as a tool to control rhythm than in the conventional by-the-rule sense. If it works, I'd prefer to keep them, but if it's doing nothing for you, then I might as well scrape them off.

Are there any instances when having that unnecessary comma there improves the sentence, do you think? In general, and in my story?

>but it still has to feel like it's come to a close.//
Endings are one of my (many) weaknesses. I never know how exactly to end a story. Is there some place that you feel would be more natural to stop it? I'll chew through it myself and try figure it out, but it'd be nice to know what is making it weak.

>I don't know if it's a gimmick you were trying to employ//
Basically, it's a relic of the original. I threw it in to help build ambiguity and a bit of suspense. Also, I think that AJ would think more like that, think of her family by their relationship more than by their names. It seems, to me, more instinctual. "My sister" "My brother". And the same would go for herself.

Is it something that hurts the fic particularly, do you think? If so, I can change it; but I would prefer to keep it as is, in that respect.

>I'm a little mystified by Twilight's explanation of the treatment she's pursuing//
Ah, I thought I *had* mentioned her putting him into stasis. Like, he sleeps hard during the day, but awakens at sunset and sunrise to eat. I think there is a line to that effect in there somewhere.

And I could throw in a line about what Twi is researching, but to me it doesn't seem like something AJ would particularly be bothered with. She cares about the effect, her brother getting better, and isn't caught up in the particulars. As long as Twi keeps her updated about how things are going, not *what* things are going on, she is happy. So in her mind, Twi's research is "not bearing any fruit".

tl;dr: because I don't see AJ being concerned with what the research is, and she is the perspective character.

>Really, there's not a whole lot of stuff to fix here, just some things that need tweaking.//
And tweak I shall!

Seriously, thanks for all the advice. I have only got a single comment since I posted this story, and it wasn't particularly enlightening. So having all this feedback is a godsend. Thank you :)
>> No. 132098
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>The sounds of the fire was music to Cheerilee’s ears.//
Number disagreement: sounds -> was

>a warm feeling of security and comfort//
The beginning of a story is a bad time to be telly. Focus on how this feels to her. There can be a physical warmth, but give me a couple of images that float through her mind as a result of feeling this way. Examples are much more powerful than summaries.

>shadows that bounced off of every able source//
"Available," right?

>room—projecting dark, dancing serenities every which way//
There's not a jump in train of thought or an interruption here. There's not really any call for a dash. A comma would be fine.

>The fieriness inside of her soul was rekindled by ashes and burnt logs—warm fur and a fluttery chest.//
Another unnecessary dash.

>ever loving//
Hyphenate. This is also getting pretty vague. Again, work with the imagery and sensations this brings to her.

>as it gave her another reason to close her eyes//
Fine point, but I wouldn't use a comma with this. There are two senses in which "as" can be used as a conjunction. Using a comma tends to create the feeling of "because," while going without one tends to connote "at the same time that."

>her bodily occurrences//
That's an awkward phrasing.

>given to her from herself//
Also somewhat awkwardly phrased.

>that only brought depressing thoughts to Cheerilee’s state of mind//
You just got through saying it was a joy. I could see it as ironic, but that she really enjoyed her smile and said it was a blessing. I'm getting really mixed messages here, and it's confusing.

>that gave her a reason not to make her lose her mind//
Why would she make herself lose her mind? I think there's some jumbled wording here that says something other than what you intended.

>Not a single malicious drop of the cold could touch her now.//
But you just had wintry gusts touching her fur. This is getting contradictory.

>in even worse condition//
Worse than what? She didn't say anything bad about this one.

>Forgotten Fables: Volume One, was a read that Cheerilee had been dying to get a hold of for a while.//
No reason for that comma.

>she took a liking in her job more multiple reasons//
I can't decipher this.

>The contents of the mug were still very near the top.//
Well, that's not entirely accurate, and it just sounds strange.

>With eyes as soft as the pillow propped against her//
This is limited narration in her perspective, but it's odd for her to describe her own eyes as soft. She can't see them, and it'd be an odd judgment for her to make anyway.

>she stared at the pages underneath//
Underneath what? And would that make them hard to see?

>as her orbs skimmed the vocabulary ever so daintily//
For one, "daintily" is another odd judgment for her to make about herself, but this is veering into thesaurus abuse.

>Cheerilee let out a small sigh, and absently reached for her hot chocolate.//
No need for that comma. It's all one clause.

>It took mere milliseconds for her to bring the edge of the mug up to her desperate lips.//
That's a pretty big exaggeration, and it doesn't fit the mood to make one like that.

>She could feel it light her inside aflame, making her feel an even more apparent sense of warmth. She didn’t even turn her head from her book when she set her drink back on the end table.//
Watch the close repetition of "feel" and "even."

>It was all ruined when three soft rasps came from her front door.//
I have to assume you meant "raps," as a rasp would be a really weird sound for this.

>For the first time in a while//
This indentation is off. There are probably others.

>multiple times with each movement causing her mane to slightly shift out of place.//
I don't know what that first part means, and what relevance does her mane have here? It has no bearing on the plot, and she apparently has no feelings about it one way or the other. So why mention it?

>She didn’t wish to get up, and destroy the ultimate comfort that she had spent the entire night trying to achieve.//
Unnecessary comma. I won't mark any more of these. There's a discussion on comma use with conjunctions in the resources at the top of this thread that should explain it.

>near perfect//
Hyphenate.

>a few snowflakes previous above the door//
Typo.

>visibly disheveled and tousled//
As opposed to invisibly disheveled and tousled?

>It looks like she washed her hair with something that was most certainly not shampoo.//
Verb tense.

>upon closer look//
Odd phrasing.

>sis//
As a term of address, this would be capitalized.

>back to scratch the back//
Repetition.

>Cheerilee’s pursed her lips//
Typo.

>her breath vapor//
Odd phrasing.

>C-Can//
Unless it's something like a name that has to be capitalized anyway, you only capitalize the first part of a stutter at the beginning of a sentence.

>Her blanket, book, and hot chocolate was pleading for her return//
Subject/verb number agreement.

>The teacher bit her bottom lip, irritatingly.//
This doesn't say Cheerilee was irritated. It says the way she bit her lip was irritating to someone else, but we're in her perspective, and we get no evidence of such.

>She had missed the intoxicated grin that adorned Berry Punch’s face.//
Do you mean she failed to notice it or that she was nostalgic for it? If the former, then how can the narrator, essentially Cheerilee herself, notice?

>Flipping the it open//
Typo.

>towards in its direction//
Typo, and odd phrasing anyway.

>Cheerilee didn't like that sound, at all.//
Why not? As stated, it's only a sterile fact. Make me feel that way with her through her reaction to it.

>Berry hiccupped,//
You don't need the end punctuation for an aside like this unless it's a question mark or exclamation mark.

>she wiggled a little bit, fixing her slouching posture.//
That's not a dialogue attribution.

>unwilling being brought forth//
Typo. And this would mean a lot more if I got to see a few of them.

>was slowly begin//
Typo.

>friends house//
Typo.

>Not even a second later, turned back to her sister.//
Missing word.

>As rude and uncharacteristic of her as it was, her beliefs and emotions were justified in her own mind.//
Odd sentiment, at least for how it's worded, for Cheerilee to have about herself.

>but.. I’ve//
Needs another dot.

>she let out a small groan//
Capitalization.

>What I’ve been putting everyone though.//
She keeps saying this. Which, I guess, is reasonable for a drunk person, but writing is where realism clashes with the need to entertain as well, and unless you make the repetition create an effect, it just looks like an oversight.

>a tinge of disappointment//
There's a decent amount of this type of language in the story, which directly informs me of a character's emotion. There's a discussion on show versus tell at the top of this thread. It briefly goes through the rationale of how to do this more subtly.

>Cheerilee knit her brow.//
For the transitive meaning, the proper past is "knitted."

>clear headed//
Hyphenate.

>hers’//
Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes.

>there’s//
Same, and you've confused the spelling anyway.

>I believe you, sis.//
Look how often they use direct address in this conversation. Then consider how often you actually do when you talk to someone.

>tears of her face//
Odd phrasing.

>ice cold//
Hyphenate.

>There was only a quarter of liquor left.//
Wording is off. And wine isn't generally considered liquor.

>Cheerilee’s reached out//
Cheerilee's what?

>every able part of her was covered and warmed//
What does "able" have to do with it?

>Literally//
I don't know why it's necessary to use this word. I have no reason to doubt the narrator.

Really this needs a good editing sweep to root out all the strange phrasings and mechanical problems. Aside from being a little overblown at times, Cheerilee's side of the story is nice, but Berry's is pretty generic. It doesn't do much to stand out from all of the other Berry Punch intervention fics out there. She just says she's sorry for what she put everyone through, and there are very few anecdotal references to things that might characterize their relationship so that I know what's at stake, beyond the standard sympathy the situation gets. The bit about the three-squeeze hug and their mother being surprised Berry was still alive were definitely the high points in that regard. This story could use a lot more material like that, as it's what really connects me to the characters and engages me in their struggle. And that's how you make a memorable story.
>> No. 132099
>>132093
>Gesture and setting are an important part of dialogue, but the tone I'd set for the story was fairly stripped back up until this point, and so I tried to continue that by stripping my dialogue of all but the most important physical cues.
If it were a short conversation, it wouldn't be much of an issue, but it does add a healthy touch of realism. When you're talking to a friend, do you notice him gesturing with his hands? Do you notice what face he makes in response to what you said? You want the reader's experience to mirror what real life would be like as much as possible. And just like a stock portfolio, diversification is key, in this case, diversity in the means used to convey information. We call this "talking heads," and certainly some readers are more sensitive to it than others. It wasn't horrible, or I would have mentioned it earlier, but it could use a bit more.

>And I have to ask, is it necessary?
Maybe? All I can say is that it bothered me. You made a point of having Apple Bloom there, and then I kept wondering when it was going to matter that she was. As much as AJ tries to take on the burden of the situation because of how it's affecting the rest of the family, it seems like she'd notice how Apple Bloom was reacting to the argument with Granny Smith, even if Apple Bloom keeps quiet.

>I figure she takes it off to sleep, just as Applejack, later, takes off her hair ties.
Could be. Though in "Somepony to Watch over Me," Sweetie Belle wears the bow as a disguise, and AJ wasn't surprised by it. She has it on during their sleepovers, too, in "One Bad Seed" and "The Stare Master."

>Could you explain the difference, please, or at least help me understand it better?
Well, it goes to the differences in narrative voices. An omniscient narrator has to present thoughts as quoted (or italicized). A first-person narrator has to present them as narration, unless he wants to quote himself for effect, but that'd be rare. A limited narrator can do either, though it's often best to stick to one or the other, and between the two, narrated thought is the better way to connect with the reader, since it speaks directly to him and often strikes a more personable, conversational tone. The main reasons to use quoted thought in a limited narration would be if you wanted to make sure the reader knew the thought happened exactly that way, word for word. For example, maybe it's a phrase that turns up throughout the story for thematic effect. The other would be if you needed to phrase it with "I" or "you," which a third-person narrator shouldn't do. For example, there may be a compelling reason to say:
I need to do this.
versus:
She needed to do this.

There can be a fine line of which one carries power better, but it's really only at crucial moments that it's worth making the distinction. Mainly, it's that by using quoted thought, you're having the narrator take a half-step back from the reader, yet having that close connection is the appeal of having a limited narrator in the first place.

>Would it be worth emphasising that, or just scrapping it and going for the 'em'?
It's not a point worth arguing over, really. But I didn't know to read anything into your choice of having extra hyphens there, and I can't imagine any other readers will, either.

>But really, what do they have then? Hair?/
Techincally, yes, it's hair, though "coat" is a nice catch-all term that many writers seem to like. You can get a little more descriptive than any of the three, too, if you like.

>Are there any instances when having that unnecessary comma there improves the sentence, do you think? In general, and in my story?
Yes, there are times an unnecessary comma works for helping flow or organization. You had some that didn't bother me because I thought they were justified. Any I specifically marked were places where I didn't feel a pause there, but there's certainly leeway to be given. You just have to be careful for situations where putting in an unnecessary comment actually changes the sense of what you're saying.

>Is there some place that you feel would be more natural to stop it?
For me, it's not that the story should have ended before it did or gone on to some subsequent events as much as it didn't make a point at the end. Is there a message about sacrifice or the importance of family that you want the reader to take away from the story? Then say something to that effect in the last paragraph. It just needs to feel like the plot is tied up at the end, which doesn't mean it can't be open-ended, just that it's made its point. For instance, we can still be left wondering whether AJ is infected, but that's not going to change her resolution about what she did, whether she's come to a peace that she did the right thing, whether she feels some character flaw has caused her to let her family down, or whatever you want the take-away to be.

>Is it something that hurts the fic particularly, do you think? If so, I can change it; but I would prefer to keep it as is, in that respect.
No, it was just more odd than anything. A limited narrator isn't her, but it almost is, and it's just rare to see one go without naming the character. AJ might not name herself, but she's not going to call herself "she," either. In any case, this one's not a big deal.

>Ah, I thought I *had* mentioned her putting him into stasis. Like, he sleeps hard during the day, but awakens at sunset and sunrise to eat. I think there is a line to that effect in there somewhere.
There was something about that in there, but why does he ever need to be awake? Keep him on sedatives, put him in an induced coma, whatever. They can feed him by IV, and then there's much less danger. Actually, given his condition, those efforts might fail anyway, but they couldn't have known that, and it seems like a wise precaution to at least consider.

>And I could throw in a line about what Twi is researching
It's not so much that AJ would be keeping up with the technical side of it, but it's hard to treat a patient in absentia, and the way Twilight's set it up, nobody else can. So for as long as this has been going on, she's never stopped by to see if the treatment is actually working, and then using that feedback to refine her approach if necessary? It just seems kind of irresponsible to lock him away and never check up on him again. She doesn't know what it is, so she has no idea whether it's something that takes along time to get over, but the obvious ones—disease, parasite, injury, etc.—often show significant changes within a few days. And if it turns out that it is something slow-acting, it's better to have checked on him more often than necessary than doing so not often enough.

Basically, I'm looking for a justification of why this has gone on so long, yet Twilight hasn't ever returned, particularly since those possibilities are all things that could have killed him by now if the treatment wasn't going well.
>> No. 132100
>>132099

>Yes, there are times an unnecessary comma works for helping flow or organization.//

Find and replace is a wonderful tool. I've replaced the ", and" instances where it seems erroneous, but I've left a few where I think they work to good effect.

>They can feed him by IV//
But IV bags need to be changed, which means someone would need to enter the room, which defeats the point of sealing the room.

I'll tweak it, but any solid fix would cause such a mess that it would detract from the story.

>It just seems kind of irresponsible to lock him away and never check up on him again//

Hm. Okay. I can see what you mean, and I think I can tweak the line where Apple Bloom asks Applejack if she has read the letter. I should be able to slip in some explanation.

Thanks for the catch.

>We call this "talking heads,"//

Okay, yeah. If it isn't clear, it's not clear. I'll go through and drop a few more physical cues to help illustrate the scene.

>she'd notice how Apple Bloom was reacting to the argument with Granny Smith, even if Apple Bloom keeps quiet.//

Hm. Yeah, okay, I concede this. I don't think she *has* to play a large role, but I have underused her -- especially since her reactions could slap some emotional flesh onto that skeleton of a scene.

---

Again, thanks for the feedback. I should have a modified version of the story ready by tonight :)
>> No. 132103
>>132100
>But IV bags need to be changed, which means someone would need to enter the room, which defeats the point of sealing the room.
That's kind of my point. If they'd incapacitated him through something like sedation, then he wouldn't be dangerous, plus he wouldn't need to wake up to eat, thus he'd get even more rest. So I'm not sure why Twilight goes for the setup she does. However, there is a little inkling in there that she knows more than she's letting on. It makes me wonder if she knew what long odds they faced.
>> No. 132114
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>I haven't talked to you in a while and that was a mistake. Today was bad, and I return to you broken, humiliated, and with no future.//
Look at the difference between these two sentences in how the comma is used with the conjunction between clauses. The secnd one is correct. There is some leeway for flow, but in general, if a conjunction is just separating two items of a compound structure, you don't need the comma, but if it separates clauses (each with its own subject and verb), you do. This is an issue throughout the story. Insofar as this is Sunset's writing, I can buy that it's her mistake and not yours, but that only works to a point. Then it becomes an excuse. There's a little more on this comma guideline at the top of this thread under "comma use with conjunctions."

>I started lashing out at others, pushing them away.//
There are some conventions of good writing that get relaxed for first-person narrators. For instance, this narrator can use more telly language than might be preferred. But this rule really doesn't have exceptions: examples speak far louder than generalities. Give me a couple of anecdotes here, maybe two or three one-sentence summaries of times she did this, and it makes it so much more real. It connects the character to the reader better.

>They hadn't dedicated their lives to the elements, obsessed over them, the ponies that represent the elements didn’t even try to manifest them.//
Feels like you're missing a comma. If not, there's some jumbled wording.

>So every time I saw them at school, I only felt hate, it ate at me until I drove them apart with tricks and lies.//
That last comma is a splice, and again, an example or two here would really add some flavor.

>massivly//
Typo.

>element of magic//
You're inconsistent at capitalizing these titles. You'll have to sweep for them.

So a side note on this chapter. I think you could stand to go through the movie summary more quickly. For someone who hasn't seen it, there are only a few points they'd need to be aware of to get what happened, and you're spending quite a bit of your time rehashing events many readers, particularly those who choose to read about Sunset Shimmer, will already know. This is supposed to be your hook where you grab the reader's interest. Don't tell him a bunch of things he's seen before.

>Dear Lord//
Given all the similar expressions of sun worship she's used, I'm really surprised to hear her say this. I'm not even sure what it'd mean in the context of this universe.

>the most pleasurable feeling that I can’t even describe it//
Give it a shot, at least. If she fumbles for words, fine, but a but of imagery for the intangible part and some reference to the physical symptoms of how it felt would make this more meaningful.

>near infinite//
Hyphenate.

>in it’s absence//
Its/it's confusion. This is a common enough mistake that you should sweep for it. I'll waste too much time if I end up marking every instance I see. Basically, if you're talking about ownership, you don't use an apostrophe (possessive pronounds, like "his," never have apostrophes). If you mean it as a contraction of "it is" or "it has," then it does use an apostrophe.

>helpless and alone//
Sell this with some imagery.

>Speaking of Flash//
Most times, you'll set off a participle with a comma.

>who really went out of the way to help me//
Out of his way

>I didn’t realized//
Typo. And good work through here. These little touches on what they did, a couple of dates, him showing her how to play guitar, they really add flavor and authenticity to the relationship so that it seems real, not just something you expect me to believe.

>Those memories I have make those choice tantalizing.//
Typo.

>is//
Assuming that she's writing this out by hand, it's not really feasible to write in italics. Most often, people will emphasize something they've written by underlining it or making it darker or in all capital letters.

>After I was defeated//
Comma after the dependent clause.

>I was assigned I had to repair some damage//
Seems like you changed your mind about what to say and forgot to erase some.

>I hate Mondays//
Same issues with the italics. Just keep this in mind through the rest of the story. I won't mark any more.

>I can’t risk anymore screwups.//
You're not using it as an adverb, so "any more" needs to be two words.

So my thoughts at the end of the prologue:

It seems odd to call it that. It's a legitimate diary entry. It's not something she wrote for the purposes of setting up the rest (though that was your purpose), since she didn't know yet what the rest was. You might reconsider calling it that.

Some readers skim prologues or skip them altogether, because they want to get to the good stuff. That might be another good reason the change it, but that also depends on what you want to do with it. I've already said that having so much exposition of things many readers will already know isn't going to help draw interest very well. I see that someone in the comments had the same problem with it. So if you really want to call it a prologue, it might get some of the fussier readers to skip it and get into the meat of the story, and while that does mean they'd be missing some good writing and characterization, they wouldn't be missing anything they need to know. And a nonessential chapter isn't a good thing. You do fine when you're focusing on Sunset's emotional response to what happened, and really, you could cut the chapter to just drop that—leave out the exposition of canon events, but keep her reaction to the aftermath, her recounting of what came before the movie, and the little anecdotal pieces that get us in her head.

Last bit before we move on: many readers know what an epistolary story is, even if they don't know the proper term for it. It becomes immediately apparent that this story is one, so it feels really heavy-handed for you to explain it in depth in your synopsis, or, frankly, for you to explain it at all. Readers don't like feeling as if they're being talked down to, and it's an immersion-breaking speed bump between the story summary and the actual story. I'd suggest losing it, or at least moving it to an author's note at the end.

>Day 2 of being a betterpony//
Missing space

>I don’t want to laugh while those I’ve already hurt die around me.//
This entry feels like she's holding back, but maybe you didn't intend it that way. I don't see a reason why she would. She's in utter turmoil here, and yet the word choice and phrasing don't really reflect that. Though her actions show one thing, she sounds pretty calm.

>When I woke up my trailer//
You need a comma for the dependent clause, or it sounds like Sunset woke her trailer up.

>waste//
Might need smoe clarification. I think you mean garbage, but you might mean someone took a dump on her doorstep.

>Mayonnaise//
Why is this capitalized?

>business oriented//
Hyphenate.

>I think I’d like that//
Missing end punctuation.

It's striking me as odd that the daily entries are labeled "being a better pony," so she must have written that herself, right? And yet she's not actively doing anything to make herself better, just wallowing in self-pity and withdrawing from everything. You might want to change some of the heading s to reflect her attitude better (easier option) or add in some of her actually trying to improve already (tougher option).

>It made me kind of nervous. I especially needed to be accepted by the school heroes.//
This seems kind of blunt, not necessarily for a diary, but for something I'm reading for entertainment. It could use some more personal impact. Like instead of "It made me kind of nervous," try something like "Why would they even come here? I doubt they'd try their hand at tossing some eggs, too, but maybe they just wanted to yell at me. I nearly slammed the door and ran back inside."

>Not just because they held the greatest sway over my future//
Well, I'm not so certain about this. Yes, in terms of helping her mold her personality (if she even believes that yet, but not in terms of being important people at school. They were never portrayed as people who exerted much social influence. Eh, maybe Dash. But they didn't even in the second movie, after they'd won the day.

>But Pinkie Pie didn’t seem to mind and gave me a big hug.//
Wouldn't this surprise her a lot?

>these past few year//
Typo.

>On one hoof hand//
She's been there for years already and mocked Twilight for not being able to assimilate quickly. I doubt she'd make this kind of mistake.

>By the time I had gotten showered, brushed my teeth, and dressed//
Comma after the dependent clause.

>trashcan//
trash can

>I was completely shocked at the effort these girls had put in//
Again, let the narrative voice carry this emotion. This is more how you have to do showing in first-person. She's not going to talk about her own facial expression and posture like a third-person narrator could, but you can still imply emotion through what she says as the narrato and how she says it. "Why? Why would they do that for me? I must have stood there five minutes, staring at them like an idiot, before I remembered that the one thing I could do in return was to avoid making them late." Something like that. You go on to cover some of this idea anyway, so this is just an example.

>after the hooligans had run rampant//
Watch your word choice. This sounds awfully formal and not at all like her. She's writing this in a very informal setting and for herself only, so it should sound very casual and off the cuff, not rehearsed and fancy. You don't want to lose that authenticity.

>I couldn’t even manage a thank you//
In this sense, use a hyphen with "thank-you."

>After fifteen minutes we made it to school, on time,//
That last comma is a splice.

>various degrees of hate, fear, and disgust meeting my gaze//
Give me a couple of examples of what they do. The tomato thing is nice, but let me see a little more. And the "meeting my gaze" is another example of a formal phrasing that sounds out of place for the format.

>I had no idea that she had it in her.//
Seems like she might use an exclamation point here, and if it truly surprised her, it probably warrants a little more mention than this.

>berating//
That's too unusual a verb to use twice in the same paragraph, let alone the same page, without there being some thematic reason for doing so, where the repetition itself carries some meaning.

>I’m not surprised Rainbow did, she’s the sports star and was right next to me.//
Comma splice. I'm starting to see more of these. They hadn't been a problem earlier.

>teachers desk//
Missing apostrophe.

>Then she’d turn to Applejack and said something//
Inconsistent verb forms.

>on it’s own//
Its/it's confusion.

>we were suppose to do//
Verb form.
>> No. 132115
>Professor Snowflake//
It's a high school. They shouldn't have professors.

>falling bunny//
This is brilliant.

>best tasting//
Hyphenate.

>left me feeling happy about the conversation//
Focus more on the effects than summing it up as "happy." What physical sensations does it give her? How has her impression of Applejack changed?

>No telling what people would do with you, Dairy.//
She likes that milk, huh?

>Be it the tantalizing call of power//
Watch that unnatural formalism again.

>I’m suppose to//
Verb form.

>Goodnight//
Two words, and you're missing the end punctuation.

>The school has to be treating them as bad as me and they don’t have anyone helping them.//
You have a point there. They never suffered any ill effects for their involvement. People glared at Sunset but ignored Snips and Snails.

>still surprises me sometimes. Still//
Watch for repeating all but the most mundane of words that close together.

>I guess Rarity has a knack for details, no wonder her clothing always looks so professional.//
Comma splice.

>I knew he wasn’t happy to see me. I guess that’s why I haven't seen him.//
The phrasing here is pretty repetitive.

>Dammit, all to Hell.//
Unnecessary comma, and you haven't been capitalizing that. Incidentally, the use of all caps in this entry is far more appropriate than the use of italics in the prologue.

>There.
>
> I.
>
> Applejack, she//
First, I'm not sure why these are indented. Second, this is really a speech affectation, which doesn't translate into writing well. This is one of the few times that I think strikethroughs might be appropriate. In a letter, I hate seeing them, because the person writing the letter typically isn't in a hurry or has no reason why they can't just get a clean sheet of paper and start over. But a diary entry may well be written in a moment of passion, and she might not want to waste the finite number of pages by starting over. So I think they'd be justified here and more authentic at trying to get across what you want here.

>Snail//
Typo.

>they. They.//
Again, this isn't a writing affectation. It comes across as trying to imitate more how she'd say it, and it just doesn't work.

>I just cried until I fell asleep, I think.//
On her lawn? Or did they take her inside? Let me also warn you here against "piling on." It's a good idea to limit bad things to the minimum needed to make the plot work. When you load on a bunch more than is necessary, it cheapens the effect. Less is often more.

>when I ripped their souls from their bodies and consuming them//
Verb form inconsistency.

>phantom echoes of power to fulfill my every desire//
You're losing that feel of natural writing again. This sounds way too rehearsed.

>I don’t know how long I laid there.//
I haven't marked it, even though I've seen this same mistake before: lay/lie confusion. But she's a high school kid, and I bet she actually makes this mistake. Though if you want it to be correct, use "lay." "Laid" requires a direct object, so in past tense, you laid your head down, but you lay down.

>I instantly felt a mix of relief and embarrassment.//
Again, let the narrator carry this a bit without explicitly saying it. "Soomeone actually came to help, but did they know? Could they tell what I'd been thinking? I was sure they did, and I couldn't look at them until Pinkie hugged me and Fluttershy warned her she probably shouldn't move me and Rarity called an ambulance." Stuff like that. Get at the emotion a little indirectly.

Edit: wow, I wrote that before I read the next paragraph, and I got 2 of 3 dead on. Heh.

>at the same time their mere presence helped me stop clawing for that aetherial power that eluded me//
Sounding unnatural again.

>whom I wanted to crush, who I enjoyed splitting up//
Odd that she gets it right once and wrong once. Both of these should be "whom."

>I think I keep trying to say I was fine, but I think//
Watch the repetitive phrasing.

>I probably should have asked Rainbow Dash, she’s the element of loyalty after all, but I was worried that she might tell someone on accident.//
You should replace those commas with dashes.

>apparently//
You're using this word an awful lot lately. This is the third time on this page. And there's a fourth not long after.

>she could have been seriously hurt helping you me//
Extraneous word.

>led me down my dark path. It lead me into hell. Now that I’ve been lead//
You got the first one right but the next two wrong.

>There are an infinite number of paths in life, I’m not wasting my second chance.//
Comma splice.

>Twilight Sparkle Princess Twilight Sparkle//
Not sure what you were doing here.

>But just because I think highly of myself//
This seems really inconsistent with her message. She's been saying that she was basically pretty contemptible and deserved the abuse she got, but now she comes across as quite the opposite, that she's better than those who attacked her, so they're not worth justifying with her attention. Either one could work, conceptually, but the former is the way you've been playing her, and it's a pretty abrupt shift.

>I know that I’m not the best person//
And now she's backtracking. She needs to have a steady attitude here. It's jumping around.

>others be destroy my place//
Extraneous word.

>This morning I called the officer who was in charge of the case of my attack. I said I was ready to talk about my attack in detail, including who attacked me.//
I haven't really been marking these, but there are definitely places where you repeat a word or phrase several times in a close space. Yes, someone really writing a diary might do this. But you're also telling a story, so you have to make it entertaining, too.

>She said I was doing the right thing.//
I think Sunset is really downplaying this, and she shouldn't be. Put yourself in Applejack's place. She might still be a little angry. Did she know Sunset was going to do this before she actually picked up the phone? Either way, she'd be pretty emphatic about supporting Sunset's decision, and that would have made more of an impression that just a brief mention that she said it was right. You're missing an opportunity here to characterize both Applejack and their relationship.

>I had to skip over anything magical//
Why? Isn't it pretty much public knowledge at this point?

>apologise to them and give them a chance to apologize//
British and American spellings are both fine, but don't mix them.

>I didn’t want to push them down the road anymore than I already had.//
Another spot where you're not using it as an adverb, so you need "any more" to be two words.

>If I don’t even try to explain to them, then how am I suppose to expect them to act any different.//
"Supposed," and it's a question, right? She seems to be covering the same ground multiple times here. She keeps going on about why she doesn't want her attackers punished for her sake, and it's getting repetitive. It dilutes the message, and it makes for a more boring entry. This entry could stand to be trimmed back.

>Ug//
Usually spelled "ugh."

>At first I thought it might just be a pony thing, we tend to be a bit more communal and peaceful after all.//
Comma splice.

>After talking with a few of my attackers, however, I realized they felt bad about what they did to me too, and after talking with them//
More repetitive phrasing.

>hand write//
As used here, hyphenate this.

>everyone of them//
"Every one" needs to be two words in this usage.

>After fixing the pitching machine for the baseball team//
It's reasonable to assume they'd have a baseball team, but in the first movie, Dash is specifically mentioned as being on the softball team, which would probably also use the machine.

>replacing the mascot uniform//
I guess I can't believe that Rarity wouldn't have done this long ago.

>jobs opportunities//
Typo.

>It also sounded like fun; something new for me to experience with my new friends.//
Misused semicolon. There's no independent clause after it.

>Back to my day; Fluttershy and Rarity didn’t have anything to do until the barn raising//
Misused semicolon. Actually, a colon would work here.

>a subjects//
Typo.

>different points of views//
Typo.

>black skinned//
Hyphenate.

>resume//
You put the accent marks on it before. Either is fine, but be consistent. In a diary, she's probably not going to bother using them.

>it seemed to bother her//
How so? What did she do?

>mix of helplessness, thankfulness, and anger//
Better to show what kinds of thought these cause to go through her head than to name the emotions directly.

>hands on//
Hyphenate.

>it’s tail//
Its/it's confusion.

>I sound a little bland there, don’t I.//
It's a question, right?

>Better safe then sorry.//
Then/than confusion.

>twenty minute//
In this usage, hyphenate.

>family of the Apple Family//
Redundant.

>But honestly working together, trying to be there for each other, doing nice things, and even just having fun; that’s what friendship is about.//
Misused semicolon. This one feels like it should be a dash.

>farm fresh//
Hyphenate.

>I think. I think
You're trying to force a speech affectation into writing again.

>you could imagine. I couldn’t imagine//
Repetitive.

I don't really have any great insights here, as it didn't have any overarching flaws, just the stuff I already pointed out. It used the diary format more realistically that the majority of stories I see, and I honestly can't figure out why it has such a pedestrian vote ratio. Though looking into the statistics more, it got most of those downvotes in chapter 1, which as I said, doesn't have as much going for it as the other chapters, since it's largely a movie recap. I also do want to make sure you have a real ending planned, where some conflict is resolved in a meaningful way or some watershed moment in character development occurs.

On a side note, I'm impressed by the progress you've made. It must have been about three years ago that I reviewed a story for you in The Training Ground, and while I tried to give you what help I could, it had a lot of issues with it. But you apparently kept working at it through the years, and now I see that Seattle's Angels featured it. I haven't read it since all those years ago, but this story is such a huge improvement over what you'd written then.
>> No. 132116
>>132114
Thank you for your detailed feedback. The fact that you took the extra time to go above and beyond means a lot to me as does your vote of confidence.

I just finished looking over the prolog and had a few comments and clarrifying questions.

Commas. Yeah, commas are the bane of my existance. I'm getting better but it I still somehow manage to write in a way that seems to have both to many commas, and still need more. If there is one thing that will most likely get this returned a second time it would likely be comma usage and I will be honest about that.

Dear Lord is actually a joke that is very small in the fandom. You have Princess Celestia, head of the pony realms, and the Dear Lord, in charge of the dear relms. It's something not a lot of people use, but there is a small number of us in the fandom who enjoy that joke, probably only a few thousand. It also happens to play into a larger comment on Sunset, that being that she kept that exclimation because it also fits in with the himan world.

Just to confirm what you said about the "Speaking of Flahs let's..." line. It would become "Speaking of Flash, let’s..." correct?

You say this "Those memories I have make those choice tantalizing.//" is a typo, but I can't find it. The one possibile 'fix' in this "Those memories I have, they make those choice tantalizing to do again." But I don't think that fixes what you meant.


I have the first chapter as a pro-log because some people care more about the events of a story and this chapter has few real new events. It's very much a character story so I let people know that the first chapter can be skipped by calling it a prolog. You mentioned that it sets up the story but that it's not Sunset's goal to set up the story, it's mine. I agree but I don't understand how this relates to me calling the story a prolog.

As to explaining Epistolary, that's more complicated. I really find Epistolaries facinating, but I also find that a lot of people miss things about them and will complain about the story in the exact way that they miss something. In short, I posted the story to a few comment groups on FIMFiction and some people latched on easily to the nature of an epistolary while others got really excited when they learned about it but missed it when they looked over the story the first time.

My explination does kind of talk down to some readers, but the ones who get it will likely understand that it's there for others while most people who need the explination will learn from it. Even if they feel a little talked down to it can help the people who benifit from the information to enjoy my story and other stories better. If they choose not to read the story because of it then I am willing to accept that so that others who do read it can enjoy it more.

I'll probably look over another chapter or two tonight, but if I don't I wanted to make these comments now.

Thanks agin for the help and encouragment.
>> No. 132118
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>she knew that she’d spent another night passed out at her desk//
Since you go on to show me anyway, what's the need to say it outright?

>Swallowing several gulps, Twilight sighed with bliss//
Really watch when you directly identify an emotion or mood like this "with bliss." Along with prepositional phrases like that, other shief offenders include adverb forms (happily) and outright stating it (He was sad). Also note that participles imply concurrent action, so you have her sighing and swallowing at the same time, which is an impressive feat to pull off.

>He set both plates on the simple kitchen table rather than waddling all the way over to the dining room and hopped into his seat right as Twilight entered.//
The timeline gets a little foggy here, too. Keep in mind that your narrator's stayed in Twilight's perspective, so until she gets to where she can see him, she can't describe what he's doing, and neither can the narrator.

>imitation pig flesh//
Okay, this really raises some questions. Why have an imitation form of something ponies wouldn't eat in the first place?

> just a foot away from the tantalizing aroma of succulent foodstuffs her number one assistant had prepared for her that day.//
This is very repetitive with her already having smelled it earlier in the same paragraph.

>Crossing the kitchen floor in a gait that simultaneously made all the wyrms in the world bury themselves in their hordes out of shame of being associated to this purple spawn//
While amusing, does Twilight really think this? You've been using a limited narrator in her perspective, so that's the implication.

>protecting her old foalsitter from Spike’s wayward comment//
Again, don't over-explain a character's motivation for something they've said or done. Sometimes no explanation is needed, and when one is, it should be subtle and delicate—implied, not stated overtly. You want to leave the reader room to figure it out on his own, but give him the right clues so that he reaches the conclusion you want him to. Focus on what she says, what she does, how she looks (body language, facial expression) to get the emotion across.

>as she thought of taking Cadance to all her favorite places, like Sugarcube Corner, where visions of sugar plums danced through her head.//
Instead of telling me this, show it. What does she imagine? How does it look? What do they do?

>“Busy today… what do you mean, Spike?”//
When it doesn't fit the syntax to be a continuation of the same sentence, capitalize after an ellipsis.

>The purple alicorn//
Watch using these kinds of descriptors. There's not really a reason to do so.

>Puzzled, she rubbed a chin with her hoof//
See, don't tell me she's puzzled. The rest already gets that across. There's a brief explanation of why this works in the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>Twilight swallowed hard, her shaky forelimb slowly lowering back to the ground.//
This is how to do it right. All I get is the raw evidence of her appearance and behavior, plus the preceding indirect thought delivered by the narrator. You haven't ever said how she feels, but I can determine it easily.

>with her anxiety//
More telling.

>While she thought//
Don't tell me she thought it. That's already apparent from the fact that the limited narrator in her perspective is saying what she thought. This is redundant and distancing.

>whiplash stall-dive//
Sorry, I'm an aerodynamicist in my day job. "Stall-dive" is a pretty nonsensical thing, and something like a pegasus wing isn't going to have a sudden stall, so "whiplash" doesn't ring true, either.

>For those of you who aren’t even close to Rainbow Dash’s level, that means she was going to go really fast and stuff.//
It's a really clunky thing to address the reader like this, unless you established from the start that it was going to happen regularly. Plus it opens a can of worms as to why I'm there and why the narrator wants to talk to me.

>Spiraling out of the latest set of dives and twirls, Rainbow Dash slid to a stop//
More synchronization problems. She'd slide to a stop after spiraling out, not at the same time.

>80’s//
’80s. And make sure the aspostrophe goes the right direction. Smart quotes always get that wrong on the front of a word. It'll work if you just cut and paste the existing one over there.

>painfully pink and heart-themed buildings//
This is coming across with no flavor. Dash is your narrator here. What does she think about them? What's her reaction to a few details? Carry this through what she says and how she says it. As a blunt fact without an emotional basis backing it up, it's pretty dry.

>because it’d been four paragraphs into her scene//
Meta-humor like this has been done often enough that it's pretty cliched by now. You want your story to survive on something more substantial than gimmicks.

>poorly-concealed//
When the first part of a two-word descriptive phrase is an -ly adverb, you don't use a hyphen.

>punji//
The word choice implies Dash would know what this is and be inclined to use the term. I'm not convinced, without some explanation as to how she'd be familiar with it.

>frazzled purple alicorn//
What about her makes her seem frazzled? And maybe you should read the section at the top of this thread about Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.

>was reinforcing//
You're using a lot of these past participles. What do you lose by converting them to simple past tense? And then you also get rid of some boring "to be" auxiliary verbs.

>blatantly ignoring the finely crafted piece of narrative that told the audience as much.//
C'mon. This is a really tired joke.

Strikethroughs in narration.
I'm out.
>> No. 132119
>>132116
>Just to confirm what you said about the "Speaking of Flahs let's..." line. It would become "Speaking of Flash, let’s..." correct?
Yes.

>You say this "Those memories I have make those choice tantalizing.//" is a typo, but I can't find it. The one possibile 'fix' in this "Those memories I have, they make those choice tantalizing to do again." But I don't think that fixes what you meant.
"Those choice" has a plural/singular mismatch.

>I have the first chapter as a pro-log because some people care more about the events of a story and this chapter has few real new events. It's very much a character story so I let people know that the first chapter can be skipped by calling it a prolog. You mentioned that it sets up the story but that it's not Sunset's goal to set up the story, it's mine. I agree but I don't understand how this relates to me calling the story a prolog.
It's because it implies there's something different about this. But it's not an explanatory passage that sets up the rest of the story. It's just another diary entry. By calling it a prologue, you're implying Sunset had some related purpose in writing it, but she didn't. She's not providing context to frame how the rest of the diary goes. She just starts writing the first of many entries. You're kind of working at cross-purposes here.

>If they choose not to read the story because of it then I am willing to accept that so that others who do read it can enjoy it more.
It just makes things look amateurish to do this. Let your work stand on its own.
>> No. 132131
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

First off, let me say that I enjoyed the story, so I took care to dig deep here and provide plenty of feedback not only on what would get it over the threshold for posting, but also what I think it could do to really shine.

>Night settled abruptly on Canterlot.//
That's pretty close to a weather-report opening. It's also not doing much as a hook. I mean, I'm not going to refuse to post the story if you don't change it. I just think you can do better.

>The castle felt so different, looked so much more menacing at night, even though the bright moonlight made it easy to see.//
Since Celestia is the only character mentioned so far, this statement would appear to be in her perspective. But then you move on to Spike. So whose opinion is this? If Spike's then establish him as the perspective character before you start making subjective statements for him.

>Spike walked through the hallways slowly, cautiously. Every shadow felt like a threat, a hiding spot for some dangerous creature.//
Except I don't get to see any of this in his narration or behavior. Have him jump at an unexpected sound, muse in the limited narration that the spiky shadow he sees might be a razorbacked... something. In the latter part of the paragraph and the following couple, you do, but it's delayed until after the factual statement here, so it's muted by then, less immediate, like it's not actually bothering him that much. Keepp him in the moment, reacting to these things the instant he sees them.

>Nearly the entire castle separated his room near//
>towers. Her door towered//
Quasi-repetitive there.

>The picture of her cutie mark embossed in the wood alone dwarfed him, the door handles seemed so far out of his reach.//
Comma splice, which might be a stylistic fit, but if so, it'd help to emphasize it by doing it more and adopting something closer to a stream of consciousness to the narration.

>she still looked imposing//
I feel like I'm nitpicking here, but these types of things are what's keeping the story just over the edge of being really immersive. As stated, this is just a fact. It doesn't mean anything to me. How does her appearance make him feel? What images flash through his mind, what physical symptoms do the emotions cause?

>Spike paused.//
For some reason, authors love this sentence, but it's utterly bland. What happens during the pause? It's obviously supposed to carry some meaning that he pauses, but what connotes that meaning even better is his or Celestia's behavior.

>He had taken a while to work up the nerve to cross the castle.//
How so? Did he give himself a pep talk? Did he convince himself it was to Twilight's benefit? This could be a good characterization moment for him.

>Why don’t you come inside, this hallway is rather dark and drafty.//
Splice.

>it still looked imposing//
You already said that.

>Even with the curtains drawn//
You already have one of these "even" qualifiers in the paragraph. It feels repetitive.

>The walls were littered with bookshelves, packed with books and rocks and metal instruments and ten thousand other things Spike couldn’t recognize.//
Do any of them catch his eye? Do any of the rocks look appetizing? This is kind of a tangent thing, but if you can place something in the room that'll show up periodically, it can be a great way to tie things together and add a spark of realism. Maybe it just keeps grabbing his attention or something. Better yet, maybe it's symbolic of the story's message.

>walk all the way over here//
She used that exact phrasing already.

>knelt down again//
Wait, when did she get up? The "swept Spike into her room" wouldn't necessarily mean she did.

>at least not in a way that a child could see.//
This is breaking from the narrator's perspective. You're either going to Celestia's head or backing off to an omniscient viewpoint. But I don't see the advantage of either.

>Celestia sighed, then settled slowly onto the bed.//
This suggests she was above it or at least level with it. But you had her on the floor next to it, so it doesn't quite jive. Notice that you're skimping on having Spike do anything between bits of dialogue relative to Celestia.

>Celestia wrapped a wing around Spike.//
Last time you mentioned her wing, it was already around him. When did that change?

>Spike nodded. “I don’t mind.”//
Look how many times you use this structure. Short narrative. "Short quote." I'm not going to call it problematic yet, as you do mix up a few paragraphs where the dialogue comes first. But you might want to get into a bit more narration here and there to vary the length of these paragraphs.

>Ages ago, Equestria was still tiny. A powerful creature had tried to hurt the ponies, and he had caused immeasurable damage. There were two sisters, an older one and a younger one, one white and one blue. They had defeated the powerful creature, just barely, and every pony showered them with praise and admiration. But that’s a different story.//
This is all very vague and simply phrased. That's not a problem in itself. I'm just pointing it out, since I might need to refer to it later. For now, I'm going to presume that you want to create a children's story feel as Celestia relates the tale to Spike. We'll see if you can maintain that tone.

>We have not defeated the creature yet; we must repair all the damage he has caused.//
Okay, this may be overdoing it. The narration just said exactly the same thing. If that's intentional, I think it may be aiming for an audience younger than Spike.

>But those are different stories.//
You already used that conceit. At the beginning was fine, since we hadn't gotten into the tale yet. But here, it's kicking me out of the narrative. It's like when someone is telling a joke, then has to backtrack. It just puts a huge speed bump in there.

>“What has happened here?” The two sisters asked.//
Capitalization.

>The sisters turned, and saw a cloaked quadruped in the shadow of a tree.//
I've caught you doing this a few times, but the prior ones were on the edge of being justified. You generally aren't going to use a comma when there are merely two items of a compound structure. You will when there are actually separate clauses. There's a brief discussion of that at the top of this thread under "comma use with conjunctions."

>That dragon is not plain//
I have no idea what this is supposed to mean. Probably "ordinary," but when used in isolation like this, it usually refers to appearance, not capabilities.

>but that’s a different story.//
This is really getting repetitive, and it's also bad to keep pointing out that your story has loose ends. The reader's going to think of this anyway.

>““Farewell, then, and good luck to you. You will certainly need it, too!”//
Extra quotation marks.

>the stranger took their leave//
"Her," not "their." I know it's become acceptable to use that as a singular, but there's no reason to obscure the stranger's gender, and as this story is trying to sound ancient, it wouldn't follow modern practices anyway.

>thickened, the sky darkened, and the air grew thicker//
Watch that repetition.

>It looked like a jagged wound in the sky//
To whom? They sure don't react to it as if it does. Unless you want to qualify this as someone's opinion, just have that narrator state it as a fact without dithering on the "looked like" bit.

>The mountain was hollow despite its size//
I'm not sure how size correlates with likelihood of being hollow.

>It reminded the sisters of a shell whose animal had been ripped out.//
This image can work, but tie the violent image of "ripped out" to something about the place. because otherwise, how would it be any different than comparing it to a shell whose animal had abandoned it?

>She was not roughly cut or jagged like other dragons were, she was sleek and thin and elegant.//
You just used "jagged" not long ago, and there's a comma splice.

>Coins of every metal//
Maybe specify "precious" metal? Because there are many that would be impractical to use for coins, like lead or tungsten.

>Cups and vases and furniture lined the walls, and gems and jewels and crystals piled in the corners.//
The way you've phrased that, the gems actually moved to pile themselves in the corners.

>equipage//
Remember this is a kid's tale. Your language is getting a bit advanced for that in this spot.

>fire leaked from her mouth and nostrils//
You already used that.

>“Disgraceful ponies, dare you wake me up?” she said in a whisper that shook the mountain, “What makes you brave the wrath of waking me? The Dragon’s Mother hates to be disturbed.”//
By having commas on both ends of the attribution, you've implied that the parts of the quote on both sides of it form a single sentence, but they don't. You already acknowledge that by putting end punctuation on the first part.

>your highness//
The honorific would be capitalized.

>crunching gravel//
That's not exactly a rumble.

>being amplified by a concert hall//
A concert hall doesn't amplify sound. It's just designed not to deaden it.

>A pair of dainty little ponies dare, to come and challenge Tiamat to a game?//
There is no grammatical reason to have a comma there.

>‘Tis//
Smart quotes break on leading apostrophes. This is backward. You can type two and erase the first or paste one in the right way. Scan for these, as it happens more than once.

>Were you to win//
Needs a comma after the dependent clause.

>which the hotter of the two//
Missing word.

>“What was the first name ever given?” the two sisters asked.//
So they were right? I guess so, since they moved on to asking their next question, but Tiamat never acknowledged so. I also wonder how the ponies know whether Tiamat's answers are correct. Do they trust each other to go on the honor system?

>None; this mountain’s wholly made of granite.//
Which contains quite a bit of silica, and thus would become sand when pulverized.

>Now the sisters were stumped.//
There are a couple places in here where they use a fairly modern and informal wording which doesn't match the overall tone.

>The younger sister was getting annoyed.//
You can get away with being telly in a children's story, but this is a pretty climactic moment. I'd try selling this more through her body language.

>the scorch marks and melted coins on the floor stopped just short of their feet, both completely unharmed.//
Capitalization.

>Celestia smiled.//
You used an extra line break to set off the beginning of the inner story, so why not the end?

>Celestia fought the urge to frown. Twilight was still bowing.//
I'm not sure this was a good choice. The opening scene had been in Spike's perspective, and the story was for his benefit. Then we never go back to him afterward. It seems like a disconnect. I wonder if it wouldn't work better to put the opening scene in Celestia's perspective to unify the whole thing but that would mean trimming off the part before Spike gets to her room, since she wasn't there to witness it. Or make it so that she does see it, I suppose.

>in thought//
These telly prepositional phrases are almost always redundant with information already in the story, as this one is.

>the look of satisfaction and pride//
You're not in the fairy tale anymore, so you don't have a good excuse to be telly. Show me what this looks like.

>there is boat//
Missing word.

>I suppose that just seems, disingenuous.//
Commas aren't for dramatic pauses. There isn't a grammatical reason to have one there.

>The sheer cuteness of it helped override her discomfort at the meaning.//
You're using a fairly subjective narrator. This would work better through narrative comment to get at it indirectly.

I'm not quite sure what to make of that ending. Celestia's made her argument, then something a little extraneous happens, and then Celestia appears to make a very sarcastic comment to Twilight. Maybe she's saying this in earnest, but it comes with a rather fine point on it. And the focus seems to have moved away from Spike finding his place in society to Twilight learning about subtlety in politics.

Anyway, I really liked this story, but it needs a little tune-up. It should be clear which items I noted were just suggestions for what I thought would make the story stronger and which ones are actual problems. The biggest in my mind are that it could use some unity of perspective and message, and pay attention to keeping a fairy-tale feel through the middle section, where the language gets a bit too advanced in places.

When you're ready to resubmit, please choose the "back from Mars" option. It shouldn't take more than a skim to check again. If you have questions, feel free to ask here or respond through the email.
>> No. 132143
Finally got around to the changes. I still need to go back and do a general look over for things like comma usage and the more univeral issues you gave examples for. Still, I am very happy with the feedback you gave and will hopefully resubmit next week.

In reguards to your inquiery about the ending. The ending is written, it's one more chapter. I have the first half as a 3rd person conversation between Sunset and the girls where they are reacting to Sunset showing them her diary. A few other things are followed up on as well such as getting the school to at least leave her alone and her fitting in with her job. A large part of making it a 3rd person section is to show that they really do get along now. It also highlights how far she has come when, in the second part, she doesn't cover every detail with her diary as they have replaced it as her best friend. She still covers a few more loose ends. My editors/pre-reader feel like it's a good ending and I got someone to help out who had read the story in one go on her own to get an outside opinion. If it sounds sudden you aren't the only one. When I got to that chapter I was surprised when I realized that it would be the last.

If would would be interested in looking over the google doc as follows, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-L9HAPwtPwxb6D_BYbv9ozzCxO-tMCp7FjFenHPPg6E/edit

In reguards to the story you helped on so long ago, Excessive Worry, I had no idea you were the same person. Quite a coincidence but thank you very much for the vote of confidence. It's been a long road but I feel like I am finally coming into my own as a writer and a large part of that is because of you helping so long ago. Also editing. Thanks dyslexia.

I did have a few follow up things about your comments.

You said ">waste//
Might need smoe clarification. I think you mean garbage, but you might mean someone took a dump on her doorstep."
-The idea was that it was a dump, however it was worded so that the people who wouldn't pick up on that, and would likely be more offended, wouldn't see that as easily.

you said ">Professor Snowflake//
It's a high school. They shouldn't have professors."
-Some schools in America actually do, usually they are professors at colleges part time but when that is the case they do sometimes go by professor. Additionally boarding schools, some private schools, and schools in other countries often have professors. As EQ isn't explicitly in America, and the type of school isn't explicitly stated, I took a liberty here.

you wrote
">I’m suppose to//
Verb form."
So it would be supposed?

You said "Less is often more."
-in reguars to Sunset being hurt. That's actually what I was going for, to an extent. I wanted to show her actually sharing her feelings with the diary, venting to it, and making it less impactful.

"You should replace those commas with dashes."
Rainbow Dash dashingly dashes through Dashing Dash's rainbow dashing dash course. Dashing rainbow like around dashing rainbow stallions over dashes of rainbow salt.

You wrote,"Twilight Sparkle Princess Twilight Sparkle//
Not sure what you were doing here."
- It didn't copy over correctly from gdocs, actually none of them have. Damnit. I'm going back to fix all those by hand.


You said ">replacing the mascot uniform//
I guess I can't believe that Rarity wouldn't have done this long ago."
- I figure she wouldn't really have been anywhere with the mascot for a sports team.

I think that's it. I'll resubmit when I can look over the more persistant issues.

And thanks again for all your help. I know a lot of people don't treat pre-reader with the respect or thanks you deserve but you should know that a lot of us really do appreciate the work you do.

Last edited at Mon, Mar 16th, 2015 05:55

>> No. 132147
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Fluttershy was being treated to an uncomfortably close-quarters view of her muzzle.//
It's best to avoid passive voice and "to be" verbs anyway, but especially where you're trying to establish action to hook the reader. Minor thing here, but the first part of this sentence is fixed in Fluttershy's perspective before you've mentioned her. They're little things, but they can add up.

>Fluttershy appeared unfazed.//
Well, I take that back. Now you've jumped into Twilight's perspective. You don't want to jerk the reader around like that. Even in an omniscient narration, where you can slide more easily between viewpoints, you still don't want to do so abruptly or unnecessarily often. However, you've chosen a limited narrator, so it's even harder to pull the perspective smoothly away from a character. It's a good idea with this type of narration to stick with a single character as much as possible and only switch to another when necessary for the plot or when only another character has critical information that nobody else could possibly know or figure out. You should probably decide which character you want holding the camera and try to stick to that. To another point: you don't want to make conclusion for the reader except when they're pretty mundane. The emotions on display here are critical to the story's punch, so you want to make her look and act unfazed, not just tell me she is. What's her posture, her facial expression?

>Twilight sighed. “Well then, I guess... I guess I disagree with her.”//
Look at how often you use this structure: Short piece of narration. "Speech." Mix it up a bit.

>The sighing was becoming a bit of a habit, she realised.//
Alrigh, you've established Twilight as the perspective character for the second scene. Let's see if it stays there.

>with a gleeful expression//
Show it to me. You're making me do the work.

>That’s very— oh//
Don't leave a space after an em dash.

>spend another evening with us any time soon. At least, not unless you want me to spend//
Watch repeating the same word in a close space.

>In the first place, Applejack//
Look how often these character use direct address. Then think about how often you do in a real conversation. It's not hard to follow the thread here. I can figure out who they're talking to fine.

>she added slyly//
For all the emotion packed into what she's saying, this is all I get of what she's doing? This doesn't even create a visual. There's a section at the top of this thread that discusses "talking heads." It'll explain why you shouldn't lose sight of the nonverbal parts of a conversation.

>looking at her expectantly//
Again, show me what this looks like. Adverbs are a red flag for telling. There's a discussion of show versus tell at the top of the thread, too.

>a little sharply//
Twilight still holds the perspective, so this is her judgment, but I'm not sure why she's noting it. Is Twilight surprised Applejack's taking this tone with Dash? Or surprised to see her this mad at all?

>(The unicorn shook her head frantically.)//
This isn't really a subjective enough narration to get away with parentheticals. For that matter, how does it change anything if you simply removed the parentheses.?

>which was eventually punctured by Twilight//
This sounds rather external to her now, since it sounds unexpected, which it wouldn't be for her. She was building up to it, after all. Unnecessary passive voice here, too.

>let’s get some shut-eye//
Huh? With all the mandatory activities in "Look Before You Sleep," she's really just going to have everyone go to bed already?

>per cent//
percent

>the large, somewhat plain room//
So where is it? And give me some more visual than that. I have nothing to picture here. You get to some scenery a little later, but not really the room itself.

>Rainbow had sulked a little when Twilight had vetoed the idea of holding the party in the throne room itself//
Why would she care?

>Twilight suppressed a giggle//
And nobody else reacts at all?

>Six sleeping bags, in the same colours as the bean bags, were lined up against the long far wall.//
You're using quite a lot of "to be" verbs lately. Make things more active. It's bringing the story's momentum to a halt.

>Firefly-lamps//
You don't need to hyphenate that. "Electric lamps" wouldn't be, for instance.

>one burning at close to maximum intensity and one on a medium setting//
How do fireflies manage that? I like Fluttershy calming them, but "setting" kind of implies a different mechanism.

>her wings beating as gently as she could manage//
Watch the perspective. Only Fluttershy knows what she can manage.

>(Applejack snorted.)//
Again, you don't need the parentheses. I see that you're probably trying to obey a rule where you don't have a character act in the same paragraph in which another speaks, but that's one that's easily justified in breaking. It's fine to do if the action is a direct response to what was said, and this is. You just don't want to do it all the time or get into a decoupled pattern where paragraph after paragraph contains X's actions but Y's speech. As little as you do this, it's fine.

>She grinned hugely//
You're really using a lot of those adverbs. This is really similar to a sentence about Twilight not long ago, too.

>squee//
Don't put sound effects in narration. At the least, you don't need the italics, but this is a pretty cliched word anyway.

>Twilight felt too frazzled even to attempt to find out//
With her as the perspective character, you sometimes have to go for a different kind of telling, like phrasing that the narrator uses. The narrator can get a bit tongue-tied and wonder what's going on for Twilight, and that carries the mood as well as using more standard means of showing.

>began to become apparent//
That's pretty redundant, especially with the "eventually" earlier. "Begin" actions are rarely necessary either. Writers tend to overuse them. It's best to save them for times when that beginning is significant, like if it's an abrupt change, or the action never finishes.

>It was some time later.//
Well, that's vague and unhelpful. The fact that there's a scene break cutting back to the same characters and setting already told me that.

>The ponies were arguing about what to do first.//
So let me see them doing this.

>Find-me-an-aspirin-right-now Game//
If you're going to capitalize that, get every word.

>There was a sudden silence in the room.//
If you do it right, you rarely have to use the word "sudden." It just is.

>looked at her friends for help. Applejack looked//
Word repetition, plus this paragraph is very telly.

>Pinkie gets the casting vote//
Deciding vote, yes? Or is this a British expression?

>fully-grown//
When the first word is an -ly adverb, you don't need the hyphen.

>“Get Tirekt!”//
Um... Memes like this don't age well. You can keep it if you want, but it'll lose its humor value pretty quickly, if it hasn't already.

>Just me and you, one round each.//
Why not let everyone play? She can make it so Tirek and Twilight can only choose each other, but they shouldn't leave everyone else out.

>Twilight looked stricken.//
Let me see it.

>A pause.//
Why do writers like to do this so much? This is nothing. Without seeing what happens during it, it means nothing.

>I guess— //
No space after the em dash.

>the hoof was removed//
Pretty clunky passive voice there.

>wearing an expression of utter bliss and giggling slightly as she rocked back and forth//
She'd been your perspective character, yet this feels very external to her. For that matter, except for the very beginning of the scene, it's felt more omniscient. If you want to make the whole thing that way, fine, but it should be consistent. If you want limited, then have the narrator poke his head in here and there to keep it going.

>Tirek looked disgusted.//
How so?

>Do you not even think of what I suffered so many moons ago from Firefly and her companions?//
Probably not the best assumption that readers will know this canon.

>Tirek smirked a third time, and lowered his voice.//
That's all one clause. You don't need the comma.

>Crystals//
So, what, is he acting like Sombra to piss them off, or is Sombra there, too?

I liked the story, and despite the possibly intimidating length of the feedback, these are mostly pretty easy things to fix. What might take a bit of thought is the ending. This doesn't come to any sort of conclusion. It ends on a weak and somewhat confusing joke, but it doesn't make any larger point, resolve a conflict, or show character growth. What is it you want the reader to take away from this. Just the joke? Then write a joke book. Give the story some meaning. Who changes? Who learns something? Who achieves something?

This story was mechanically cleaner than the bulk of what I see, the characters were fun, and the plot was good until the end. I'd love to see you put that last touch on it so I can send it up for posting.
>> No. 132148
>>132143
>So it would be supposed?
Yes.

>You said "Less is often more."
I was referring not so much to what she writes, but more to how badly beaten up she is. The point gets made either way, whether she's on death's doorstep or mildly bruised, so going for the extreme bad end of things can be counterproductive.

As to going third-person...

It can work. I think maybe that's something you should have considered when you decided to make it exclusively an epistolary story, then later decided you had to back off from that. Because now it opens the door to the possibility of putting third-person scenes throughout, which I'm not going to ask you to do.

I wrote an epistolary as well, and I got the complaint in a comment that a reader wanted to see a live interaction, and all I can say is that 's a limitation of the format. There are ways of writing it so that you don't need that type of interaction, but there will always be readers who still want it.

If it's a sudden ending, that's not necessarily a bad thing. She may come to a sudden realization that her relationship with the diary has changed, after all. As long as it feels natural for the story, it's fine, but then that's the trick, isn't it?
>> No. 132151
>>132147 First of all, thank you very much. I wasn't expecting this level of feedback, and I really appreciate it.

I won't reply to much, since most of what you said seems pretty straightforward. Also, I have almost no *chan experience, so I'm bound to get things horribly wrong if I do. I'll just respond to a few things:

>Look how often these character use direct address. Then think about how often you do in a real conversation.
Oddly enough, *I* probably *would* do so if I were in that sort of a mood. Though that doesn't get me off the hook when I make *Rarity* do it, so I'm not arguing with you!

>Why would she care?
Because she thinks the throne room is a much more awesome place than some rather bare side room. Again, not an argument, since I haven't established that in the story.

>Deciding vote, yes? Or is this a British expression?
I wasn't aware that "casting vote" was a Briticism -- but it's certainly a fairly common expression in the UK. I know Google hit counts are fairly pointless, but for the bbc.co.uk domain "casting vote" beats "deciding vote" by about 2:1. Still, if "deciding vote" is more widely understood, then I don't object to changing it here.

>So, what, is he acting like Sombra to piss them off, or is Sombra there, too?
The first. The idea is that Tirek is suggesting using light-emitting crystals -- though he's doing so in a deliberately annoying and provocative way. I guess that wasn't clear.

>What might take a bit of thought is the ending.
The section that started here was the only real "punch in the gut" moment for me, I think -- and that isn't a complaint, because I think everything you said was fair. I don't personally think the joke is weak *in itself*, but I *do* agree that it's not enough for the climactic scene of this story.

So, plenty for me to chew on. Quite a few things I can fix quickly, plus one more substantial thing that I'll need to go away and think about for a while. I *do* intend to do this and resubmit in the future, though. Thanks again for the very useful feedback.
>> No. 132154
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

This is a pretty uninspiring beginning. Watching the sunset and lamenting the court business of the day has happened at the beginning of countless stories so far. It's fine to want to set this mood, but you have to go about it in a really evocative mood or from a new angle. This one isn't doing anything different.

>Among those whom had retired//
Who. It's the subject of the noun clause "who had retired."

>her eyes laden with boredom//
Don't tell me she's bored. Make her look and act bored. What would an actor do to look bored? Have her do the same things. I'll draw the conclusion of boredom myself from your description of her, if you do it right.

>It was a plot of buildings lit up and bustling with life; a little square of commotion and energy.//
Misued semicolon. There isn't an independent clause after it.

>a commons area//
Either a commons or a common area.

>those that wish to hear the tales//
"Those" refers to ponies, so they're a "who," not a "that."

>She smiled recanting the younger days//
Set off the participle with a comma. And surely you mean "recounting."

>as she considered how the times had changed since then//
And we don't get to see any of it? Why mention it at all if you're going to keep it so vague?

>Plaza//
You're inconsistent at capitalizing this. it really shouldn't be, unless it's the only one in town or so prominent that anyone hearing a reference to the word alone would know unequivocally which one.

>with glee//
Let me see this. Phrases like this are one of the red flags for telling. There's a short discussion of "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>The cobblestone and wood finishes brought back thoughts of the past.//
This is the second or third time already you mention her thinking about the past, but you never expand on it at all.

>Everypony seemed to be enjoying themselves.//
You haven't been bad about it in general, but there are a lot of "to be" verbs in this paragraph. It's briging the action to a halt.

>nic-nacs//
knickknacks

>He was taller than most stallions.//
Then what about him made her call him a young stallion? Nothing in the description makes him seem young.

>excitedly turn back to the plaza//
Verb form. (And telly. And inconsistent capitalization of "plaza" again.)

>turning into a drunken chant by a group of stallions at the front of the bar//
This is located so far from what it describes that it seems to refer to the door or to Luna.

>ha-ir!” they sang, a white earth pony appearing to lead them on, “Flowing//
As punctuated, those two parts of the quote form a continuous sentence, but they don't. I see this is another recurring problem.

>Luna looked around curiously, the tavern had a medieval theme//
Comma splice.

>each with its own unique coat of arms//
Does this refer to the walls or the shields?

>den of inequity//
iniquity

>I shalt//
If you're going to use archaic language, please get it right.

>Making her way over, she finally took a seat, looking about the room.//
Another danger of participles: they synchronize actions, so you have to be aware of that. Here, she does all three things at the same time, where it's more reasonable to have them in sequence, or perhaps the last two could be simultaneous.

That song may be a little risque for what we can post on the blog.

>Good e’en milady//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>through which a beady black eye shone through//
Redundant "through."

>‘a//
The elision for "of" would be "o'." But note that when you do have aleading apostrophe, smart quotes get it backward. You'll need to past in one the right way on those.

>but she knew that nopony had ever charted those waters, there was no need to with the Eastern trade routes working as they were//
Comma splice.

You're inconsistent at placing a space after an ellipsis.

>ok//
okay

>SLAM//
Just use the regular word or describe the sound. Don't Put sound effects in narration.

>her name being called by her sister//
You unnecessarily use passive voice like this at times.

>to where she suspected Luna lay//
Wait, the last paragraph was from Luna's perspective. Why are you in Celestia's now?

>her sisters sudden yelling//
Missing an apostrophe.

>jus-//
Use a proper dash for cutoffs, not a hyphen.

Alright, I'm going to stop here. Pretty much everything I've marked so far occurs multiple times. Aside from the niggling mechanical issues, the big items are:

-Overuse of telly language.
-Relative abundance of "to be" verbs.
-Incorrect usage of archaic speech.
>> No. 132157
>>132131
>"Her," not "their." I know it's become acceptable to use that as a singular, but there's no reason to obscure the stranger's gender, and as this story is trying to sound ancient, it wouldn't follow modern practices anyway.

The stranger's gender is obscured because the characters don't know it. The story is being told to a modern audience, so it's unlikely its grammar would not have changed or been updated at all. I also thought it added to the fairy tale feel to make incidental characters less detailed; Tiamat is the only character who gets proper description, which reflects her importance. The sisters don't get any because who they are is heavily implied even with a brief descriptor.

For the last section, I separated it into its own chapter and labelled it "Epilogue". I had thought the horizontal rule made the perspective shift clear enough, but apparantly not.

I'll admit the last part is the one I had most concerns about. The story seemed flat without some context, however, and the nature of fairy tales seemed the sort of thing Celestia would think a lot about. Her last comment isn't intended to be sarcastic in the least; I added an extra line to make clear she's sincere.

I could cut it completely (and I considered that), and it wouldn't really affect the story's progression much, but then the opening section could be cut for the same reasons. They help ground the story in modern Equestria, even if they don't relate much to the plot of the fairy tale.

Otherwise, I thought most of your critique was apt; thank you for taking the time to nitpick my story :)

cp
>> No. 132160
>>132157
>The stranger's gender is obscured because the characters don't know it. The story is being told to a modern audience, so it's unlikely its grammar would not have changed or been updated at all.//
This is pretty much my point, regarding the grammar. When originally recorded, the story probably would have used "his" (or "hers" as this might be a female-dominated society), so it's unlikely they'd update it with a more modern "their." And as to the characters not knowing... that's not really how this is being told. The story-in-story isn't taking a limited narration that would be restricted to what any particular character could know. It's an omniscient narrator, essentially Celestia, who does know, and as it never ends up mattering what gender this stranger is, it feels odd to deliberately obscure it.
>> No. 132161
Note that this list is not necessarily comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Canterlot library//
Is that the official name? Then capitalize both.

>symphonies and ballads and threnodies//
Wow, you sure went obscure quick. The only threnody I can think of is part of John Ireland's Concertino Pastorale. Most readers will have no idea what one is, though I'm glad you gave ample context to give them all they really need to know about it. What I'd suggest is this: 1) keep it simple and pick yet another choice that most people have at least heard of, then give the list a sequence from grand to intimate or most to least familiar; or 2) pick a few more terms of varied obscurity and string them out, again in order, to lead the reader there. I will caution you, though, make sure the character is one who'd have an advanced enough knowledge of music to use these terms. I haven't read far enough in to see yet.

>leather-bound//
As in the tanned hides of dead sentient cows?

>But in my gut, it exists, or did at one point.//
I think you could stand to ground this better in what fascinates her about it. All I get is a vague description of the drawing, and she didn't seem so drawn to it. She says she is, but I don't have the evidence of that. An example speaks far louder than a generality.

>There’s a discordant thrum of several strings not meant to be played together//
Musically speaking, there's no such thing, so this would have to be grounded in her own musical preferences, yet I have no idea what those are. Depending on the state of their music, this could be three consecutive notes together, a tri-tone, something not in a pentatonic scale, etc.

>the ripped cushions propel my body towards the front door//
This just sounds weird. How do the cushions propel her?

>Without even thinking, a thick winter jacket and a golden scarf wrap themselves around me.//
This says that the jacket and coat weren't thinking. While accurate, it's not exactly surprising or informative.

>My horn glimmers and the door to my cabin opens.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>Slamming the door shut, I trot out into the dense snow.//
Note that participles mean simultaneous action, so the slams the door at the same time she's trotting into the snow, while it's more likely they happen in sequence.

>It would be entirely unlike her to frighten others on purpose.//
This isn't bad, but there are a lot of instances where you have "to be" verbs that you could easily remove by rephrasing. "I'd never known her to do something like this," as a simple example. You do have a fair number of boring "to be" verbs, and you could stand to use more active language to keep things moving.

>I have to look down again//
She never looked up, unless she's been doing so since before she left the house.

>I summon up the willpower to keep moving forward.//
This tripped me up a little because of what it follows. I didn't know whether she was actually doing this, or if it was continuing her comment, and she was saying this is how she normally behaves in the event of an adventure.

>Then I smack myself//
None of her commentary, gets to a mood of her feeling foolish, so this seems out of place.

>Something was waiting for me up ahead in the frozen undergrowth.//
Why go to past tense here?

>it is my civil duty//
The story reads more like she's going out there due to curiosity, not concern. It could use punching up a bit, one way or the other. Either make it so she takes this angle sooner and more consistently, if it's true, or have her sound like she's bluffing if this is just a rationalization on her part. The last line of the paragraph sells it some, but it sounds more like she's trying to overcome her trepidation than making excuses for why she should keep going.

>Fire shoots out of its belly and I leap backwards//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>eyes widening of their own accord//
Using such formal language in conjunction with attributing the action to a body part, serves to externalize this and take away its sense of immediacy. If she's truly surprised, she doesn't have time to wax eloquent about it.

>All of the snow has melted around it, and the ground is scarred from where it walked.//
Look how calm she sounds here. Then compare it to how she sounded at the end of the previous scene. It feels inconsistent.

>But something seemed off.//
Why past tense?

>Inching a bit closer, it is obvious that this monster is, in fact, a monster.//
Dangling participle. "Inching a bit closer" should describe her, but she never appears. It describes what ever abstract concept "it" refers to.

>Not something I’d like to be close to, if at all possible.//
I gather that maybe she sounds less afraid in this scene because she's drawn to whatever this is? Let that come through. Make her narration sound like she feels this compelling tug to go forward.

>ship//
How does she decide that's what it is? There's nothing in the description to make me think that's what it is.

>My hoof stops a half-inch above where I thought the surface to be, and I realize it’s a button.//
Rephrase slightly. "It" has no antecedent here.

>behemoth//
You already used that word, and not long ago. It's unusual enough that it sticks out like a sore thumb.

>Hooking my limbs around the lip of the newly opened portal, I manage to pull myself up onto the slick steel.//
Another case where the participle tends to synchronize things that probably shouldn't be.

> Lowering myself over the edge and into the container itself, two doorways make themselves apparent.//
Another dangling participle. It says that the doorways lowered her into the container. You're using quite a few participial phrases lately, too.

>dimly lit//
Kind of an oxymoronic phrase that's seen as cliched.

>There’s nothing to be afraid of here.//
But she doesn't sound afraid. She sounds almost... monotone? Which might actually be effective here, if she's in a trance-like state, though it could stand to be a little more obvious.

>Thump.//
Eh. It's frowned upon to put sound effects in narration. Just describe the sound.

>They don’t budge from their spots, no matter how hard I pull them.//
Basically I think you need to decide how she should sound and why. Is she distant and entranced? Or is she curious and excited? As it is, the narration's kind of bland, which works for the former, except it's not obvious or consistently so.

>There are a series of clicks//
Number disagreement. "Series" is singular here.

>Racing back, I pull the ponies towards the entrance to the machine.//
Synchronization again.

>Various pieces of something hit the outside of the ship and smoke fills the interior.//
Needs a comma.

>I’m choking. I have to save these ponies.//
Again, without an atmosphere that she has dulled thoughts and a compulsion to act, these just come across as emotionless. An exclamation mark, some more emphatic phrasing... well, starting with the next sentence, there you go. This sets the mood much better.

>I run as quickly as I can.//
She doesn't mention the weight of them. Isn't she having some difficulty pulling them along?

>The inside of my eyelids are red.//
Number disagreement: inside -> are.

>The covers fly off me and I step onto the floor.//
Needs a comma.

>Stamping my hooves against the well-worn doormat, I rummage through the cabinets until I spy a square of silk mesh.//
Synchronization.

>Neither of them say anything.//
"Neither" takes the number of the items it refers to, and they're both singular, so "says."

>these creatures//
The previous night, she was convinced that were ponies. What made her change her mind?

>I need to control my stuttering.//
But she didn't stutter, nor is there any evidence that she's prone to.

>It touches my head lightly runs the appendages through my mane//
Missing comma or word.

>The first barks loudly and its shoulders shake up and down.//
Needs a comma.

>Are they talking about me? Something about them feels familiar…//
Maybe could use a slight rephrasing to avoid the repetition of "about."

>I prance in place when I hear light steps from inside pitter-pattering their way over to the entrance.//
See, her actions get across her mood, but not the manner in which they're presented. Let the tone of the narration carry it as well.

>My magic engulfs it and I pull the book towards me, scanning the cover.//
Needs a comma.

>Nothing in the way of a title; only a picture of a pony’s head, mouth wide open, the edges pulled upward in a jubilant smile.//
A semicolon really does call for a formalism of structure, but there aren't any independent clauses here.

>He bats his eyelids and I ruffle his spines.//
Needs a comma. It also seems odd that she knows him well enough to do that. It's not supported in canon or built up in the story.

>Oh, imagine if knowledge about the two creatures on my sofa was made public!//
For hypothetical statements, use subjunctive mood: if knowledge... were made public.

>I pull the winter garments off//
I'd use "my" garments. This sounds a bit off.

>A shade of brilliant blue lies above me and I barely notice it.//
Needs a comma.

>A soft breeze plays over my back and I hum to myself as I compose the first movement of the spell.//
Needs a comma. This actually has me intrigued, but I think it could stand to be a little more concrete. Is she referring to it as a movement because she just thinks of it that way, or does she actually incorporate music into her spellcasting?

>The field fades and I’m back in my rustic cabin, mere inches from the book.//
>The creatures are upside-down and they stare at me without saying anything.//
>The creature shrieks a name I can’t pronounce and I leap backwards//
Needs a comma.

>The second one sheds its helmet and I’m surprised at how similar the humans look.//
Needs a comma, and why is she still using "it" when they've already been identified as male?

>with excitement//
These prepositional phrases of emotional exposition are rarely necessary and almost always redundant with information that's already presented.

>We left it ages ago, I didn’t think there’d be a trace left of the old thing!//
Comma splice.

>That wasn’t a ship//
Then why'd she call it one? (iirc, I pointed that out in an earlier comment.)

>a few question//
Typo.

>“fingers” on their “hands”//
Now, this always bugs me when humans turn up. They really don't have any analog for this? Not Spike's claws or Tirek's hands? Discord's paw? Iron Will's hands?

>Supplies will be gathered tomorrow//
Needs a comma after this, but I don't see the advantage of passive voice here. It just sounds odd. And supplies for what?

>onboard//
on board

>I feel like a filly again, listening to my parents argue; always frightening, never fruitful.//
Misused semicolon.

>We’ll take over and then the planet will go to pieces for a second time!”//
>The desperation in his voice is palpable and it echoes across the wooden floor.//
Needs a comma.

>I turn over, feigning sleep, and watch as he turns//
Watch the repetition of "turn."

>bangs as the globe falls out of the second brother’s grasp and clatters//
I'm not sure if either of those sounds works well for a large wooden object.

>I can’t bring myself to meet his eyes so I stare at the body in front of me.//
Needs a comma.

Okay, that ending. I don't mind it at all for what happens. I do think it suffers from a lack of implication, though. I'm not sure what Lyra intends to do about any of this. Hide the body in her house? Sneak it out and bury it somewhere? And why can't she trust Twilight? She never says. I certainly think Twilight would handle it well, though you could write Lyra such that she doesn't think so.

And it needs a little more as to why Lyra says she can't trust this human and what that entails. He acted in Equestria's interest, and based on his argument, it's reasonable to think he'd continue to, though he'd also have a loyalty to his brother, and he turned against him.

So will she try to track this human down in the woods and kill him? Does she think he's dangerous enough to make that necessary? And if she truly doesn't trust any other ponies with the knowledge, she'd have to do it herself.

Basically, it isn't leading anywhere, or if the idea is to leave it open-ended, it's not attaching much emotional investment to the various options. As is kind of symptomatic of a lot of the story, Lyra's reaction is pretty bland. She's witnessed a murder (how unheard of in Equestrian society is this anyway?) and doesn't do anything, but she still seems to be thinking clearly.

The big thing I'd like to see here is more emotional consistency in the narration, or if you're setting off times she gets distant for some reason, make that come through as well. Usually, something like getting distracted or zoning out would connote getting mesmerized like that, but I don't get the feel that's what you were going for. So either give me more emotional cues, particularly in how the narration is worded and presented, or make those instances of disaffection more blatant instead of resorting to fact-listing. Then I'd like the ending to lead to something. What does this say about Lyra's character? Or what conflict has been set up and stands to be resolved? In a nutshell, what message do you want the reader to take away from the story?

Nicely done, though. Most of these things are minor fixes, and I don't think the more abstract issues will be tough to deal with, either.
>> No. 132165
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

A few writing tics stand out. You lean on "as" clauses a lot, to the point they become repetitive. Every sentence in your second paragraph has one. There are seven in the first screenful, plus another "as" used for a comparative phrase. So I did a Ctrl-f for " as " and found 40. That's about one every 190 words, or 2-3 per page. That's actually not too bad, but when I look at where the instances occur, there's a cluster of them right here at the beginning and another about 30% of the way through. At the beginning, I'm also seeing a lot of "to be" verbs. It's impractical to excise them from a story altogether, but you should choose active verbs where possible, especially here, where you're trying to hook the reader. These verbs are not very engaging—it's more interesting to read about what happens, not what is—so it only helps to limit them here. Likewise, I've searched the story for the easier forms to find, and I get 227, which is nearly one every other sentence. There are 121 instances of "was" alone. That's how often something doesn't happen.

As long as I'm doing searches, here are other words that authors often overuse:
just: 52, getting up there, but not awful
turn: 13, good
walk/trot: 4, good
look: 42, fairly high, and they get clustered in places

Next, I notice that you're using a limited narrator. Kind of a shallow one, but limited nonetheless. So on the one hand, it's odd to see the occasional musing italicized as a direct thought, when we already have access to her thoughts through the narrator. There are times this can work, namely when it's important the reader know the though occurred verbatim or you want to phrase it as a first-person thought, but neither really applies here. On the other hand, we occasionally get statements like this:
>She sighed again and wished it was tea time.//
It's not necessary for a limited narrator to tell us that a character thought or wished or wanted something, because the narration can do that and communicate it with more emotion. Take this for example: "Could tea time come any slower?" That communicates the same thing, but it forges a closer link with the reader, since it brings him into her viewpoint instead of stating it as a dry fact, and it indirectly makes it her wish instead of bluntly identifying it as one.

Likewise, it feels odd when you use "her father," since that creates a sense of being external to her, particularly when she just uses "Father" most of the time.

>smaller...scared, even.. //
You'll normally leave a space after an ellipsis, and I'm not sure whether that second one has one too many or one too few periods.

>Ponies paused in their morning routine//
"Routine" would be plural here, unless it's always the same ponies every day in exactly the same way, so that there is an overarching routine involving every individual.

>Ponyville was her home now and she had a reputation to build.//
I've noticed several instances of this by now, where you need a comma to set off a dependent clause.

>Everypony would be watching. Everypony.//
That second "everypony" feels like it could use emphasis.

>deep breath that traveled from deep//
Watch the close repetition of all but the most mundane of words.

>The magenta filly behind them looked a little impressed.//
I haven't caught you being telly, so one fleeting instance isn't going to kill you, but this is an important moment for her, and I think showing me the filly's reaction instead of just telling me she's impressed would be more engaging.

>upperclassmare’s//
As used, you need that to be plural.

>3.9//
We prefer number that short spelled out: three-point-nine.

>said wrap it up//
If you're going to present it as a quote, then punctuate/capitalize it like one. Otherwise, add a "to" in there and get rid of the italics.

>It didn’t matter now, she’d run out of time.//
Comma splice.

>four seats to choose from//
She did that math awfully fast, and if she figures out someone's not there, wouldn't she ask to make sure not to take that student's seat?

>Welcome to our clath Thilver Thpoon!//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>The desk next to it was empty.//
This gets to the point I just made a bit ago. It sounds like she knows that one of the empty seats is off limits and which one, but how does she know?

>worse came to worse//
Worst came to worst

>She always seemed to have the same keen tone of voice//
Kind of a premature conclusion, given that she's only heard Cheerilee speak a couple times so far.

>Which aren’t always hot, they can be cold, too.//
Comma splice.

>The tatty pegasus was glaring at her. Another pony frowned.//
Whenever you lapse into one of these descriptions of her classmates' actions around her, the sentence structures get really repetitive. Having it be that way once is fine, but when it keeps happening, it gets in a rut. They're all short, simple sentences starting with the subject.

>The blue one jumped a bed of posies, swerving to miss the fillies playing hopscotch.//
This is a common issue with participial phrases. They imply simultaneous action, so you have him swerving at the same time he's jumping. While possible, if he has any command of his magic yet, it's unlikely.

>zig-zagged, double-backed//
zigzagged, doubled back

>The grass was still wet from last night’s rainstorm.//
It feels like a plot convenience that this is just now mentioned. Bring it up much earlier if you can, maybe even in the previous scene. Or maybe show it raining as she's first arriving in town. Then this is a reminder and not a just-in-time fact.

>A jolt of revulsion rippled through her pristine coat.//
Be more descriptive than telly here. What does she actually do? Shudder, wince? What physical symptoms does she feel from it?

>“tsk”.//
Period goes inside the quotes.

>Guffaws//
I can't tell whether you mean he's laughing or that's his name.

>She flicked her tail, irritated.//
That goes by so quickly as to have little impact. Give me some more detail, and preferably more internal than this somewhat omniscient statement.

>her classmate’s shrieking laughter//
Just one, or did you mean that to be plural?

>The filly did not think about Manehattan and did not frown.//
Given the limited narrator, you're essentially saying she's thinking about herself as "the filly," which is weird.

>He’s an appraiser for Canterlot Museum of Art and Antiquities.//
Missing a "the."

>what?//
Normally, an exclamation mark or question mark on an italicized word is also italicized.

>once…it’s//
It looks to me like you leave a space after an ellipsis only if it ends the sentence. It's more standard to leave a space after one in all cases except leading ellipses, but it's not something worth quibbling over if you attach some differentiation to the practice.

>It’s just…tag.//
Well, now it just looks like you're being inconsistent.

>Silver’s lost expression//
Narrative voicing. It's odd for Silver to make this judgment about herself. It sounds more like Sweetie's opinion.

>She flipped her braid over her shoulder//
How many does she have? You referred to multiple ones earlier. In fact, do a Ctrl-F for "braid" This is the third instance of it. In the prior one, she does almost the same word-for-word thing.

>“game”.//
Period inside the quotes.

>boys versus girls//
You're using that as a descriptor, so hyphenate it.

>Don’t bother with the porcelain cup, it’s not dirty.//
Comma splice.

>The filly looked up at him.//
That reference again. You shouldn't be mentioning her in such an external way when you have a limited narrator in her perspective.

>I don’t think they like me, Tacks.//
I catch authors doing this from time to time. She calls him by name several times in this conversation. It can be a sign of emphasis, but I don't see it here. Think about how often you actually do so in a real conversation. You're also missing a line break for the new paragraph after this.

>and declined to mention that two of those three fillies lived in the same building and their parents had grasped for the Silvers’ good favor for years//
Wait, why are you hopping over to his perspective for the grand total of one paragraph? If it's really necessary to jump to him (and it probably isn't), it's worth staying there a while.

>6:45//
Minor thing, but we usually prefer that to be written out.

>Her ear pricked at approaching hoofsteps and turned.//
This makes it sound like only her ear turned, but apparently her whole body does, since she goes on to describe what was previously behind her.

>Are you feeling better today?//
Wait, did I miss something? I don't recall Silver feeling sick or missing school. Maybe her leaving early on Friday implied that she did or at least faked it? If so, that could be made clearer.

>she was ready to fight you for it.//
I'd get rid of the "you," since the sentence makes sense without it, and addressing the reader opens a can of worms.

>‘New money runs, old money walks’,//
Comma goes inside the quotes.

>My daddy owns Barnyard Bargains.//
Only because I recognize this from canon do I know who's speaking here. The pronouns are getting ambiguous, and at first, I thought Diamond was the one saying her mother taught voice lessons.

Okay, I like what I see here. The biggest issues were the ones I raised right up front, with the repetitive elements and narrative voicing, and while they're not hard to fix, they can be a little time-consuming.

I would make one more request, though: The spot for the incomplete story synopsis in the submission form is intended for you to give a quick summary of where the rest of the story goes. We don't want to get caught with any unpleasant surprises, we like to know that the author has a plan, and at times, and we can try and shoot down problems before they happen when some red flags pop up with it. So I'd still want to see one of those.

This story shows a lot of promise, though, and I'd like to see it come back fixed up so I can post it.
>> No. 132170
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Ebony hooves echoed off the marble floor as a young white Pegasus fled along yet another corridor, moonlight streaming through the stained glass windows. Her pursuers kept pace, their constant orders for her to halt still within earshot.//
Let's start with the first paragraph, appropriately. Both sentences have an absolute phrase on the end, which immediately creates a repetitive structure. Also note that the "moonlight streaming" gives a still and peaceful scene that feels out of place with the action going on around it. Also notice how you repeat "halt" very soon after in the next paragraph.

>heir horns shined brightly//
"Shined" is the transitive past tense, like what you do to shoes or brass. You want "shone."

>The mare stiffened, then simply smirked. “Now, that won’t do at all, I’m afraid. You see—”
>
>Her form ignited with a burst of emerald flame, shattering the shield.

>
>“—I already have a date with royalty.”//

You don't need to put those in separate paragraphs. Here's how to put a narrative aside in a quote (note the pattern of capitalization and punctuation):
The mare stiffened, then simply smirked. “Now, that won’t do at all, I’m afraid. You see—” her form ignited with a burst of emerald flame, shattering the shield “—I already have a date with royalty.”

>The stallion hung his head, his ears flat against his head.//
Watch the repetition.

>The stallion saluted and departed, leaving Celestia alone in the room. She sighed, dropping her royal facade as she wandered from her throne to a window. The moon caught her attention, shining gently as ever like nothing of concern had even happened.//
You have a participial phrase in every sentence here. That structural repetition gets into a rut. There are attendant problems with participle use that you'll probably run into just by using so many. It's probably worth scanning through your story for them to make sure you're not using a whole lot overall or locally in clumps like this.

One issue is that they can be misplaced modifiers. Take your last one here. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object, so "shining gently" would tend to modify "attention." Now, we can apply a little logic and figure out what you meant, but if there'd been another potentially shiny object there in the sentence, it could be ambiguous or misleading.

I'm not going to point out any more participles unless they are one of the other problematic types I alluded to. Other than that, just suffice it to say you could stand to reduce the number of them overall and even out their distribution. While they're nice for flavor, authors who are just starting to gain some experience often rely on them too much, to the point that they get overloaded with them.

Likewise, if you add in the last sentence of this paragraph, there are two "as" clauses, which are similarly overused by many authors.

>Even after fleeing Canterlot, the Changeling’s wings buzzed like her life depended on it.//
Speak of the devil. Here's another problem participles can cause if you aren't careful. It's a special case of a misplaced modifier calling a dangling participle. "Even after fleeing Canterlot" is supposed to describe Chrysalis, but she doesn't appear in the clause. It describes her wings, and while they've technically fled Canterlot as well, it's just weird to say it that way, and I'm sure it's not what you intended anyway.

>Sync stared back at him, affronted//
Okay, you've been good about show versus tell so far, so I've let a few inconsequential ones go, but this is a pretty big emotional point of the story, so I'd rather have you make her look and act affronted than just tell me she is.

>She shuddered as she recalled the withered old stallion that kept the library in order.//
You've kept to Sync's perspective since the scene began. Why skip over to her now? Is it really necessary? Just having her shudder still gets the mood across, and since that's something Sync can see, the perspective would still rest with him. There can be good reasons to shift perspective, but it has to be carefully considered.

>At first elated//
You were doing so well before, but another blatant telly spot where it really doesn't work.

>remaining energy I have left//
Redundant.

>making Sync even more indignant towards her two friends//
Stahp. And while you're stahping, have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread. It gives some more detail about what warning signs to look for.

>changelings//
You'd been capitalizing that. Be consistent.

>the chariot he was in//
That's a clunky phrasing.

>hiding?//
You'll normally italicize a question mark or exclamation mark that's on an italicized word.

>‘ling//
Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward. You can type two and erase the first, or you can paste one in from somewhere else.

>Spurred on by the gesture, Chrysalis let out a shout as the light consumed everything...//
This is the fourth sentence with an "as" clause in just the last two paragraphs (not counting the short thought one).

>his horn shined brightly//
"Shone" again, but notice that it's the exact phrasing you used from the last time I pointed this out.

>the stones he stood next to//
Another awkward phrasing. How is this any better than "the stones next to him"?

>They split into a two-by-two formation, cautiously entering the tunnel.//
And there's the trifecta of participles. They imply simultaneous action, so you have them entering the tunnel at the same time they split into formations, while it's more reasonable for them to do those actions one after the other.

>changeling//
You should just Ctrl-f for these and make sure you use consistent capitalization.

>rubbed the bridge of his nose//
I get that authors want to use human mannerisms, but horses don't even have such a thing, and if pones did, it'd be way down on their muzzles, not between their eyes. If the latter's what you want, then just say that.

>An empty wasteland of nothing that seemed to stretch forever and it was all her fault.//
Needs a comma between the clauses, and based on the way you're formatting this, it needs a line break as well.

>just, save them//
Commas aren't for dramatic pauses. There's no grammatical reason to have one there.

>“... ake… up...”//
Don't leave a space after a leading ellipsis. And note that some of your ellipses are a single character while others are three separate dots. Just do a search and replace of one for the other so they're all the same.

>Chrysalis’//
I realize that it's become acceptable to use this form now, while the traditional one would be "Chrysalis’s." But you used this version earlier in the story, so be consistent.

>cosy cave//
Extraneous space.

>He just hoped his shell would remain in one piece.//
Why are you hopping over to his perspective?

>She withdrew at the sight of her quivering charge, and sighed.//
That's all one clause. No need for the comma.

>Though it was just a pile of moss, it was strangely comfortable.//
Here, you're in Chrysalis's perspective, and...
>He quickly glanced around to see if anyling was nearby before leaning closer.//
here, you're in Scribe's. Then back to Chrysalis:
>Chrysalis sighed as she closed her eyes; her eyelids felt so very heavy.//
It's not necessary to be hopping around like this.

> the youngling tumbled through the air, landing on the soft grass and rolling, finally stopping at the biped’s feet as dislodged leaves floated down around her.//
Another case of participles synchronizing actions that shouldn't be.

>her eyes shining and her legs covering her head//
How does her know it's a female? Even Sync didn't seem to know, as she used "their" instead of "her" earlier.

>Scratching his head, Adrien reached again for his belt.//
More synchronization problems.

>she let out an audible sigh of relief//
Since you're using a limited narrator, there's no need to be so blunt about this.

>they hurried along the passage, to discover the rest of the hive either cringing and backing away, or running around yelping//
Neither of those commas is needed.

>M-m-majesssty//
Since the word has to be capitalized anyway, do so in every instance of the first letter.

>T-that’s//
Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Certainly not just the "t."

>changeish//
A language would be capitalized.

>looking perplexed//
Show me what that looks like.

I like what I see here. Really, there's not that much to fix up, so I don't think it should be hard. I suspect that has as much to do with your editor as much as anything else. Whatever it takes, if you can keep that quality up for the rest of the story, I think it could have a home on the blog. When you're ready to resubmit, please choose the "back from Mars" option.

Last edited at Fri, Apr 10th, 2015 20:02

>> No. 132182
Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Looking back on it I guess that was the point, ponies that naturally embodied the Elements without trying; all those years studying and training and I never even could have embodied an element.//
Comma after "looking back on it" to set off the participial phrase. And your first comma would work better as a colon or dash, I think.

>I knew, I knew,
Keep in mind that she's writing a journal here. How do you handwrite italics? When emphasizing something in handwriting, you'd naturally make it darker (use bold font) or underline it.

>Celestial//
Typo.

>I'm getting off topic now.//
Missing a line break her.

>Once I did//
>when they appeared//
>It makes me want to smile//
>Before I even went back to Equestria to steal the crown//
Comma after this.

>let’s add more item//
Typo.

>Those memories I have, they make those choice tantalizing//
You originally had "Those memories I have make those choice tantalizing," which I marked as having a typo, but you added "then." The typo was "those choice." You're mixing singular and plural.

While the prologue does rehash a lot of the movie plot, it also gets at Sunset's emotional motivation for a lot of what's going to happen, so if a reader skips the prologue, he's missing out on that, and what you did with that was pretty strong. Normally, I hate repetition, but you might consider touching on it again a little in chapter 1 just to bring those readers up to speed.

>after the thugs had run rampant//
Besides being an awfully formal phrasing, I'm surprised she cals them "thugs" here, since it's much later in the story before she feels like she didn't deserve this.

>, (a jog for her)//
Move that comma after the parenthetical element.

>shyed//
shied

>out of fear//
Cut this. It's tell and already apparent.

>runners high//
Missing apostrophe.

>and she was right next to me//
Extraneous space in there.

>I wasn’t sure if that was a smart idea//
>I’m thinking about asking for a tour of her farm sometime//
>If I did go back//
>At first I was stunned that someone actually cared enough to help//
>It took a moment//
>but those thoughts passed//
>I was pretty out of it//
Comma after this.

>Then she’d turn to Applejack and said//
I pointed this out last time. The verb forms need to be the same. Make it "turned."

>on it’s own//
I pointed this out last time, too. Its/it's confusion.

>we were suppose to//
And I pointed this one out last time, too. "supposed"

>half heartedly//
halfheartedly

>Dairy//
Do a search in all chapters for this spelling to make sure you've gotten them all.

>confused though//
thought

>I think I keep trying//
kept

>- she’s the element of loyalty after all -//
Use proper dashes here, not hyphens. Either em dashes with no surrounding spaces (Alt+0151) or en dashes surrounded by spaces (Alt+0150).

>then maybe they will feel better as well//
You already gave extra emphasis to "maybe" earlier in the sentence. I'd cut this one.

>It caught me off guard//
>I hadn’t been out to Applejack’s before//
Comma after this.

>it’s tail//
I pointed this out last time. Its/it's confusion. As you have it, it would expand out to "it is tail." You do the same thing again later in the paragraph.

>Better safe then sorry.//
And I pointed this out too. You confused "then" for "than."

>fifteen minute//
Needs a hyphen.

>friends and family of the Apple Family//
Another one I marked last time. Repetitive use of "family." Just say "friends and family of the Apples."

>farm fresh//
And another one I listed before. Needs a hyphen.

We had talked a bit about what you planned for the last chapter. I think that might be something pretty tricky to pull off, and since there's only one more to go anyway, I'd also like to have a go at making an editing sweep on it like I've done for the rest. So for bookkeeping purposes, I'll call this a Mars (so mark it as such when you resubmit), but really, it's closer to being in a holding pattern until you've finished the last chapter. Any idea when that might be done?
>> No. 132183
>>132182
Last chapter here

https://www.fimfiction.net/chapter/737123
code ab.
>> No. 132184
>>132182
I finished your suggested corrections, including the ones I missed before, and I took you up on refreshing Sunset's motivations at the beginning of chapter one. It was a good idea and it really set up her being bullied and not fighting back.
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